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And We Just Grew Plants in the Dark

The fifth White House Science Fair is underway today with more than 100 students showing off their projects.

Among the exhibitors is Natalie Ng from Cupertino who developed two microRNA-based models to predict breast cancer metastasis and uncovered two miRNAs that independently affect a breast tumor's ability to metastasize. Being able to better gauge which breast tumors will metastasize will help clinicians devise targeted treatments for patients, the White House blog notes.

Also exhibiting is Nathan Han from Boston who devised a machine-learning software tool and taught it to differentiate between disease-causing and benign mutations, such as those within the BRCA1 gene.

At the fair, President Barack Obama is to announce new pledges to boost participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the Associated Press reports. These new private-sector pledges total $240 million for STEM education, including a $150 million pledge to encourage early career researchers to stay in the field and $90 million to provide underrepresented youth with opportunities in STEM fields.

The Scan

And For Adolescents

The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for children between the ages of 12 and 15 years old.

Also of Concern to WHO

The Wall Street Journal reports that the World Health Organization has classified the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.617 as a "variant of concern."

Test for Them All

The New York Times reports on the development of combined tests for SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses like influenza.

PNAS Papers on Oral Microbiome Evolution, Snake Toxins, Transcription Factor Binding

In PNAS this week: evolution of oral microbiomes among hominids, comparative genomic analysis of snake toxins, and more.