Agilent introduced a range of new products at the ASMS Conference on Mass Spectrometry including updates for its MassHunter Software that ensure compliance to the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) 21CFR Part 11 regulation. Also released was a new member of the MassHunter suite, MassHunter Metabolite ID, to improve efficiency in the identification of drug metabolites. Agilent also announced speed and precision enhancements to its 6100 series of single quadrupole mass spectrometers to aid high-throughput pharmaceutical and chemical analysis laboratories. The company also launched two new additions to its 1200 series HPLC-Chip/MS system, a High-Sapacity Enrichment Column Chip which helps to separate low abundance proteins from complex mixtures and the Intact Protein Chip to separate intact proteins. To help make use of these new products Agilent has decided to increase the mass range of its 6410 triple quadrupole mass spectrometers to aid researchers involved in biomarker validation and proteomics applications. Applied Biosystems has launched a new software package, the Variant Reporter, which automates the detection of genetic variations generated during medical sequencing projects. Automated DNA sequencing technologies have made it possible to perform detection and screening studies of genetic variants in large population samples, but with the advances in the sequencing technology up to 70 per cent of a researchers time can be spent on data analysis. According to Dr Nicholas Marini, a research scientist at the University of California at Berkeley, US: "the Variant Reporter software addresses a major log jam that currently exists by providing a better way to rapidly evaluate variation data and identify targets of interest. This could save us literally hundreds of hours in time spent evaluating these large data sets." ESA Biosceiences has developed a fast, easy choline test for large-scale clinical and epidemiologic research studies. The assay can be run on either the ESA Coulochem or CoulArray HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography) system and accurately quantifies the amount of choline in whole blood or plasma in less than 5 minutes. The cardiology-research community has shown growing interest in choline as a potential biomarker for acute coronary syndrome. Illumina has unveiled the first industry-hosted genetic research database to provide researchers conducting whole-genome association studies access to more than 6,000 control samples. The new database, iControlDB, provides a more efficient and cost-effective way for researchers to compare groups of patients who have a disease with a control group of patients without the disease without them needing to run the control samples themselves. "I think it is a unique milestone to have this many control samples freely available for case-control whole-genome association studies. In fact, it is a major gift to the scientific community, allowing many investigators to more quickly and efficiently conduct genetic mapping of human diseases, at a substantially reduced cost," said Peter Gregersen, M.D., director of the Robert S. Boas Center for Genomics and Human Genetics at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. Mettler-Toledo has released five new compact bench meters and portable splash-protected meters for pH conductivity measurements, the FiveEasy and FiveGo. The instruments are suitable for use in a wide range of applications in the laboratory and in the field with the FiveGo instrument and robust electrode coming with a convenient carry bag and four sample bottles, while the FiveEasy comes with a handy electrode arm. Syrris has launched a competition that will see a lucky winner get the opportunity to use an FRX300 flow chemistry system free for one month. To enter, applicants need to submit an abstract of around 500 words detailing the nature and objectives of the experiments they would carry out on the system, with the most novel proposal winning.