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ABI, NASA Ames, 454 Life Sciences, Australia Genome Research Facility, Roche, Genetic Technologies, UTEK, Golden Helix, Avestha Gengraine Technologies, UC-Davis, BioTrove, NHGRI

ABI’s SOLiD Next-Gen Platform to List for $600K
The list price for Applied Biosystems’ new next-generation SOLiD sequencer will be $600,000, according to a company representative.
The list price will include ancillary equipment for sample preparation, said Michael Rhodes, ABI’s applications manager for high-throughput discovery, during a roundtable discussion at a meeting in San Diego last week.
Solexa said prior to its acquisition by Illumina that its instrument was priced at approximately $400,000. 454 Life Sciences said in a recent conference call that the GS FLX has a list price of $500,000.

NASA Ames Seeks DNA Sequencing Services; Plans to Use 454
The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Ames Research Center has issued a solicitation for bacterial DNA sequencing services via the Federal Business Opportunities website here.
NASA/ARC said that it is “soliciting information about potential sources for DNA sequencing of bacterial-sized genomes,” but added that it intends to purchase the service from 454 Life Sciences because the company “can provide the data needed to complete our requirements.”
According to the solicitation, requirements for the project include amplification sensitivity near the single-molecule level, a sequencing read length of at least 200 bases, and multiplexing of individual sequencing runs to at least a million reads.
NASA added that the data must be available within one month of sending the DNA samples and that the results “need to be presented in a user friendly format either on media such as DVD, or through an upload option via the Internet.”
“Interested parties having the capabilities and qualifications necessary to meet or exceed the stated requirements are invited to submit appropriate documentation, literature, brochures, and references” by March 30.
Financial terms of the proposed project were not provided.

Australia Genome Research Facility Buys GS-FLX Sequencer From Roche
The Australia Genome Research Facility has purchased a 454 Genome Sequencer FLX from Roche, the facility said this week.
AGRF said it will use the sequencer alongside its Sanger-based instruments and bioinformatics platform, and that the system will help the facility meet heightened demand for sequencing services in Australia.

Genetic Technologies Hires UTEK to Acquire Non-Coding DNA-Analysis Tech
Genetic Technologies said last week that it has hired tech-transfer firm UTEK to help identify genetic-analysis technologies from US research groups that GT would use in its genetic-testing business in Australia.
Under the agreement, UTEK, a Tampa, Fla.-based specialty finance company focused on technology-transfer deals, will help GT acquire non-coding DNA-analysis technologies from universities or lab research centers.
GT said it will use the technologies in analytical tests that will be offered to customers in the Asia Pacific region.  
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Golden Helix To Run Software on United Devices’ Grid Platform
United Devices and Golden Helix said last week that they will partner to make two of Golden Helix’s genomics software applications interoperable with United Devices’ Grid MP software.
Under the agreement, Golden Helix’s Helix Tree and PBAT analysis platforms, which are used in genome-wide association studies, will be integrated with United Devices’ grid system to enhance their capacities and speed, the companies said.

India’s Avesthagen to Build Parsi Genetic Database
Avestha Gengraine Technologies, a biotech company based in Bangalore, India, said last week that it plans to create a genetic, genealogical, and medical database of the Parsi community, a population of around 69,000 in India.
Parsi Zoroastrians discourage inter-community marriages, which has led to a genetically homogeneous population well-suited to studying inherited genes for diseases, the company said.
Avesthagen and its research partners will collect samples from the Parsi community along with genealogical and medical information. The samples will be analyzed with Sequenom’s MassArray and Applied Biosystems’ DNA sequencers.
The five-year project is expected to cost around $28 million.

UC-Davis is Using BioTrove's Imager in Human Disease Studies
Researchers at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine are using BioTrove’s OpenArray NT Imager to study genetic variations of human diseases, BioTrove said last week. 
UC-Davis researchers are conducting SNP-genotyping studies of large patient cohorts to study disease susceptibility. These studies will use “tens of thousands” of samples to consider links between disease and ancestry.
Financial terms of the deal were not released.

NHGRI Sets Aside $17.3M for Biorepository Genome-Wide Association Studies
The National Human Genome Research Institute will offer $17.3 million for investigators associated with biorepositories to perform genome-wide association studies in participants with phenotypes and environmental exposures culled from electronic medical records, the National Institutes of Health said this week.
The plan will support between three and five grants over four years.
The program will support studies using electronic medical records, including those that share previously collected DNA samples from clinical care or studies with NHGRI-designated labs.
The deadline for application is May 18. Additional information can be found here.

The Scan

Unique Germline Variants Found Among Black Prostate Cancer Patients

Through an exome sequencing study appearing in JCO Precision Oncology, researchers have found unique pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants within a cohort of Black prostate cancer patients.

Analysis of Endogenous Parvoviral Elements Found Within Animal Genomes

Researchers at PLOS Biology have examined the coevolution of endogenous parvoviral elements and animal genomes to gain insight into using the viruses as gene therapy vectors.

Saliva Testing Can Reveal Mosaic CNVs Important in Intellectual Disability

An Australian team has compared the yield of chromosomal microarray testing of both blood and saliva samples for syndromic intellectual disability in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.