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Sigma Licenses miRNA Target ID Technology from King's College London

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Sigma-Aldrich's Sigma Life Science business said this week that it has exclusively licensed technology from King’s College London for identifying and validating microRNA targets in research and clinical diagnostics.

The company is marketing the technology as the Mission Target ID Library, a plasmid-based genome-wide collection of cloned cDNA that enables transcriptome-wide human miRNA and ncRNA gene target identification.

Sigma said that identification of miRNA targets is currently "laborious and inefficient, relying on computer algorithms and subsequent validation by in vitro assays." The company said that the new technology, developed by Joop Gaken and colleagues in the Division of Cancer Studies at King’s college, addresses this bottleneck by enabling "simple, accurate identification and validation of miRNA targets."

Gaken said in a statement that the approach "is expected to enable the straightforward identification of target genes that are strongly regulated by a given miRNA, helping to elucidate important gene regulation events in vivo.”

Each cDNA in the library is cloned into the 3’UTR after thymidine kinase-zeocin — a fusion protein that serves as a dual-selectable marker and allows users to transfect cells and screen the entire library at once. Users can first select for stable transformants and then, after introducing a miRNA or ncRNA of interest, select for target cDNAs. Selected cDNAs are then identified by sequencing.

The 100 μL library includes enough material for approximately six to 10 genome-wide screens, the company said.

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