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The Worm that Taught Us the Term 'Whalefall'

An article in Wired reports on advances in scientists' genetic understanding of Osedax, a recently discovered family of "mouthless worms that live in the bones of dead whales." A study published this week in BMC Biology led by Robert Vrijenhoek from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute scanned genes from several species of the worms and indicates that there may be "at least 12 more as-yet-unidentified lineages of Osedax," which appear to have had a common ancestor 45 million years ago. "But Osedax might have emerged even earlier, during the Cretaceous, and moved to whales when marine dinosaurs died out," the article adds.

The Scan

Highly Similar

Researchers have uncovered bat viruses that are highly similar to SARS-CoV-2, according to Nature News.

Gain of Oversight

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Biden Administration is considering greater oversight of gain-of-function research.

Lasker for mRNA Vaccine Work

The Scientist reports that researchers whose work enabled the development of mRNA-based vaccines are among this year's Lasker Award winners

PLOS Papers on Causal Variant Mapping, Ancient Salmonella, ALK Fusion Test for NSCLC

In PLOS this week: MsCAVIAR approach to map causal variants, analysis of ancient Salmonella, and more.