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A Year Ago: Mar 1, 2004


A year ago in Genome Technology, Raju Kucherlapati of the Harvard Partners genome center graced our cover for an article about the phasing out of smaller sequencing centers in favor of the Big Three — Washington University, Baylor, and Whitehead (now the Broad Institute). In the year since, more of these centers have shifted their focus away from pure sequencing and are working on finishing, comparative genomics, and evolutionary genomics, among other endeavors. The biggies, meanwhile, have continued cranking away on their genome projects. Just a few of the organisms underway at those places in the last year: chicken, chimp, honey bee, dog, and cow.

In the meantime, Eric Lander received a pledge of $100 million over the next 10 years from philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad to start and direct the Broad Institute, an interdisciplinary effort among MIT, Harvard, and the Whitehead Institute. And Graham Scott, who appeared in the March ’03 issue representing Baylor, has since moved to Sigma-Aldrich, as you’ll read on p. 11 of this issue.

Another article last year looked at the growing struggle to get visitor visas for foreign scientists trying to attend conferences in the US. The problem hasn’t been resolved as visas still take longer to process. At this year’s Plant and Animal Genome conference in San Diego, organizers estimated that 150 people had missed the show because of troubles trying to attain a visa.

A news item last year noted the continued growth of IBM’s life sciences unit. That proved to be critical to the company, which has in the past year launched an information-based medicine unit on the same model it used to start the life sciences group. You’ll find BioInform editor Bernadette Toner’s explanation of that on p. 42.


The Scan

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.

Gut Microbiomes Allow Bears to Grow to Similar Sizes Despite Differing Diets

Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.

New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.