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Agilent Technologies, TM Bioscience, Lark Technologies, University of Leicester

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Agilent Rolls Out 60-mer Rice Chip

Agilent Technologies last week announced the commercial launch of a 60-mer oligonucleotide micro-array containing 21,000 genes from a strain of rice cultivated mainly in Japan.

The microarray, developed in collaboration with Japan’s National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, contains genomic content from the Orzya sativa L. ssp japonica strain of rice. In a statement, Agilent said that the gene probes are thought to represent approximately 50 percent of the total rice genome, which is estimated at 40,000 to 50,000 genes.

The microarray is based on actual, biologically-expressed sequences (cDNA), selected by researchers led by Shoshi Kikuchi, head of NIAS’s Laboratory of Gene Expression and the leader of Japan’s Rice Microarray Project. The research institute maintains a cDNA library of rice genes and the microarray is based on sequences and annotations from this library of cDNA sequences. NIAS will provide cDNA clones to researchers on request.

“Japonica rice has the highest quality of gene annotation available today, and this microarray should also prove valuable to the study of Indica rice and other cereals,” Scott Harrison, Agilent’s product manager for the microarray, said in an e-mail

There are two most significant strains of rice economically speaking — Japonica, which is grown primarily in Japan, and Indica, grown primarily in China and India. There are international efforts to sequence both genomes. The first drafts of these genomes have been published but they are not yet well annotated, and the potential genes have not been validated. In conjunction with its genomic sequencing efforts, the NIAS and its collaborators have simultaneously completed a cDNA project, developing an extensive rice cDNA database. Because they are derived from cDNAs, these sequences are known to be genes and are very well annotated, Harrison said.


TM Bioscience Reports First Revenues From Sales of its Genetic Test Products

TM Bioscience earned revenues of $304,000 from sales of its first commercial genetic test products, the company reported last week.

The Toronto-based firm reported total revenues of $330,000 for the third quarter ending Sept. 30. It did not report revenues for the year-ago quarter. The firm had a net loss of $2 million for the period, compared to $1.4 million for the same quarter in 2002.

Research and development costs were $700,000 for the period, compared to $643,000 for the third quarter of 2002. Cash and cash equivalents on hand at the end of the period come to $2.2 million, compared to $1.1 million for the year-ago period.


Lark Technologies Reports $243K Net Q3 Revenues

Houston-based Lark Technologies, a genomic serv-ices provider, last week reported a 50 percent increase in its revenues for the third quarter ending Sept. 30, compared to its total revenues for the year-ago quarter.

The company had net revenues of $243,000 for the quarter, compared to $154,000 for the year ago period. The company had total revenues of $2.4 million for the period, compared to $1.6 million for the same quarter in 2002.

Company officials attributed the increase in revenue to increases in sales in services, with the largest growth occurring in its sequencing services.


European Space Technology Aids Microarray Analysis

A team of biologists and astronomers at the University of Leicester (UK) have patented a method of an-alyzing DNA microarrays based on an instrument developed at the European Space Agency, the university said in a statement last week.

The team consisting of biologists Pat Heslop-Harrison, professor of molecular cytogenetics and cell biology, and Trude Schwarzacher, lecturer in biology, joined astronomers George Fraser, director of the university’s space research center, and Andrew Holland, a professor, to adapt the superconducting tunnel junction camera (S-cam) developed by the ESA to compare four biological samples, with the hope of comparing as many as seven in the future.

“We have been looking for better quantitative methods to measure both color and brightness from multiple probes put onto our biological samples,” said Heslop-Harrison in a statement.

”The new development is unique in measuring color without filters, gratings, or other systems that lose sensitivity and don’t have the color resolution we need. It looks as though the S-cam will overcome many of the difficulties in measuring data from gene chips so they can reach their full potential as diagnostic and research tools.” See http://www.le.ac.uk/press/press/startechnology.html.

The Scan

Driving Malaria-Carrying Mosquitoes Down

Researchers from the UK and Italy have tested a gene drive for mosquitoes to limit the spread of malaria, NPR reports.

Office Space to Lab Space

The New York Times writes that some empty office spaces are transforming into lab spaces.

Prion Pause to Investigate

Science reports that a moratorium on prion research has been imposed at French public research institutions.

Genome Research Papers on Gut Microbe Antibiotic Response, Single-Cell RNA-Seq Clues to Metabolism, More

In Genome Research this week: gut microbial response to antibiotic treatment, approach to gauge metabolic features from single-cell RNA sequencing, and more.