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In Silico: Dec 1, 2002

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HAPpy Days


The NIH announced a $100 million, three-year international effort to build a complete haplotype map of the human genome. Backers say this will catapult research in complex genetic diseases and drug responses into a new and much more sophisticated era. But opponents call it make-work.


Find “NIH Launches $100 Million Hap-Map Project” by searching: hap-map


Cold Shoulder


Venture capitalists turned their backs on privately held genomics companies during the third quarter as private-equity markets sought solace among drug discoverers and developers.


Find “VCs Flee Genomics Shops in Q3; Bioinformatics Providers Hardest Hit” by searching: flee


Big Bioinformatics


What big prospect is primed to drive science in the next decade? If you’re Michael Hunkapiller, the answer is bioinformatics. He says there is a need among individual researchers to have access to information produced by “big science.”


Find “Is Bioinformatics — and Open-Source Software — in ABI’s Future?” by searching: open-source Weekly

New Kid on the Block


“The Chinese are clearly earnest about joining the international community and [want] to be a major player in the arena. The question really is, is the technology — the microarray platforms, the analysis, the design — at a point where it is robust and stable enough to do mass production?”

— Ralph Dean, NC State rice researcher, on China’s rice gene expression array


Find “Ralph Dean: Rice Researchers Are Ready to Roll Their Own Arrays” by searching: Ralph Weekly

Try, Try Again


Sandia National Lab has cemented a $90 million deal with Cray to build a massively parallel supercomputer for life sciences work. Dubbed “Red Storm,” the system could eventually scale up to 100 teraflops. The agreement resurrects a January 2001 project that eventually ran aground due to restructuring at partners Compaq and Celera.


Find “Sandia Storms into Biotech Armed with 40-Tflop ‘Red Storm’ Computer” by searching: Sandia Weekly

Marking Territory


A month after WashU researcher Donald Elbert invited scientists to download his new database search program for MS/MS data, the program is no longer available. Several researchers said that Thermo Finnigan, which holds an exclusive license for a patent covering the Sequest search program, had sent a letter to Washington University; the company appears to be staking out its intellectual property claims.


Find “Finnigan’s UW Patent: A Threat to MS/MS Database Search Algorithms?” by searching: Finnigan

The Scan

Missed Early Cases

A retrospective analysis of blood samples suggests early SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been missed in the US, the New York Times reports.

Limited Journal Editor Diversity

A survey finds low diversity among scientific and medical journal editors, according to The Scientist.

How Much of a Threat?

Science writes that need for a provision aimed at shoring up genomic data security within a new US bill is being questioned.

PNAS Papers on Historic Helicobacter Spread, Brain Development, C. difficile RNAs

In PNAS this week: Helicobacter genetic diversity gives insight into human migrations, gene expression patterns of brain development, and more.