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So Many SNPs, So Few Translators

Genetic testing is at the forefront of public attention again, and judging from the sheer number of stories we're seeing about it, that won't be changing anytime soon.

The New York Times has an article about the value of genetic tests for Alzheimer's disease, for which there is still "no single yes/no gene," according to the story. "Instead, researchers think a combination of genes work together, maybe with other risk factors like diabetes, diseased arteries or head injuries." Given that, critics have long argued against testing people for Alzheimer's. The article reports on a study currently underway looking at how patients respond to being tested and diagnosed as at increased risk of the disease.

Over at Yahoo! News, a reporter follows up on a scientist's recommendation that men from high-risk families get tested for the BRCA mutations. While a typical man's risk of getting breast cancer is practically nonexistent, that susceptibility goes into very real territory in families where a number of women have the breast cancer mutations.

And with all this genetic testing on our minds, here's a well-timed blog post from Jason Bobe about the shortage of trained genetic counselors to help patients understand and deal with results from these diagnostics. In the US, Bobe says, there are just 509 board-certified geneticists who see patients -- that's roughly 600,000 Americans per geneticist. GTO hopes they're really good at time management.


The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.