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Bio Saga

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Don't Do It Just Because Angelina Jolie Did It

The nonprofit ECRI Institute has released a BRCA testing information guide for patients interested in learning more about the genetic risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

The guide comes in response to the growing concern and questions among women about the information their genes contain about the risk for cancer, after actress Angelina Jolie wrote an op-ed piece discussing her decision to get a double mastectomy as a result of carrying a BRCA1 mutation associated with heightened risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. There are reports that Jolie's highly publicized and controversial decision has caused a spike among women asking their physicians for BRCA testing.

"People can get caught up in the headlines, which can lead to quick, uninformed decisions," says Vivian Coates, VP of information services and health technology assessment at ECRI Institute, in a statement. "Many women may find that after talking to their physicians about their risks for the BRCA gene mutation, the best course of action may actually be to do nothing."

Indeed, the US Preventative Services Task Force's 2005 guidelines recommend that women with a history of breast and ovarian cancer be referred for genetic counseling and be evaluated for BRCA testing. For those without a family history of cancer, the USPSTF does not recommend counseling or BRCA testing.

In addition to information about who should be tested, ECRI's guide also includes information on Myriad's BRACAnalysis, highlighting it as the "currently available test." ECRI characterizes BRACAnalysis as "highly accurate" and reimbursed by most insurance companies if the woman meets certain criteria for testing. The institute also mentions that other labs have indicated they will offer testing for BRCA mutations as the US Supreme Court recently ruled that patents on isolated gene sequences are invalid, but ECRI does not offer any details about these new tests.

Do you wish to know more? - BRCA Gene Mutation Consumer Guide

Friday, June 14, 2013

How to analyze data from Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) platforms


                        BI231 NGS Data Analysis
                            June 24-28, 2013
                      Online at Bioinformatics.Org



This course teaches biologists how to analyze data from Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) platforms. Topics to be covered include the description of sequencing strategies and platforms, experiment types, data formats, and command line tools for various workflows, such as quantification of transcripts, alternative splice forms, copy number variants, single nucleotide polymorphisms, etc.

Shailender Nagpal, M.Sc. is a data analysis consultant in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries and specializes in the interpretation of data generated from various platforms in drug discovery, such as genomics and proteomics.


The course is divided into 4 sessions, with WebEx meetings scheduled for 16:00 to 17:00 GMT (12:00 PM to 1:00 PM US EDT), Monday through Thursday (Friday will be a reserve day). Homework assignments will involve running computationally intensive tools.  Recorded lectures on Linux will also be provided.

Session 1:
Fundamentals of NGS technologies - strategies, platforms and types of experiments that can be done (whole genome, transcriptome, targeted, ChIP-Seq, etc.)

Session 2:
Data formats and overview of algorithms, workflows and command line tools

Session 3:
Whole genome sequencing workflow used for CNV and SNP discovery

Session 4:
Transcriptomics workflow for quantifying abundance of transcripts and alternative splicing junctions

If you haven't already done so, please create an on-line account to access the educational section of our website ( You may register for the course directly by making a payment using the on-line registration form (use this form only for PayPal and credit card payments for the base tuition listed below.):

For-profit & government: $1,000 USD
Non-profit & self-pay: $600 USD

Additional discounts are available as follows:
* Professional members: 20% discount (please inquire)
* Limited scholarships may also be available for those in low-income economies (please inquire).

A one month subscription to our high performance Linux server, pre-configured with the software used in this course: $50.

For alternative payment methods, please write to

For more information, please visit: or contact

Life Science and Informatics

What is this?
is this a new industry?
or a old wine in a new bottle?

Well Life Sciences and Informatics can be anything form computational biology, all omes and omics, core bioinformatics to curation and literature mining, database creation, in the area of biology, chemistry , bio-chem space.

There are number of companies in India and bangalore is the forefront as a major bio-cluster with 20 to 30 companies in this sphere.

now how good are these companies doing?
how good are they in terms of the international markets and how profitable is their business?
what do they do?
their clients?

These are some interesting things that could be discussed in this blog page...

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