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Scaling the Mountain of Data

UnitedHealth Group and the Mayo Clinic are teaming up to study data included in patient medical records, reports The Wall Street Journal. UnitedHealth will be contributing claims records from 109 million people over the course of nearly two decades, and the Mayo Clinic will provide 5 million clinical records to the research effort. UnitedHealth tells the Journal that it envisions the effort, called Optum Labs, as a "dedicated research unit … not a profit-driven undertaking." Projects at the lab will focus on cost-effectiveness research and improving diagnoses, the Journal adds.

"It's a sign of the times," David Brailer, from the private-equity firm Health Evolution Partners and the health information czar during the George W. Bush administration, tells the Journal. "Data has moved center stage, and now it's time for it to show what it can do."

The Scan

Foxtail Millet Pangenome, Graph-Based Reference Genome

Researchers in Nature Genetics described their generation of a foxtail millet pangenome, which they say can help in crop trait improvement.

Protein Length Distribution Consistent Across Species

An analysis in Genome Biology compares the lengths of proteins across more than 2,300 species, finding similar distributions.

Novel Genetic Loci Linked to Insulin Resistance in New Study

A team reports in Nature Genetics that it used glucose challenge test data to home in on candidate genes involved in in GLUT4 expression or trafficking.

RNA Editing in Octopuses Seems to Help Acclimation to Shifts in Water Temperature

A paper in Cell reports that octopuses use RNA editing to help them adjust to different water temperatures.