A multi-center study performed by researchers from Tufts Medical Center, Illumina, and elsewhere suggests fetal aneuploidy screening based on cell-free DNA sequencing from pregnant women's blood finds fewer false-positive cases than standard serum screening methods in a general population of pregnant women. Based on findings from the study, Illumina's Richard Rava argued that the cell-free DNA screening strategy "really merits consideration as a primary [fetal aneuploidy] screen for the entire obstetrical population."
Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings has acquired Covance's high-complexity genomic laboratory, and the firms entered into a five-year services agreement under which they will continue to offer Covance's laboratory's services to clients. The lab offers gene expression studies, translational biomarker projects, and next-generation sequencing to support drug development work. Covance said it will provide other genomics services to its clients through its central laboratories.
The recently signed Agriculture Act of 2014 authorizes Congress to spend $700 million to fund researchers across the country who are using a range of biotechnology, genomics, and molecular biology approaches to develop better food crops and biofuels, study plant diseases, and improve livestock. The bill provides $200 million to create a new independent entity to be called the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, and $400 million will support research through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative.