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Genes Are So Passé

What is a "gene?" asks Bora Zivkovic. It used to be a unit of heredity, but is it now a stretch of DNA? Or something else? A new, philosophical article in PLoS One by Evelyn Fox Keller and David Harel delves into the definition of a gene and comes up with an alternative to the concept and word of "gene." They propose "genetic functor" or "genitor" that "is intended to capture the essence of inheritance, but which is both richer and more expressive," they write.

The Scan

Transcriptomic, Epigenetic Study Appears to Explain Anti-Viral Effects of TB Vaccine

Researchers report in Science Advances on an interferon signature and long-term shifts in monocyte cell DNA methylation in Bacille Calmette-Guérin-vaccinated infant samples.

DNA Storage Method Taps Into Gene Editing Technology

With a dual-plasmid system informed by gene editing, researchers re-wrote DNA sequences in E. coli to store Charles Dickens prose over hundreds of generations, as they recount in Science Advances.

Researchers Model Microbiome Dynamics in Effort to Understand Chronic Human Conditions

Investigators demonstrate in PLOS Computational Biology a computational method for following microbiome dynamics in the absence of longitudinally collected samples.

New Study Highlights Role of Genetics in ADHD

Researchers report in Nature Genetics on differences in genetic architecture between ADHD affecting children versus ADHD that persists into adulthood or is diagnosed in adults.