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This Week in Science: Jun 28, 2014

In this week's Science, researchers from the University of Copenhagen, Stanford University, and the University of Washington discuss how genetic monitoring can be used by public agencies to implement environmental policies. Environmental DNA (eDNA) monitoring, they argue, is more sensitive and cost-effective than conventional techniques for, among other activities, locating and quantifying species of concern, identifying emerging plant pathogens, and characterizing soil communities. It remains to be seen whether eDNA data will drive environmental policy decisions, and, they note, technical hurdles remain. But a growing worldwide interest indicates that the widespread adoption of eDNA data by environmental agencies may not be as far off as once thought.

And in Science Translational Medicine, Mark Lim of FasterCures at the Milken Institute focuses on the advantages that research consortia can provide in overcoming the challenges of biomedical product translation. He analyzed 369 such partnerships, tracking their growth globally and offering insights into how this model of collaborative research can advance biomedicine. He also cautions that the consortium model still requires optimization before it can be fully integrated into research pipelines. "Collaborations are knotty endeavors, and integrating the right partners is not easy," he says. "Nonetheless, collaboration is becoming increasingly essential for translating medical innovations to patients, and the consortium is one way of raising the tide for all boats in the biomedical research waters."

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.