Bioshots

Interesting articles from around the world for your reading pleasure:

1. Illumina’s plans on world domination

Illumina is extending its monopoly in the DNA sequencing field by suing several of its competitors including Oxford Nanopore Technologies. The latter developed an intriguing way of sequencing DNA by measuring current fluctuations as the bases (with no limit on read length) are guided through the pore by an enzyme (watch the video here). However Illumina claims ONT infringed on two exclusively licensed patents from the University of Washington with regard to the use of Mycobacterium smegmatis porinA (MspA). Illumina has also been teaming up with several diagnostic/personal consumer companies in an effort extend its genetic sequencing and interpretation capabilities to a much larger market of general consumers as opposed to research groups.

2. 3D-print your own lab equipment

It’s an interesting idea and with large potential considering how expensive lab equipment is. Furthermore the idea of everything being open-sourced allows for greater modification and improvement by the world-wide scientific community. There are currently available 3D printing designs for micropipettes, thermocyclers, centrifuges, microscopes (including two-photon), hotplates, stirrers, micromanipulators, syringe pumps and more!

3. The history of PCR

GEN did a nice article on the history of PCR and how the idea was first rejected by 15 journals!

4. Singapore’s S$19 billion five-year research budget

Singapore’s putting in a whole lot of money into developing its life science, energy, manufacturing and digital technology fields. Be interesting to see how things develop after 5-10 years!

5. Another failed Alzheimer’s drug may get a second chance

Alzheon’s drug tramiprosate which failed Phase III trials previously may get another chance after Alzheon’s re-examination of the trial data revealed significantly better responses in Apo E4 homozygous patients.

6. FDA approves genetically modified mosquitoes to halt the spread of Zika virus

Interesting article highlighting the approach to use genetically modified male Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes to mate with females producing offspring that die early. The mosquitoes are said to have limited hazardous effects to the environment as the males do not bite other animals and only survive for two days. A pilot trial in a city in San Paulo, Brazil, already proved this method was effective at reducing the Aedes aegypti population by 82%. If found effective, I bet the chances of this being applied to the control of dengue would be pretty high.

7. Finally for some stunning images

Some cool sciency images of subjects captured under the microscope in the Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition.

 

 

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