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Archive for the ‘Molecular Genetics’ Category

Mice Sperm Sabotage Other Swimmers With Poison | Smart News – Smithsonian Magazine

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

Sperm are simple cells with a straightforward job: swim until they reach an egg, then fertilize it. But in mice, some sperm resort to divisive tactics in order to gain the advantage.

A study published on February 4 in the journal PLOS Genetics shows that a genetic variation in mouse sperm, called the t-type, can give a swimmer the upper hand. These t-type sperm are able to spread a protein called RAC1 that essentially poisons other sperm. T-type sperm plant the seeds of destruction early in their development, then fortify themselves against RAC-1, Brandon Specktor reports for Live Science. When it comes time to race for the egg, the t-type sperm can swim in a straight line while poisoned sperm swim in hapless circles until they die.

We found out that the level of this protein can be more or less active, depending on whether the sperm have the gene to make it, and whether that gene is flipped on like a light switch, says biologist Alexandra Amaral of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics to Kassidy Vavra at Inverse. The level of protein that is on has to be quite well regulated. If it is too much, sperm don't move well. And if its too low, it also doesnt move well theyre kind of in circles.

T-type sperm produce the RAC1 protein at full throttle.

If all of the sperm in a group are t-type, and theyre all making RAC1, they will all struggle because there is so much of the poisonous protein going around, Sara Rigby reports for Science Focus magazine. On the other hand, if there are no t-type sperm present, then all the other sperm remain relatively healthy and swim well because theres no overabundance of RAC1. However, if a cohort has a mix of t-type and normal sperm, then t-type will have the advantage.

"The trick is that the t-haplotype 'poisons' all sperm, but at the same time produces an antidote, which acts only in t-sperm and protects them," says Bernhard Herrmann, director of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, in a statement. "Imagine a marathon, in which all participants get poisoned drinking water, but some runners also take an antidote."

The t-type sperm do the equivalent of poisoning the drinking water early in sperm development, affecting both themselves and their non-variant peers. All of the sperm inherit genes that make it difficult to interpret the chemical signals around them. But in the final cell division of sperm development, when half of a cells genes go to one sperm and the other half to another, only the sperm that inherit the t-type variation have an extra set of genes that reverses the poisons effect, per Live Science.

The poisoned sperm end up swimming in circles, unable to advance in their quest. But the impervious t-type sperm swim ahead. In this case, theres a 99 percent chance that the sperm that fertilizes the egg first will have the t-type variation. The research shows the importance of small genetic variations in sperms success, Amaral tells Inverse.

The study was conducted in about 100 mouse sperm cells, but not all species sperm behave the same way, University of California, Berkeley, cell biologist Polina Lishko tells Inverse. The study is preliminary, but future research could illuminate the specific molecular mechanism behind RAC1 that makes it damaging to sperm at high levels.

An earlier study showed a similar effect of RAC1 on bull sperm, which is more similar to human sperm than a mouses is. Amaral says that the team plans to conduct future research with human sperm, to see if RAC1 might be involved with some cases of male infertility.

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Mice Sperm Sabotage Other Swimmers With Poison | Smart News - Smithsonian Magazine


Study Identifies Never-Before-Seen Dual Function in Enzyme Critical for Cancer Growth – Newswise

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

Newswise Considered the most lethal form of DNA damage, double-strand breaks must be repaired to prevent cell death. In developing therapies for hard-to-treat breast and ovarian cancers in patients with BRCA gene mutations, scientists aim to identify ways to keep cancer cells from using DNA break repair pathways. New findings demonstrate a previously-unknown capability for polymerase theta (pol theta) a key enzyme in this repair function that shows promise as a new avenue for treatment development.

The study results are published in Molecular Cell.

Researchers at the University of Vermont (UVM), The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MD Anderson), and Yale University discovered that pol theta, previously known to extend DNA in the repair process, is also able to behave like a nuclease and trim DNA.

Because these cancer cells rely on the pol theta pathway to survive and repair double-strand breaks, researchers have been focused on pol theta and trying to find out how to inhibit this pathway.

Pol theta is a hot enzyme right now, says senior author and self-described polymerase geek Sylvie Doubli, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at the UVM Larner College of Medicine and the UVM Cancer Center. This is a new activity for pol theta; its an elegant way of solving the problem you only need one enzyme.

For patients with hard-to-treat cancers, this finding could lead to the development of new therapeutic options, like the Poly-ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors class of drugs that have been used to treat breast and ovarian cancer over the past decade.

The cell has to decide which function needs to be applied and this trimming activity is a point of vulnerability for pol theta, says Doubli. One aim of the research is to create conditions where one reaction can be encouraged over the other.

A potential role for such an inhibitor would be to improve ionizing radiation therapy in cancer patients with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.

Doublis former doctoral student Karl Zahn, Ph.D., now a postdoctoral fellow at Yale, saw evidence of this dual function in pol theta several years ago while working in Doublis lab. He carried out the experiments described in the paper after engaging the expertise of Richard Wood, Ph.D., professor of epigenetics and molecular carcinogenesis at MD Anderson. Wood and Doubli have had a long-term collaboration, funded by a Program Project grant from the National Cancer Institute.

Conducting the experiments, controls, and reproducing the findings took the research team several years but was critical to confirming this discovery.

It was an unexpected finding, and the biochemistry makes sense, suggesting a way to inhibit the DNA repair process orchestrated by pol theta, says Wood.

The trimming reaction is rapid, and many people missed it, says Doubli, adding that the research teams patience and work paid off. Chance favors only the prepared mind, she says, quoting the late French scientist Louis Pasteur.

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Study Identifies Never-Before-Seen Dual Function in Enzyme Critical for Cancer Growth - Newswise


Devious sperm ‘poison’ their rivals, forcing them to swim in circles until they die –

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

Some sperm cells are ruthless manipulators that will literally poison their competition in the race to fertilize an egg, new research shows.

In a study published Feb. 4 in the journal PLOS Genetics, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics (MPIMG) in Berlin studied mouse sperm cells under the microscope to better understand the effects of a particular DNA sequence known as the t-haplotype. The team knew from previous research that sperm cells carrying this sequence tend to swim straighter (rather than in circles of death) and faster on average than competing sperm without it.

Now, they've found that those highly-effective sperms' tactics are a little less than sportsmanly.

Related: The 7 biggest mysteries of the human body

"Sperm with the t-haplotype manage to disable sperm without it," study co-author Bernhard Herrmann, director at the MPIMG, said in a statement. "The trick is that the thaplotype 'poisons' all sperm, but at the same time produces an antidote, which acts only in t-sperm [those with the t-haplotype] and protects them."

The result, Herrmann said, is sort of like a marathon "in which all the participants get poisoned drinking water," but only some of the runners have access to the antidote.

The t-haplotype is a series of linked genes occupying chromosome 17 in house mice all over the world. (Unlike humans, who have 23 pairs of chromosomes, mice have only 20). Herrmann and other researchers have called it a "selfish" gene genetic material with a single mission: to make copies of itself. Because of the t-haplotype's ruthless effectiveness at passing from one generation to the next, according to the researchers, male mice carrying one copy of the t-haplotype will transmit it to up to 99% of their offspring.

After studying more than 100 mouse sperm cells, Herrmann and his colleagues learned more about the selfish haplotype's devious tactics. They found that the t-haplotype "poisons" all sperm cells during the early phases of sperm production, injecting every cell with certain genes that inhibit their ability to regulate movement.

It's not until a later phase, when each cell divides in half, that the "antidote" comes into play. After dividing, half of the sperm cells inherit the t-haplotype genes on chromosome 17. For those lucky sperm, the t-haplotype provides new genetic variants that reverse the inhibiting effects of the "poison" that every cell consumed during the previous phase of development.

For the other half of sperm cells, which don't carry the t-haplotype or its genetic "antidote," life becomes a lot harder. These poisoned cells have a lot more trouble moving in a straight line (an important skill for a cell whose only job is to race full-speed-ahead to an unfertilized egg). In their study, the researchers saw that many sperm without the antidote literally swam in circles until they died, while their t-haplotype competitors charged straight ahead.

"Our data highlight the fact that sperm cells are ruthless competitors," Herrmann said. "Genetic differences can give individual sperm an advantage in the race for life, thus promoting the transmission of particular gene variants to the next generation."

Originally published on Live Science.

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Devious sperm 'poison' their rivals, forcing them to swim in circles until they die -


More needs to be done to find and fight COVID-19 variants, says Colorado researcher – FOX 31 Denver

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) The novel coronavirus can rapidly mutate inside of compromised patients and give way to new and more dangerous variants, according to new research from a University of Colorado School of Medicine scientist.

David Pollock, a professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics, co-authored the research in the journal Nature.

He studied a patient in his 70s who had COVID-19 and cancer. In just weeks, the virus mutated multiple times and variants that survived were the strongest and most dangerous.

Its allowing for a much more rapid accumulation of mutationsthan if they go on to infect other people, Pollock said.

In the case of the patient Pollock studied, who ultimately died, the variants were not allowed to escape and infect others. But in other cases the variants do. This has most likely led to the more infectious and possibly more harmful variants in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil.

This is like a pandemic in a pandemic, Pollock said. These are spreading amongst the people who are infected.

These variants are also affecting the COVID-19 vaccine. This is most notable with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which went through clinical trials later than the vaccines currently approved.

The vaccine was 72% effective in the United States, but just 58% effective in South Africa, where a variant was running rampant.

The worry and the concern is that the vaccines will be less effective, Pollock said. Its much better to take the vaccine. Youre much (more) likely to be better off if youre protected against the old virus.

Pollock said one way to get ahead of the variants is to do more genome sequencing. Hes now pushing the state to do that.

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More needs to be done to find and fight COVID-19 variants, says Colorado researcher - FOX 31 Denver


Selfish sperm genes ‘poison’ the competition for the win – Big Think

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

In the life-or-death scramble to fertilize an egg, not all sperm are alike. A new study of mice by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics (MPIMG) in Berlin identifies a genetic factor called "t-haplotype," whose tag-team act with the protein RAC1 helps a spermatozoan speed straight to the prize.

The study is published in PLOS Genetics.

Credit: ibreakstock/Adobe Stock

The researchers conducted experiments with mouse sperm to learn more about the properties of the t-haplotype, a group of genetic alleles that are known to appear on Chromosome 17 of mice.

Comparing the movement of mouse sperm with the t-haplotype against sperm without it, the researchers, led by first author Alexandra Amaral of MPIMG, definitively demonstrated the difference t-haplotype makes. Sperm with the gene factor progressed quickly forward, while "normal" sperm didn't exhibit the same degree of progress.

While most genes operate cooperatively with others, some don't. Among these "selfish" genes are the t-haplotype.

"Genes that violate this rule by unfairly increasing their chance of transmission can gain large fitness advantages at the detriment of those that act fairly. This leads to selection for selfish adaptations and, as a result, counter-adaptations to this selfishness, initiating an arms race between these selfish genetic elements and the rest of the genome." Jan-Niklas Runge, Anna K. Lindholm, 2018

"Sperm with the t-haplotype manage to disable sperm without it," says corresponding study author Bernhard Herrmann, also of MPIMG.

"The trick is that the t-haplotype 'poisons' all sperm," he explains, "but at the same time produces an antidote, which acts only in t-sperm and protects them. Imagine a marathon in which all participants get poisoned drinking water, but some runners also take an antidote."

The t-haplotype distributes a factor that distorts, or "poisons," the integrity of genetic regulatory signals. This goes out to all mouse sperm that carry the t-haplotype in the early stage of spermatogenesis. Chromosomes split as they mature, and half the sperm that retain the t-haplotype produce another factor that reverse the distortion, neutralizing the "poison." These t-sperm hold onto this antidote for themselves.


Credit: Emw/Wikimedia

RAC1 acts as a molecular switch outside the sperm cell. It is known to be a protein that guides cells to different places in the body. For example, it directs white blood cells and cancer cells towards other cells that are putting out specific chemical signatures. The study suggests that RAC1 may point sperm toward an egg, helping it "sniff" out its target.

In addition, the presence of RAC1 seems to help the t-sperm carry out their sabotage. The researchers demonstrated this by introducing an RAC1 inhibitor to a mixed population of sperm. Prior to its introduction, the t-sperm in the group were "poisoning" their normal neighbors, causing them to move poorly. When the inhibitor neutralized the populations' RAC1, the t-sperms' dirty trick no longer worked, and the normal sperm began moving progressively.

However important RAC1 may be to t-sperm, too much or too little is problematic. Says Amaral, "The competitiveness of individual sperm seems to depend on an optimal level of active RAC1; both reduced or excessive RAC1 activity interferes with effective forward movement."

When females have two t-haplotypes on Chromosome 17, they are fertile. When sperm have one t-haplotype, their motility may be negatively affected, but when they have two, they are sterile. The researchers discovered the reason: They have much higher levels of RAC1.

At the same time, the study finds that normal sperm who aren't being held back by t-sperm stop moving progressively when RAC1 is inhibited, meaning that too little RAC1 also results in low motility.

Herrmann sums up the insights the study offers:

"Our data highlight the fact that sperm cells are ruthless competitors. Genetic differences can give individual sperm an advantage in the race for life, thus promoting the transmission of particular gene variants to the next generation."

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Selfish sperm genes 'poison' the competition for the win - Big Think


Some sperm cells swim faster and even poison their competition to climb to the top – ZME Science

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

It takes just one sperm to fertilize a womans egg and for each sperm that reaches the egg, there are millions that dont. You probably knew that already, but heres the thing: not all sperm cells are equal. Some have mutations in their DNA sequence that allow them to swim straighter, rather than in circles, and faster on average than their competition. Whats more, sperm cells can even employ gruesome tactics, such as poisoning their neighbors in order to enhance their odds of fertilizing the egg.

The difference between a loser and a winner sperm cell could be down to a protein: RAC1. In a new study, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics (MPIMG) in Germany studied mouse sperm cells under the microscope, finding that this protein is responsible for guiding the sperm in the right direction by chemically signaling from the outside and activating other proteins.

The RAC1 protein plays a critical role in controlling the motility of sperm, in particular the average path velocity and linearity. This protein is produced in sperm that carry a particular DNA sequence known as the t-haplotype.

The researchers in Germany knew from previous research that it is thanks to this genetic sequence that some sperm swim in a straighter path and at a faster velocity than sperm lacking the t-haplotype. However, they were shocked to learn that t-haplotype sperm can also poison their competition by injecting them with certain genes that inhibit movement.

Sperm with the t-haplotype manage to disable sperm without it, study co-author Bernhard Herrmann, director at the MPIMG, said in a statement. The trick is that the thaplotype poisons all sperm, but at the same time produces an antidote, which acts only in t-sperm [those with the t-haplotype] and protects them.

In other words, it literally is a race for life (or death) for the millions of sperm cells on a quest to fertilize egg cells and luck seems to play a minor role.

Imagine a marathon, in which all participants get poisoned drinking water, but some runners also take an antidote, said Herrmann, who is also the director of the Institute of Medical Genetics at Charit Universittsmedizin Berlin. Thats the same hospital where Kremlin critic and Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was treated after being poisoned, allegedly by the Russian government.

According to experiments, the vast majority of sperm cells that made little progress on their paths were genetically normal, whereas those that moved in a straight and optimal path mostly had the t-haplotype genetic factor. Poisoned cells literally swam in circles until they died. Meanwhile, t-haplotype sperm that had the antidote that inhibited the effects of the poison charge straight ahead.

Our data highlight the fact that sperm cells are ruthless competitors, says Herrmann.Genetic differences can give individual sperm an advantage in the race for life, thus promoting the transmission of particular gene variants to the next generation, says the scientist.

The findings were reported in the journal PLOS Genetics.

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Some sperm cells swim faster and even poison their competition to climb to the top - ZME Science


Mutations in frogs point to autism genes’ shared role in neurogenesis – Spectrum

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

Mutations in any of 10 autism-linked genes lead to the same overabundance of brain cells that develop into neurons, according to a new study of the mutations in frogs. The sex hormone estrogen lowers this excess, the researchers also found.

Autism is linked to hundreds of genes, but how mutations in this varied pool lead to the same traits remains unknown. The new work sought to pinpoint where the genes effects converge.

Finding shared risk and resilience factors sustains our hope that the field can use the study of individual genes to find treatment targets that work more broadly, says lead investigator Matthew State, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of California, San Francisco.

State and his colleagues used CRISPR to edit genes in a species of frog called Xenopus tropicalis. Although researchers typically model autism in mice, rats and even monkeys, Xenopus offers advantages from day one: Once its first fertilized cell divides into two, each daughter cell and all of its progeny stay on their respective side. As a result, a daughter cell with an edited gene on the left will grow into a tadpole with that mutation in every cell on the left half of its body and only the left half. Researchers can also readily observe stages of brain development in the tadpoles that occur in utero in people and other animals.

The convergence the team observed suggests that all 10 of the genes studied play a role in the early development of neurons, in addition to their other functions, says study investigator Helen Willsey, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, San Francisco.

Understanding this role could ultimately lead to better treatments for autism, but that is still a long way off: Premature would be too generous a word, State says.

What we really need right now is a molecular mechanism, Willsey says. In order to get therapeutics, we need to know what these genes are doing, whats in common to them and what are some pathways we could manipulate.

In a day, a pair of Xenopus frogs can produce thousands of embryos, which develop into tadpoles in about a week.

In each frog embryo, the researchers edited one of 10 genes strongly associated with autism: ADNP, ANK2, ARID1B, CHD2, CHD8, DYRK1A, NRXN1, POGZ, SCN2A or SYNGAP1. All 10 are expressed in the frogs cerebrum at stages that line up with prenatal brain development in people, the team found.

Tadpoles with any of the mutations had either unusually large or small cerebrums. And they all had a higher proportion of neural progenitor cells those that eventually become neurons or other brain cells to mature neurons than controls did.

Thats what was so surprising to us, Willsey says. Even for genes that are thought to be primarily at the synapse, we still saw changes in brain size and neural progenitor maturation.

In prenatal human brains, the 10 genes, plus 92 others linked to autism, all encode proteins that interact with proteins in a layer of the cortex where neural differentiation happens, an analysis of a protein-interaction database showed.

The researchers then turned down DYRK1A expression in the tadpoles brains using a chemical inhibitor and tested the effects of 133 cancer drugs designed to suppress cell growth; 17 drugs altered the progenitor cell ratio, including 3 that affect the bodys use of estrogen. Adding estrogen to the tadpoles water restored the cell imbalance. Mutations that altered the function of estrogen receptors led to the same reductions in cerebrum size as the autism genes. The work was published in Neuron in January.

The findings suggest that estrogen plays an important role in the creation of neurons, Willsey says, and that a better understanding of this role could point to treatment targets. Estrogen itself cannot be given as a treatment because of its effects on development, she says.

Estrogen may partially explain the higher rates of autism observed in boys and men, Willsey says, although at least some of the difference in prevalence may be due to underdiagnosis of the condition in girls and women. Estrogen reduces hyperactivity in zebrafish with mutations in the autism-linked gene CNTNAP2, States lab previously showed.

The teams method could be useful for both screening drugs and studying genes whose functions are less well known, says Sarah Elsea, professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, who was not involved in the work.

The process they laid out is quite nice, she says. Its a template to do additional work.

It could also help researchers identify drugs to alleviate specific difficulties seen in autistic people with different underlying genetics, such as circadian rhythm disruptions that lead to sleep problems, Elsea says.

One of the greatest possible outcomes that we have from something like this is that there might be one medication that [works in] individuals who have [autism] associated with those 10 genes, Elsea says. Maybe there is something that could be identified that would help make their days just a little bit better.

The approach could also be used identify commonalities across genes related to psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, says Kristen Brennand, a faculty member in the psychiatry department at Yale University, who was not involved in the work.

Its more evidence [that] there needs to be a systematic way of manipulating genes linked to these conditions, Brennand says.

The brain changes observed in the frogs may not relate to autism, because the 10 genes studied are known to be important for neuron and synapse development generally, says David Cutler, professor of human genetics at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, who was not involved in the work.

You dont know really what to make of it, Cutler says. The autism phenotype in humans is much more subtle than size of brain. And its much more subtle than number of neurons.

Still, the method could eventually point to a system that will translate to people, he says.

Is it plausible? Yes, Cutler says. Are we there? No.

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Mutations in frogs point to autism genes' shared role in neurogenesis - Spectrum


We are scientists: U of T researchers reach out to girls and women around the world – News@UofT

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

War broke out just as Sanja Fidlers grandmother graduated from medical school and the young doctors experience treating the wounded led her to become one of the first female plastic surgeons in her country.

She was my main source of inspiration, says Fidler, a computer vision expert from Slovenia.

She loved science and she would always inspire me to think about science. She would play board games with me. She loved to hear about me going to math competitions, chess competitions and, later, when I was an adult, the conferences.

When Fidler was working on her PhD, it was her grandmother who encouraged her to go abroad, to experience something new, to see something beyond the environment Id experienced all my life and thats what I did, Fidler says.

I guess Im here because of her.

For Fidler, here is the University of Toronto, where the award-winning researcher is an associate professor of mathematical and computational sciences at U of T Mississauga and a director of AI at NVIDIA.

Shes also one of a number of women at U of T all award-winning researchers in science, technology, engineering and math featured on social media to mark theInternational Day of Women and Girls in Science as part of a campaign aimed at encouraging girls and women to pursue careers in STEM.

The outreach is important because role models and representation matter, says Professor Christine Allen, U of Ts associate vice-president and vice-provost, strategic initiatives.

We know that, globally, women in STEM face lower salaries and higher exit rates than men so its not surprising that fewer than 30 per cent of the worlds researchers in science, technology, engineering and math are women, Allen says. Weve seen what can happen when we work for change when we make concerted efforts to eliminate obstacles, engage and recruit girls and women. Since 2014, for example, women have enrolled in equal or greater numbers than men at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine. But we have a long way to go.

Significant work also remains to be done to overcome the barriers faced by women in STEM with disabilities and/or women in STEM from the BIPOC and LBGTQ+ communities. Issues of racism and discrimination against women in STEM who are from diverse communities must be addressed. It is up to each of us to create an environment in STEM where all girls and women feel welcome and are able to contribute and succeed.

Along with Fidler, the campaign highlights physiologist Patricia Brubaker, cosmologist Rene Hloek, evolutionary biologist Maydianne Andrade, computational medical expert Marzyeh Ghassemi, hepatologist Mamatha Bhat and biomedical engineer Molly Shoichet just a few of the universitys many award-winning women researchers in STEM.

Ghassemi, an assistant professor in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Arts & Science, counts her mother among her own role models and mentors. She says her mother home-schooled her and instilled a love of science. The late Mildred Dresselhaus, a legendary professor she met while she was a graduate student at MIT, also encouraged her as did Lila Ibrahim, who was Ghassemis boss at Intel when she was just beginning her career.

She always said, you can do that just do it, try it, Ghassemi says. That was really inspirational to me that she believed that anything I chose to focus on I could accomplish, when I was very young, in this new job.

Inspiring young women and girls is the goal of the U of T campaign, says Professor Leah Cowen, chair of the department of molecular genetics in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and, as of March 1, U of Ts associate vice-president, research.

This reflects the universitys commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion signalled by signing the federal governments Dimensions Charter in 2019. We hope its message reaches young women and girls who may be just beginning to consider STEM as a rewarding career. The world needs their talent, their leadership and their innovation.

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We are scientists: U of T researchers reach out to girls and women around the world - News@UofT


Global Genetic Testing Market Insights, Size Estimation, Research Insights, COVID-19 Impact and Future Trends By 2028 KSU | The Sentinel Newspaper -…

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

Global Genetic Testing Market Report Provides Future Development Possibilities By Key Players, Key Drivers, Competitive Analysis, Scope, And Key Challenges Analysis. The Reports Conjointly Elaborate The Expansion Rate Of The Industry Supported The Highest CAGR And Global Analysis. This Report Providing An In Depth And Top To Bottom Analysis By Market Size, Growth Forecast By Applications, Sales, Size, Types And Competitors For The Creating Segment And The Developing Section Among The Global Genetic Testing Market. Market Expansion Worldwide With Top Players Future Business Scope and Investment Analysis Report

Global Genetic Testing Market, By Type (Predictive & Presymptomatic Testing, Carrier Testing, Prenatal & Newborn Testing, Diagnostic Testing, Pharmacogenomic Testing, Others), Technology (Cytogenetic Testing, Biochemical Testing, and Molecular Testing), Application (Cancer Diagnosis, Genetic Disease Diagnosis, Cardiovascular Disease Diagnosis, Others), Disease (Alzheimers Disease, Cancer, Cystic Fibrosis, Sickle Cell Anemia, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Thalassemia, Huntingtons Disease, Rare Diseases, Other Diseases), Product (Equipment, Consumables), Country (U.S., Canada, Mexico, Germany, Italy, U.K., France, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Turkey, Russia, Rest of Europe, Japan, China, India, South Korea, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Rest of Asia- Pacific, Brazil, Argentina, Rest of South America, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Israel, Rest of Middle East & Africa) Industry Trends and Forecast to 2028

Genetic testing market is expected to gain market growth in the forecast period of 2021 to 2028. Data Bridge Market Research analyses the market to reach at an estimated value of 585.81 billion and grow at a CAGR of 11.85% in the above-mentioned forecast period. Increase in incidences of genetic disorders and cancer drives the genetic testing market.

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The major players covered in the genetic testing market report are 23andMe, Inc., Abbott., Ambry Genetics., BGI, Biocartis, BIO-HELIX, bioMrieux SA, Blueprint Genetics Oy, Cepheid., deCODE genetics, GeneDx, Inc., Exact Sciences Corp, HTG Molecular Diagnostics, Genomictree., Illumina, Inc, Invitae Corporation, Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings, Luminex Corporation., ICON plc, Myriad Genetics, Inc, Natera, Inc., Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc, Pathway Genomics, QIAGEN, Quest Diagnostics Incorporated, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd and Siemens Healthcare Private Limited among other domestic and global players.

Competitive Landscape and Genetic Testing Market Share Analysis

Genetic testing market competitive landscape provides details by competitor. Details included are company overview, company financials, revenue generated, market potential, investment in research and development, new market initiatives, global presence, production sites and facilities, production capacities, company strengths and weaknesses, product launch, product width and breadth, application dominance. The above data points provided are only related to the companies focus related to genetic testing market.

Genetic tests are the type of tests which are defined as medical devices available in the form of kits and panels that are used for testing genetic diseases in humans. The testing is generally performed by collecting samples ofbloodfrom patients and the samples are then run on laboratory machines using test kits. There are numerous types of tests which are used in testing of genetic disorders which includes, predictive and presymptomatic testing, carrier testing, prenatal and newborn testing, diagnostic testing, pharmacogenomic testing among others.

Rise in awareness and acceptance of personalized medicines is the vital factor escalating the market growth, also rising advancements in genetic testing techniques, rising demand for direct-to-consumer genetic testing, rising consumer interest in personalized medicines in Europe, rising application of genetic testing in oncology and genetic diseases in North America and rising physician adoption of genetic tests into clinical care are the major factors among others driving the genetic testing market. Moreover, rising untapped emerging markets in developing countries and rising research and development activities in the machinery used inhealthcarewill further create new opportunities for genetic testing market in the forecasted period of 2021-2028.

However, rising standardization concerns of genetic testing-based diagnostics and rising stringent regulatory requirements for product approvals are the major factors among others which will obstruct the market growth, and will further challenge the growth ofgenetic testing marketin the forecast period mentioned above.

This genetic testing market report provides details of new recent developments, trade regulations, import export analysis, production analysis, value chain optimization, market share, impact of domestic and localised market players, analyses opportunities in terms of emerging revenue pockets, changes in market regulations, strategic market growth analysis, market size, category market growths, application niches and dominance, product approvals, product launches, geographic expansions, technological innovations in the market. To gain more info on genetic testing market contact Data Bridge Market Research for anAnalyst Brief,our team will help you take an informed market decision to achieve market growth.

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Genetic Testing Market Scope and Market Size

Genetic testing market is segmented on the basis of type, technology, application, disease and product. The growth amongst these segments will help you analyse meagre growth segments in the industries, and provide the users with valuable market overview and market insights to help them in making strategic decisions for identification of core market applications.


Global Genetic Testing MarketCountry Level Analysis

Genetic testing market is analysed and market size insights and trends are provided by country, type, technology, application, disease and product as referenced above.

The countries covered in the genetic testing market report are U.S., Canada and Mexico in North America, Germany, France, U.K., Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Russia, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Rest of Europe in Europe, China, Japan, India, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Rest of Asia-Pacific (APAC) in the Asia-Pacific (APAC), Saudi Arabia, U.A.E, South Africa, Egypt, Israel, Rest of Middle East and Africa (MEA) as a part of Middle East and Africa (MEA), Brazil, Argentina and Rest of South America as part of South America.

North America dominates the genetic testing market due to rising demand for direct-to-consumer genetic testing and rising consumer interest in personalized medicines. Asia-Pacific is the expected region in terms of growth in genetic testing market due to rise in affordability, increasing surge in healthcare expenditure, and increase in awareness toward early screening of genetic disorders in this region.

The country section of the genetic testing market report also provides individual market impacting factors and changes in regulation in the market domestically that impacts the current and future trends of the market. Data points such as consumption volumes, production sites and volumes, import export analysis, price trend analysis, cost of raw materials, down-stream and upstream value chain analysis are some of the major pointers used to forecast the market scenario for individual countries. Also, presence and availability of global brands and their challenges faced due to large or scarce competition from local and domestic brands, impact of domestic tariffs and trade routes are considered while providing forecast analysis of the country data.

Healthcare Infrastructure growth Installed base and New Technology Penetration

Genetic testing market also provides you with detailed market analysis for every country growth in healthcare expenditure for capital equipments, installed base of different kind of products for genetic testing market, impact of technology using life line curves and changes in healthcare regulatory scenarios and their impact on the genetic testing market. The data is available for historic period 2010 to 2019.

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Global Genetic Testing Market Insights, Size Estimation, Research Insights, COVID-19 Impact and Future Trends By 2028 KSU | The Sentinel Newspaper -...


Acer Therapeutics Announces Topline Results from its Bioequivalence Trial of ACER-001 Compared to BUPHENYL Under Fed Conditions – GlobeNewswire

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

NEWTON, Mass., Feb. 11, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Acer Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: ACER), a pharmaceutical company focused on the acquisition, development and commercialization of therapies for serious rare and life-threatening diseases with significant unmet medical needs, today announced topline results from its bioequivalence trial in which ACER-001 showed similar relative bioavailability compared to BUPHENYL (sodium phenylbutyrate) under fed conditions. ACER-001 powder is a proprietary, taste-masked, immediate release formulation of sodium phenylbutyrate (NaPB) in development for the treatment of various inborn errors of metabolism, including urea cycle disorders (UCDs) and Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD).

The single-center, single-blind, randomized, single-dose crossover trial evaluated bioequivalence (BE) of ACER-001 compared to BUPHENYL when administered under fed conditions in 36 healthy adults. The topline data from this trial showed ACER-001 to have similar pharmacokinetic (PK) profiles for both phenylbutyrate (PBA) and phenylacetate (PAA) compared to BUPHENYL under fed conditions. Acer is initially developing ACER-001 for the treatment of patients with UCDs under Section 505(b)(2) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which provides a potentially streamlined path for sponsors that have developed drug products that rely upon data from drug products previously approved by the FDA.

With topline data now in hand, we are moving forward with our plans to conduct a pre-NDA meeting with the FDA in the second quarter of 2021, assuming successful and timely completion of the ongoing development activities, including evaluation of long-term product stability data, said Chris Schelling, CEO and Founder of Acer. Assuming no additional data is requested by the Agency during our pre-NDA meeting, we will plan to submit an NDA for ACER-001 for the treatment of UCDs in mid-2021. If ACER-001 is approved by the FDA, we believe its unique formulation will provide clinicians with an alternative to existing sodium phenylbutyrate-based treatments.

ACER-001 is an investigational product being studied for the treatment of patients with UCDs and MSUD and has not been approved by FDA for any indication. There can be no assurance that if submitted, a New Drug Application will be accepted by the FDA for filing and review or, if filed, that it will be approved.

About UCDsUCDs are a group of disorders caused by genetic mutations that result in a deficiency in one of the six enzymes that catalyze the urea cycle, which can lead to an excess accumulation of ammonia in the bloodstream, a condition known as hyperammonemia. Acute hyperammonemia can cause lethargy, somnolence, coma, and multi-organ failure, while chronic hyperammonemia can lead to headaches, confusion, lethargy, failure to thrive, behavioral changes, and learning and cognitive deficits. Common symptoms of both acute and chronic hyperammonemia also include seizures and psychiatric symptoms.1,2

The current treatment of UCDs consists of dietary management to limit ammonia production in conjunction with medications that provide alternative pathways for the removal of ammonia from the bloodstream. Some patients may also require individual branched-chain amino acid supplementation.

Current medications for UCDs include nitrogen scavengers RAVICTI and BUPHENYL in which the active pharmaceutical ingredients are glycerol phenylbutyrate (GPB) and sodium phenylbutyrate (NaPB), respectively. According to a 2016 study by Shchelochkov et al., published in Molecular Genetics and Metabolism Reports, while nitrogen scavenging medications can be effective in helping to manage ammonia levels in some patients with UCDs, non-compliance with treatment is common. Reasons referenced for non-compliance associated with some available medications include unpleasant taste, the frequency with which medication must be taken, the number of pills, and the high cost of the medication.3

About ACER-001ACER-001 is a powder formulation of sodium phenylbutyrate (NaPB). The proprietary formulation is designed to be both taste-masked and immediate release. ACER-001 is being developed using a microencapsulation process for the treatment of various inborn errors of metabolism, including UCDs and MSUD. ACER-001 microparticles consist of a core center, a layer of active drug, and a taste-masking coating that quickly dissolves in the stomach, allowing taste to be neutralized while still allowing for rapid systemic release. We believe that if ACER-001 is approved, its taste-masked properties will make it a viable alternative to existing NaPB-based treatments, as the unpleasant taste associated with NaPB is cited as a major impediment to patient compliance with those treatments.3 Acer has been granted orphan drug designation by the FDA for the MSUD indication. ACER-001 is under clinical investigation and its safety and efficacy have not been established. There is no guarantee that this product candidate will receive FDA approval or become commercially available for the uses being investigated.

About Acer Therapeutics Inc.Acer is a pharmaceutical company focused on the acquisition, development and commercialization of therapies for serious rare and life-threatening diseases with significant unmet medical needs. Acers pipeline includes four programs: ACER-001 (sodium phenylbutyrate) for the treatment of various inborn errors of metabolism, including urea cycle disorders (UCDs) and Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD); EDSIVO (celiprolol) for the treatment of vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (vEDS) in patients with a confirmed type III collagen (COL3A1) mutation; ACER-801 (osanetant) for the treatment of induced Vasomotor Symptoms (iVMS); and ACER-2820 (emetine), a host-directed therapy against a variety of infectious diseases, including COVID-19. Each of Acers product candidates is believed to present a comparatively de-risked profile, having one or more of a favorable safety profile, clinical proof-of-concept data, mechanistic differentiation and/or accelerated paths for development through specific programs and procedures established by the FDA. For more information, visit


Forward-Looking StatementsThis press release contains forward-looking statements that involve substantial risks and uncertainties for purposes of the safe harbor provided by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, included in this press release regarding strategy, future operations, timelines, future financial position, future revenues, projected expenses, regulatory submissions, actions or approvals, cash position, liquidity, prospects, plans and objectives of management are forward-looking statements. Examples of such statements include, but are not limited to, statements relating to the potential for our product candidates to safely and effectively treat diseases and to be approved for marketing; the commercial or market opportunity of any of our product candidates in any target indication and any territory; our ability to secure the additional capital necessary to fund our various product candidate development programs; the adequacy of our capital to support our future operations and our ability to successfully fund, initiate and complete clinical trials and regulatory submissions; the ability to protect our intellectual property rights; our strategy and business focus; and the development, expected timeline and commercial potential of any of our product candidates. We may not actually achieve the plans, carry out the intentions or meet the expectations or projections disclosed in the forward-looking statements and you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Such statements are based on managements current expectations and involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results and performance could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of many factors, including, without limitation, risks and uncertainties associated with the ability to project future cash utilization and reserves needed for contingent future liabilities and business operations, the availability of sufficient resources to fund our various product candidate development programs and to meet our business objectives and operational requirements, the fact that the results of earlier studies and trials may not be predictive of future clinical trial results, the protection and market exclusivity provided by our intellectual property, the substantial costs and diversion of managements attention and resources which could result from pending securities litigation, risks related to the drug development and the regulatory approval process, including the timing and requirements of regulatory actions, and the impact of competitive products and technological changes. We disclaim any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that exist after the date on which they were made. You should review additional disclosures we make in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and our Annual Report on Form 10-K. You may access these documents for no charge at

Investor Contact:Hans VitzthumLifeSci AdvisorsPh:

Jim DeNikeAcer Therapeutics Inc.Ph:

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Acer Therapeutics Announces Topline Results from its Bioequivalence Trial of ACER-001 Compared to BUPHENYL Under Fed Conditions - GlobeNewswire


GeneSight Psychotropic Test’s Combinatorial Approach Proves Better than Single-Gene Testing at Predicting Patient Outcomes and Medication Blood Levels…

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

New Analysis Published in Psychiatry Research

SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Myriad Genetics, Inc. (NASDAQ:MYGN), a leader in genetic testing and precision medicine, announced today the peer-reviewed journal Psychiatry Research has published a new analysis showing the combinatorial approach available in the GeneSight Psychotropic test is better than single-gene testing at predicting patient outcomes and medication blood levels.

Myriads GeneSight test evaluates how variations in multiple genes may influence an individuals outcomes with certain FDA-approved medications commonly prescribed to treat depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric conditions.

Using data from the Genomics Used to Improve DEpression Decisions (GUIDED) randomized-controlled trial, the study evaluated the ability of the combinatorial approach available in the GeneSight Psychotropic test to predict patient outcomes and medication blood levels compared to Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium(CPIC) single-gene recommendations. CPIC recommendations are based on either CYP2C19 and CYP2D6, which are genes that are involved in how the body metabolizes medications commonly used to treat depression and other mental illnesses.

The study included two types of analyses:

Our analysis demonstrated the superior ability of combinatorial pharmacogenetic testing to predict variation in medication blood levels may result in improved patient outcomes, said lead author Anthony J. Rothschild, MD, the Irving S. and Betty Brudnick Endowed Chair and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. We believe this study provides compelling evidence of the clinical validity of the combinatorial pharmacogenomic test for patients with major depressive disorder, who have at least one prior medication failure.

This analysis demonstrates that the combinatorial approach of the GeneSight test more accurately predicts blood drug levels and identifies more patients with significant gene-drug interactions who would be missed by single-gene testing, said Dr. Mark Pollack, chief medical officer, Myriad Neuroscience. Combinatorial pharmacogenomics like the GeneSight test should become the standard-of-care to help physicians understand gene-drug interactions that could improve care for people with depression, anxiety and other conditions.

This is the second study evaluating the combinatorial approach of the GeneSight test to be published inPsychiatry Research.The earlier study, published in May 2020, demonstrated the combinatorial approach available in the GeneSight Psychotropic test was better at predicting citalopram and escitalopram blood concentrations when compared to single-gene testing.

The GUIDED study, the largest pharmacogenomic randomized controlled trial in mental health, showed that patients whose doctors received GeneSight results had significantly improved response and remission rates from depression, compared to treatment as usual.

About Myriad NeuroscienceMyriad Neuroscience is a business unit of Myriad Genetics, Inc., (NASDAQ: MYGN), a leader in genetic testing and precision medicine. Through its GeneSight Psychotropic test, Myriad Neuroscience provides information to healthcare providers about their patients genetic variations, which may impact how they metabolize or respond to certain psychiatric medications. Learn more at

About The GeneSight TestMyriads GeneSight Psychotropic test is the category-leading pharmacogenomic test for depression medications. The GeneSight test can help inform doctors about genes that may impact how patients metabolize or respond to certain psychiatric medications. It has been given to more than one million patients by tens of thousands of clinicians to provide genetic information that is unique to each patient. It supplements other information considered by a doctor as part of a comprehensive medical assessment. Learn more at

About Myriad GeneticsMyriad Genetics Inc., is a leading genetic testing and precision medicine company dedicated to transforming patient lives worldwide. Myriad discovers and commercializes genetic tests that determine the risk of developing disease, accurately diagnose disease, assess the risk of disease progression, and guide treatment decisions across medical specialties where molecular diagnostics can significantly improve patient care and lower healthcare costs. For more information on how Myriad is making a difference, please visit the Company's

Myriad, the Myriad logo, BART, BRACAnalysis, Colaris, Colaris AP, myPath, myRisk, Myriad myRisk, myRisk Hereditary Cancer, myChoice, myPlan, BRACAnalysis CDx, Tumor BRACAnalysis CDx, myChoice CDx, Vectra, Prequel, Foresight, GeneSight, riskScore and Prolaris are trademarks or registered trademarks of Myriad Genetics, Inc. or its wholly owned subsidiaries in the United States and foreign countries. MYGN-F, MYGN-G.

Safe Harbor StatementThis press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements related to the Companys strategic directives under the caption "About Myriad Genetics." These "forward-looking statements" are based on management's current expectations of future events and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially and adversely from those set forth in or implied by forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: uncertainties associated with COVID-19, including its possible effects on our operations and the demand for our products and services; our ability to efficiently and flexibly manage our business amid uncertainties related to COVID-19; the risk that sales and profit margins of our molecular diagnostic tests and pharmaceutical and clinical services may decline; risks related to our ability to transition from our existing product portfolio to our new tests, including unexpected costs and delays; risks related to decisions or changes in governmental or private insurers reimbursement levels for our tests or our ability to obtain reimbursement for our new tests at comparable levels to our existing tests; risks related to increased competition and the development of new competing tests and services; the risk that we may be unable to develop or achieve commercial success for additional molecular diagnostic tests and pharmaceutical and clinical services in a timely manner, or at all; the risk that we may not successfully develop new markets for our molecular diagnostic tests and pharmaceutical and clinical services, including our ability to successfully generate revenue outside the United States; the risk that licenses to the technology underlying our molecular diagnostic tests and pharmaceutical and clinical services and any future tests and services are terminated or cannot be maintained on satisfactory terms; risks related to delays or other problems with operating our laboratory testing facilities and our healthcare clinic; risks related to public concern over genetic testing in general or our tests in particular; risks related to regulatory requirements or enforcement in the United States and foreign countries and changes in the structure of the healthcare system or healthcare payment systems; risks related to our ability to obtain new corporate collaborations or licenses and acquire new technologies or businesses on satisfactory terms, if at all; risks related to our ability to successfully integrate and derive benefits from any technologies or businesses that we license or acquire; risks related to our projections about our business, results of operations and financial condition; risks related to the potential market opportunity for our products and services; the risk that we or our licensors may be unable to protect or that third parties will infringe the proprietary technologies underlying our tests; the risk of patent-infringement claims or challenges to the validity of our patents or other intellectual property; risks related to changes in intellectual property laws covering our molecular diagnostic tests and pharmaceutical and clinical services and patents or enforcement in the United States and foreign countries, such as the Supreme Court decisions in Mayo Collab. Servs. v. Prometheus Labs., Inc., 566 U.S. 66 (2012), Assn for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., 569 U.S. 576 (2013), and Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Intl, 573 U.S. 208 (2014); risks of new, changing and competitive technologies and regulations in the United States and internationally; the risk that we may be unable to comply with financial operating covenants under our credit or lending agreements; the risk that we will be unable to pay, when due, amounts due under our credit or lending agreements; and other factors discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" contained in Item 1A of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as any updates to those risk factors filed from time to time in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q or Current Reports on Form 8-K. All information in this press release is as of the date of the release, and Myriad undertakes no duty to update this information unless required by law.

GeneSight Psychotropic Test's Combinatorial Approach Proves Better than Single-Gene Testing at Predicting Patient Outcomes and Medication Blood Levels...


Gu Ailing Eileen: I’ve learned to win for myself, not other people – Olympic Channel

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

Shes only 17-years-old, but Gu Ailing Eileen is already one of the worlds most exciting freestyle skiers.

The American-born athlete first gained global attention in 2019 when she won the slopestyle World Cup event at Seiser Alm, before switching allegiances to her mothers birth country, China.

A year later, she lit up the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympics, with gold medals in the big air and halfpipe events, as well as a silver in slopestyle.

In January 2021, Gu won Chinas first gold at the Winter X Games. In her debut at the Aspen event, she finished with the halfpipe and slopestyle titles as well as big air bronze.

In an Instagram live interview with Olympic Channel, below, the winter sports prodigy reveals her goals for the Beijing 2022 Winter Games, when she'll reveal her secret foodie social media account, her aims for college, a possible future career in government policy, and why her grandma is central to her success!

Olympic Channel: Congratulations for your recent X Games performance. On top of that, youre a Youth Winter Olympic Games champion, you're going to [study at] Stanford [university], you're a pianist, and a model. How do you do all of these things?

Eileen Gu: It's such a surreal thing for me to say out loud that I won the X Games twice! But you know what? When I do something, I focus super wholeheartedly on it. I guess that's the only thing I can say. Growing up, I could only ski on weekends and holidays, so I didn't even think about skiing at all. I was a full-time student. I wanted to get good grades. I wanted to do well in school. I wanted to learn about the things that were exciting to me. I was asking questions about calculus and physics and I wasn't thinking about, How am I supposed to do a double cork? It wasn't really in my head at all. I was thinking the whole time about school.

When I was skiing on the weekends, I would do my homework on the four-hour drive up to Tahoe. On Saturday and Sunday [I was] skiing all the time and I wouldn't think at all about school. And so I think that four-hour drive might be the answer. I did all my homework then, so over the weekend, I would focus on skiing.

I've always thought education was super important. Growing up, my two biggest goals in life were to get into Stanford and to go to the Olympics. So hopefully, fingers crossed, I'll be able to do the second one. I'm really excited just at the thought of it.

Equally at home on the slopes as she is in photo shoots, 16-year-old high s...

OC: What are you going to be studying?

EG: One thing I'm super excited about is that I actually don't have to declare my major until the end of my sophomore year. So I will be able to try all the classes I want, and figure out what I'm interested in. I have a couple of ideas. I am really interested in molecular genetics. Food connoisseur, I'm actually pretty serious about that for the most part. Perhaps journalism, I think [that course] would be really helpful. I really love writing, so that'll be just fun to take in general. I know that Stanford offers a wine tasting course in your junior year, after you turn twenty-one of course, but they will fly you out to France and they'll teach you how to taste different wines and cheeses. So that sounds right up my alley. Hopefully, I'll be able to do some of that when I get older. And there's just a lot of things that I haven't even tried like computer science, which I know is a really amazing major to take at Stanford. You know, more than anything, I'm just excited to be on campus in a little over a year's time, be living the college life, and meet some new friends.

OC: Chloe Kim knows what its like to be a professional athlete and a student. Have you ever spoken to her about it?

EG: Yes, I have. Chloe is super nice. She's helped mentor me in a lot of ways, but she actually took a year off of snowboarding. So she was a full-time student through her first year. I think she's leaving Princeton for this year to snowboard full time. Plans are always changing, but I think I would want to be able to do both at the same time because you know, this whole time I've been doing school and skiing. I got this far, so we'll see, it really is up in the air. Hopefully, I'll be able to do the weekends and holidays situation that I'm used to.

OC: Where do you think that that drive and that focus comes from?

EG: My grandma lives with us, my mom's mom. And I think she instilled that competitive drive in me when I was three or four years old. She's Chinese and doesn't speak any English, so we would be sitting at the kitchen table and she would be teaching me multiplication tables and three-by-three digit multiplication and division in Chinese. When I went to school, I would show my teachers, and I'm like, Four and four is sixteen. And the teacher is like, No, its eight. So then they eventually figured out that I was talking about multiplication and they would say, That's third grade math when I was in kindergarten!.

My grandma would always want me to be the best in the class if I took a test. It was those little bits of motivation for me that instilled that competitive drive. Shes actually turning 86 in a few days and is going really strong. She actually started running this year because I've always been super into running, and now she runs every day. She always tells me that she wants me to be the president, but is concerned that I cant be the president if I injure my knee skiing! I always push myself to go bigger and better with my jumps. But to be able to stay safe and question, Is this safe? Am I ready for this trick? is a really good thing to ask myself in the long run, in order to stay safe.

OC: Do you want to be president?

EG: You know, I'm really interested in becoming involved somewhere in government policy, perhaps as an ambassador to China, maybe because I have some experience culturally between both countries. Obviously, I'm bilingual. So I think that could be really exciting for me after skiing, and modelling, and all the things I want to do while Im young. I'm only seventeen now, and I have a lot of time to figure it out. I do run a secret food review account, though. I think I'll drop it right before the Olympics, so keep your eyes peeled for it! I only have like nine posts on it right now and I don't follow it on my main account.

OC: Do you have to be quite strict with the diet that you eat, the things you eat?

EG: So as an athlete and model, it's something that I have thought about a lot in the past. And I think it took a while to fully understand what my body needed. I naturally have a really, really fast metabolism. I do have a nutritionist who helps me structure my eating based around my training. I definitely snack, and I brought cookies up to the mountain. Im a huge chocolate fan and my dream job when I grow up is to be a food connoisseur. I think it's all about balance. Last night I had this great chocolate chip cookie bake with ice cream on it. It was mind-blowing. But a little bit of everything just keeps me happy and keeps me focused on skiing and not craving all sorts of food.

OC: I know that you and your grandmother like cooking together. What are you going to do for Chinese New Year?

EG: Oh, so normally growing up, I would always make dumplings with my grandma. And that was our big tradition. It is so cute because she is really good at it, she will roll out the dough for the dumplings and always would teach me to put as much filling as you can, so that the dumpling would obviously be bursting with flavour.

But the problem with me is they would always explode because I would put too much or too little in. And it was just so frustrating because she would do it so effortlessly. She's like, roll up, it'll be perfect and super thin, and then she'd throw like, this gigantic, enormous amount of stuff in there, and you'd be like, "there's no way that will close." And then she'll close it up perfectly. And then I would try it, and [it would] explode every time. So we're still working on it. I've gotten better growing up. I was not very good at it at all. Like I couldn't even make the dumpling. And so I would take the dough and make little shapes with it. So I would make a cat or like skis or try to make like a person skiing. I'm not artistic at all, so it wouldn't look like anything. It looked like a little ball of dough.

But I'd be like, "there's like the little ears," and she's like, "did you put the dumpling inside it as well or were you just playing with the dough?" I was playing with the dough. I was not very good The last couple of years I've actually improved a lot. I have a lot of videos of making dumplings with my grandmother. It's really cute. I've gotten a lot better. They're not as good as hers, but at least they don't explode anymore.

Freestyle skier Gu Ailing Eileen exceeded even her own expectations winning...

OC: Lets talk about Beijing 2022. What are your goals for your first Winter Olympic Games?

EG: I think every athlete entering the Olympics wants to win gold. And I think that gold is on the minds of many, and myself included. It's the biggest contest in the world, I've worked so, so hard and I also have so long to go before then. My biggest goal, honestly, is to enjoy the journey and enjoy the process because I'm so young. Every day in my life I learn something new. Being able to have the Olympics as a long-term goal to drive that passion is something that I'm so grateful for. When I actually get to the Olympics, hopefully through that process, through that zest for life, through that passion for the sport, I will have prepared to the best of my ability so that on the day I can perform the way that I hope to.

OC: How do you think that the Lausanne 2020 Youth Winter Olympics helped prepare you for Beijing?

EG: It was so helpful. It was actually my first big air contest ever, so I was really nervous for that. It was my first time doing all three events at the same contest. The two biggest things were time management and pressure management.

It was such a big production and there were so many cameras and ceremonies that it really felt like a world-class event. Last week at the X Games, I did all three events and podiumed all three. A lot of that I actually attribute to the Youth Olympics, because it taught me how to stand at the start gate three different times within 26 hours and how to be able to manage the pressure and the fatigue and keep the adrenaline high, but also remain safe throughout the whole process.

OC: Are there any athletes that you are interested in meeting?

EG: What's really cool about the ski community is that we're really tight knit. I am one of the younger people and, even though I've competed a lot now, I still think of myself as the underdog. I really look up to people like Gus Kenworthy, obviously Chloe Kim, Shaun (White). But what's crazy is that I see them all the time because we're always in the same training camps. Its really exciting. I definitely think I would love to meet some people from the racing side or the mogul side or the aerial side just because it's so different from what I do.

OC: How do you cope with pressure?

EG: I think that I've learned a lot about it at the Youth Olympics. I used to always think about the crowds at the bottom or the media or sponsors and friends that were there, and that I needed to make them proud, or I needed to do well for them. But I think after the Youth Olympics, and after big air in particular when I messed up my first jump, I think and I had to land both of my later jumps with 100 per cent success rate. That actually taught me that I didn't want to win for other people. I wanted to win for myself, and I wanted to prove how hard I had worked in the past. Nobody really sees behind the scenes. Nobody sees the hours and hours of hard work and mental preparation that I put into the sport. So at the end of the day, I want to be proud of myself and in that work that I've done, and have it show on the day. So I think I've learned to manage pressure and to feel the positive energy from other people who are there. But at the end of the day, when I'm feeling pressure to focus on performing to the best of my ability on that day.

Continued here:
Gu Ailing Eileen: I've learned to win for myself, not other people - Olympic Channel


Model organisms are more than just monkeys and mice – DW (English)

Sunday, February 7th, 2021

Model organisms or research organisms, as they are also known are living things that scientists, such as biologists, use to study human and other animal or plant life.

A model organism can be anything from single-celled bacteria to viruses and fungi. They can be more complex organisms, such as monkeys, mice, rats, frogs, elephants and a salamandercalled axolotl.

Monkeys and mice are considered incredibly important for the study of human disease and ageing, because they are genetically so similar to humans. And research on primates and rodents has led to some major scientific breakthroughs.

Illustration by Per Sander

The field is not without its opponents, though, and let's not mince our words its downsides.

One of the most basic scientific and ethical questions asks whether it's okay to subject non-human animals to experimental pain in a laboratory when we wouldn't do that with humans.

Think of vaccines and other medicines: Before they get tested on people, they are tested on non-human animals to look for dangerous side-effects.

Even further down the track, in human clinical trials, people can have extreme and adverse reactions to a drug in development. And that's when the drug has been somewhat refined to limit negative outcomes.

Illustration by Simone Hls

But with monkeys and rats, is it okay to just go ahead and test potentially lethal chemicals? Or what of psychological trials, like studying pain stimuli on mice? Is that okay? Does that mean that a monkey's life is worth less than a human life?

There are regulations to ensure the welfare of animals in research and, increasingly, some technical alternatives, such as computing models that use artificial intelligence and machine learning systems.

They can calculate what may happen if you put a medicinal compound in a body. But you can't avoid testing medicines on animals, including humans, in the end. How else would you know whether there are any benefits for human life?

Illustration by Simone Hls

There are less controversial model organisms than monkeys unexpected yet common things such as tomatoes, fruit flies, worms, and other vegetation. The axolotl is especially interesting because it keeps it's tadpole-like juvenile characteristics into adulthood. This includesexternalgills. But it is not a fish, it's a salamander.

One such plant is even celebrating the 200th anniversary of its naming, or to be precise, its renaming, and that's Arabidopsis thaliana.

A Swiss botanist called A.P. de Candolle coined the term Arabidopsis to describe a group of Brassicaceae plants in the mustard family in 1821.

In a paper published in the Journal of Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Rajnish Khana and Ulrich Kutschera explain how a German botanist, Friedrich Laibach, then "established the mustard plant A. thaliana (L.) Heynh as a model organism in plant genetics []."

It has since become integral to stem cell research and is still delivering insights.

Illustration by Barbara Scheid

Khana and Kutschera write that A. thaliana is an ideal model organism for some very basic reasons: it's small and easy to grow, it has a short generation time the average time from the birth of one living thing to the birth of its offspring it produces up to 10,000 seeds per plant, and it's easy to manipulate and mutate.

Model organisms are categorized into various groups. The categories start with viruses, such as Phage lambda and the Tobacco mosaic virus.

Illustration by Christian Kuhn

The Lambda phage, for instance, is what's known as a temperate virus, which infects host bacteria, such as E.coli.

Being temperate, Phage lambda has different ways of infecting a cell, but it has to decide which it wants to use. And it's that decision-making process at such a fundamental level of life that has intrigued scientists. Studying the process allows them to learn about our own biological development.

Some researchers say it's important to continue studying viruses on the brink of global eradication, such as polio.

Even viruses such as Ebola, Zika and influenza can be used as model organisms to teach us about genetic and hereditary processes in RNA, the messengers of DNA the thing that makes living things unique individuals.

The next category is Prokaryotes. A prokaryote is any organism that lacks a distinct nucleus, the thing that controls the activity of a cell.

Illustration by Barbara Scheid

The most common prokaryotes are bacteria, such as E.coli (Escherichia coli), which is used to study molecular genetics. Synechocystis is a bacterium that is commonly used to research photosynthesis.

Next on the list and arguably the largest and best-known group involves eukaryotes. Eukaryotes are cells or organisms that are thought to have evolved about 2 billion years ago.

Compared to prokaryotes, eukaryotes have a clearly defined nucleus.

They include protists. Protists are often but not exclusively microscopic, single-celled organisms.

Illustration by Christian Kuhn

Eukaryotes also include fungi. There's Neurospora crassa, an orange bread mold, for instance, that's been used to study metabolic regulation and the circadian rhythm the latter being a field that won a Nobel Prize only a few years ago.

Baker's yeast is used in genetic research, as are Coprinus cinereus mushrooms. They have been useful in the study of meiosis, or cell-division, which is important for understanding reproduction.

Arabidopsis thaliana, mentioned above, is also a eukaryote. It belongs to a group of so-called higher plants.

Illustration by Peter Steinmetz

Then there are animals, both invertebrate and vertebrate.

Let's start with invertebrate animals. The US National Wildlife Federation describes invertebrates as the "most diverse and numerous group of animals on Earth."

Invertebrates have no spine. They can live on land or in water.

Illustration by Simone Hls

So, they include animals such as the common fruit fly and hydra, an aquatic animal.

Many have been used in molecular biology or biomedical experiments.

And last, but by no means least, we have the vertebrates arguably, the most controversial group of model organisms.

Vertebrates are defined by their having a spine.

Illustration by Olof Pock

Now, if you wanted to be cynical, you may like to suggest that some vertebrates have more of a spine than others. We humans, for instance, could be accused of being spineless for willingly subjecting other animals to pain that we would rather not endure ourselves. But that argument is up for grabs.

The usual suspects among the vertebrate model organisms are the aforementioned monkeys, rats and mice. But they also include dogs, frogs, chickens and cats, and birds used to study communication among songbirds and non-mammalian auditory systems.

Then there's the beautiful zebrafish, a freshwater tropical specimen.

Zebrafish are virtually transparent. That offers scientists with an almost unique view of an animal's internal anatomy.

Illustration by Simone Hls

But if that's not cool enough, Zebrafish are becoming more and more attractive as a model organism because about 70% of their genes are similar to human genes.

They also have similar bodily components or organs. Zebrafish have two eyes, a mouth, a brain, intestine, pancreas, liver, bile ducts, kidney, a heart, ears, nose, cartilage, and teeth just like humans.

Researchers says it's therefore possible to use zebrafish to model and study genetic changes, which in humans would lead to disease.

That's also one reason why some researchers say zebrafish are becoming more popular in the lab than mice.

Illustration by Simone Hls

Mice are not to be discounted, however. German scientists recently reported that they had cured mice of paralysis after the animals had suffered a spinal cord injury.

But the use of animals, especially those so genetically close to humans, with all the scientific benefits for human life, remains contentious for both scientists and observers of research that uses mammalian model organisms.

Germany's Max-Planck Society writes that "monkeys are used in animal research only if a particular phenomenon cannot be studied on any other species of animal, such as mice, fish or fruit flies. [] They are used primarily for the final drug safety tests on new medicines before they are used on humans."

That is one perspective. Elsewhere, scientists are moving from mice to monkeys.

Illustration by Benjamin St

A feature article in Nature has suggested that cynomolgus macaque monkeys (also known as long-tailed or crab-eating macaques) may be the focus of a "new era of animal models for autism and other brain and psychiatric diseases."

Macaques are already among the most commonly used non-human primates in biomedical research.

The RSPCA, an animal welfare charity in the UK, saysprimates are "highly intelligent animals [] that suffer in similar ways to us."

It goes on to say that "the capture of wild primates for use in breeding colonies and for experiments in some countries causes very significant suffering we believe this is completely unacceptable."I

llustrations by Simone Hls, Christian Kuhn, Olof Pock, Per Sander, Barbara Scheid, Peter Steinmetz, Benjamin St

At a depth of 3,700 meters (12,000 feet), dozens of natural chimneys stick up from the seafloor emitting hot fluid at 290 degrees Celsius (554 degrees Fahrenheit). Over thousands of years, towers of lime have piled up. This is the hydrothermal vent field of the Pescadero Basin, about 150 kilometers east of La Paz in Mexico in the Gulf of California. A marvelous place!

US researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute discovered the deep-sea vent field at Pescadero Basin in 2015. A few months ago, a research team went back on board the Schmidt Ocean Institute ship Falkor to explore this special place. They mapped the seafloor, recorded high-resolution video and brought back rocks and animal samples.

Due to volcanic activity underground, hot water creeps out of the seafloor, containing chemicals such as hydrogen sulfide - a gas that smells like rotten eggs. It is extremely toxic to humans, but some bacteria can metabolize it and gain energy from it. Those bacteria thrive down here at Pescadero Basin and form these thick, fluffy looking bacterial mats.

The vents are buried in the sediment, so the hot liquid reacts with rocks before it escapes. Therefore, the liquid is clear (like you can see in this picture). At another type of vent called a 'black smoker', dark, metal-rich fluid leaves the chimneys instead. Pescadero harbors life quite different from that what was found at other vent fields explored previously.

The vents are densely covered with tubeworms (Oasisia alvinae). These sessile invertebrates live in chitin tubes just a bit wider than their body. Tubeworms like this one were discovered in the 1970s at a vent field near the Galapagos. The researchers were amazed by how many of these animals live at Pescadero. They are literally everywhere.

Oasisia tubeworms dont have a mouth or a digestive system. Instead, the animals take up hydrogen sulfide and oxygen from the water with their orange-red plumes. They feed the nutrients into a bag filled with bacteria. The bacteria then generate energy for them. It works similar to the bacteria in our guts digesting food for us.

In Pescadero Basin, researchers found species they hadnt seen anywhere else before. Like this iridescent blue scale worm, named Peinaleopolynoe orphanae. Across their back, they have thick discs that refract light - just like the wings of a butterfly. The researchers watched the creatures fighting with each other. They have big jaws which they can project during a fight.

This strange creature is called Xenoturbella profunda, but scientists often call it simply the sock worm. This turns out to be quite literal they are just a bag with a mouth underneath. Scientists saw these strange animals gliding very slowly over the seafloor. They seem to feed on clams, as researchers found clam DNA inside their bodies. How they catch and eat their prey? Nobody knows.

Some animals such as tubeworms, scale worms and Xenoturbella live directly on the hydrothermal vents. Others, though, just float by, like fish or octopuses. Or this guy here, a siphonophore. It resembles a jellyfish, but it's not one. Its more closely related to the venomous Portuguese man o' war.

Apart from animals and rocks, there is more to see in the Pescadero Basin. Underwater lakes like this one, for example. They develop when hot fluid gets trapped under rocks or within caves and cannot escape.

An underwater-robot pilot on the ship steers the remotely-operated vehicle from vent to vent. Via a tether, the robot sends back data and high-resolution video footage to the surface. The researchers can thus see in real-time whats going on down there. An awesome experience, for sure.

The underwater robot has an arm with which it can pick up rocks and animals and bring them back to the surface. But most animals lose their colors and shape pretty soon when conserved in alcohol in the researchers lab. This for a example is a sea cucumber from Pescadero Basin, beautifully colored in life not anymore.

Author: Brigitte Osterath

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Model organisms are more than just monkeys and mice - DW (English)


Dascena Strengthens Executive Leadership Team with Key Appointments and Promotion – Business Wire

Sunday, February 7th, 2021

HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dascena, Inc., a machine learning diagnostic algorithm company that is targeting early disease intervention to improve patient care outcomes, today announced it is expanding its leadership team with the C-suite appointments of Jim Wingrove, Ph.D., as Chief Scientific Officer and David H. Ledbetter, Ph.D., as Chief Clinical Officer. Jonathan Roberts has been awarded the title of Chief Growth Officer.

We are thrilled to welcome Jim and David to the Dascena executive leadership team. In addition, Jonathan has earned this promotion through his leadership and significant contributions in helping advance Dascena to where we are today. As we build out our predictive algorithm roadmap, they each will play an integral role in our future success, said Ritankar Das, Chief Executive Officer of Dascena. Jims expertise in research and lab leadership will position Dascena for significant growth and execution in diagnostics and overall scientific strategy. Davids disciplined clinical strategy and research experience will be essential as we continue to explore the application of our algorithms and the impact they may have on healthcare systems and patients around the globe.

Jim is responsible for the management of Dascenas R&D and CLIA labs, as well as for guiding overall scientific strategy. Jim brings over 25 years of experience in molecular genetics and genomics. Prior to Dascena, Jim was Vice President of R&D at DotLab, where he established the company's R&D and CLIA labs. Prior to DotLab, Jim was Vice President of technical operations at CardioDx, where he was a co-inventor of the company's lead diagnostic product and led multiple groups, including R&D and the company's CLIA/CAP/NYS lab. Jim was a Life Science Research Foundation Fellow in the biochemistry and biophysics department at UCSF and completed his doctoral research in biochemistry at UCLA. He is an author of numerous scientific publications, including articles in Cell, Science and Nature.

David is a clinical strategy leader at Dascena focusing on new products, health systems partnerships and research. David joins Dascena from Geisinger where he was the founding Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President and built one of the largest genomics and precision health programs in the world. Prior to Geisinger, David was a professor of human genetics at Emory University School of Medicine. Earlier in his career, he was a professor and founding chair in the department of human genetics at the University of Chicagos School of Medicine and Branch Chief, Diagnostic Development Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute. David is board-certified by the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics as a clinical laboratory geneticist and is a highly accomplished researcher, authoring over 300 peer-reviewed publications. He completed his undergraduate work at Tulane University and his Ph.D., in psychology (behavioral genetics) at The University of Texas at Austin.

About Dascena

Dascena is developing machine learning algorithms to enable early disease intervention and improve care outcomes for patients. For more information, visit Follow us on LinkedIn.

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Dascena Strengthens Executive Leadership Team with Key Appointments and Promotion - Business Wire


PLUs Lathiena Nervo discusses her work and being named one of the 1,000 inspiring Black scientists in America – Pacific Lutheran University

Sunday, February 7th, 2021

College was always important to my parents. Neither of them went to college and it was always clear growing up that the expectation was that we were going to go to college. But during high school, I didnt have any idea what I was going to go to college for and what my passion was for, until that AP Biology class.

What made you decide on research and teaching, as opposed to medical school or the many other careers a biology student can pursue?Its a roundabout story, but essentially I thought I wanted to go to medical school. I wanted to be a pediatrician, and that was to be my focus. But then I had a research experience as an undergraduate that really opened my eyes to what experimentation is, how to think about big questions, and how to figure out what experiments will help get you closer to the answers to those questions.

Then, after finishing my undergrad, I started teaching high school biology and I realized how much I loved to teach. I taught at a Catholic school with a very small minority population. I didnt realize going into it how much my presence would mean to those students.

How did teaching in that high school shape how you teach now?Well, soon after I started there I had a lot of the underrepresented minority students in my classroom after school and during lunch. Just wanting to talk about their experiences in life. For many of them, I was their first Black teacher that theyve ever had, and I taught 10th graders. That experience really opened my eyes to what Ias a Black woman in science and as an educatorrepresent. That was the moment where I started thinking that I really love science and I wanted to do experimentation, but I also wanted to focus on mentorship. I wanted to be a mentor, I wanted to increase underrepresented minority participation in science, and get those students loving science. And that was the spark that started that. I then worked for a couple of years for a NASA-funded program, where that was actually their focusto increase the underrepresented groups participation in science.

I realized that I wanted to teach and conduct research at a primarily undergraduate institution. So I went into grad school with that goal in mind. I was a non-traditional student, going back several years after completing my bachelors degree. I received grants through my graduate school department and the US Department of Education. I participated in a postdoctoral fellowship thats specific for teaching scientists to be better educators. When I finished my PhD, I went into that fellowship program. And now Im excited to be here at PLU, focussed on these three core elements of teaching, increasing representation in my field, and conducting research.

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PLUs Lathiena Nervo discusses her work and being named one of the 1,000 inspiring Black scientists in America - Pacific Lutheran University


Bioinformatics Services Market | Know the Latest Innovations and Future Market Scope – BioSpace

Sunday, February 7th, 2021

Bioinformatics is the field mainly involving molecular biology, genetics, mathematics, statistics, and computer science. The bioinformatics services include analysis of the data that can range from processing sequencing reads from instrument to data aggregation and mining data samples. Bioinformatics services can help biologists to understand the biological process with a computational intensive technique for machine learning algorithms, pattern recognition, data mining and visualization.

Bioinformatics tools can help to compare genomic and genetic data and understand evolutionary aspects of molecular biology. Bioinformatics services are finding wide application in chemoinformatics, genomics, metabolomics, RNA-seq analysis, and drug design. The database is an important part for bioinformatics research and application to cover various information types including molecular structure, protein and DNA sequences, and phenotypes in bioinformatics services.

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Bioinformatics Services Market: Notable Highlights

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Some of the most prominent competitors operating in the competitive landscape of global bioinformatics services market include

Bioinformatics Services Market Dynamics

Bioinformatics Services Finding Wide Application in Personalized Medicine Discovery

With the increasing prevalence of various diseases, new treatments and drugs are being discovered and developed. Extensive molecular biological data on patients is being included on a large scale in diagnosis and treatment. Bioinformatics services is fundamental to precision medicine as developing personalized medicine depends on accessing genetic and molecular data. In recent years, the majority of the molecularly targeted drugs have been developed based on the detected gene mutation.

Next-gen sequencing in bioinformatics services is emerging as an important tool in genomic analysis and developing personalized medicine. Next-gen sequencing along with microarrays in bioinformatics services have also paved the way for precision medicine in oncology. Meanwhile, increasing availability and decreasing the cost of next-gen sequencing is allowing worldwide cancer centers to offer next-gen sequencing based personalized oncology for clinical practice while suggesting specific medicine and treatment.

Increasing Initiatives by Governments and Private Organizations in Bioinformatics Services

With increasing application of new technologies in life science, governments and organizations across various countries are investing in the new technologies and in research and development activities in bioinformatics services. According to the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH), around 60 million genomes are likely to be sequenced by 2025. Moreover, with the presence of national clinical genomic initiatives worldwide, the generation of genomic data in healthcare is expected to outpace that in research in the coming years. Governments across countries are increasingly investing in the biotechnology and bioinformatics services to effectively implement new technologies and support genomic and epidemiological research.

Countries such as the US, UK, Australia, France, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Denmark are developing new strategies for projects focusing on cancer and rare diseases, along with the use of sequencing services and genomic data. New research activities are also being conducted for application of bioinformatics services in biodefense. The Mid-Atlantic Microbiome Meet-up (M3) is focusing on the use of next-generation sequencing technologies and recent advances in biodefense, especially related to infectious diseases, and also using metagenomic methods for detection.

Shortage of Skilled Workforce and High Cost Hampering the Bioinformatics Services Market Growth

Although bioinformatics services is emerging as an important part of research in life science, lack of skills and knowledge in bioinformatics is hindering its growth. With the technological and process advancements in biotechnology, it has become imperative that bioinformatics techniques are performed by skilled personnel. However, the need for heavy investment in tool upgradation and installation training is impeding the growth of bioinformatics services. Owing to this there is a lack of skilled manpower in bioinformatics services who can adapt to the high-end bioinformatics techniques and processes.

Moreover, the lack of skilled professionals in bioinformatics services is also hampering the growth of clinical laboratories as they are focusing to automate processes. However, in recent years, governments along with healthcare institutions are focusing on strategies to provide new courses in bioinformatics as it holds a big promise in solving many health related and environmental issues.

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Bioinformatics Services Market Segmentation

Based on the type, the bioinformatics services market is segmented into

On the basis of application, the bioinformatics services market segment includes

Based on the specialty, the bioinformatics services market is segmented into

Based on the end-user, the bioinformatics services market segment includes

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Plants May Be Able To Control the Genetics of Their Microbial Symbionts – Technology Networks

Sunday, February 7th, 2021

Researchers from the University of Ottawa have discovered that plants may be able to control the genetics of their intimate root symbionts - the organism with which they live in symbiosis - thereby providing a better understanding of their growth.

In addition to having a significant impact on all terrestrial ecosystems, their discovery may lead to improved eco-friendly agricultural applications.

We talked to research lead Nicolas Corradi, Associate Professor in the Department of Biology and Research Chair in Microbial Genomics at the University of Ottawa, and lead author Vasilis Kokkoris, Postdoctoral Fellow in theCorradi Lab, to learn more about their recent study published in the journalCurrent Biology.

AMF are plant obligate symbionts that grow within the plant roots and help their hosts to grow better and be more resistant to environmental stressors.

AMF genetics have long been mysterious; while typical cells carry one nucleus, the cells of AMF carry thousands of nuclei that can be genetically diverse. How these nuclei communicate with each other and whether the plants can control their relative abundance, has been a total mystery.

Our work provides insights into this unique genetic condition:

1- We demonstrate that the host plant symbiont influences the relative abundance of thousands of co-existing nuclei carried by their fungal symbionts.

2- We find evidence that co-existing nuclei of different genetic backgrounds cooperate, rather than compete with one another thus potentially maximizing growth benefits for both the fungi and their plant partners."

By analyzing single spores, we were able to quantify the genetics of thousands of nuclei and define their relative abundance in different fungal strains and across plant species.

To ensure that we accurately analyze single nuclei, we used advanced microscopy to visualize and count the nuclei in the spores.

Lastly, we used mathematical modelling to prove that the observed abundance of nuclear genotypes we identified cannot be a product of luck but instead is the result of a driven cooperation between them.

To better understand what is regulating the AMF nuclei we grew different AMF strains with different hosts and found that plants have control of the relative abundance of the fungal nuclei."

Our research provides an answer as we demonstrate that the genetics of these fungi, and their effect on plant growth, can be manipulated by plants thus explaining the reason for the observed variability on plant growth.

From an environmental standpoint, this new knowledge allows for better understanding how plants can influence the genetics of their symbiotic partners, thus influencing entire terrestrial ecosystems.

From an economic standpoint, it opens doors to improved sustainable agricultural applications."

Reference: Kokkoris V, Chagnon P-L, Yildirir G, et al. Host identity influences nuclear dynamics in arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Current Biology. 2021. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2021.01.035.

This article has been republished from the following materials. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

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Risk Factor For Bacterial And Viral Co-Infection Uncovered – Forbes

Sunday, February 7th, 2021

Tiny bubble-like sacs called vesicles that travel around and between cells in the body can help to initiate and worsen secondary bacterial infections in people already infected with viral lung infections like colds, flu or even Covid-19.

According to research from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, viral infection triggers the release of these iron-loaded vesicles, which then feed the bacteria with iron and encourage them to form hard-to-treat biofilms.

There is still a lot we need to learn about how microbes exploit the host during infections, especially in the complex setting of polymicrobial interactions, says the lead researcher on the study Jennifer Bomberger, an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh.

Understanding factors that permit the establishment of chronic infections, like those that are so devastating to patients with chronic lung diseases, is my laboratorys goal.

It is a known problem that a significant proportion of people who become infected with viral lung infections go on to develop secondary bacterial infections like pneumonia. This can be particularly problematic in patients with chronic lung conditions such as cystic fibrosis. However, less is known about factors that increase a persons risk for these secondary infections.

Bacterial pneumonia

For example, in the current pandemic more than a quarter of patients admitted to the emergency room with serious Covid-19 have also developed secondary bacterial infections. But what spares the other 60-75% of patients from these secondary infections is less clear.

The development of chronic bacterial infections often is preceded by acute viral infections, and such co-infections increase patients likelihood of death or lifelong disability, comments Bomberger. We wanted to understand what it is that the virus is doing that allows bacteria to get a foothold in the patients airways.

Vesicles are very common in the space between cells and often act like a delivery service taking proteins, genetic material like RNA, or fats, from one place in the body to another. Although they have been reported to change the local environment during viral infections and regulate virus-host interactions, very little is understood about the role they have in mediating between bacteria and viruses.

The bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa is known to cause a number of bacterial infections such as pneumonia and sepsis and can be difficult to treat due to drug resistance and biofilm formation. Bomberger and colleagues assessed links between infection with respiratory syncytial virus, which causes one type of common cold, and subsequent infection with P. aeruginosa in people with cystic fibrosis.

Weve previously shown that acute viral infections can change the environment of the respiratory tract to allow bacteria to grow as biofilms, communities of bacteria that are highly antibiotic resistant, says Bomberger.

Using various imaging and laboratory techniques the team found that vesicles released from lung tissue infected with respiratory syncytial virus seem to help P. aeruginosa bacteria form biofilms by feeding them iron.

Cells secreting exosomes, one type of extracellular vesicle found in the body.

It was not previously known that bacteria would interact with these vesicles made by the human host, so this now informs our thinking about many infection situations, but also leads us to think about new therapies based on the nutrients delivered on these host vesicles, says Bomberger.

Whether the amount of iron a person has in their blood, or other factors, influence the degree to which viral iron-charged vesicles are produced is unclear. But it is certainly true that iron is an important nutrient for many bacteria.

A possible treatment strategy like removal of excess iron via chelation drugs could be one new approach, probably used in combination with standard antimicrobials to treat the bacterial infections, according to Bomberger.

The research team now wants to investigate the relationship between the bacteria and these vesicles further. They also want to confirm their findings in patients with different types of co-infections and assess what impact these vesicles have on the patients immune system.

It would be interesting to see the implications this mechanism has for the hosts immune response, says Matthew Hendricks, a researcher at the University of Washington School of Medicine, who worked on the study while a graduate student in Bombergers laboratory.

If extracellular vesicles can shield bacteria from the immune cells, that could decrease the hosts ability to detect the infection and help bacteria evade the immune response.

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Risk Factor For Bacterial And Viral Co-Infection Uncovered - Forbes


The mistrusted medical miracle: Vaccines have revolutionized health, but some still question their safety – Charleston Gazette-Mail

Sunday, February 7th, 2021

In 1775, Gen. George Washington was fighting two enemies. His visible enemy was the British, with whom the Colonists had begun fighting at the battles of Lexington and Concord. Washingtons second enemy was invisible, but deadlier than British muskets: smallpox.

A smallpox epidemic threatened Washingtons Continental Army. Fortunately, Washington had experience with the disease (he had caught and survived smallpox while in the Caribbean Islands) and sought to have his troops inoculated.

Inoculation was new and controversial in Colonial America, even outlawed in places. It didnt help that the method of inoculation practiced at the time was risky. Called variolation, the procedure entailed making a small incision in a patients arm and inserting a dose of the live virus large enough to trigger immunity but small enough to prevent severe illness or death, writes Andrew Lawler in an April 2020 National Geographic article.

But Washington was a firm believer in the science-based treatment. While soldiers already in the army were given a choice (and many refused), Washington insisted that all new recruits be inoculated. By the end of 1777, some 40,000 soldiers had been vaccinated.

A compelling case can be made that his (Washingtons) swift response to the smallpox epidemic and to a policy of inoculation was the most important strategic decision of his military career, Lawler quotes historian Joseph Ellis as saying.

This story touches on the dilemma of immunization as a medical treatment. On the one hand, vaccines have saved millions of lives. Yet despite being applauded as a medical miracle, vaccines have always generated a level of public distrust.

This is not a new problem. It has waxed and waned ever since weve had vaccines, said Dr. Christopher Martin, a professor in the West Virginia University Schools of Public Health and Medicine. Martin also serves on the West Virginia COVID-19 Vaccine Medical Advisory Group.

When it comes to vaccine hesitancy, people fall along the spectrum. At one end are people like me, who love vaccines. Whenever a new vaccine comes up thats indicated for me, I get it right away, Martin said.

Theres another group at the other end of the spectrum that are completely resistant to any kind of data or argument. Theres nothing you can say. As my Irish father used to put it, you might as well save your breath to cool your porridge.

But most people fall somewhere in the middle. These are the ones Martin tries to reach. Calling someone anti-science isnt helpful, he said. We have to tailor the message. In focus groups it came out that West Virginians concern is I dont want to be told to have this vaccine. They are concerned about personal liberties.

Thats why our theme for the COVID vaccine is that its a choice. We try to get people to understand what a powerful decision they can make to protect themselves.

A brief look at how vaccines developed in this country can shed light on the present cultural divide.

While variolation can be traced back to ancient China, it is Edward Jenner who is generally credited with devising the first vaccine. In 1796, he inoculated a 13-year-old boy with the vaccinia virus (cowpox) and demonstrated that it gave immunity to smallpox. The practice quickly became widespread.

Louis Pasteur began experimenting with attenuated vaccines in the late 1800s. Attenuation takes an infectious pathogen (a bacteria or virus) and makes it less virulent. Although weakened, the pathogen is still viable.

Pasteur developed a rabies vaccine in 1885. His research led to other attenuated vaccines, including ones for cholera, anthrax, measles, mumps, rubella and yellow fever.

Attenuated vaccines are in contrast to inactivated vaccines where a killed, nonviable version of the germ is used. Generally, inactivated vaccines do not provide long-term immunity; additional shots could be necessary (the annual flu shot is an example).

Over the next 200 years, mass implementation of the smallpox vaccine led to the disease being eradicated globally in 1979 one of the greatest successes of modern medicine.

Research for a polio vaccine began in the 1930s. Jonas Salk was the first virologist to become a celebrity after he developed an inactivated polio vaccine in 1954.

Polio is a disabling disease caused by the poliovirus. It can infect a persons spinal cord, causing paralysis and sometimes death.

Children are especially vulnerable, and 1950s American families were terrified of the disease. It was said fear of polio was second only to fear of the atom bomb. An epidemic in 1952 resulted in more than 21,000 paralytic cases and more than 3,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

In 1955, a nationwide polio inoculation campaign began for schoolchildren, sponsored by the March of Dimes. But the campaign was quickly suspended when it was discovered that Cutter Laboratories in California had produced defective batches of the vaccine.

Cutter was one of five companies producing the polio vaccine. A flaw in the labs manufacturing process led to batches of vaccine being distributed where the virus was not inactivated. As a result, more than 200,000 children received a polio vaccine that contained live, viable virus. It was later determined that the faulty batches caused an estimated 40,000 cases of polio, with about 200 cases leading to paralysis. Ten children died.

As tragic as these numbers were, they were a small fraction of the casualties caused by natural polio each year during this period.

The incident led to tighter federal regulations overseeing the production of vaccines. Pharmaceutical companies made improvements to their production processes and applied more rigorous safety testing. The inoculation campaign was resumed and polio cases began to drop.

The Salk vaccine was later replaced by an oral attenuated vaccine. Many of the Baby Boom generation remember lining up as schoolchildren in the 1960s to swallow a sugar cube dosed with the polio vaccine.

By 1979, there were no new cases of polio originating in the United States. The World Health Organization and other groups are still working to eradicate polio globally.

Not surprisingly, Cutter Laboratories was taken to court over its botched rollout of the vaccine. In the landmark case they were declared not at fault, but still liable for their product. This liability without negligence decision would have major repercussions for the pharmaceutical industry.

Dr. Paul A. Offit addressed the mixed legacy of this legal precedent in his 2005 book, The Cutter Incident: How Americas First Polio Vaccine Led to the Growing Vaccine Crisis. He contends that the verdict in the court case against Cutter made vaccine manufacturers an easy target for litigation and huge monetary awards from juries.

Such litigation persisted despite overwhelming consensus from the scientific and health communities that vaccines were low risk and that adverse effects were rare. Pharmaceutical companies began to shy away from vaccine research and manufacturing because of liability issues.

Pharmaceutical and biotech companies continued to be hauled into court throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and supplies were threatened. By 1985, for example, only one company was still making the pertussis vaccine (for whooping cough) a critical vaccine for childhood safety.

Vaccines were the first medical product almost completely eliminated by litigation, Offit said, discussing his book in an American Enterprise Institute video in 2006.

Congress saw that action was needed to protect vaccine manufacturers and health care providers and passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act in 1986, which included the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.

This law created a special vaccine court to handle disputes and shield vaccine manufacturers from most lawsuits. The law was upheld in a Supreme Court ruling in 2011.

Despite this protection, vaccine shortages became an intermittent problem. Offit gives more examples. In 1998, the tetanus vaccine was in such short supply that its use was restricted to emergency rooms. The flu season of 2003-2004 began early and created a demand that exceeded supply. The following year proved even worse with 30 million fewer doses of flu vaccine than the year before.

There have been shortages of nine of the 12 vaccines routinely given to children including the vaccine for meningitis (pneumococcus).

Parents could only hope that their children werent among the thousands permanently harmed or killed by pneumococcus every year, Offit writes.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to humans through the bites of certain types of ticks. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, joint pain and rash. Left untreated, the disease can lead to serious joint and neurological complications. The CDC says cases are on the rise. EPA studies show that climate change is likely a factor in increasing the range of ticks that carry infection.

Only one company has ever marketed a Lyme disease vaccine. SmithKline Beecham (now GlaxoSmithKline) licensed the LYMErix vaccine in 1998, and would end up distributing some 1.5 million doses.

Anecdotal reports surfaced of people who said they developed arthritis after getting the vaccine. Lyme disease itself can cause chronic arthritis, but controlled case studies did not show a higher incidence of arthritis as an adverse effect of the vaccine.

An advisory panel by the Food and Drug Administration confirmed this conclusion, as did a report from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which concluded that the rate [of arthritis] was not shown to be elevated among vaccine recipients.

According to CDC statistics, some 23% of adults in the U.S. get some form of arthritis (in West Virginia, the figure is 33.6%). In all likelihood, the people who developed arthritis would have done so regardless of whether they received the vaccine or not.

Even though no credible evidence surfaced to link the vaccine to these claims, that didnt stop anti-Lyme vaccine groups from forming or media outlets from carrying their anti-vax message to the general public. A class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of 121 people.

It was a fiasco that has really never occurred to any other vaccine, said Dr. Stanley Plotkin, an emeritus professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania and veteran vaccine researcher, in a 2019 Scientific American article.

With demand dampened by the distrust and backlash, the company pulled the LYMErix vaccine from the market in 2002. Today, 20 years later, there still is no available human vaccine for Lyme disease.

While Lyme disease is not deadly, the same cant be said of COVID-19. But a significant segment of the population is showing hesitancy over receiving either of the two COVID-19 vaccines currently being distributed.

Advances in immunology, microbiology and molecular genetics have led to new categories of vaccines in recent years. Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines approved by the FDA for emergency use are made from messenger RNA (mRNA).

These vaccines are different from traditional vaccines discussed above, in that they do not contain either weakened attenuated virus or inactivated virus proteins.

Instead, mRNA uses synthetic genetic material that encodes a harmless piece of viral protein in this case, the spike protein in the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

The synthetic mRNA issues this code to the bodys cells and teaches them to build the protein, which triggers the bodys immune response, the same as with a natural infection. This builds up our immunity to the virus. How long this immunity will last is still unknown.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are the first mRNA vaccines to advance through all the clinical trial stages and be approved for use.

These vaccines use a new platform [mRNA], but theres no additional risk, Martin said. Long before COVID came out, we had done the science. All the pioneering work has been done.

In fact, research into mRNA vaccines has been ongoing for decades. If there was a real problem with the technology, wed have seen it before now for sure, said Michael Goldman, a professor of immunology and director of the Innovative Medicines Initiative, in Horizon, a European Union research and innovation publication.

Some people have expressed concerns, not with the mRNA platform as such, but with the compressed time frame in which COVID-19 vaccines were rushed into production.

But one of the advantages of the mRNA platform is speed. It takes far less time to produce a synthetic mRNA vaccine than with traditional vaccines.

Also, as Martin points out, in this case the companies began manufacturing the vaccines before clinical trials were completed. They did steps in parallel, which was a financial risk, not a safety risk, Martin said.

There is nothing different about the clinical studies that were done. Ive had both doses. The only negative experience for me is knowing its not yet available for more people.

Martin adds that psychological considerations come into play surrounding vaccine hesitancy. Nothing is risk free, he said. But we arent very good at perceiving risk accurately. Subjectively, doing nothing feels safer. People feel that doing something making a choice to get the vaccine is more risky. But it is clear that if you dont get vaccinated, you are at greater risk.

After releasing its instructions to the cells, the mRNA is quickly broken down by enzymes and does not enter the nucleus of a cell. Its not DNA. It has nothing to do with your genetic material, Martin said. And its not possible to get COVID from the vaccine.

Allergic reactions are possible, but very, very rare. If it happens, a reaction is entirely manageable. Vaccination clinics are easily equipped to handle that.

Some people have reported mild symptoms, particularly after the second shot. In a statement, the FDA said that the most commonly reported side effects, which typically lasted several days, were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and fever ... more people experienced these side effects after the second dose than after the first dose.

But Martin takes issue with calling these side effects. You might feel unwell or have a low-grade fever, he said. Thats not a side effect thats the primary effect. Thats just your immune system at work. It means you are going to be one of the 95% who are protected.

Scientists question whether COVID-19 will ever be eradicated, as with smallpox, or even largely eliminated, as with polio. What is certain is that, whatever happens, vaccines and the publics willingness to trust them will play a major role.

Ultimately, overcoming a pandemic isnt just about science. Its about culture and the perceptions that people bring to science.

Excerpt from:
The mistrusted medical miracle: Vaccines have revolutionized health, but some still question their safety - Charleston Gazette-Mail


US rushes to catch up in the race to detect mutant viruses –

Sunday, February 7th, 2021

Scientists say their biggest issues have been an absence of national leadership and coordination, plus a lack of funding and supplies for overburdened laboratories.

NEW YORK Despite its world-class medical system and its vaunted Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. fell behind in the race to detect dangerous coronavirus mutations. And it's only now beginning to catch up.

The problem has not been a shortage of technology or expertise. Rather, scientists say, its an absence of national leadership and coordination, plus a lack of funding and supplies for overburdened laboratories trying to juggle diagnostic testing with the hunt for genetic changes.

We have the brains. We have the tools. We have the instruments, said Ilhem Messaoudi, director of a virus research center at University of California, Irvine. "Its just a matter of supporting that effort."

Viruses mutate constantly. To stay ahead of the threat, scientists analyze samples, watching closely for mutations that might make the coronavirus more infectious or more deadly.

But such testing has been scattershot.

Less than 1% of positive specimens in the U.S. are being sequenced to determine whether they have worrisome mutations. Other countries do better Britain sequences about 10% meaning they can more quickly see threats coming at them. That gives them greater opportunity to slow or stop the problem, whether through more targeted contact tracing, possible adjustments to the vaccine, or public warnings.

CDC officials say variants have not driven recent surges in overall U.S. cases. But experts worry that what's happening with variants is not clear and say the nation should have been more aggressive about sequencing earlier in the epidemic that has now killed over 450,000 Americans.

If we had evidence it was changing, said Ohio State molecular biologist Dan Jones, "maybe people would've acted differently.

U.S. scientists have detected more than 500 cases of a variant first identified in Britain and expect it to become the cause of most of this countrys new infections in a matter of weeks. Another troubling variant tied to Brazil and a third discovered in South Africa were detected last week in the U.S. and also are expected to spread.

The British variant is more contagious and is believed to be more deadly than the original, while the South Africa one may render the vaccines somewhat less effective. The ultimate fear is that a variant resistant to existing vaccines and treatments could eventually emerge.

Potentially worrisome versions may form inside the U.S., too. This virus is mutating, and it doesn't care of it's in Idaho or South Africa," Messaoudi said.

But the true dimensions of the problem in the U.S. are not clear because of the relatively low level of sequencing.

You only see whats under the lamppost, said Kenny Beckman, director of the University of Minnesota Genomics Center, which started analyzing the viruss genetics last spring.

After the slow start, public health labs in at least 33 states are now doing genetic analysis to identify emerging coronavirus variants. Other states have formed partnerships with university or private labs to do the work. North Dakota, which began sequencing last week, was the most recent to start that work, according to the Association of Public Health Laboratories.

The CDC believes a minimum of 5,000 to 10,000 samples should be analyzed weekly in the U.S. to adequately monitor variants, said Gregory Armstrong, who oversees the agency's advanced molecular detection work. And it's only now that the nation is hitting that level, he acknowledged.

Still, it is a jumble of approaches: Some public health labs sequence every positive virus specimen. Some focus on samples from certain outbreaks or certain patients. Others randomly select samples to analyze.

On top of that, labs continue to have trouble getting needed supplies like pipette tips and chemicals used in both gene sequencing and diagnostic testing.

President Joe Biden, who inherited the setup from the Trump administration, is proposing a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that calls for boosting federal spending on sequencing of the virus, though the amount has not been detailed and other specifics have yet to be worked out.

Were 43rd in the world in genomic sequencing. Totally unacceptable, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said.

For more than five years, U.S. public health labs have been building up their ability to do genomic sequencing, thanks largely to a federal push to zero in on the sources of food poisoning outbreaks.

At the pandemic's outset, some labs began sequencing the coronavirus right away. The Minnesota Department of Health, for example, started doing so within weeks of its first COVID-19 cases in March, said Sara Vetter, an assistant lab director. That put us a step ahead, she said.

The CDC likewise worked with certain states to sequence close to 500 samples in April, and over a thousand samples in May and June.

But many labs didn't do the same especially those overburdened with ramping up coronavirus diagnostic testing. The CDC's Armstrong said that at the time, he couldn't justify telling labs to do more sequencing when they already had their hands full and there wasn't any evidence such analysis was needed.

Up until a month ago, it wasnt on the list of things that are urgently necessary. It was nice to have," said Trevor Bedford, ascientist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. "There was definitely lack of federal resources assigned to doing exactly this.

At the same time, because of stay-at-home orders imposed during the outbreak, researchers at some labs were told not to go in to work, Messaoudi said.

Instead of having a call to arms, she said, they sent everyone home.

Over the summer, though, a group of scientistssounded the alarm about the state of genomic surveillance in the U.S. and began pushing for something more systematic.

In November, the CDC began to roll out a national program to more methodically pull and check specimens to better determine what strains are circulating. Then in December, the U.S. got a wake-up call when British researchers announced they had identified a variant that seems to spread more easily.

The CDC reacted by announcing its surveillance program would scale up to process 750 samples nationally per week. The agency also contracted with three companies LabCorp, Quest Diagnostics and Illumina to sequence thousands more each week. State labs are doing thousands of their own.

Meanwhile, the outbreak is almost certainly seeding more COVID-19 mutations.

Where it has free rein of the place, theres going to be significant variants that evolve, Scripps Research Institute scientist Dr. Eric Topol said. "The more genomic sequencing, the more we can stay ahead of the virus.

Read more:
US rushes to catch up in the race to detect mutant viruses -


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