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What Is Synthetic Biology, Really?

Over at Freelancing Science, Pawel Szczêsny tries his best to clarify what synthetic biology actually means. "My enormous frustration with this field comes from the fact that most of so-called synthetic biology is nothing else than genetic engineering with more systematic approach," he writes. Instead of trying to break biological machines apart and label the pieces, he thinks systems biologists should step in and figure out how all these parts are working together and actually "build a compiler that transforms an abstract description of biological system into sequence understandable by the particular architecture (organism)."

The Scan

Could Cost Billions

NBC News reports that the new Alzheimer's disease drug from Biogen could cost Medicare in the US billions of dollars.

Not Quite Sent

The Biden Administration likely won't meet its goal of sending 80 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses abroad by the end of the month, according to the Washington Post.

DTC Regulation Proposals

A new report calls on UK policymakers to review direct-to-consumer genetic testing regulations, the Independent reports.

PNAS Papers on Mosquito MicroRNAs, Acute Kidney Injury, Trichothiodystrophy

In PNAS this week: microRNAs involved in Aedes aegypti reproduction, proximal tubule cell response to kidney injury, and more.