Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

MAY15 2018

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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4 | MAY 15, 2018 | | Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News ziablik_n / Getty Images Avi Jacob, BIU Microscopy Unit 140 Huguenot Street, New Rochelle, NY 10801- 5215 914 740 -2100 • PUBLISHER & CEO Mary Ann Liebert PRESIDENT, GEN Publishing Marianne Russell GEN GROUP PUBLISHER Sande Giaccone EVP, STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT Kevin Davies, Ph.D. EDITOR IN CHIEF John Sterling 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 Jeffrey S. Buguliskis, Ph.D. S E N I O R N E W S E D I TO R Alex Philippidis C H I E F CO PY E D I TO R Steven Hernacki A R T D I R E C TO R James Lambo COMMERCIAL DIREC TOR Bill Levine AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT DIREC TOR Nora Pastenkos ONLINE EDITORIAL SUPERVISOR Katherine Vuksanaj D I G I TA L 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 A S S O C. D I R E C TO R O F M A R K E T I N G Jennifer Gatti S A L E S A D M I N I S T R ATO R Fallon Murphy GEN Editorial & Scientific Advisory Board Peter Banks, Ph.D., Scientific Director, BiotTek Instruments; Roslyn (Brandon) Hendriks, D.V.M., Managing Partner at C-Suite Corporate, The University of Queensland; Robert Clarke, Ph.D., President & CEO, Pulmatrix; Pete Gagnon, Chief Scientific Officer, BIA Separations; Uwe Gottschalk, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Lonza; Harry E. Gruber, M.D., CEO, Tocagen; Jin Seok Hur, Ph.D., Technology Director, Novasep; James Inglese, Ph.D., Investigator at National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences; Guenter Jagschies, Senior Director, GE Healthcare Life Sciences; Peter Johnson, M.D., Principal, MedisurgePI; Anis H. Khimani, Ph.D., Head of Strategy and Marketing, Research Reagent Solutions, PerkinElmer; Mikael Kubista, Ph.D., CEO and Founder, TATAA Biocenter; Peter Levison, Senior Marketing Director, Downstream Processing, Pall Life Sciences; Jan Lichtenberg, Ph.D., CEO and Co-Founder, InSphero; Miodrag MIcic, Sc.D., Ph.D., Professor and Department Chairman, Cerritos College; Eric Schadt, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, Sema4; Zhiwei Song, Ph.D., Scientist, National University of Singapore; Sumio Sugano, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Medical Genomics, University of Tokyo; John Talley, Ph.D., Medicinal Chemist, Euclises Pharmaceuticals; Bin Wang, PhD., Professor, Principal Investigator, Fudan University Medical College; Daniel Wang, PhD., Institute Professor of Chemical Engineering, MIT Advertising United States and North America EAST COAST Monica Lieberman 914 740 2173 MIDWEST/S.EAST Rick Bongiovanni 330 998 9800 WEST COAST Catherine McConville 415 416 8970 U.K. and Europe Ian Slade +44 7768 397068 GEN Classified, Asia and Australia Display Victoria Palusevic 914 740 2167 All Other Countries 914 740 2200 List Sales: Scott Perillo 914 740-2178 Insertions and Advertising Material Wanda Sanchez Customer Service & Subscriptions 888 211 4235 847 559 7587 Reprints Karen Ballen 914 740 2100 The views, opinions, findings, 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 reflect 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. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (ISSN-1935-472X) is 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 offices. 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 © 2018 by GEN Publishing, New Rochelle, NY. Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. is recognized as a Certified Woman-Owned Business by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). PeopleImages / Getty Images A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) indicates that a particular genetic variation can affect word-processing ability. READ1 (the genetic element that regulates expression of DCDC2) is known to be involved in dyslexia and is believed to be related to normal speech, reading performance, and even auditory word processing. The study found a significant correlation between the prevalence of RU1-1 (a READ1 variant) and the number of consonants used by the languages prevalent among 43 human populations across five continents. This correlation was not affected by the groups' geo- graphic proximity, genetic relatedness, or linguistic relatedness. This suggests that among specific populations, there is a genet- ic cause for the diminished number of consonants used by the various languages. The authors added that cultural processes may magnify these differences. What Did You Say? Did humans do away with their large, sloping foreheads in favor of flatter foreheads that can show off eyebrows, help- ing them convey subtle expressions? Yes, suggests a new study by scientists at the University of York. The scientists, in a paper that appeared in Nature Ecology and Evolution, described how they used a digital model of the skull from Homo heidelbergensis to eliminate many theories for the potential mechanical advantages of a prominent brow ridge. The model also helped the scientists develop a new theory to explain why our hominid ancestors' prominent supraorbital ridge disappeared. Our foreheads, says the York team, evolved to have a flatter profile to allow us to communicate more easily with our eyebrows. Not all scientists are convinced. For example, many researchers point out that chimps show subtle emotions even though they do not possess flat foreheads. Perhaps this a good time for an emoji. Variations in the color of human hair come down to 124 genes, says a recent study in Nature Genet- ics. The study describes how a research team led by scientists at King's College London and Eras- mus University analyzed DNA data from almost 300,000 people of European descent, together with self-reported hair color information. Data was supplied by UK Biobank, 23andMe, and the International Visible Trait Genetics Consortium. By comparing hair color with genetic infor- mation, stored at several million locations across the genome, the researchers identified 123 au- tosomal and one X-chromosome loci associated with hair color. All but 13 loci were novel. The team also showed that predicting hair color with the new genetic information was more accurate than with previously-known genes. "As the largest ever genetic study on pigmen- tation, it will improve our understanding of dis- eases like melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer," said joint lead author Tim Spector, M.D., of King's College London. Some genes affecting hair color were linked to cancer, others to the risk of Crohn's and other bowel diseases. "Finding these new hair color genes is also important for further increasing the accuracy of hair color prediction from DNA traces in future forensic applications, which can help to find un- known perpetrators of crime," Dr. Spector added. Hair-Color Genes Offer Disease Clues To confirm that ejaculation is inherently rewarding, scientists at Bar-Ilan University in Israel genetically engineered male flies to respond sexually when exposed to red light. The scientists also constructed a fly-scale red light district, so that the flies could self-stimulate as a means of achieving release. In the engineered flies, which were strongly attracted to the district, red light activated neurons that trigger ejacula- tion and ex- press corazonin, a neuropeptide that drives ap- petite memo- ries. These flies also displayed a conditioned preference for an odor paired with the red light. Curiously, as noted in the scientists' paper in Current Biology, sexually sated flies preferred liquid food that was nonal- coholic, whereas control flies drowned their sorrows, suggesting an interplay between natural and drug rewards, an interplay that is conserved in humans and may drive addiction. Sexual Release via Optogenetics Is Pleasurable Expressive Eyebrows May Have Influenced Skull Shape Sticky Ends...

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