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This Is Not Your Father's E. Coli

The E. coli that killed dozens and infected thousands of people in Germany last month has a "highly unusual" combination of traits that made it particularly deadly, reports The New York Times' Gina Kolata. Researchers say that one trait was the toxin Shiga — which causes severe illness and kidney failure in some patients — and the other is the bacteria's ability to stack itself in a brick-like pattern on the intestinal wall, possibly to more efficiently pump toxins into the body, Kolata says. "The thought is that the bacteria started out being able to aggregate with the brick pattern and then were infected with a bacterial virus that gave them the Shiga toxin," she adds. According to a new paper published in Lancet Infectious Diseases by researchers at the University of Münster, the two traits combined made the bacteria more virulent than most other strains. The strain is so rate that patients had no immunity against it, the researchers tell Kolata.

The Scan

NFTs for Genome Sharing

Nature News writes that non-fungible tokens could be a way for people to profit from sharing genomic data.

Wastewater Warning System

Time magazine writes that cities and college campuses are monitoring sewage for SARS-CoV-2, an approach officials hope lasts beyond COVID-19.

Networks to Boost Surveillance

Scientific American writes that new organizations and networks aim to improve the ability of developing countries to conduct SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance.

Genome Biology Papers on Gastric Cancer Epimutations, BUTTERFLY, GUNC Tool

In Genome Biology this week: recurrent epigenetic mutations in gastric cancer, correction tool for unique molecular identifier-based assays, and more.