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Short reads: Jul 1, 2001 (rev. 1)


Merck’s $620 million Rosetta acquisition in May was great fodder for the industry rumor mill. It seems Merck’s CEO Raymond Gilmartin joined Microsoft’s board just two weeks before the acquisition. Meanwhile, Microsoft has been making noise about pursuing pharma industry business. And a member of Rosetta’s board is from Vulcan Ventures, the VC outfit run by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen. What of this tangled web, you ask? To a conspiracy theorist it’s obvious: Merck bought Rosetta to secure a Seattle-based bioinformatics team for its future work with Microsoft. Time will tell.

Think politics gets ugly? Try science. Scientists at Stanford University studied more than 1,000 proteins from Celera’s Drosophila genome and said their findings indicate many mistakes in the sequence. Led by bioinformaticist Samuel Karlin, this group suggested these errors call into question Celera’s human genome sequence as well. Meanwhile, researchers at TIGR published a paper saying that the human genome project’s hypothesis about lateral gene transfer from bacteria appears unfounded. All we need is a filibuster and pork barrel to complete the scene.

Acquisition alert:

Sequenom bought former partner and gene research firm Gemini Genomics for 12.9 million shares.

Harvard Bioscience acquired Union Biometrica, which has an automated system to study gene function, for an approximate value of $17.5 million.

Can’t get enough partnerships? Chalk one up for these companies: Gyros and Affibody formed an alliance to develop and commercialize an automated microfluidics-based protein microarray platform.

PerkinElmer and MDS Sciex joined forces to work on TOF-based mass spec technology. Meanwhile, MDS Sciex carries on a mass spec co-marketing deal with Applied Biosystems.

Incyte and Iconix are collaborating on a chemogenomic data system, including data management tools and mining software.

Agilent and MDS Proteomics will work together on faster proteomics technologies.

Hybrigenics and the Institut Curie opened a joint lab for functional proteomics research directed at cancer therapeutics. IBM and MDS Proteomics teamed up to launch Blueprint Worldwide, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to deliver a public protein-interaction database building on existing public resources.

Amersham will package pattern-finding software from Proteometrics in its new Ettan mass spec instrument, to be unveiled in September.


The Scan

NFTs for Genome Sharing

Nature News writes that non-fungible tokens could be a way for people to profit from sharing genomic data.

Wastewater Warning System

Time magazine writes that cities and college campuses are monitoring sewage for SARS-CoV-2, an approach officials hope lasts beyond COVID-19.

Networks to Boost Surveillance

Scientific American writes that new organizations and networks aim to improve the ability of developing countries to conduct SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance.

Genome Biology Papers on Gastric Cancer Epimutations, BUTTERFLY, GUNC Tool

In Genome Biology this week: recurrent epigenetic mutations in gastric cancer, correction tool for unique molecular identifier-based assays, and more.