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Electronic Medical Records Present More Options for Genomics Research

Emily Singer of MIT's Technology Review says the $20 billion in the stimulus bill allocated to helping doctors and hospitals adopt electronic medical records also has researchers "excited about the possibilities" of using those records for scientific study. Singer says doctors and researchers are looking through the vast amounts of data to figure out how to use it to answer various questions in medicine, "such as why patients can respond so variably to treatment, and how genetics or other factors might contribute to this." Researchers have had to invent new analytical methods to make sense of the data and ensure that results aren't biased, Singer writes. Dan Roden, a clinical pharmacologist at Vanderbilt University, has launched a pilot program linking medical records to genomics databases, according to Singer, starting with basic questions as to what informatics challenges could arise and the ethical quandaries of storing patients' information.

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.