WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (GenomeWeb News) – Sometimes project ideas come in the mail. Joseph DeRisi, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, received a letter and a picture in the mail asking him to look into a disease affecting snakes. Based on this tip, DeRisi and his team used a metagenomic-based approach to uncover novel arenaviruses infecting snakes, an effort he outlined during a presentation at the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute's eighth annual User Meeting.

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Helix customers can purchase apps that interpret different aspects of their genome, Technology Review reports.

The New York Times reports that a number of companies and research institutes are pursuing gene therapies.

Salmon with shorter telomeres survive to make the trip back to their river homes, New Scientist reports.

In PLOS this week: vaginal microbiome composition, population patterns of Chagas-carrying Rhodnius ecuadoriensis, and more.