It's the unofficial start of summer today in the US and that usually means drivers face higher gas prices. If one synthetic biology company has its way, butanol may someday be making its way into gas tanks all over the country, reports the Nature News blog. Gevo has established a factory in Minnesota that the company says will be producing 1 million gallons of isobutanol a month by the end of the year.

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Two researchers have found that behavioral genetic defenses in criminal cases don't tend to affect outcomes, according to Popular Science.

Researchers report that while host genetics influence the oral microbiome, they don't appear to affect cavity-causing microbes, the Economist says.

Pandas' gut microbiomes change as what they eat changes with the seasons, writes Discover's Inkfish blog.

In PLOS this week: comparative genomic study of malaria-linked macaque parasite, search for apple root reference genes, and more.