Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ:ILMN) today announced it has entered into a wide-ranging collaborative research agreement with the Institute of Applied Genetics and the Department of Forensic and Investigative Genetics at the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC). Illumina and UNTHSC will collaborate on several visionary projects in forensics using Illumina's next-generation sequencing technologies.
“This agreement allows us to work closely with UNT and Dr. Bruce Budowle, one of the world's foremost experts in molecular biology for human identification. Dr. Budowle and his team have demonstrated a unique ability to bring advanced technologies into practical and routine use in crime labs around the world.”
The goals of this collaboration include research, development, validation, and implementation of practical assays for forensic identification using Illumina's powerful sequencing technologies. The projects outlined in the agreement include studies on a range of forensically relevant genetic markers for human identity testing, pharmacogenetics for molecular autopsy, microbial forensics, and additional markers and methods to generate investigative leads in criminal cases and matters of national security.
"We are pleased to announce this strategic agreement with UNT and we look forward to the integration of next-generation sequencing into forensic genetics," said Adam Lowe, Illumina's Director of Applied Markets. "This agreement allows us to work closely with UNT and Dr. Bruce Budowle, one of the world's foremost experts in molecular biology for human identification. Dr. Budowle and his team have demonstrated a unique ability to bring advanced technologies into practical and routine use in crime labs around the world."
"Our work with Illumina enables us to design sample preparation, analytical protocols, hardware, and software that expand the capabilities of forensic DNA analysts," said Bruce Budowle, Executive Director of UNT's Institute of Applied Genetics and Vice Chair of the Department of Forensic and Investigative Genetics. "Results of these projects will allow forensic scientists to accelerate implementation of the next wave of forensic DNA analysis tools."
This next-generation sequencing collaboration will lead us to a much stronger forensic DNA testing capability and enable forensic laboratories to apply the most advanced science to assist law enforcement and the forensic medical community," said Dr. Budowle. "Driven by the demand for forensic DNA typing and expanding DNA legislation for increased public safety, forensic biology methods can meet the demand and improve dramatically with the application of state-of-the-art sequencing technologies."