Sunday, 14 October 2018

Microbiome study - Omics Techniques

OMICS approaches stand for collective characterization and quantification of pools of biological molecules. A gram of feces contains 10 to 12th of microbes. Not all of them are the same, with some of them being present in higher quantities and other in lower quantities. If you visualize them as a ping-pong balls, 10 to 12th  of the room is occupied by them balls, each of them of different colors, each color representing a microbial species. If you pick 10 balls, you cannot have an accurate representation of the composition, but if you pick one million, you can be close to it.

OMICS techniques in microbiome research are doing that. By taking a sample and analyzing, you can get a snapshot of the composition at a certain point. The most widely used technique to study the microbiome is 16s rRNA DNA profiling, and by using primers to amplify the 16s rRNA gene of all microbes, you can create a database of DNA sequences. From one fecal sample, you can generate 1000 to 1000000 of 16s DNA sequences. The microbe most abundant in the sample will be found back the most in terms of 16s DNA sequence reads, the microbes that are not very abundant will be not detected or will generate only few of those 16s DNA sequences. This can be used to find out what microbes are there, what microbes are well represented and what microbes are present in low numbers.

To study the genetic potential of the microbiome we can use the information of the complete genomes of all microbes in the fecal sample. This technique is called metagenomics, where a set of primers is used to amplify any gene of the microorganism, in this case all the ping-pong balls are colored by gene, with many more different colors. After sequencing, a database of DNA is generated, that can hold again millions of reads. The reads can be grouped in batches, depending on the information you are interested like in batches of similar genes, for example. This way you could tell how much antibiotic genes are present in the microbiome. Another advantage of metagenomics is that the genes can be used to assemble genomes. This way you can extrapolate complete genomes from your fecal sample. This also makes it possible to discover complete genomes of bacteria that are not yet cultured. The genome information could be used again to understand what a microbe needs for its physiology, and this information can help to design a culture media for an uncultured microbiota member.

Another approach is used with metagenomic databases, to compare set of genes of microbiome between groups of individuals. This way differences in microbiota composition can be taken to the next level, you can compare health individuals with ones having diabetes and see the difference, for example. This can help to understand the functional role of the microbiome in states of disease. The creation of big microbial databases products, by sequencing DNA, RNA, proteins and metabolites, can be done if needed.

Each of this different approaches can give us clues about the function of microbiota, it will tell you what is the most abundant microbe and what are the differences between samples. But we do not need to forget that the generated results are just predictions based of a snapshot of a certain sampling moment. OMICS approaches are techniques that generate big databases of molecular data and are a big advantage in culture independent studies of the microbiome.

Next post will be about microbiome research and causality.

Have a nice day!
G.





Saturday, 13 October 2018

Poins ICO (review)


Poins.io is an innovative ICO with the motto: Three platforms, one coin. What they want to say with that? Poins platform is based on the blockchain technology using Scrypt algorithm for high transaction speed, and they offer a complete trading platform (Poinsdex), a trusted payment platform(Poinspay) and a startup incubator platform (Poinsku).
The trading platform will have a developed website integrated with a high level of security, advanced technology and many different features. The integrated website will have different levels of trading, like Beginner (offering 24/7 trading account, easy to open, tutorials and training videos, in-depth F.A.Q. and many bonuses and airdrops) or Expert (with trading conditions -offers, rules, policies, crypto-trading analysis, charts, TV Poins feature with news and links, specialized trading platform). Promotions will happen often (contests, promotional material, official sponsoring and Poins Star products). The crypto service will have crypto-trading, API client cabinet, Crypto Copy System (following succesful traders), browser web trader (classic -with instrument list, trend direction, price changes and trader position, dashboard and charts -candlesticks, OHLC charts, tick charts), trading investment system (collective investment tool with two clients categories -investors and managing traders), Crypto-bot (to perform automatized transactions using Auto-Bot techniques with API features and another supporting script), a Poinsdex wallet that will take us to the payment platform, partnership features with an affiliate program and Crypto-community (forum, company blog, crypto-portal, humor section and social media links).
The crypto payment platform has a multi-functional wallet accepting altcoins for a flat fee of 0.5% (trey aim to decrease the fee in time as they gain traction) and full integration for shopping carts as plug-ins for E-Commerce, with added world class security. The features offered are:
  • Poins Flash -instant transfer of supported cryptocurrency via Bit Go Instant, protected by Multisig technology;
  • Poins Freeze -to lock your coins safely;
  • Mobile app -to access account, receive payments and change coins, Android and iOS supported;
  • Poins fiat settle -withdrawal direct to your bank account;
  • Poins auto-conversion -no need to exchange for some supported coins;
  • Poins POS -simple POS interface to receive transactions directly;
  • Connect exchange account -connection to your registered account on the trading platform;
  • Connect wallet -connects with other altcoin wallets.
The Trading Platform and the Payment Platform are interconnected.
The Poins incubator offers a vast opportunity to finance your ideas as a start-up company, and you have analysts team to check every project and guide you through the early stages. The incubation program has several stages and degrees of involvement.
Poins coin has the following characteristics:
Name: Poins
Symbol: PIN
Algorithm: Scrypt
Total supply: 90 millions
ICO: 30 millions
Mining: 60 millions
Reward: 50 PIN/block
Price: 1000 PIN = 1 ETH
ICO minimum purchase: 0.5 ETH
Accepted payment: ETH, BTC.
What are the advantages of buying Poins coin:
  • If it is obtained from the ICO it will be calculated as a temporary shareholding of the company;
  • Your idea can be applied as a start-up in the project incubator using Poins coin;
  • Instant transactions using Poins wallet;
  • Can be used as a voting tool for each project;
  • Can be exchanged with fiat or other cryptocurrency;
  • Will be used in Airdrops to increase awareness of the coin;
  • Will be used to pay for online products or services that receive the crypto using the plugin of Poins wallet at Poinspay.com;
  • Coin holders will obtain various discounts or even eliminate the transaction fee made through Poins wallet;
  • The coin is a digital asset that allows mining by everyone and everywhere.
Let’s talk about the Roadmap. The main dates on it are:
Quarter 1 2018 -the formation of the team;
Quarter 2 2018 -concepts, prototypes and strategy creation, White Paper;
Quarter 3 2018 -Poins website;
Quarter 4 2018 -start the ICO, web wallet offered for Linux and Windows;
Quarter 1 2019 -Distribution (Instant and Plus), Poinsdex.com trading platform launch, version Alpha for internal market, entry of Poins coin to external market and CoinMarketCap.
ICO phases
The ICO will have 3 phases. Phase 1 will start in 08.10.2018 with 5.000.000 coins distributed in 15.12.2018, the discounted price will be 2000 PIN = 1 ETH. Phase 2 will start in 29.10.2018 with 10.000.000 coins distributed in 30.12.2018, the discounted price will be 1800 PIN = 1 ETH. Phase 3 will start in 01.12.2018 with 5.000.000 coins distributed in 10.01.2019, the discounted price will be 1200 PIN = 1 ETH.
Coin allocation
The money they raise through the ICO will be allocated as per following:
  • 50% technology;
  • 25% marketing and operational costs;
  • 15% business development;
  • 5% legal costs;
  • 5% emergency fund and other expenses.
The White Paper is quite thorough, with extensive knowledge of the basics of the blockchain, cryptocurrency and ICO definition, and a detailed exposition of the project.
Their contact info are:
(Disclaimer: This article was created in exchange for a potential token reward through BountyOx. BountyOx username: Heruvim78)

Studying Microbiome

In 1665 Robert Hooke and Anton Van  Leeuwenhoek discovered the existence of tiny microorganism using microscope magnifying x 25 to x 250 . The microscope was used to understand microbes. Much later other techniques were discovered, such as culturing (the isolation of a specific type of bacteria which will grow on a specific media that supports its growth). Culturing will enable you to find out how  does it look like and what does it produce, and to test its sensibility to certain antibiotics. Not all bacteria can be cultured yet, as , as we do not know what certain microbes need to grow. , From the human macrobiome, we are able to culture only 30%. Today culture independent techniques are used to study the microbiome, making use of the DNA, proteins and/or metabolites from the microbiota to understand what microbes are there and what they are capable of doing. A fecal sample can tell you how your microbiota is interacting with your body and ( using informations from proteins and metabolites). You can find out about your food digestion and vitamin production of your microbiome. One of the most used techniques to find out what microbe we deal with is the one using the 16s rRNA gene, a gene found in bacteria and archaea, but missing in humans and other eukaryotes. It has a conserved region that is common to all bacteria and a variable part, specific to every species, and can be used to tell species apart. Using 16s rRNA gene, we can find out which bacteria is present in the sample. Using culture in dependent molecular approaches we can see what they are doing in our bodies.

Another more important group of techniques are known as Omics Techniques. We will find more about these in the next blog post.

Wish you a nice day!

G.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

The Microbiome

These days we keep hearing different opinions about this elusive thing called microbiome. What is that and how it can help us? You are in the right place to find out, through my next series of blog posts about it.

Every human microbiome is different and it is continuously changing during the course of one's life. Many factors play a role in the development of the human microbiome. Even early life events, like mode of delivery and gestational age at birth can play a role in seeding and shaping the microbes that colonize the gastro-intestinal tract. Later in life there are also changes in the macrobiome, correlated with the ageing process. Dietary habits impact on the microbiome, and diet related diseases such as obesity and metabolic syndrome will influence it. Effects of the short term dietary changes will be analyzed too.

There are many benefits coming from our microbiome, as microbes digest food components, produce some of the vitamins ( K, B12 ) and stimulate our immune system. Our entire body is colonized by microbes, and those microbes are actually keeping us healthy. They protect against pathogens (microbes that make us ill), by simply taking up the space, preventing colonization by other microbes. A system without microbes is very vulnerable to infectious microorganisms (we are talking here about newborns and germ-free pets). Having a healthy microbiome will stimulate our immune system, as a healthy immune system needs to be exposed to different microbes and compounds and find out what is harmless and what can cause a disease, other way it cannot maturate. If the immune system is not mature, it can turn its attention to non-pathogenic substances, attacking them. Turning against food particles, it can cause allergies. Turning against own body, it can cause auto-immune diseases like multiple sclerosis or diabetes type 1. Working in the right way, the immune system will be on symbiosis with the macrobiota, a mutual helping alliance that helps the immune system to figure out which microbes and particles are trustworthy and which are not. The microbiota also produces some substances that can influence our metabolism, our feeling of hunger and our weight gain or weight loss. The digestion of fiber by our microbes leads to secondary products that our body can use as an energy source (they increase the energy yield from our food, so we need to eat less). The microbiome can produce vitamins that we absorb and use (vitamin B complex and vitamin K).

At the moment we wash our hands a lot, sometime using soap that kill 99.99% of bacteria, we eat meat that was previously treated with potent antibiotics or we use antibiotics directly, and in doing this, we kill the pathogens, but we also kill a part of our "friendly" microbes. We strongly suggest to check the products you use to see if they contain any antibiotics, as excessive and unnecessary use of it, especially at young age, can lead to obesity risk, diabetes type 2 and auto-immune diseases. There are many other diseases linked to the macrobiome disruption. There is a hygiene hypothesis  stating that lack of early childhood exposure to all kind of microbes, infectious agents and parasites will suppres the natural development of our immune system.

Next post: Microbiome study

Monday, 8 October 2018

ENKRONOS ICO

ENKRONOS ICO (full review)

Enkronos is a Slovenian digital strategy company. They promote the creation of Enkronos Apps (a completely trusted blockchain credit system for ethic campaigns. The Total Available Market (TAM) is approximated at 700 billions USD. The Serviceable Available Market (SAM) is 100 billions USD, and the Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM) is somewhere around 5 billions USD. 
What are those Apps, you will ask? They are defined as a data driven multi-application platform for advertising, big data solutions, marketing and AI, focusing on centralizing the entire idea of engagement made by the companies with their customers. The Apps are build on a highly modular concept, making improving, scaling, removing and adjusting a clean and simple process. The content creators can use one single dashboard to manage all sources of data gathered by the apps. Enkronos is supporting and respecting an ethical conduct (this unsolved problem was the main reason behind Facebook share devaluation after the Cambridge Analytica scandal).The target groups are: financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, wine producers, organic agriculture, public sector issues (defense, smart city, waste management, water management, air pollution), construction sector, health, energy, security, automotive, developers, tech, VC, startups, governments. 
What about the security protection? According to their White Paper there are three levels of security verification. Level 1 is for all software, level 2 is for apps containing sensitive data and level 3 is for highly sensitive data apps. Enkronos was tested by an independent primary auditor and no critical severity vulnerability was found. The company is compliant with EU GDPR (general data protection regulations) and this means that any breach notification is mandatory within 72 hours, there is a right for data subjects to obtain confirmation if their personal data is being processed, right to be forgotten-complete erase of personal data, right to data portability, privacy by design and a data protection officer assigned to enforce GDPR requirements internally. 
Tokenomics
The software development cycle is based on planning, analysis, design, implementation, testing and maintenance. What can one of this Apps do?
  • combined Ad management (multiple Ads management on Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Telegram);
  • E-voting and E-democracy;
  • Wide area sensor monitoring;
  • Location tracking;
  • Augmented reality engagement;
  • In-depth report generation of owning data;
  • AI support in decision making;
  • Gaming platform;
  • Crowd-sourcing;
  • Loyalty campaigns management;
  • Multiple contest creation channels (contest walls, location contest, combination of contests, multiple types- art, video, quiz, survey, unique code);
  • Digital ticketing and pass distribution;
  • Couponing;
  • E-commerce and its management;
  • Centralized user database- easily to move existing databases with advanced user categorization on individual segmentation of interest and features to make it easy to create automated questions of top of segments;
  • Universal billing system -an universal payment system with full transparency of the Enkronos apps creators and Enkronos credit/token/coin purchasers.
Are there any apps already available? Yes, there are already made apps such as YourGamify (gamification management system), LoyaltyVenue (customer loyalty and fidelity campaigns) and ContestDream (promotion and contest management platforms). Also, there are apps soon to be launched, like McAudience (lead generation, audience building and management) and FeelGrid (IoT and AI based wide area monitoring) in the third or forth quarter of 2018, and CryptoState (e-democracy blockchain platform) in the second quarter of 2019. 
Apps release dates
The token is called Enkronos token (ENK) and it has a softcap of 2500 ETH and a hardcap or 500.000 ETH. 
Token allocation:
  • 51% community (pre-sale and public sale);
  • 26% locked reserve (10% ENK reserve for future unforeseeable expenses and token threatening situations, 16% reserve for future growth — partnerships and acquisitions);
  • 12% founders and future and current team;
  • 6% advisers;
  • 5% bounty campaign promotion.
ENK distribution
Funding allocation :
  • 30% advertising and PR (to enter different international markets and single apps launching);
  • 25% development (application and web platform development, technical development);
  • 20% internal business (business development and employment hiring and wages);
  • 20% integration (worldwide integration of the platform);
  • 5% in case of legal issues , it servers and infrastructure, admin.
Funding allocation
What is the role of the ENK token? How are they used to build the circulation of the currency and create a viable supply and demand mechanism? They are used as currency for crowdfunding and crowdsourcing various processes on the platform, and as payment for Enkronos apps usage and for supporters (for crowdholding bonuses paid in ENK tokens proportionally to all holders, for investing into companies available on the platform and for purchasing products/services on the crowdholding market). 
They are quite advance of their own Roadmap, as they started to launch apps on 15.05.18, and one month later third-parties were able to publish their apps.
30.06.2018 -Swee.io app was released.
31.07.2018 -McAudience app was released.
30.11.2018 -FeelGrid app will be released.
31.03.2019 -Blockchain based Enkronos apps will be released.
30.06.2019 -CryptoState app will be released. 
Enkronos is a solid platform with a well prepared Whitelist, and we can only check in the future to see if they will achieve enough traction in a ultra-competitive market. 
(Disclaimer: This article was created in exchange for a potential token reward through BountyOx. BountyOx username: Heruvim78)

Saturday, 6 October 2018

ONAM ICO review

ONAM ICO review

A first look at their site will inform us that they are promoting compliance, security and usability. Let’s explore this a bit further. ONAM define themselves as a high performance, regulatory compliant with current and future regulations set forth by SEC and other regulatory bodies, trading platform with good risk management, trade surveillance, advanced tools and state of the art security system powered by machine learning (using proprietary Advanced Threat Prevention, Intrusion Detection and Trade Surveillance). Quite a mouthful, but it is all supported by an extended Whitelist. Shall we look at this then, and check the main points.
First, they point out the challenges met by any actual trading platform. We are talking here about unsafe exchanges (just check the news), security breaches, scalability, market manipulation, long waiting time for the customer support and poor market liquidity. Their solutions to every challenge are explained one by one. In terms of security, they will use proprietary Advanced Threat Prevention, Intrusion Detection and Trade Surveillance powered by Machine Learning, added to the standard DDOS Mitigation, Anti-Phishing and 2FA solutions. In term of scalability, they estimate a whooping 10+ millions transactions per second, with less than 40 nanoseconds latency (compare this with VISA actual speed -24.000 transactions per second). Market manipulation will be prevented monitoring for suspicious trading activity using real-time surveillance, supervision and compliance system (potentially generating Suspicious Activity Reports when it is the case). A dedicated 24/7/365 Customer Service will be created, aiming to answer within 15 minutes after a support ticket was submitted. The poor market liquidity will be solved being committed to attract large market makers, volume traders and miners. All happening this while being fully compliant with regulations.
Another brownie point is gained looking at their partnership with BIT GO, a market leader in institutional grade cryptocurrency investment services since 2013.
Let’s take a look at the platform features.
We already mentioned the speed (10 millions TRX/sec) and the latency (under 40 nanoseconds), and we can see all kind of order types (trailing stops, iceberg orders, fill or kill, good till cancelled, one cancels another and the regular limit order, market order or stop-limit). They promise a regulatory compliant Margin Trading, for a small fee on borrowed funds in exchange for a larger buying power. They plan to support this using Margin Lending, where you can earn interest of the funds provided for margin traders. The clients will get access to a monthly re-balanced ONAM composite fund, a smart and secure way to get diversified exposure to crypto assets. A Paper Training feature will be offered to train and improve your trading skills, and the platform will have a modular UI to customize your trading page according to your needs.
UI Preview
UI Preview
A Machine Learning powered Trade Assistant to provide trade alerts and signal is mentioned, and you can create or use ready made strategies through auto-trading bots. A social media and market sentiment analysis tool is also provided for a ultra-fast sentiment analysis of the market. Another interesting feature is the Institutional Grade Market Scanning Tool to find coins and tokens based on your specific criteria (this will be available only for ONAM token holders). We will also have advanced charting (technical analysis tool), trading experts to educate novice and intermediate traders and a news and announcement feed for the latest news, with or without push notifications.
A special mention for OTC Trading — facilitating buying and selling of assets for institutional investors and large traders, multilingual UI ( you can choose your preferred language, multilingual 24/7 live chat support, FIX server for institutional traders, advanced and custom API and an affiliate program.
Another important part that we need to talk about is the exchange fees. This is what can make an exchange attractive or not, and the announced exchange fees are 0.1% maker fee, 0.05% taker fee, free deposits and margin trading, withdrawal and listing fee are yet to be announced.
In the next paragraph we will discuss about token details and ICO. The token is called ONAM and it is ERC-20. It will be used for trade fees saving, to unlock extra tools and features and every quarter 25% of the company profits will be used to buy-back and destroy tokens up to 150 millions of them(50%). In the following table you have the important informations related to the token.
Token informations
The token allocation is the following:
-65% Crowd sale;
-20% For the team;
-10% As an emergency reserve
-5% Bounty, advisers and strategic partners.
The token sale funds are allocated for Development (50%), Marketing (25%), Day to day operations (15%) and Legal expenses (10%).
The ICO most important dates are presented in the next table.
ICO schedule
The main points of interest on the Road-map are:
*Quarter 4 of 2018
-Private sale, pre-sale and public crowd sale;
-Platform beta release and stress testing;
*Quarter 1 of 2019
-Trading pairs announcement;
-Full platform release;
-IOS and Android app;
-Trading pairs expansion;
*Quarter 2 of 2019
-Fiat pairings;
-ONAM token buy-back.
The Road-map is promising and doable, and they are showing great potential, if they can follow it and deliver what they promised, while keeping up with the similar market.
(Disclaimer: This article was created in exchange for a potential token reward through BountyOx. BountyOx username: Heruvim78)

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Berminal ICO (complete review)

Berminal ICO (complete review)

What is Berminal? The name is a mix of two words (Blockchain and Terminal), and is trying to be an impartial, decentralized cryptocurrency and blockchain information app. Berminal ICO went online on 21.07.18 and just finished two days ago on 30.09.18. Initially starting as a mobile solution for all the news about cryptocurrency, slowly evolved into a real time cryptocurrency price and news alert service. The BERM protocol is using blockchain to build a honest, unbiased information feed. We got the Protocol Layer, where users got paid to vote for delegates that are producing the most value with the least bias, and the Application Layer, to give to the developers the possibility to build their own apps on top of the protocol and monetize it (similar with building a DEX on 0x protocol).
Here is the initial screen view, as you can see it on your mobile.
Opening screen
In the left upper corner we have an icon for the language selection, with 11 languages at this moment, at the top we can also see the news, divided by the featured and the regulation screens. On some featured news you have a quiz added, answering to it correctly will reward you with 2 BERM. Each news has a time and a date, a Bull/Bear voting option and a Share button. You can click on each news title to see the whole text.
As we scroll down, we can see our selected cryptocurrency watch list, with the top performers list coming right after (real-time also).
Watch list — in real time
Top performers — also in real time
At the bottom we have 4 icons: Home, which we already discussed about, Market, Rewards and Me tab.
The Market tab is offering two options, first being the Portfolio, where we can see the balance of their own coin called Berminal (BERM) with a fixed value of 0.05$ (whatever you gain playing the Rewards tasks), followed by your watch list (you can select each coin to see a graph of the last day, week, month or 3 months, 1 year, 5 years, and long-short ration for Binance and Bitfinex). The second tab is containing all the coins, with the same utilities as in your watch list.
Your watch list
The coin list
When you select one coin, you can also see the latest news related to that specific coin.
Selected coin
Next is the My Rewards tab, showing the amount of BERM earned and two daily task options. First is the Vote Reward, where you can vote 10 times every day for 1 BERM reward for each vote. The second task is a game called Crypto Psychic, where you can predict the BTC price and win BERM from a daily pool if you are part of the top 50% players predicting the price that day. The submission window is usually opening at 1:00 AM and it is closing at 5:00 PM. The winning price is revealed daily.
The daily tasks
The last tab is the Me one, where you can find information about your account, your name, you have a Redeem Tokens option and your Invite code (by the way, mine is 75c5e59a , if you make download the app and you are kind enough to use it). There is also a Join Telegram link, a Support link and a shortcut to Frequently Asked Questions. And at last, you can see your login/logout option.
(The version reviewed here is V1.7.2.)