Regulus Therapeutics, a joint venture between Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Isis Pharmaceuticals, said this week that the US Patent and Trademark Office has allowed claims in a patent application covering microRNA-21.

According to the company, the miRNA is linked to a variety of diseases including cancer, fibrosis, and heart disease. The application, from the so-called Tuschl-III patent series, also covers single-stranded and double-stranded antisense compounds complementary to miR-21, Regulus said.

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 Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who chairs the Senate health committee, will be retiring at the end of his term, Stat News reports.

UCSF researchers find that having two X chromosomes may contribute to women's longer lifespans, according to Discover's D-brief blog.

The Wall Street Journal reports on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's use of genetic approaches to study foodborne illnesses.

In PNAS this week: immune cell profiling of wild baboons by social status, metabolomics profiling of esophageal tumors, and more.