Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - ARRAYCGH-MC (Marie Curie conferences and training courses on arrayCGH and molecular cytogenetics)

A first objective of this series of events was to stimulate the development and application of DNA microarrays and molecular cytogenetics in research and clinical diagnosis and sustain and expand the leading role of the European research groups in these fields. A series of three meetings has brought together all leading European experts in this area. This has created a stimulating environment for exchange of information and establishing new collaborations.

At the same time, much attention was given to the training character of these meeting, stimulating early stage researchers to actively participate in the meetings and offer ideal formats for contacts between these young researchers and more experienced researchers. Our events have greatly stimulated the widespread introduction of array CGH methodology for research and clinical investigations amongst others through the evaluation and production of 1Mb set of BAC clones for arrays by Dr. N. Carter from the Sanger Institue (UK). This has created a major boost for many European groups for the introduction of array CGH in their respective laboratories. N. Carter hosted the first meeting at The Sanger Institute, UK (29/09-02/10/2004). This meeting had a specific focus on specific focus on DNA array methodology and data analysis.

The information made available from some of the key groups in this area has made it possible to create a much more rapid distribution of this experience throughout European laboratories. At this point however, interest from the industry remained rather low, a situation which drastically changed towards the second meeting. The second meeting, hosted by M. Rocchi, was held in Bari, Italy (19/10-22/10/2005) and focussed on array CGH in single cell applications. During this meeting, amongst others, a growing awareness came about regarding normal variation in the human genome at the level of large DNA copy number changes (invited speakers included Evan Eichler and James Lupski). This aspect is of importance in relation to interpretation of results and final decision whether a copy number change is either a normal variant or causal for a particular disease. The evolution in various technologies presented at this and the previous meeting triggered further studies in this domain and has lead key papers in this area (Redon et al., Nature, 2006). Of further notice, industrial partners, became very interested in our meetings and actively participated.

The third and last meeting, hosted by Joris Vermeesch, was held in Leuven, Belgium (13-16/09/2006) with specific focus on applications of arrayCGH and molecular cytogenetics. This meeting illustrated the success of array CGH in the area of cancer and clinical genetics. This meeting heralds the introduction of array CGH techniques as a routine method, perhaps in many cases up front to currently used methods such as karyotyping and MLPA. Next to the meetings also two workshops were held specifically aimed to train early stage researchers in new array CGH methodologies. These workshops held in Leiden (hosted by H. Tanke) at LUMC in the laboratory for Cytochemie and Cytometrie, in Leiden (The Netherlands) (13-19/02/2005) and in Ghent (hosted by F. Speleman) (16-20/10/2006) in the Center for Medical Genetics. Both workshops offered hands on teaching in methods for laser microdissection, automated microscopy, DNA amplification and arrayCGH in addition to specific methodology included (e.g. automated microscopy, premature chromosome condensation,...) in Leiden and real time qPCR and data handling in Ghent. Detailed information can be found on the website (

We are confident that our events have contributed to intrest of companies leading to design of sensitive and reliable commercial DNA arrays. We now anticipate that DNA arrays will rapidly find their way to genetic diagnostic laboratories thus contributing to improved genetic diagnosis and discovery of new disease genes.

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