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Using Advances in DNA Technology to Our Advantage

Thanks to the new healthcare bill – especially the part where insurers aren't allowed to deny coverage based on preexisting conditions – we can all enjoy the new advances in DNA technology instead instead of fearing that they'll be used against us, says the Huffington Post's Philip Neches. As the cost of a complete human genome sequence continues to fall, Neches says this will almost certainly lead to "a dizzying array of new stuff." However, Neches says, all advances have their price – as research advances, we are beginning to realize that many conditions that plague Americans – cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, metabolic disorders – are at least partially caused by our genetics. "What if we could do something about our sub-optimal DNA programming?" Neches says. "Imagine that to our grandchildren, the diseases that ravage us would seem as remote to their experience as smallpox, typhus, and cholera are to us." Our DNA could be considered a beta software program, with researchers releasing "fixes" and "patches" to modify the faulty bits.

The Scan

Study Tracks Off-Target Gene Edits Linked to Epigenetic Features

Using machine learning, researchers characterize in BMC Genomics the potential off-target effects of 19 computed or experimentally determined epigenetic features during CRISPR-Cas9 editing.

Coronary Artery Disease Risk Loci, Candidate Genes Identified in GWAS Meta-Analysis

A GWAS in Nature Genetics of nearly 1.4 million coronary artery disease cases and controls focused in on more than 200 candidate causal genes, including the cell motility-related myosin gene MYO9B.

Multiple Sclerosis Contributors Found in Proteome-Wide Association Study

With a combination of genome-wide association and brain proteome data, researchers in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology tracked down dozens of potential multiple sclerosis risk proteins.

Quality Improvement Study Compares Molecular Tumor Boards, Central Consensus Recommendations

With 50 simulated cancer cases, researchers in JAMA Network Open compared molecular tumor board recommendations with central consensus plans at a dozen centers in Japan.