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A Little Tweak Here, Another There

It seems like everything these days can be customized to suit a particular need or want — everything from cars, shoes, and clothes, to bacteria. Synthetic biologists are working to create novel bacteria for all kinds of industrial uses, like organisms that could secrete biofuels or clean up oil spills, says the Boston Globe's Carolyn Johnson. But at Harvard Medical School, geneticist George Church is taking a different approach — instead of trying to create his own bacteria from scratch, his lab has come up with technology that will allow for "broad-brush genome editing of an entire organism," Johnson says. Church hopes to create organisms that can secrete amino acids for industrial uses, and says he foresees the development of a bacteria that is resistant to viruses that can sometimes contaminate the production of biotech drugs or food products. "Instead of trying to write the genome, Church has been developing techniques that can enable large-scale genome editing — essentially tools that will be able to insert, delete, or tweak an organism's abilities, such as producing a useful chemical or vitamin, or evading infection," Johnson says.

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.