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Your Very Own Organism and Jail Cell

The Associated Press reports on the rise of do-it-yourself genetic engineers who have little formal training as biologists. One, a computer programmer, is trying to insert GFP into yogurt bacteria so that it will glow in the presence of melamine. Others are worried about DIY biology. Jim Thomas from the biotechnology watchdog organization ETC Group told the AP, "Once you move to people working in their garage or other informal location, there's no safety process in place."

Hobbyists might also want to note this story that PZ Myers mentions on his blog: An enthusiastic chemistry student in Canada was arrested, accused of first having a meth lab and then of having "materials necessary to produce explosives" which Myers calls "an awfully low bar to set." He adds, "Don't criminalize reagents. Monitor them, sure, but instead target the products of criminal chemistry."

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.