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With Reorganization Ongoing, ABI Lists New Challenges for Its Business

SAN FRANCISCO — “We are re-thinking everything,” Tony White, chairman and CEO of ABI parent company Applera, said at a breakout session during the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference, held here last week.

He declined to provide details on the progress of ABI’s reorganization, which was announced in July 2004.

Instead, Cathy Burzik, president of ABI, offered a list of long-term business and research goals — what it calls “grand challenges” for the next 10 years.

These challenges include: making genotyping routine and inexpensive; locating regulatory genes by comparing sequences across species and evolutionary time; real-time imaging of molecular function at the cellular level; determining how to get a cell to dedifferentiate; finding new ways of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting massive datasets; developing a toolkit to characterize gene functions; predicting three-dimensional structure of a protein or other complex molecule by knowing its gene sequence; and developing an understanding of human cells and tissues well enough to predict reaction to novel drugs and pathogens.

— MOK

The Scan

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.

Team Presents Cattle Genotype-Tissue Expression Atlas

Using RNA sequences representing thousands of cattle samples, researchers looked at relationships between cattle genotype and tissue expression in Nature Genetics.

Researchers Map Recombination in Khoe-San Population

With whole-genome sequences for dozens of individuals from the Nama population, researchers saw in Genome Biology fine-scale recombination patterns that clustered outside of other populations.

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.