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But How Fast Do the Wings Beat?

The smallest avian genomes are those of hummingbirds, report T. Ryan Gregory and his colleagues in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. According to the paper abstract, the genome sizes of birds are thought to be inhibited by flight's metabolic demands and by the relationship between nuclear DNA content and the size of red bloods cells. From that hypothesis, it was thought that hummingbirds, which can hover — a power-draining exercise — would have the smallest genomes of birds. Gregory and his colleagues measured the genomes of 37 hummingbird species, with the sizes ranging between 0.91 picograms for the black-chinned hummingbird to 1.29 pg for the wedge-billed hummingbird.

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.