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BioServe, Suracell, Greiner Bio-One, Invitrogen, CSHL, Abbott, Celera Dx

BioServe, Suracell Team on Personal Genomics Testing
Genetic testing firm BioServe and personal genomics company Suracell said this week that they have struck a partnership for DNA testing services.
Under the terms of the agreement, BioServe will serve as Suracell’s exclusive DNA testing partner.
BioServe will receive samples collected from de-identified patients who use Suracell’s “genetic testing web portal” program and will analyze the patient DNA using a panel of proprietary SNPs selected by Suracell. BioServe will then transmit the processed data back to Suracell using Suracell’s IT platform, and Suracell will deliver the results to requesting physicians and healthcare practitioners.
BioServe said that Suracell’s web portal allows physicians and healthcare centers to order and receive tests and test results online in various formats.
The companies hope to expand their agreement into a more “comprehensive partnership” in the future, BioServe said.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

Greiner Bio-One Licenses Invitrogen's PCR Sample-Prep Tech for HPV Test
Greiner Bio-One has licensed Invitrogen’s deoxyuridine triphosphate technology for use in a PCR-based HPV test and in DNA array products, the companies said this week.
Greiner Bio-One said it will use dUTP in place of deoxythymidine triphosphate to prevent false positives during PCR by reducing sample contamination.
The company said the use of dUTP will improve the reliability of its PapilloCheck HPV test and its DNA-array CytoCheck products. Greiner Bio-One will begin offering product kits for PapilloCheck with dUTP in June, and plans to offer dUTP-based kits for CytoCheck this fall.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

CSHL Lands $25M Gift to Create Psychiatric GenomicsCenter
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory will establish a center to study the genetic causes of common psychiatric disorders using a $25 million endowment from Theodore and Vada Stanley, CSHL said last week.
CSHL will use the money from the Stanley Medical Research Institute to create the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Genomics on its campus on Long Island, NY.
CSHL said today its primary goal is to “unambiguously diagnose patients with psychiatric disorders based on their DNA sequence in 10 years time.”
Focusing on studying the genomes of patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorders, the center plans to use genome sequencing and a database it created of psychiatric symptoms to link genes to the disorders. CSHL president Bruce Stillman said the endowment will both strengthen the lab’s neuroscience program “and help us find the genes related to these disorders so that proper diagnosis and effective treatments can be pursued."
While acknowledging that "the causes of these disorders are complex,” CSHL noted in a statement that “the greatest contributing factor is the alteration in the DNA sequence of the genes.”
Because of the emphasis on detecting and linking rare gene variants when looking at psychiatric disorders, “researchers must study as many patients as possible at the level of the individual base pairs of DNA.”
CSHL chancellor James Watson said the lab already has been making “significant strides in understanding autism, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorders.”
“I am most passionate about the potential of breakthroughs in neuroscience research," Watson added.

Abbott, Celera Dx's PCR-Based Hepatitis B Assay Wins CE Mark
European Union regulators have cleared an Abbott assay that uses real-time PCR to monitor hepatitis B viral loads, Abbott and partner Celera Diagnostics said last week.
The certification allows the companies to market the test in the EU. The test runs on Abbott’s m2000 instrument, which uses PCR technology made by Applied Biosystems.
The m2000 also runs PCR tests for HIV-1, hepatitis C, chlamydia, and a combination test for chlamydia or gonorrhea.
Abbott and Celera Diagnostics received a CE Mark in 2005 for tests that monitor hepatitis C and HIV-1. The HIV-1 assay was also cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration in May.

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The Scan

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'Poo-Bank' Proposal

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Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.