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Short Reads: Oct 1, 2003 (rev. 1)


Call it my big, fat, greasy study. The National Institute of General Medical Sciences awards the Lipid MAPS consortium a $35 million, five-year grant to study the full complement of lipids in the cell.


Agencourt Bioscience, having already swept up the sequencing service arm of competitor Genome Therapeutics, gets in bed with another. Run by the three brothers McKernan in Beverly, Mass., Agencourt announced in August a deal with Chicago’s Integrated Genomics to co-market a suite of library construction, sequencing, and bioinformatics services.


How many international teams of researchers does it take to sequence a batch of single-celled organisms? Three. Their work describing the sequences of three strains of Prochlorococcus and one closely related strain of Synechococcus — 2,000-gene organisms that convert solar energy to living biomass — is expected to contribute to global climate change studies. It appears in the August 13 issues of Nature and PNAS.


R. Graham Cooks and colleagues at Purdue are developing a protein biochip machine that uses a mass spec to take hundreds of proteins from a cell and deposit them onto specific locations on a chip without damaging them.

South African bioinformatics firm Electric Genetics goes bi-continental, with a new corporate HQ in Reston, Va. R&D remains in Cape Town.


The auctioneer is calling it the “largest sales event the biotech-nology industry has ever seen.” Any assets of the bankrupt Deltagen, including sequencing instruments, microarray scanners, and IT equipment, that weren’t snatched up at a pre-auction sale will be sold off October 15 and 16 at the company’s Redwood, Calif., facility.


Use of UCSC’s Genome Browser indicates that a lot of genomicists need a weekend off. The site is getting 100,000 to 200,000 hits per weekday, and 25,000 to 90,000 on weekends. Hits in the past year were tracked to about 29,000 different IP addresses.


Fastest supercomputer in the West, now available. PNNL is making its 11.8 teraflop HP Integrity system — the fastest unclassified machine in the US — available for work including systems biology and bioinformatics jobs by scientists worldwide. Details on the competitive proposal process available at


Is genomics a good investment again? The September edition of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance ranked ProFund Biotech UltraSector the number one healthcare mutual fund and Genomics Fund second through July.


The Scan

Follow-Up Data Requests to Biobank Participants Ineffective, Study Finds

An effort to recontact biobank enrollees for additional information reports low participation in a new BMJ Open study.

Study Finds Widespread Transmission of Resistant Bacteria in Vietnam Hospitals

A sequencing study in The Lancet Microbe finds widespread transmission of drug-resistant Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Acinetobacter baumannii in two Vietnam ICUs.

Novel Brain Cell Organoids Show Promise for Autism Research

University of Utah researchers report in Nature Communications on their development of brain cell organoids to study SHANK3-related autism.

Study Finds Few FDA Post-Market Regulatory Actions Backed by Research, Public Assessments

A Yale University-led team examines in The BMJ safety signals from the US FDA Adverse Event Reporting System and whether they led to regulatory action.