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Bioeconomy Plans

The Obama administration is to unveil its National Bioeconomy Blueprint plan today, reports The New York Times. "The growth of today's US bioeconomy is due in large part to the development of three foundational technologies: genetic engineering, DNA sequencing, and automated high-throughput manipulations of biomolecules," the report notes, adding that "tomorrow's bioeconomy relies on the expansion of emerging technologies such as synthetic biology (the direct engineering of microbes and plants), proteomics (the large-scale study and manipulation of proteins in an organism), and bioinformatics (computational tools for expanding the use of biological and related data), as well as new technologies as yet unimagined." The report adds that such technologies appear to be moving toward advances in health, bioenergy, biomanufacturing, and environmental clean-up.

The report includes five strategies, including some to support research and development, and to encourage translating basic findings into commercial applications. In addition, the plan calls for improving training and promoting collaborations between the public and private sectors. Finally, the plan calls for regulation reform — namely to speed up regulatory processes and make them more predictable.

"This may be the first time the country has recognized the total impact that biological sciences has for the current and future economy," MIT's Phillip Sharp tells the Times.

The Scan

Fertility Fraud Found

Consumer genetic testing has uncovered cases of fertility fraud that are leading to lawsuits, according to USA Today.

Ties Between Vigorous Exercise, ALS in Genetically At-Risk People

Regular strenuous exercise could contribute to motor neuron disease development among those already at genetic risk, Sky News reports.

Test Warning

The Guardian writes that the US regulators have warned against using a rapid COVID-19 test that is a key part of mass testing in the UK.

Science Papers Examine Feedback Mechanism Affecting Xist, Continuous Health Monitoring for Precision Medicine

In Science this week: analysis of cis confinement of the X-inactive specific transcript, and more.