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The Ötzi of Bacteria

The melting of the polar glaciers is not only wreaking havoc on sea levels and ocean currents — it's also releasing "ancient microbes" and other life forms that have been trapped in the ice for hundreds of thousands of years, says Scientific American's Cheryl Katz. "Once thought to be too harsh and inhospitable to support any living thing, the ice sheets are now known to be a gigantic reservoir of microbial life," Katz says. "Altogether, the biomass of microbial cells in and beneath the ice sheet may amount to more than 1,000 times that of all the humans on Earth." Montana State University researcher John Priscu tells Katz that burial in the ice is an evolutionary strategy for many microorganisms, a way of "recycling genomes." Priscu has found living bacteria in some of the ice cores harvested from Antarctica and has grown the bacteria in his lab. University of Wisconsin, Madison, evolutionary biologist Jonathan Klassen says the ice is good for preserving genes that were thought to have disappeared from the planet long ago. "Things that went extinct have the possibility of coming back," Klassen tells Katz.

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.