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GNS, Paracel, National Science Foundation


GNS Wins $100,000 SBIR Grant for Cancer Model

Cell simulation startup Gene Network Sciences of Ithaca, NY, said it has been awarded a six-month, Phase I $100,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health to model colon cancer signaling pathways and test predictions generated by its in silico model.

The company plans to use the grant to help gather additional time series data in its wet lab to further refine the colon cancer model. In June, the company unveiled what it considers to be the largest known data-driven computer model of a human cancer cell [BioInform 06-03-02], which comprises more than 500 genes and proteins.

“With this grant, the NIH shows that it is looking at modeling and simulation as a potential strategy to develop effective new disease therapies and accelerate the drug discovery process. It’s extremely rewarding to see the field and our approach earning such high-profile validation,” said Iya Khalil, co-founder and vice president of R&D for GNS, in a statement.


Paracel in Bundling Deal with NEC

Celera Genomics subsidiary Paracel said last week that its Paracel Blast homology search software would be bundled with a new PC cluster offering from NEC Corporation and Mitsubishi Space Software (MSS).

Customers in Japan will be able to order the new NEC Express 5800/Parallel PC-Cluster — rack-mount Express 5800 series servers connected via a high-speed network — pre-loaded with Paracel’s accelerated Blast solution.

Express 5800/Parallel PC-Clusters use Intel Pentium III or Xeon processors and are available in both rack-mount and blade configurations.

Under the terms of the agreement, NEC will support its Express 5800/Parallel PC-Clusters, and MSS will support Paracel Blast. MSS, Paracel and NEC will collaborate on marketing activities, holding seminars and exhibitions and creating catalogs and joint advertisements.


NSF’s 2010 Project Earmarks $10 M for Arabidopsis Genomics Tools

The National Science Foundation has launched a new project to determine the function of all genes in Arabidopsis thaliana by the year 2010 and is hoping to accelerate the development of bioinformatics necessary to do the job.

The agency is ponying up $10 million for the so-called 2010 Project in fiscal year 2003, which will be split among 15 investigators or groups of investigators who will focus either on the determination of gene function or on development of research tools and resources.

The NSF has highlighted informatics development as a key funding target: “Especially encouraged are new informatics tools that would allow individual investigators to access, analyze and utilize the massive amounts of Arabidopsis data accumulating rapidly,” states the NSF program announcement. Tools “to enable individual researchers to formulate a query of all the available resources” are of particlular interest, as well as “the bioinformatics and experimental tools that will allow deduction and determination of roles of the genes with completely unknown functions.”

Deadline for proposals is December 13, 2002. The full program announcement is available at:


NSF Report Tracks International Sequence Patenting

A new report from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Science Resources Statistics, International Patenting of Human DNA Sequences, compared the volume of DNA sequence patenting in the United States with that in more than 40 countries, including Japan, European countries, and other major industrialized and industrializing countries.

The study identified a total of 7,810 international patent families — inventions for which patent protection has been sought in more than one country — for its analysis. It found that in the 1980s and 1990s, the US led all other nations and the European Union in DNA sequence patents, with a total of 5,610 international patent families. This share increased from 57 percent during 1980-84, to 59 percent during 1985-89, and then jumped to 71 percent in the early 1990s and 74 percent by the late 1990s.

By contrast, Europe’s share dropped from a high of 19 percent throughout much of the 1980s to 16 percent during 1990-94 and 15 percent for the later half of the 1990s.

Overall, Europe accounted for just under 16 percent of total international families formed during the 1980-99 period. The UK (six percent) and Germany (three percent) were the leaders among the European countries.

The full report is available at:

Filed under

The Scan

Study Finds Sorghum Genetic Loci Influencing Composition, Function of Human Gut Microbes

Focusing on microbes found in the human gut microbiome, researchers in Nature Communications identified 10 sorghum loci that appear to influence the microbial taxa or microbial metabolite features.

Treatment Costs May Not Coincide With R&D Investment, Study Suggests

Researchers in JAMA Network Open did not find an association between ultimate treatment costs and investments in a drug when they analyzed available data on 60 approved drugs.

Sleep-Related Variants Show Low Penetrance in Large Population Analysis

A limited number of variants had documented sleep effects in an investigation in PLOS Genetics of 10 genes with reported sleep ties in nearly 192,000 participants in four population studies.

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.