454 Sequencing for the Characterization of the Protective Intestinal Flora
08 May 2008

The diversity of species in the intestinal flora is imperative for the maintenance of our health. Any instability can lead to the development of various intestinal diseases such as antibiotic-associated intestinal inflammations like e.g., Morbus Crohn or Colitis Ulcerosa. According to the latest discoveries, disturbances in the metabolism such as obesity are also greatly influenced. A new research study by the University of Graz, Austria, now was set up to characterize the protective composition of the intestinal flora, by means of next generation sequencing with the Genome Sequencer FLX System of Roche. The clostridium difficile infection will serve as a model for the research study. It occurs mainly in individuals who were treated with antibiotics, the illness leads to a severe infection of the large intestine accompanied by extreme diarrhea. The illness has evolved into a problem with increasing infection rates resulting in fatalities. The study is designed to help increase scientific knowledge about these relationships.

“With the acquisition of the Genome Sequencer system, the medical University of Graz makes another step towards high-technology research. The continuous exploration into the molecular dimension offers insights into the complexity of biological systems which were as yet unknown. This constitutes an enormous challenge for our researchers who ask the relevant questions and find the correct interpretations with their creativity and competence. They work on the highest international level. We are proud to have such researchers and scientist at our university.” says Professor Dr Josef Smolle, head of the medical University of Graz.

“The centre for medical research, which is equipped with the most modern infrastructure, has become an established and renowned research centre in Austria. We are happy that our technology has been chosen and has contributed in the support of innovative research projects at the medical University of Graz”, says Andrijka Kashan, Head of Roche Diagnostics Austria.

According to latest estimates, up to 40000 different species of bacteria are found in the human intestinal flora. Each individual is likely to carry up to 500 different species with a total of 10 to 100 quadrillion (1013 - 1014) micro-organisms in their intestine. The characterisation of the majority of these bacteria species has not been possible in the past. However, the new, ultra-fast sequencing technologies of today have the scope to solve this problem. The medical University of Graz made a decision to be the first Austrian university to enter the world of ultra high-throughput DNA sequencing technology by purchasing the sequencing technology of 454 Life Sciences. The carrying out of the analysis will be undertaken at the Center for Medical Research (ZMF) in a central unit, the so-called Core Facility which has been established over the past years as provider for high-throughput analysis and technologies in the field of molecular biology.

For more information on 454 sequencing, visit the article webpage.

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