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A Better Rice Plant

The tsunami last year brought seawater sweeping over Japanese rice fields, but now British and Japanese researchers are close to developing salt-resistant rice plants, reports the Wall Street Journal. The researchers took an approach called MutMap, which uses bioinformatics and next-gen sequencing to identify markers for traits like salt resistance or plant height. "[Japan's Iwate Biotechnology Research Center's Ryohei] Terauchi and his team have since established a mutant collection for salt tolerance which they are screening for markers," says a press release from The Sainsbury Laboratory. "Once these have been identified, they will be used to develop rice cultivars that can be grown in paddy fields flooded by the tsunami last March." The scientists add that their approach should reduce the time it takes to develop such new crops.

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.