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Alternative miRNA design for therapeutic RNAi applications
Anja van Brabant Smith, Barb Robertson, Annaleen Vermeulen, Christina Yamada, Angela Reynolds, Anastasia Khvorova, Devin Leake

For in vivo applications, the design of miRNA inhibitors and miRNA mimics must be optimized for stability and potency. However, stabilized miRNA mimic molecules can lose functionality compared to standard miRNA mimic molecules due, in part, to the activity of the stabilized passenger strand acting as a miRNA inhibitor. We discuss how mismatches affect the activity of the stabilized miRNA mimics, perhaps by generating a passenger strand that is less functional as an inhibitor molecule.

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Cas9 driven by an optimal promoter improves gene editing in eukaryotic cell lines when paired with synthetic crRNA and tracrRNA
Amanda Haupt, Emily Anderson, Žaklina Strezoska, Hidevaldo Machado, Shawn McClelland, Maren Mayer, Adam Rocker, Annaleen Vermeulen, Amanda Birmingham, Melissa Kelley, Anja Smith

Presented here are results on the efficiency of using synthetic crRNA and tracrRNA to introduce gene editing events when co-transfected with a plasmid expressing Cas9. We explored the use of antibiotic and fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) methods for enrichment of cells that have undergone gene editing, and the use of multiple promoters to increase efficiency of gene editing with Cas9 and synthetic tracrRNA and crRNAs.

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Specificity and functionality of microRNA inhibitors
Barbara Robertson, Andrew Dalby, Jon Karpilow, Anastasia Khvorova, Devin Leake and Annaleen Vermeulen

Our findings indicate that features important for natural miRNA target recognition also appear to be important for inhibitor specificity. Understanding the specificity of inhibitors allows for better interpretation of inhibitor activity in endogenous systems.

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Identification of microRNA targets using microRNA modulation techniques and gene expression arrays
Emily M. Anderson, Maren Mayer, Kevin Sullivan, Barbara Robertson, Žaklina Strezoska, Annaleen Vermeulen, and Devin Leake

By examining the overlap of messages down-regulated by miRNA mimics and up-regulated by miRNA inhibitors, we robustly identify miRNA-regulated messages, many of which have canonical seed matches and some which are not identied by standard target prediction programs.

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siRNA Screening: Development of Hit Stratification Strategies
Žaklina Strezoska, Annaleen Vermeulen, Emily M. Anderson, Anja Smith, Devin Leake

This poster compares different approaches to hit stratification and validation after an initial screen. Standard siRNA reagents deconvoluted from a pooled set of four were compared to a pooled set of four specificity enhanced reagents. High confidence hits were similar. To explore the validity of low confidence hits, a chimeric approach was used whereby a gene-specific seed sequence was introduced into a non-targeting siRNA scaffold. This work resulted in new hit stratification strategies.

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The Chemical Synthesis of Long and Highly Modified RNA using 2'-ACE Chemistry
Xiaoqin Cheng, Kristina Larson, Letitia Kwok, David Mierzejewski, Shawn Begay, Randy Rauen, Kelly Grimsley, Kaizhang He, Michael Delaney, David Kitchen, Amanda Haas, Melissa Kelley, Anja van Brabant Smith

Dharmacon has previously developed a novel RNA synthesis chemistry making RNA synthesis as reliable, accessible and of comparable quality as routinely observed in DNA synthesis.

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A multiplexed amplicon sequencing technology for FFPE and circulating, cell-free DNA
Laurie Kurihara, Catherine Couture, Julie Laliberte, Sukhinder Sandhu, Jonathan Irish, Tim Harkins and Vladimir Makarov

A novel amplicon approach allowing for hundreds of amplicons to be multiplexed in a single tube with a two workflow from sample to sequencer.

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Reducing Biases in Small RNA Sequencing
Adam Morris Ph.D., Dawn Obermoeller, Masoud Toloue Ph.D.

Small RNA-Seq libraries utilizing randomized adapters demonstrated significantly less bias and more even coverage due to reductions in ligase bias.

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Amplicon Based 16S Ribosomal RNA Sequencing and Genus Identification
*Jan Risinger, *Lindsey Renken, +Josh Hill, +Noushin Ghaffari, PhD, +Richard P. Metz, PhD, +Charles D. Johnson, PhD, *Masoud M. Toloue, Ph

Rapid determination of highly complex bacterial populations through targeted amplification of 16S rRNA V1 - V3 hypervariable regions can provide an accurate gauge of diversity at taxonomic hierarchies as low as the genus level.

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Scientific News
Milestone Resource in Wheat Research Now Available for Download
Leading on from The Genome Analysis Centre’s (TGAC) previous announcement of their new bread wheat genome assembly, the landmark resource is now publically available to download at the European Bioinformatics Institute’s (EMBL-EBI) Ensembl database for full analysis.
Tracing a Cellular Family Tree
New technique allows tracking of gene expression over generations of cells as they specialize.
Minor Flu Strains Pack a Bigger Punch
Minor variants of flu strains, which are not typically targeted in vaccines, carry a bigger viral punch than previously realized, a team of scientists has found.
Euformatics Partners With EMQN, UK NEQAS
Euformatics has announced a strategic partnership with the largest External Quality Assessment (EQA) scheme providers in Europe – EMQN and UK NEQAS for Molecular Genetics.
Precision Medicine for Penile Cancer
Defining the genomic landscape reveals similarities with other squamous cell cancers.
Research at St Thomas’s Hospital Exploring Causative Factors of Atopic Eczema and Food Allergy in Infants
Carsten Flohr and his research group at St Thomas’s hospital, London are currently investigating the interaction between skin and gut microbiota in relation to the associated risk of atopic eczema (AE) and food allergy in infants.
Gut Bacteria Can Dramatically Amplify Cancer Immunotherapy
Manipulating microbes maximizes tumor immunity in mice.
Proteins Crucial to Loss of Hearing Identified
Proteins play key role in genes that help auditory hair cells grow.
New Virus Identified In Blood Supply
Scientists have discovered a new virus that can be transmitted through the blood supply.
Far-reaching Genetic Study of 1,000 UK People
300,000 gene variants from 1,000 people made publically available via F1000Research.
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