The UK Government has been told by the Wellcome Trust, the world's biggest biomedical charity, to pay for research facilities for British scientists or Britain will be relegated from the research 'Premier League'. The trust seems to be showing that it is tired of 'making up shortfalls' in state investment in science. Director Dr Mike Dexter says that the role of the trust is to provided 'added value, not pick up the bill for things that are the state's responsibility'. State investment in research has fallen by 12.5 per cent in the last ten years while funding from medical research charities has increased by a third.
Meanwhile, biotech firm Monsanto, has been the victim of an arson attack. The arsonists broke into the company's Italian granary and set fire to seeds that they suspected were genetically modified. Flammable liquid was poured over the sacks of grain, which included maize, rape and soya, to start four fires. More than £100,000 worth of damage was caused by the attack. Monsanto said that the seeds were not genetically modified but were 'conventional' ones ready for distribution to growers.
Finally, Genetix, the Hampshire-based biotech firm, has bought the rights to a substance which detects hereditary mutations causing diseases such as breast cancer. The DNA-based reagent, developed at Nottingham University, is used to test blood or saliva for tiny genetic mutations. It can detect when bits of chromosomes are missing as well as when a chromosome has been altered, which makes this substance different from existing reagents. The company intends to sell the substance to researchers so they can identify mutations like those which cause breast cancer, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and some mental disabilities.
Sources and References
Genetix forms DNA link
Wellcome 'tired of footing laboratory bills'