It’s been postulated that the mechanism of RNAi developed in cells as a means to fight off viral invaders and transposable elements. Essentially, this makes it a kind of cellular immune system, according to the authors of a paper published in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. But this hypothesis, while reasonable, raises the question of how the RNAi system is able to deal with the equivalent of an autoimmune disorder, a system error where silencing is directed to a cell’s own genes.

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The president of France's National Research Agency has resigned, according to Nature News.

A senator wants a "right-to-try" provision in the US Food and Drug Administration funding bill, but an ethicist says at Stat News that it would undermine the role of clinical trials.

In PNAS this week: red algae Porphyra umbicalis genome, deep neural network model for sequencing peptides, and more.

The Guardian's Barbara Ellen has tried out some DNA testing services to see whether they provide valuable information.