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Synthetic Spinout

Agradis, a spinout of Synthetic Genomics formed in conjunction with the Mexican investment firm Plenus, is working to develop high yield biofuel crops and microbes to supplement fertilizers and pesticides, reports Technology Review. For biofuels, the company is focused on sweet sorghum and castor plants. "We're looking for fuel crops that don't need prime growing conditions," and thus won't affect food production, says Craig Venter, who is the CEO of Synthetic Genomics and currently serving as Agradis' chair.

Agradis is also licensing a library of plant-associated microorganisms from Synthetic Genomics to try to develop communities of microorganisms that can bolster plant health and prevent disease.

The Scan

Fertility Fraud Found

Consumer genetic testing has uncovered cases of fertility fraud that are leading to lawsuits, according to USA Today.

Ties Between Vigorous Exercise, ALS in Genetically At-Risk People

Regular strenuous exercise could contribute to motor neuron disease development among those already at genetic risk, Sky News reports.

Test Warning

The Guardian writes that the US regulators have warned against using a rapid COVID-19 test that is a key part of mass testing in the UK.

Science Papers Examine Feedback Mechanism Affecting Xist, Continuous Health Monitoring for Precision Medicine

In Science this week: analysis of cis confinement of the X-inactive specific transcript, and more.