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Responsibility and All That

New guidelines are being introduced in the US for companies that supply "custom DNA," in order to guard against bioterrorists looking to build dangerous viruses from the genes up, says the New Scientist. Several firms supply DNA sequences to order, and as the New Scientist reported in 2005, only five out of the 12 that do so in North America and Europe screened every order for sequences that could be used in bioweapons. The new US guidelines state that the companies must verify the identity of buyers and screen orders for dangerous microbes. However, the article adds, the rules are voluntary and don't extend outside the US where a lot of custom DNA is made.

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.