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Under a "statement of intent" signed last week, the two institutions plan to "initiate and develop a working relationship" and to explore areas of mutual interest in healthcare and discovery "with the common goal of creating value from the massive output of genomic information enabled by next-generation high-throughput DNA sequencing and analysis technologies."

Paired Ends: Sep 21, 2010

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Julia Dan, Paul Tu, Jurg Ott, Richard Resnick, Richard Wilson, William Efcavitch, Gregory Critchfield

The statement of intent signed today is the first step toward bringing together Merck's expertise in pharmaceutical development "with the powerful sequencing and bioinformatics capabilities of BGI," a Merck official said.

Kings College London and BGI will run epigenomics studies of 5,000 twins to understand why some identical twins with the same genes get different diseases.

The researchers plan to compare differences in methylation patterns of 20 million CpG islands between pairs of twins. The aim is to find differences that explain why many identical twins do not develop the same diseases.

The two institutions will collaborate on research projects to better understand the genetic underpinnings of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cancer.

BGI and the university have pledged to cooperate in future research about the role of genes in cancer, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, as well as create additional educational opportunities for Danish and Chinese students.

According to the NIDDK solicitation, BGI will sequence the genome of a Pima Indian on the Illumina platform and provide, within two-and-a-half months of sample delivery and quality control, 270 gigabases of sequence data, an assembly of the consensus sequence, and a comparison with other ethnic genomes.

Salzberg, who has developed a suite of open-source, freely available tools for genome assembly, alignment, and analysis, spoke with In Sequence recently on the challenges of developing informatics tools for next-generation sequencing technology.

Researchers from the BGI and King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology announced today that they have sequenced the Arabian camel genome.

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A New Zealand minister says the country's genetic modification laws need to be re-examined to help combat climate change, the New Zealand Herald reports.

A new analysis finds some cancers receive more nonprofit dollars than others.

An Australian mother's conviction in the deaths of her children may be re-examined after finding that two of the children carried a cardiac arrhythmia-linked gene variant.

In Science this week: comparative analysis of sex differences in mammal gene expression, and more.