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Not Nebulous

There are clear benefits to getting your genome sequenced, according to Harvard and MIT researcher George Church. Writing in Medium, Church likens the adoption of personal genomics to widely embraced technologies such as smartphones.

Within just a few years, he says, our genomes may guide everything from diet to dating. The piece pointed to efforts underway by one of the companies Church cofounded: Nebula Genomics. Nebula announced yesterday that it has raised more than $4 million in venture capital seed financing, and plans to partner with another firm cofounded by Church, Veritas Genetics.

"We are entering the age of genomics, an amazing future that will dramatically improve the health outcomes of people across the planet," Church predicts. "Soon, we won't be able to imagine a time when we left home without knowledge of our genome to guide us."

The Scan

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.