When Craig Venter's team published its work on the synthetic organism phi X174 a few years ago, it sparked a series of panels to determine the work's scientific, ethical, and national security implications, writes Laurie Garrett at Foreign Affairs. Other fields like chemistry and physics, she notes, have gone through stages where advances in them could either help or humanity, and now it appears to biology's turn.

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A European team has launched a four-year study to develop a test to gauge cervical, ovarian, uterine, or aggressive breast cancer risk in women.

As interest in personalized medicine grows, government contractors are entering the field, the Washington Post reports.

In PNAS this week: spatiotemporal study of lncRNA expression, role of extrachromosomal, circular DNAs in yeast, and more.

In PLOS this week: Plasmodium knowlesi population genetics, oral microbiome of infants and children, and more.