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'Bits to Atoms to Biology'

At Forbes' Techonomy 2011 meeting held in Tucson, Ariz., this week, Singularity University's Andrew Hessel called synthetic biology "one of the most powerful technologies in the world," contributor Alyson Krueger reports. "We're going to make synthetic human genomes and edit them, and we’re going to end up with IVF technologies that can boot them," Hessel continued. "It will make cloning look organic, and the ways we have babies today quaint." Hessel also said that, with time, synthetic biologists will have the "ability to engineer every plant and animal, including humans," Forbes' Krueger adds. She says that's how the Techonomy speaker plans to have his own children. "For Hessel, who put off parenthood so many years ago, now's the time — and the lab is the place — to procreate," Krueger writes. A video of Hessel's talk appears here.

The Scan

Booster for At-Risk

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for people over 65 or at increased risk.

Preprints OK to Mention Again

Nature News reports the Australian Research Council has changed its new policy and now allows preprints to be cited in grant applications.

Hundreds of Millions More to Share

The US plans to purchase and donate 500 million additional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses, according to the Washington Post.

Nature Papers Examine Molecular Program Differences Influencing Neural Cells, Population History of Polynesia

In Nature this week: changes in molecular program during embryonic development leads to different neural cell types, and more.