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Good PR for Personal Genomics

When compared to other "'science-based' prediction industries" out there, like functional brain scans, personal genomics tests seem at least marginally useful, writes Daniel MacArthur at Genetic Future. However, he still recommends holding off for a while, untiil we know more about the relationship between gene variants and disease.

A paper published today in PNAS shows that knowing the genetic variants of human enzymes can be very useful, and allow for major improvement with something as simple as vitamins. UC Berkeley researchers sequenced both alleles of the MTHFR enzyme in 564 people and found three common variants and 11 uncommon ones. Yeast follow-up studies showed that adding folate restored full function to the most common variant. "If you don't give people a reason to become interested in their genome and to become comfortable with their personal genomic information, then the benefits of much of the biomedical research, which is indexed to particular genetic states, won't be embraced in a time frame that most people can benefit from," says lead author Jasper Rine in this post at Think Gene.

 

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.