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Business Record innovationIOWA Weekly | March 1, 2018
Nanotechnology drives gene detection system ExpresSeed
By Kate Hayden | Staff Writer

What do you get when a chemist pokes his head into a physicist's Iowa laboratory?

Something very, very small.

Two Central Iowa professors and a college-based venture capital incubator are behind the nanotechnology introduced in ExpresSeed, a new, portable genetic detection system.

Developed by Aaron Santos and Derek Lyons at Simpson College, the hand-held system is only slightly larger than an iPhone 6 but gives farmers a portable system to detect thousands of genetic traits in a single plant sample, right at the sample’s origin point.

Once the user plugs a sample into the ExpresSeed device, the system uploads data into cloud-based storage to aid in field management and gene detection, Lyons said in a pitch to 1 Million Cups Des Moines on Feb. 21 at the Science Center of Iowa. The system allows users to confirm the presence of traits both wanted and unwanted -- something Lyons said could benefit producers, regulators and patent holders alike.

The system, which uses DNP123 nanotechnology developed by Santos and Lyons, could also be expanded into wildlife management or veterinary science capabilities -- "any organic matter" that could be tested, Lyons said.

ExpresSeed launched in 2017 with membership by the Emerge Foundation, a venture capital corporation also based at Simpson College.
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Each week we ask a community leader from various industries to have a little fun, peer into their crystal ball and look out 10 years in an effort to predict the future.
THIS WEEK: Megan Vollstedt, executive director, Iowa AgriTech Accelerator

In 10 years ... The agriculture industry will adopt a larger presence of autonomous machinery "learning" the land and supporting farming operations in the field. The next generation of farmers will spearhead this effort — the Generation Xers and millennials who brought innovative AI technologies to the farm and will advance to the early majority, bringing more technology to the farm as baby boomers begin to retire.


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If you didn't get enough on artificial intelligence with the Business Record's Feb. 28 Power Breakfast on the topic, here's an article from CNN Tech to consider: "Rogue states, criminals and terrorists could use artificial intelligence to wreak havoc around the world, according to a new report. More than two dozen experts from top universities and research organizations in the US and the UK wrote the alarming report about the malicious use of AI, which was published Wednesday by Cambridge University."

March 8: Raising Capital Seminar
Host: Greater Des Moines Partnership and BrownWinick Law Firm
About: Startup company founders in Greater Des Moines will have the opportunity to learn from other entrepreneurs and startup investors on how to raise equity capital. This full-day event will take participants through all of the steps necessary and provide a complete road map of what will need to take place before, during and after raising capital.
When: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: BrownWinick Law Firm
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