5 things to read instead of...  It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it can be stressful. Forget the Christmas presents you haven’t bought yet, and read these five interesting things instead. 


Is the FDA Withholding Data about a Controversial Drug to Protect Its Manufacturer? 

In the case of Sarepta, it sure looks that way. The FDA is seldom accused of being too transparent. But in late September, it looked like the agency had overshared. In an attempt to achieve the “greatest level of transparency,” the agency caused the stock prices of four biotech companies to haemorrhage. Jittery traders, sifting through scraps of context-free information provided by the agency, dumped their drug stocks, triggering a brief but brutal plunge. 


Engineers Create Plants that Glow

Imagine that instead of switching on a lamp when it gets dark, you could read by the light of a glowing plant on your desk. MIT engineers have taken a critical first step toward making that vision a reality, and one day, illumination from nanobionic plants might replace some electrical lightning. 


Checklist: These 9 Steps Will Future-Proof Hospital’s Precision Medicine Program

Here’s the bottom line: Physicians, patients, IT staff and researchers all have a role to play. While precision medicine is still an emerging practice and technology, experts point to a few clear steps to get prepared for the future. 


DNA Dating: How Molecular Clocks are Refining Human Evolution’s Timeline

Molecular clocks are becoming more sophisticated, thanks to improved DNA sequencing, analytical tools and a better understanding of the biological processes behind genetic changes. By applying these methods to the ever-growing database of DNA from diverse populations (both present-day and ancient), geneticists are helping to build a more refined timeline of human evolution.


Irish Ancestry Surprises Revealed by New DNA Map 

A new “DNA atlas” of Ireland is revealing some of the surprising ways historic kingdoms have influenced populations on the island—and it offers the first genetic evidence that Vikings intermingled with ancient Irish peoples.