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Search for SARS-CoV-2 Origins

The World Health Organization has released its plan for how it intends to search for the origins of SARS-CoV-2, Nature News reports, adding that the search may prove to be tricky.

The search, it adds, is to begin in Wuhan, China, before expanding elsewhere. Most researchers think the virus originated in bats, and some suspect it may have also spent time in an intermediary animal before jumping into humans, it notes. However, Nature News adds that finding the source of the virus could take years. "Finding an animal with a SARS-CoV-2 infection is like looking for a needle in the world's largest haystack. They may never find a 'smoking bat,'" Columbia University's Angela Rasmussen tells it.

The search, it adds, may further be hampered by politics, as US President Donald Trump has tried to blame China for the spread of the virus and as China has tried to distance itself from the virus.

A WHO spokesperson tells Nature News that the search will follow the science and "will be open-minded, iterative, not excluding any hypothesis that could contribute to generating evidence and narrowing the focus of research."

The Scan

Study Examines Insights Gained by Adjunct Trio RNA Sequencing in Complex Pediatric Disease Cases

Researchers in AJHG explore the diagnostic utility of adding parent-child RNA-seq to genome sequencing in dozens of families with complex, undiagnosed genetic disease.

Clinical Genomic Lab Survey Looks at Workforce Needs

Investigators use a survey approach in Genetics in Medicine Open to assess technologist applications, retention, and workforce gaps at molecular genetics and clinical cytogenetics labs in the US.

Study Considers Gene Regulatory Features Available by Sequence-Based Modeling

Investigators in Genome Biology set sequence-based models against observational and perturbation assay data, finding distal enhancer models lag behind promoter predictions.

Genetic Testing Approach Explores Origins of Blastocyst Aneuploidy

Investigators in AJHG distinguish between aneuploidy events related to meiotic missegregation in haploid cells and those involving post-zygotic mitotic errors and mosaicism.