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Minderoo Foundation and Illumina pledge A$40 million to apply advanced genomics to marine conservation

Posted 08/18/22

Proposed by Illuminated

Originally posted on Illumina News Center

SAN DIEGO, August. PARIS, Feb. 18, 2022 /CSRwire/ — The Minderoo Foundation and Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ: ILMN) today announced a $40 million Australian ($27.8 million) partnership that will leverage the power of genomics to accelerate scientific understanding of marine systems and help marine ecologists make informed decisions. The three-year partnership demonstrates a shared commitment to conserving marine biodiversity and understanding the changing marine ecosystems upon which people and national economies depend.

Photo: The Minderoo Foundation and Illumina announced a three-year partnership to improve monitoring of marine ecosystems, using the power of high-throughput sequencing.

Minderoo Foundation OceanOmics Director Dr. Steve Burnell said scaling environmental DNA (eDNA) technologies and applying new computational and artificial intelligence-based approaches have the potential to revolutionize our understanding of life in the ocean and our ability to protect it.

“By rapidly identifying species that may be endangered, invasive or otherwise poorly understood, research will provide data and information to support the conservation of marine biodiversity in a timely and effective manner,” Burnell said. “The Minderoo Foundation is committed to restoring our oceans to a thriving state.”

Monitoring marine ecosystems using eDNA can increase the resolution and sensitivity with which scientists understand biodiversity and can measure change. A cup of seawater can contain millions of pieces of eDNA and cells, providing a snapshot of the life forms present and, potentially, information about their population size and health. However, in typical seawater samples, more than 98% of DNA sequences recovered belong to marine microbes. Through this partnership, innovations from the human health industry will be adapted to help enrich these complex marine samples with sequence information specific to marine vertebrates.

The partners will also engage in research and development projects to create high-throughput genomic sequences from known marine vertebrates to enable the identification of unknown eDNA sequences from seawater. Because only 1 % of the approximately 21,000 known species of marine vertebrate genomes have been sequenced, a major objective is to create reference genomes from the wealth of samples already held in museum collections.

As part of this extensive research and development partnership, the Minderoo Foundation installed a NextSeq™ 2000 sequencing system, one of Illumina’s most advanced high-throughput benchtop DNA sequencers, aboard its vessel. of research.

Illumina Global Business Strategy Manager and Asia Pacific and Japan General Manager Gretchen Weightman said installing the NextSeq 2000 directly on Minderoo’s research vessel allowed partners to demonstrate , for the first time, high-throughput sequencing at sea, enabling near real-time production of marine genetic information, from seawater samples to high-quality sequencing data, in hours.

“Supported by cutting-edge Illumina technologies, researchers will collect crucial data and gain a better understanding of important implications for how the world’s oceans are managed, given commercial fishing and protection requirements,” said Weightman.


Photo: As part of this extensive research and development partnership, the Minderoo Foundation installed a NextSeq™ 2000 sequencing system, one of Illumina’s most advanced high-throughput benchtop DNA sequencers, aboard his research vessel.

ABOUT THE MINDEROO FOUNDATION
Founded by Andrew and Nicola Forrest in 2001, the Minderoo Foundation is a modern philanthropic organization that seeks to break down barriers, innovate and drive positive and lasting change. The Minderoo Foundation is proudly Australian, with key initiatives ranging from ocean conservation and ending slavery, to working together against cancer and building community projects. To learn more, visit minderoo.org and connect with us at TwitterFacebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Vimeo.

ABOUT ILLUMINATE
Illumina improves human health by unlocking the power of the genome. Our focus on innovation has enabled us to become a global leader in DNA sequencing and chip-based technologies, serving customers in the research, clinical and application markets. Our products are used for applications in life sciences, oncology, reproductive health, agriculture and other emerging segments. To learn more, visit illumina.com and contact us at TwitterFacebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.

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SOURCEIllumina, Inc.

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Illumina improves human health by unlocking the power of the genome. Our focus on innovation has enabled us to become the world leader in DNA sequencing and chip-based technologies, serving customers in the research, clinical and application markets. Our products are used for applications in life sciences, oncology, reproductive health, agriculture and other emerging segments.

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