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Short Reads/Markers: May 1, 2003

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Australia launched a new bioinformatics compute cluster in Canberra. The facility will be the country’s largest dedicated cluster for computational biology.

 

Applied Biosystems announced that a lawsuit brought by On-Line Technologies charging patent infringement and trade secret misappropriation against Applera had been dismissed by a US district court. But that doesn’t mean vacation for Applera’s law team: the company is actively involved in at least 10 other lawsuits.

 

UCLA received $1 million to start an environmental genomics program. Robert Schiestl will lead the program, which will study SNPs as well as other genetic factors that lead to cancer-causing reactions to exposure to certain environmental toxins. The funding comes from a private donation from Art Alper, the Kenneth Jonsson Family Foundation, and the university’s Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation.

 

We can’t tell if it’s good news or bad for the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center: Its website is listing for sale the 26-rack, 520-node compute cluster from the Laboratory of Computational Genomics, which placed near the top 100 in the last Top 500 Supercomputers list. Danforth’s chief technical architect Rick Tolan writes in the description, “The hope is to sell it all fast.”

 

China kicked off a research project using microbial genomics to improve its oil extraction procedures and boost its petrol industry.

 

At the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, the Danish Biotechnology Instrument Center, a three-year-old effort to support genomics and proteomics research, is running low on money because the university cannot cover operating costs. The instrument center was opened in 2000 with a three-year, $20 million government grant.

 

Nuvelo gleefully announced the success of a product it has in Phase I, indicating that the Hyseq-Variagenics merger is going at least relatively smoothly.

 

The Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota are in the earliest stages of a project to start two new genomics research centers in the state. The Minnesota Biotechnology and Genomic Centers would be housed at the university and clinic — but first, the partners must raise an estimated $80 million to fund them.

 

Meanwhile, Indiana University officially opened its Indianapolis-based Biotechnology Research and Training Center last month. The facility cost about $27 million and boasts more than 26,000 square feet of space for genomics and proteomics labs and 17,600 square feet for a training program to hone technicians’ skills.

 

Sequenom and Isis Pharmaceuticals teamed up for a research collaboration to discover potential SNPs, both common and rare, using antisense technology.

 

GenVault raised $10 million in a Series A financing round. The Carlsbad, Calif.-based company, which focuses on a high-throughput archiving and data management system for biological samples, is headed by CEO and president Mitch Eggers, last seen at Genometrix.

 

Protein Pathways launched a collaboration with Merck to predict pathways alongside the pharma’s drug discovery research.

 

Joe DeRisi’s UCSF lab was tapped by the Centers for Disease Control to use homemade microarrays to help identify the SARS virus using samples from infected patients. The lab’s work confirmed other research showing that SARS belongs to the coronavirus family.

 

A privately-held company called the DNA Copyright Institute is planning to hold a conference this August in San Francisco to provide a forum for discussing issues related to DNA theft and misuse. The company offers a copyright service for individuals interested in securing rights to DNA profiles of themselves, their competition-winning pets, or other organisms such as prize orchids.

 

The Scan

Another Resignation

According to the Wall Street Journal, a third advisory panel member has resigned following the US Food and Drug Administration's approval of an Alzheimer's disease drug.

Novavax Finds Its Vaccine Effective

Reuters reports Novavax's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.

Can't Be Used

The US Food and Drug Administration says millions of vaccine doses made at an embattled manufacturing facility cannot be used, the New York Times reports.

PLOS Papers on Frozen Shoulder GWAS, Epstein-Barr Effects on Immune Cell Epigenetics, More

In PLOS this week: genome-wide association study of frozen shoulder, epigenetic patterns of Epstein-Barr-infected B lymphocyte cells, and more.