AI for plant breeding in an ever-changing climate

How might artificial intelligence (AI) impact agriculture, the food industry, and the field of bioengineering? Dan Jacobson, a research and development staff member in the Biosciences Division at the US Department of Energy's (DOE's) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), has a few ideas. For the past 5 years, Jacobson and his team have studied plants to understand the genetic variables and patterns that make them adaptable to changing environments and climates. As a computational biologist, Jacobson uses some of the world's most powerful supercomputers for his work--including the recently decommissioned Cray XK7 Titan and the world's most powerful and smartest supercomputer for open science, the IBM AC922 Summit supercomputer, both located at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF), a DOE Office of Science User Facility at ORNL.

Spotlight

Ochre Health

Ochre Health is an Australian medical services organisation with over 33 Medical Centres that specialises in providing healthcare services in urban, regional and remote communities throughout NSW, QLD, VIC, TAS and the ACT. Since 2002, our goal has been to improve healthcare outcomes within our communities by providing exceptional doctors (GP, VMO and Procedural), supported by highly trained practice support staff and operational management. Our sites range from remote (RA4) locations, such as Boggabri, Condobolin and Queenstown, where hospital on-call services are also provided by our doctors, to District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) locations in Canberra and on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

OTHER ARTICLES
MedTech

Better Purification and Recovery in Bioprocessing

Article | July 20, 2022

In the downstream portion of any bioprocess, one must pick through the dross before one can seize the gold the biotherapeutic that the bioprocess was always meant to generate. Unfortunately, the dross is both voluminous and various. And the biotherapeutic gold, unlike real gold, is corruptible. That is, it can suffer structural damage and activity loss. When discarding the dross and collecting the gold, bioprocessors must be efficient and gentle. They must, to the extent possible, eliminate contaminants and organic debris while ensuring that biotherapeutics avoid aggregation-inducing stresses and retain their integrity during purification and recovery. Anything less compromises purity and reduces yield. To purify and recover biotherapeutics efficiently and gently, bioprocessors must avail themselves of the most appropriate tools and techniques. Here, we talk with several experts about which tools and techniques can help bioprocessors overcome persistent challenges. Some of these experts also touch on new approaches that can help bioprocessors address emerging challenges.

Read More
MedTech

Expansion of BioPharma: Opportunities and Investments

Article | July 11, 2022

Biopharmaceutical innovations are among the most ingenious and refined achievements of modern medical science. New concepts, techniques, and therapies are emerging, such as the cell therapy Provenge, which can be used to treat cancer, and gene therapies, which provide even more amazing promises of disease remission and regenerative medicine. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a huge boom in the pharmaceutical industry. This is because more and more attention is being paid to increasing manufacturing capacity and starting new research on drug development. Biopharma: Leading the Way in the Pharma Sector In the past couple of years, the biopharmaceutical sector has deepened its roots across the medical and pharmaceutical industries, on account of the transformation of pharmaceutical companies towards biotechnology, creating opportunities for growth. Also, growing advancements in technologies such as 3D bioprinting, biosensors, and gene editing, along with the integration of advanced artificial intelligence and virtual and augmented reality are estimated to further create prospects for growth. According to a study, the biopharmaceutical sector makes nearly $163 billion around the world and grows by more than 8% each year, which is twice as fast as the traditional pharma sector. Massive Investments Directed Towards Biopharma Investing in biotech research and development (R&D) has yielded better returns than the pharma industry average. Hence, a number of pharmaceutical companies are shifting their presence toward biopharma to capitalize on the upcoming opportunities by investing in and expanding their biotechnology infrastructure. For instance, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., an American manufacturer of scientific instrumentation, reagents and consumables, and software services, announced an investment of $97 million to expand its bioanalytical laboratory operations into three new locations in the U.S. With this investment, the company will add 150,000 square feet of scientific workspace and install the most advanced drug development technologies to produce life-changing medicines for patients in need.

Read More
Medical

Data Analytics: A Groundbreaking Technology in Biotech

Article | July 14, 2022

Biotechnology is a vast discipline of biology that employs diverse biological systems to create solutions that can significantly alter the ways in which they operate across various domains. That said, biotechnology is not a new notion. It has existed for millennia, with ancient civilizations using its earliest incarnations to cultivate crops and create alcoholic beverages. Today, the biotechnology industry has developed by leaps and bounds and has amassed a vast quantity of scientific data through study and research. Given the importance of data in the biotechnology business, it is not difficult to understand why biotech companies utilize data analytics. Modern data analytics tools have made it possible for researchers in the biotech industry to build predictive analytics models and gain knowledge about the most efficient approaches to accomplish their desired goals and objectives. Data analytics is increasingly being adopted by biotech businesses to better understand their industry and foresee any problems down the road. How is Data Analytics Revolutionizing Fields in Biotechnology? Today's business and scientific fields greatly benefit from data. Without the analysis of vast information libraries that provide new insights and enable new innovations, no industry can really advance. Being highly reliant on big data analytics, biotech is not an exception in this regard. With the tools and methods that help scientists systematize their findings and speed up their research for better and safer results, data analytics is making deeper inroads into the biotechnology industry. It is emerging as a crucial link between knowledge and information and is extensively being used for purposes other than just examining the information that is already available. The following are a few of the cutting-edge biotechnology applications of data analytics Genomics and Disease Treatment Pharmaceutical Drug Discovery Drug Recycling and Safety Agriculture and Agri-products Environmental Damage Mitigation Data Analytics Possibilities in Biotechnology With data analytics becoming an integral part of how biotech businesses operate, biotechnologists and related stakeholders need to understand its emergence and crucial role. Data analytics has opened new frontiers in the realm of biotechnology. Thanks to developments in data analytics, research and development activities that once took years may now be accomplished in a matter of months. Also, now scientists have access to biological, social, and environmental insights that can be exploited to create more effective and sustainable products. By understanding the importance of data-related tools and techniques applications, biotech companies are aiming to invest in the popularizing technology to stay updated in the fast-paced biotechnology industry.

Read More
MedTech

Immunology: A New Frontier in Medical Science

Article | July 16, 2022

Introduction Recent developments in the bioengineering of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have revolutionized the treatment of numerous rheumatic and immunological disorders. Currently, several immunological disorders are successfully being targeted and treated using innovative medical techniques such as immunotherapy. Leading companies are increasingly investing in research activities to expand the usage and application of immunology for the treatment of various infectious diseases, including multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disorders, lupus, and psoriasis, leading companies are increasingly investing in research activities. Today, the efforts of researchers in immunology, with a long history of study and research, have borne fruit, as bioengineered mAbs are now being employed in clinical practices. Accelerating Investments: Paving the Way for Immunology The increasing prevalence of infectious diseases, cancer, and immune-mediated inflammatory disorders (IMIDs) is raising the need for more precise classification and an in-depth understanding of the pathology underlying these ailments. Numerous leaders in the biotechnology domain are thus focusing on undertaking numerous strategies, such as new facility launches and collaborations, to address the need by finding deeper inroads into immunology and its use in disease treatments. For instance, in 2022, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center announced the launch of a visionary research and innovation hub, the James P. Allison Institute, to find new roads in immunotherapy, develop new treatments, and foster groundbreaking science. These developments will result in better diagnosis through the use of selective biomarkers, and early detection of fatal diseases and their treatment, which will prevent complications from happening. Also, the identification of high-risk populations through a deeper understanding of genetic and environmental factors can assist in the prevention of disease through immunotherapy. The Way Forward Immunology has led to the development of biotechnology, making it possible to develop novel drugs and vaccines, as well as diagnostic tests, that can be used to prevent, diagnose, and treat a wide range of autoimmune, infectious, and cancerous diseases. With the rapid advancement in technology and the integration of artificial intelligence, immunology is finding its way into an array of domains and industries, encompassing several research areas including medicine, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and space. Today, not only researchers but also leading biotech and pharmaceutical companies have recognized that conventional therapies with pharmaceutical and chemical products are being replaced by products derived from immunology. This is because they work well for health problems, are environmentally friendly, and are also emerging as a wealth-generating business in the medical field.

Read More

Spotlight

Ochre Health

Ochre Health is an Australian medical services organisation with over 33 Medical Centres that specialises in providing healthcare services in urban, regional and remote communities throughout NSW, QLD, VIC, TAS and the ACT. Since 2002, our goal has been to improve healthcare outcomes within our communities by providing exceptional doctors (GP, VMO and Procedural), supported by highly trained practice support staff and operational management. Our sites range from remote (RA4) locations, such as Boggabri, Condobolin and Queenstown, where hospital on-call services are also provided by our doctors, to District of Workforce Shortage (DWS) locations in Canberra and on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

Related News

Avantium Builds 10-Ton Demonstration Plant to Produce Bioplastics

Labiotech.eu | November 07, 2019

The Dutch bioplastics company Avantium has opened a demonstration plant capable of producing 10 tons per year of mono-ethylene glycol (MEG), a compound used to make plastics, using plants as the starting material. Construction of Avantium’s plant began at Chemie Park Delfzijl, the Netherlands, last year. The plant will extract carbohydrates from agricultural waste and crops such as sugar beet, and then use a chemical process called hydrogenolysis to turn them into MEG, an essential ingredient in textiles and plastic bottles. This plant will model the manufacturing process and allow early troubleshooting. Avantium aims to have a fully commercial plant up and running by 2024. At present, 99% of MEG comes from the petrochemical industry, which generates high greenhouse gas emissions. Avantium aims to reduce society’s reliance on non-renewable fossil fuels by instead producing the material from crops and unwanted plant waste. The company estimates that its technology could reduce carbon emissions by 70% compared with traditional sources of MEG.

Read More

The Pectin Is Protectin’

Technology Networks | October 25, 2019

Aluminum toxicity has long been known to damage plant cells and inhibit the growth of plants. Aluminum is widely found in soils that are too acidic, and as human activities have increased soil acidity across the globe, aluminum toxicity has become a leading cause of low crop yield worldwide. While the effect of aluminum on plants is widely known, precisely how aluminum enters plant cells and causes harm is not well understood. In a new study published in Frontiers in Plant Science, researchers at the University of Tsukuba have found that an integral part of a plant’s cell wall may play a role in protecting rice plants from soil aluminum. The study focused on Oryza sativa, a species of rice widely grown in Asiatic countries. The group took advantage of a mutant strain of the rice called star1 (Sensitive To Aluminum Rhizotoxicity 1). As its name suggests, the mutant is highly sensitive to the toxic effects of aluminum, and its root tips grow very poorly when aluminum is in the soil. The mutant strain allowed the researchers to piece apart how rice plant cells respond, at the molecular level, to aluminum. “Earlier work suggested that the cell wall somehow plays a mechanistic role in aluminum susceptibility, including a possible role by pectin,” says Hiroaki Iwai, lead author of the study. “We focused on pectin because it is a major polysaccharide component of the cell wall, and because prior evidence suggests that the sensitivity of star1 to aluminum might be related to a pectin deficiency.”

Read More

New dairy cattle breeding method increases genetic selection efficiency

phys.org | July 05, 2019

Brazilian scientists at Sao Paulo State University (UNESP) collaborating with colleagues at the University of Maryland and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have developed a dairy cattle breeding method that adds a new parameter to genetic selection and conserves or even improves a population's genetic diversity. The study, which is published in Journal of Dairy Science, was funded by the São Paulo Research Foundation—FAPESP and USDA. Besides genetic value associated with milk, fat and protein yields, the new method also takes into consideration the variance in gametic diversity and what the authors call "relative predicted transmitting ability," defined as an individual animal's capacity to transmit its genetic traits to the next generation based on this variance."Not all progeny of highly productive animals inherit this quality. The new method selects animals that will produce extremely productive offspring," said Daniel Jordan de Abreu Santos, who conducted the study while he was a postdoctoral fellow at UNESP's School of Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences (FCAV) in Jaboticabal, São Paulo State.

Read More

Avantium Builds 10-Ton Demonstration Plant to Produce Bioplastics

Labiotech.eu | November 07, 2019

The Dutch bioplastics company Avantium has opened a demonstration plant capable of producing 10 tons per year of mono-ethylene glycol (MEG), a compound used to make plastics, using plants as the starting material. Construction of Avantium’s plant began at Chemie Park Delfzijl, the Netherlands, last year. The plant will extract carbohydrates from agricultural waste and crops such as sugar beet, and then use a chemical process called hydrogenolysis to turn them into MEG, an essential ingredient in textiles and plastic bottles. This plant will model the manufacturing process and allow early troubleshooting. Avantium aims to have a fully commercial plant up and running by 2024. At present, 99% of MEG comes from the petrochemical industry, which generates high greenhouse gas emissions. Avantium aims to reduce society’s reliance on non-renewable fossil fuels by instead producing the material from crops and unwanted plant waste. The company estimates that its technology could reduce carbon emissions by 70% compared with traditional sources of MEG.

Read More

The Pectin Is Protectin’

Technology Networks | October 25, 2019

Aluminum toxicity has long been known to damage plant cells and inhibit the growth of plants. Aluminum is widely found in soils that are too acidic, and as human activities have increased soil acidity across the globe, aluminum toxicity has become a leading cause of low crop yield worldwide. While the effect of aluminum on plants is widely known, precisely how aluminum enters plant cells and causes harm is not well understood. In a new study published in Frontiers in Plant Science, researchers at the University of Tsukuba have found that an integral part of a plant’s cell wall may play a role in protecting rice plants from soil aluminum. The study focused on Oryza sativa, a species of rice widely grown in Asiatic countries. The group took advantage of a mutant strain of the rice called star1 (Sensitive To Aluminum Rhizotoxicity 1). As its name suggests, the mutant is highly sensitive to the toxic effects of aluminum, and its root tips grow very poorly when aluminum is in the soil. The mutant strain allowed the researchers to piece apart how rice plant cells respond, at the molecular level, to aluminum. “Earlier work suggested that the cell wall somehow plays a mechanistic role in aluminum susceptibility, including a possible role by pectin,” says Hiroaki Iwai, lead author of the study. “We focused on pectin because it is a major polysaccharide component of the cell wall, and because prior evidence suggests that the sensitivity of star1 to aluminum might be related to a pectin deficiency.”

Read More

New dairy cattle breeding method increases genetic selection efficiency

phys.org | July 05, 2019

Brazilian scientists at Sao Paulo State University (UNESP) collaborating with colleagues at the University of Maryland and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have developed a dairy cattle breeding method that adds a new parameter to genetic selection and conserves or even improves a population's genetic diversity. The study, which is published in Journal of Dairy Science, was funded by the São Paulo Research Foundation—FAPESP and USDA. Besides genetic value associated with milk, fat and protein yields, the new method also takes into consideration the variance in gametic diversity and what the authors call "relative predicted transmitting ability," defined as an individual animal's capacity to transmit its genetic traits to the next generation based on this variance."Not all progeny of highly productive animals inherit this quality. The new method selects animals that will produce extremely productive offspring," said Daniel Jordan de Abreu Santos, who conducted the study while he was a postdoctoral fellow at UNESP's School of Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences (FCAV) in Jaboticabal, São Paulo State.

Read More

Events