Georgia Genomics Facility expands offerings to researchers

Crocodiles won’t speak to most people, but the Georgia Genomics Facility can get them to talk.

The laboratory, which provides access to advanced instrumentation and training for DNA extraction, sequencing, synthesis and analysis, played a key role in the creation of the first genetic map of the animal—a map that can tell researchers volumes.

Work conducted at the GGF also has investigated the genetic influences in suicidal behavior; strains of P. gingivalis, an agent of adult periodontal disease; and the genome and transcriptome of pitcher plants—which eat insects for nutrition.

“GGF users come from a range of disciplines across campus, as well as other universities, government agencies and private companies,” said Travis Glenn, an associate professor of environmental health science in the university of georgia college of public health.

“DNA sequencing technologies and platforms are being updated at a blistering pace that many labs can’t afford to keep up with,” said Glenn, who oversees faculty support, education, outreach and new services for the GGF. “If we don’t have the equipment, we can outsource and save researchers the time and money involved in making million-dollar capital equipment investments.”

The GGF makes next-generation sequencing technology and related ­services available to
researchers on a user fee basis. On March 15, the GGF will offer a day-long introduction to one of its most advanced systems, the Roche 454 genome sequencer.

“The 454 can sequence about 400 million bases of DNA in a single experiment,” said Glenn. “The amount of data is large, but still small enough that analysis can be done using free user-friendly software on any good laptop or desktop computer. It is a great way for researchers to get into next-generation sequencing and analysis.”

The laboratory also recently added a “service sans instrument” program for Illumina sequencers, popular instruments not available at UGA.

The 454 Sequencing Symposium and Bioinformatics Workshop will be held in the Ecology Auditorium and the Davison Life Sciences Complex. Those wishing to attend should register online ( by March 10.

– Laurie Anderson

Posted March 7, 2011.