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Using DNA to Date Ancient Texts

DNA of animal skins used as parchment for medieval manuscripts could reveal where the texts were made, reports Brandon Keim for the Wired Science blog. A team of two brothers, both academics, took skin samples from five pages of a 15th century French prayer book to find that the preserved mtDNA in the pages came from two closely related calves. The work is still in early stages and needs additional funding (tests run between $800 and $1000 per sample), but it’s likely a method that would take the guesswork out of pinpointing when and where manuscripts date from. And, it’s possible to create a DNA database from manuscripts of known age and origin, says the story. “When did books become a business, as opposed to something monks did? That’s a puzzle nobody knows,” says Stinson. “This could be a social history of producing a good for trade.”

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.