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Genomics From the Inside


Gary Zweiger has no illusions of being the next Jack Welch, but neither does he have doubts that his new book will fill a critical gap in genomics education.

“I felt that there are some tremendously profound changes occurring in the biomedical sciences with implications for health — and even beyond that, to our conception of who we are,” he says. “The focus [of the book] is on the transformation of biology from molecular studies to an information science, and on the interplay between government efforts and industry efforts.”

Zweiger’s Transducing the Genome: Information, Anarchy, and Revolution in the Biomedical Sciences (released this month) aims to educate people about the ever-changing field of genomics. Though the book is written for anyone to understand, he says, “the people that will most appreciate this are working scientists who want to know more about genomics and the history of it.” The book tackles genomics from several angles, including its history, technologies, major players, and outlook.

Zweiger, currently director of business development and strategic planning for Agilent Technologies, may be in a unique position to accomplish this goal. He has a doctorate in genetics and worked as a scientist at Genentech and Incyte; but he has also been a consultant for genomics startups and a strategic advisor, first at Incyte and now at Agilent. Flip-flopping between science and business has given Zweiger a unique perspective on the field.

“The other accounts out there are from journalists or from people that are squarely in the government-supported field of work, and their accounts of what is going on in the industry are lacking,” he contends.

At 36, Zweiger says that he’s still trying to decide what to do with his life. Though he’s bounced around a bit, he says that his only business background is what he’s picked up on the job. “I’ve had fun with it, is the important thing,” he says. As for the book, it probably won’t change his life. “I don’t expect to make a lot of money,” he laughs.

—Meredith Salisbury

The Scan

For Better Odds

Bloomberg reports that a child has been born following polygenic risk score screening as an embryo.

Booster Decision Expected

The New York Times reports the US Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine this week for individuals over 65 or at high risk.

Snipping HIV Out

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Temple University researchers are to test a gene-editing approach for treating HIV.

PLOS Papers on Cancer Risk Scores, Typhoid Fever in Colombia, Streptococcus Protection

In PLOS this week: application of cancer polygenic risk scores across ancestries, genetic diversity of typhoid fever-causing Salmonella, and more.