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Alison Murray, Asterand, ChondroGene


Alison Murray Heads to Pacific Vents

Alison Murray, an assistant professor at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nev., is onboard the 274-foot research vessel Atlantic, which embarked Saturday for a 23-day research expedition to study hydrothermal vents on the Pacific Ocean floor.

Murray, a pioneer in extremophile microarray analysis (see BAN, 1/31/03), and Craig Cary, a University of Delaware assistant professor of marine biology and chief scientist on the expedition, are planning to conduct gene expression studies in the bacterial community that lives in close association with the Pompeii worm (Alvinella pompejana), a creature that lives at depths of more than 2 miles in the searing hot waters around the hydrothermal vents. Specifically, the scientists hope to study the genes expressed in the heads and tails of the worms, which have one end living in extremely hot water and one in very cold water.

Asterand Raises Series ‘C’ Financing

Detroit-based Asterand, a human tissue research bank, announced last week the closing of a Series C funding round. The company did not disclose how much it raised but said that previous investors Oxford Bioscience Partners of Boston, and Fort Washington Capital Partners of Cincinnati were joined by new investors Apjohn Ventures of Kalamazoo, Mich., and Chrysalis Ventures of Louisville, Ky. Asterand, founded in 2000 by CEO Randal Charlton, and Alan Walton, a general partner at Oxford Bioscience, operates human tissue banks for genomics and proteomics researchers.

ChondroGene completes GeneNews Acquisition

Toronto-based ChondroGene announced last week that it has completed the previously announced acquisition of GeneNews. The company acquired all of the outstanding shares of GeneNews through the issuance of 4 million shares of stock at a price of $0.50 a share.

The principal asset of GeneNews is certain proprietary technology, in which ChondroGene presently holds certain licensing rights in the areas of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and traumatic joint injury.

The two companies have in common Choong-Chin Liew as founder. Liew developed a proprietary technology in the “general area of arthritis,” ChondroGene said in a previous statement, and Liew, who is director, chief scientist and chairman of ChondroGene, commercialized it through GeneNews, including a licensing agreement with ChondroGene. GAV BioFarm, a firm controlled by Liew, held a 52 percent equity stake in GeneNews.

The Scan

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.

Team Presents Cattle Genotype-Tissue Expression Atlas

Using RNA sequences representing thousands of cattle samples, researchers looked at relationships between cattle genotype and tissue expression in Nature Genetics.

Researchers Map Recombination in Khoe-San Population

With whole-genome sequences for dozens of individuals from the Nama population, researchers saw in Genome Biology fine-scale recombination patterns that clustered outside of other populations.

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.