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Back to Marco Island: Sun, Surf, Serious Lectures


Considering the reaction to February’s Advances in Genome Biology and Technology conference, Rick Wilson, co-director of Washington University’s Genome Sequence Center, pronounces the GSAC-alternative event a success.

“The only complaint I heard was that people wanted some afternoons off so they could hang on the beach,” he says. The meeting was sponsored by companies including MJ Research, Sequenom, Applied Biosystems, and Amersham Pharmacia Biotech.

Roughly 500 attendees got a sneak preview of Eric Green’s presentation for the genome symposium at the NIH — shots of sequencing teams and a visual tale of the sequence race flashed up as the Star Wars theme song played.

Organizers asked Green to adapt the show for the conference “instead of boring remarks from the introductory chair — notably me,” Wilson jokes. It was a hit: “Everybody wanted a copy.”

Though science was strongly emphasized throughout the conference, the private sector was well represented. “You have a lot [of] good quality science being done in the industrial sector,” Wilson says. “You wouldn’t want to exclude industry speakers.” (You would, however, ask that speakers come from the science side rather than the PR side, he says.)

The conference ended with a flourish, as the last night was slated for a disco fever party. Even the most reserved sequencers found themselves becoming dancing queens.

— Meredith Salisbury


The Scan

Dropped Charges

The US Justice Department has dropped visa fraud charges against five Chinese researchers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

More Kids

The Associated Press says Moderna is expanding its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine study to included additional children and may include even younger children.

PNAS Papers on Rat Clues to Human Migration, Thyroid Cancer, PolyG-DS

In PNAS this week: ancient rat genome analysis gives hints to human migrations, WDR77 gene mutations in thyroid cancer, and more.

Purnell Choppin Dies

Purnell Choppin, a virologist who led the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has died at 91, according to the Washington Post.