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NFTs for Genome Sharing

Even as more non-fungible tokens are auctioned off and are increasingly dismissed as a fad, Nature News writes that some researchers think it could represent a way for people to profit from temporarily grant others to access to their genomic data.

NFTs rely on blockchain technology, like that used by cryptocurrencies, to provide a certificate of authenticity for a digital object, in many cases art. But in April, Nebula Genomics announced it would be auctioning an NFT of George Church's genome – Harvard's Church is a co-founder of the company – though Nature News notes the company has since switched gears to instead sell artwork of Church and discounts on its services. Meanwhile, the University of California, Berkeley has auctioned an NFT of patent paperwork related to Nobel Prize-winning work from James Allison and plans to do so for work from Jennifer Doudna, after making sure the NFT doesn't infringe on the actual patent, Nature News adds. Similarly, Tim Berners-Lee, the developer of the World Wide Web, announced his own NFT.

As Nature News notes, critics say NFTs are a fad and wasteful due to the large amount of energy needed to fuel the technology. At the same time, it adds that Nebula is treating its NFT offering as a test: The company already uses blockchain technology to temporarily provide users access to its repertoire of genomes, and NFTs could be a way to further monetize the exchange and allow people to profit from sharing their genomic data.

The Scan

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.

Team Presents Cattle Genotype-Tissue Expression Atlas

Using RNA sequences representing thousands of cattle samples, researchers looked at relationships between cattle genotype and tissue expression in Nature Genetics.

Researchers Map Recombination in Khoe-San Population

With whole-genome sequences for dozens of individuals from the Nama population, researchers saw in Genome Biology fine-scale recombination patterns that clustered outside of other populations.

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.