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Combinations, Permutations, and ... Sequencing?

If you thought math was something you could safely leave to those with calculator watches, think again. Mike the Mad Biologist has a post about why it's so important for biologists to be fluent in mathematics. He recounts a presentation he made to the Human Microbiome Project and the pushback he received on estimates of how much sequencing would be required for various projects. "Over and over, I was told that these estimates were 'counter-intuitive.' Why? Sites that had relatively few species required nearly as much sequencing (and, in some cases, more than) as those sites that had lots of species," he writes. After detailing why his estimates make sense from a probability standpoint, he blogs, "Now, my colleagues are very smart people, and they got it once I explained it to them. But this example demonstrates why mathematics as a way of thinking is vital for biologists."

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.