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Look, Ma! Science gifts!


The tchotchke

If your mom’s mantle is covered in a sea of crystal animals, porcelain dolls, or collectors’ plates, then what you need is a like-minded gift she can show off to friends and visitors. Try the James Watson and Francis Crick bobblehead dolls from The DNA Store. For most people, we recommend the friendly, sweatervested Watson. But if your mom truly values discipline, she might prefer the prim (and slightly disapproving) Crick.

The tried-and-true

How can you go wrong with flowers? This lovely bouquet is made up of petunias (don’t forget to point out the pioneering role these flowers played in the understanding of RNA interference) with decorative sprays of Arabidopsis and Medicago.

The trip

So you haven’t spent much quality time with your mother for the last, say, couple of years. Rectify the situation with a fun family trip to the zoo. Some suggested talking points: the latest model organisms to be sequenced (elephant shrew, orangutan, dolphin, and llama, to name a few); plant pathogen research; and the new potential for cloning a woolly mammoth.

The tribute

Who doesn’t need a page-sized image of her DNA profile? A company known as DNA Artistry (and we use the term “artis-try” loosely) offers to take a cheek swab of your favorite person, profile the DNA, and display that profile as a portrait with your choice of background color. Personally, we think this has the potential to lead to family feuds, à la: “You gave me this genetic flaw!” “No, I didn’t!” “Oh, yeah? I can see it right there in your DNA portrait!” Best to proceed with caution.

The trompe l’oeil

If you’ve spent your whole career studying a particular molecule, then this gift is for you. A UK-based company called Luminorum offers a crystal-block-encased 3D rendering of virtually any molecule you send their way. The company says it does DNA, RNA, and proteins. Apparently if you don’t have a favorite molecule but still think your mom could use a large crystal block, the company has a selection of “favorites” to choose from. They offer a DNA double helix version, but we’re partial to the E. coli polymerase.


The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.