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DNA sequencing ‘shaping the future of veterinary science’

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A PROJECT called Vetseq, funded by the RCVS Charitable Trust, has resulted in the genomes of more than 50 veterinary pathogens being sequenced. To mark the conclusion of the project, the trust joined forces with Liverpool university to host a one-day symposium at the RCVS headquarters on June 26.

Entitled ‘Next generation sequencing – the role of new sequence technologies in shaping the future of veterinary science’, the symposium covered key areas of the application of DNA sequencing technology to both animals and pathogens.

A key message from the speakers was that gene sequencing technologies had progressed at an astounding rate in recent years. While the human genome, which was completed in 2003, had taken over 10 years to be sequenced at a cost of approximately US $3 billion, it would soon be possible to process whole mammalian genomes for £1000.

‘With sequencing, traditionally, you would have been able to do about 1000 bases in a night,’ said Alan Radford, the Vetseq project's leader. ‘With the new technologies that are coming out, we can process 500 million bases overnight.’

This would have an enormously positive impact on veterinary research, facilitating clinical diagnoses, pathogen discovery and treatment, and an understanding of …

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