Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Delicate Nose With Toasty Oak Notes Why, It Must Be French Genomics!

NEW YORK, May 16 - Up until now, countries like Germany and Switzerland have led the European race to develop home-grown genomics industries. France has yet to find a niche all its own.

 

But with a new bacterial sequencing project led by Grenoble-based Genome Express, that may begin to change.

 

The company said yesterday it will now expand its integrated-genomic services and sequencing capabilities throughout Europe. Its flagship demonstration project: decoding the sequence of Oenicoccus oeni, better known as the bacterium responsible for the delicacy and complexity of fine red wines.

 

The bug is essential to malolactic fermentation, the tricky final stage of wine production that results in the smooth, hearty flavor of a good vintage.

 

Why this project? "Because it's a bacterium that enters into wine making," responded company representative Françoise Laurent. Besides, she added, "we are French."

 

Genome Express will sequence and annotate O. oeni with collaborators in the Dijon and Bordeaux centers of the French National Institute of Agronomic Research, backed by €1 million, or roughly $912,000, from Anvar, a governmental agency that incubates high-tech businesses and promotes technology transfer.

 

Aside from the contribution to national pride, there are practical reasons for decoding O.oeni, said CEO Yves Laurent. It can survive in an intensely acid environment, making its genetic properties potentially valuable in industrial applications.

 

The bacterium is also a vital part of the economics of wine making. In order to make sure that O. oeni  is present in the young wine, vintners use a freeze-dried inoculum or add the lees of a previous batch. Under the wrong conditions, though, the same bacterium also can produce the distinctive flavors of sauerkraut or accidentally turn a nice Bordeaux into a sparkling wine.

 

"We will use this as a model, a proof of concept," added Yves Laurent. "It's more to prove that we can sequence the bacterium--it's another job to use those properties in an industrial setting."

 

Genome Express, launched in 1994, provides whole-genome sequencing, BAC fingerprinting, cDNA library construction, cloning services, and related services.  It has about 50 staff split between its Grenoble headquarters and the Pullman, Wash., offices of its division Amplicon Express.

The Scan

Study Follows Consequences of Early Confirmatory Trials for Accelerated Approval Indications

Time to traditional approval or withdrawal was shorter when confirmatory trials started prior to accelerated approval, though overall regulatory outcomes remained similar, a JAMA study finds.

Sequencing Study Leads to Vaccine Target in Bacteria Behind Neonatal Meningitis

Researchers eBioMedicine track down potential vaccine targets with transposon sequencing on mutant bacteria causing neonatal meningitis in mouse models of the disease.

Multiple Myeloma Progression Influenced by Immune Microenvironment Expression

Researchers in NPJ Genomic Medicine compare RNA sequencing profiles of 102,207 individual cells in bone marrow samples from 18 individuals with rapid or non-progressing multiple myeloma.

Self-Reported Hearing Loss in Older Adults Begins Very Early in Life, Study Says

A JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery study says polygenic risk scores associated with hearing loss in older adults is also associated with hearing decline in younger groups.