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Sowing Ag Dollars

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For this fiscal year, the US Department of Agriculture was allocated some $95.4 billion, of which an estimated $19.4 billion will go toward discretionary spending, the broad umbrella under which the agency’s research grant funding lies. That’s a decrease from about $22 billion last year.

Researchers with an agricultural bent have found plenty of grant opportunities — especially for crop sequencing and pathogen genomics — for their science. We opted to look into USDA’s records to see where the money is going. Using their grant search tool, we plugged in key words such as “bioinformatics,” “RNAi,” “genome,” and “microarray” to track down the funding relevant to this field.

The list below shows the highest and most systems biology-targeted awards. It is by no means comprehensive and is meant to give you a sampling of the type of research USDA has chosen to support.

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The Scan

Study Links Genetic Risk for ADHD With Alzheimer's Disease

A higher polygenic risk score for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is also linked to cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease, a new study in Molecular Psychiatry finds.

Study Offers Insights Into Role of Structural Variants in Cancer

A new study in Nature using cell lines shows that structural variants can enable oncogene activation.

Computer Model Uses Genetics, Health Data to Predict Mental Disorders

A new model in JAMA Psychiatry finds combining genetic and health record data can predict a mental disorder diagnosis before one is made clinically.

Study Tracks Off-Target Gene Edits Linked to Epigenetic Features

Using machine learning, researchers characterize in BMC Genomics the potential off-target effects of 19 computed or experimentally determined epigenetic features during CRISPR-Cas9 editing.