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Mixed-Identity Amoeba Genome Sequenced

Researchers report in Cell this week the genome sequence of Naegleria gruberi, an amoeba capable of shifting among three distinct morphological identities. Naegleria usually subsists as a common solid amoeba; under stress it generates two flagella for motility; further still, it can persist as a “hard cyst” in soil until moisture permits its return to its amoeba form. “In a sense, analyzing the Naegleria genome shows us what it would be like to be on this planet more than a billion years ago, and what kind of organisms were around then and what they might have looked like,” Simon Prochnik, paper co-author, said in a statement. The team reports that the amoeba contains 15,727 genes which code for proteins, and suggests that their study will enhance future investigations of the transition from prokaryotes to eukaryotes. “The Naegleria genome facilitates substantially broader phylogenomic comparisons of free-living eukaryotes than previously possible,” the authors write.

The Scan

For Better Odds

Bloomberg reports that a child has been born following polygenic risk score screening as an embryo.

Booster Decision Expected

The New York Times reports the US Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine this week for individuals over 65 or at high risk.

Snipping HIV Out

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Temple University researchers are to test a gene-editing approach for treating HIV.

PLOS Papers on Cancer Risk Scores, Typhoid Fever in Colombia, Streptococcus Protection

In PLOS this week: application of cancer polygenic risk scores across ancestries, genetic diversity of typhoid fever-causing Salmonella, and more.