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Category Archives: Genome

Rare Whole Genome Duplication Gave Rise To Arizona Bark Scorpion – Arizona Public Media

Posted: August 25, 2017 at 3:39 am

Over millions of years, the Arizona bark scorpion has evolved into a true desert survivor.

Now, new research traces its origins to an abrupt and massive genetic event.

More than 450 million years ago, the entire genetic instruction book of spiders’ and scorpions’ common ancestor doubled, according to a genomic comparison of the common house spider (Parasteatoda tepidariorum) and the Arizona bark scorpion (Centruroides sculpturatus).

Kim Worley of Baylor College of Medicine, who worked on the BMC Biology study, said gene replicas help species diverge by freeing up copies for other uses.

“One copy can continue to provide the functions that it was used for originally, and the new copy is not constrained to provide those functions because the original copy’s already providing it,” Worley said.

Whole genome duplication is not unheard of. Copies of single genes or chromosomes are more common.

“Genomes change over time, often because of this duplication and divergent process. And sometimes that’s individual genes or parts of genes, and sometimes that’s larger regions parts of chromosomes, or even whole chromosomes, or even whole genomes in some cases,” Worley said.

Most duplicate genes are later lost; those that remain can take on new roles.

The gene sequencing took place as part of a pilot study for i5k, a project that aims to sequence 5,000 arthropod genomes.

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Inhibition of Poxvirus Gene Expression and Genome Replication by Bisbenzimide Derivatives – Journal of Virology

Posted: at 3:39 am

Virus infection of humans and livestock can be devastating for individuals and populations, sometimes resulting in large economic and societal impact. Prevention of virus disease by vaccination or antiviral agents is difficult to achieve. A notable exception was the eradication of human smallpox by vaccination over 30 years ago. Today, humans and animals remain susceptible to poxvirus infections, including zoonotic poxvirus transmission. Here we identified a small molecule, bisbenzimide (bisbenzimidazole), and its derivatives as potent agents against prototypic poxvirus infection in cell culture. We show that bisbenzimide derivatives, which preferentially bind the minor groove of double-stranded DNA, inhibit vaccinia virus infection by blocking viral DNA replication and abrogating postreplicative intermediate and late gene transcription. The bisbenzimide derivatives are potent against vaccinia virus and other poxviruses but ineffective against a range of other DNA and RNA viruses. The bisbenzimide derivatives are the first inhibitors of their class, which appear to directly target the viral genome without affecting cell viability.

IMPORTANCE Smallpox was one of the most devastating diseases in human history until it was eradicated by a worldwide vaccination campaign. Due to discontinuation of routine vaccination more than 30 years ago, the majority of today’s human population remains susceptible to infection with poxviruses. Here we present a family of bisbenzimide (bisbenzimidazole) derivatives, known as Hoechst nuclear stains, with high potency against poxvirus infection. Results from a variety of assays used to dissect the poxvirus life cycle demonstrate that bisbenzimides inhibit viral gene expression and genome replication. These findings can lead to the development of novel antiviral drugs that target viral genomes and block viral replication.

A.Y. and M.H. contributed equally to this article.

Citation Yakimovich A, Huttunen M, Zehnder B, Coulter LJ, Gould V, Schneider C, Kopf M, McInnes CJ, Greber UF, Mercer J. 2017. Inhibition of poxvirus gene expression and genome replication by bisbenzimide derivatives. J Virol 91:e00838-17. https://doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00838-17.

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Whole genome sequencing now being used to reduce food poisoning outbreaks in NSW – The Sydney Morning Herald

Posted: at 3:39 am

Food-borne illnesses caused by bugs such as salmonella could be cut by a third in NSW within five years, with food and health authorities adding a “revolutionary” tool to their arsenal.

NSW Health and NSW Food Authority have started using whole genome sequencing technology to more quickly identify a food-borne outbreak and connect it with its source, which could reduce illnesses and even deaths.

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“[It’s] a significant breakthrough that could help revolutionise how food-borne illnesses are identified, understood, tracked and managed,” said Dr Craig Shadbolt, the Food Authority’s acting chief executive.

“This will be invaluable in terms of achieving the NSW Government’s Food Safety Strategy goal of reducing food-borne illnesses caused by salmonella, campylobacter and listeria by 30 per cent by 2021.”

A growing number of disease control agencies around the world are using whole genome sequencing, which reveals the complete DNA make-up of an organism, to contain and control outbreaks.

In Australia, rates of food-borne salmonella poisoning have climbed from 38 per 100,000 people in 2004 to 76 per 100,000 in 2016, with a record-breaking 18,170 cases last year, according to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System.

Dr Shadbolt said whole genome sequencing allowed their investigators to see the genetic sequence of a bacteria, for example, in infected patients and match it to bacteria found during an investigation.

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He said any delay in being able to definitively identify the cause of an outbreak increased the chances of more people becoming ill.

“Prior to the adoption of whole genome sequencing, which is the most significant advancement in this field in a generation, we were unable to confirm related cases as quickly as we can now,” he said.

“Where in the past cases may have appeared random and unrelated we now have the ability to see the genetic sequence of bacteria found in infected patients and match them, allowing us to more quickly connect an outbreak back to its source.”

The technology was first used in 2015 after 37 people became infected with a rare form of salmonellosis Salmonella Agona in Western Sydney.

Using traditional methods, the investigators concluded a tuna sushi product at a particular sushi shop was to blame and the shop was ordered to stop selling the product.

However, whole genome sequencing of several samples revealed the first cases occurred earlier than thought and the source may have been raw chicken meat, which was supplied to two sushi shops in the one shopping centre.

Since then, the tool has been further refined and used in the salmonella outbreak linked to rockmelons and a multi-jurisdictional outbreak of listeriosis last year.

NSW Health’s communicable diseases director Dr Vicky Sheppeard said the technology was part of a two-year trial, and they would compare the cost and timeliness of new and existing methods.

“It did take a little time to ramp up but over the past couple of months the timelines has been getting quite similar to our existing methods and the increased sensitivity has allowed us to find outbreaks that we weren’t finding before,” she said.

Dr Sheppeard said one of the challenges was the large amounts of data processing and storage required.

“Our 2016 annual report is just about to go up and we have seen a downturn in salmonella in NSW, so we are seeing promising early signs the actions that have been implemented are showing results,” she said.

Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said the results so far were “exciting”.

“The use of this technology essentially means we are now looking at organisms with a microscope now instead of a magnifying glass,” he said.

“The adoption of this technology will help reduce future outbreaks because we can see more, act faster and control them better.”

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Rare Whole Genome Duplication Gave Rise To Arizona Bark Scorpion – KJZZ

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KJZZ
Rare Whole Genome Duplication Gave Rise To Arizona Bark Scorpion
KJZZ
Over millions of years, the Arizona bark scorpion has evolved into a true desert survivor.Now, new research traces its origins to an abrupt and massive genetic …

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Genome cloaking can protect patient privacy, Stanford researchers say – Healthcare IT News

Posted: at 3:39 am

Researchers from Stanford University have a developed a method dubbed genome cloaking, which keeps a patients private genetic information protected when doctors analyze complete human genomes.

The method uses cryptography to hide almost 99 percent of genetic information, while allowing researchers to access specific gene mutations, according to the study. Now researchers can scour complete genomes — without seeing any genetic information irrelevant to the inquiry.

The cloaking technique could alleviate privacy and potential discrimination concerns when it comes to genomic sequencing.

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We now have the tools in hand to make certain that genomic discrimination doesnt happen, Gill Bejerano associate professor of developmental biology, of pediatrics and of computer science at Stanford said in a statement.

There are ways to simultaneously share and protect this information, he added. Now we can perform powerful genetic analyses while also completely protecting our participants privacy.

The genome cloaking approach lets patients encrypt their genetic data using an algorithm on their computer or smart device. The researchers said the information is uploaded into the cloud, where researchers use a multi-party computation to analyze the data and reveal only the necessary gene variants relevant to the investigation.

This means that no one has access to the complete set of genetic data other than the patient, Bejerano explained.

The researchers hope that this method — if routinely implemented — could help patients overcome access concerns that may be preventing them from sharing their genomic data. Many patients are concerned about how their genomic sequence could be used against them — like in obtaining insurance.

Often people who have diseases, or those who know that a particular genetic disease runs in their family, are the most reluctant to share their genomic information because they know it could potentially be used against them in some way, Bejerano said.

They are missing out on helping themselves and others by allowing researchers and clinicians to learn from their DNA sequences.

Twitter:@JessieFDavis Email the writer: jessica.davis@himssmedia.com

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Cryptographers and Geneticists Unite to Analyze Genomes They Can’t See – Scientific American

Posted: August 22, 2017 at 11:31 pm

A cryptographer and a geneticist walk into a seminar room. An hour later, after a talk by the cryptographer, the geneticist approaches him with a napkin covered in scrawls. The cryptographer furrows his brow, then nods. Nearly two years later, they reveal the product of their combined prowess: an algorithm that finds harmful mutations without actually seeing anyones genes.

The goal of the scientists, Stanford University cryptographer Dan Boneh and geneticist Gill Bejerano, along with their students, is to protect the privacy of patients who have shared their genetic data. Rapid and affordable genome sequencing has launched a revolution in personalized medicine, allowing doctors to zero in on the causes of a disease and propose tailor-made solutions. The challenge is that such comparisons typically rely on inspecting the genes of many different patientsincluding patients from unrelated institutions and studies. The simplest means to do this is for the caregiver or scientist to obtain patient consent, then post every letter of every gene in an anonymized database. The data is usually protected by licensing agreements and restricted registration, but ultimately the only thing keeping it from being shared, de-anonymized or misused is the good behavior of users. Ideally, it should be not just illegal but impossible for a researchersay, one who is hacked or who joins an insurance companyto leak the data.

When patients share their genomes, researchers managing the databases face a tough choice. If the whole genome is made available to the community, the patient risks future discrimination. For example, Stephen Kingsmore, CEO of Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine, encounters many parents in the military who refuse to compare their genomes with those of their sick children, fearing they will be discharged if the military learns of harmful mutations. On the other hand, if the scientists share only summaries or limited segments of the genome, other researchers may struggle to discover critical patterns in a diseases genetics or to pinpoint the genetic causes of individual patients health problems.

Boneh and Bejerano promise the best of both worlds using a cryptographic concept called secure multiparty computation (SMC). This is, in effect, an approach to the millionaires problema hypothetical situation in which two individuals want to determine who is richest without revealing their net worth. SMC techniques work beautifully for such conjectural examples, but with the exception of one Danish sugar beet auction, they have almost never been put into practice. The Stanford groups work, published last week in Science, is among the first to apply this mind-bending technology to genomics. The new algorithm lets patients or hospitals keep genomic data private while still joining forces with faraway researchers and clinicians to find disease-linked mutationsor at least that is the hope. For widespread adoption, the new method will need to overcome the same pragmatic barriers that often leave cryptographic innovations gathering dust.

Intuitively, Boneh and Bejeranos plan seems preposterous. If someone can see they can leak it. And how could they infer anything from a genome they cant see? But cryptographers have been grappling with just such problems for years. Cryptography lets you do a lot of things like [SMC]keep data hidden and still operate on that data, Boneh says. When Bejerano attended Bonehs talk on recent developments in cryptography, he realized SMC was a perfect fit for genomic privacy.

The particular SMC technique that the Stanford team wedded to genomics is known as Yaos protocol. Say, for instance, that Alice and Bobthe ever-present denizens of cryptographers imaginationswant to check whether they share a mutation in gene X. Under Yaos protocol Alice (who knows only her own genome) writes down the answer for every possible combination of her and Bobs genes. She then encrypts each one twiceanalogous to locking it behind two layers of doorsand works with Bob to find the correct answer by strategically arranging a cryptographic garden of forking paths for him to navigate.

She sets up outer doors to correspond to the possibilities for her gene. Call them Alice doors: If Bob enters door 3, any answers he finds inside will assume that Alice has genetic variant 3. Behind each Alice door, Alice adds a second layer of doorsthe Bob doorscorresponding to the options for Bobs gene. Each combination of doors leads to the answer for the corresponding pair of Alice and Bobs genes. Bob then simply has to get the right pair of keys (essentially passwords) to unlock the doors. By scrambling the order of the doors and carefully choosing who gets to see which keys and labels, Alice can ensure that the only answer Bob will be able to unlock is the correct one, although still preventing herself from learning Bobs gene or vice versa.

Using a digital equivalent of this process, the Stanford team demonstrated three different kinds of privacy-preserving genomic analyses. They searched for the most common mutations in patients with four rare diseases, in all cases finding the known causal gene. They also diagnosed a babys illness by comparing his genome with those of his parents. Perhaps the researchers biggest triumph was discovering a previously unknown disease gene by having two hospitals search their genome databases for patients with identical mutations. In all cases the patients full genomes never left the hands of their care providers.

In addition to patient benefits keeping genomes under wraps would do much to soothe the minds of the custodians of those genome databases, who fear the trust implications of a breach, says Giske Ursin, director of the Cancer Registry of Norway. We [must] always be slightly more neurotic, she says. Genomic privacy likewise offers help for second- and third-degree relatives, [who] share a significant fraction of the genome, notes Bejeranos student Karthik Jagadeesh, one of the papers first authors. Bejerano further points to the conundrums genomicists face when they spot harmful mutations unrelated to their work. The ethical question of what mutations a genomicist must scan for or discuss with the patient does not arise if most genes stayed concealed.

Bejerano argues the SMC technique makes genomic privacy a practical option. Its a policy statement, in some sense. It says, If you want to both keep your genome private and use it for your own good and the good of others, you can. You should just demand that this opportunity is given to you.

Other researchers and clinicians, although agreeing the technique is technically sound, worry that it faces an uphill battle on the practical side. Yaniv Erlich, a Columbia University assistant professor of computer science and computational biology, predicts the technology could end up like PGP (pretty good privacy) encryption. Despite its technical strengths as a tool for encrypting e-mails, PGP is used by almost no onelargely because cryptography is typically so hard to use. And usability is of particular concern to medical practitioners: Several echo Erlichs sentiment that their priority is diagnosing and treating a condition as quickly as possible, making any friction in the process intolerable. Its great to have it as a tool in the toolbox, Erlich says, but my senseis that the field is not going in this direction.

Kingsmore, Erlich and others are also skeptical that the papers approach would solve some of the real-world problems that concern the research and clinical communities. For example, they feel it would be hard to apply it directly to oncology, where genomes are useful primarily in conjunction with detailed medical and symptomatic records.

Still, Kingsmore and Erlich do see some potential for replacing todays clunky data-management mechanisms with more widespread genome sharing. In any case, the takeaway for Bejerano is not that genome hiding is destined to happen, but that it is a technological possibility. You would think we have no choice: If we want to use the data, it must be revealed. Now that we know that is not true, it is up to society to decide what to do next.

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Americans becoming open to human genome editing – BioNews

Posted: at 11:31 pm

A new survey suggests that Americans are becoming more accepting of the use of genome editing in humans, andthere is strong support for morepublic involvement in discussions on the technology.

The results, published in the journal Science, come just one week after scientists successfully usedgenome editing to correct a disease-causing mutation in human embryos (see BioNews 912). The surveyaimed to gauge the American public’s attitudes toward the technology, and ascertain whether they want to be included in shaping future policy around its use.

Around two-thirds of respondents felt that ‘therapeutic’ genome editing to treat disease in humans was generally acceptable, an increase from previous surveys (see BioNews 862). This included treatments that would correct mutations in both somatic cells and germ cells, such as eggs and sperm. However, that support dropped when it came to using genome editing to enhance healthy humans (e.g to increase IQ or change eye colour), with only one-third of respondents feeling that this was an acceptable use.

The survey, conducted by researchers from the University of Madison-Wisconsin,the Morgridge Institute for Research, Wisconsin, and Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, also found that a respondent’s religious beliefs and level of scientific knowledge influenced their level of support.

People with religious beliefs were generally less supportive for both treatment and enhancement purposes than people who classed themselves as not religious, while respondents with a higher level of scientific knowledge were more likely to be supportive of genome editing for disease treatment than those with less. Interestingly, high-knowledge respondents had strong views both for and against human genome editing for enhancement, with about 41 per cent being supportive and a similar percentage being against it, while around half of low-knowledge respondents were neither for nor against this use of genome editing.

Despite the split in opinion on acceptable uses of genome editing, almost all respondents agreed that the public should be involved in conversations between scientists and policymakers about the role genome editing will play in society. However, it is still unclear how that process of dialogue with the public will happen.

Professor Dietram Schufele at the University of Madison-Wisconsin, who led the research, said: ‘The public may be split along lines of religiosity or knowledge with regard to what they think about the technology and scientific community, but they are united in the idea that this is an issue that requires public involvement Our findings show very nicely that the public is ready for these discussions and that the time to have the discussions is now, before the science is fully ready and while we have time to carefully think through different options regarding how we want to move forward.’

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GEM awards $150000 in third round of funding for microbiome and genomic research – University at Buffalo Reporter

Posted: at 11:31 pm

Research News

Understanding the connection microorganisms have with our bodies may enable the development of precision medicine and empower individuals to have greater control over their health.

Published August 21, 2017

Four studies focused on improving our understanding of the human genome and microbiome were awarded funding through the third round of research pilots supported by UBs Community of Excellence in Genome, Environment and Microbiome (GEM).

The projects, which total $150,000, will study how the relationship between the human body and the collection of microorganisms that reside on or within it affect our risk for certain diseases.

Understanding the connection these microorganisms have with our bodies may enable the development of precision medicine and empower individuals to have greater control over their health.

The pilot grants award researchers from a variety of disciplines up to $50,000 to develop innovative projects focused on the microbiome. The funds support up to one year of research.

The awards are provided through GEM, an interdisciplinary community of UB faculty and staff dedicated to advancing research on the genome and microbiome. GEM is one of UBs three Communities of Excellence, a $9 million initiative to harness the strengths of faculty and staff from fields across the university to confront the challenges facing humankind through research, education and engagement.

Changes in the genome our own or those of the microbes in, on or around us have a tremendous impact on human health and our environment, says Jennifer Surtees, GEM co-director and associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

With these newest projects, UB scientists from across disciplines have come together to dig deeper into these changes and to help establish the infrastructure necessary for advanced precision medicine.

Along with Surtees, GEM is led by Timothy Murphy, executive director and SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Medicine; and Norma Nowak, co-director, professor in the Department of Biochemistry, and executive director of UBs New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.

The funded projects involve faculty teams from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, the School of Public Health and Health Professions, and the School of Dental Medicine.

Inflammation in the central nervous system can increase susceptibility to seizures.

Given the role the intestinal microbiome plays in shaping inflammation in the body, UB researchers believe the tiny organisms may have an impact on the onset, strength and duration of seizures.

The study, led by Ira J. Blader, professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and Alexis Thompson, senior research scientist in UBs Research Institute on Addictions, will examine in mice the composition of the microbiome and which of its components affect seizures.

If correct, this may suggest the gut microbiome as a therapeutic target for the treatment of seizures and epilepsy.

To better understand how the human genome and microbiome interact to influence health, UB researchers will establish Spit For Buffalo, a project that will collect DNA samples from volunteer UBMD patients for use in future studies.

The researchers will collect saliva samples, anonymously link the samples to each patients electronic medical record, and sequence the genome and oral microbiome. By determining which genes are associated with which diseases, new connections between specific genes and diseases will be made.

Samples currently are being collected from patients in the UBMD Neurology, Internal Medicine and OBGYN clinics in the Conventus Center for Collaborative Medicine.

The project will provide an infrastructure resource for genome and microbiome investigations at UB.

The research is led by Richard M. Gronostajski, professor in the Department of Biochemistry and director of both the WNY Stem Cell Culture and Analysis Center and the Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics Graduate Program; Gil I. Wolfe, professor and Irvin and Rosemary Smith Chair of the Department of Neurology; Michael Buck, associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and director of the WNY Stem Cell Sequencing/Epigenomics Center; and Nowak.

The parasite Trypanosoma brucei, the cause of Human African Trypanosomiasis commonly known as sleeping sickness radically alters its physiology and morphology as it moves between insect and mammal over the course of its life cycle.

These changes, researchers have found, are caused by various RNA binding proteins, allowing the organism to survive in environments that range from the human bloodstream to the insect gut. UB researchers will examine how these proteins regulate the parasites transformations.

The study is led by Laurie K. Read, professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology; and Jie Wang, research assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry.

UB researchers will investigate the connection between oral and gut bacteria and the onset and progression of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD), or the buildup of plaque around the artery walls that eventually blocks blood flow.

The study will seek to understand how the microbes in the body contribute to plaque formation in the arteries, providing the basis for interventions that reduce the effects of the microorganisms on CVD.

Previous studies have found microbes present in arterial plaques, but have not provided conclusive links to the parts of the body where the microbes originate. Researchers will use next-generation sequencing and advanced bioinformatics analysis methods to identify and characterize microorganisms in the artery walls and compare the bacteria with those present in oral, gut and skin microbiomes.

Environmental factors such as smoking, blood cholesterol and periodontal disease status also will be examined as potential factors that influence the bacteria-CVD relationship.

The research is led by Robert J. Genco, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the departments of Oral Biology and Microbiology and Immunology, and director of the UB Microbiome Center; and Michael J. LaMonte, research associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health.

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GEM awards $150000 in third round of funding for microbiome and genomic research – University at Buffalo Reporter

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AWAKENS, Inc., a Japanese Consumer Genomics Startup … – Business Wire (press release)

Posted: at 11:31 pm

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Now based in the genomics center of the Silicon Valley, the consumer genomic startup, AWAKENS, Inc., hails from Tokyo, Japan. Though consumer genomics is just picking up the pace, the founders at AWAKENS envision a future in which every human owns and can easily access their whole genome data. AWAKENS was founded with the goal of empowering each individual to build a smarter and healthier lifestyle based on their genetic makeup, and to transform consumer genomics.

AWAKENS has launched their first consumer product GENOMIC EXPLORER (https://genomicexplorer.io). The service is currently free for genome data holders, such as those who have taken ancestry genetic tests. New users can order their whole genome sequence through the website (https://genomicexplorer.io). Users with whole genome data will also be able to upload their data soon.

Visualize Your Inner Universe with GENOMIC EXPLORER

Full access to whole genome data and reliable information on how to interpret the data is AWAKENS top value proposition. Most genetic testing services today read only 0.03% of the genome. GENOMIC EXPLORER reads and visualizes 100%.

AWAKENS strives to visualize what existing genetic testing services have abstracted in their genetic reports. You can browse through a comprehensive visual representation of your genome and learn about 100+ traits: this tool connects your genome data to an in-house annotation database, which tells you how specific regions of the genome can be understood. Traits include personality, intelligence, and nutrition. The only information serving the purpose of science education are released in the U.S for now. Information on medical traits, such as the risk for a certain disease, will be provided in the future as partnerships with healthcare institutions and healthcare companies are established.

Today for the genome is like the 90s for the Internet. Although technological innovations made the Internet accessible for many, applications for daily use had not been developed. Everyone was scrambling to figure out how to make the best use of the Internet, explained Tomohiro Takano, CEO and Co-Founder of AWAKENS, Inc. Through partnerships with many industries, we at AWAKENS are striving to unlock the vast potential of the whole genome. We want to develop an ecosystem where anyone can access valuable information, actionable insights, and related services based on their genetic information.

The field of genomics

15 years ago, sequencing the whole genome cost 3 billion USD. 5-10 years from now, the price will drop to a few hundred USD. Against the backdrop of these circumstances, we can expect to gain access to a wide range of consumer genomics services in our daily lives, spanning medicine, healthcare, nutrition, fitness, and education. Soon, pharmacogenomics will inform drug efficacy and risk of serious side effects at the individual level. Beyond medical applications, academic research in fitness and genomics, nutrigenomics, and educational genomics are booming. The potential for consumer applications will only grow from here.

About AWAKENS, Inc.

AWAKENS is a genomic software company transforming the landscape of consumer genomics. They empower consumers with easily accessible insights of their own genome data, and diversify consumer genomics services by providing an API toolkit for existing services to provide personalized solutions tailored to each persons genetic makeup. Founded in January 2017 in Tokyo, Japan, AWAKENS is currently located in the genomic center in Silicon Valley. The companys products include the consumer-facing GENOMIC EXPLORER and the business-facing GENOME LINK.

Awakens is funded by private corporations and angel investors (as of Aug 2017):

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Wamberg Genomic Advisors Launched to Provide Easy Access to Affordable Genomic Testing – Markets Insider

Posted: August 20, 2017 at 5:50 pm

LA JOLLA, Calif., Aug. 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Tom Wamberg, one of the nation’s foremost experts on employee benefits and insurance, today announced the formation of Wamberg Genomic Advisors (WGA). WGA advises employers, employee benefit brokers, and life insurance companies, enabling them to create programs that provide employees and policyholders with easy access to affordable genomic tests.

Genomics is the study of the structure and function of genomes, including all of an individual’s genes. In contrast, genetics focuses on the variation and function of single or limited numbers of genes within a genome. In the context of human health, genomics seeks to identify the interrelation of factors beyond genes, which can lead to a deeper understanding of the risk of disease, resulting in more effective preventive measures or treatments. Genetics looks for specific mutations or variations within genes, rather than the entire genome. While genetics provides important information in understanding a person’s health status or risk for certain diseases or conditions, the information that can be learned from examining an entire genome is broader.

“Knowledge of a person’s genome is enabling medical professionals to develop personalized health strategies, treatments, and care paths that can be used to better manage or prevent disease and enhance health and longevity,” said Wamberg. “When patients are empowered with this knowledge, they can become more actively engaged in managing their own health and make better decisions. As more people have their genome sequenced and analyzed, the medical and health care communities are better equipped to provide deeper insights into risk and disease, and make new medical discoveries.

“Our mission is to help drive the genomic revolution by making genomic testing readily accessible and affordable for everyone,” added Wamberg. “The most promising avenues for widespread delivery of genomic testing are employee benefit programs and life insurance policies.”

For more than three decades, Wamberg has developed innovative benefit and financial strategies for employers of all sizes, from emerging growth companies to the Fortune 100, as well as life insurance companies. Before starting WGA, Wamberg was chairman and CEO of Clark Consulting, a leader in the executive benefits space. In addition to serving as CEO of WGA, Wamberg is chairman of Uniphy Health LLC, which he co-founded, and a member of the Board of Trustees of Cleveland Clinic.

WGA will focus initially on the following types of genomic products and services:

Whole genome sequencing and reporting. The most comprehensive method for analyzing the genome

Exome sequencing and reporting. Information on all the genes that express proteins in a genome

Cancer genomic profiling. Sequencing of a cancer tumor to learn about coding mutations that contribute to tumor progression

Cancer liquid biopsy. Blood test that today can be used in limited circumstances to detect cancer genomic material circulating in the blood, such as when sufficient tumor material is unavailable

Lifetime stem cell banking. Stem cells gathered at birth to serve as a source of cellular material for the treatment of conditions throughout a person’s life

Lifetime connectivity to one’s DNA. Information and updates on variations in a person’s genome when compared against constantly updated genomic databases

About Wamberg Genomic Advisors

Wamberg Genomic Advisors (WGA) is your partner in the Genomic Revolution. Our mission to make genomic testing readily available at prices everyone can afford. Our focus is on delivering genomic products and services to employers and their employees via their trusted benefit brokers, and policyholders of life insurance companies. To discover more about WGA and the future of genomics, visitwamberggenomic.com.

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SOURCE Wamberg Genomic Advisors

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Wamberg Genomic Advisors Launched to Provide Easy Access to Affordable Genomic Testing – Markets Insider

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