Texas Tech and NCGR Sign Agreement to Increase Genome Research

Texas Tech signs an agreement  that promises to strengthen the university’s research program

Texas Tech University has signed an agreement with the National Center for Genome Resources that promises to strengthen the university’s research program.

The agreement establishes a framework for specific areas of cooperation in genome sequencing and genome analysis. For example, genomic sequence information discovered by Texas Tech scientists may be analyzed using the center’s cyber infrastructure and expertise. It also lays the framework for intellectual property rights arising from future collaborative research involving both institutions.

Thea Wilkins, Bayer CropScience Regents Professor in Texas Tech’s Department of Plant and Soil Science, had worked on a National Science Foundation-funded cotton genome project previously with the Center and was instrumental in forging this new agreement.

The agreement significantly enhances plans already underway at Texas Tech to sequence the cotton genome in her laboratory.

"Having the genome sequence of your organism, in my case cotton, ranks at the very top of every researcher’s wish list, as it provides the genetic blueprint," Wilkins said. "Once we have the cotton genome sequence, we can translate basic research from the lab into the field. A sequenced cotton genome will pave the way for novel applications to utilize cotton as an important renewable resource for food, fuel and fiber."

Texas is the largest cotton-producing state in the United States with West Texas producing 60 percent of Texas cotton.

"The impact of having the cotton genome sequence cannot be overestimated and the rate at which new and improved varieties can be deployed to growers will be, without a doubt, significantly accelerated," she said.

But cotton isn’t the only area in which the new agreement will aid Texas Tech. Dean Smith, vice president for research, said the agreement between the university and the National Center for Genome Resources greatly expands the university’s opportunities for research in bioinformatics, computational biology and biomedical sciences.

"The center provides world-class expertise in the analysis of genomic data that complements Texas Tech’s expertise in the generation of these important data," he said. "Other examples of general areas of mutual interest include analyses of the genetic codes in sorghum, peanuts and various micro-organisms found in crop plant root systems. The university and the community all benefit from this important collaboration."

The National Center for Genome Resources, located in Santa Fe, N.M., is a non-profit research institute dedicated to improving human health and well being through collaborative research at the intersection of biomedical and mathematics and computer software development. For more information on the center, go to www.ncrg.org.


Contact: Dean Smith, Texas Tech vice president for research, at (806) 742-3905 or via e-mail at dean.smith@ttu.edu.