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In Brief This Week: Quest Diagnostics; DNA Genotek; Heart Genomics

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The stock of Quest Diagnostics this week was downgraded by Zacks Equity Research to Underperform. In a statement, the investment research and information firm noted a drop in Quest's revenues and earnings-per-share for continuing operations in the fourth quarter, as well as a "disappointing outlook" for the first quarter of 2013.

"The current market environment remains challenging for Quest Diagnostics due to commercial pricing pressures and Medicare cuts … which may lead to a 3 percent reimbursement decline in 2013," according to Zacks.

DNA Genotek this week introduced its GenoFIND Genomic Services Award, which is designed to facilitate analysis of nucleic acid samples. The award will provide US$10,000 in GenoFIND services — including nucleic acid extraction, SNP genotyping, PCR-based assays, whole-genome and targeted sequencing, array-based SNP and expression profiling, custom assay development, and bioinformatic analysis — to the selected winner.

Ottawa-based DNA Genotek is accepting award entries from researchers at academic institutions and non-profit research centers until March 1, with the winner to be notified on March 1.

Information about the award and submissions can be found here.

Miami Beach, Fla.-based Heart Genomics, a startup developing genomic-based tests for heart failure patients, has received a loan from the state's Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research. The amount of the loan has not been disclosed.

Jamie Grooms, CEO of ICPR, which is a non-profit organization that provides funding for technologies and companies spun out of research universities and institutions, said the tests being developed by Heart Genomics are based on research conducted in the lab of Joshua Hare at the University of Miami's Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute.

Hare is the scientific founder of Heart Genomics.

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

The Scan

More Boosters for US

Following US Food and Drug Administration authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the Washington Post writes.

From a Pig

A genetically modified pig kidney was transplanted into a human without triggering an immune response, Reuters reports.

For Privacy's Sake

Wired reports that more US states are passing genetic privacy laws.

Science Paper on How Poaching Drove Evolution in African Elephants

In Science this week: poaching has led to the rapid evolution of tuskless African elephants.