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Agilent will serve as a founding industry partner for the new Synthetic Biology Institute, which will involve Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and will focus on synthetic bio and bioengineering.

In three Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences papers published online this week, researchers describe their efforts to sequence and characterize the Argentine, red harvester, and fire ant genomes.

After lengthy deliberations, the Tufts faculty decided that students for the time being would benefit from using anonymous genomes instead of their own data to explore societal, policy, and ethical issues related to personalized whole-genome testing.

The amount of activity last year on the regulatory, reimbursement, legislative, educational, and intellectual property fronts is a sign that the wheels are slowly shifting toward creating a framework that will someday support and deliver genomically guided medicine, even though plenty of barriers and challenges need to be overcome on the path to that goal.

A program funded by NIEHS and the EPA will give $16.5 million to Berkeley scientists in three centers studying the effects of chemicals on children.

By sequencing and analyzing the exomes of 200 Danish individuals, a Chinese, American, and Danish-led research team detected an over-representation of non-synonymous changes amongst low frequency alleles in coding sequences.

"Most of the benefit of this program has already been had," said a UC Berkeley genetics professor after the California Department of Public Health limited the scope of the university's educational genetic testing project because it determined it was providing medical information.

The California Department of Public Health has said that part of the school's plan to test the DNA of incoming freshmen for three gene variants is not allowed by CLIA law, but the school hopes that lessons will be learned anyway.

A University of California at Berkeley and Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute-led research team reported today that they have sequenced the genome of a sea sponge, Amphimedon queenslandica, and identified gene families in the genome that are shared with other multicellular animals.


In a letter, about two dozen researchers criticize the World Health Organization investigation into the origins of SARS-CoV-2 and call for a new inquiry, the Wall Street Journal reports.

National Geographic reports that nine great apes at the San Diego Zoo have been vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2.

Janet Woodcock, the acting commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, speaks with NPR about SARS-CoV-2 testing and vaccines in the US.

In Science this week: genetic study of kidney fibrosis implicates the SOX9-NAV3-YAP1 axis.