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Short Reads: Mar 1, 2010


The oral arguments in the case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against Myriad Genetics lasted two and a half hours. The US District Court judge in New York said that he will wait to make a decision on whether a case on the legality of the patenting of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes by Myriad should be decided, or if it should go to trial or be dismissed. Judge Robert Sweet said that the ramifications of a decision of summary judgment for either Myriad's co-plaintiff the University of Utah Research Foundation, which holds the BRCA patents, or the ACLU, which initiated the lawsuit, were just too serious and the issues too complicated for him to make a decision from the bench.

New York State regulators granted Amsterdam-based Agendia a clinical laboratory permit, enabling it to receive commercial samples for its MammaPrint breast cancer recurrence assay from state residents.

The first stage of the 1001 Genomes Project has been completed. The Max Planck Institute of Developmental Biology released the complete genomes of 80 strains of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana that were sequenced with paired-end Illumina short reads.

An advisory panel for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services decided that pharmacogenomic tests to guide treatment with Herceptin for breast cancer, Gleevec in chronic myelogenous leukemia, and Vectibix and Erbitux for colorectal cancer improve patient outcomes.

The Broad Institute received funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to conduct whole-genome sequencing of the virus that causes Lassa fever. Researchers in Pardis Sabeti's lab will use about $1.5 million in funding over five years to conduct whole-genome sequencing of Lassa genomes.

Transposagen Biopharmaceuticals has received more than $412,000 in Small Business Innovation Research funding — $312,628 from the National Cancer Institute, and $100,000 in matching funds from the state of Kentucky. Transposagen plans to create a rat model of human colorectal cancer.

Researchers from Yeungnam University, Chungbuk National University, and Insilicogen announced that they have completed, assembled, and analyzed the genome of the native Korean bovine, called Hanwoo.

The US Health and Human Services Secretary's Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health, and Society voted to recommend limiting the ability of holders of gene patents to keep others from using those genes for diagnostic and research purposes.

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases plans to fund up to four new Centers of Research Translation with $6 million in 2011 and another $6 million in 2012.

Several European Union countries will be partnering with India as part of a networking pilot program to -enable the sharing of resources and talent and to support new diagnostic and biomarker studies. This New Indigo project has €2.5 million in funding from the EU's Seventh Framework Program.

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Office of Public Health Genomics will grant $1.5 million for the creation of a Genomics Knowledge Synthesis Center that will plan and develop systematic evidence reviews on genomics applications, among other efforts.

The US Department of Energy DOE has awarded a total of 1.6 billion processor hours to 69 projects in a wide range of fields, including biology.

The Animal Genome, Genetics, and Breeding Program at the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative received nearly $11 million in funding from the US Department of Agriculture. These funds are to support genomics and genetics studies focused on livestock animal development and breeding.

Beckman Coulter Genomics is teaming up with Genpathway to offer customers whole-genome chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing services. The firms will offer ChIP experimental design and consultation, antibody qualification, performance of ChIP assays with post-ChIP QC, next-generation sequencing, and comprehensive data analysis.

Medco Health Solutions has acquired DNA Direct. Medco's decision to buy the company signals its intent to be a "one-stop shop" for payors and employers interested in using genetically guided medicine to make healthcare more efficient and to lower costs.

Galapagos, a Belgian drug discovery and development firm, has acquired the service operations of Argenta Discovery for €16.5 million. Argenta's respiratory drug development business, called Pulmagen Therapeutics, will operate as a new, privately held firm.

The Scan

And For Adolescents

The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for children between the ages of 12 and 15 years old.

Also of Concern to WHO

The Wall Street Journal reports that the World Health Organization has classified the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.617 as a "variant of concern."

Test for Them All

The New York Times reports on the development of combined tests for SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses like influenza.

PNAS Papers on Oral Microbiome Evolution, Snake Toxins, Transcription Factor Binding

In PNAS this week: evolution of oral microbiomes among hominids, comparative genomic analysis of snake toxins, and more.