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As the life science industry left 2020 behind, it joined a new trend: going public through a mechanism that combines an IPO and merger in one transaction.

A new genome-wide association study in Nature Communications uncovers five dozen loci linked to frequency of afternoon naps.

23andMe Going Public

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing company 23andMe is undergoing a merger with the goal of becoming publicly traded.

Upon completion of the merger, which will value 23andMe at $3.5 billion, Virgin Group Acquisition Corp. will change its New York Stock Exchange ticker symbol to ME.

Severity Predictor

23andMe has launched a new tool that estimates someone's risk of developing severe COVID-19 if infected, Bloomberg reports.

The decision comes amid a general slowdown in the market, yet also showcases the continued appeal of ancestry-related applications.

Getting Used to It

23andMe and Medscape say primary care physicians are increasingly more comfortable with discussing direct-to-consumer genetic testing results.

In early 2020, the direct-to-consumer genetic test developer laid off about 14 percent of its workforce amid a restructuring of its consumer business.

The company beat the consensus Wall Street estimate on the top line but narrowly missed it on the bottom line. 

The move raises questions about what precisely is an LDT outside of FDA jurisdiction and heightens concerns that poorly validated tests will enter the market and endanger public health.


A survey by Nature finds that most researchers want scientific meetings to continue virtually or with a virtual component, even after the pandemic ends.

Bloomberg reports that the B.1.351 SARS-CoV-2 viral variant could prompt the formulation of better vaccines.

Certain blood proteins may be able to distinguish COVID-19 patients who will become critically ill from those who will not, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

In Genome Biology this week: algorithm to assess regulatory features, approach to integrate multiple single-cell RNA-seq datasets, and more.