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Functional Genomics at CU Cancer Center

Functional Genomics Shared Resource

Functional genomics is defined as the field of molecular biology that enables exploration of gene and protein function not only at the individual gene level but also on a genome-wide scale. After completion of the Human Genome Project and with the development of new technologies to interfere or alter gene function, such as RNA interference (RNAi) and gene editing (e.g. CRISPR), it became possible to perform genome-wide genetic screens in human cells that were previously only feasible in model organisms such as yeast, flies and worms. 

The mission of the Functional Genomics Shared Resource (FGSRS) is to catalyze discoveries through the use of functional genomics that will positively impact cancer patients in the catchment area of Colorado and beyond. The FGSR achieves this by 1) Facilitating access to tools to investigate gene function on a genome-wide scale, 2) Providing protocols and expertise for the use of these tools, and 3) Serving as a forum for scientific exchange and nurturing collaboration in the field of functional genomics.


The FGSR administers genome-wide libraries of lentiviral vectors driving expression of shRNAs to knockdown gene activity in human and mouse cells. Since start of operations since 2010, the FGSR became the repository of one of the largest shRNA collections in the world. Today, our human shRNA collection contains 176,283 clones targeting >22,000 unique genes, while our mouse collection contains 138,538 clones targeting >21,000 unique genes. In addition to the creation of pooled genome-wide shRNA libraries, the FGSR generated myriad pathway-focused and custom shRNA panels designed in collaboration with UCCC members. In 2012, the FGSR acquired a library of lentiviral vectors driving protein expression to be used in gain-of-function experiments. This library contains 15,744 Open Reading Frame (ORF) corresponding to 13,082 unique human genes. In 2014-15, the FGSR acquired pooled libraries for both loss-of-function and gain-of-function genetic screening employing CRISPR technology. The gene knockout CRISPR library contains an average of 6 guide RNAs (gRNAs) per gene to inactivate ~18,000 human genes and ~15,000 mouse genes. The transactivating CRISPR library contains similar numbers of gRNAs to induce expression of ~18,000 human promoters. In response to user demand, the FGSR developed new products such as cell lines carrying stably integrated shRNA libraries and custom gRNAs. 

Visit the Functional Genomics Facility website for details about services and prices.