The Scripps Research Institute, the University of California, San Diego and Illumina Inc. have been awarded a total of $8.7 million in grants by the National Institutes of Health for DNA sequencing research.

The Scripps Research Institute will receive $4.4 million over four years. Principal Investigator M. Reza Ghadiri and his team of investigators plan to produce protein nanopore arrays in order to sequence tens of thousands of DNA molecules in parallel, with the eventual goal of sequencing a human genome in as little as 10 minutes. They will explore three approaches.

University of California, San Diego will receive $3.7 million over four years. Principal Investigators Kun Zhang and Xiaohua Huang plan to develop a system using microfluidics that will enable accurate genome sequencing of a single mammalian cell. Investigators will separate and sequence single chromosomal DNA strands, and then with the help of novel technology to make many copies of genomes, they will create DNA sequence libraries for DNA sequencing of single cells.

Illumina Inc. (NASDAQ: ILMN) will be getting $592,000 over two years. Principal Investigator Boyan Boyanov and his team aim to create a hybrid protein solid-state nanopore array system that can enable scientists to sequence DNA on a large scale. Their goal is to improve the strength of nanopore platforms by combining computer chip fabrication methods with biological nanopores to enable high-throughput sequencing. The latter refers to a very high rate of sequencing DNA by sequencing large numbers of DNA samples in parallel.

The grants, which will be distributed over two to four years as funds become available, are the last to be awarded by the Advanced DNA Sequencing Technology program of the National Human Genome Research Institute, a part of the National Institutes of Health.