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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

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.