NextGenSeek Stories This Week (21/09); Acquisitions, Roche’s New Center, NPR’s $1000 Genome Series, and IgNobel 2012

NextGenSeek’s link roundup presents interesting stories/happenings in Genomics to read this weekend. This week’s NextGenSeek stories are dominated by acquisition news in Genomics. The biggest surprising acquisition news is BGI’s acquisition of CompleteGenomics. Other interesting stories include Illumina’s Acquisition of BlueGnomics, Roche’s New Research facility at New York, and NPR’s three-part “$1000 genome” series. [Update] This week’s NextGenSeek stories also include the famous “IgNobel” awards in science.  The 2012 IgNobel award for Neuroscience for “Illustrating Multiple Hypothesis Testing Using Dead Salmon” is a must read.

BGI Acquires Complete Genomics for $117.6 Million

BGI Acquires CompleteGenomics

BGI Acquires CompleteGenomics

In a surprising move, BGI-Shenzhen, the leading Chinese company in offering sequencing services is acquiring California based Complete Genomics for about $117.6 million.  The acquisition news took many by surprise, although CompleteGenomics has been in financial trouble.  CompleteGenomics has slower, but more accurate genome sequencing technology . With the acquisition of CompleteGenomics,  BGI hopes to compete for US whole genome sequencing market for clinical genomics. Here is the press release of the acquisition news and the coverage at the popular press/blog.

You might also want to learn what Complete Genomics’ CEO was thinking on the future of Complete Genomics, just before acquisition here: Interview With Complete Genomics CEO — The Future Of Genetics-Based Medicine?

Roche Chooses New York City for its New Translational Research Center

NY Times is reporting that Roche has picked New York City for its new research center on translational science. Earlier in the summer, Roche shut down Roche’s Nutley NJ facility and laid off 1000 employees and it said that it will be opening a new facility for translational research soon. NY Times is reporting that the new facility will be in Alexandria Center for Life Science, at 29th Street and First Avenue in Manhattan. The new center will host about 200 employees.

NPR Interviews Scientists (Watson and Snyder) Who Sequenced Their Genomes

Want to learn about the upside and the downside of sequencing your genome? NPR interviews Jim Watson and Mike Snyder about their experience of sequencing their own genomes.

Jim Watson’s genome was sequenced.  Jim Watson’s genome was sequencing in 2008 by Baylor College of Medicine, 454 Life Sciences, and The Rothberg Institute. The Jim Watson’s genome sequence results were in Nature The complete genome of an individual by massively parallel DNA sequencing and the sequence data is available at CSHL website;

The Stanford based Mike Snyder sequenced his genome and profiled various omic measurements as part of a 14 month-long study for understanding personalized genomic medicine. The results from the integrative personal omics profile (iPOP) analysis was published in Cell early this year, Personal omics profiling reveals dynamic molecular and medical phenotypes.

This interview was part of NPR’s three-part “$1000 Genome” series addressing the future of personal genomic medicine.  In the first part of “1000 genome” series NPR asked

“Is society really ready for this flood of genetic information and everything that comes along with getting to know our genomes so well?”

The final part of the NPR’s “$1000 Genome” will air on October 5. As part of the series, NPR is also taking online survey asking readers “If you had your genome sequenced, would you want to know everything?”  Till now, out of 2000 readers, 68% of the readers want all information including about a disease that they can’t prevent.

Illumina Acquires UK Based BlueGnome

Illumina Acquires BlueGnome

Illumina Acquires BlueGnome

If anyone had a question about Illumina’ intention of getting in to personal genetic test space, Illumina gave a clear (yet another) clear answer with the acquisition of  Cambridge, U.K.-based BlueGnome. BlueGnome was founded in 2002  and has a team of mathematicians, biologists and software engineers developing genetic tests to improve human health. BlueGnome’s CytoChip is used in over 40 countries for diagnosing genetic abnormalities and has tested over 100,000 samples in the last six years.

BlueGnome also has developed 24sure, a preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) test that can count chromosomes in a single human cell and improve IVF birth rates dramatically.  With the acquisition of BlueGnome, Illumina seems to be betting on BlueGnome’s 24sure technology.  In the press release, Illumina said that “24sure has the potential to become the defacto standard of care for IVF cycles worldwide”.

IgNobel Award: Dead Salmon and Multiple Testing Correction

It is that time of the year again. The famous IgNobel awards for 2012 were awarded to top scientists at a special ceremony at Harvard University this Thursday. Among the many interesting awards is one for US neuroscientists, Craig Bennett, Abigail Baird, Michael Miller, and George Wolford from UCSB and Dartmouth, for demonstrating the importance of multiple testing correction to brain researchers using a dead salmon. They showed that using “complicated instruments and simple statistics”, but without correcting for multiple testing correction, one can see brain activity  anywhere — even in a dead salmon.

Check out their “interesting” work:



  1. […]  In September, BGI-Shenzhen, the leading Chinese company in offering sequencing services  announced that it is acquiring California based Complete Genomics for about $117.6 […]

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