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Markers/Short Reads: Nov 1, 2004


Researchers completed the genomic map of ocean-dwelling, single-celled diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana. The research team, consisting of more than 45 scientists from 26 institutions, says that information gleaned from the genome so far shows how the organism functions in its environment and uses nitrogen and fats, among other things.

Michael Bozik joins the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, where he will serve as entrepreneur-in-residence. Bozik was previously vice president of R&D and business operations in the worldwide consumer medicines and specialty pharmaceuticals division at Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Scientists at French institutes CNRS and Genoscope published their analysis of a polydnavirus genome sequence, a symbiotic virus that lives inside of parasitic wasps, indicating how the organism acts as a biological weapon. CNRS was also involved with another partner, the National Reference Center for Legionella, in sequencing and comparing two strains of Legionella pneumophila, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease.

DeCode Genetics won a five-year, $23.9 million contract from NIAID to uncover genetic factors linked to susceptibility to vaccine response — particularly smallpox — and infectious diseases, such as influenza and tuberculosis.

NIH announced the first recipients of its Director’s Pioneer Award, a program aimed at supporting particularly innovative scientists working in biomedical research. Each recipient will get $500,000 per year for five years. Winners include: Larry Abbott, George Daley, Homme Hellinga, Joseph McCune, Steven McKnight, Chad Mirkin, Rob Phillips, Stephen Quake, and Sunney Xie.

The Rheumatoid Arthritis Genome Project received $100,000 in funding from the Arthritis Foundation Nebraska Chapter. The genome project is designed to identify genetic factors linked to the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis.

TIGR announced that this year’s GSAC would be its last. Now in the 16th year of the meeting, organizers said they had “decided not to move forward” with it in the future. Instead, the Venter Institute will plan the event, expecting it to be at Hilton Head, SC, next year.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse awarded a four-year, $6 million contract to Gene Logic for preclinical safety and pharmacology studies focused on developing medications for the treatment of drug addiction.

German array company Febit, founded in 1998, filed for insolvency and finally went out of business after launching its first product close to a year ago.

MWG Biotech expects to get rid of its microarray and lab automation divisions. Exact plans were not clear as MWG said it would consider various options for divesting the units. Going forward, the company will focus on its genomic synthesis business.

The Scripps Research Institute snared a $14.5 million, five-year grant from NIGMS for a center focusing on structural biology research and innovative membrane protein technologies.

Agilent signs on to work with Icoria on a drug-reaction bioinformatics project funded by an $11.7 million grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Agilent replaces Lion Bioscience, which withdrew from the project.

NCI issued two grants worth a combined $10 million to Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology to develop nanoscale tools for linking molecular signatures to cancer and probes for imaging cancer.

Members of the $53 million Bovine Genome Sequencing Project deposited the first draft of the cow genome into public databases. Sequencing was led by Richard Gibbs at Baylor College of Medicine.

Sigma-Aldrich signed an exclusive, worldwide license to produce and sell Rubicon Genomics’ whole-genome amplification technology.

ParAllele BioScience joins forces with Novartis and will genotype heart disease patients to discover new SNPs in candidate genes for the pharmaceutical company.

Genaissance Pharmaceuticals has two genotyping agreements with the USDA. Genaissance will develop assays to determine the origin and parentage of beef and dairy cows, as well as assays to determine susceptibility of sheep to scrapie.

Maurice Wilkins, who helped solve the structure of DNA by providing X-ray images of DNA, died in early October at the age of 88. Along with James Watson and Francis Crick, Wilkins won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1962.

Cellular Genomics has named Udo Klein to fill a newly created position of senior vice president of drug development. Klein, 52, comes to Cellular Genomics from EntreMed, where he led the company’s small-molecule therapeutics R&D effort.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Chicago have won a three-year, $3.2 million grant from NIMH to study SNPs using Affymetrix microarrays in samples from 465 families affected by autism.

William Knight joins Bruker Biosciences as chief financial officer. Knight most recently served as CFO of Anika Therapeutics, and has held similar positions at Zycos, NMT Medical, and Zoll Medical.

The Scan

Ancient Greek Army Ancestry Highlights Mercenary Role in Historical Migrations

By profiling genomic patterns in 5th century samples from in and around Himera, researchers saw diverse ancestry in Greek army representatives in the region, as they report in PNAS.

Estonian Biobank Team Digs into Results Return Strategies, Experiences

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics outline a procedure developed for individual return of results for the population biobank, along with participant experiences conveyed in survey data.

Rare Recessive Disease Insights Found in Individual Genomes

Researchers predict in Genome Medicine cross-population deletions and autosomal recessive disease impacts by analyzing recurrent nonallelic homologous recombination-related deletions.

Genetic Tests Lead to Potential Prognostic Variants in Dutch Children With Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Researchers in Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine found that the presence of pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants was linked to increased risk of death and poorer outcomes in children with pediatric dilated cardiomyopathy.