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Tootsie Rolls, Cheapo Pens, and the Future of Science

In an editorial in The Scientist, Steven Wiley explains why his favorite part of life science conferences is meeting with the vendors. “Talks and posters are about where biology has been — but the booths with the sales pitches and freebies tell you where science is going,” he writes. Wiley, a lead biologist for the Environmental Molecular Science Laboratory, and director of biomolecular systems of the Systems Biology department at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, writes that he, too, has been on the “vendor side” of conferences; formerly, he wrote software for a company in the early 1990s that presented their products at the annual American Society for Cell Biology meetings. He writes that many of the vendors at conferences as equally as passionate about their products as researchers are about sharing their data. “So the next time you go to a scientific meeting, stop by the vendor booths and ask about the future,” Wiley advises. “And pick up some candy.”

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.