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We Remember Memorizing That

MIT's Lawrence David and Eric Alm developed a new phylogenomic approach called AnGST — for analyzer of gene and species trees — that they then used to study the evolutionary histories of nearly 4,000 gene families. "A functional analysis of genes born during this Archaean expansion reveals that they are likely to be involved in electron-transport and respiratory pathways," the authors say in Nature, referring to a time period between 3.33 and 2.85 billion years ago during which there was an increase in the number of new gene families. "What is really remarkable about these findings is that they prove that the histories of very ancient events are recorded in the shared DNA of living organisms," Alm says, according to Scientific Blogging. "And now that we are beginning to understand how to decode that history, I have hope that we can reconstruct some of the earliest events in the evolution of life in great detail."

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.