COLD SPRING HARBOR, NY (GenomeWeb) – Researchers have begun to tease out variants that influence human longevity and viability.

In a proof-of-concept study presented at the Biology of Genomes meeting here, Columbia University's Hakhamanesh Mostafavi and his colleagues searched for and uncovered gene variants, such as one within APOE, that become less common with age in large cohorts, suggesting that these variants affect survival. They also linked having a higher polygenic risk for conditions like high cholesterol to lower survival.

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Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen also contributed to brain research, NPR reports.

The New York Times reports on the shifting interpretations of what some genetic variants mean over time.

In Cell this week: investigation of metastatic tumor evolution, more than 16,000 genetic variants introduced into the budding yeast model organism, and more.

MIT's Technology Review reports on Genentech's pursuit of personalized cancer vaccines.