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Genes Are So Passé

What is a "gene?" asks Bora Zivkovic. It used to be a unit of heredity, but is it now a stretch of DNA? Or something else? A new, philosophical article in PLoS One by Evelyn Fox Keller and David Harel delves into the definition of a gene and comes up with an alternative to the concept and word of "gene." They propose "genetic functor" or "genitor" that "is intended to capture the essence of inheritance, but which is both richer and more expressive," they write.

The Scan

Purnell Choppin Dies

Purnell Choppin, a virologist who led the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has died at 91, according to the Washington Post.

Effectiveness May Decline, Data From Israel Suggests

The New York Times reports that new Israeli data suggests a decline in Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine effectiveness against Delta variant infection, though protection against severe disease remains high.

To See Future Risk

Slate looks into the use of polygenic risk scores in embryo screening.

PLOS Papers on Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus, Bone Marrow Smear Sequencing, More

In PLOS this week: genomic analysis of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, archived bone marrow sequencing, and more.