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University of Pretoria in South Africa, EMBRAPA, Catholic University of Brazil, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Qiagen, eGene, JGI, Cedarlane Laboratories

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Public/Private Consortium Forms to Sequence Eucalyptus Genome
 
An international consortium of around two dozen institutions has been created to sequence the genome of eucalyptus, members of the project said this week.
 
The University of Pretoria in South Africa, EMBRAPA and the Catholic University of Brazil, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory will lead the effort.
 
The sequence will be generated under the auspices of the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute’s Community Sequencing Program. JGI identified eucalyptus as one of several organisms that it plans to sequence in fiscal 2008 under the CSP earlier this month [In Sequence 06-12-07].
 
ArborGen, a forestry biotechnology company, and Rubicon, a New Zealand-based ArborGen shareholder, will also participate by providing access to a private collection of more than 240,000 eucalyptus gene sequences.
 
Genolyptus, a Brazilian eucalyptus research network, will also donate more than 120,000 gene sequences and genetic mapping resources required to assemble and annotate the final genome sequence.
 

 
Qiagen Completes Acquisition of eGene
 
Qiagen has completed its acquisition of sample-prep provider eGene, the companies said this week.
 
The cash and stock deal, announced in April, is valued at approximately $34 million [In Sequence 04-17-07].
 
eGene, which is based in Irvine, Calif., sells the HAD-GT12 Genetic Analyzer, a multi-channel sample separation and analysis solution that includes software and a range of consumable cartridges.
 
Qiagen said in April that it expects eGene to contribute revenues of around $2 million in the second half of this year and revenues of $7 million to $9 million in 2008. After 2008, Qiagen said expects the eGene division to make a “significant” contribution to profits.
 

 
JGI Sequences Sea Anemone Genome; Gains Insight into Early Animal Development
 
Scientists at the Joint Genome Institute have analyzed the genome of the starlet sea anemone. The study, published in last week’s Science, provides insights into the ascent of multi-celled animals, according to the authors.
 
The genome of Nematostella vectensis was found to have around 18,000 genes, compared to 20,000 in humans.
 
In addition, many of the animal’s genes rest on 30 chromosomes in patterns that are similar to the patterns of related genes on the human genome’s 46 chromosomes, according to a statement accompanying the study.
 
The analysis was led by study author Daniel Rokhsar of the Center for Integrative Genomics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is also program head for computational genomics at the Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, Calif.
 
According to Nicholas Putnam, the study’s lead author and a postdoctoral fellow at JGI, scientists were surprised to find that the anemone’s genome, although it is classified along with corals as one of the earliest of multi-celled animals, had more in common with the human genome than with those of the roundworm or the fruit fly, two commonly used species.
 
"Many genes close together in the sea anemone are still close together in humans, even after six or seven hundred million years," he said.
 
While this analysis may say something about humans, Putnam and Rokhsar said they see the value of the anemone being what it offers to early animal evolution studies, particularly by opening a window into early animal development and behavior.
 
"We are looking close to the base of the animal tree of life," said Rokhsar. “What was the common ancestor of all animals like? What did it eat? Did it have muscles? A brain?” Rokhsar asked.
 

 
Cedarlane to Exclusively Distribute ATCC's Genomic DNA, Other Products in Canada
 
Cedarlane Laboratories of Burlington, Ontario, will become the exclusive distributor of American Type Culture Collection’s products in Canada, Cedarlane said this week.
 
Under the agreement, Cedarlane will distribute ATCC’s media, sera, DNA, and its Genuine Cultures products.
 
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

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