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Talking About Synthetic Biology

A poll of 1,001 American adults found that 90 percent of them think the public should be better informed about emerging technologies, reports Scientific Blogging. About 22 percent of them had heard of synthetic biology, up from nine percent last year, adds Science Progress. However, the more people learned about the field, the more concerned they became. "Regardless of their awareness of synthetic biology, or where they come down on the risk-benefit tradeoff, a strong majority of adults think this research should be regulated by the federal government," Geoff Garin, president of the company that conducted the survey, says.

Science Progress suggests that a narrative about synthetic biology, such as the recent New Yorker article, can more easily show that "brilliant people working on synthetic biology are motivated by values—just as citizens concerned about the technology are motivated by values in forming their opinions of the work."

The Scan

Renewed Gain-of-Function Worries

The New York Times writes that the pandemic is renewing concerns about gain-of-function research.

Who's Getting the Patents?

A trio of researchers has analyzed gender trends in biomedical patents issued between 1976 and 2010 in the US, New Scientist reports.

Other Uses

CBS Sunday Morning looks at how mRNA vaccine technology could be applied beyond SARS-CoV-2.

PLOS Papers Present Analysis of Cervicovaginal Microbiome, Glycosylation in Model Archaea, More

In PLOS this week: functional potential of the cervicovaginal microbiome, glycosylation patterns in model archaea, and more.