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Short reads: Jun 2, 2010

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In two papers appearing in Science, Svante Pääbo and his team at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology report their work to sequence and analyze a draft Neandertal nuclear genome. They compared the Neandertal genome to those from chimpanzees and modern humans, with results suggesting that there was gene flow from Neandertals to humans.

Patrick Hurban and Louise Grant are joining Expression Analysis' scientific management team. Hurban will serve as vice president of research and development and Grant will be director of operations.

At the American Association for Cancer Research meeting, Myriad Genetics reported that PTEN expression may aid in determining a man's risk of recurrent prostate cancer following a prostatectomy.

Belgium's Ghent University signed an agreement with Roche to use the company's LightCycler 1536 instrument for a variety of cancer research projects. Among the projects planned are a qPCR-based, transcriptome-wide profiling of cancer; multigene expression signature profiling; DNA methylation analysis studies; and copy number variant screening.

Merck will close two of its New Jersey sites in 2010, and a third will be shuttered by 2012.

BioMérieux and Knome are jointly developing next-generation sequencing-based molecular diagnostics. As part of the agreement, BioMérieux will have the exclusive right to license Knome's genome analysis platform for use in the in vitro diagnostics market, while Knome will have access to BioMérieux's intellectual property in DNA extraction and sample preparation.

Life Technologies has acquired Stokes Bio, an Irish startup that develops microfluidic technologies for use in quantitative PCR. Stokes' platform enables high-throughput, PCR-based genetic analyses.

Cofactor Genomics is partnering with Novocraft Technologies to provide sequencing and analysis services in Southeast Asia. The sequencing aspect of the partnership will be through Cofactor, while Novocraft will support analysis of the data.

The 2010 first round winners of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges Explorations grants have been announced. These grants provide $100,000 for creative research projects that focus on diseases affecting the developing world. Among the winners are the University of California, Santa Barbara's Kevin Plaxco, Stanford University's Shan Wang, and the University of Miami's Vineet Gupta.

A Pacific BioSciences team reported a proof-of-principle study in Nature Methods demonstrating the ability to directly analyze several types of DNA methylation as part of the regular sequencing process on the company's next-gen platform.

OriGene Technologies and the Institute for Systems Biology will work together to create a proteotypic PeptideAtlas and a mass spectrometry standard database for 5,000 human proteins. To do this, they will combine ISB's systems biology mass spec expertise and OriGene's collection of full-length human proteins.

Michael Lutz is the founding CEO of LifeCodexx, a new diagnostic spin-off from GATC Biotech. Lutz was previously global general manager of Cogenics. Wera Hofmann, who led a diagnostic unit for BRCA testing at the Interdisciplinary Center for Hereditary Breast Cancer at the Max-Delbrück Center, joins LifeCodexx as medical director.

As part of a series D funding round, the gene-expression-based molecular diagnostics firm CardioDx received a

$5 million investment from GE Healthcare. The companies have also formed a partnership to co-develop diagnostic technologies for the care and management of patients with cardiovascular disease.

The Scan

Driving Malaria-Carrying Mosquitoes Down

Researchers from the UK and Italy have tested a gene drive for mosquitoes to limit the spread of malaria, NPR reports.

Office Space to Lab Space

The New York Times writes that some empty office spaces are transforming into lab spaces.

Prion Pause to Investigate

Science reports that a moratorium on prion research has been imposed at French public research institutions.

Genome Research Papers on Gut Microbe Antibiotic Response, Single-Cell RNA-Seq Clues to Metabolism, More

In Genome Research this week: gut microbial response to antibiotic treatment, approach to gauge metabolic features from single-cell RNA sequencing, and more.