GENET archive


4-Patents: Diversa launchs project to screen - and patent -microbial genes worldwide

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TITLE:  Diversa and the Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute
        Announce Large-Scale Microbial Sequencing Collaboration
SOURCE: Diversa, Press Release, USA
DATE:   May 5, 2003

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Diversa and the Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute Announce
Large-Scale Microbial Sequencing Collaboration

Uncultured microbial gene sequences from diverse ecosystems to provide
basis for scientific discovery and product development

SAN DIEGO, CA, and WALNUT CREEK, CA, May 5, 2003 - Diversa Corporation
(Nasdaq: DVSA) and the U.S. Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute
(JGI) today announced a collaboration to discover and sequence novel
microbial genomes found in a diverse range of unique habitats. Under the
collaboration, Diversa will use its proprietary technologies to extract
DNA from environmental samples and make gene libraries, while JGI will
perform DNA sequencing. All DNA sequence data from the collaboration will
be provided to Diversa and deposited in GenBank within six months of the
completion of sequencing to allow public access by scientists around the

"The microbial world is the next genomic frontier," said JGI Director
Eddy Rubin, M.D., Ph.D. "The human genome has been sequenced, and now
we're ready to tackle the larger and more complex challenge of sequencing
microbial diversity."

"We believe the scientific, environmental, and commercial benefits from
this project will be considerable," Rubin continued, "and we're pleased
to be working with Diversa, a company that has clearly demonstrated
leadership in legally and efficiently accessing the vast microbial
diversity present in the environment."

"There are more genes in a handful of soil than in the entire human
genome," said Jay M. Short, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer
of Diversa. "At Diversa, we are committed to developing products from the
rich genomic resource of uncultured microbes living in nearly every
environment on earth. We believe that our sequencing collaboration with
JGI will contribute greatly to our understanding and utilization of
microbial genes."

Microbes, the oldest form of life on Earth, inhabit nearly every
environment and can thrive under extreme conditions of heat, cold,
pressure, and radiation. Although microbes represent the vast majority of
life on the planet, more than 99% have not been cultured, and
consequently their genomic diversity has been largely unrecognized and
unutilized. By studying their DNA, scientists hope to find ways to use
microbes to develop new pharmaceutical and agricultural products, energy
sources, industrial processes, and solutions to a variety of
environmental problems.

Diversa and JGI will sequence DNA from microbes living in environments
such as deep-sea thermal vents, insect endosymbionts, soil from nuclear
weapons manufacturing sites, and water collected by rainforest epiphytes
such as bromeliads that grow on giant trees. Diversa pioneered
proprietary, genomics-based methods for discovering unexplored microbial
diversity and recently received a patent for sequencing of mixed
populations of microbial DNA directly from the environment, which is more
efficient and effective than individually culturing and identifying
microbes in the laboratory. Diversa estimates that its gene libraries
currently contain the complete genomes of over three million unique
microorganisms, comprising a vast resource of genetic material, which far
exceeds the estimated 10,000 microorganisms that have been described in
the scientific literature.

The Joint Genome Institute, which played a leading role in the recently
completed effort to determine the DNA sequence of humans, is one of the
world's largest and most productive genome sequencing centers. As part of
the U.S. Department of Energy's Microbial Genome Program, JGI has already
sequenced more than 60 microbes, many of which have far-reaching
implications for addressing such DOE mission challenges as the
remediation of radioactive and hazardous waste sites, sequestering heat-
trapping carbon from the atmosphere, and developing renewable energy sources.

About Diversa Diversa Corporation is a leader in applying proprietary
genomic technologies for the rapid discovery and optimization of novel
products from genes and gene pathways. Diversa is directing its
integrated portfolio of technologies to the discovery, evolution, and
production of commercially valuable molecules with pharmaceutical
applications, such as optimized monoclonal antibodies and orally active
drugs, as well as enzymes and small molecules with agricultural,
chemical, and industrial applications. In addition, the Company has
formed alliances and joint ventures with market leaders, such as Celera
Genomics, The Dow Chemical Company, DuPont Bio-Based Materials,
GlaxoSmithKline plc, Invitrogen Corporation, and affiliates of Syngenta
AG. Additional information is available at Diversa's website:

About JGI JGI was established in 1997 by three DOE national laboratories
managed by the University of California: Lawrence Berkeley National
Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and
Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. In addition to its
microbial sequencing projects, JGI has whole genome sequencing programs
that include vertebrates, fungi, and plants. Funding for JGI is
predominantly from the Office of Biological and Environmental Research in
DOE's Office of Science, with additional funding from NIH, NSF, USDA and
NASA. Additional information and progress reports on JGI projects,
including daily updates of sequence information and assembly statistics,
are available at Additional information on the DOE
Microbial Genome Program can be found at

Forward-Looking Statements Statements in this press release that are not
strictly historical are "forward-looking" and involve a high degree of
risk and uncertainty. These include statements related to potential
scientific discoveries resulting from the collaboration, success of joint
DNA sequencing efforts, the novelty of microbial genomes sequenced, the
realization of scientific, environmental, and/or commercial benefits from
the collaboration the ability to develop products based on results of the
collaboration, the number of unique microorganisms represented in the
Diversa's gene libraries, and the potential utility of those materials,
all of which are prospective. Such statements are only predictions, and
the actual events or results may differ materially from those projected
in such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or
contribute to differences include, but are not limited to, risks involved
with Diversa's and JGI's ability to successfully discover and sequence
novel microbial genomes, Diversa's new and uncertain technologies and the
utility of these technologies to produce novel genes, proteins, and other
molecules of commercial interest, risks associated with Diversa's
dependence on patents and proprietary rights, risks associated with
Diversa's protection and enforcement of its patents and proprietary
rights, Diversa's dependence on existing collaborations, the ability of
Diversa to maintain its collaboration with JGI, the ability of Diversa to
commercialize products using Diversa's technologies, the development or
availability of competitive products or technologies, and the future
ability of Diversa to enter into and/or maintain collaboration and joint
venture agreements. Certain of these factors and others are more fully
described in Diversa's filings with the Securities and Exchange
Commission, including, but not limited to, Diversa's Annual Report on
Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2002. These forward-looking
statements speak only as of the date hereof. Diversa expressly disclaims
any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

Contacts: Hillary Theakston Diversa Corporation (858) 526-5121
Virginia Amann for Diversa Atkins & Associates (608) 274-6046
Charles Osolin Joint Genome Institute (925) 296-5643