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An Even Keel

By adding a sensor to Escherichia coli, University of California, Berkeley's Jay Keasling and his colleagues improved the ability of the bacteria to make biofuel. As Technology Review notes, when biofuel precursors — fatty acids and ethanol — are out of proportion in the bacteria, production is not very efficient. The sensor reacts to fatty acid levels in the bacteria to balance them out. "This 'self-awareness' increased the amount of biodiesel made by the bacteria to 28 percent of theoretical maximum, a threefold increase over the previously reported strain," Tech Review adds.

As the researchers say in Nature Biotechnology, "it should one day be possible to dynamically regulate any metabolic pathway … to make microbial production of commodity chemicals and fuels economically viable."

The Scan

Rise of BA.5

The New York Times reports that the Omicron subvariant BA.5 has become the dominant version of SARS-CoV-2 in the US.

UK Health Secretary Resigns

Sajid Javid, the UK health secretary, resigned along with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, saying they cannot work with Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government, CNN reports.

Clones From Freeze-Dried Cells

A team in Japan has cloned mice from freeze-dried skin cells, according to the Guardian.

Genome Research Papers on Craniosynostosis, Macaque Retrotransposition, More

In Genome Research this week: structural variants in craniosynostosis, LINE-1 activity in rhesus macaque brain, and more.