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Mmm, Smells Like Conflict of Interest

Keith Robison has a new blog post about the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council's latest round of publicity. The industry organization just hired Robert Coughlin, former aide to Governor Deval Patrick, as its new president -- replacing Tom Finneran, whom Robison describes as "ethically challenged." Sadly, the new guy already's lost his luster, as reports emerged that Coughlin was actively working on the state's life science initiatives while he was interviewing for the post at MBC. Robison writes, "Many more shenanigans like this & biotech will be viewed as just another big business playing the corrupt political gain for private benefit at public expense."

You can also check out this coverage in the Boston Globe. And don't miss this story from our sister newsletter BioRegion News, which describes the council's first public defense of Coughlin's actions.

 

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.