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Short Reads: Sep 1, 2011


In the Myriad versus ACLU court case on the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 gene patents, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that isolated gene sequences are not products of nature, and are therefore patentable. The court also invalidated several of Myriad Genetics' method claims that describe "comparing" and "analyzing" gene sequences.

The National Human Genome Research Institute has named Paul Liu its deputy scientific director. Liu previously led the Oncogenesis and Development Section within NHGRI's Genetics and Molecular Biology Branch.

Toni Scarpa, director of the NIH's Center for Scientific Review, is leaving his post effective this month.

Oxford Nanopore appointed Peter Allen to be its non-executive director of the board. He succeeds Riccardo Pigliucci, who is retiring.

Steven Salzberg is now a professor of medicine and biostatistics at the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He previously directed the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the University of Maryland. Mihai Pop is acting director of the Maryland center.

Mark Adams is now the scientific director at the J. Craig Venter Institute. Previously, he was an associate professor of genetics at Case Western Reserve University. Prior to that, he worked at Celera and the Institute for Genomic Research.

Steven Spielberg, former dean of Dartmouth Medical School and director of the Center for Personalized Medicine and Therapeutic Innovation at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, is the new deputy commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco at the US Food and Drug Administration. The directorate is one of several new divisions created as part of the agency's reorganization.

Researchers at Kaiser Permanente and the University of California, San Francisco, completed the first phase of their project to genotype and examine the telomeres of 100,000 people with an average age of 65.

The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research will receive C$420 million over five years from the Ontarian government. The funds will support research on the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.

Illumina and the University of Oxford plan to collaborate on a clinical sequencing effort to analyze 500 genomes.

Elliott Margulies is the new director of sequencing applications at Illumina's Little Chesterford, UK, location. Previously, Margulies was an investigator at NHGRI.

John Halamka is resigning from his post as chief information officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School.

Luis Serrano is the new director of the Center for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona, Spain.

Joel Saltz is to chair Emory University School of Medicine's new biomedical informatics department. Saltz currently directs the Emory Center for Comprehensive Informatics.

Joseph LaManna is the new president of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. LaManna is a professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

23andMe has named Ashley Ledbetter Dombkowski as its new chief business officer. She was previously a member of the firm's board of directors.

The La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology launched a new center focused on using RNAi to study human diseases.

Bassem Bejjani has left Signature Genomics, the company he co-founded with Lisa Shaffer in 2003. Most recently, he served as the company's chief medical officer.

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European Bioinformatics Institute has won a contract to lead the development of UK PubMed Central.

A report from the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine says the US FDA should move away from its 510(k) medical device clearance program and toward a hybrid model that would combine pre- and post-market review activities.

Complete Genomics appointed Keith Raffel to be its senior vice president and chief commercial officer. Previously, Raffel was group vice president for Oracle and Siebel.

Mahendra Rao is to direct NIH's new Intramural Center for Regenerative Medicine. Previously, Rao was VP of regenerative medicine at Life Technologies.

Jack Marburger, the former director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under President George W. Bush, has died. Marburger also was president of Stony Brook University and director of Brookhaven National Laboratory.

The Scan

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.

Team Presents Cattle Genotype-Tissue Expression Atlas

Using RNA sequences representing thousands of cattle samples, researchers looked at relationships between cattle genotype and tissue expression in Nature Genetics.

Researchers Map Recombination in Khoe-San Population

With whole-genome sequences for dozens of individuals from the Nama population, researchers saw in Genome Biology fine-scale recombination patterns that clustered outside of other populations.

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.