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Digits sans Dermatoglyphs

In a paper appearing online in advance in the American Journal of Human Genetics this week, researchers in Tel Aviv, Israel, and Basel, Switzerland, report their use of familial sequencing on a pedigree with autosomal-dominant adermatoglyphia — marked by an absence of fingerprints. The researchers unearthed evidence to suggest that a "skin-specific isoform of SMARCAD1[is involved] in the regulation of dermatoglyph development." Adermatoglyphia, which is also known as "immigration delay disease" as affected individuals can have an unusually hard time passing through international customs, is especially rare — Science's Natalie Villacorta says only four affected families have ever been documented (New Scientist's Andrew Purcell says there are five). Villacorta adds that the researchers' "next mission is to find out what exactly the function of SMARCAD1 is and how it contributes to the formation of fingerprint patterns," though they think the gene "might help skin cells fold over one another early in fetal development." Of his team's paper, study co-author Eli Sprecher tells New Scientist: "Without this family, we simply would not know what SMARCAD1 is," adding that further investigation into the gene and its protein products could help researched develop new treatments for more common skin conditions, Purcell reports.

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.