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Arguing Over the Epigenome

In a letter to Nature, Mark Ptashne, Oliver Hobert, and Eric Davidson question an editorial that appeared in the journal. The editorial, which focused on the International Human Epigenome Consortium, says that it is "clear that epigenetics … could explain much about how these similar genetic codes are expressed uniquely in different cells, in different environmental conditions and at different times."

However, Ptashne, Hobert, and Davidson say that epigenetic marks stem from the DNA sequence and its interations with RNA and proteins. "They are thus directly dependent on the genomic sequence," they write.

At Adaptive Complexity, Michael White says he agrees with Ptashne, Hobert, and Davidson. "The idea that genomes between species are too similar to account for species diversity is absolute nonsense. And so is the idea that epigenetic information is completely independent of DNA sequence," he writes.

The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.