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In Defense of Risk

Like most investors, federal funding agencies tend to view risk negatively when it comes to research — they want to see proof before digging into their pockets. But, Proflike Substance asks, "when was the last time you walked out of a really good talk and thought 'That was some super cool data that came from a totally ordinary idea?'" Though they can be time-consuming and prone to failure, he adds, risky projects can offer up the biggest rewards.

Proflike says his own lab has reaped the rewards of taking research risks. One project, he says, "is evolving from something that was risky into something that will be a slam dunk for funding once we wade through the remaining data." Though it has taken nearly four years, "with many adjustments along the way, we're seeing the project come together the way we hoped it would," he adds.

The Scan

Purnell Choppin Dies

Purnell Choppin, a virologist who led the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has died at 91, according to the Washington Post.

Effectiveness May Decline, Data From Israel Suggests

The New York Times reports that new Israeli data suggests a decline in Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine effectiveness against Delta variant infection, though protection against severe disease remains high.

To See Future Risk

Slate looks into the use of polygenic risk scores in embryo screening.

PLOS Papers on Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus, Bone Marrow Smear Sequencing, More

In PLOS this week: genomic analysis of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, archived bone marrow sequencing, and more.