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NEW YORK – Individuals with autism spectrum disorder have higher numbers of de novo tandem repeat mutations than unaffected persons, suggesting a role for these repeats in the condition, a new study has found.

Tandem repeats are known to be involved in other diseases, including, for instance, the autism-related fragile X syndrome. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego, examined the prevalence of small — between one and 20 base pairs in size — de novo tandem repeat mutations among individuals with autism.

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Moderna reports its vaccine is effective against new SARS-CoV-2 strains, though it is also developing a booster, according to the New York Times.

A new analysis suggests the B.1.1.7 strain of SARS-CoV-2 could be deadlier than previous ones, according to the Guardian.

NPR reports Merck is halting the development of its two candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccines following disappointing Phase 1 results.

In PLOS this week: gene mutation linked to inherited venous thrombosis, lncRNA patterns in the Asian tiger mosquito, and more.

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The composition of the immune infiltrate in the human tumor microenvironment is a critical determinant of disease progression.