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A Sea of Algae and Alkanes

Joule, a biotech company focusing on biofuels, is to announce that it has received a patent for its genetically-modified, alkane-secreting cyanobacteria, reports the New York Times. The bacterium continuously produces the fuel using only sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide, and the company says it is the first to patent such an organism. The US Department of Energy's Eric Toone says that a photosynthetic, fuel-producing organism is "an important step" toward fuel production. The chief executive of Joule, William Sims, tells the Times that their goal was not for this organism to be an alternative to fossil fuels, but "to become a viable replacement."

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.