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Unzipped jeanne c. kwens Heard It Through the Membrane


Gossip, gossip, gossip! That’s always been my mantra. And, you know, this genomics community is rife with it. The mergers, the mixers, the conferences, the collaborations, the wheeling and dealing — to a rumor-mongering maven like moi, the genomics industry is a hot, hot, hotbed.

Turns out the GT editors aren’t entirely opposed to a little scuttlebutt either — surprise, surprise — so it didn’t take me long to persuade them to let me take a whirl with a monthly column dedicated to dishing the real inside dirt on the genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics industries.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You suspect that maybe ol’ Jeannie won’t really put it on the line; think she’ll be afraid to really go after the big guns? Just you wait. Even my cohorts at GT will not be immune to my hot little laptop. After all, there was the time when FILL IN THIS SPACE WITH A THICK BLACK and the amazing thing is that she doesn’t even realize we all know about it.

You see? Nothing will be held back.

To whet your appetite for what’s to come, let me fill you in on a few of the gems that my radar has traced in the weeks leading up to my double-helix-world debut.

Even though the wicked witch of Foster City was cast out months ago, morale has been in the dumps at ABI. Seems hiring has been frozen and bonuses were weak. Poor babes. Hope those paltry perks didn’t arrive the same week that GT reported on the CEO’s compensation. Sadder yet is the rumor started from inside that the worst is yet to come.

But that would be no surprise, since pink slips have been fluttering around the industry like fruitflies. Agilent is slashing salaries and laying off more people than most companies will ever hire. I hear that companies from Cambridge to Ann Arbor to Seattle (3rd Mill, Genomic Solutions, Blue Heron) have been cutting loose staff. And, gee, will the last one out the door at NCGR turn off the lights? Speaking of which, things sure are looking dark at Sun, aren’t they?

Maybe folks there were just trying to cheer themselves up by spreading rumors about their competition: a Sun VP predicted that IBM would “fold” that much hyped five-year super-duper computing project, if you know what I mean.

Who’s going to write to me with the real story? Gossip is the same as any genomics venture, you know: just like the passionate public/private partnership that emerged out of Tivoli Gardens at ISMB in August (wink, wink), I’m in desperate need of collaborators.

Don’t worry, I won’t ever reveal that it was you who spilled the beans on the latest sweet deal or IP-steal. So share those secrets. Blab about that buzz. Tell me the tales. Write to me at [email protected]

Or better yet, whisper right in my ear. Come and find me at the fabulous GT ball at GSAC later this month. Jeanne is the dancing queen, no mistake. And speaking of the GT ball, tell me, who do you think really should have won the GT all-stars awards? (No fair nominating me — you’ll make me blush.)

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

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.