Myriad builds on genealogical database

Myriad Genetics Inc., one of a growing number of companies being formed to take advantage of advances in gene discovery, is differentiating itself through its access to a genealogical database created by its collaborators at the University of Utah.

The database is based on more than 1.5 million descendants of Utah pioneers from about 200,000 families. From the database, university researchers have identified the most informative cancer and heart disease families and collected more than 25,000 DNA samples. That genetic information can be combined with gene mapping and DNA sequencing techniques to localize genes and identify their functions, according to the company.