"The main objective of the EXGENOMES project is to develop new and improved thermostable enzymes for use, as reagents, in large-scale DNA synthesis and/or that can act on unnatural components such as in LNA (Locked Nucleic Acids). The target source for the new enzymes is a range of self-replicating mobile genetic elements (phages, plasmids and transposons) from thermophilic bacteria. Increased understanding of self-replication in many mobile genetic elements, such as phi29, has now made the commercial development of new self-priming & strand-displacing polymerases and other enzymes, much more plausible. A number of candidate enzymes, such as a new transposon-coded Thermus DNA polymerase are at hand for this project in the thermophilic bacteria & phage genome bank at Matis.
Nucleic acids based technologies now underpin a large and fast-growing industry, including research, diagnostics and pharmaceutical production. Thermophilic enzymes have played a key role in this development, as polymerases (DNA and RNA), ligases, nucleases, reverse transcriptases, polynucleotide kinases, lysozymes and more, are of great importance in the research industry today. The partner SME´s are all active players in this area from bioprospecting (Prokazyme), laboratory distribution (A&A Biotechnologies), LNA manufacture & diagnostics (Exiqon) to DNA vaccine production (Touchlight Genetics).
Together with the highly competent RTD partners the consortium is well positioned to implement the project according to its goals. The successful development of new thermostable polymerases and other enzymes with the desired properties would have a substantial impact on strengthening the current market status of the SME partners, resulting in growth in income and employment."
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