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NIST, Sigma-Aldrich, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Fisher, Athena, Nanogen


NIST Extends Call for RNA Sequences

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has extended to April 28 the deadline for RNA sequence contributions to be included in its first round of testing.

The sequences, which will be used in a manner mimicking portions of typical mammalian mRNA transcripts, must be released to the public domain.

NIST is building a library of RNA reference materials as part of a program with the External RNA Controls Consortium. The library of controls is expected to lead to commercial products.

Further details on selection of sequences can be found at

Sigma-Aldrich to Provide Complementary Protocols From Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press

Sigma-Aldrich said this week that it will provide complementary protocols from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

The agreement will enable researchers to freely access a new set of protocols each month through the Featured Protocols section of, an online directory of laboratory supplies.

"Given the diversity of research tools needed to explore genomic and proteomic applications, we recognize the need for easily accessed protocols," Diane Gaige, eMarketing manager at Sigma-Aldrich, said in a statement.

The company said it will "extend [the resource] further by creating an easy-to-use materials list for each protocol."

Fisher to Acquire Athena for $283M, Buys 9-Percent Stake in Nanogen in Bid to Grow Dx Business

Aiming to increase its presence in molecular diagnostics, Fisher Scientific said last week it will acquire privately held Athena Diagnostics and has paid $15 million in cash for a 9-percent stake in Nanogen.

Fisher will pay Athena owner Behrman Capital $283 million for the company, which makes immunohistochemical and molecular diagnostics for neurological, nephrologic, and endocrine diseases, such as Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, obesity, and kidney disease.

Terms of the Nanogen equity investment calls for Fisher to buy approximately 5.7 million shares of Nanogen common stock at $2.65 per share, Nanogen said in a separate statement today. The shares closed at $2.52 on the Nasdaq Exchange the day before the acquisition and investment were disclosed, meaning that Fisher paid a 5-percent premium for its stake.

The Scan

Renewed Gain-of-Function Worries

The New York Times writes that the pandemic is renewing concerns about gain-of-function research.

Who's Getting the Patents?

A trio of researchers has analyzed gender trends in biomedical patents issued between 1976 and 2010 in the US, New Scientist reports.

Other Uses

CBS Sunday Morning looks at how mRNA vaccine technology could be applied beyond SARS-CoV-2.

PLOS Papers Present Analysis of Cervicovaginal Microbiome, Glycosylation in Model Archaea, More

In PLOS this week: functional potential of the cervicovaginal microbiome, glycosylation patterns in model archaea, and more.