WASHINGTON -- Collaborative Research Inc. has been awardeda three-year, $945,000 grant by the Department of Energy toimprove a technology for cloning, sequencing and manipulatinglarge fragments of DNA.

Company scientists will produce cells with yeast artificialchromosomes. YACs are long, contiguous pieces of DNA that cancarry large inserts of DNA, which can then be sequenced andordered to construct contiguous fragments of the humanchromosomes.

The grant will fund the creation of a library of YACs, with agoal of avoiding chimeric versions in which two pieces of DNAfrom different locations on the chromosomes join together.When this happens, "the insert in the YAC does not trulyrepresent the structure of the DNA in the genome," said acompany spokesman.

In the long term, YACs will be the starting material used toachieve the Human Genome Project's goal of sequencing all ofthe DNA on the human chromosome, said Orrie Friedman,chairman and chief executive. Collaborative Research is theleading commercial contractor on the project, having receivedfederal contracts for almost $10 million since 1991, he said.

In the short term, the Waltham, Mass., company plans to use itstechnology to develop diagnostic tests and new therapies.

The stock (NASDAQ:CRIC) closed at $2.88, up 6 cents, onTuesday. -- Kris Herbst

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