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NFTs for Genome Sharing

Even as more non-fungible tokens are auctioned off and are increasingly dismissed as a fad, Nature News writes that some researchers think it could represent a way for people to profit from temporarily grant others to access to their genomic data.

NFTs rely on blockchain technology, like that used by cryptocurrencies, to provide a certificate of authenticity for a digital object, in many cases art. But in April, Nebula Genomics announced it would be auctioning an NFT of George Church's genome – Harvard's Church is a co-founder of the company – though Nature News notes the company has since switched gears to instead sell artwork of Church and discounts on its services. Meanwhile, the University of California, Berkeley has auctioned an NFT of patent paperwork related to Nobel Prize-winning work from James Allison and plans to do so for work from Jennifer Doudna, after making sure the NFT doesn't infringe on the actual patent, Nature News adds. Similarly, Tim Berners-Lee, the developer of the World Wide Web, announced his own NFT.

As Nature News notes, critics say NFTs are a fad and wasteful due to the large amount of energy needed to fuel the technology. At the same time, it adds that Nebula is treating its NFT offering as a test: The company already uses blockchain technology to temporarily provide users access to its repertoire of genomes, and NFTs could be a way to further monetize the exchange and allow people to profit from sharing their genomic data.

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.