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Updates found with 'synthetic biologist'

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Updates found with 'synthetic biologist'

In the future we won’t edit genomes—we’ll just print out new onesWhy redesigning the humble yeast could kick off the next industrial revolution.by Bryan Walsh February 16, 2018At least since thirsty Sumerians began brewing beer thousands of years ago, Homo sapiens has had a tight relationship with Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the unicellular fungus better known as brewer’s yeast. Through fermentation, humans were able to harness a microscopic species for our own ends. These days yeast cells produce ethanol and insulin and are the workhorse of science labs.That doesn’t mean S. cerevisiae can’t be further improved—at least not if Jef Boeke has his way. The director of the Institute for Systems Genetics at New York University’s Langone Health, Boeke is leading an international team of hundreds dedicated to synthesizing the 12.5 million genetic letters that make up a yeast’s cells genome.In practice, that means gradually replacing each yeast chromosome—there are 16 of them—with DNA fabricated on stove-size chemical synthesizers. As they go, Boeke and collaborators at nearly a dozen institutions are streamlining the yeast genome and putting in back doors to let researchers shuffle its genes at will. In the end, the synthetic yeast—called Sc2.0—will be fully customizable.“Over the next 10 years synthetic biology is going to be producing all kinds of compounds and materials with microorganisms, ” says Boeke. “We hope that our yeast is going to play a big role in that.”Think of the project as something like Henry Ford’s first automobile—hand built and, for now, one of a kind. One day, though, we may routinely design genomes on computer screens. Instead of engineering or even editing the DNA of an organism, it could become easier to just print out a fresh copy. Imagine designer algae that make fuel; disease-proof organs; even extinct species resurrected.Jef Boeke leads an effort to create yeast with a man-made genome.“I think this could be bigger than the space revolution or the computer revolution, ” says George Church, a genome scientist at Harvard Medical School.Researchers have previously synthesized the genetic instructions that operate viruses and bacteria. But yeast cells are eukaryotic—meaning they confine their genomes in a nucleus and bundle them in chromosomes, just as humans do. Their genomes are also much bigger.That’s a problem because synthesizing DNA is still nowhere near as cheap as reading it. A human genome can now be sequenced for $1, 000, with the cost still falling. By comparison, to replace every DNA letter in yeast, Boeke will have to buy $1.25 million worth of it. Add labor and computer power, and the total cost of the project, already under way for a decade, is considerably more.Along with Church, among others, Boeke is a leader of GP-write, an organization advocating for international research to reduce the cost of designing, engineering, and testing genomes by a factor of a thousand over the next decade. “We have all kinds of challenges facing ourselves as a species on this planet, and biology could have a huge impact on them, ” he says. “But only if we can drive down costs.”Bottom upA scientist named Ronald Davis at Stanford first suggested the possibility of synthesizing the yeast genome at a conference in 2004—though initially, Boeke didn’t see the point. “Why would anyone want to do this?” he recalls thinking.But Boeke came around to the idea that manufacturing a yeast genome might be the best way to comprehend the organism. By replacing each part, you might learn which genes are necessary and which the organism can live without. Some team members call the idea “build to understand.”“It’s a different take on trying to understand how living things work, ” says Leslie Mitchell, a postdoctoral fellow in the NYU lab and one of the main designers of the synthetic yeast. “We learn what gaps in our knowledge exist in a bottom-up genetic approach.”Joel Bader, a computer scientist at Johns Hopkins, signed on to develop software that let scientists see the yeast chromosomes on a screen and keep track of versions as they changed, like a Google Docs for biology. And in 2008, to make the DNA, Boeke launched an undergraduate course at Hopkins called “Build a Genome.” Students would learn basic molecular biology as each one assembled a continuous stretch of 10, 000 DNA letters that would go toward the synthetic-yeast project. Later, several institutions in China joined to share the workload, along with collaborators in Britain, Australia, and Japan.“We assign chromosomes to individual teams, like assigning a chapter of a book, and they have the freedom to decide how to do it, as long as it’s based 100 percent on what we design, ” says Patrick Cai, a synthetic biologist at the University of Manchester and the yeast project’s international coordinator.Next stepsIt took Boeke and his team eight years before they were able to publish their first fully artificial yeast chromosome. The project has since accelerated. Last March, the next five synthetic yeast chromosomes were described in a suite of papers in Science, and Boeke says that all 16 chromosomes are now at least 80 percent done. These efforts represent the largest amount of genetic material ever synthesized and then joined together.It helps that the yeast genome has proved remarkably resilient to the team’s visions and revisions. “Probably the biggest headline here is that you can torture the genome in a multitude of different ways, and the yeast just laughs, ” says Boeke.
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Twist Bioscience Accelerates Global Expansion with Strategic Asia Pacific Distribution AgreementsDownload PDFSAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – April 18, 2018 -- Twist Bioscience Corporation, a company enabling customers to succeed through its offering of high-quality synthetic DNA, today announced that the company has expanded its presence in Asia Pacific, adding strategic distribution partners for synthetic DNA (genes, gene fragment, oligo pool product lines) as well as the exome and custom target enrichment product suite for next-generation sequencing. “The synthetic biology and next-generation sequencing markets are growing rapidly in Asia Pacific, and we are now poised to serve customers in Japan, Korea, India and Hong Kong, ” said Emily M. Leproust, Ph.D., CEO of Twist Bioscience. “Building on our solid foundation in the United States and Europe, we are extending our global footprint by leveraging selected distributors with strong commercial presence and deep ties to our potential customers in these important geographies.”Related to this expansion, Twist Bioscience has entered into distribution agreements with Recenttec K.K. in Japan; DNA Link and its subsidiary LnCBio Inc. in Korea; Premas Life Sciences in India; and, BioArrow Technology Limited in Hong Kong and Macau. Each organization will be responsible for distributing Twist Bioscience’s products in their respective geographies.Recenttec K.K. Selected as Twist Bioscience’s Distribution Partner for JapanRecenttec K.K. is a company based in Tokyo, Japan that provides products made in Taiwan, Europe and the U.S. including research reagents, equipment and consumables to the life science research market. Through alliances with industry leaders, Recenttec K.K. aims to expand sales in the Japanese market, extend customer satisfaction and become a valuable partner.“In Japan, our life sciences customers value tools that allow them to conduct their research more efficiently, ” said Takashi Hirahara, CEO of Recenttec. “We look forward to improving research and development efforts in the Japanese marketplace by bringing synthetic DNA products made using Twist Bioscience’s innovative platform to the market.”LnCBio Inc., Subsidiary of DNA Link Inc., Selected as Twist Bioscience’s Distribution Partner for South KoreaEstablished in 2007, LnCBio Inc. has been supplying world leading instruments, consumables and service to molecular research and diagnostics market. With 10 years of excellent business performance and qualified technical support, LnCBio Inc. is one of the leading distributor companies in the biotechnology field in South Korea. LnCBio Inc. is a subsidiary of DNA Link Inc., a genomics service provider based in South Korea. Since its establishment in 2000, DNA Link has participated in numerous government/academia-sponsored research projects and became one of the main players in the genomics field. Recently, DNA Link is expanding its business area to precision medicine with patient-derived xenograft service, non-invasive prenatal testing service, and prognostic/predictive diagnostic test services for early stage breast cancer patients, preparing to take a leap forward from a service provider to precision medicine healthcare expert.“We have been serving the synthetic biology and next-generation sequencing market for more than 15 years, with trusted relationships across South Korea, ” stated Dr. Jong Eun Lee, CEO of DNA Link. “We look forward to offering Twist Bioscience’s suite of improved solutions for multiple market opportunities to customers we’ve served reliably for many years.”BioArrow Technology Limited Selected as Twist Bioscience’s Distribution Partner for Hong Kong and MacauBioArrow Technology Limited was established in Hong Kong in 2017. Its primary focused region is Hong Kong and Macau. The shareholders and top management team have shared the same core values in many aspects in the business areas of life sciences and clinical diagnostics. BioArrow uses professionals to serve professionals with integrity and trust, with a strong team consisting of expertise in molecular biology to support business in genomic research, molecular diagnostics and other related developing fields.“We are confident that with the committed team and supportive business partners, BioArrow Technology Limited will grow into further success in the life sciences and clinical diagnostics with Twist Bioscience Corporation, ” commented Alson Yang, Director of BioArrow Technology.Premas Lifesciences Selected as Twist Bioscience’s Distribution Partner for IndiaPremas Lifesciences is a knowledge driven boutique partner for a range of specialized technologies in the field of life science, genomics, cell biology, bio banking and other related applications. The company prides itself in establishing concepts in the nascent markets which became industry norm.“Partnering with rapidly-growing companies to expand their reach within India is our specialty at Premas Lifesciences, and we look forward to bringing the power of synthetic biology to India to fuel new and differentiated research in a timely fashion, ” said Praveen Gupta, managing director of Premas.About Twist Bioscience CorporationAt Twist Bioscience Corporation, we work in service of customers who are changing the world for the better. In fields such as health care, agriculture, industrial chemicals, academic research and data storage, by using our synthetic DNA tools, our customers are developing ways to better lives and improve the sustainability of the planet. We believe that the faster our customers succeed, the better for all of us, and we believe Twist Bioscience is uniquely positioned to help accelerate their efforts.Our innovative silicon-based DNA synthesis platform provides precision at a scale that we believe is otherwise unavailable to our customers. Our platform technologies overcome inefficiencies and enable cost-effective, rapid, precise, high-throughput synthesis and sequencing, providing both the quality and quantity of the tools they need to rapidly realize the opportunity ahead. For more information about our products and services, please visit www.twistbioscience.com.
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Newswise — As a basic unit of life, the cell is one of the most carefully studied components of all living organisms. Yet details on basic processes such as how cells are shaped have remained a mystery. Working at the intersection of biology and physics, scientists at the University of California San Diego have made an unexpected discovery at the root of cell formation.As reported in the journal Cell on Feb. 8, 2018, biologists Javier Lopez-Garrido, Kit Pogliano and their colleagues at UC San Diego and Imperial College in London found that DNA executes an unexpected architectural role in shaping the cells of bacteria.Studying the bacterium Bacillus subtilis, the researchers used an array of experiments and technologies to reveal that DNA, beyond serving to encode genetic information, also “pumps up” bacterial cells.“Our study illustrates that DNA acts like air in a balloon, inflating the cell, ” said Lopez-Garrido, an assistant research scientist in UC San Diego’s Division of Biological Sciences and the study’s first author. “DNA is best known for being the molecule with genetic information but it’s becoming more and more obvious that it does other things that are not related to that.”The researchers say the results could have relevance in human cells in terms of how they are generated and shaped, as well as aid explanations of basic mechanical processes and the structure of the nucleus and mitochondria. The results could also allow scientists to have a glimpse into the origins of cellular life itself. Modern bacterial cells have evolved a variety of mechanisms to control their internal pressure, said Lopez-Garrido. However, those mechanisms were absent in primitive cells at the dawn of life on earth. The finding that DNA can inflate a cell might allow scientists to achieve a better understanding of the physiology of the first cells on the planet.“Biologists tend to think of cell growth as following normal, biosynthetic pathways, but we found a pathway that is not normal, as it does not depend on processes normally required for growth, ” said Pogliano, a professor in the Section of Molecular Biology and the paper’s senior author. “All you need for this cell to grow is to inflate it with DNA and its associated positively charged ions, and the ability to make more membrane so the cell can get bigger. Nothing else seems to be required.”The researchers employed time-lapse fluorescent microscopy to methodically track cell formation in Bacillus subtilis through a process known as sporulation. During this process cells split into a mother cell and a smaller cell, or forespore. Also using cryo-electron tomography to capture extreme close-ups of the process unfolding, the researchers witnessed the mother cells inflating the forespore with DNA in a stretching and swelling process, ultimately leading to a new, egg-shaped cell.“It’s amazing how we are just beginning to scratch the surface of how physics impacts living organisms, ” said Pogliano. “This is a unique example of a very simple biophysical property impacting cell shape and it illustrates the value of physicists working closely with biologists. Understanding how physics and biology intersect is a huge area for future growth.”Coauthors of the study include Nikola Ojkic and Robert Endres of Imperial College; and Kanika Khanna, Felix Wagner and Elizabeth Villa of UC San Diego.Funding was provided by the European Research Council (starting grant 280492-PPHPI), National Institutes of Health (grant R01-GM57045), NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (1DP2GM123494-01) and a European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) Long Term Fellowship (ALTF 1274-2011). The researchers used the UC San Diego Cryo-EM Facility (supported by NIH grant R01-GM33050) and the San Diego Nanotechnology Infrastructure of UC San Diego (supported by National Science Foundation grant ECCS-1542148).
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HUMAN DEVELOPMENTHow to build a human brainSome steps for growing mini versions of human organs are easier than othersBY INGFEI CHEN 3:30PM, FEBRUARY 20, 2018SHARE ARTICLEorganoid brainBRAIN-MAKING 101 As blobs of two types of brainlike tissue fuse, interneurons (green) migrate from the left clump to the right, linking with neurons (not stained) in the right blob. On both sides, neural support cells called glia appear in purple.PAŞCA LAB/STANFORD UNIV.Magazine issue: Vol. 193, No. 4, March 3, 2018, p. 22SPONSOR MESSAGEIn a white lab coat and blue latex gloves, Neda Vishlaghi peers through a light microscope at six milky-white blobs. Each is about the size of a couscous grain, bathed in the pale orange broth of a petri dish. With tweezers in one hand and surgical scissors in the other, she deftly snips one tiny clump in half.When growing human brains, sometimes you need to do some pruning.The blobs are 8-week-old bits of brainlike tissue. While they wouldn’t be mistaken for Lilliputian-sized brains, some of their fine-grained features bear a remarkable resemblance to the human cerebral cortex, home to our memories, decision making and other high-level cognitive powers.Vishlaghi created these “minibrains” at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA, where she’s a research assistant. First she immersed batches of human pluripotent stem cells — which can morph into any cell type in the body — in a special mix of chemicals.The free-floating cells multiplied and coalesced into itty-bitty balls of neural tissue. Nurtured with meticulously timed doses of growth-supporting ingredients, the cell clumps were eventually transferred to petri dishes of broth laced with Matrigel, a gelatin-like matrix of proteins.On day 56, the blobs display shadowy clusters of neural “rosettes.” Under a laser scanning microscope, razor-thin slices of those rosettes reveal loose-knit layers of a variety of dividing neural stem cells and the nerve cells, or neurons, they give rise to. The layered structures look similar to the architecture of a human fetal brain at 14 weeks of gestation.By eight weeks, brainlike clumps (top) show neural clusters called rosettes. Within one cluster (red box, expanded at bottom), stem cells (blue and teal) churn out layers of neural precursor cells (pink) and neurons (not stained).BOTH: M. WATANABE ET AL/CELL REPORTS 2017Across the globe, labs such as this one, led by UCLA developmental biologist and neuroscientist Bennett Novitch, are cultivating thousands of these brainy clumps for research. Less than five years ago, a team of biologists in Austria and the United Kingdom and one in Japan wowed the world when they announced they had made rudimentary bits of 3-D human cerebral cortex in a dish. Since then, researchers have been eagerly tinkering with techniques for producing these miniature brain models, like chefs obsessively refining their favorite recipes.“It’s like making a cake: You have many different ways in which you can do it, ” says Novitch, who prefers using the Japanese method with a few tweaks. “There are all sorts of little tricks that people have come up with to overcome some of the common challenges.”For instance, because the brain blobs lack a built-in blood supply, they must absorb enough oxygen and nutrients from the tissue-culture broth to remain healthy. To help, some labs circulate the broth around the tissue clumps. The UCLA researchers choose instead to grow theirs at higher oxygen levels and chop the blobs at the 35-day mark, when they are as wide as three millimeters, and then about every two weeks after. Sounds radical, but the slicing gives cells on the inside — some of which start dying — exposure to much-needed oxygen and nutrients. Those divided bits then continue growing separately. But cutting can be done only so many times before the expanding rosette structures inside are damaged.With all the experimenting, researchers have cooked up a lot of innovations, including some nifty progress reported in just the last year. Scientists have concocted tiny versions of several brain regions ranging from the hypothalamus, which regulates body temperature, thirst and hunger, to the movement-controlling basal ganglia. Electrical chatter among neurons, reflecting active brain circuits, has been detected. And research groups have recently begun linking bits of specific regions like Legos. Scientists have even observed some early developmental processes as they happen within the human brain blobs.Stem cell payoffThe work is part of a broader scientific bonanza that comes from coaxing human stem cells to self-assemble into balls of organlike tissue, known as organoids, that are usually no bigger than a lentil. Although the organoids don’t grow enough to replicate entire human organs, these mini-versions can mimic the 3-D cellular infrastructure of everything from our guts to our lungs. That’s something you can’t get from studies of rodents, which have different biology than humans do.Mini-organ models promise enormous advantages for understanding basic human biology, teasing apart human disease processes, and offering an accurate testing ground for finding or vetting drug therapies. And by creating personalized organoids from the reprogrammed cells of patients, scientists could study disease in a very individualized way — or maybe even use organoid structures to replace certain damaged tissues, such as in the liver or spinal cord.“Organoids offer an unprecedented level of access into the inner workings of the human brain, ” Novitch says, noting that our brains are largely off-limits to poking and cutting into for research. If scientists can study accurate models of working neural circuits in these brain bits, he and others say, researchers might finally get a handle on uniquely human neurological conditions. Such disorders, which include epilepsy and, experts theorize, schizophrenia and autism (SN Online: 7/17/15), can arise when the brain’s communication networks develop off-kilter.
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How To Evaluate Forensic DNA Quality With Quantifiler Trio DNA Quantification KitBy Angie Lackey04.05.2018Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a tool that forensic scientists could use to assess the quality of an unknown DNA sample before attempting to generate an STR profile? DNA samples collected from crime scenes range from DNA-rich fluids, like blood and saliva, to a few skin cells left behind from a casual touch. For example, there is generally much more DNA in a bloodstain than on, say, a knife handle. Getting an accurate estimate of DNA concentration is crucial to generating a robust DNA profile. But what if the process of DNA quantification could provide even more information? What if it could provide information about the quality of a DNA sample?Well, luckily there is the Quantifiler Trio Quantification Kit. The Quant Trio kit provides DNA concentration, in addition to quality assessments for degradation and inhibition of the sample. And it can help you make workflow decisions based on quantity of autosomal vs male DNA present.DNA can be degraded by environmental influences like sunlight, extreme heat, and humidity; degradation may manifest as a ski-slope pattern in the STR electropherogram. You see this pattern with degraded DNA because small fragments remain intact and amplify well, but the large fragments are damaged and don’t amplify well.To evaluate degradation in forensic samples, a Degradation Index, or DI, has been added to the Quantifiler Trio Kit. The DI is the ratio of the smaller to larger DNA fragments in a sample. It is automatically calculated in the software.The DI for intact DNA will be ≤1, as the concentration of the small and large fragments are approximately equal. Any DI over 1 could indicate degradation. To overcome degradation, you could target more DNA during STR amplification in an effort to increase the signal of the large DNA fragments.Impurities in a DNA extract can also suppress amplification of DNA – we call this inhibition of the reaction. Inhibition can occur at the quantification or amplification stages and can affect the interpretability of your DNA profile. Inhibition could appear similar to degradation, because large DNA fragments don’t amplify as well as small DNA fragments in the presence of the inhibitor.Although the STR profiles from degraded and inhibited samples may appear similar, don’t be fooled. Unlike with degraded DNA, increasing your target adds even more inhibitor to the reaction, making the inhibition even worse.The Internal PCR Control (IPC) is synthetic DNA that is amplified along with each sample. It just confirms that the assay worked as expected. Inhibitors can affect the IPC amplification; an increase in the threshold cycle value for the IPC indicates that it took the synthetic DNA longer than expected to reach a defined threshold; therefore something was impeding the reaction.There is one tricky thing about interpreting elevated IPC CTvalues. High concentrations of DNA in an extract (above 5ng/uL) can elevate the IPC Ct slightly because the entire reaction becomes saturated. Because of this, it is very important to evaluate the IPC CTvalue in conjunction with the DNA concentration. For example, if you were to question whether a sample that is at a concentration of 50ng/ul is inhibited, you would have to compare it to other samples or standards with a similarly high concentration. The same is true for a sample with a low concentration – you should only compare like to like.Because degradation and inhibition both affect large DNA targets more than small, it is necessary to assess the quality flags for degradation and inhibition together. For example, if the DI is elevated, and the IPC is as expected then the sample is degraded and not inhibited. However, if the IPC and DI are both elevated, you may not be able to determine if the sample is simply inhibited, or both degraded and inhibited. In a severely inhibited sample, the inhibition should be addressed by dilution or clean up and if necessary, the treated sample can be re-quantified to assess whether degradation is present.You can learn more from forensic scientists, who work with bone, and use real-time PCR analysis to make decisions that deliver improved recovery of alleles.
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With cryo-electron microscope, India hopes to join the revolution sweeping across the world of medicineBy Hari Pulakkat, ET Bureau | Updated: Feb 12, 2018, 08.06 PM ISTAdvantage BioThe Bengaluru bio cluster has two additional institutions: the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-Camp). C-Camp is also an incubator of biology startups, some of which need to solve protein structures regularly for their work. The first company to use the cryo-EM facility is Bugworks, which is developing a new generation of drugs against antibiotic-resistant bacteria.Bugworks already has two drug candidates that aim to stop the bacteria from making copies of itself. They target the proteins responsible for unwinding the DNA in the bacteria, thereby not letting it duplicate itself. Drug companies like Bugworks need to know how a drug candidate binds to its target protein, and the cryo-EM will provide an image of the drug-protein complex easily.2“We use cryo-EM to optimise the next generation of drugs, ” says Santanu Datta, chief scientific officer, Bugworks. “X-ray crystallography will provide only a static picture.” At the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), a few kilometres from the bio cluster, assistant professor Tanveer Hussain is preparing to use the microscope for his research on protein synthesis. Hussain had used the cryo-EM in Ramakrishnan’s lab at Cambridge, while working on the initial steps of protein synthesis. He will soon get a smaller cryo-EM at IISc, which will be used for screening samples to be taken to the larger one at InStem.Scientists in other institutions are preparing to use it too. The Department of Biotechnology will fund a few smaller cryo-EMs at Pune, Faridabad and IIT-Delhi. “The cryomicroscope should be seen as a symbol of India’s entry into microscopy, ” says K Vijay-Raghavan, former secretary, DBT. India could amplify the benefits of the investment through technology development, especially in big data techniques. The microscope is evolving rapidly, and future versions will have deep reach while current versions will get cheaper.The technology parts of the cryo-EM — the electron gun, the detector, computation and so on — improved gradually over the years but made a quantum jump around 2012-13. This improvement made scientists move to the field in droves in the last three years. Henderson, who played a key role in developing the cryo-EM, has a few ideas about the immediate future of the technology. “We expect improvements of a factor of 20 in the information content of each image in two to three years, ” says Henderson. This means that you can get contemporary images with onetwentieth the effort, or make the same effort and get images that are 20 times better.This future excites scientists, and structural biologists using other methods are moving into the new field. So much so that companies that make the microscopes — the Bengaluru device was made by ThermoFisher — cannot make them fast enough. “It is a very exciting time, ” says Henderson. India is joining the bandwagon a bit late, but not too late.
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A Resurgence in Natural Product-Based Drug DiscoveryAdvances in analytical technology are making the screening of natural products and their substructures more viable.Jan 24, 2018By Simon PearcePharmaceutical Technology's In the Lab eNewsletterVolume 13, Issue 2Natural products and their substructures have long been valuable starting points for medicinal chemistry and drug discovery. Since the earliest days of medicine, we’ve turned to nature for our treatments. From the application of digitalis extract as a remedy for heart failure, to the use of Vitamin C to prevent scurvy, many of the first drug treatments were developed by studying the medicinal effects of plants, and isolating the specific compounds responsible for their therapeutic properties. As the knowledge of medicinal chemistry and chemical synthesis advances, the pharmaceutical industry has become more adept at creating synthetic analogues of natural products to reduce the reliance on natural sources, or to improve drug properties such as therapeutic potency, bioavailability, or metabolism by carefully modifying a molecule’s structure (1). Indeed, it’s thought that approximately 40% of drugs available on the market today are derived from chemical structures found in nature (2, 3). Yet over the past few decades, the influence of natural products on drug discovery has notably reduced, in part due to the perceived difficulties of isolating and synthesizing these complex molecules, as well as the challenges associated with screening them using high throughput assays, which are commonly used to identify potential lead compounds.The industry, however, could be at a turning point. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the inclusion of natural products and their substructures in compound screening collections. Here, the author considers how advances in technology and adoption of alternative screening strategies are playing a role in revitalizing natural product-based drug discovery.While nature has been an important source of medicines throughout human history, the value of natural products in drug discovery has been somewhat overlooked in recent times. There is, however, a resurgence of interest in their use, driven to a large extent by the recognition of their enormous potential in the search for new antimicrobials and their efficacy to challenging targets based on the disruption of protein–protein interactions. Alternative screening strategies, such as fragment-based and phenotypic approaches, as well as advances in assay detection technology, have the potential to open up unexplored areas of chemical space populated by these important structures in the search for new and effective treatments.
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