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Motherboard, RAM Card, Bacteria. Check, Check, and Check

This may be how Star Trek's Borg got started — living organisms merged with electronic components to create a living computer of sorts. Because computer components are becoming smaller and smaller, they are becoming increasingly difficult to manufacture, says Popular Science's Clay Dillow. Researchers at the University of Leeds in the UK teamed up with investigators at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology to experiment with the use of a microorganism — Magnetospirilllum magneticum, to be precise — as a living computer component. This particular bacterium is magnetic, Dillow says, and when it eats iron, it generates magnetite. "By feeding the bacteria iron and manipulating the way they colonize, the researchers think they can essentially grow tiny magnets that could serve as components in the minuscule hard drives of the future," he adds.

The researchers have also been working on producing electrical wires that could be implanted throughout a network of bacteria to allow for the exchange of information through cell membranes. This could lead to nanoscale computing or even a kind of "biocomputer" that could do anything from aiding surgery to living inside the human body, Dillow 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.