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Accelerator Wars


When Celera Genomics acquired Paracel this summer for more than $250 million, some in the industry speculated that the bioinformatics-accelerator vendor would lose customers. Leading the chorus, not surprisingly, was Jim Lindelien, president of Paracel’s main rival Time Logic. Would pharmaceutical, genomics companies, and public sequencing labs suddenly see Paracel’s GeneMatcher machine as enemy equipment?

Paracel’s founder and general manager, Kwang-I Yu, says that was wishful thinking on Lindelien’s part. Since the close of the Celera buyout on June 9, Yu says he has sold GeneMatchers to AstraZeneca, MWG Biotech, Novartis, Takara, and Stanford University. Asked if he worries about losing the loyalty of customers such as the Sanger Centre, whose directors have made known their distaste for Celera’s style, Yu says not at all, noting that Ewan Birney is on Paracel’s scientific advisory board. (Birney coordinates the Sanger Centre-European Bioinformatics Institute joint human-genome annotation project, EnSEMBL).

To make matters simpler, Compugen, the other main maker of accelerator hardware, has lost interest in the space. Says Eli Mintz, president. “It’s not as if we’re leaving the business, but we don’t see it as having significant growth potential. It’s part of our history now.”

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.