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Other Factors to Consider

The lack of a "revolution" following the Human Genome Project may indicate that researchers are not going about studying the link between genes and disease the right way, says Stephan Hall in this month's Scientific American. Proponents of the project foresaw personalized medicine as a possibility by 2010, but now Hall says "the scientific community finds itself sobered and divided." The dividing question is: do common genetic variants cause disease, or do rare genetic variants? The Broad's Eric Lander and others say that disease-associated SNPs found through GWAS are pointing out pathways that may be important clinically. However, Duke's David Goldstein says that it is "astonishing" that looking at so many common genetic variants has led to knowing so little about what causes disease. Genes and proteins may not be the end-all and be-all of disease biology, as some "brave voices" tell Hall. "Traditional genetics, they say, may not capture the molecular complexity of genes and their role in disease," Hall writes, listing epigenetics, RNAi, and regulatory interactions as other factors that may affect disease.

The Scan

Booster for At-Risk

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for people 65 and older or at increased risk.

Preprints OK to Mention Again

Nature News reports the Australian Research Council has changed its new policy and now allows preprints to be cited in grant applications.

Hundreds of Millions More to Share

The US plans to purchase and donate 500 million additional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses, according to the Washington Post.

Nature Papers Examine Molecular Program Differences Influencing Neural Cells, Population History of Polynesia

In Nature this week: changes in molecular program during embryonic development leads to different neural cell types, and more.