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Rounding Up the Usual (DNA-Based) Suspects

DNA is contributing to crime fighting in more than one way, says Scientific American. Danish researchers who sequenced DNA from the Stone Age were able to come up with a portrait of what their subject may have looked like, down to the shape of his teeth and his chances of being bald. Scientific American's Christine Soares says this development could mark the next step in forensic science. "Far beyond using DNA 'fingerprints' to link an individual to a crime scene, forensic profiling is edging toward the capability to create a police-artist-style sketch of an unknown person by reading traits inscribed in the genome," she says. The researchers profiling the Stone Age man examined his SNPs to determine skin color, eye and hair color, tooth shape, and even type of earwax, which enabled them to pinpoint his ancestry. Soares says DNA portraits could be used the same way in forensic investigations, helping to narrow the pool of suspects. DNA could even point to a suspect's age and even environmental factors like childhood nutrition, she adds.

The Scan

Highly Similar

Researchers have uncovered bat viruses that are highly similar to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Gain of Oversight

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Biden Administration is considering greater oversight of gain-of-function research.

Lasker for mRNA Vaccine Work

The Scientist reports that researchers whose work enabled the development of mRNA-based vaccines are among this year's Lasker Award winners

PLOS Papers on Causal Variant Mapping, Ancient Salmonella, ALK Fusion Test for NSCLC

In PLOS this week: MsCAVIAR approach to map causal variants, analysis of ancient Salmonella, and more.