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So Long

Joshua Sharfstein, the deputy commissioner at FDA, is leaving the agency after 21 months on the job, reports the Wall Street Journal. Sharfstein will be the new Maryland secretary of health and mental hygiene. His departure was reported first by a tweet from Congressional Quarterly's HealthBeat, prompting The In Vivo Blog speculate that Sharfstein's leaving likely as something to do with the goings-on on Capitol Hill. "We see Sharfstein's departure means first and foremost as a change in positioning for FDA facing the incoming Republican majority in the House," says Michael McCaughan at The In Vivo Blog. The Journal says that this may affect the release of the medical-device approval guidelines. "Any significant restrictions will likely cause a backlash in the device industry, which has allies among Republican House leaders," the Journal adds.

The Scan

Wolf Howl Responses Offer Look at Vocal Behavior-Related Selection in Dogs

In dozens of domestic dogs listening to wolf vocalizations, researchers in Communication Biology see responses varying with age, sex, reproductive status, and a breed's evolutionary distance from wolves.

Facial Imaging-Based Genetic Diagnoses Appears to Get Boost With Three-Dimensional Approach

With data for more than 1,900 individuals affected by a range of genetic conditions, researchers compared facial phenotype-based diagnoses informed by 2D or 3D images in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

Survey Suggests Multigene Cancer Panel VUS Reporting May Vary Across Genetic Counselors

Investigators surveyed dozens of genetic counselors working in clinical or laboratory settings, uncovering attitudes around VUS reporting after multigene cancer panel testing in the Journal of Genetic Counseling.

Study Points to Tuberculosis Protection by Gaucher Disease Mutation

A mutation linked to Gaucher disease in the Ashkenazi Jewish population appears to boost Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistance in a zebrafish model of the lysosomal storage condition, a new PNAS study finds.