Project GENESYS - Energy Efficient DNA Sequence Searches Using a Revolutionary Optical Processor

Lead Participant: Optalysys Ltd


In the rapidly growing field of genomics, pattern matching against a sequence of nucleotides or amino acids is critical to the assembly, annotation and comparison of complex genomes. This is essential to tackle some of the leading diseases in humans (e.g. cancer) as well as identify and prevent the pathogens that can decimate stable crops that much of the world's population depend on for food-security. As gene-sequencing technologies continue to evolve, the public sequencing databases that contain this knowledge are doubling in size every 18 months or less. Identifying and understanding newly sequenced genes through extensive searches of these DNA databases is becoming prohibitively expensive for genomic researchers; it requires access to large high-performance computing (HPC) resources that consume vast amounts of energy for power and cooling. This project's goal is to design and implement a revolutionary optical processing device that can perform large-scale gene database searches powered by just a standard mains supply. Its success will dramatically reduce the capital and energy costs required to undertake these fundamental DNA-searching calculations.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Optalysys Ltd £558,418 £ 335,051


The Genome Analysis Centre, NORWICH £163,352 £ 163,352


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