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Lab-Less Research

Public data repositories like the Gene Expression Omnibus have been a boon for researchers, who are using the information they store to study genetic associations to diseases without ever having to go near a microarray, says Nature News' Monya Baker. For example, in May, Stanford School of Medicine's Atul Butte identified a new drug target for diabetes by downloading data from 130 gene-expression studies in mice, rats, and humans that were done by other researchers and doing a meta-analysis to look for a common link. One of Butte's postdocs, Purvesh Khatri, tells Baker that a wet lab is no longer needed for discovery. Butte adds that wet lab experiments are more for validating hypotheses than making discoveries. "The beauty of analyzing data from multiple experiments is that biases and artifacts should cancel out between data sets, helping true relationships to stand out," Baker says. Or as Butte puts it to her, "There is safety in numbers."

The Scan

Ancient Greek Army Ancestry Highlights Mercenary Role in Historical Migrations

By profiling genomic patterns in 5th century samples from in and around Himera, researchers saw diverse ancestry in Greek army representatives in the region, as they report in PNAS.

Estonian Biobank Team Digs into Results Return Strategies, Experiences

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics outline a procedure developed for individual return of results for the population biobank, along with participant experiences conveyed in survey data.

Rare Recessive Disease Insights Found in Individual Genomes

Researchers predict in Genome Medicine cross-population deletions and autosomal recessive disease impacts by analyzing recurrent nonallelic homologous recombination-related deletions.

Genetic Tests Lead to Potential Prognostic Variants in Dutch Children With Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Researchers in Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine found that the presence of pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants was linked to increased risk of death and poorer outcomes in children with pediatric dilated cardiomyopathy.