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Small Packages, Great Things

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A new small package might be the next big thing in post-genomic research. As it happens, current standards for packaging and prepping nucleic acids samples are more ad hoc than absolute. And without good packaging, widespread genotyping in clinical practice might not be possible. In order to travel, DNA and RNA samples need protection against degeneration that lasts for days, better yet weeks, at room temperature.

Switzerland''s PreAnalytiX is on target for a mid-year product release that integrates technologies from BD and Qiagen, partners in the venture that kicked off in 1999. First generation efforts center on marrying BD’s packaging with Qiagen chemistry to stabilize nucleic acids in a single step. Future advances promise to add hooks for automating analysis — barcoding at the point of collection, better nucleic acid isolation and preparation, and linkages to any number of analytical platforms. Their hope: build the de facto transport standard for samples that connects clinic to lab, and lab to lab, improving R&D and care.

- Brad Stenger

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.