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Ten Years Later ...

As 2010 winds to a close, MIT's Technology Review takes a look back at the 10th anniversary of the publication of the draft human genome and all the promise that came with it for explanations about biology and better understanding of (and treatments for) many diseases. Whether they're studying the genome's "dark matter," deciphering cancer's genome, or working on ways to make sequencing cheaper, researchers have worked long and hard for the last 10 years, says Technology Review's Jason Pontin. The genome has turned out to be more complex and difficult to understand than many anticipated, and so far genomic information hasn't been the font of disease cures that many had hoped, Pontin says. Missing heritability is still a problem; as is cancer. But researchers are still working to find answers to the many questions and unwind the complexity, he adds. Eric Lander says it shouldn't be so surprising that it's hard. "He counsels a historically informed patience as we work on new genomic medicines: after all, 60 years passed between the development of germ theory and the creation of antibiotics," Pontin says. "Genomics is harder."

The Scan

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.

Study Reveals Potential Sex-Specific Role for Noncoding RNA in Depression

A long, noncoding RNA called FEDORA appears to be a sex-specific regulator of major depressive disorder, affecting more women, researchers report in Science Advances.

New mRNA Vaccines Offer Hope for Fighting Malaria

A George Washington University-led team has developed mRNA vaccines for malaria that appear to provide protection in mice, as they report in NPJ Vaccines.

Unique Germline Variants Found Among Black Prostate Cancer Patients

Through an exome sequencing study appearing in JCO Precision Oncology, researchers have found unique pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants within a cohort of Black prostate cancer patients.