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This Week in Science: Nov 15, 2013

In Science this week, researchers from Michigan State University publish data suggesting that there is no limit to how much evolutionary fitness can increase in a given population. Drawing on 12 E. coli populations that were founded from a common ancestor in 1988, the scientists examined the fitness trajectories for those bacterial populations over the course of 50,000 generations. They found no upper limit on fitness gains, as measured by increases in growth rates. The fitness trajectory followed by the bacteria seems dependent on competition among organisms with different mutations or genetic interactions between individuals carrying multiple mutations, and on the effect of improvements in fitness from a single beneficial mutation decline as overall fitness increases.

The Scan

Pfizer-BioNTech Seek Full Vaccine Approval

According to the New York Times, Pfizer and BioNTech are seeking full US Food and Drug Administration approval for their SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

Viral Integration Study Critiqued

Science writes that a paper reporting that SARS-CoV-2 can occasionally integrate into the host genome is drawing criticism.

Giraffe Species Debate

The Scientist reports that a new analysis aiming to end the discussion of how many giraffe species there are has only continued it.

Science Papers Examine Factors Shaping SARS-CoV-2 Spread, Give Insight Into Bacterial Evolution

In Science this week: genomic analysis points to role of human behavior in SARS-CoV-2 spread, and more.