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Study reveals flaws in long-read DNA technology
The researchers suggest that data produced by long-read technologies should be interpreted with caution.
Findings suggest that correcting software is unreliable

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute have warned of flawed data from long-read DNA readings.

New technologies that can read long strings of DNA are up to 99.8 per cent accurate.  But in a genome of more than three billion letters, this could equate to millions of errors.

Scientists say that such mistakes could falsely suggest that a person has a genetic make-up that heightens their risk of a certain disease. Data produced by these technologies should, therefore, be interpreted with caution, the team suggests, as it could create problems for analysing genetic information from people and animals.

“Long-read technologies are incredibly powerful but it is clear that we can’t rely on software tools to correct errors in the data – some hands-on expertise may still be required,” explained Professor Mic Watson of the Roslin Institute. “This is important as we increasingly use genomic technologies to understand the world around us.”

Writing in the Nature Biotechnology, the researchers describe an analysis of three recent studies reporting human genome sequences from long-read methods. They found that the data contained thousands of mistakes, even after using corrective software.

The team writes that such errors could have major implications if the methods are used in clinical studies to diagnose patients.

“Long-read technologies are incredibly powerful but it is clear that we can’t rely on software tools to correct errors in the data – some hands-on expertise may still be required,” said Professor Mick Watson, of the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute.

“This is important as we increasingly use genomic technologies to understand the world around us.”

 

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Endangered turtles rescued from smugglers

News Story 1
 A group of endangered turtles have found a new home at London Zoo after being rescued from smugglers.

The four big-headed turtles arrived at the zoo at the end of last year, after smugglers tried to illegally import them to Canada, labelled as toys.

One of the turtles, named Lady Triệu after a Vietnamese warrioress, has moved to a new exhibit in the zoo’s reptile house. She is the only one of her kind in a UK zoo.

Big-headed turtles have such large heads that they cannot pull them back into their shells. To compensate, they have armour plating from head to tail and a very sharp beak to fend off predators. They are ranked number 18 on ZSL’s EDGE of Existence reptile list, which puts threatened species at the forefront of conservation action. Image © ZSL  

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RCVS Fellowship board chair elections get underway

Voting for the 2019 RCVS Fellowship Chair election is now underway. This year four candidates are standing for election, including Dr Robert Huey, Professor John Innes, Professor Liz Mossop and Professor Ian Ramsey.

The Chair will attend and preside over Fellowship meetings and take the lead in consolidating the Fellowship’s position as the learned society of the RCVS. Fellows will receive an email containing a link to the online voting form, as well as candidates’ details and manifestos. Voting closes at 5pm on Thursday, 5 September.