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$1M Challenge Aims to Monitor DNA/RNA Sequencing of a Cell

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Life Technologies in Carlsbad, California unveiled a competition to enhance its current genomic sequencing capabilities to monitor the genome and transcriptome — corresponding ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules — derived from a single human cancer cell.  The company is offering a $1 million prize through a challenge on InnoCentive, a company that runs these crowd-sourcing competitions.

Life Technologies also announced a separate challenge on InnoCentive for a method to double the accuracy of the data output from its current sequencing technology.

The DNA/RNA sequencing challenge requires a written proposal and experimental proof-of-concept data. However, entrants — called Solvers in InnoCentive parlance — need to follow  several steps in the submission process:

– Submit via InnoCentive a detailed experimental plan, validation schema, and completed legal documentation

– Obtain approval of the plan and schema from a panel of judges

– Execute the experimental plan and obtain results that meet or exceed the requirements of the challenge

– Validate the results with the approved validation schema

– Submit the validation data via InnoCentive

The deadline for entries in the DNA/RNA sequencing challenge is 15 April 2012.

Judges will review the submission package and determine whether all the requirements in the instructions for this challenge were met. Solvers will receive either a completion letter establishing the date and time of the successful submission, or request additional data or validation to qualify for a completion letter.

The solver with the earliest dated completion letter from the judges will be considered the winner of the challenge. The winner will assign exclusive ownership of all intellectual property to Life Technologies as specified in the challenge agreement and as a condition of collecting the full award.

Life Technologies also unveiled the third in its series of challenges to improve the level of its genomics technology. This competition, offered through InnoCentive, awards a $1 million prize for a method that doubles the accuracy of data generated by the company’s Ion Torrent DNA sequencing chips.

The challenge requires entrants to submit a written proposal as well as experimental proof-of-concept data. Life Technologies will provide access to large data sets stored at Amazon Web Services. Solvers for this challenge are required to have an account with Amazon Web Services to access the test data.

The deadline for entries in the data accuracy challenge is 15 June 2011. InnoCentive will hold open this challenge for four consecutive quarters or until a solver surpasses the target threshold of doubling the chips’ accuracy.

Read more: Innovation Challenge Yields Type-1 Diabetes Ideas

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