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'The Difference Between Life and No Life'

Synthetic biology is trucking along, but "more solid science" is needed, Craig Venter tells Bloomberg Businessweek. "I have been sure we're about to solve all the problems, and next year people will say, 'Where is it?' We have not done it yet,'" he adds.

Building a genome is akin to putting Lego blocks together, Bloomberg Businessweek notes. But Venter says that a good design and cheap and fast DNA synthesis is also necessary. "Genome design is going to be a key part of the future. That’s why we need fast, cheap, accurate DNA synthesis so you can make a lot of iterations of something and test them," he says. "The simple test is: Do you get life? We found just from one letter being wrong out of 1.1 million, it made the difference between life and no life."

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.