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Great Vats of Pond Scum

There is growing interest in using algae as a source of fuel, reports this article in the New York Times. Industrial and academic researchers developing algae, through artificial selection and engineering, that are "superalgae, highly efficient at converting sunlight and carbon dioxide into lipids and oils that can be sent to a refinery and made into diesel or jet fuel," the Times says. The risks of developing such "superalgae" are low, experts in the article say, as engineered algae wouldn't be competitive against natural algae and some companies may include suicide genes or make the algae to be "Round-up Ready." "Nothing will go into the drains, Mr. Mayor," Craig Venter said at a San Diego ribbon-cutting ceremony. "San Diego is safe."

The Scan

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.

Study Uncovers Genetic Mutation in Childhood Glaucoma

A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation ties a heterozygous missense variant in thrombospondin 1 to childhood glaucoma.

Gene Co-Expression Database for Humans, Model Organisms Gets Update

GeneFriends has been updated to include gene and transcript co-expression networks based on RNA-seq data from 46,475 human and 34,322 mouse samples, a new paper in Nucleic Acids Research says.

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.