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A Secondhand Success Story

Travis Kaya at The Chronicle of Higher Education's Tweed blog reminds readers they'd be surprised by the "stuff you find on eBay." Case-in-point: College of William & Mary biologist Kurt Williamson is the proud owner of a refurbished Zeiss 190 transmission electron microscope worth nearly $20,000, though he paid less than half that by purchasing it secondhand on eBay. Once he had established that the TEM — listed by sellers at Adelsys, Inc., in Ohio, who purchased it from Akron Children's Hospital — was legitimate and operational (given a few repairs, of course), Williamson bid the opening price for it. When they received no competing offers, Adelsys sold the scope for $999.99. The purchase price, when combined with shipping, parts, and labor, brought the total cost of the instrument to about $7,500, Williamson says, which he considers a steal. According to Kaya, Williamson "plans to use the microscope this fall while the biology department waits on federal grants for newer equipment."

The Scan

Study Finds Sorghum Genetic Loci Influencing Composition, Function of Human Gut Microbes

Focusing on microbes found in the human gut microbiome, researchers in Nature Communications identified 10 sorghum loci that appear to influence the microbial taxa or microbial metabolite features.

Treatment Costs May Not Coincide With R&D Investment, Study Suggests

Researchers in JAMA Network Open did not find an association between ultimate treatment costs and investments in a drug when they analyzed available data on 60 approved drugs.

Sleep-Related Variants Show Low Penetrance in Large Population Analysis

A limited number of variants had documented sleep effects in an investigation in PLOS Genetics of 10 genes with reported sleep ties in nearly 192,000 participants in four population studies.

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.