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Agbio program launches with microarray that include genetic probes from two species


Palto Alto, CA May 15, 2003 Agilent Technologies has unveiled a new agbiotech business program that incorporates elements of the gene expression, agricultural and food safety industries.

The company says it plans to build on its existing advanced microarray and microfluidics (bioanalyzer) technology platforms to develop a full range of agbio-specific products and applications to address an estimated total available market of more than US$500 million.

The first product to be introduced as part of the new program is the Agilent Magnaporthe grisea Oligo microarray kit (G4137A), what it says is the industry’s first commercial microarray to include genetic probes from two genomes on one microarray, specifically rice blast (Magnaporthe grisea) and rice. Rice blast, a filamentous fungus, is responsible for rice blast disease, which destroys enough rice to feed 60 million people each year. The design of this new microarray enables agricultural and biotech researchers to examine the molecular basis of plant diseases and develop environmentally sounds strategies to improve food quality. The new microarray was developed in collaboration with researchers at North Carolina State University.

"Rice blast and rice together constitute a model system for studying fungal infection in plants," says Ralph Dean, professor of plant pathology and director of the fungal genomics laboratory at NCSU. "By having two genomes on one microarray, we will be able to study host-pathogen interactions between plants and fungi."