TS Picks: May 7, 2015

Genetics & genomics edition

May 7, 2015
Tracy Vence


Selections from The Scientist’s reading list:

  • Following the debut of its new data-sharing platform ResearchKit, Apple is reportedly in talks with researchers to begin collecting users’ genetic information. According to MIT Technology Review, “nudging iPhone owners to submit DNA samples to researchers would thrust Apple’s devices into the center of a widening battle for genetic information.” Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Gholson Lyon, who is not involved with the project, told Tech Review the move makes sense. “Apple launched ResearchKit and got a fantastic response. The obvious next thing is to collect DNA,” he said.
  • In collaboration with investigators at cancer centers, IBM is working on genomic analytics as part of its broader Watson Health initiative, Bio-IT World reported this week (May 5). “This collaboration is about giving clinicians the ability to do for a broader population what is currently only available to a small number—identify personalized, precision cancer treatments,” Steve Harvey, vice president of IBM Watson Health, said in a statement.
  • Ever since Oxford Nanopore Technologies introduced its portable MinION sequencer through an early-access program last year, genomics researchers have been eager to get their hands on data. Now, Nature News reported this week (May 5), testers are discussing their initial results. “We’re all on kind of a high right now,” David Deamer, a biochemist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, told Nature. (See “Portable DNA Sequencer Can ID Bacteria and Viruses,” The Scientist, March 2015.)