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Rosetta Genomics Establishes Rosetta Green as Majority-owned Subsidiary; Focus on MicroRNA Applications in Improving Feedstocks for Biofuels and Agriculture

Israel-based Rosetta Genomics has taken Rosetta Green, its plant biotechnology project, and formed it into a majority-owned subsidiary with Rosetta Genomics holding a 76% ownership position in the new company. Rosetta Green has in-licensed three patent-pending applications covering the use of microRNAs in agricultural and clean technology applications, with a particular focus on improving feedstocks for biofuels and crops for agriculture.

MicroRNAs are a recently discovered group of short (21–23 nucleotides in length), non-coding control genes that act as master regulators of protein synthesis, and that have been shown to be highly effective biomarkers. Research conducted at Rosetta Green has so far shown a promising potential correlation between the expression of microRNAs and oil content in algae and corn.

Rosetta Green has obtained $1.5 million in funding from outside investors and has received funding from the Israeli Office of the Chief Scientist within the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor which is responsible for executing the Israeli government’s policies relating to industrial R&D support.

Research conducted under the Rosetta Green project over the last three years has identified hundreds of unique sequences from plants and algae. Rosetta Green has already used its technologies to develop algae with increased oil content and plants with significantly improved drought tolerance. Currently, the company is focused on these and additional valuable traits, including improved yield and fertilizer use efficiency in various crops such as corn, soybean, canola, potato and wheat.

Rosetta Genomics’ main focus is on developing microRNA-based diagnostic tests for cancer.

As much as microRNAs are at the forefront of the revolution in human health, they are also proving to hold great promise in other applications. Establishing Rosetta Green as a separate subsidiary will not only help to highlight its accomplishments going forward and create additional value for Rosetta Genomics’ shareholders, but also allows Rosetta Genomics to continue its work in human health with a singular focus.

—Kenneth Berlin, President and CEO of Rosetta Genomics.

In addition to the license agreement, Rosetta Genomics and Rosetta Green have entered into a service agreement that allows Rosetta Green to obtain certain research-related and additional services from Rosetta Genomics.

MicroRNAs. In the cell, genes are expressed through information carried from DNA by messenger RNAs (mRNA), which is in turn translated into proteins. MicroRNAs have been found to regulate the expression of other genes by binding to the protein-encoding mRNAs.

Through a process called base pairing—in which complementary codes found on microRNAs bind to the corresponding mRNAs much like a lock and key—microRNAs inhibit protein translation.

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