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In Brief This Week: Roche NimbleGen; Life Technologies; PerkinElmer; Luminex; CLC bio; Diffinity Genomics; Vela Diagnostics; Bayer CropScience

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Roche will shutter its NimbleGen microarray business, and will phase out array production and services by the end of the year. At the same time, the firm will continue to provide target enrichment products for use with next-generation sequencing, a spokesperson told GenomeWeb Daily News sister publication BioArray News this week.

The spokesperson said that 44 out of the company's 100 staffers at its headquarters in Madison, Wis., will be laid off by year end, while all 76 positions at the company's facilities in Iceland and Germany will be eliminated.

Life Technologies said this week that it now has more than 10,000 members of its Ion Community, a group of researchers that share methods, data, and applications for the Ion PGM system. The firm also said that it has placed more than 1,000 Ion PGM Sequencers in labs worldwide.

PerkinElmer said this week that it will establish a Personalized Health Innovation Center of Excellence at its facilities in Hopkinton, Mass. The center will focus on creating new technologies for researchers developing diagnostic and therapeutic products. It is expected to be fully operational later this year and eventually have 350 employees.

Luminex will be added to the S&P SmallCap 600 Index after the close of the market on Tuesday, June 12.

CLC bio will collaborate with the St. Louis-based Donald Danforth Plant Science Center as part of the Virus Resistant Cassava for Africa Project. CLC's software will be used to analyze and map siRNAs in an effort to identify and develop elite cassava plant lines.

Diffinity Genomics has closed a Series B round of funding. The Rochester, NY-based firm, which develops nucleic acid purification products, declined to disclose the amount of funding it raised in the round. It said it would use the funds to support commercialization of new products, increase manufacturing capacity, and expand sales efforts.

Singapore-based Vela Diagnostics, which was founded last year, announced this week that it has opened sites in New Jersey and Hamburg, Germany, and will launch molecular diagnostic test kits beginning in the third quarter of this year. The firm has developed the Sentosa system, an integrated, automated RNA/DNA extraction and detection platform. The tests will target microbiology, oncology, and respiratory diseases, Vela said in a statement.

Bayer CropScience has opened a new vegetable breeding research and development center in Leudal, The Netherlands. The firm pumped €12 million ($15.1 million) into the facility, which will be used by scientists conducting cell biology and molecular breeding research.

In Brief This Week is a Friday column containing news items that our readers may have missed during the week.

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.