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Into One System

Australia plans to move its genome sequencing labs onto one system, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

It notes that, currently, each state runs its own genome sequencing lab and that sharing data across them can be cumbersome. For instance, the Herald says researchers from one state lab have to ask another state for their data, which then has to be uploaded to a database and then downloaded, or the researchers have to turn to public databases. This disconnect between states was underscored, it notes, by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"What COVID-19 has done is really highlighted the need for this and pushed the development of it. This is a new technology, and we have not needed it before, but we need it now," Ben Howden from the Doherty Institute tells the Sydney Morning Herald.

The paper reports that a new AUS$3.3 million (US$2.4 million) initiative funded by the Australian government and with support from Illumina aims to have the labs all follow the same standards and enable real-time data sharing, as well as upgrade the labs' sequencing capacity. This, it adds, will enable better monitoring of COVID-19.

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.