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And We Just Grew Plants in the Dark

The fifth White House Science Fair is underway today with more than 100 students showing off their projects.

Among the exhibitors is Natalie Ng from Cupertino who developed two microRNA-based models to predict breast cancer metastasis and uncovered two miRNAs that independently affect a breast tumor's ability to metastasize. Being able to better gauge which breast tumors will metastasize will help clinicians devise targeted treatments for patients, the White House blog notes.

Also exhibiting is Nathan Han from Boston who devised a machine-learning software tool and taught it to differentiate between disease-causing and benign mutations, such as those within the BRCA1 gene.

At the fair, President Barack Obama is to announce new pledges to boost participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the Associated Press reports. These new private-sector pledges total $240 million for STEM education, including a $150 million pledge to encourage early career researchers to stay in the field and $90 million to provide underrepresented youth with opportunities in STEM fields.