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Big Data: 'A Force for Good'

The Guardian's DataBlog reports from the Teradata Partners' Conference in Washington, DC, that while many view the big data trend as "overly corporate," it is "becoming increasingly clear that it can be — and is being — a force for good in the wider world."

One example is the use of big data methods to analyze growing volumes of genome sequencing data — specifically cloud computing solutions from Amazon and Microsoft, the blog notes.

But the approach is also helpful for humanitarian efforts, DataBlog says. For example, the United Nations' UN Global Pulse project uses big data technology to "make faster and better informed responses to humanitarian crises."

Another effort, called DataKind, led a so-called "DataDive" in London, where data scientists worked with charities to offer "analysis-driven solutions to recurring problems."

And in the US, a project called aWhere is following a similar model. In one project, it is using satellite data "to find pools of stagnant water in developing nations that could become breeding grounds for malaria-carrying mosquitos."

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.