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With a Little Help?

At the Stem Cell Meeting on the Mesa, Craig Venter said that alternative fuels, like algal-derived biofuels, won't take off unless there are US government regulations supporting such fuels, the North County Times reports.

"So there's no way economically for a new fuel made out of renewables to ever be able to compete with something an oil company can do, without sharp federal regulations and a sharp carbon policy that says, you can’t keep just taking carbon out of the ground, burning it and putting it in the atmosphere," Venter said at the meeting. "Until we do that, there is no biofuel industry." Synthetic Genomics, a company founded by Venter, has partnered with oil companies to develop biofuels.

The North County Times notes that SG Biofuels, which is working with Life Technologies, says it has had some luck in developing the jatropha plant as a source of affordable fuel.

Additionally, Severin Borenstein from the University of California, Berkeley's Energy Institute tells the North County Times that government regulations may not help biofuels. “It may work for the United States, and even that seems a political stretch, but it doesn’t really matter if it doesn’t work in the developing world,” he says. “The idea that the developing world is going to forgo cheap gasoline to use much more expensive biofuels, I think is fairly implausible for the near term.”

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.