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A Synthetic Biology Primer

There are three versions of synthetic biology, writes University of Cambridge graduate student SE Gould in a guest blog at Scientific American. The first she says is Drew Endy and Tom Knight's biobrick concept from that says "that manipulatable biological parts should be standardized, to be used like nuts and bolts in machinery." Second, there is the approach that is "more concerned with affecting the output" of cells, she says, particularly for use in drug production. Finally, there is the most-talked about type: Craig Venter's work to create synthetic genomes. Although public concern about synthetic biology is increasing, Gould says that the field is "synthetic biology is an exciting and fast-moving field to get involved in" and that "proper monitoring" will help allay those fears.

The Scan

Another Resignation

According to the Wall Street Journal, a third advisory panel member has resigned following the US Food and Drug Administration's approval of an Alzheimer's disease drug.

Novavax Finds Its Vaccine Effective

Reuters reports Novavax's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.

Can't Be Used

The US Food and Drug Administration says millions of vaccine doses made at an embattled manufacturing facility cannot be used, the New York Times reports.

PLOS Papers on Frozen Shoulder GWAS, Epstein-Barr Effects on Immune Cell Epigenetics, More

In PLOS this week: genome-wide association study of frozen shoulder, epigenetic patterns of Epstein-Barr-infected B lymphocyte cells, and more.