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Keeping an Eye on the Plants

"It's like watching a plant grow" was set to become the botanical research community's version of "It's like watching cement harden" — that is, until researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison created a robotic camera to watch the plants for them, reports Popular Science's Rebecca Boyle. Plant physiologist Edgar Spalding created a "2,300-pound, 6-foot-high robotic camera rig snaps pictures every 30 seconds, capturing the curling, twisting motion of germinating seeds putting out new roots," she says. Observing plants develop with these new cameras can help researchers determine the differences between genetically modified and wild-type specimens, particularly by how the roots develop, Boyle says, adding that Spalding and his colleagues hope their research could help investigators genetically engineer crops with desirable features.

The Scan

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.

Survey Sees Genetic Literacy on the Rise, Though Further Education Needed

Survey participants appear to have higher genetic familiarity, knowledge, and skills compared to 2013, though 'room for improvement' remains, an AJHG paper finds.

Study Reveals Molecular, Clinical Features in Colorectal Cancer Cases Involving Multiple Primary Tumors

Researchers compare mismatch repair, microsatellite instability, and tumor mutation burden patterns in synchronous multiple- or single primary colorectal cancers.

FarGen Phase One Sequences Exomes of Nearly 500 From Faroe Islands

The analysis in the European Journal of Human Genetics finds few rare variants and limited geographic structure among Faroese individuals.