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Just Getting By

At Genetic Future, Daniel MacArthur points out a press release from Decode Genetics on their second quarter financials. According to the release, the company brought in $3.5 million for 2009 as compared to $9.0 million for the same quarter last year. "The goal of our strategic review is to recast deCODE as a diagnostics company positioned to lead in this growing new market," CEO Kari Stefansson says in the statement. He adds: "We are also advancing our strategic negotiations on several fronts, including the sale of our US medicinal chemistry and structural biology units; finding buyers or licensing partners to take forward our therapeutics programs; additional licensing deals for our intellectual property and diagnostic tests; and securing new equity financing."

MacArthur comments that he hopes they find a solution. "The loss of deCODE would be a genuine and substantial blow to the field of complex trait genetics," he writes.

In related news, The Scientist reports that Altus Pharmaceuticals, based in Waltham, Mass., is holding on with $8.1 million left, which will see it through to September. The company is looking for $10 million to finish a clinical trial.

The Scan

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.

Study Tracks Outcomes in Children Born to Zika Virus-Infected Mothers

By following pregnancy outcomes for women with RT-PCR-confirmed Zika virus infections, researchers saw in Lancet Regional Health congenital abnormalities in roughly one-third of live-born children.

Team Presents Benchmark Study of RNA Classification Tools

With more than 135 transcriptomic datasets, researchers tested two dozen coding and non-coding RNA classification tools, establishing a set of potentially misclassified transcripts, as they report in Nucleic Acids Research.

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.