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Applied Biosystems, Illumina, Orchid Cellmark

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Applied Biosystems announced the limited release of its new UTH genotyping system, SNPlex. The tool, which uses ABI’s 3730xl and 3730 sequencers, will eventually produce 1 million genotypes per instrument per day at a cost of $.01 per genotype or less, the firm said.

The SNPlex is based on ABI’s oligo ligation-reagent and electrophoretic-detection technology and bears more than a passing resemblance to the genotyping platform the Applera unit was to co-develop with Illumina.

The latter platform is at the heart of a legal battle between the two firms. Illumina launched its own platform late last year and has announced its first customer [see page 8] and ABI said it plans a broader market release mid-year.

When asked about the apparent similarities between the SNPlex and the scuttled Illumina/ABI product, ABI President Michael Hunkapiller said the goal with Illumina was to develop “a highly multiplexed SNP-genotyping system. This is one.” Illumina declined to comment.


Meantime, Illumina has deployed into its genotyping-services unit a new genetic linkage-analysis tool and a whole genome-mapping instrument. Both tools can also be used by customers who buy Illumina’s massive new genotyping system.

The linkage panel, a second-generation instrument, is based on more than 3,500 SNPs with high minor-allele frequency, according to the company. The mapping tool, meantime, provides genotyping at greater than 1,000 markers on average per chromosome, Illumina said.

Both products are designed for high multiplexing and can be used with Illumina’s Sentrix 96-array matrix, which the company says can process in parallel nearly 150,000 individual assays.

Orchid Cellmark has launched its new forensic DNA-profiling service, called DNA Express Service, for local law enforcement agencies. The service is designed to help police obtain forensic results within five business days, the Orchid unit said. Traditional turnaround time is around five weeks.

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