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In Brief This Week: Sequenom; Arrayjet; Population Genetics Technologies; Protea Biosciences; Assay Depot, Rare Genomics Institute

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Sequenom said this week that the California Technology Assessment Forum has completed an independent evaluation of the cell-free fetal DNA technology used in the Sequenom Center for Molecular Medicine's MaterniT21 Plus laboratory-developed test. According to the firm, CTAF recommended that the use of cell-free fetal DNA as a prenatal advanced screening test for fetal aneuploidy for Trisomy 21 and Trisomy 18 in high-risk women meets all five CTAF criteria for safety and efficacy and improvement in health outcomes.

CTAF is an independent medical technology assessment organization that was established to assess new medical technologies. It is spearheaded by the Blue Shield of California Foundation.


Edinburgh, UK-based Arrayjet has opened a US office in Cambridge, Mass. The maker of inkjet microarrayers said that the new office was in response to increased demand for its products in North America.


Cambridge, UK-based Population Genetics Technologies this week launched a competition for its Populus Award 2012. The competition seeks research proposals from researchers conducting population genetics studies and will provide funding and practical support for sequencing studies, as well as access to Population Genetics' expertise and proprietary technologies, including its three different propriety technologies that it uses to prepare large numbers of samples for sequencing — GenomePooling, Reflex, and VeriTag.

For more information on the contest, see this article GenomeWeb Daily News sister publication In Sequence.


Protea Biosciences this week said that it has opened a Mass Spectrometry Imaging Center in Morgantown, WV. The Chicago-based firm said that the new center will offer access to advanced biomolecular imaging capabilities through the combination of ultra-high-resolution mass spectrometry with its own LAESI (Laser Ablation Electrospray Ionization) platform.


Assay Depot and the Rare Genomics Institute said this week that they have partnered with 19 life science companies to launch the first Rare Disease Science Challenge. The hosts and sponsoring organizations are supporting rare disease research with $400,000 in cutting-edge technologies and a $10,000 cash prize for the winning research proposal. Among the sponsors are Charles River Laboratories, DNA Software, HistoRx, and Ingenuity Systems.

Proposals can be submitted between Oct. 15 and Dec. 15.

More on the challenge can be found here.


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

The Scan

Wolf Howl Responses Offer Look at Vocal Behavior-Related Selection in Dogs

In dozens of domestic dogs listening to wolf vocalizations, researchers in Communication Biology see responses varying with age, sex, reproductive status, and a breed's evolutionary distance from wolves.

Facial Imaging-Based Genetic Diagnoses Appears to Get Boost With Three-Dimensional Approach

With data for more than 1,900 individuals affected by a range of genetic conditions, researchers compared facial phenotype-based diagnoses informed by 2D or 3D images in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

Survey Suggests Multigene Cancer Panel VUS Reporting May Vary Across Genetic Counselors

Investigators surveyed dozens of genetic counselors working in clinical or laboratory settings, uncovering attitudes around VUS reporting after multigene cancer panel testing in the Journal of Genetic Counseling.

Study Points to Tuberculosis Protection by Gaucher Disease Mutation

A mutation linked to Gaucher disease in the Ashkenazi Jewish population appears to boost Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistance in a zebrafish model of the lysosomal storage condition, a new PNAS study finds.