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Which Sounds Better: 'Microbe-book' or 'LinkedGut'?

The non-profit MyMicrobes has launched a program that's both a "social network and DNA database," and is inviting people to get their gut bacteria sequenced for about $2,100, reports Nature News' Nicola Jones. The MyMicrobes Web site, started by a team of microbial researchers in Europe, offers a place for people to share diet tips, advice on gastrointestinal problems, and more, Jones says, adding that the researchers hope to gather as much data about gut microbes and how they affect people as possible. "So far, the team has found links between certain gut-specific genetic markers and obesity and other diseases. And they suspect that gut enterotypes might affect how people react to different drugs and diets," Jones says. After registering on the site, users are shipped packages containing information on the project and a stool sample kit — the kits are mailed to a lab in Paris where the DNA is extracted and sent to Heidelberg for sequencing. So far, the researchers say they have about 100 interested participants, but estimate they'll need around 5,000 to power significant study results, Jones reports.

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.