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A team of researchers led by scientists at the Beijing Genomics Institute-Shenzhen has put together new Asian and African genome assemblies containing a wealth of sequence data missing from the human reference genome.

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.

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The US National Institutes of Health's All of Us project awarded $4.6 million to the company Color to develop a genetic counseling resource for the program.

The Times of India reports on a pilot study that used genomic testing to determine whether patients had drug-resistant tuberculosis.

New guidelines say that more women may benefit from genetic testing for hereditary breast or ovarian cancer, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In Cell this week: small proteins identified among human microbiome, role for tumor microbes in pancreatic cancer survival, and more.