In a commentary published recently in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, the University of Adelaide's Jack da Silva says grandmothers may have helped to lower the risk of cancer, reports New Scientist's Michael Slezak. A study from the US last year found that women with either of the BRCA genes — which are linked to breast cancer — tend to have more children than women without the genes.

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Sequencing could help combat foodborne illnesses, according to a blog post by Food and Drug Administration officials.

Popular Mechanics reports that Caltech researchers have built a prototype nanobot using DNA.

The Sacramento Bee writes that direct-to-consumer genetic testing connected a woman to sperm donor-conceived half siblings.

In PLOS this week: gene expression catalog for sheep, viral diversity among respiratory samples from camels, and more.