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German-Austrian genome deal

Researchers in Austria's national genome network have been given access to material from Germany's Resource Center for Genome Research (RZPD), the largest non-profit service center for genome research.

Under an agreement between the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture and the RZPD, scientists belonging to Austria's newly formed Genome Research Programme GEN-AU have been allowed to use more than 35 million clones from 30 different organisms.

Katja Fiala, GEN-AU program manager, said that sharing the resources of the RZPD for a moderate charge meant that the Austrian government would not have to set up a purpose-built genome library for its national research network, formed a year ago.

"We are a small country, and we have to use our resources carefully if we want to play a part in international genome research," Fiala told us.

Four GEN-AU projects have been given the lion's share of the €31.74 million funding pledged by the country's Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture over the next 3 years. They include studies into tumor invasion and metastasis, lipid metabolism, and epigenetic plasticity of the mammalian genome.

Two networks on bioinformatics and proteomics as well as six smaller, interdisciplinary projects on animal models, microorganisms, and plant genetics are also part of the GEN-AU network.

"This network will significantly improve the conditions for investment in genomics and biotechnology and support the creation of new jobs in Austria," Fiala said.

The RZPD will also benefit from sharing its resources with the Austrian researchers.

Johannes Maurer, scientific director of the RZPD, said that the Austrian GEN-AU researchers have agreed to submit information about experimental data generated using RZPD material for integration into the center's database.

"The RZPD will definitely benefit by being able to expand its high-quality biological reference materials," Maurer told us.


  1. Resource Center for Genome Research, []

  2. Austrian Genome Research Programme GEN-AU, []

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Burgermeister, J. German-Austrian genome deal. Genome Biol 4, spotlight-20031205-01 (2003).

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