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Oct 8, 2009

Helicos Receives $2.9M to Augment Single-Molecule Sequencing Technology

  • NHGRI has awarded Helicos BioSciences a two-year $2.9 million grant to back research on the chemistry and molecular biology underlying the company's technology. The Helicos® Genetic Analysis System is a single-molecule sequencing platform.

    "We expect to make continuous improvements to the core technology that will increase throughput and accuracy of the system without any hardware changes," states John Thompson, principal investigator for the grant.

    The money is part of the Sequencing Technology Development Program representing NHGRI's signature project for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The project is part of NIH's Grand Opportunities program, designed to support large-scale, high-impact work that is expected to accelerate critical scientific breakthroughs and enable growth and investment in biomedical R&D.

    The Helicos Genetic Analysis System reportedly eliminates the biases, complexity, and errors introduced by nucleic acid amplification. It requires minute amounts of starting material, and provides the most direct and accurate view of the genome, the company adds.


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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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