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Affymetrix, GRI, CodeLink, Asuragen, Roche, Invitrogen, Virogenomics

Affy Awarded $10.2M NHGRI Grant for ENCODE Follow-Up
Affymetrix said this week that a team from Affymetrix Laboratories has been awarded a $10.2 million scale-up grant over the next four years from the National Human Genome Research Institute as part of the expanded Encyclopedia of DNA Elements project.
The grant is part of $80 million announced for the project, which involves 16 multinational research centers. The goals of the ENCODE project are to identify the various functional regions found across the human genome and to develop new high-throughput technologies associated with this task.
Affy’s part of the project will be led by Thomas Gingeras, its vice president for biological science, and will focus on mapping and characterizing all of the human genome regions that are transcribed into RNA.

GRI to Promote CodeLink BioArrays in UK, France
UK-based molecular biology supplier GRI this week announced a distribution agreement with Applied Microarrays, under which it will market AMI’s CodeLink Gene Expression Bioarray System for human, mouse and rat whole genomes in the UK and France.
Applied Microarrays, based in Tempe, Ariz., acquired CodeLink for an undisclosed sum from GE Healthcare in May. The firm has since embarked on a strategy of broadening its line of arrays and focusing on custom projects and OEM deals (see BAN 7/3/2007).
“We ... believe that this is a great opportunity to bring the much utilized Codelink System back to our customers” Simon Nicklin, GRI’s managing director, said in statement.
Financial details were not discussed.

Asuragen Licenses Roche's qRT-PCR IP for Drug Trials Work
Asuragen Pharmacogenomic Services this week said it has licensed real-time quantitative PCR technology from Roche Molecular Systems that will enable it to perform clinical gene-expression profiling and DNA analysis.
Asuragen said the IP, together with its microRNA and mRNA profiling services, can be used to test predictive biomarker signatures and efficacy markers, and for patient stratification during clinical  trials.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Invitrogen, Natural Selection Partner on microRNA Sequences
Invitrogen said last week that it has licensed a set of computationally predicted human and mouse microRNA sequences from Natural Selection, a developer of pattern recognition tools.
Invitrogen said the microRNA sequences have been verified experimentally using deep sequencing, array profiling, and qRT-PCR methods. The firms will submit the sequences to the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute’s miRNA database and Invitrogen will integrate the sequences into its miRNA arrays.
Under the agreement, Invitrogen will release a larger set of computationally predicted microRNA sequences over the next few years.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Virogenomics to Use $2M NIST Grant to Develop Portable Multiplex Assay
Virogenomics said last week that it has won a $2 million grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop a handheld chip-based assay that would test for multiple biomarkers at once.
The grant was awarded under NIST's Advanced Technology Program. The company said it is developing the technology, which it calls the Sensor System on Panel, or SSOP, test with a number of collaborators, including Sharp Labs of America's Materials and Device Applications Lab, Portland State University, Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine, and the Portland Veterans Administration Medical Center.
The SSOP test will screen for autoimmune diseases, allergies, cancers, and infectious diseases, and is based on technology the company licensed from Oregon Health & Science University.
The company said that the SSOP “will include all the hardware and firmware required to do a complete analysis of the interaction of biological molecules and communicate the result.”
The device is expected to be “the size and shape of a typical USB flash drive, and could be read on a standard personal computer through a USB port,” the company said.

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.