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In Silico: Oct 1, 2001


“People in industry tend to be more aware that they can’t produce open source without getting permission from their company, but academics may not carefully consider intellectual property ownership. In many cases, the university does own the rights to their work.”

— Steve Brenner, assistant professor and leader of a computational genomics research group at UC Berkeley

Find “Legal Pitfalls of Free Bioinformatics Software May Loom Large” by searching: pitfalls


Link ’Em Up

The SNP Consortium announced that it had forged agreements with Motorola, Celera, Applied Biosystems, and Rutgers University that would enable it to build a SNP-based linkage map of the human genome by the end of the year. Participants in the deals said that they believed such a map would accelerate the development of new medical treatments and diagnostics.

Find “SNP Consortium Forges Alliances, Announces Plan to Complete SNP Linkage Map by Year’s End” by searching: linkage


Size Matters

Researchers at two California-based labs have contested the widely cited size of the human genome, suggesting that the actual number of genes may be greater than 30,000. A comparison of the two published versions of the genome showed that they have only about 16,000 genes in common.

Find “Novartis, Scripps Scientists Challenge Existing Estimate of Genes in Human Genome” by searching: Scripps


Bayer Market

Most analysts agree that the future of Bayer’s pharmaceutical group is murky. The drug business was becoming too small to compete in the US drug arena against Goliaths like Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb. But a merger that results in a change in ownership of the division might also impact the dozen or so deals Bayer has with bioinformatics and genomics companies.

Find “Will Bayer’s Woes Intensify its Current Bioinformatics and Genomics Deals?” by searching: Baycol


Where’s the Pharma?

“The effort shouldn’t be driven by the hardware vendors. It should be driven by the end-users. A big piece that I see lacking is that pharma isn’t visible at all.” — Lionel Binns, worldwide life and materials science group manager for high-performance technical computing at Compaq

Find “Following Initial Success, I3C Faces a New Round of Challenges as Participation Grows” by searching: I3C


Boost for Accelrys?

Pharmacopeia and Eos Biotechnology announced plans for a merger, which could boost Pharmacopeia’s slumping discovery revenues but also stands to benefit its Accelrys software unit. One option would be an IPO for Accelrys, but that decision will be made at least a year after its June 2001 launch.

Find “With Eos Merger, Pharmacopeia’s Drug Discovery Gain Also Helps Accelrys” by searching: Eos


Beyond Bias

How can researchers amplify minute volumes of RNA to produce enough aRNA for an array without getting an amplification bias? Until now, the only commonly available solution has been the Eberwine T7 protocol, which is tough to fine-tune. Arcturus has recently introduced a commercial alternative called RiboAmp. Will it really be the answer? The proof will lie in the product of the amplification.

Find “RNA Amplification Using T7 Method Gains Popularity as Commercial Version is Introduced” by searching: T7


The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.