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Land of Wheat

British researchers, led by the University of Liverpool's Neil Hall, have released a draft sequence of the wheat genome, the BBC reports. The wheat genome, the BBC notes is "is five times larger than the human genome and is known to be a very complex structure, comprised of three independent genomes" and the researchers say that next-gen sequencing helped them tackle wheat. "Sequencing the human genome took 15 years to complete, but with huge advances in DNA technology, the wheat genome took only a year," Hall says. The Associated Press adds that the availability of the wheat genome could help farmers improve their yields, both by provide genetic markers for traits that breeders want to select for and by genetic engineering. However, a resource scarcity expert at New York University, Alexander Evans, cautions that "we have to be very careful about saying that science will feed the world."

The Scan

Booster for At-Risk

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for people 65 and older or at increased risk.

Preprints OK to Mention Again

Nature News reports the Australian Research Council has changed its new policy and now allows preprints to be cited in grant applications.

Hundreds of Millions More to Share

The US plans to purchase and donate 500 million additional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses, according to the Washington Post.

Nature Papers Examine Molecular Program Differences Influencing Neural Cells, Population History of Polynesia

In Nature this week: changes in molecular program during embryonic development leads to different neural cell types, and more.