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This Week in Science: Aug 10, 2007

The Iceland-based DeCode Genetics team found genetic variants linked to a high risk of developing exfoliation glaucoma, a form of the disease that does not respond well to treatment. In their genome-wide association study, Kari Stefansson and his team found that changes to exon 1 of the LOXL1 gene on chromosome 15q24.1 were associated with exfoliation glaucoma. Paul Lichter from the Kellogg Eye Center told the New York Times in this article that the research was "very impressive," and added that if this risk could be cheaply diagnosed that "maybe we would look at those patients more carefully."

Researchers at Caltech reported a way of detecting single molecules without attaching a label. Instead, they took advantage of optical microcavities, where light can rebound and sample a molecule multiple times, and altered it slightly so that the molecules induce a resonant wavelength shift. The researchers say their device is biocompatible and could be used to detect proteins or tumor markers.

Eric Werner from Oxford University reviews colleague Denis Noble's Music of Life, a new book that challenges the idea that DNA is the main force behind biological systems. "A provocative theme recurring throughout the book is that there is no program (or, using the author's musical metaphor, conductor) that controls a biological system -- neither in its development nor its functioning," writes Werner.

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.