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2-Plants: U.S. company donates sorghum DNA sequences to publicdomain

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SOURCE: Orion Genomics, USA
DATE:   4 Jan 2005

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Sorghum sequence to help researchers improve other grains and develop new

ST. LOUIS, Mo - January 04, 2005 - Orion Genomics, a Second Code
biotechnology company, announced today that it is donating to public
researchers all of its proprietary gene-enriched DNA sequence from the
sorghum plant, a close relative of corn and one of the most important
cereal crops worldwide. The sequence is expected to help researchers
understand and harness sorghum's unusual resilience in sub-optimal
environments to improve other crops such as maize, and to contribute to
the development of biofuels. A paper authored by Orion researchers
appears online today in The Public Library of Science and describes the
way in which Orion's GeneThresher(TM) technology was used to quickly and
cost effectively elucidate for the first time more than 95 percent of the
genes in sorghum. Previously, using traditional technologies, the sorghum
sequence was too large to be cost-effectively determined. The sorghum
sequence is available at Genbank ( of
the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a division of the
National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"Orion's public release of more than half a million sequences derived
from the gene-rich portion of the sorghum genome represents a significant
advance in U.S. cereal genome research," said John Mullet, Ph.D.,
Director of the Crop Biotechnology Center and Professor in the Department
of Biochemistry and Biophysics at Texas A&M University and a worldwide
expert in sorghum research. "Orion's collection of a half million gene
rich sequences and the more than 20,000 different gene sequences derived
from NSF funded cDNA sequencing projects provide the first in-depth look
at sorghum's gene complement. This information will significantly advance
comparative analysis of the sorghum, rice and maize genomes and
accelerate the discovery of genes that contribute to sorghum's unusual
adaptation to hot, dry, adverse environments."

The sorghum sequence was developed using Orion's GeneThresher
technologies as part of a project that leveraged a 2001 cost share grant
awarded to enhance sorghum by the Department of Energy. The grant was
awarded to an Orion-led consortium of researchers from NC+ Hybrids and
Solvigen, LLC to develop new enhanced sorghum lines with higher starch
more efficient in the production of biofuels and bioproducts

"Our hope is that Orion's gift of the sorghum sequence to public
researchers brings tremendous benefit to people worldwide by leading to
improved grain crops and environmentally friendly fuels," said Nathan
Lakey, President and CEO of Orion Genomics.

About Orion Genomics

Orion Genomics is a Second Code(TM) biotechnology company developing
oncology diagnostic products and generating revenue in a hybrid products-
services model. Orion's various proprietary technologies, trademarked as
GeneThresher, MethylScope, and MethylScreen, detect both normal and
abnormal epigenetic patterns of genes and genomes and are used in various
agricultural biotechnology and molecular diagnostic applications. For
more information, visit us at

For More Information Contact:
Nathan Lakey
Orion Genomics, LLC
Phone: 314-615-6977
Fax: 314-615-6975

Amy Beltran, Ph.D.
Atkins + Associates for Orion Genomics
Phone: 858-527-3489
Fax: 858-860-0270


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