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Study Compares PCR Cycle Thresholds for Wild Type, Variants of SARS-CoV-2

For a paper appearing in PLOS One, a team from Germany and Austria examines cycle threshold differences between wild-type SARS-CoV-2 and mutant versions of the coronavirus, including variants of concern such as Alpha and Beta. The researchers retrospectively looked at 1,873 samples that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by PCR, including more than 1,000 wild type samples, 845 samples containing the Alpha variant and 15 Beta variant-containing samples. "Cycle threshold (Ct) values that are generated in a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) are a way of estimating the virus concentration in a sample semi-quantitatively. This roughly reflects the viral load in the patient's material and could allow conclusions to be drawn about the infectiousness of a patient," the authors write, noting that results so far suggest that effect size calculations "would allow an estimation of the magnitude of difference in Ct values and of their true meaning in vivo.

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.