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New Delta Variant

A new version of the Delta SARS-CoV-2 variant has been spotted in 11 different countries, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Officials in India, it adds, have dubbed the variant Delta Plus and it contains a K417N mutation in the spike protein not seen in the original Delta variant. But whether Delta Plus is more transmissible or deadly than the original Delta is unclear, the Journal notes. The University of Cambridge's Ravindra Gupta tells it that though the K417N mutation is not in the original Delta, it is found in versions of the Alpha variant but has not made the Alpha more dangerous.

"There is no reason to think at this point it's worse than Delta, but there is no reason to think it's an innocuous variant," Anurag Agrawal, director of the CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, adds at the Journal.

According to CNN, the Indian government says whether the K417N mutation affects "immune escape, disease severity or increased transmissibility etc. is under continued surveillance." CNN adds that Delta Plus has been found in the UK, US, Canada, and Japan, in addition to in India and a few other countries.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.