Abstracts: DIY Genetic Tests and More


• The FDA just approved the first do-it-yourself genetic test, which people can perform at home to determine their risks of 10 genetic diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. (Nature)

A new at-home genetic test can help users assess their risk of 10 diseases. Visual: GIPhotoStock/Getty Images

• Survey says…Trump’s environmental agenda is widely unpopular with American voters. A recent survey conducted by Quinnipiac University found that 66 percent of voters are worried that climate change will negatively impact them or their families, and 62 percent opposed Trump’s attack on environmental regulations. These results echo a Gallup poll from last month that reported 64 percent of Americans were concerned about global warming. (TIME)

• Pretty much every standup comic has a bit about the trials of air travel, and it looks like greenhouse gas emissions might give comedians some new material. According to a new study, increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will lead to increased turbulence, making for bumpier rides in the sky. (WIRED)

• Garden-variety viruses are small, genetic simpletons, but a special subset called “mimiviruses” are larger, more cell-like, and push the boundaries of what it means to be a virus. A new study in Science reports the discovery of four new mimicries species and hints at the evolutionary origins of these weirdly giant viruses. (NPR)

• The search for Earth’s exoplanet doppelgänger continues with a small, rocky world 39 lightyears away. This is the first time astronomers have been able to discern the atmosphere enveloping a planet less than twice the size of Earth. (New Scientist)

• The American Geophysical Union might change its definition of scientific misconduct to include sexual harassment, rather than just research fraud and plagiarism. The proposed revision to the society’s ethics policy expresses members’ condemnation of recent cases of sexual harassment in the scientific community, but some research integrity experts are wary about conflating two separate categories of unacceptable conduct. (Science)

• In the past few years, ride-share providers like Uber have shuttled an increasing number of ER-bound customers. Although riders might have good reason for calling an Uber instead of an ambulance — it’s cheaper, more reliable, and allows you to choose your hospital — such medical emergency trips can pose serious liability issues for drivers and their employers. (STAT)

• And finally, NASA is celebrating Earth Day by putting 64,000 patches of the planet up for adoption. It’s a bit like adopting a highway or naming a star; participants don’t get legal rights to their 55-mile-wide adopted area, but they do get access individualized scientific data on the region and a nifty certificate to show off on social media. (CNN)