Cofactor Genomics Launches First RNA-Seq Clinical Assay

Cofactor Genomics earlier this month launched its first product since deciding to refocus its efforts exclusively on RNA sequencing and software development.

The Pinnacle assay, which has been through what the company considers a robust validation process, looks at gene fusions and gene expression in patient tumor samples to provide physicians with potential treatment targets for cancer patients.

The test is available through the company’s laboratory in St. Louis, which holds a CLIA certificate of accreditation from CAP…

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NIST, ATCC Develop STR-Based Method to Identify Contamination of Mouse Cell Lines

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a method to identify cell contamination in mouse cell lines, the first step in addressing an issue that has plagued research labs for years.

The method involves using 19 short tandem repeat (STR) markers to identify cell lines through a highly multiplexable PCR-based assay. The institute developed the markers and the assay, and are validating their markers through a collaboration with ATCC, a private nonprofit standards organization that also serves as a biological cell repository.

Cell line misidentification is an issue that affects many research laboratories and has been pointed out in numerous peer-reviewed publications…

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Centers for Common Disease Genomics Program Standardizes Sequencing Analysis Pipeline

The Centers for Common Disease Genomics (CCDG) program has created a standardized pipeline to help its scientists to analyze data from tens of thousands of genomes across multiple institutions. The National Institutes of Health’s National Human Genome Research Institute funded the initiative last year with a grant of $280 million, to be distributed over a four-year period. Its four main centers are housed at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Baylor College of Medicine’s Human Genome Sequencing Center, the New York Genome Center (NYGC), and the McDonnell Genome Institute at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. However, smaller sequencing efforts…

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How do we decide what is and isn’t funny? Genetics could play a role

Question: How do you tell the difference between a male chromosome and a female chromosome?

Answer: Take down their genes.

Did you laugh at this little genetics joke? Even a little? No? Whatever your reaction, it appears safe to say that your own genes played a role. What we find funny can differ wildly from person to person. And research on the genetics behind the sense of humor is somewhat limited. But scientists have identified at least one gene…

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ToolBox Genomics Launches Beta Test of Health Action Report for 23andMe Customers

ToolBox Genomics, a startup that provides customers with nutrition and lifestyle recommendations based on their genotyping profile, said earlier this month that it secured seed funding and plans to begin beta-testing its Health Action Report, which is initially only available to 23andMe customers. The company also said that it is planning to complete a round of Series A funding in the second quarter during which it aims to raise between $1 million and $1.5 million. Following this, ToolBox Genomics plans to develop its own genetic test and to take it through regulatory approval by the US Food and Drug Administration. After completing beta-testing, the company plans to offer…

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Love: A mystery of the heart or hard-wired in the genes?

How do you know when you’ve found that special someone? What is it, exactly, that draws you to your soulmate? Just one of life’s eternal mysteries – a question better left for the poets. Or maybe not. There is a growing body of research pointing out links between certain genetic factors and what we find attractive in a mate. And while our genes may not provide all the answers to this question, they certainly appear to play a part. People, for example, have been shown to pursue mates with genetic characteristics…

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Celmatix Launches Blood-Based Genetic Screen for Fertility in Women

Celmatix has launched a genetic screen for fertility called Fertilome, which it will perform at its CLIA-certified laboratory based in New York. Fertilome is a blood-based test that analyzes the patient’s DNA for 49 variants noted in the literature to correspond with conditions that affect women’s reproductive health, such as endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome. Scientists at Celmatix’s lab run patient samples on an Illumina MiSeqDx instrument to detect the variants. The reports are sent back to physicians, who then consult with their patients on the best plan of action based on the results. The test offers patients genetic-level insights into their fertility…

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Garvan Institute Launches Medical Genome Reference Bank to Help Inform Disease Variant Studies

Last week the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia launched the Medical Genome Reference Bank, the world’s largest publicly available genome bank made up of healthy older people.  The reference bank’s development was funded by the Sydney Genomics Collaborative, a $24 million, 4-year program to boost genomic research across New South Wales. The bank is one of three major projects supported by the Sydney Genomics Collaborative. The collaborative is funded by the NSW Health, the federal health services organization for New South Wales, Australia. The NSW Minister of Health, Jillian Skinner, announced the launch of…

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Parabon NanoLabs Using DoD Contract to Develop Software to Streamline Forensic DNA Analysis

Parabon NanoLabs was recently awarded a two-year contract for an undisclosed amount with the US Department of Defense to develop software for forensic DNA analysis. The software, called Keystone, will be able to coordinate data collection, storage, and analysis from a variety of different forensic analysis instruments, addressing a need for interoperability in molecular forensics. Parabon is a DNA technology company that develops products and services for next-generation therapeutic and forensic analysis…

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Gene editing tool conundrum: CRISPR competitor NgAgo challenged over unreproducible results

A Chinese biologist raised the hopes of the scientific community last year when he announced the discovery of a gene editing tool with the potential to upstage the transformational CRISPR-Cas9 system. Han Chunyu, of Hebei University of Science and Technology, dubbed his technique NgAgo — for Natrono bacterium gregoryi Argonaute. But his promise of a more accurate gene editing tool has been followed by a steady stream of disappointments, with other scientists failing to reproduce Han’s results. Mounting criticism has prompted Nature Biotechnology, the research publisher, to investigate the matter. The work of Han’s research team is…

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