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'Buddy' Up

When it comes to science fairs, baking soda volcanoes and models of the solar system are always popular. But, says Katherine Harmon at the Scientific American Observations blog, these days, the competition is getting a little more intense, and students are looking for ways to make their projects stand out. There are a variety of Web sites that offer advice and ideas, but one site is taking it one step further by asking working researchers to team up with students and help them design "cutting-edge experiments that qualify as real research," Harmon says. The site, Science Buddies, was founded by engineer and dad Kenneth Hess about 10 years ago — it employs a 26-question survey to accurately match researchers and students with projects that best suit their interests, with questions like, "Do you like animals more than machines?" and "Do you prefer thinking about a problem in your head more than doing it with your hands?" Researchers can submit a plan for a project inspired by their real work, and students can choose which ones they'd like to try, Harmon says. The site was awarded the 2011 Science Prize for Online Resources in Education, she adds, and now averages almost nine million unique visitors per year.

The Scan

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.

Team Presents Cattle Genotype-Tissue Expression Atlas

Using RNA sequences representing thousands of cattle samples, researchers looked at relationships between cattle genotype and tissue expression in Nature Genetics.

Researchers Map Recombination in Khoe-San Population

With whole-genome sequences for dozens of individuals from the Nama population, researchers saw in Genome Biology fine-scale recombination patterns that clustered outside of other populations.

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.