Nature News' Erica Check Hayden this week profiles a handful of synthetic biologists who are using next-generation sequencing and other molecular techniques to "quantify transcription in real time" and infer the 3-D "shapes of small RNA molecules," she says.

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Direct-to-consumer genetic testing companies have offered to test families separated at the southern US border, but that raises ethical issues.

CNBC reports that confirming a positive result from 23andMe's BRCA health report can be expensive.

The New York Times reports on a project to develop a tree DNA database to uncover illegal logging.

In PLOS this week: links between gut microbiome and colorectal cancer mutations, targeted sequencing uncovers genetic susceptibilities to epilepsy in Koreans, and more.