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The Worm that Taught Us the Term 'Whalefall'

An article in Wired reports on advances in scientists' genetic understanding of Osedax, a recently discovered family of "mouthless worms that live in the bones of dead whales." A study published this week in BMC Biology led by Robert Vrijenhoek from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute scanned genes from several species of the worms and indicates that there may be "at least 12 more as-yet-unidentified lineages of Osedax," which appear to have had a common ancestor 45 million years ago. "But Osedax might have emerged even earlier, during the Cretaceous, and moved to whales when marine dinosaurs died out," the article adds.

The Scan

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.

Survey Sees Genetic Literacy on the Rise, Though Further Education Needed

Survey participants appear to have higher genetic familiarity, knowledge, and skills compared to 2013, though 'room for improvement' remains, an AJHG paper finds.

Study Reveals Molecular, Clinical Features in Colorectal Cancer Cases Involving Multiple Primary Tumors

Researchers compare mismatch repair, microsatellite instability, and tumor mutation burden patterns in synchronous multiple- or single primary colorectal cancers.

FarGen Phase One Sequences Exomes of Nearly 500 From Faroe Islands

The analysis in the European Journal of Human Genetics finds few rare variants and limited geographic structure among Faroese individuals.