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Trends in Biotechnology

Niccolò Franceschi, Konstantinos Paraskevopoulos, Elisabeth Waigmann, Matthew Ramon
In the EU novel proteins used in food or feed are assessed for their potential toxic effects in humans and livestock animals. The discovery of clear molecular features linked to the toxicity of a protein may be an important step towards the use of predictive protein toxicity in risk assessment.
April 15, 2017: Trends in Biotechnology
Shuguang Yuan, H C Stephen Chan, Zhenquan Hu
Web browsers have long been recognized as potential platforms for remote macromolecule visualization. However, the difficulty in transferring large-scale data to clients and the lack of native support for hardware-accelerated applications in the local browser undermine the feasibility of such utilities. With the introduction of WebGL and HTML5 technologies in recent years, it is now possible to exploit the power of a graphics-processing unit (GPU) from a browser without any third-party plugin. Many new tools have been developed for biological molecule visualization and modern drug discovery...
April 13, 2017: Trends in Biotechnology
Christopher D Breder, Wenny Du, Adria Tyndall
Target product profiles (TPPs) are used as a regulatory tool for dialog on clinical development or manufacturing plans. Drugs and biologics approved by the FDA that mention TPPs are associated with more efficient regulatory review times, perhaps as a result of increased planning or because the TPP promotes well-organized regulatory dialog.
April 6, 2017: Trends in Biotechnology
Byoung-Kyong Min, Ricardo Chavarriaga, José Del R Millán
Brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) enable humans to interact with devices by modulating their brain signals. Despite impressive technological advancements, several obstacles remain. The most commonly used BMI control signals are derived from the brain areas involved in primary sensory- or motor-related processing. However, these signals only reflect a limited range of human intentions. Therefore, additional sources of brain activity for controlling BMIs need to be explored. In particular, higher-order cognitive brain signals, specifically those encoding goal-directed intentions, are natural candidates for enlarging the repertoire of BMI control signals and making them more efficient and intuitive...
April 4, 2017: Trends in Biotechnology
Łukasz Huminiecki, Jarosław Horbańczuk
We review computational predictions of expression from the promoter architecture - the set of transcription factors that can bind the proximal promoter. We focus on spatial expression patterns in animals with complex body plans and many distinct tissue types. This field is ripe for change as functional genomics datasets accumulate for both expression and protein-DNA interactions. While there has been some success in predicting the breadth of expression (i.e., the fraction of tissue types a gene is expressed in), predicting tissue specificity remains challenging...
April 1, 2017: Trends in Biotechnology
Jessica L Metcalf, Zhenjiang Z Xu, Amina Bouslimani, Pieter Dorrestein, David O Carter, Rob Knight
Microbes are present at every crime scene and have been used as physical evidence for over a century. Advances in DNA sequencing and computational approaches have led to recent breakthroughs in the use of microbiome approaches for forensic science, particularly in the areas of estimating postmortem intervals (PMIs), locating clandestine graves, and obtaining soil and skin trace evidence. Low-cost, high-throughput technologies allow us to accumulate molecular data quickly and to apply sophisticated machine-learning algorithms, building generalizable predictive models that will be useful in the criminal justice system...
March 30, 2017: Trends in Biotechnology
Nicholas L Syn, Lingzhi Wang, Edward Kai-Hua Chow, Chwee Teck Lim, Boon-Cher Goh
Exosomes (versatile, cell-derived nanovesicles naturally endowed with exquisite target-homing specificity and the ability to surmount in vivo biological barriers) hold substantial promise for developing exciting approaches in drug delivery and cancer immunotherapy. Specifically, bioengineered exosomes are being successfully deployed to deliver potent tumoricidal drugs (siRNAs and chemotherapeutic compounds) preferentially to cancer cells, while a new generation of exosome-based therapeutic cancer vaccines has produced enticing results in early-phase clinical trials...
March 29, 2017: Trends in Biotechnology
Brahma N Singh, Dalip K Upreti, Vijai K Gupta, Xiao-Feng Dai, Yueming Jiang
Endolichenic fungi (ELF) offer an opportunity to discover emerging natural drugs. ELF are promising bioresources given their ability to produce bioactive metabolites that represent unique and diverse structural classes. Here, we assess the potential of recent technologies to provide insight into the chemical diversity of ELF for biopharmaceutical development.
March 28, 2017: Trends in Biotechnology
Antonio Celesti, Fabrizio Celesti, Maria Fazio, Placido Bramanti, Massimo Villari
Cloud-based next-generation sequencing (NGS) tools are currently at an early stage. In this Forum article, we provide a clear picture of the current cloud-based NGS solutions and highlight what is still missing, along with future challenges for the achievement of an ecosystem of biotechnology clouds.
March 28, 2017: Trends in Biotechnology
Wilson Wen Bin Goh, Wei Wang, Limsoon Wong
Effective integration and analysis of new high-throughput data, especially gene-expression and proteomic-profiling data, are expected to deliver novel clinical insights and therapeutic options. Unfortunately, technical heterogeneity or batch effects (different experiment times, handlers, reagent lots, etc.) have proven challenging. Although batch effect-correction algorithms (BECAs) exist, we know little about effective batch-effect mitigation: even now, new batch effect-associated problems are emerging. These include false effects due to misapplying BECAs and positive bias during model evaluations...
March 25, 2017: Trends in Biotechnology
Marie-Alice Fraiture, Philippe Herman, Marc De Loose, Frédéric Debode, Nancy H Roosens
Current GMO detection systems have limited abilities to detect unauthorized genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Here, we propose a new workflow, based on next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology, to overcome this problem. In providing information about DNA sequences, this high-throughput workflow can distinguish authorized and unauthorized GMOs by strengthening the tools commonly used by enforcement laboratories with the help of NGS technology. In addition, thanks to its massive sequencing capacity, this workflow could be used to monitor GMOs present in the food and feed chain...
March 24, 2017: Trends in Biotechnology
Yuxuan Yuan, Philipp E Bayer, Jacqueline Batley, David Edwards
Second-generation sequencing (SGS) has advanced the study of crop genomes and has provided insights into diversity and evolution. However, repetitive DNA sequences in crops often lead to incomplete or erroneous assemblies because SGS reads are too short to fully resolve these repeats. To overcome some of these challenges, long-read sequencing and optical mapping have been developed to produce high-quality assemblies for complex genomes. Previously, high error rates, low throughput, and high costs have limited the adoption of long-read sequencing and optical mapping...
March 8, 2017: Trends in Biotechnology
Ariel Fernández
Immune checkpoint blockades induced by antibodies are revolutionizing cancer therapy. Combinations of checkpoint immunotherapies with kinase inhibitors (KIs) are being clinically evaluated as oncogenic mutations arise. Off-target KI cross-reactivity will often compromise synergistic efficacy, with KIs suppressing T-cell functionalities that checkpoint blockers are purportedly boosting. This incompatibility may be removed through molecular optimization.
March 8, 2017: Trends in Biotechnology
Yali Wang, Dongbo Wang, Qi Yang, Guangming Zeng, Xiaoming Li
Denitrifying anaerobic methane oxidation (DAMO) can concurrently reduce methane emissions and nitrogen levels in aquatic environments, but how useful is this process? We propose the use of DAMO-based technology as a tool for sustainably operating wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs).
March 7, 2017: Trends in Biotechnology
Guang-Min Yu, Teruo Maeda
An inline progesterone monitoring system that works automatically and provides real-time physiological information about lactating dairy cows for making farm management decisions is not only a novel tool for scientific research but also improves productivity, food safety, animal well-being, the environment, and the public perception of the dairy industry.
March 6, 2017: Trends in Biotechnology
Roland Marmeisse, Harald Kellner, Laurence Fraissinet-Tachet, Patricia Luis
Eukaryotic microorganisms from diverse environments encompass a large number of taxa, many of them still unknown to science. One strategy to mine these organisms for genes of biotechnological relevance is to use a pool of eukaryotic mRNA directly extracted from environmental samples. Recent reports demonstrate that the resulting metatranscriptomic cDNA libraries can be screened by expression in yeast for a wide range of genes and functions from many of the different eukaryotic taxa. In combination with novel emerging high-throughput technologies, we anticipate that this approach should contribute to exploring the functional diversity of the eukaryotic microbiota...
March 6, 2017: Trends in Biotechnology
Alejandra Wong-Arce, Omar González-Ortega, Sergio Rosales-Mendoza
Immunotherapies constitute an important trend in developing new cancer treatments, and several promising candidates are under evaluation in clinical trials. Plants have entered the fight against cancer because they constitute low-cost and efficient hosts for biopharmaceutical production that can also serve as oral delivery vehicles. This review is focused on the knowledge gained through the development of anticancer plant-made vaccines reported thus far, and highlights the potential of this technology - its success being reflected in the number of candidates that are close to market...
January 30, 2017: Trends in Biotechnology
Jie Wang, Han Xiao, Zhi-Gang Qian, Jian-Jiang Zhong
Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), which combine the exquisite specificity of antibodies with the cell-killing ability of cytotoxic drug payloads, have emerged as an attractive means for treating cancers. All (pre)clinical ADCs employ biosynthesized cytotoxins as their ADC payload precursors (APPs). The cost-effective bioproduction of APPs is receiving great interest from both academia and industry. Given the lack of systematic overviews of the topic, we provide the current status of APPs and focus on their state-of-the-art bioproduction strategies, illustrated with typical examples and critical analyses...
May 2017: Trends in Biotechnology
Sylvia Gildemyn, René A Rozendal, Korneel Rabaey
The use of microbial catalysts for electrode reactions enables novel bioremediation and bioproduction processes. To understand the electrochemical performance of the electrode reactions, knowledge of their thermodynamics is essential. We elaborate here on the Growth Reference System (GRS), simplifying thermodynamic calculations in the aforementioned context to, for example, demonstrate that cathodic bioprocesses generally suffer from higher overpotentials than do anodic processes. Abiotic hydrogen production cannot be thermodynamically excluded for any of the cathodic microbial electrosynthesis processes described thus far...
May 2017: Trends in Biotechnology
Asheley R Landrum, William K Hallman
As science communication scholars, we encourage interdisciplinary efforts such as those by Blancke, Grunewald, and De Jaeger to engage with the public on GMOs and genetic engineering broadly. We extend the advice given by these scholars with tips based on what we know from the science of science communication.
May 2017: Trends in Biotechnology
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