Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

MAY1 2015

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN) is the world's most widely read biotech publication. It provides the R&D community with critical information on the tools, technologies, and trends that drive the biotech industry.

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6 | MAY 1, 2015 | | Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News 140 Huguenot Street, New Rochelle, NY 10801- 5215 914 740 -2100 PUBLISHER & CEO Mary Ann Liebert EDITOR IN CHIEF John Sterling GEN GROUP PUBLISHER Sande Giaccone M A N AG I N G E D I TO R Tamlyn L. Oliver P R O D U C T I O N E D I TO R Robert M. Reis S E N I O R E D I TO R Kevin Mayer T E C H N I C A L E D I TO R Patricia F. Dimond, Ph.D. T E C H N I C A L E D I TO R Jefrey S. Buguliskis, Ph.D. S E N I O R N E W S E D I TO R Alex Philippidis A S S O C I AT E E D I TO R Sunya Bhutta A R T D I R E C TO R James Lambo DIREC TOR, DIGITAL MEDIA Bill Levine O N L I N E P R O D U C T M A N AG E R Thomas Mathew W E B P R O D U C E R Melinda Kucsera S A L E S A D M I N I S T R ATO R Fallon Murphy ONLINE COORDINATOR Katherine Vuksanaj Scientifc Advisory Board BIOPROCESSING – Pete Gagnon, Validated Biosystems; Uwe Gottschalk, Ph.D., Sartorius Stedim Biotech; Günter Jagschies, Ph.D., GE Healthcare Life Sciences; Daniel Wang, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Song Zhiwei, Ph.D., National University of Singapore DRUG DISCOVERY – James Inglese, Ph.D., NIH Chemical Genomics Center; John J. Talley, Ph.D., Ironwood Pharmaceuticals OMICS – Mikael Kubista, Ph.D., Biotech Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences and the TATAA Biocenter; Sumio Sugano, M.D., Ph.D., University of Tokyo; Carl Wittwer, M.D., Ph.D., University of Utah TECHNOLOGY MANAGEMENT – Gary Pisano, Ph.D., Harvard University TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE – Bin Wang, Ph.D., Fudan University; James Wilson, M.D., Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Advertising United States and North America EAST COAST Monica Lieberman 914 740 2173 MIDWEST Sharon Spitz 888 237 4436 WEST COAST Mary Tonon 415 331 5333 U.K. and Europe Ian Slade +44 7768 397068 GEN Classifed, Asia and Australia Display Victoria Palusevic 914 740 2167 All Other Countries 914 740 2200 Insertions and Advertising Material Wanda Sanchez Customer Service & Subscriptions 888 638 3940 847 763 4943 Reprints Karen Ballen 914 740 2100 The views, opinions, fndings, conclusions, and recommendations set forth in any article in Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN) are solely those of the authors of those articles and do not necessarily refect the views, policy, or position of GEN, its Publisher, or its editorial staff and should not be attributed to any of them. All advertisements are subject to review by the Publisher. The acceptance of advertisements does not constitute an endorsement of the product or service advertised. G e n e t i c E n g i n e e r i n g & B i o t e c h n o l o g y N e w s ( I S S N - 1 9 3 5 - 4 7 2 X ) i s published semimonthly except July, August, and December (twenty-one issues a year) by GEN Publishing, 140 Huguenot Street, 3rd Floor, New Rochelle, NY 10801-5215. Periodicals postage paid at New Rochelle, NY and at additional mailing offces. Postmaster: Send address changes to Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, c/o Subscription Department, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., 140 Huguenot Street, 3rd Floor, New Rochelle, New York 10801-5215. Fax: 914 740-2201. Mailed in Canada under CPC CPM #40026674. Printed in the U.S.A. For subscription information go to: Copyright © 2015 by GEN Publishing, New Rochelle, NY. Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. is recognized as a Certifed Woman-Owned Business by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Sticky Ends... Binge-Drinking Teens May Get Epigenetic Hangover Of Mice and Music One Size Doesn't Fit All "If music be the food of love, play on," Duke Orsino famously said in Shake- speare's "Twelfth Night." Male mice appear to be heeding that advice by trying to woo the females they are courting through a variety of songs, according to a study published April 1 in the Frontiers of Behavioral Neuro- science. Those songs started out complex, and louder, when the male mice smelled the urine of a female's urine but did not see her. The males switched to longer and simpler songs once they fnd themselves directly in the pres- ence of a female. "We think this has something to do with the complex song being like a calling song, said co-corresponding author Erich Jarvis, Ph.D., an associate professor of neurobiology at Duke Uni- versity. "When he sees the female, he switches to a simpler song in order to save energy to chase and try to court her at the same time," added Dr. Jarvis, a member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. The females liked the complex tunes better. Researchers have uploaded their results to "MouseTube," an online repository created by scientists at the Institut Pasteur with 220 videos containing ultrasonic vocalizations of mice. A new study from MIT showed that examining keystrokes as a person types on a computer keyboard can reveal information about the state of their motor function to help diagnose Parkinson's disease. MIT researchers developed software that can gauge the speed at which a typist is tapping the keyboard to detect patterns. In a paper published in Scientifc Reports, the researchers said they found that their algorithm could distinguish between typing done in the middle of the night, when sleep deprivation impairs motor skills, and typing performed when typists are fully rested. The team is now planning a larger study of Parkinson's patients to deter- mine if the algorithm can also distinguish people who have disease from those who don't. Forget Beowulf, Old English Text Has Cure for MRSA For years, anthropologists thought that early humans of the genus Homo evolved from small- bodied early humans into the taller, heavier, and longer-legged Homo erectus humans before migrating from Africa. Now, scientists from the Universities of Cambridge and Tübingen have concluded that the genus' main increase in body size occurred tens of thousands of years after Homo erectus migrated into Europe and Asia. In the frst study to base body size estimates on fragmentary fossils—including ankle bones no more than 5 cm long—researchers estimated the height and body mass of early humans, and found huge variations. "What we're starting to show is that this diversifcation happened really early in human evolution," said Jay Stock, Ph.D., co-author of the study and senior lecturer in hu- man evolution and development at Cambridge. "It's possible to interpret our fndings as showing that there were either multiple species of early human, such as Homo habilis , Homo ergaster, and Homo rudolfensis , or one highly diverse species." Dr. Stock and Manuel Will, M.Phil., a Ph.D. student at Tübingen, published their fndings March 27 in the Journal of Human Evolution. Men who experience erectile dysfunction of- ten try to keep their predicament out of the spotlight. That may change, however, if they are able to beneft from an optogenetic ther- apy that triggers erections. The therapy, de- veloped by scientists at ETH Zürich, involves the transfection of a light-reactive gene construct into erectile tissue. The construct reacts to blue light by facilitating a surge of the second messenger cyclic guanosine mo- nophosphate, allowing voltage-dependent calcium channels to close. As a result, muscle cells relax, erectile tissue becomes engorged with blood, and the penis stifens. The thera- py, dubbed erectile optogenetic stimulation (EROS) in Angewandte Chemie, has been shown to work in rats. In humans, it may compare favorably to Viagra, which can only maintain an erection, not trigger it. Blue Light Might Outshine the Little Blue Pill Diagnosing Parkinson's with a Typing Test Jonathan Chabout, Duke University Sylvie Bouchard / Fotolia igor / Fotolia Joy Stock, University of Cambridge Could a thousand-year-old text written in Old English contain a recipe for killing methicillin- resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)? Microbiologists from the University of Nottingham teamed up with an expert in Old English to decipher the medieval text known as Bald's Leechbook. Within its pages lay details of how to treat an eyelash infection that is com- monly caused by S. aureus, through the use of wine, garlic, and cow bile. After the scien- tists used the tincture on mice infected with MRSA, they were surprised to see that it killed up to 90% of the bacteria, which is dramatically better than most antibiotics and signifcantly better that vancomycin, the current standard of care for MRSA infections. The fndings were presented recently at the Society for General Microbiol- ogy's annual conference. / marty8801 Adolescents who indulge in binge-drinking may alter patterns of gene expression in their still-developing brains, causing long-lasting behavioral changes. To model adolescent binge-drinking in humans, sci- entists at the University of Illinois at Chicago intermittently exposed 28-day-old rats to alcohol. The rats showed increased anxiety- like behaviors, and they drank more alcohol in adulthood, long after exposure to alcohol had ended. The rats' amygdalae, the scien- tists found, contained increased levels of a histone-modifying protein called HDAC2. It causes DNA to coil extra-tightly around histone-complex "spools," lessening the ac- cessibility of certain genes. One such gene, the scientists indicated in Neurobiology of Disease, appears to be needed for the for- mation of new synaptic connections. 6 | MAY 1, 2015 | | Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

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