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One small variation in a person's genetic code can be the difference between a drug helping treat a disease—or causing a severe and possibly fatal reaction.

That's one reason why it is vital for scientists to learn how people's genetics translates into differences in physical traits or behaviors, such as how they respond to certain drugs, according to researchers presenting 20 February at the 2010 AAAS meeting in San Diego.

We may never predict earthquakes, but computer models are putting emergency response plans on much more solid ground. In a talk not far from one of the country's seismic hot spots, seismologist Thomas Jordan of the Southern California Earthquake Center discussed "Understanding Earthquakes Through Large-Scale Simulations" on 20 February at the 2010 AAAS meeting in San Diego.

The jury is out on the use of neuroimaging as hard evidence in the American courtroom, concluded a panel of legal and academic experts convened on 20 February at the 2010 AAAS meeting in San Diego. The panel, composed of California Superior Court judge Luis Rodriguez, litigators Henry Greely and Robert Knaier, and expert witnesses James Brewer and Michael Rafii, presented a mock trial of the hypothetical Will Johnson, accused murderer and victim of a severe brain lesion.

Imagine a team of researchers in the U.S. able to remotely track a deployed soldier's reactions to combat stress in Iraq with the accuracy to determine susceptibility to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the ability to administer quick preventative treatments. That is just one of the potential implications of Michael Telch and his team's research at the University of Texas at Austin in collaboration with 184 volunteer soldiers from Fort Hood.