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From Beads To Bases: Illumina Beefs up Oligo Manufacturing Capacity


Illumina announced last week it had tripled its oligonucleotide manufacturing capacity to over 5 million DNA sequences per year. The San Diego-based maker of fiber optic bundle BeadArrays is planning to produce plate-sized “oligator” oligos for the commercial market, which it is pricing at 18 cents per base.

The company is also using the oligos in its BeadArray-based genotyping services business and to produce Sentrix microarrays, its Bead Array products for researchers.

This increased oligo capacity is part of Illumina’s recent plan to improve its manufacturing operations. “We have implemented numerous automation enhancements including bar coding, integration of an information management database system, and high-throughput QC methods,” stated Jay Flatley, Illumina’s president and CEO.


Number Five: Nanogen Launches New Hereditary Hemochromatosis Protocol


Launching its fifth diagnostic application of the NanoChip platform, Nanogen has introduced a new hereditary hemachromatosis protocol. The protocol tests for the S65C mutation associated with hereditary hemachromatosis, a common disorder that results in excess iron storage in organs such as the liver, heart, and pancreas. Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA)-certified laboratories using the NanoChip workstation can use the protocol to develop their own home brew tests.

Hereditary hemachromatosis testing are already commercially available for about $125 to $175 through mail-in cheek swab samples. To make the NanoChip-based test marketable, Nanogen will have to show labs that it is at least as economical and as accurate as currently available tests.

Nanogen has validated four other research protocols for use on the NanoChip molecular biology workstation: Factor II, Factor V, a Factor II and Factor V multiplex format, and Methylene-tetrahydrofolate reductase, all of which are associated with cardiovascular disease.


Array Access: ISCB Calls for Publicly Available Array Databases


The International Society of Computational Biology has called for publicly accessible microarray and other gene expression data sets in an official position statement.

“The ISCB believes that all data sets supporting scientific publications should be publicly accessible in their entirety. As standard formats and public repositories are developed for data, journals and funding agencies should require submission of data to public repositories,” read the society’s motion.

The statement applies to data generated through global expression analysis (GEA) techniques, which include cDNA arrays, oligo arrays, and Serial Analysis of Gene Expression.

“To evaluate GEA papers and place them in context, the full data set must be accessible to the scientific community”, noted Russ Altman, president of the ISCB, in an e-mail accompanying the statement. “Further, many forms of analysis (e.g. clustering and classification) depend on access to the full data set and cannot be replicated on partial data sets.”

Altman warned that a similar situation might soon arise for the analysis of the massive amount of data produced by other technologies such as mass spectroscopy and yeast two-hybrid screens.


Tm Bioscience, Ottowa Health Research Institute Develop Blood Clotting Disorder Diagnostic Microarray


Toronto microarray developer Tm Bioscience has teamed up with the Ottawa Health Research Institute to develop and seek marketing approval for a diagnostic gene chip for detecting genetic variations related to increased risk of blood clotting disorders.

Under the collaboration, the partners will first validate the prototype of this microarray, which tests for four different genetic variations related to clotting disorders. Subsequently, the companies will look for new genetic variations related to other diagnostic applications.

The Scan

And For Adolescents

The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for children between the ages of 12 and 15 years old.

Also of Concern to WHO

The Wall Street Journal reports that the World Health Organization has classified the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.617 as a "variant of concern."

Test for Them All

The New York Times reports on the development of combined tests for SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses like influenza.

PNAS Papers on Oral Microbiome Evolution, Snake Toxins, Transcription Factor Binding

In PNAS this week: evolution of oral microbiomes among hominids, comparative genomic analysis of snake toxins, and more.