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Study on Hold

A study to investigate the role of genetics in autism spectrum disorder has been put on hold, according to Nature News.

It adds that the Spectrum 10K study led by the University of Cambridge's Simon Baron-Cohen aimed to collect DNA, health, and other information from 10,000 individuals with autism spectrum disorder and their families. However, Nature News says the study drew a backlash for not meaningfully engaging with the autism community and raised concerns that the genetic data collected could be misused.

"A genetic study would be terrifying for lots of autistic people; there's a long-established and well-known history around eugenics and disability," University of Edinburgh's Sue Fletcher-Watson tells Nature News.

Additionally, it notes that theories about autism previously raised by Baron-Cohen, such as the 'extreme male brain' theory, have been controversial.

According to Nature News, the researchers paused the study earlier this month. In a statement, Baron-Cohen apologizes and says they are planning consultations with the community, noting this may take a number of months. "This pause reflects that we want to listen to and address concerns," he writes.

The Scan

Panel Recommends Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine for Kids

CNN reports that the US Food and Drug Administration advisory panel has voted in favor of authorizing the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for children between 5 and 11 years old.

Sharing How to Make It

Merck had granted a royalty-free license for its COVID-19 treatment to the Medicines Patent Pool, according to the New York Times.

Bring it Back In

Bloomberg reports that a genetic analysis has tied a cluster of melioidosis cases in the US to a now-recalled aromatherapy spray.

Nucleic Acids Research Papers on SomaMutDB, VThunter, SCovid Databases

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: database of somatic mutations in normal tissue, viral receptor-related expression signatures, and more.