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Grand Ideas

On its list of 10 ideas from the past year that have "the potential to make what may now seem impossible possible," Scientific American includes a number of genomics-related items.

At the beginning of its list of "world-changing ideas" are xeno nucleic acids, or XNAs, which could be used to develop synthetic life. "The goal is to create chemically controlled systems that behave like biological systems, without being biological systems," Steven Benner, a fellow at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution, tells Scientific American. "We believe whatever you can draw on a page, you can make."

Also on the list is the recent realization that the full genome of a fetus can be determined from a blood sample from the mother, possibly allowing a number of genetic disorders to be identified early on. "The new noninvasive approach would give mothers unprecedented detail about their child without endangering their pregnancy. It could also reach more women worldwide because the procedure does not require a trained obstetrician," Scientific American writes.

The Scan

More Boosters for US

Following US Food and Drug Administration authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the Washington Post writes.

From a Pig

A genetically modified pig kidney was transplanted into a human without triggering an immune response, Reuters reports.

For Privacy's Sake

Wired reports that more US states are passing genetic privacy laws.

Science Paper on How Poaching Drove Evolution in African Elephants

In Science this week: poaching has led to the rapid evolution of tuskless African elephants.