Applied Biosystems Expands Line of TaqMan(R) MicroRNA Assays; Nearly 300 Individual Assays for Human, Mouse, and Rat MicroRNAs Now Available Online

FOSTER CITY, Calif & WASHINGTON–At the 2006 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, Applied Biosystems (NYSE:ABI), an Applera Corporation business, announced the commercial availability of 300 individual TaqMan(R) MicroRNA Assays (also known as miRNA assays) for human, mouse, and rat studies.

MicroRNAs, one of the smallest entities in the human genome responsible for gene regulation, are a rapidly growing research area with implications for further understanding of gene regulation in normal development and in various disease states.

“Whether or not specific microRNAs are expressed in a cell often influences key cellular characteristics and functions carried out by that cell,” said William V. Murray, Division President of Molecular Biology for Applied Biosystems. “Scientists are quickly learning that these non-coding microRNA molecules play a critical regulatory role in cellular processes, such as differentiation and development, as well as in disease development, such as cancer. This is an exciting new field of study that we expect to grow as more microRNAs are discovered and functionally characterized.”

The assays are based on a simple two-step process using Applied Biosystems’ proprietary stem-loop technology for reverse transcription (RT) of the mature microRNA followed by quantitative real-time PCR. In preliminary studies, the assays were able to quantify microRNAs in samples as small as 25 picograms of total RNA and discriminate between highly homologous mature microRNAs, such as the hsa-let-7 family.

“The TaqMan MicroRNA Assays solve a key challenge by accurately determining expression profiles of microRNAs in developmental biology, stem cell research, cancer research, and other disease research,” added Caifu Chen, Ph.D., Director of Gene Expression Research at Applied Biosystems. “Unlike traditional laboratory methods, such as Northern Blots, these assays enable researchers to discriminate between highly homologous microRNAs and the precursor and mature form of microRNAs. This specificity, combined with the sensitivity and large dynamic range of gold-standard TaqMan chemistry and real-time PCR, offers a robust, easily scalable, and cost effective method to connect the expression of microRNAs with the regulation and fate of many different cell types.”

“We have been using the TaqMan MicroRNA Assays to study types of brain tumors that respond differently to treatment,” said Victor Ambros, Ph.D., Professor of Genetics, Dartmouth Medical School, who is also credited with the initial discovery of microRNA molecules. “Our studies show these assays to be the most reliable and quantitative way to screen for microRNA biomarkers that distinguish tumor types.”

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