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GMO: A Hard Row to Hoe

It's not easy being genetically modified. In the UK, where anti-GMO sentiment is still strong, the Guardian reports that David King, the outgoing chief scientific advisor to the government, was using his farewell speech to promote GMO goodwill. He went so far as to say that these foods "are likely to be safer to eat than conventionally produced crops," according to the article, and said that public concerns were largely unfounded.

King might have to hope that his fellow Brits don't read the international news this week. Here in the US, lawn care company Scotts Miracle-Gro got slapped with a $500,000 fine "over allegations it failed to comply with US rules while testing a genetically engineered grass variety that could one day be used on lawns and athletic fields," according to a wire story. Part of that compliance failure involved not having the requisite "buffer zones around the genetically engineered crop to prevent mixing with traditional crops," the article says.

And finally, in Germany, Farm Minister Horst Seehofer called to temporarily halt approval for new GM plants because the authorization procedure "failed to sufficiently take into account public opinion," according to this article.

 

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.