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In Brief This Week: Oct. 9, 2009

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Life Technologies said this week that the Baylor College of Medicine Human Genome Sequencing Center is "expanding their fleet" of the firm's SOLiD next-generation sequencing systems, bringing its total number of SOLiD systems to 20 at that center. Life Technologies didn't say how many of sequencers Baylor purchased this time around, but according to GenomeWeb Daily News sister publication In Sequence, as of this spring, the center had eight SOLiD sequencers, 10 Roche/454 GS FLX machines, and two Illumina Genome Analyzers installed.

The Pharmacogenomics Centre that is a partnership between Genome Quebec and the Montreal Heart Institute has deployed Isilon Systems' Isilon IQ to accelerate its next-generation genetic sequencing operations.

The Burnham Institute for Medical Sciences this week opened its new Florida facility. The institute said that the Burnham at Lake Nona facility is the research anchor for a new development in Orlando. The institute said that researchers at the 175,000-square-foot facility will conduct translational research in metabolic disorders, heart disease, and cancer.

Bayer CropScience today said that it has sequenced the entire genome of Brassica napus, also known as rapeseed/canola. The agricultural and plant biology subsidiary of Bayer said that its partners in the initiative include the Beijing Genomics Institute-Shenzhen, Keygene, and the University of Queensland. Bayer said that the sequences will be used in its genetically modified and non-genetically modified trait development platforms.

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European Bioinformatics Institute this week announced the launch of Ensemble Plants — a freely available web resource for plant genomics research. The portal was launched by EMBL-EBI in partnership with the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Ensemble Plants will pinpoint the genetic basis of beneficial characteristics, such as drought and pest resistance, making it easier for scientists to improve the productivity and health of crops, said EMBL-EBI.

Clinical Genomics and CSIRO announced this week that they are entering the next phase of their collaboration, under which they will attempt to identify biomarkers found in clinical samples, such as blood or stool, with the accuracy to improve diagnosis of bowel cancer. The partners aim to develop clinical tests for early detection of bowel cancer.

HairDx said this week that its HairDx Genetic Test for Hair Loss, has been CE-marked under the European In Vitro Diagnostic Directive. The test provides a genetic analysis of a person's likelihood of developing androgenetic alopecia, the most common type of hair loss.

The Scan

Harvard Team Report One-Time Base Editing Treatment for Motor Neuron Disease in Mice

A base-editing approach restored SMN levels and improved motor function in a mouse model of spinal muscular atrophy, a new Science paper reports.

International Team Examines History of North American Horses

Genetic and other analyses presented in Science find that horses spread to the northern Rockies and Great Plains by the first half of the 17th century.

New Study Examines Genetic Dominance Within UK Biobank

Researchers analyze instances of genetic dominance within UK Biobank data, as they report in Science.

Cell Signaling Pathway Identified as Metastasis Suppressor

A new study in Nature homes in on the STING pathway as a suppressor of metastasis in a mouse model of lung cancer.