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  • The Long Shadow Of The European Ruling On New Breeding Technologies

    Last week, the European Court of Justice ruled that gene-edited crops are equivalent to transgenic GMOs. 

  • Selecting A Formulation Type And Package Size For Your Biopesticides

    In the final instalment in our series of articles focusing on biopesticide product development, we will be discussing the importance of selecting a formulation type and package size, preferred packaging options, crop specific economics, tank mixability, and tank mixes.

  • Fermented Food As Probiotics: Health Perceptions And Research

    Fermented drinks can be, and often are, produced at home, although, as the numbers in this blog reveal, they also represent an important market in the food industry.

  • Engineering Complex Tissues: Let Nature Take Its Course

    Most tissues in our body are complex entities, containing multiple support structures like vascular networks. Ideally, this complexity should be reproduced when engineering a tissue substitute. This is important for functionality if the goal is to use the engineered tissue as a substitute for donor material, but also to ensure a physiological response in cases where the tissue will be used as a screening platform.

  • Novel Photosynthesis Technology – The Solution To The Global Food Security Crisis?

    The human population is increasing, which means that we need to improve crop productivity to maintain food security. 

Rabies diagnostics with RT-PCR assays, Liquid Diagnostics and What the Future Holds for Digital PCR

With its reduction in cost, and an increased number of real-time PCR users purchasing Digital PCR, the qPCR and Digital PCR market is predicted to grow to $4.94 billion by 2021. At the 4BIO event in San Francisco, three dedicated tracks proved a timely opportunity to learn first-hand about dPCR whilst keeping up-to-date with latest market developments and strategies. If you weren’t able to be there in person, these slides are now available from Hestia Mellert, Olivier Thas and Yu Li.

Read More

How to make digital microfluidics suit biological need

Droplet-based microfluidics is a technology that allows for the manipulation of small liquid droplets with a volume ranging from microliters to picolitres. The technology that handles discrete droplets is called digital microfluidics. The small volume offers various advantages such as quick mixing, simple handling, high throughput with a large number of droplets. The small volume also poses a serious challenge to engineering droplet-based microfluidic platforms: evaporation.

Read More

Use and misuse of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing

Since its discovery in 2012, the use of the CRISPR/Cas9 system to edit genomes has raised the expectations for the cure of untreatable disorders. Very often, as biomedical geneticists we found ourselves talking about the potentials and drawbacks of CRIPSR/Cas9 both at scientific and layman level.

Read More

Translating Microbiome Futures

In May of this year, Nature Biotechnology and Global Engage convened a panel of leaders in the microbiome field that included CEOs and CSOs of several microbiome companies, representatives from big pharmas working in the space, and top academics from the New York area and beyond to discuss the current state of the art in human microbiome research and its translation into therapies.

Read More

Microfluidics: How origami is saving lives in Africa

This article was originally published by The Scottish Funding Council in May 2018 and is published here with permission.

A folded piece of paper could save lives in Uganda, says Glasgow University’s Prof Jonathan Cooper.

Apac is a district in central Uganda sitting just north of the equator. Its main village is surrounded by Lake Kyoga and the Arocha and Wirewiri swamps. It also has an unusually hot microclimate producing an environment that results in the region having the highest number of mosquito bites per person in the world – on average, each person is bitten five times per night, year-round. The local health workers refer to these as “innoculations” – for, despite years of mass drug administrations, insecticide spraying and distribution of nets, it remains one of the most malarial districts in the world.

Read More

The Benefits of Computational Pathology

The histological assessment of human tissue has emerged as a key challenge for the detection and treatment of cancer. Many tissue sections have to be processed in order to find those that contain cancer, which can be a timely and costly process. Similarly, procedures such as immunohistochemical scoring can be problematic for cases such as ER, PR, and HER2.

Read More

Digital-Droplet PCR Gets Another ‘D’

Triple-d PCR enhances digital PCR sensitivity and precision for liquid biopsies

Digital-droplet PCR (ddPCR) has been implemented in diverse fields such as cancer biomarkers, viral load detection, prenatal screening, organ donor rejection, or library assessment for next generation sequencing. Detection of emerging resistance or minimal residual disease via ddPCR in liquid biopsies is also growing rapidly.

Read More

Case Study: High-throughput SNP Screening Downstream of CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Editing

One of the most powerful applications of genome editing is the introduction of nucleotide substitutions in specific genomic sites. This can be used to mimic single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) or to generate stop codons that yield precise gene knockouts. However, screening hundreds of clones for a single edited nucleotide remains a challenge, especially in the absence of a corresponding phenotype.

Read More

Rabies diagnostics with RT-PCR assays, Liquid Diagnostics and What the Future Holds for Digital PCR

With its reduction in cost, and an increased number of real-time PCR users purchasing Digital PCR, the qPCR and Digital PCR market is predicted to grow to $4.94 billion by 2021. At the 4BIO event in San Francisco, three dedicated tracks proved a timely opportunity to learn first-hand about dPCR whilst keeping up-to-date with latest market developments and strategies. If you weren’t able to be there in person, these slides are now available from Hestia Mellert, Olivier Thas and Yu Li.

Read More

How to make digital microfluidics suit biological need

Droplet-based microfluidics is a technology that allows for the manipulation of small liquid droplets with a volume ranging from microliters to picolitres. The technology that handles discrete droplets is called digital microfluidics. The small volume offers various advantages such as quick mixing, simple handling, high throughput with a large number of droplets. The small volume also poses a serious challenge to engineering droplet-based microfluidic platforms: evaporation.

Read More

Use and misuse of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing

Since its discovery in 2012, the use of the CRISPR/Cas9 system to edit genomes has raised the expectations for the cure of untreatable disorders. Very often, as biomedical geneticists we found ourselves talking about the potentials and drawbacks of CRIPSR/Cas9 both at scientific and layman level.

Read More

Translating Microbiome Futures

In May of this year, Nature Biotechnology and Global Engage convened a panel of leaders in the microbiome field that included CEOs and CSOs of several microbiome companies, representatives from big pharmas working in the space, and top academics from the New York area and beyond to discuss the current state of the art in human microbiome research and its translation into therapies.

Read More

Microfluidics: How origami is saving lives in Africa

This article was originally published by The Scottish Funding Council in May 2018 and is published here with permission.

A folded piece of paper could save lives in Uganda, says Glasgow University’s Prof Jonathan Cooper.

Apac is a district in central Uganda sitting just north of the equator. Its main village is surrounded by Lake Kyoga and the Arocha and Wirewiri swamps. It also has an unusually hot microclimate producing an environment that results in the region having the highest number of mosquito bites per person in the world – on average, each person is bitten five times per night, year-round. The local health workers refer to these as “innoculations” – for, despite years of mass drug administrations, insecticide spraying and distribution of nets, it remains one of the most malarial districts in the world.

Read More

The Benefits of Computational Pathology

The histological assessment of human tissue has emerged as a key challenge for the detection and treatment of cancer. Many tissue sections have to be processed in order to find those that contain cancer, which can be a timely and costly process. Similarly, procedures such as immunohistochemical scoring can be problematic for cases such as ER, PR, and HER2.

Read More

Digital-Droplet PCR Gets Another ‘D’

Triple-d PCR enhances digital PCR sensitivity and precision for liquid biopsies

Digital-droplet PCR (ddPCR) has been implemented in diverse fields such as cancer biomarkers, viral load detection, prenatal screening, organ donor rejection, or library assessment for next generation sequencing. Detection of emerging resistance or minimal residual disease via ddPCR in liquid biopsies is also growing rapidly.

Read More

Case Study: High-throughput SNP Screening Downstream of CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Editing

One of the most powerful applications of genome editing is the introduction of nucleotide substitutions in specific genomic sites. This can be used to mimic single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) or to generate stop codons that yield precise gene knockouts. However, screening hundreds of clones for a single edited nucleotide remains a challenge, especially in the absence of a corresponding phenotype.

Read More

Case Study: High-throughput SNP Screening Downstream of CRISPR/Cas9 Gene Editing

One of the most powerful applications of genome editing is the introduction of nucleotide substitutions in specific genomic sites. This can be used to mimic single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) or to generate stop codons that yield precise gene knockouts. However, screening hundreds of clones for a single edited nucleotide remains a challenge, especially in the absence of a corresponding phenotype.

Read More

Challenges of epigenetic studies in plants: focus on ChIP technique

Agnieszka Zelisko-Schmidt from Diagenode elaborates on their poster presented at the 6th Plant Genomics & Gene Editing Congress: Europe, explaining how regulatory pathways in plants can be unravelled using the universal plant ChIP-seq kit.

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Increasing Shelf Life of Perishable Produce Using Patented Gene Technology

The eIF‑5A protein is highly conserved in all plants and animals and is the only protein in any organism that has the unique hypusine modification caused by the Deoxyhypusine Synthase (DHS) enzyme. The unmodified-to-hypusinated ratio of these two forms of eIF‑5A determines the fate of the cell. Recent studies suggest that eIF‑5A is mainly involved in RNA metabolism and movement through the cell, thereby regulating cell growth, proliferation, and programmed death. These stable genetic changes will significantly enhance crop traits, including:

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An Updated Round-Up of the Top Plant Genome Databases

There’s more plant genome databases than there ever has been before. We’ve collated the most recent databases for ontology information on a variety of crops, including: rice, maize, wheat, sorghum, barley, millet, rye, and oats.

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EU Court of Justice Rules that Gene Edited Organisms will be Regulated as GMOs

On 25 July 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the EU’s highest court, issued a decision clarifying whether the EU would regulate products of innovative breeding techniques, like gene editing, under the EU’s Directive 2001/18, the principal EU law governing the regulation of GMOs.

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Regulating Biostimulant Products

Degrading soil quality and increased interest in sustainable farming have caused the biostimulant market to go from strength-to-strength and it is expected to reach $4.14 billion by 2025. [1] Despite this, companies have expressed concerns that the regulation of biostimulants will hinder industry growth and the longevity of small companies and start-ups.

We spoke to Nick Moon, Global Regulatory Manager, Plant Impact, to discuss the regulation of biostimulants and its impact on industry.

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Transcriptomic Profiling of Pearl Millet for Salinity Stress Response

In an article which discussed the exploration of the ‘orphan crop’ pearl millet, Amibka Dudhate concluded that photosynthesis, plant hormone signal transduction, and mitogen-activated protein kinase signalling pathways are significantly activated on the advent of drought stress in pearl millet. Her colleague, Harshraj Shinde, expands on these findings.

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Unraveling the Regulatory Quagmire of Agrobiologicals

At the Partnerships in Biocontrol, Biostimulants, & Microbiome: Europe, Peter Jens, Director of Strategic Alliances at Koppert Biological Systems and CEO of AND Biopharma, discussed regulation from product to systems thinking.

He focused specifically on the way in which consumers and citizens have become more vocal on the quality of products, arguing that the current regulatory discussion is fated and different thinking is required.

Here, he explains what he means by ‘different’ kinds of thinking and how this could help unravel the regulatory quagmire of agrochemicals and agrobiologicals.

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Examining Blockchain Systems & Designing Smart Contracts

The blockchain has the potential to enable the collaboration between patients, researchers, and care providers to provide individualised care for patients, but how can this technology be harnessed in a practical way?

This was one of the key questions that was asked at the Blockchain in Healthcare Congress and we had the pleasure of welcoming an array of expert speakers from pharma, academia, and industry to provide the answer.

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The role of extrinsic motivation in sports and physical activity

Motivation is one of the most significant psychological concepts in many areas of life – from work and education to achieving personal goals. In sports and physical activity, motivation plays an especially important part due to the fact that, to millions of people worldwide, staying fit and active is not an obligation or a professional prerequisite, but rather a personal goal. Blockchain technology, together with elements of gamification, may actually help people achieve this goal.

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Conciliating Blockchain and GDPR

Aurélie Bayle is a Data Protection Officer at be-ys: a role she considers to be at the heart of the new legal framework for any company.

Before GDPR came into effect on 25th May 2018, she was working towards global compliance, which involved completing all the steps given by the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, an advisory board made up of a representative from the data authority of each EU Member State, the European Data Protection Supervisor, and the European Commission. Her duties have included auditing the structures and processes, preparing the data protection impact assessments, checking the compliance of processing activities, analysing the risks of the processing in the medical area, preparing new processes and policies about data protection, and asking data processors about their own compliance.

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When Blockchain Meets the Right to be Forgotten: Technology Versus Law

Over the past few years, the popularity of the blockchain and cryptocurrencies has increased and has reached important notoriety, not only in scientific and IT journals, but also in the media. Although there are many kinds of cryptocurrencies in circulation nowadays, the most popular is Bitcoin.

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Supporting Blockchain Startups: An Open Letter from Katherine Merton

Dear colleagues,

The blockchain technology market is expected to grow to 2.3 billion US dollars by 2021, from 339.5 million US dollars in 2017. [1] With an annual growth rate of 61.5%, it is one of the fastest growing technologies in the healthcare industry.

Read More

The Big List of Microfluidics Companies & Investors

The microfluidic-based devices market has been growing since 2014 due to the increasing point of care testing demand and the miniaturisation of microfluidic chips. 

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What will we do with all this data?

The amount of data we are creating every day has increased exponentially to match the rise in use of smart and connected devices. The internet of things has connected every aspect of our lives to the digital realm: most of these devices operate by tracking your habits, movements, preferences, voice, and more, then logging those habits online. Specifically, the collection of health data has become abundant, because most people now have or wear some sort of device to track daily patterns, steps, cycles, and more. Even our phones often default to track these things for us, whether we choose to enable the function or not.

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How Standards & Standardised Infrastructure Fuel Innovation

It might surprise a lot of people to learn that standards can be viewed as a tool to support innovation, to set businesses free and to focus on the core of their product where their expertise lie. When working with the use of electronic communication systems within the entire healthcare sector, the main focal point is often ensuring a good support for collaboration and work processes.

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