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EMBL Resolves to Support EBI During Funding Crisis, Purchases Paracel Engine


HEIDELBERG, Germany--The governing council of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory developed plans during a meeting late last month to provide support to the European Bioinformatics Institute, its outstation in Hinxton, UK. EBI had received up to half its funding since 1995 from the European Union's Fourth Framework program, but was recently denied funding by the EU for the next five-year period. EMBL's council, which represents the 16 member states that fund the laboratory, agreed to take steps to support EBI until 2001.

UK delegates said their country would assist EBI with cashflow problems that could arise before the council's next meeting in March. The council said, "recognizing the crucial importance of bioinformatics for the development of molecular biology, biotechnology, and molecular medicine; and recalling the pioneering role played by EMBL and the international standing of EBI; and reaffirming the need for a strong European infrastructure in bioinformatics," it would strive to "maintain and develop the EBI alongside other EMBL priorities."

In other news, Paracel announced that EMBL has purchased its GeneMatcher massively parallel data analysis engine for high-throughput search and annotation. Peer Bork, head of sequence analysis at EMBL, said the purchase would enable scientists here to routinely use more sensitive algorithms such as hidden Markov models, Generalized Profile, and Smith-Waterman in genomic research. GeneMatcher contains more than 6,000 custom processors.

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