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Short Reads: Jul 1, 2012


In a policy paper in Circulation, the American Heart Association says that more federal oversight and resources are needed to ensure that genetics are properly integrated into clinical care. The group's recommendations include an expansion of the US Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, better availability of genetic counseling, wider reimbursement for families affected by genetic diseases, and a funding boost for clinical genetics research. Additionally, the AHA says that all genetic tests, including lab-developed tests, should undergo an independent review process to confirm their analytical and clinical validity.

Similarly, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has published new recommendations cautioning doctors and patients not to use genetic tests to guide healthcare decisions before their safety, efficacy, and usefulness have been proven. ACOG also says that patients receiving genetic testing should be referred to a medical professional who can interpret genetic test results alongside patients' medical and family histories.

Agilent Technologies and Swedish private equity firm EQT announced that Agilent will acquire cancer diagnostics firm Dako from EQT for $2.2 billion.

Roche is closing its NimbleGen microarray business, and will phase out array production and services by the end of the year. As part of the restructuring, most Roche NimbleGen employees will be laid off. The firm will continue to provide target enrichment products for use with next-generation sequencing.

The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History and the National Human Genome Research Institute are working together on an exhibit on human genomics that will open at the museum next year. The exhibit will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the completion of the Human Genome Project and the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA double helix by James Watson and Francis Crick. It is being funded by Life Technologies Foundation and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.

Rosetta Genomics has named Ron Kalfus its new chief financial officer. Kalfus previously served as CFO and treasurer at MabCure, a biotech startup focused on antibody-based cancer detection.

GlaxoSmithKline is acquiring the 80 percent of proteomics firm Cellzome that it doesn't already own for £61 million, or $99 million.

The Kenya Wildlife Service plans to create a forensic and genetic laboratory to support population genetics research and provide forensic support to reduce poaching. The service received a pledge of KES16 million, or $188,235, from the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics of the American Museum of Natural History.

Former Affymetrix President Sue Siegel will be CEO of GE's Healthymagination initiative. Siegel joins GE from Mohr Davidow Ventures. She takes over the CEO role from Mike Barber, who has been named VP and general manager of molecular imaging at GE Healthcare.

Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis and the Institute of Cancer Research in London plan to spend a $4 million grant from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation on the use of genomic information to identify which breast cancer patients are most likely to experience recurrence and to find new drug treatments aimed at those women.

Life Technologies and OpGen will be co-developing technologies and applications for public health surveillance. The companies plan to incorporate Life Tech's Ion Torrent sequencing system with OpGen's whole-genome mapping technology.

The National Human Genome Research Institute is launching a four-year funding program aimed at creating a resource to identify, analyze, assess, and disseminate the best available knowledge about the growing number of common genetic variants with possible relevance to clinical care.

David Rimoin, director of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Genetics Institute, has died. He was 75. Prior to founding the Medical Genetics Institute in 2004, Rimoin served as chair of the Cedars-Sinai Department of Pediatrics. He also served as chief of the Division of Medical Genetics at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and was director of the Genetics Clinic at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Bruce Seeley is joining NanoString Technologies to lead a new diagnostics business unit where he will oversee the marketing of Nano-String's breast cancer test to pathologists and oncologists. Seeley previously served as executive vice president of Seattle Genetics' commercial operations. has launched a new DNA testing service, called AncestryDNA that allows users to learn more about their backgrounds. The service is being offered on the Illumina HumanOmniExpress BeadChip platform.

The Scan

Study Examines Insights Gained by Adjunct Trio RNA Sequencing in Complex Pediatric Disease Cases

Researchers in AJHG explore the diagnostic utility of adding parent-child RNA-seq to genome sequencing in dozens of families with complex, undiagnosed genetic disease.

Clinical Genomic Lab Survey Looks at Workforce Needs

Investigators use a survey approach in Genetics in Medicine Open to assess technologist applications, retention, and workforce gaps at molecular genetics and clinical cytogenetics labs in the US.

Study Considers Gene Regulatory Features Available by Sequence-Based Modeling

Investigators in Genome Biology set sequence-based models against observational and perturbation assay data, finding distal enhancer models lag behind promoter predictions.

Genetic Testing Approach Explores Origins of Blastocyst Aneuploidy

Investigators in AJHG distinguish between aneuploidy events related to meiotic missegregation in haploid cells and those involving post-zygotic mitotic errors and mosaicism.