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The Long and Short of It

Researchers, including the University of California, San Francisco's Elizabeth Blackburn, are looking into whether telomeres can be used to gauge a person's health risks. Blackburn, who won a Nobel Prize for her work on telomeres, tells Scientific American that "telomere shortness anticipates risk for conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's and certain cancers — even for mortality." She has also started a company based on her work, and it is developing a way to measure telomeres. "Our aim is to provide the tests as a way to help people take greater charge of their own health," she says, noting that the test will not be sold direct to consumers. Scientific American also asks whether she'd consider getting her telomeres measured, and Blackburn replies: "Yes, when the company starts offering individual tests. I look forward to it."

The Scan

Study Links Evolution of Longevity, Social Organization in Mammals

With the help of comparative phylogenetics and transcriptomics, researchers in Nature Communications see ties between lifespan and social organization in mammals.

Tumor Microenvironment Immune Score Provides Immunotherapy Response, Prognostic Insights

Using multiple in situ analyses and RNA sequence data, researchers in eBioMedicine have developed a score associated with immunotherapy response or survival.

CRISPR-Based Method for Finding Cancer-Associated Exosomal MicroRNAs in Blood

A team from China presents in ACS Sensors a liposome-mediated membrane fusion strategy for detecting miRNAs carried in exosomes in the blood with a CRISPR-mediated reporter system.

Drug Response Variants May Be Distinct in Somatic, Germline Samples

Based on variants from across 21 drug response genes, researchers in The Pharmacogenomics Journal suspect that tumor-only DNA sequences may miss drug response clues found in the germline.