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Variants and Vaccination

Public health officials are pushing for greater SARS-CoV-2 vaccination to combat the rise of additional viral variants, CNN says.

"Unvaccinated people are potential variant factories," William Schaffner from Vanderbilt University Medical Center tells it.

CNN notes that mutations arise in all viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, adding that SARS-CoV-2 is not actually very mutation-prone. Most mutations that do crop up have little effect, but some weaken the virus and others can give the virus an edge. That, it adds, can allow them to out-compete other versions of the virus and establish themselves as a viral variant. For instance, the Alpha variant, which was first uncovered in the UK, was found to be more transmissible than the original viral strain, and now is being replaced by the Delta variant, which is itself more transmissible than the Alpha variant.

But, CNN adds, if the virus can't spread, it can't mutate. However, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there are about 1,000 US counties in which less than 30 percent of the population is vaccinated.

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.