Genetics and Business

I have been busy lately but found some time to go through an interesting story and a good article published in scientist magazine

  1. Father-in-law of now-infamous extensively drug-resistant TB patient studies tuberculosis at the CDC, and is now under review by the agency
  2. Genotyping with PCR -How to choose the right approach

I am working on an article about consolidation in Microarray and Bioinformatics industry so interesting to know about GenoLogics Announces Bioinformatics Partnership with Illumina  so is the  news of Roche acquiring Nimblgen and the end of patent wars with Affymetrix, Roche has also acquired 454 life sciences, It seems Roche plans to get inot clinical genomcis and theranostics application industry, the company already has FDA approved amplichip CYP450 arrays for clinical diagnostics

With many other acquisitions in the last one year  and many more in the pipeline it seems paydays for early starters.

Device helps Third World fight AIDS- a Winner of World Bank Development Marketplace Award

Guava Technologies and PointCare Technologies are two coompanis etup to provide life saving tests to HIV patients at lower costs.

Former President Bill Clinton’s foundation last year signed a deal with privately held Guava Technologies Inc. to make smaller CD4 counting machines available in Africa at a discount

PointCare Technologies Inc., which makes a hematology device used for managing anti-retroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS patients, was one of the 22 winners selected this week in the World Bank Development Marketplace.

The competitive grant program funds creative, small-scale development projects that have the potential to be expanded or replicated.

Privately held PointCare was one of 104 finalists, selected from 3,000 proposals, who showcased their proposal to judges in Washington, D.C., this week.

PointCare’s portable AuRICA NOW testing equipment, which can be operated by nonlaboratory-trained personnel in rural areas, enables HIV-infected patients to be qualified for anti-retroviral therapy, the company said.

The project, which will receive $198,300 from the World Bank, will be carried out at St. Gabriel’s Hospital in Malawi and at 11 outreach clinics and six health centers in the area.

Setup by Petra B. Krauledat and husband W. Peter Hansen after their journey through the sub-Saharan Africa, where they talked to medical workers and patients about the need for a better way to analyze blood for the crucial immune-system cells that signal when a patient needs to begin taking anti-retroviral medicines.

ENCODE consortium: forming background of why 3 billions bp are required for a human to survive not just the set of genes.

ENCODE consortium today published one in nature and 28 papers in genome research involving 35 groups from 80 organizations around the world, which promise to reshape our understanding of how the human genome functions. The findings totally challenge the tidy collection of independent genes , but sees as a complex networking system, along with regulatory elements and other types of DNA sequences that do not code for proteins, interact in overlapping ways not yet fully understood.

“This impressive effort has uncovered many exciting surprises and blazed the way for future efforts to explore the functional landscape of the entire human genome,” said NHGRI Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “Because of the hard work and keen insights of the ENCODE consortium, the scientific community will need to rethink some long-held views about what genes are and what they do, as well as how the genome’s functional elements have evolved. This could have significant implications for efforts to identify the DNA sequences involved in many human diseases.”

Loads to come out of this …. few days back in nature cell biology there was a article stating small peptide regulators of actin-based cell morphogenesis encoded by a polycistronic mRNA in an eukaryote…

Plants too recognise its kin

Now wonder,  research proves that even plants recognise their kins. Researchers from McMaster University have found that plants go competitive when forced to share their own environment like pot, with strangers of the same species, but they’re accommodating when potted with their siblings.

How they do it???

When a different plant of same species is potted with a growing plant they start growing more roots, which allows them to grab water and mineral nutrients before their neighbours get them. when they share a pot with family i.e the sibiling 1st or 2 nd generation they don’t increase their root growth. Because differences between groups of strangers and groups of siblings only occurred when they shared a pot, the root interactions may provide a cue for kin recognition. The following is the paper that is being published on the same.

Dudley, S. A. and A. L. File (2007). Kin recognition in an annual plant. Biology Letters, in press.

How Many Scientists Does it Take To Fix a Gene?

The headline of the article that appeared in a news paper was interesting, I thought I will use the same headline to right about it.

The original text of the article can be read at cityonHillPress

While reading the article I also came thougth its worth to have a look at the book Building Biotechnology  written by  Yali Friedman who serves on the science advisory board of Chakra Biotech and the editorial advisory boards of the Biotechnology Journal and Open Biotechnology Journal.

 Yali also publishes a blog at BiotechBlog.com

4th Dimension in Biology

4D imaging of different microorganisms was the first step of 4D in biology. Recently now from the University of Calgary, sun centre for excellence for visual genomics have created the 4D virtual human (CAVEman) with flesh, and muscles, a breakthrough step ahead in the medical informatics. This 4D virtual human can be used for many new pathways for surgical studies. It can be used also to see the disease and genetic changes virtually, allowing to assess the various morphological changes occuring during a diseased or genetically affected individual. You can download Demo verrsion so of the 4D demos of heart , human skelton and many more,

From science to business

It takes upto to 15 years and multimillion  dollar investments  to patent and market one successful drug for pharmaceutical and biotech industry. Trying to make the sure that the scientists receive the best R&D support possible companies have looked at outsourcing and insourcing and everything else.

And the new boy in the buzz world is “crowdsourcing” claiming businesses a way to tap into a larger, global community of scientists and R&D exeutives.

Crowdsourcing is a business model in which a company or institution takes a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsources it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call over the Internet. The work is compensated with little or no pay in most cases. However, in a few examples the labor is well-compensated .

Did that made sense it sounds like open source in biotech fields. but hold on your horses, it not that straight forward, remember Nature has published an article about open source in drug discover industry some time back, there is big list of things that makes it a difficult project.

But there is one company that has pulled it off successfully set up by drug giant Eli Lilly in 2001, for its projects Innocentive is one such crowdsourcer, So far, chemicals and life sciences have been the main users of crowdsourcers, offering rewards of up to $1m if they are successful. There are other places , such as Nine Sigma and Yet2.com and Scienteur, offer similar models.

Another firm Procter & Gamble P&G also works with Nine Sigma , YourEncore andYet2.com and Innocentive

Boeing , Dow Chemical , Eli Lilly and Procter & Gamble , Solvay are number of companies that have benefited fro this model ,

IT industry has grown to this level because people were willing to share data and collaborate , ofcourse there is much difference between IT and biological industry . But will scientists from life science industry would do it- So far the answer is No- may in future they might be more open to such needs

Read Related studies Further at
The Value of Openness in Scientific Problem Solving

Can open-source R&D reinvigorate drug research a nature Review

Previous Blogs

Open source in Biotechnology

Online data Sharing for scientists – Will they accept it

Future of High Throughput Genome Sequencing

In Bangalore Bio 2007 LabIndia has introduced  SOLiD: Sequencing by Oligonucleotide Ligation and Detection which is the Future of High Throughput Sequencing.

“This is useful for those who want to do full genome sequencing. Whole genome projects will be more cost effective with this new instrument than they are today,” said Dr. Anupama Gaur, Team Leader Application Support, Labindia Instruments, Pvt. Ltd.

HistoGenetics has come up with Sequence Based Typing which has many advantages such as identifying many rare and new alleles. “Nearly 2000 alleles have been identified so far and it has been launched in the US and UK as of now” said Dr. Cereb Nezih, M.D., President and co-founder, Histogenetics, Inc.

Gene Expression is affected when cells are cultured in petri dish

When trying to figure out how different respond to drugs and other environemnts in the body scientists turn to cells. The cultured cells are grown in petri dishes now with the onset of tissue microarrays the process is getting more advanced

A new Brown University study shows that nerve cells grown in three-dimensional cultures use 1,766 genes differently compared to cells grown in standard two-dimensional petri dishes.

The research shows that culture techniques can significantly affect cell growth and function. cells grown in a laboratory in 3-D environments are more like cells grown in the ultimate 3-D environment – the human body.

“More and more, we’re seeing evidence that cells cultured in three dimensions look and behave more like cells in your body,” said Diane Hoffman-Kim, the University of Brown bioengineer who spearheaded the new study,

The study is published in the May edition of Tissue Engineering,

Rribozymes prevent the spread of HIV in the body

considered by some to be the ‘living fossils’ of a time when life was based on RNA -Rribozymes have been used by researchers to prevent the spread of HIV in the body

The Medical Marketing International Group (MMI) scientists have used these ancient RNA catalysts to suppress key receptors that allow HIV to enter cells

HIV enters cells using the cellular receptors CCR5 or CXCR4 and previous work has shown that preventing the expression of these receptors using the Company’s proprietary ribozymes, which target the messenger RNA (‘mRNA’) that encodes these proteins, is highly effective at preventing HIV replication in vitro. The results announced today show that the ribozyme technology can effectively deliver the ribozyme and suppress expression of these receptors in an advanced in vivo model. Moreover, a single administration of the ribozymes was able to maintain suppression of the receptors for a significant period (>35 days so far), indicating that a pool of HIV-resistant cells could be established.

Biotech tax bill is passed

The California State Assembly Wednesday unanimously passed a bill which could assist biotechnology companies at risk of losing tax deductions awarded because the industries’ long development cycles.

Allowing biotechnology companies to deduct (net operating losses) over 20 years, instead of 10, encourages investments in medical science and provides additional revenue for emerging biotechnology companies,” the bill’s author, Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, D-Mountain View, said in an analysis of the bill.

Read more

Scientific Blogging Names David Houle As Strategic Advisor

 

NewswireToday – /newswire/ – Folsom, CA, United States, 06/06/2007 – David Houle, media executive responsible for branding MTV, VH1 and CNN Headline News, has joined Science 2.0 start-up ScientificBlogging.com as a strategic advisor to handle marketing and corporate communications.

“The explosive growth of Web 2.0 and blogging has created a lot of content but ScientificBlogging.com has carved out a place for high-level and intellectually stimulating discourse. The community has gone from opening its doors to over 150,000 readers per month in just its third month of private beta. I am excited to help that grow as it goes into its next stages of development.”

Indian genetic database offers R&D advances

Imagine a diabetic patient from NewYork being put on a drug regimen distinct from a patient London. Personalized medicine allows tratement to decided on the genetic make up of the individual. Genetically europeans and asians and others have different ways of responding to same treatment genetically

FortunatelyIf Indian researchers have their way, such customised medication based on genetic differences could be a possibility for a range of illnesses.

A consortium of Indian scientists recently completed a genetic database for India, home to one of the world’s most ethnically diverse populations that will allow researchers to understand the genetic predisposition of ethnic groups to diseases. Icelanders are considered for Human genome project because of very less number such diversity

The genetic map will enable global and Indian pharma companies to enhance research on predictive medicine and targeted drugs. Research firm TCG Life Sciences is about to become the first private player to use the database.

The consortium collected data on the genetic codes of over a 1,000 genes from among 15,000 individuals belonging to Indian sub-populations

Another user of the data is the clinical diabetics’ consortium, which aims to identify if there are specific genetic reasons for a particular ethnic group to be predisposed to the disease. It is already known that some cultures are pre disposed to certain diseases so Indian are more prone to heart attack and diabetes and such

The Indian Genome Variation Consortium, a public-private partnership that networks six Council of Indian Scientific and Industrial Research labs and some private software firms, undertook the genetic variation mapping.

UK is appealing for volunteers to help worlds biggest medical experiment project- to understand impact of Genetics and life style in illness and medical treatment

 UK is appealing for volunteers to help worlds biggest medical experiment project- to understand impact of Genetics and lifestyle in health and medical treatment

The  BBC reports about a medical experiment aiming to be the biggest in the world is appealing for volunteers to help end Scotland’s reputation as the “sick man of Europe”.

The project named as  UK Biobank will be the world’s biggest resource for the study of the role of nature and nurture in health and disease.

Funded and guided under the supervision of leading scientists from the UK and around the world. Funded by the  Wellcome Trust, the UK’s largest independent medical research charity, the  Medical Research Council, the Department of Health, the Scottish Executive and the Northwest Regional Development Agency. and many other major medical research charities, including the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK. The project is also supported by the National Health Service.

claiming to help not just the volunteer, but for the future generation to come the £61m UK Biobank project will track the health of thousands of people for up to 30 years.

Information and DNA gathered from volunteers will be used by researchers to help tackle serious diseases.

Volunteers will be asked to attend an assessment centre where they will fill out a lifestyle questionnaire, have body measurements such as bone density, blood pressure, height and weight recorded, and donate a small sample of blood and urine for long-term storage as a resource for researchers in the future.

Researchers will study the relationship between our genes, our lifestyles and our current health to find out why some people develop certain illnesses and others do not.

It is hoped the project will eventually include 500,000 volunteers from across Britain, making it the biggest study of its type ever undertaken.

The Biobank will run alongside the complementary Generation Scotland project, which focuses on how genes inherited from our parents affect the likelihood of developing diseases.

Data collected by the two projects will be used to help prevent and develop new treatments for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, mental health illnesses, osteoporosis and arthritis.

12 DNA tests that Could Change Your Life-selected by Forbes

The complete list is published at forbes website

  • Breast Cancer
  • Adult-Onset Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Drug Metabolism
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
  • Rett Syndrome
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Heart Attack

Gene Testing:

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living neurons for building a simple biological computer

Biological/organic computing has long been the stuffs of science fiction. But as we have all come to see, what is science fiction one day, does become science fact the next.

The scientific journal Physical Review E has just published a paper that highlights some of the new possibilities of using neurons for biological computing.

It may not sound like much, but it is the first step. We won’t have living computers anytime soon as more complex functions must be taught to neurons and cells to even begin to perform the most basic of fencings

DNA computer

We may have heard about it before and must have had a million ideas about hows its going to work out. Most of us also blogged about it to Hsiens recent post on biocomputers and my earlier posts about DNA computer for Diagnostics  and Digital data storing on bacteria were on the subject of scientists are looking at nature and adapting those ideals in technology

from NASA website

USC computer science professor Dr. Leonard Adleman, who made headlines in 1994 by demonstrating that DNA — the spiraling molecule that holds life’s genetic code — could be used to carry out computations.

now Physicist Graemme Brown of GBR Research has developed a computer chip made from DNA molecules – the building blocks of life – that can store and execute computer programmes.

The DNA tablet can be swallowed or inserted into the body and used to track down genetic defects and some illnesses. Massey University professors from Albany have been able to recreate the process in the lab and verify the findings.

Related posts

National Geographic , Wikipedia  biocomputers  , DNA computer for Diagnostics ,

Digital data storing on bacteriabiocomputers , NASA

Data sharing policies at 10 journals- blog of the week

Heather Piwowar  blogging at ReseacrhRemix made a post on Data sharing policies at 10 selected journals.  general science (Nature and Science), medicine (JAMA and NEJM), oncology (JCO and Cancer), genetics (Human Molecular Genetics and PLoS Computational Biology), and bioinformatics (Bioinformatics and BMC Bioinformatics). she has published a spreadsheet comparing the results at http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pdheCmaT42j62B-a7sx0BRA

Free DNA Paternity Test for Father’s Day

I am not promoting anything here but I thought it was an intersting news aswell as nothing short of odd considering the recent and ongoing news pages spend on discussing hollywood and famous fatherhood battles inside and out of court this is  one kind of an offer that Chromosomal Laboratories, Inc. a leading DNA testing laboratory, has announced that it will repeat its  offer of five free paternity tests, a $2000 value, to fathers and alleged fathers as a special promotion to celebrate the upcoming Father’s Day holiday. Interested parties should contact Chromosomal Laboratories by June 14th to be entered into the drawing. Five fathers will be chosen at random to receive a free home paternity test kit.

source webwire

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There’sa DNA Paternity Test Done Every Two Minutes

microRNA is older than we think

The scientist reports that MicroRNAs control gene expression in a single-celled alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii the  first single-celled organism in which microRNAs have been discovered. 

The finding suggests that microRNAs evolved earlier than previously thought, according to the authors. The study published in Nature   by researchers David Baulcombe of the Sainsbury Laboratory in UK

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