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The Dual-Use of Biology

Foreign Policy's David Hoffman is keeping tabs on synthetic biology. He has previously noted that "the knowledge of biology is dual use: that which can make our lives better can also be used for ill." And that led to the Obama administration's request for the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to take a look at the field of synthetic biology and DIY labs in particular. The commission's new report calls for self-regulation of the field, saying, as Hoffman points out, "that presently there appears to be no serious risk of completely novel organisms being constructed in non-institutional setting." Hoffman also adds the reminder that Craig Venter's group relied on a host organism and did not "create life" from scratch.

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.