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The Old and the New


The New York Times' Claudia Dreifus recently sat down with Janet Davison Rowley — the medical-doctor-turned-geneticist known as "the matriarch of modern cancer genetics" — to talk about her career and her discoveries. When she started her work in 1961, genetics was very far from an established field, Rowley says, and there were no tools to help researchers study DNA. But by 1972, when she made her discovery about chromosome translocation — a "revolutionary finding for genetics," Dreifus says — new techniques like banding of genetic material were starting to change all that. Rowley says the type of work she was doing back them wouldn't be possible today. "I was doing observationally driven research. That's the kiss of death if you're looking for funding today," she tells Dreifus. "We're so fixated now on hypothesis-driven research that if you do what I did, it would be called a 'fishing expedition,' a bad thing." But, she adds, "fishing in good. You're fishing because you want to know what's there."

The Scan

And Back

The New York Times reports that missing SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences are back in a different database.

Lacks Family Hires Attorney

A lawyer for the family of Henrietta Lacks plans to seek compensation from pharmaceutical companies that have used her cancer cells in product development, the Baltimore Sun reports.

For the Unknown

The Associated Press reports that family members are calling on the US military to use new DNA analysis techniques to identify unknown sailors and Marines who were on the USS Arizona.

PLOS Papers on Congenital Heart Disease, COVID-19 Infection Host MicroRNAs, Multiple Malformation Mutations

In PLOS this week: new genes linked to congenital heart disease, microRNAs with altered expression in COVID-19, and more.