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In a Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues meeting session dedicated to the potential applications of synthetic biology post-Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0, Craig Venter, George Church, and Kristala Prather spoke about innovation and collaboration. Amy Gutmann, chair of the Commission, was particularly interested in the emerging potential public health benefits of synthetic genomics.

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A new analysis suggests the B.1.1.7 strain of SARS-CoV-2 could be deadlier than previous ones, according to the Guardian.

Moderna reports its vaccine is effective against new SARS-CoV-2 strains, though it is also developing a booster, according to the New York Times.

NPR reports Merck is halting the development of its two candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccines following disappointing Phase 1 results.

In PLOS this week: gene mutation linked to inherited venous thrombosis, lncRNA patterns in the Asian tiger mosquito, and more.