By Uduak Grace Thomas

As the world bids farewell to another year, observers of the life science informatics sector will remember 2011 for some surprise acquisitions, an influx of newcomers to the next-generation sequence analysis space, and continued efforts to develop new software tools for clinical data analysis and personalized medicine.

In addition, the ongoing economic slump forced some bioinformatics providers to pinch pennies and pare down their activities while others closed up shop permanently.

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 Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who chairs the Senate health committee, will be retiring at the end of his term, Stat News reports.

UCSF researchers find that having two X chromosomes may contribute to women's longer lifespans, according to Discover's D-brief blog.

The Wall Street Journal reports on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's use of genetic approaches to study foodborne illnesses.

In PNAS this week: immune cell profiling of wild baboons by social status, metabolomics profiling of esophageal tumors, and more.