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Venter's Algae Venture

Craig Venter and his team at Synthetic Genomics are searching for a way to produce oil from algae, and Christopher Helman at Forbes says a recent profile of Venter indicates he hasn't found an algae strain that can produce enough oil, and so he is going to make one himself. The profile, published in The New York Times earlier this month, said that Synthetic Genomics is currently "studying natural strains, but the goal is not to select any one of them; it's to combine the best qualities from each." Helman notes that Venter has a deal with ExxonMobil to develop any algae-derived biofuels, but he also points out that the agreement is for an isolated strain of algae, not an engineered strain.

The Scan

Highly Similar

Researchers have uncovered bat viruses that are highly similar to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Gain of Oversight

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Biden Administration is considering greater oversight of gain-of-function research.

Lasker for mRNA Vaccine Work

The Scientist reports that researchers whose work enabled the development of mRNA-based vaccines are among this year's Lasker Award winners

PLOS Papers on Causal Variant Mapping, Ancient Salmonella, ALK Fusion Test for NSCLC

In PLOS this week: MsCAVIAR approach to map causal variants, analysis of ancient Salmonella, and more.