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Big Bucks for Small Business


Sure, the NIH is the leading player in funding academic and other nonprofit-based research. But with its Small Business Innovation Research program dedicating more than $500 million annually, the agency is no slouch in funding the private sector as well. For this chart, Genome Technology combed through the most recent SBIR (and related STTR, or Small Business Technology Transfer) awards to find out where NIH is targeting its dollars. We looked for the largest grants given to proposals that were obviously related to genomics, proteomics, or other components of systems biology. This list is not meant to be comprehensive, but rather to provide a glimpse of the cutting-edge, private-sector research NIH is supporting in this area.


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The Scan

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.

Study Tracks Outcomes in Children Born to Zika Virus-Infected Mothers

By following pregnancy outcomes for women with RT-PCR-confirmed Zika virus infections, researchers saw in Lancet Regional Health congenital abnormalities in roughly one-third of live-born children.

Team Presents Benchmark Study of RNA Classification Tools

With more than 135 transcriptomic datasets, researchers tested two dozen coding and non-coding RNA classification tools, establishing a set of potentially misclassified transcripts, as they report in Nucleic Acids Research.

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.