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Inherit the RNA

A new study in Cell shows that C. elegans doesn't need DNA or even epigenetics to pass traits down through the generations, says 80beats' Veronique Greenwood. Some worms can use RNA to fight off viruses and that these molecules — and the ability to fight the virus — can be passed on for more than 100 generations, she adds. The researchers engineered worms that didn't have the genes to make the RNAs necessary to fight a virus, and then bred them with worms that did have these genes for several generations. Some of the resulting offspring had ancestors with the virus-fighting molecules, but didn't have the genes themselves. But when they observed the worms under the microscope, Greenwood says, the researchers saw that the gene-less worms were still fighting off the virus like their grandparents had. The researchers speculate that "the RNA molecules made by the original worms in response to a virus attack were floating around in the cytoplasm of the eggs and sperm that became their offspring," Greenwood says.

The Scan

Two J&J Doses

Johnson & Johnson says two doses of its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine provides increased protection against symptomatic COVID-19, CNN reports.

Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Response in Kids

The Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in a lower-dose format appears to generate an immune response among children, according to the Washington Post.

Chicken Changes to Prevent Disease

The Guardian writes that researchers are looking at gene editing chickens to help prevent future pandemics.

PNAS Papers on Siberian Dog Ancestry, Insect Reproduction, Hippocampal Neurogenesis

In PNAS this week: ancestry and admixture among Siberian dogs, hormone role in fruit fly reproduction, and more.