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"The Future is Now"

"'I have seen the future, and it is now.' Those words came to mind again as I recently listened to Craig Venter, one of those leading the new areas of synthetic genomics and synthetic biology," writes Lawrence Krauss in Scientific American. In the piece, Krauss says the he expects an artificial life-form to be produced soon. He also notes that while some may fear that these new life-forms, either accidentally or on purpose, may wreak havoc on the world, he is not afraid. "At present, the technological know-how associated with developing synthetic biology laboratories with malice aforethought is probably beyond the means of even sophisticated terrorist networks," Krauss writes. "Moreover, it is important not to let misplaced fears of Armageddon unduly restrict scientific work with great potential to benefit humankind."

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.