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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

CDC Calls Delta "Variant of Concern"

CNN reports the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now considers the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 to be a "variant of concern."

From FDA to Venture Capital

Former FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn is taking a position at a venture capital firm, leading some ethicists to raise eyebrows, according to the Washington Post.

Consent Questions

Nature News writes that there are questions whether informed consent was obtained for some submissions to a database of Y-chromosome profiles.

Cell Studies on Multimodal Single-Cell Analysis, Coronaviruses in Bats, Urban Microbiomes

In Cell this week: approach to analyze multimodal single-cell genomic data, analysis of bat coronaviruses, and more.