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Mind Control in Flies Sounds Like a Slippery Slope

Oxford's Gero Miesenböck has written an article in SciAm about the emerging field of optogenetics and his own quest to use genetically encoded sensors and actuators to measure activity of specific neuronal cell populations. Encoding fluorescent proteins into the DNA of neuronal cells was the first step to visualizing specific cellular response, and using light to activate these cells has helped Miesenböck control circuitry in "remote-controlled flies." Some clinical applications of this work include "sensory prosthetics, therapy for movement disorders (as has now become reality with deep-brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease), and regulation of mood and behavior."

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.