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Early-Warning DNA Sequencing System

With the cost of DNA sequencing continuing to decline, researchers are looking to find new ways to use the technology. Some hope to use it as a way to test infectious pathogens in a community as an early-warning system for disease outbreak, reports Technology Review's Emily Singer. The researchers at Pacific Biosciences have started a project called the Disease Weather Map, which monitors viruses from locations like sewage stations, toilet handles, and people's mouths, Singer says, and the idea is to measure pathogen flux over time. Public health agencies already use similar systems to detect outbreaks, though they mostly rely on doctors' reports on patients. This system will rely more on the environment, Singer adds, which could give warning signs before people start to get sick. The researchers could also track the emergence of new pathogen variants.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.