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CombiMatrix, Dharmacon, On-Target


CombiMatrix has introduced a program, called siRNA Solutions, offering customers and collaborators an integrated siRNA gene silencing service for drug discovery. SiRNA Solutions will enable researchers to design and synthesize custom siRNA pools, and help researchers design, conduct, validat, and reiterate gene silencing experiments in days for any gene in any organism, the company said.


Dharmacon introduced last week new siRNAs, called On-Target, in which the sense strand of the oligo has been inactivated but the efficacy of the antisense strand maintained.

“SiRNAs are not as specific as we thought they were, so there are off-target effects and the siRNA can hit multiple genes,” Steve Scaringe, Dharmacon’s co-chairman and chief scientific officer, said. “What this product does is address perhaps one of the … major causes of non-specific effects.” Scaringe said that Dharmacon found that “putting a couple [of] modifications on the five prime end” of the dsRNA’s sense strand would inactivate it, keep the antisense strand functional, and reduce by half the potential for off-target effects.


Additionally, On-Target will carry a slightly higher price tag than Dharmacon’s regular siRNAs, roughly $75 more per order regardless of unit size, so while it may be useful to some people, others may be satisfied with what they have already and not willing to pay the extra cost, he said.


The Scan

Alzheimer's Risk Gene Among Women

CNN reports that researchers have found that variants in MGMT contribute to Alzheimer's disease risk among women but not men.

Still Hanging Around

The Guardian writes that persistent pockets of SARS-CoV-2 in the body could contribute to long COVID.

Through a Little Spit

Enteric viruses like norovirus may also be transmitted through saliva, not just the fecal-oral route, according to New Scientist.

Nature Papers Present Method to Detect Full Transcriptome, Viruses Infecting Asgard Archaea, More

In Nature this week: VASA-seq approach to detect full transcriptome, analysis of viruses infecting Asgard archaea, and more.