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'Not a Panacea'

Both whole-genome sequencing and big data have to be used with caution, Walter Gilbert, who shared the 1980 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his sequencing work, tells the Conversation.

Though he is hopeful that whole-genome sequencing will soon be inexpensive enough that it could be performed at local drug stores for a few hundred dollars, Gilbert, who is a professor at Harvard University, cautions that it's not accurate enough for medical diagnosis. "I got my own genome sequenced, but they missed the local rearrangements in my genome — it was not well-curated," he says.

Similarly, Gilbert tells the Conversation that big data could be useful for finding links between genes and disease, but that it has to be interpreted with care. A statistically significant finding, he notes, isn't necessarily biologically significant. "[I]t is definitely not a panacea," he says.

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.