Politics, Information Technology, and Genomics

Sour grapes

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August 10th, 2009

Well, the US is not the only place with interesting politics. I recently came across this letter from Kevin McKernan, Senior Director of Scientific Operations at Applied Biosystems/Life Technologies, to the House of Lords in the UK (pdf). In the letter, McKernan expresses his concern that the Sanger Institute‘s decision to return their SOLiD instruments was due to some long-standing resentment of Applied Biosystems due to their association with Craig Venter and his challenge to the Human Genome Project. Obviously there could be no valid scientific reason for their actions. And clearly the House of Lords is in the best position to establish that fact and rectify the situation. Sure, the Sanger Institute receives its funding from the Wellcome Trust, an independent charity, but even if the House of Lords can’t pull their funding, they can always push an antitrust investigation, right?

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7 Responses to “Sour grapes”

  1. Interesting find David! I have posted some thoughts on the matter here: http://pathogenomics.bham.ac.uk/blog/2009/08/abi-challenge-sanger-centre/

  2. [...] David Dooling has uncovered an intriguing letter from Kevin McKernan, Senior Director of Scientific Operations at ABI sent to the House of Lords last November. The letter concerns the Sanger Centre’s decision to return their five ABI SoLiD instruments in order to concentrate on building Illumina (Solexa) capacity. This was of course a big blow to ABI – the Sanger Centre is Europe’s largest sequencing facility. [...]

  3. Joey Bedell Says:

    An amazing find of the letter written to the House of Lords. Very interesting reading both here and on Nick’s site.

  4. Chris Jones Says:

    Thanks for digging that out for us – what a fun read!

    But the most surprising thing for me is that you thought UK’s politigenomics might not be interesting! The House of Lords is as mad as a box of frogs. Combine that with a few eccentric, geeky English men in white coats and…….

  5. Chris, I never said that UK’s politics weren’t interesting. Rather I said that the US is not the only place with with interesting politics. UK, Italy, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, all “interesting”.

  6. [...] Second generation sequencing techniques overcome this restriction, by finding ways to sequence the DNA without having to move it around. You stick the bit of DNA you want to sequence in a little dot, called a cluster, and you do the sequencing there; as a result, you can pack many millions of clusters into one machine. Sequencing a strand of DNA while keeping it held in place is tricky, and requires a lot of cleverness. I am only going to talk in detail about Illumina’s reversible termination sequencing, partly because it is the most similar to Sanger sequencing, but mostly because I too am part of the shadowy cabal of people trying to destroy ABI. [...]

  7. SOLiD proof that Solexa won ?

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