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The DNA Sell

Miinome, Minneapolis-based startup, envisions a marketplace in which companies could advertise to people based upon their DNA sequences. The pitch, as MIT's Technology Review puts it, could be: "Do you carry the genetic variants associated with lactose intolerance? Here, Lactaid has a coupon for you."

Founders Paul Saarinen and Scott Fahrenkrug discussed this DNA-based marketing at South by Southwest last year. "The marketplace is getting close to making this a reality,” Fahrenkrug said at the time, according to Social Media Today. "You’re leaving DNA everywhere, since you shed one million cells every day."

They are, Tech Review says, envisioning this company as an opt-in service.

However, interpreting DNA sequences remains a challenge — going from a certain sequence to a propensity for buying garden gnomes (or enjoying spicy food, as Tech Review says) isn't quite within range yet.

But James Ostheimer, another Miinome cofounder, says it's coming. He envisions people linking up their genetic information to their Twitter or Facebook accounts, which could then be mined to find such associations.

"Scientifically, that sounds like a stretch. But commercially it might not be," Tech Review adds.

The Scan

And For Adolescents

The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for children between the ages of 12 and 15 years old.

Also of Concern to WHO

The Wall Street Journal reports that the World Health Organization has classified the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.617 as a "variant of concern."

Test for Them All

The New York Times reports on the development of combined tests for SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses like influenza.

PNAS Papers on Oral Microbiome Evolution, Snake Toxins, Transcription Factor Binding

In PNAS this week: evolution of oral microbiomes among hominids, comparative genomic analysis of snake toxins, and more.