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Cornell University, European Union, Cancer Research UK, DNAStar, DSM, Stratagene, Max Planck

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NSF Grants Cornell-Led Team $1.8M for Tomato Genome Sequencing Project
 
A research project led by Cornell University has received $1.8 million from the National Science Foundation to continue sequencing the tomato genome and to create a database of genomic sequences and information on the tomato and related plants, Cornell said last week.
 
The tomato sequencing project is the first step in the creation of the International Solanaceae Genomics Project Genomics Network database, which will support research on the nightshade family, which includes the potato, eggplant, pepper, and the petunia, the university said. 
 
The database will eventually help researchers seek common ancestors, determine gene functions, and predict which plants might be candidates for genetic improvements.
 
Cornell researchers are developing resources such as genetic maps, DNA libraries, and individual gene sequences of the tomato and related species to make the sequencing possible.
 
The grant adds to $4 million that the US participants of the International Tomato Sequencing Project received in 2004.
 

 
EU Sets Aside $650K to Hold Five Genomics Conferences in Europe
 
The European Union has granted €500,000 ($650,000) to fund a series of conferences this year about genomics and disease, the Cancer Research Center at the University of Edinburgh said last week.
 
The funding will be used by the Marie Curie Genomic Architecture in Relation to Disease program to hold three conferences and two workshops on genomics and disease issues.
 
The CRC said the events will consider how data from studies such as large-scale SNP projects and large-scale DNA-sequencing analysis and fields such as bioinformatics are used in an interdisciplinary manner in disease research.
 
  • The “Molecular Profiling of the Genome” conference will be held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, May 2-5;
  • The “Interplay Between Genetics and Epigenetics” conference will be held in Madrid, Spain, May 2-4; 
  • The “Higher Order Genome Architecture” conference will be held in Edinburgh, Scotland, April 25-27; 
  • The “Array Techniques to Identify Copy Number Variations” workshop will be held in Helsinki, Finland, Sept. 11-15; and 
  • The “Genome Bioinformatic Techniques” workshop will be held in Braga, Portugal, Sep. 9-13.
 
More information is available at the MCGARD website.
 

 
Cancer Research UK Expands License for DNAStar's Sequence-Analysis Software
 
DNAStar said last week that Cancer Research UK has expanded its site license for the company’s Lasergene sequence analysis software.
 
In November, CR-UK licensed Lasergene for use at its Lincoln’s Inn Field and Clare Hall laboratories.
 
The new three-year agreement allows the Cambridge Research Institute and the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research to use the software at their labs as well.
 
GATC Biotech is DNAStar’s distributor for certain European markets.
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
 

 
DSM, Collaborators Publish Sequence of Aspergillus niger Genome
 
Dutch industrial chemical firm DSM has completed a collaborative project to sequence the genome of Aspergillus niger CBS 513.88, a microorganism that DSM uses to produce enzymes and other compounds.
 
DSM and its collaborators are publishing the results of the sequencing project in the February issue of Nature Biotechnology. DSM said 29 other research institutions participated in the study.
 
The A. niger genome has around 33.9 million base pairs with more than 14,000 unique genes. The functions of as many as 6,500 of these genes may be discovered, the company said.
 
The project has so far spurred “numerous” DSM patent applications, DSM said, including products such as one for muscular recovery, an enzyme to prevent ‘chill-haze’ in beer, and an enzyme to prevent formation of a toxic compound in some fried foods.
 
The company said the project resulted in several new collaborations with companies such as Gene Alliance, Biomax, Affymetrix, the University of Amsterdam, and others.
 

 
Stratagene Licenses Rights to MicroRNA Sequences from Max Planck
 
Stratagene said this week that it has licensed rights to more than 150 microRNA sequences from Max Planck Innovation, the commercial arm of the Max Planck Society.
 
Under the agreement, Stratagene purchased co-exclusive rights to use the sequences to make and sell molecular diagnostic kits based on its FullVelocity platform.
 
The company said it is particularly interested in the use of microRNAs for cancer biomarker applications.

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