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In Brief This Week: Life Technologies; CombiMatrix; Expression Analysis; Computable Genomix

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Life Technologies this week said that it has awarded around $1.7 million in five new grants to seven organizations through its foundation. The firm said that among the organization that have received funding are the Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, for its online biology textbook, Life on Earth, and a PBS documentary on the use of DNA as a diagnostic tool.

Life Technologies said that, including these awards, its foundation has committed around $5 million in funding in 2009.

CombiMatrix this week said that the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has set a date for an oral hearing in its ingoing litigation with the National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa. The hearing will take place on Nov. 2, and each side will have 15 minutes to present their arguments.

Last year, a US District Court in California entered a final judgment in favor of CombiMatrix for $35.7 million, to be paid by National Union. The court had previously sided with CombiMatrix in its suit against National Union, which claimed that the insurance firm had refused to defend and indemnify CombiMatrix under its director and officer's insurance policy.

Expression Analysis launched a new grant program this week, under which four researchers will be given access to Expression Analysis' services. The firm said that two of the grants will focus on genome-wide association studies, and the other two will focus on follow-up to GWAS. Included in the grants is data analysis using Expression Analysis' digenysis analysis tool that simultaneously analyzes allelic and copy number variation. Researchers may apply for the grants on Expression Analysis' website through Dec. 1.

Computable Genomix also announced a grant program, under which it will award $10,000 to each of the first three researchers who publish a discovery made using the firm's new online genomics research tool, GeneIndexer. The Memphis, Tenn.-based firm launched the contest on Thursday, coinciding with the market introduction of GeneIndexer, which searchers more than one million gene-related abstracts available through the National Library of Medicine.

Computable Genomix said that researchers who apply for the grant will receive a free one-month subscription to GeneIndexer and will have the opportunity to participate in two training webinars. The firm will accept entries through the end of this year.

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.