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Affymetrix, Beijing Genomics Institute, Tm Bioscience, Zymark, Caliper, NHGRI

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Affymetrix Recognized for Customer Service

Omega Management Group of Chelmsford, Mass., this week announced that Affymetrix is one of 37 companies it is recognizing for customer service. The award is presented annually to companies based on customer ratings. Each of the recipients qualified by having measured their customer satisfaction levels in categories as technical support, field service, sales process, account management, and training.


Chinese Researchers Construct Chicken Genome Variation Map

The Beijing Genomics Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences said this week that a team of its researchers has helped construct a chicken genome variation map.

The map, said BGI, was derived from three different domestic chicken strains, including a broiler strain from the UK, a layer strain from Sweden, and a Silkie strain from China. Total one-fold genome coverage of sequences was produced for this map and was evenly divided among the three domestic strains, the institute said, and about two million single nucleotide polymorphisms were identified.

Final analysis of the project is underway, with results expected to be published this summer, said BGI. The data from the variation map have been made available to collaborating scientists and will soon be depos-ited in public databases.


Tm Bioscience to be Listed on Toronto Exchange

Tm Bioscience has received conditional approval to list its common shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange, the company said last week.

The Toronto-based company expects full approval by May 26. CEO and president Greg Hines said he hopes the listing will “greatly enhance our profile among a broader group of investors.”

Tm Bioscience also plans to consolidate its shares by converting each five common shares into one. It intends to obtain shareholder approval for this share consolidation at its annual meeting, scheduled for June 2.


Zymark Acquisition Helps Caliper Post Strong Q4 Revenue Growth

Caliper Life Sciences last week reported a substantial surge in fourth-quarter revenue amid decreased R&D spending and a ballooning net loss.

Total receipts for the period ended Dec. 31 soared to $21.4 million from $4.9 million one year ago, due largely to the acquisition of Zymark in July 2003, Caliper said.

Product revenues generated the brunt of the growth, increasing to $12.9 million in the current fourth quarter from $2.5 million year over year. Other increases included a $3.2 million deposit for services, and a jump of $2.2 million in license fees.

R&D spending in the fourth quarter, however, fell to $8.2 million from $9.9 million year over year. As a result, net loss in the quarter grew to $19.9 million, or $.70 per share, from $10.5 million, or $.43 per share, year over year, Caliper said.

Caliper said it had around $8.9 million in cash and equivalents, and $57.8 million in short-term investments as of Dec. 31.


NHGRI Opts for Opossum In Queue for Genome Sequencing

The US National Human Genome Research Institute last week announced that it has put the South American opossum atop the list of the next organisms in line to have their genomes sequenced by the five centers of the Large-Scale Sequencing Research Network.

Three times a year, NHGRI releases a priority list of organisms in line for sequencing. The gray short-tailed opossum (Monodelphis domestica) is the first marsupial to be selected for sequencing by the NIH-supported consortium, beating out lobbying efforts for the kangaroo and the platypus.

The opossum’s position in the evolutionary tree provides a major reason to obtain its DNA sequence, NHGRI said in a statement. Scientists believe that opossums and humans diverged from a common ancestor some 130 million years ago, providing a midpoint on the evolutionary timeline for comparative studies involving other mammals, such as the mouse, which diverged from human 75 million years ago; and non-mammalian relatives, such as birds, which diverged from human 300 to 350 million years ago, NHGRI said.

The other organisms next in line for sequencing include four fungi (Candida albicans, Candida tropicalis, Lodderomyces elongisporus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae); the red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum); three species of roundworm (Caenorhabditis remanei, Caenorhabditis japonica, and CB5161 — Caenorhabditis sp. 1); eight species of fruitfly (Drosophila simulans, Drosophila yakuba, Drosophila willistoni, Drosophila ananassae, Drosophila erecta, Drosophila grimshawi, Drosophila mojavensis and Drosophila virilis) and the flatworm (Schmidtea mediterranea).

The Scan

Shape of Them All

According to BBC News, researchers have developed a protein structure database that includes much of the human proteome.

For Flu and More

The Wall Street Journal reports that several vaccine developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

To Boost Women

China's Ministry of Science and Technology aims to boost the number of female researchers through a new policy, reports the South China Morning Post.

Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.