Do people's understanding of themselves hinge on knowing the quirks of their genomes? Are the SNPs, mutations, and variations, the collections of genes, proteins, and RNAs the essence of who people are, or are they only tools that people can use to make of themselves what they will? These are the questions that drive science writer Lone Frank's new book, My Beautiful Genome — an exploration of her own biology, with the hope of gaining a deeper understanding into her social context. "This is not about biological man standing in opposition to cultural man," Frank writes.

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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.