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McMaster University

By sequencing samples from historical vaccination kits, a team from McMaster University identified which viruses were in use as smallpox vaccine strains.

The test will be designed to detect a protein biomarker in aqueous humor that can be used to determine the severity of glaucoma and to make treatment decisions.

Up in the Trees

Researchers sequenced an ancient DNA from an extinct giant ground sloth to find it is a sister group to one group of modern sloths.

The assay correlates shortened telomere lengths in patients of different ages to potential risks for inherited diseases, such as bone marrow failure syndrome and liver cancer.

Investigators came up with a 182-variant risk score for early-onset coronary artery disease, which they tested on SNP data from UK Biobank participants with or without the condition.

While the virus they found appears old, the researchers found it to be closely related to modern ones, indicating that it has infected people for centuries.

In the Beginning

Researchers model two RNA world scenarios to explore how life on Earth might have emerged, Newsweek reports.

A sequenced variola virus isolate from the 1600s points to a relatively recent common ancestor for viruses involved in 20th century smallpox infections.

Mitochondrial genome sequences from a large glyptodont called Doedicurus suggest glyptodonts were giant members of a lineage in the middle of the armadillo tree. 

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb Daily News) – The Yersinia pestis strains that caused the Plague of Justinian and the later Black Death stemmed from separate introductions of the bacteria from rodents into humans, according to a genomic analysis of Y. pestis.

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The US Food and Drug Administration is to announce stricter standards for emergency authorizations of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, reports the Washington Post.

The Associated Press reports Johnson & Johnson is starting a late-stage clinical trial of its candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

Bloomberg reports the budget of Operation Warp Speed is actually $18 billion, higher than the number typically cited.

In Genome Research this week: genomic analysis reveals role of super-spreaders in SARS-CoV-2, epigenetic drivers of cancer, and more.