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Well, This Is Awkward

The Walrus magazine's Mark Czarnecki says that "to comprehend genomes is to begin to unlock the mysteries of life." But that, of course, has been tricky. In the meantime, he says, society has found itself "lost on the gene map" — while researchers have not yet nailed down their interpretations of the human genome, direct-to-consumer firms are hawking genetic tests and that offer to "detail your risks for a menu of diseases." All the while, researchers have struggled to understand the ethical, legal, and social implications of genomics.

Now, Czarnecki says, "with whole-genome sequencing providing so much data that is so little understood, making the best ethical choice is more difficult than ever." He goes on to add that "as the demand for whole-genome sequencing grows, so will profits, but the big money in personalized medicine will come from the development of treatments. … A given mutation on a person's genome may not necessarily express as a malignant disease, so identifying the probability of a multigenic disease is extremely challenging."

Overall, Czarnecki says that at present, "the human genome is still a vast catalogue of the unknown and scarcely known," and that "as medical science struggles to apply these new discoveries to society's benefit, human genome research, now unstoppable, continues to evolve."

The Scan

Not Yet a Permanent One

NPR says the lack of a permanent Food and Drug Administration commissioner has "flummoxed" public health officials.

Unfair Targeting

Technology Review writes that a new report says the US has been unfairly targeting Chinese and Chinese-American individuals in economic espionage cases.

Limited Rapid Testing

The New York Times wonders why rapid tests for COVID-19 are not widely available in the US.

Genome Research Papers on IPAFinder, Structural Variant Expression Effects, Single-Cell RNA-Seq Markers

In Genome Research this week: IPAFinder method to detect intronic polyadenylation, influence of structural variants on gene expression, and more.