Genetics

NIH's All of Us program will begin offering genetic counseling soon

Photo of couple holding hands in waiting room before seeing a mobile doctor in rural New York
People from a rural and financially struggling area of New York waiting to see doctors in a mobile clinic. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The National Institutes of Health on Wednesday announced a $4.6 million award in initial funding to health tech company Color to provide results and genetic counseling when desired to the participants in its huge research project, All of Us.

Why it matters: The All of Us project aims to create the largest health database that's inclusive of diverse communities to improve precision medicine. But, the agency also wants the participants — many of whom are in underrepresented communities and may not normally have access to genetic testing and counseling — to receive benefits as well.

Scientists discover thousands of tiny proteins within microbiome

Photo of gut microbes from IBM
Gut microbiome. Photo: IBM/Flickr via creative commons

Researchers say they've discovered more than 4,000 new, small protein families generated in the human microbiome, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Cell.

Why it matters: The human microbiome is thought to help maintain health but also is linked to obesity-related cancers, Alzheimer's and how cancer therapies work. The function of these newly found tiny proteins still needs to be determined, but the authors believe their size could allow them to be leveraged to deliver drugs.