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The genomes each contain about 5 megabases of novel sequences — some with potentially functional coding regions — that are not represented in the NCBI human reference genome.

The "third-generation genome sequencing instrument" that the partners plan to build is expected to sequence a human genome in an hour at a cost of approximately $1,000. The first test instrument is scheduled to be available in 2013.

The institute said that it has so far used the Illumina platform for the "rapid, accurate, and cost-effective completion of several large genome projects … including the giant panda genome."

Using Sanger and Illumina methods, an international team has generated a draft genome sequence of the domestic cucumber, Cucumis sativus.

"The method we developed and used in silkworm can also apply to other organisms, and it was a new milepost in population genome analyses," said Jun Wang, deputy director of BGI-Shenzhen.

In a paper appearing online today in Science, a BGI-led team re-sequenced 40 wild and domestic silkworm genomes, finding new clues about silkworm evolution and domestication.

The multi-partner project will seek to sequence and analyze many microbial genomes.

A group of Chinese researchers will sequence one orchid species, and draft the transcriptomes of others.

BGI has used the algorithm, called SOAPdenovo, to assemble the panda genome, which it is sequencing with the Illumina Genome Analyzer.

The highest auction bidder will receive a copy of his or her genome sequence, along with a comprehensive interpretation. Two years of analysis update services are also included.

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Bloomberg reports that the DNA-for-cash deal reported in Kentucky might be a more widespread scam.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have treated infants with X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency using gene therapy in an early phase study.

St. Louis Public Radio reports that some African Americans are turning to DNA ancestry testing to help guide genealogical searches.

In Nature this week: a genomic analysis of the snailfish Pseudoliparis swirei, ancient DNA analysis gives insight into the introduction of farming to England, and more.