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We're Still Working on the Walkman

As researchers from the J. Craig Venter Institute push on toward creating synthetic life — Venter tells the UK's Times Online that they are months away — the field is being compared to the heady 1980s days of computer science, as this piece in the Edge says. Both Deepak Singh and Ricardo Vidal say computers are not the best analogy. "The level of expertise, technical understanding and complexity required to manipulate genomes is orders of magnitude beyond that and for good reason," Singh writes.

Vidal adds, "No doubt that synthetic biology makes engineering biology easier but it's not something you'll be doing in your garage/kitchen/bedroom closet. At least not legally, or with much success."

The Scan

Alzheimer's Risk Gene Among Women

CNN reports that researchers have found that variants in MGMT contribute to Alzheimer's disease risk among women but not men.

Still Hanging Around

The Guardian writes that persistent pockets of SARS-CoV-2 in the body could contribute to long COVID.

Through a Little Spit

Enteric viruses like norovirus may also be transmitted through saliva, not just the fecal-oral route, according to New Scientist.

Nature Papers Present Method to Detect Full Transcriptome, Viruses Infecting Asgard Archaea, More

In Nature this week: VASA-seq approach to detect full transcriptome, analysis of viruses infecting Asgard archaea, and more.