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Algae Eyes

At the Institute of Genetic Medicine at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, researchers are using algal genes to restore sight to blind mice, reports New Scientist's Rowan Hooper. The researchers used a gene from algae that encodes a light-sensitive protein and targeted the expression of that gene to a subset of retinal cells. The technique restored the mice's ability to sense light and dark, Hooper says. For people with forms of blindness like retinitis pigmentosa or age-related macular degeneration, the photoreceptors in their eyes are damaged and they no longer transform light hitting the eye into electrical impulses that the brain can translate into images, Hooper adds. This kind of therapy could correct that problem. Clinical trials in humans could begin sometime in the next two years.

The Scan

CDC Calls Delta "Variant of Concern"

CNN reports the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now considers the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 to be a "variant of concern."

From FDA to Venture Capital

Former FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn is taking a position at a venture capital firm, leading some ethicists to raise eyebrows, according to the Washington Post.

Consent Questions

Nature News writes that there are questions whether informed consent was obtained for some submissions to a database of Y-chromosome profiles.

Cell Studies on Multimodal Single-Cell Analysis, Coronaviruses in Bats, Urban Microbiomes

In Cell this week: approach to analyze multimodal single-cell genomic data, analysis of bat coronaviruses, and more.