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Ion PGM in Middle Schools … and on Mars?

"Anything you're proposing to fly in space, it should be in eighth grade science classes," Harvard's Gary Ruvkun tells Forbes, which is precisely why he expects that with technological advances, such as Life Technologies' Ion Personal Genome Machine, "sequencing will be done in eighth grade science classes very soon." According to Ruvkun — who has touted the power of PCR "to test for the existence of Earth-like DNA on Mars" in the past — the PGM methodology will eventually "be so cheap to put on a Mars probe that it would be silly not to," Matthew Herper at Forbes' The Medicine Show blog reports.

But in the midst of all the hoopla surrounding the Ion PGM's commercial launch, Nick Loman at Pathogens: Genes and Genomes says that while he was once "as guilty as anyone about buying into the hype," now, after hearing the machine's specs, he sees that "the tediously useful hype cycle has come into play and we’ve hit disillusionment rather earlier than expected with Ion Torrent." He does add, however, that Life Technologies' decision to "outsource the technical development to the community" — through it's $7 million contest — is a "genius move — if it works." Should the PGM's technical issues be resolved, "then the machine has a great future ahead of it," Loman says.

The Scan

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.

Study Uncovers Genetic Mutation in Childhood Glaucoma

A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation ties a heterozygous missense variant in thrombospondin 1 to childhood glaucoma.

Gene Co-Expression Database for Humans, Model Organisms Gets Update

GeneFriends has been updated to include gene and transcript co-expression networks based on RNA-seq data from 46,475 human and 34,322 mouse samples, a new paper in Nucleic Acids Research says.

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.