miRNA mimic

Title: Gene Silencing
Patent Number: 8,097,710
Filed: March 22, 2004
Lead Inventor: David Baulcombe, Plant Bioscience

RXi and Miragen used the technology to create an miRNA mimic capable of down-regulating a reporter gene whose expression is controlled by the microRNA in cell culture model systems.

Merck is primarily focused on miRNA mimics since the molecules are "somewhat analogous" to siRNAs, which enables the company to piggyback on the know-how of its RNAi subsidiary Sirna Therapeutics.

The microRNA is a potential target for immuno-inflammatory disorders and part of a lead program in the company's collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline, Regulus said.

While RXi continues to bill itself as an RNAi drug developer, a company official indicated this week that the firm may expand its focus into the miRNA field as it works to meet its goal of defining its areas of therapeutic interest by the end of the second quarter.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua reports that a preliminary investigation has found He Jiankui performed his gene-editing work illegally.

John Mendelsohn, a former president of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, has died, the New York Times reports.

Identical twins receive different estimates of ancestry from the same direct-to-consumer genetic testing firms, CBC reports.

In PNAS this week: chromosomal features of maize, adaptations in the vinous-throated parrotbill, and more.