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The Next Step?

Instead of using ever-stronger antibiotics to treat bacterial infections, the US government's military research division — DARPA — wants to try something else, says New Scientist. Since bacteria can adapt and find ways to resist antibiotics, DARPA wants to use adaptable nanotherapeutics based on siRNAs, which would be programmed to find specific genes in the bacteria and silence them. "DARPA is seeking ideas for adaptable nanoparticles that can be 'reprogrammed on the fly' by loading up specific siRNA to deal with outbreaks among troops," New Scientist says. "As with GPS systems and the internet, this innovation might benefit the military initially, but eventually become a model for mainstream medication."

The Scan

Researchers Compare WGS, Exome Sequencing-Based Mendelian Disease Diagnosis

Investigators find a diagnostic edge for whole-genome sequencing, while highlighting the cost advantages and improving diagnostic rate of exome sequencing in EJHG.

Researchers Retrace Key Mutations in Reassorted H1N1 Swine Flu Virus With Avian-Like Features

Mutations in the acidic polymerase-coding gene boost the pathogenicity and transmissibility of Eurasian avian-like H1N1 swine influenza viruses, a PNAS paper finds.

Genome Sequences Reveal Evolutionary History of South America's Canids

An analysis in PNAS of South American canid species' genomes offers a look at their evolutionary history, as well as their relationships and adaptations.

Lung Cancer Response to Checkpoint Inhibitors Reflected in Circulating Tumor DNA

In non-small cell lung cancer patients, researchers find in JCO Precision Oncology that survival benefits after immune checkpoint blockade coincide with a dip in ctDNA levels.