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In Brief This Week: Illumina; GenomeQuest; Tibco; LabCorp; BG Medicine; Beckman Coulter; Miraculins; and More

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Illumina said this week it will be opening an office in Sao Paolo, Brazil to focus on business opportunities across Latin America. The office will open on Feb. 1.

Separately, the San Diego-based sequencing firm also announced the Illumina Agricultural Greater Good initiative to spur on research into identifying and breeding plants and animal to increase the sustainability, productivity, and nutritional density of agricultural and livestock species. The company will make its sequencing and genotyping reagents free of charge to select crop and livestock research organizations. Its first AGG award was given to the International Rice Research Institute, which will crate a rice breeding course for farmers in Southeast Asia.

At a presentation to investors at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco last week, Australian DNA forensic science firm Genetic Technologies said that it plans to launch the BrevaGen breast cancer test in the first quarter of 2011. The test, which was acquired from Perlegen Sciences in April when it ceased operations, is the world's first validated test for non-familial breast cancer, Genetic Technologies said.

GenomeQuest and INRIA said that INRIA's GASSST technology has been integrated into GenomeQuest's sequence data management platform. GASSST, licensed by GenomeQuest, is an open-source genome read mapper designed to maintain accuracy and high performance as dataset scale to billions of reads with lengths of greater than 100 nucleotides. INRIA is the French national institute for research in computer science and control.

Tibco Software announced that French plant biotechnology firm Biogemma has selected its Spotfire 3.1 suite to "move beyond transcriptomic analyses and embark on new types of integrative research based on genetic maps." Biogemma plans to develop a comprehensive solution to search all the data produced by its various platforms, and the first objective is to centralize data from outside projects, projects done in collaboration with partners, or data available from the public domain, generally in scientific literature.

Laboratory Corporation of America is now offering galactin 3 testing services using BG Medicine's Galactin-3 test, BGM said. The test was cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration in November to assess the prognosis of patients with chronic heart failure.

Beckman Coulter Genomics and Vitrology announced a partnership that will provide the biologics industry "two inclusive sources for the full complement of molecular, in vitro, and in vivo genomic services for the identification, stabilization, and purification of biological products." The deal will also provide customers access to next-generation sequencing technologies, they said.

Miraculins said that its partner on its preeclampsia biomarker program, Alere, has completed the cloning and expression stage of development for "a number of markers" under an agreement between the two companies. As a result, certain critical milestones have been met or exceeded. Alere also has transferred antibodies to certain targets to Miraculins for further assessment and use, including antibodies against soluble endoglin, the lead marker in Miraculins' preeclampsia program.

Thermo Fisher Scientific said that Thermo Scientific Nunc consumables will now be distributed in Canada by Fisher Scientific, which will extend the reach of the products to more customers in North America.

Princeton, N.J.-based drug development service firm Covance Genomics has received CLIA certification.

Evotec is collaborating with Takeda Cambridge to use Evotec's screening platform and GPCR modeling software to identify and validate novel modulators against GPCR and protease targets involving various central nervous system and metabolic diseases. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The Scan

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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.