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What If Spiderman Was a Bacterium?

Researchers at Tufts University have found a way to engineer bacteria to produce enough protein to make spider silk, according to MIT's Technology Review. The silk — which is lightweight and tougher than steel — could have many industry applications, says Tech Review's Katherine Bourzac. Previous efforts to do this have failed because researchers were unable to get the microbes to produce enough protein to synthesize the silk, Bourzac adds. Researchers also didn't have the complete gene sequence for the silk, but new sequencing technology enabled them to produce the first complete genetic sequence last year. The Tufts scientists added the full silk sequence to E. coli and then engineered its protein production pathway to produce the right amino acids, Bourzac says, adding that they now plan to turn it into a production process.

The Scan

Purnell Choppin Dies

Purnell Choppin, a virologist who led the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has died at 91, according to the Washington Post.

Effectiveness May Decline, Data From Israel Suggests

The New York Times reports that new Israeli data suggests a decline in Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine effectiveness against Delta variant infection, though protection against severe disease remains high.

To See Future Risk

Slate looks into the use of polygenic risk scores in embryo screening.

PLOS Papers on Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus, Bone Marrow Smear Sequencing, More

In PLOS this week: genomic analysis of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, archived bone marrow sequencing, and more.