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Markers Short Reads: Oct 1, 2005


In its path of devastation, Hurricane Katrina did not avoid the genomics community. Power outages caused by the event forced Reliagene, a New Orleans-based forensics company, to move customer samples to a temporary facility and establish an interim communications hub in Baton Rouge, according to the company. In other news, Cepheid announced that it would donate the use of four of its real-time PCR systems, reagents, and services to the Association of Public Health Laboratories to test water and check for infectious disease in communities affected by the hurricane.


Ricardo Macarron, director of assay development at GlaxoSmithKline, was chosen as president-elect of the Society for Biomolecular Screening in September. He will officially take his post at the society’s April 2007 conference.


Confusion ensued as Applied Biosystems and Bio-Rad’s MJ Research subsidiary announced different results of their legal battle last month. ABI announced that a US court had barred Bio-Rad from making or selling PCR thermal cyclers that infringe three patents owned by Applera, while Bio-Rad announced shortly afterward that it had instead reached a settlement with ABI by which it would still be able to sell its thermal cyclers. At press time, it was not clear whether the settlement or the injunction would stand.


NHGRI and NIMH issued a request for applications for the CEGS program, which supports multi-investigator, interdisciplinary teams working on innovative genomic approaches to various biological problems. The institutes plan to support 10 centers through the program, which will last through 2007.


George Bers, who has been seen at NuGen, Beckman Coulter, and Bio-Rad Laboratories, is now executive VP of commercial operations for Genospectra.


Seattle-based Teranode closed a Series B funding round worth $9.5 million. The money will help expand sales and consulting in North America and Europe, according to the informatics company.


The newly formed Consortium for Genomics Research on All Salmonids Project will study the genomics of this fish family, which includes salmon, trout, and smelt. Participants hail from Canada, Norway, the US, and the UK. The consortium, led by Willie Davidson from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia and Stig Omhold from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, has close to $300 million in funding from Genome Canada and other partners.


Matthew Hahn has been promoted to the position of chief science and technology officer for Accelrys. Hahn co-founded SciTegic, which Accelrys acquired in 2004.

Stratagene willfully infringed two nucleic acid testing patents held by Third Wave Technologies, according to a jury, which awarded Third Wave $5.3 million in damages. Stratagene planned to appeal the verdict.


Coinciding with an investment from Alloy Ventures, which he joined last year, Michael Hunkapiller has been appointed to the board of directors of Fluidigm.


Blue Heron Biotechnology won a Phase I SBIR grant through NIH institutes NIAID and NIGMS to develop new tools for cloning genes that are particularly tough to grow in bacteria. The technology will block functional protein expression, allowing recombinant plasmids with toxic genes to be cultured in bacteria.


John Murphy will resign from his post as executive VP and COO of PerkinElmer, the company said. Murphy’s departure stems from “personal reasons,” according to PerkinElmer.


Caliper Life Sciences plans to acquire NovaScreen Biosciences for $30 million in stock and cash. The Maryland-based company, which performs screening, profiling, and assay development services, is expected to contribute some $2 million to Caliper’s revenues.


Michael Liebman was promoted from CSO to executive director of the Windber Research Institute.


The Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences won a five-year grant worth $4.88 million from NSF to rewire the molecular machinery of S. cerevisiae yeast in an attempt to investigate cellular function and determine whether cells can be reengineered.


Applied Biosystems Japan founded the Science Center Japan, a center designed to foster collaborations between Japanese researchers and business partners in the life sciences field. ABI and ABI Japan will provide staff and resources for the center.


Correlgen Diagnostics has teamed up with Children’s Hospital Boston to study the clinical validity of genetic diagnostics and to uncover correlations between genetic variation and disease phenotypes. Correlgen will also provide sequence-based diagnostic assays for research purposes to the hospital’s investigators.


Intradigm’s collaboration with Chinese academic and biotech groups has resulted in clear evidence of prophylactic and therapeutic effects of siRNA agents in Rhesus monkey to treat SARS respiratory infection, according to the group’s research paper.


Definiens has entered into an agreement with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, which will implement the company’s image analysis tools to augment programs aimed at creating large-scale gene expression profiles.


The Scan

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.

Gut Microbiomes Allow Bears to Grow to Similar Sizes Despite Differing Diets

Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.

New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.