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Bleak, but Not All Bad

Nature News' Erika Check Hayden says that in tough research funding times, DNA sequencing machine vendors are taking a hit. "Institutions are holding off buying the devices, leaving manufacturers feeling the pinch," she says, adding that although the National Institutes of Health's 2011 budget "is only 1 percent lower than it was in 2010, pessimism about future government spending has led analysts to predict much bigger budget cuts in 2012 and 2013 — and that pessimism has also had an impact on sequencing companies' share prices."

Citing a survey conducted by our parent company, GenomeWeb, in conjunction with Mizuho Securities and Illumina's recent Q3 earnings announcement, Nature says the market outlook is generally bleak. Fifty-eight percent of 94 respondents to the GenomeWeb-Mizuho Securities survey indicated that "talk of austerity had caused them to delay lab purchases," Check Hayden summarizes. Our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has more on Illumina's recent earnings report and planned restructuring.

But it's not all bad, Check Hayden says. "In light of the dismal news, many sequencing companies are now eyeing new markets in biomedicine, where whole-genome sequencing is beginning to make inroads." Illumina is hopeful that the "imminent release of a lower-cost version of its MiSeq sequencing machine will boost sales," she adds.

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.