Agrigenomics Yields a Next-Gen Cornucopia

MARYANN LABANT | November 1, 2019 | 3 views

Gene editing technology takes agricultural biotechnology beyond transgenic technology, which transfers “as is” genes from one species to another. Essentially, gene editing is more refined than transgenesis. This difference may justify the view that gene edited plants are not, like transgenic plants, genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Regulatory requirements and consumer attitudes may hang in the balance.

Spotlight

Algenol

Algenol is a global, industrial biotechnology company that is commercializing its patented algae technology platform for production of ethanol and other biofuels. Algenol’s patented technology enables the production of the four most important fuels (ethanol, gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel) for around $1.30 per gallon each using proprietary algae, sunlight, carbon dioxide and saltwater at production levels of 8,000 total gallons of liquid fuel per acre per year.

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MEDICAL

Advancement in Genomics Accelerating its Penetration into Precision Health

Article | June 22, 2022

Genomics is an interdisciplinary field of biology emphasizing the structure, editing, evolution, function, and mapping of genomes. It is creating deeper inroads across the precision health domain with the increasing introduction of advanced technologies such as quantum simulation, next-generation sequencing (NGS), and precise genome manipulation. As precision health focuses on providing the proper intervention to the right patient at the right time, genomics increasingly finds applications in human and pathogen genome sequencing in clinical and research spaces. Rising Hereditary Diseases Burden Paving the Way for Genomics in Precision Health In the last few years, a significant surge in the prevalence of diseases and ailments such as diabetes, obesity, baldness, and others has been witnessed across the globe. A history of family members with chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, hearing issues, and heart disease, can sometimes continue into the next generation. Hence, the study of genes is extensively being conducted for predicting health risks and early treatment of these diseases. It also finds use in CRISPR-based diagnostics and the preparation of precision medication for the individual. In addition, ongoing advancements in genomics are making it possible to identify different genetic traits that persuade people to more widespread diseases and health problems. The Emergence of Genomics Improves Disease Understanding Genomics refers to the study of the complete genetic makeup of a cell or organism. Increasing scientific research in the area substantially contributes to increasing knowledge about the human genome and assists in improving the ability to understand disease etiology, risk, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. On account of these improvements, innovative genomic technologies and tools are being developed to enable better precision health not only for the individual but for various regional populations as well. The Way Forward With growing preference for personalized medicine and an increasing need for more accurate pathogen detection and diagnostics, genomics is gaining huge popularity across the precision health domain. Also, increasing research activities for developing novel high-precision therapeutics and rising importance of gene study in the prevention, diagnosis, and management of infectious and genetic diseases will further pave the way for genomics in the forthcoming years.

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Top 10 biotech IPOs in 2019

Article | September 13, 2019

The big question at the start of 2019 was whether the IPO window would stay open for biotech companies, particularly those seeking to pull off ever-larger IPOs at increasingly earlier stages of development. The short answer is yes—kind of. Here’s the long answer: In the words of Renaissance Capital, the IPO market had “a mostly good year.” The total number of deals fell to 159 from 192 the year before, but technology and healthcare companies were standout performers. The latter—which include biotech, medtech and diagnostics companies—led the pack, making up 43% of all IPOs in 2019. By Renaissance’s count, seven companies went public at valuations exceeding $1 billion, up from five the year before

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Cell Out? Lysate-Based Expression an Option for Personalized Meds

Article | April 9, 2020

Cell-free expression (CFE) is the practice of making a protein without using a living cell. In contrast with cell line-based methods, production is achieved using a fluid containing biological components extracted from a cell, i.e., a lysate. CFE offers potential advantages for biopharma according to Philip Probert, PhD, a senior scientist at the Centre for Process Innovation in the U.K.

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Closing bacterial genomes from the human gut microbiome using long-read sequencing

Article | February 12, 2020

In our lab, we focus on the impact of the gut microbiome on human health and disease. To evaluate this relationship, it’s important to understand the particular functions that different bacteria have. As bacteria are able to exchange, duplicate, and rearrange their genes in ways that directly affect their phenotypes, complete bacterial genomes assembled directly from human samples are essential to understand the strain variation and potential functions of the bacteria we host. Advances in the microbiome space have allowed for the de novo assembly of microbial genomes directly from metagenomes via short-read sequencing, assembly of reads into contigs, and binning of contigs into putative genome drafts. This is advantageous because it allows us to discover microbes without culturing them, directly from human samples and without reference databases. In the past year, there have been a number of tour de force efforts to broadly characterize the human gut microbiota through the creation of such metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs)[1–4]. These works have produced hundreds of thousands of microbial genomes that vastly increase our understanding of the human gut. However, challenges in the assembly of short reads has limited our ability to correctly assemble repeated genomic elements and place them into genomic context. Thus, existing MAGs are often fragmented and do not include mobile genetic elements, 16S rRNA sequences, and other elements that are repeated or have high identity within and across bacterial genomes.

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Spotlight

Algenol

Algenol is a global, industrial biotechnology company that is commercializing its patented algae technology platform for production of ethanol and other biofuels. Algenol’s patented technology enables the production of the four most important fuels (ethanol, gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel) for around $1.30 per gallon each using proprietary algae, sunlight, carbon dioxide and saltwater at production levels of 8,000 total gallons of liquid fuel per acre per year.

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MEDTECH

GP-write Partners with DNA Script to Accelerate DNA-Writing Technology and Accessibility

Genome Project-write | October 18, 2021

GP-write’s CAD is a one-stop shop for microbe, plant and animal genome writing and redesign. Its automated workflow allows users to rapidly upload a genome, redesign it and synthesize the new sequence. The tool enables researchers to directly order synthetic DNA or related products and services from GP-write’s affiliated members. DNA Script’s SYNTAX System, a benchtop DNA printer powered by their groundbreaking enzymatic DNA synthesis (EDS) technology, enables users to print sequences designed on GP-write’s CAD tool right in their lab. The first-of-its-kind DNA printer expedites workflows, making DNA writing as simple and efficient as next-generation sequencing. DNA Script will host a roundtable at the GP-write 5.0 conference on October 22 at 12:30 p.m. ET to engage attendees in a discussion centered on biosecurity as it relates to emerging technologies, including GP-write’s new CAD tool and DNA Script’s SYNTAX System. “We’re pleased to join GP-write and their industrial partners to drive innovation on the forefront of DNA printing technologies. Just as NGS, or DNA 'read,' and CRISPR, or DNA 'edit,' have brought significant advances to research and clinical care, we believe the broad accessibility of synthetic DNA printing, or DNA 'write,' offered by our SYNTAX System will be equally transformative and power the next bio-revolution.” Thomas Ybert, co-founder and CEO of DNA Script GP-write President and General Counsel, Amy Cayne Schwartz, notes that the organizations are partnering to work toward realizing “a shared vision of a future where writing genomes is facile, democratized and safely accessible.” Schwartz explains that “this will open up new frontiers for development of novel therapeutics and solutions for environmental health.” About Genome Project-write GP-write, conceived as a sequel to the Human Genome Project, applies lessons learned from HGP to pursue scientific exploration fully integrated with the development of genome engineering technologies. The primary goal of the project is to drive dramatic cost reductions and expedite whole-genome writing and redesign over the next decade, empowering researchers to uncover complex biological behavior and reprogram organisms to address defining global challenges in medicine, biotechnology and environmental health. About DNA Script Founded in 2014, DNA Script is a pioneering life sciences technology company developing a new, faster, more powerful and versatile way to design and manufacture nucleic acids. The company has developed an alternative to traditional DNA synthesis called Enzymatic DNA Synthesis, or EDS, allowing this technology to be accessible to labs with the first benchtop enzymatic synthesis instrument, the SYNTAX System. By putting DNA synthesis back in the lab, DNA Script aims to transform life sciences research through innovative technology that gives researchers unprecedented control and autonomy.

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New Device Permits a Closer Look at Previously Inaccessible Areas of the Genome

Technology Networks | November 25, 2019

Expansions of DNA repeats are very hard to analyze. A method developed by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin allows for a detailed look at these previously inaccessible regions of the genome. It combines nanopore sequencing, stem cell, and CRISPR-Cas technologies. The method could improve the diagnosis of various congenital diseases and cancers in the future. Large parts of the genome consist of monotonous regions where short sections of the genome repeat hundreds or thousands of times. But expansions of these "DNA repeats" in the wrong places can have dramatic consequences, like in patients with Fragile X syndrome, one of the most commonly identifiable hereditary causes of cognitive disability in humans. However, these repetitive regions are still regarded as an unknown territory that cannot be examined appropriately, even with modern methods. A research team led by Franz-Josef Müller at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin and the University Hospital of Schleswig-Holstein in Kiel recently shed light on this inaccessible region of the genome. Müller's team was the first to successfully determine the length of genomic tandem repeats in patient-derived stem cell cultures. The researchers additionally obtained data on the epigenetic state of the repeats by scanning individual DNA molecules. The method, which is based on nanopore sequencing and CRISPR-Cas technologies, opens the door for research into repetitive genomic regions, and the rapid and accurate diagnosis of a range of diseases.

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Synthego Launches Genome Engineering for iPS Cells

GEN | October 23, 2019

Synthego’s newest offering applies genome engineering in order to address a longtime challenge in research and drug development—the dearth of high-quality, physiologically relevant biological models needed for translational medicine. The provider of genome engineering products and services this week launched a genome engineering service for induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells—an expansion of automated cell editing capabilities that according to Synthego is designed to achieve extremely high editing efficiency of iPS cells at an industrial scale. Synthego reasons that iPS cells can provide one of the most reliable and accurate models for disease because they allow researchers to create patient-specific variations. Yet iPS cells created through the reprogramming of human adult cells have traditionally been difficult to handle and modify genetically. Synthego’s new offering of iPS cells includes modification by removal of gene function (knockout), single nucleotide variation, protein tagging and other knock-ins, all with the goal of enabling scientists to generate edits at a massive scale to accelerate research and disease modeling.

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MEDTECH

GP-write Partners with DNA Script to Accelerate DNA-Writing Technology and Accessibility

Genome Project-write | October 18, 2021

GP-write’s CAD is a one-stop shop for microbe, plant and animal genome writing and redesign. Its automated workflow allows users to rapidly upload a genome, redesign it and synthesize the new sequence. The tool enables researchers to directly order synthetic DNA or related products and services from GP-write’s affiliated members. DNA Script’s SYNTAX System, a benchtop DNA printer powered by their groundbreaking enzymatic DNA synthesis (EDS) technology, enables users to print sequences designed on GP-write’s CAD tool right in their lab. The first-of-its-kind DNA printer expedites workflows, making DNA writing as simple and efficient as next-generation sequencing. DNA Script will host a roundtable at the GP-write 5.0 conference on October 22 at 12:30 p.m. ET to engage attendees in a discussion centered on biosecurity as it relates to emerging technologies, including GP-write’s new CAD tool and DNA Script’s SYNTAX System. “We’re pleased to join GP-write and their industrial partners to drive innovation on the forefront of DNA printing technologies. Just as NGS, or DNA 'read,' and CRISPR, or DNA 'edit,' have brought significant advances to research and clinical care, we believe the broad accessibility of synthetic DNA printing, or DNA 'write,' offered by our SYNTAX System will be equally transformative and power the next bio-revolution.” Thomas Ybert, co-founder and CEO of DNA Script GP-write President and General Counsel, Amy Cayne Schwartz, notes that the organizations are partnering to work toward realizing “a shared vision of a future where writing genomes is facile, democratized and safely accessible.” Schwartz explains that “this will open up new frontiers for development of novel therapeutics and solutions for environmental health.” About Genome Project-write GP-write, conceived as a sequel to the Human Genome Project, applies lessons learned from HGP to pursue scientific exploration fully integrated with the development of genome engineering technologies. The primary goal of the project is to drive dramatic cost reductions and expedite whole-genome writing and redesign over the next decade, empowering researchers to uncover complex biological behavior and reprogram organisms to address defining global challenges in medicine, biotechnology and environmental health. About DNA Script Founded in 2014, DNA Script is a pioneering life sciences technology company developing a new, faster, more powerful and versatile way to design and manufacture nucleic acids. The company has developed an alternative to traditional DNA synthesis called Enzymatic DNA Synthesis, or EDS, allowing this technology to be accessible to labs with the first benchtop enzymatic synthesis instrument, the SYNTAX System. By putting DNA synthesis back in the lab, DNA Script aims to transform life sciences research through innovative technology that gives researchers unprecedented control and autonomy.

Read More

New Device Permits a Closer Look at Previously Inaccessible Areas of the Genome

Technology Networks | November 25, 2019

Expansions of DNA repeats are very hard to analyze. A method developed by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin allows for a detailed look at these previously inaccessible regions of the genome. It combines nanopore sequencing, stem cell, and CRISPR-Cas technologies. The method could improve the diagnosis of various congenital diseases and cancers in the future. Large parts of the genome consist of monotonous regions where short sections of the genome repeat hundreds or thousands of times. But expansions of these "DNA repeats" in the wrong places can have dramatic consequences, like in patients with Fragile X syndrome, one of the most commonly identifiable hereditary causes of cognitive disability in humans. However, these repetitive regions are still regarded as an unknown territory that cannot be examined appropriately, even with modern methods. A research team led by Franz-Josef Müller at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin and the University Hospital of Schleswig-Holstein in Kiel recently shed light on this inaccessible region of the genome. Müller's team was the first to successfully determine the length of genomic tandem repeats in patient-derived stem cell cultures. The researchers additionally obtained data on the epigenetic state of the repeats by scanning individual DNA molecules. The method, which is based on nanopore sequencing and CRISPR-Cas technologies, opens the door for research into repetitive genomic regions, and the rapid and accurate diagnosis of a range of diseases.

Read More

Synthego Launches Genome Engineering for iPS Cells

GEN | October 23, 2019

Synthego’s newest offering applies genome engineering in order to address a longtime challenge in research and drug development—the dearth of high-quality, physiologically relevant biological models needed for translational medicine. The provider of genome engineering products and services this week launched a genome engineering service for induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells—an expansion of automated cell editing capabilities that according to Synthego is designed to achieve extremely high editing efficiency of iPS cells at an industrial scale. Synthego reasons that iPS cells can provide one of the most reliable and accurate models for disease because they allow researchers to create patient-specific variations. Yet iPS cells created through the reprogramming of human adult cells have traditionally been difficult to handle and modify genetically. Synthego’s new offering of iPS cells includes modification by removal of gene function (knockout), single nucleotide variation, protein tagging and other knock-ins, all with the goal of enabling scientists to generate edits at a massive scale to accelerate research and disease modeling.

Read More

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