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Data, Breached

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Just last week, I received notifications from my bank, my credit card company, and my mobile phone service provider informing me that the marketing firm they all use — Epsilon — had a security breach. E-mail addresses and, in some instances, names of customers were exposed to thieves. While the companies have apologized for the inconvenience, security experts have been reported as saying that there could be an increase in targeted e-mail cons, known as spear phishing. The data, it seems, was not secure.

Data security is also a worry in genomics, especially as the age of personal genomics dawns. In this month's cover story, Matthew Dublin looks into security concerns surrounding genomics and personalized medicine. He reports on initiatives to protect people from discrimination based on their genomic information as well as on what companies — particularly direct-to-consumer companies like 23andMe and DecodeMe — are doing to keep all the data they have safe. However, Duke University's Misha Angrist tells Matt that with the state of knowledge of the genome and all it encodes about health being what it is right now, it might not matter — people could learn more about your health by knowing whether or not you smoke.

Elsewhere in this issue, Tracy Vence dives deep into the world of the human microbiome. Basic researchers are getting a handle on just what species are part of the microbiome, and they are increasingly studying what those species do. Knowledge about the microbiome is also inching its way toward the clinic to help diagnose, treat, and perhaps prevent disease. Another feature story this month zooms in on the world of low-abundance proteins. A world, Christie Rizk reports, that researchers have developed some new tools to better explore.

Finally, a correction. A marker appearing in last month's issue on a new computational tool from Shirley Liu's lab at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute stated that it powers the analysis of "intra-laboratory" data; the tool actually enables integrative analysis of inter-laboratory data. Genome Technology regrets the error.

The Scan

Panel Recommends Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine for Kids

CNN reports that the US Food and Drug Administration advisory panel has voted in favor of authorizing the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for children between 5 and 11 years old.

Sharing How to Make It

Merck had granted a royalty-free license for its COVID-19 treatment to the Medicines Patent Pool, according to the New York Times.

Bring it Back In

Bloomberg reports that a genetic analysis has tied a cluster of melioidosis cases in the US to a now-recalled aromatherapy spray.

Nucleic Acids Research Papers on SomaMutDB, VThunter, SCovid Databases

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: database of somatic mutations in normal tissue, viral receptor-related expression signatures, and more.