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Recruiting Genes

Brigham and Women's Hospital patients "will soon be asked to provide a blood sample for genetic testing," the Boston Globe's Carolyn Johnson reports. The Harvard-affiliated hospital plans to build a database of genetic information with the hope of elucidating the genetic causes of various diseases. The researchers hope to eventually compile genetic samples from 100,000 people, both sick and healthy, Johnson says. "By linking the data to medical records and following patients over time, the scientists hope to illuminate the interplay of genes, lifestyle, and the environment in causing disease," she adds.

The Scan

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.

Study Tracks Outcomes in Children Born to Zika Virus-Infected Mothers

By following pregnancy outcomes for women with RT-PCR-confirmed Zika virus infections, researchers saw in Lancet Regional Health congenital abnormalities in roughly one-third of live-born children.

Team Presents Benchmark Study of RNA Classification Tools

With more than 135 transcriptomic datasets, researchers tested two dozen coding and non-coding RNA classification tools, establishing a set of potentially misclassified transcripts, as they report in Nucleic Acids Research.

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.