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Short Reads: Feb 1, 2012


The US National Institutes of Health established the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, with a budget of $575 million. NCATS includes a number of programs like Clinical and Translational Science Awards, Cures Acceleration Network, and Therapeutics for Rare and Neglected Diseases to help move research beyond the bench. With NCATS' formation, the National Center for Research Resources was abolished.

Life Technologies plans to offer its new benchtop Ion Proton Sequencer in mid-2012. The machine will be able to sequence a human genome in one day for $1,000, the company says.

Illumina is planning a mid-year launch for its new HiSeq 2500. The company says the instrument will have all the capabilities of a HiSeq 2000, and will be able to do a quicker, lower-throughput run that would enable users to sequence a human genome in one day.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation have petitioned the US Supreme Court to hear their case against Myriad -Genetics, which seeks to invalidate the company's patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals declined to rehear the case.

A Journal of the American Medical Association study questions the need for genotype testing for clopidogrel. University College London researchers reviewed previous genotyping studies of clopidogrel and concluded that although there was an "association between the CYP2C19 genotype and clopidogrel responsiveness, overall there was no significant association of genotype with cardiovascular events." However, some researchers, including Scripps Health's Eric Topol, take issue with the study's approach.

The National Academy of Sciences of Belarus established a new institute, the National Center of Genome Biotechnology, to provide genetic testing and research services.

Illumina is suing Life Technologies for allegedly infringing on one of its patents. The suit claims that Ion Torrent's Personal Genome Machine platform and OneTouch System platform, which incorporate dense arrays of beads without optical signatures, infringe on Illumina's high-density bead array patent.

Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry's Matthias Mann and Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine's Nikolaus Rajewsky are two of the 11 winners of the 2012 Leibniz Prize.

National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan has appointed Takashi Gojobori to lead its genomics research and teaching program. Gojobori is currently vice director of Japan's National Institute of Genetics and a professor at the Center for Information Biology and DNA Data Bank of Japan.

Researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have won a €1.5 million Starting Grant from the European -Research Council to search for genetic variants involved in human diseases.

Harvey Millar received the Australian Academy of -Science's 2012 Fenner Medal in recognition of his work in plant proteomics. Millar is a chief investigator at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology at the University of Western Australia and the director of the UWA Center for Comparative Analysis of Biomolecular Networks.

Lu Wang is the program director of the National Human Genome Research Institute's new Mendelian Disorders -Genome Centers program. Brad Ozenberger, NHGRI's program director for Genomic Medicine, and Jean McEwen, program director for the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications program, will oversee the institute's new Clinical Sequencing Exploratory -Research Projects initiative.

Illumina appointed Marc Stapley to be senior vice president and chief financial officer. Christian Henry, who had been serving as both the company's CFO and general manager of Illumina's genetic analysis business, will continue to head the genetic analysis business.

Pacific Biosciences has announced that Michael Hunkapiller is replacing Hugh Martin as president and CEO.

Jackson Laboratory and the State of Connecticut have -finalized the details of their $1.1 billion, 20-year plan to build a genomics research center. Under the final agreement, the state will provide $290.7 million for the new facility and Jackson will raise $860 million through federal research grants, philanthropy, and service income. The state's commitment includes $99 million in grants for research and related activities.

Consumer genetics testing firm 23andMe will limit subscribers' access to their genetic data if they choose to end their subscriptions, a change that was made in part because of confidentiality concerns. When 23andMe moved to a subscription model in 2010, subscribers were told that they would continue to have access to all of their genetic data even if they chose to cancel their subscription after the contract expired.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.