Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Again and Again

A new analysis suggests there were multiple introductions of SARS-CoV-2 into the Boston area, WBUR reports.

Researchers from the Broad Institute collected samples from more than 300 COVID-19 patients at Massachusetts General Hospital between early March and early April for sequencing and analysis. In a working draft posted to, the researchers developed a phylogenetic tree of these samples, as compared to other SARS-CoV-2 samples. Based on this, they identified 30 different viral introductions into the area, including from Europe and other parts of the US, such as other parts of the Northeast, possibly New York City, and Washington State.

"The bans on travel did not stop introductions from the United States because it was already circulating in the community," Harvard University's William Hanage, who advised the research team, tells WBUR. "The phone call was coming from inside the building, to take a horror movie metaphor."

Similarly, a team from the University of California, San Francisco recently reported in Science there were multiple introductions of SARS-CoV-2 into Northern California.

Within their data, the Broad researchers also uncovered evidence of two superspreader events in the Boston area, one that occurred in late February — which WBUR traced to the Biogen leadership meeting — and one that occurred in early April at an assisted living facility.

The Scan

Foxtail Millet Pangenome, Graph-Based Reference Genome

Researchers in Nature Genetics described their generation of a foxtail millet pangenome, which they say can help in crop trait improvement.

Protein Length Distribution Consistent Across Species

An analysis in Genome Biology compares the lengths of proteins across more than 2,300 species, finding similar length distributions.

Novel Genetic Loci Linked to Insulin Resistance in New Study

A team reports in Nature Genetics that it used glucose challenge test data to home in on candidate genes involved in GLUT4 expression or trafficking.

RNA Editing in Octopuses Seems to Help Acclimation to Shifts in Water Temperature

A paper in Cell reports that octopuses use RNA editing to help them adjust to different water temperatures.