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Short Reads: Jun 1, 2001 (rev. 1)


Celera’s Gene Myers and UC Santa Cruz’s David Haussler will host a workshop at Celera this month to talk about the future of sequencing. At the intimate-but-open event, colleagues will discuss resources, project coordination, sequencing strategies, and information goals, says Myers.

Micronics announced a collaboration with a research group at University of Washington to develop a microminiaturized lab-on-a-chip device for high-throughput screening and cell culture technology.


Proteomics sets in. GeneProt recently opened what it calls the “first large-scale proteomics discovery and production facility” in Geneva, Switzerland; it expects it to run 20 hours a day. Meanwhile, Structural Bioinformatics announced that the number of protein families in its database has doubled to more than 400.


With a little help from NASA, SGI introduced its 512-processor Origin 3000 series supercomputer, touted as the most powerful of its kind. NASA astrobiologists are using the computer for protein folding simulations.


After laying off about 20 people in March, DoubleTwist recently announced that business is good — in fact, more than 20 new customers subscribed to its online genomic data and analysis tools in Q1. Though we haven’t heard for sure, we’re assuming that makes about 20 highly disgruntled former employees.


Yamanouchi Pharmaceuticals, Japan’s third-largest drug maker, plans to at least double its genome investment to ¥50 billion in the next five years. “Unless we invest now,” says Toichi Takenaka, president, “there would be no future for Yamanouchi 10 years from now.”


The Britech Foundation awarded £450,000 in a grant to Mindset BioPharmaceuticals, the Israeli R&D partner of Proteome Sciences. The grant funds a three-year program in Alzheimer’s disease research that could in part find protein markers for the disease.

The Lilly Endowment recently granted $105 million to the Indiana Genomics Initiative, based out of the Indiana University School of Medicine. It’s the largest gift ever given by Lilly or received by IU.


The São Paulo Genome Initiative received funding to sequence the genes of Schistosoma mansoni, the worm responsible for a parasite that infects millions of people in Brazil, China, and India.

Celera was honored by the Technology Council of Maryland as the state’s high-tech firm of the year. So there is an advantage to being outside Silicon Valley.


Looks like acquisition season. Transgenomic bought specialty chemicals company Annovis for about $500,000 cash and 1.9 million shares. Also, Vertex Pharmaceuticals forked over $592 million in stock to acquire Aurora Biosciences.


Lynx Therapeutics and GenoMar have teamed up to identify genes in tropical fish tilapia that are associated with saltwater tolerance. Seriously, though: who wants to prolong the humans-with-gills stage?


Sarasota, Fla.-based DNAPrint Genomics is taking advantage of its locale. The company announced a plan to collect more than 1,000 blood samples from the disproportionately elderly population in Florida in the hopes that their higher medication use will provide more clues than the average population sample.


Canadian-based CRS Robotics says humbug to the market, expanding its facility floor space by 30 percent to keep up with life science demand and its expected increase in sales volume.

It’s been a long time since the peas. Mendel Biotechnology and Seminis received a matching grant from the Advanced Technology Program of the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop novel genomics tools for improved traits in agricultural crops — the companies plan to start with the tomato. Anyone smell a deal with Heinz?


The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

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.