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Viral Building Blocks

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, developed a simple technique that turns genetically-engineered viruses into "useful tools," says Technology Review's Prachi Patel. The researchers made the viruses "arrange themselves into extremely ordered patterns with distinctive properties, such as color or strength," Patel says — an ability that could eventually allow researchers to turn the viruses into optical devices or biological scaffolds on which tissues or bones needed for transplant could be grown. The researchers say that viruses can be useful as building blocks as many different materials can be attached to their surfaces. "What's even more important about the new work," Patel adds, "is the precise control over viral self-assembly, resulting in large-scale structures with multiple levels of organization."

The Scan

Two J&J Doses

Johnson & Johnson says two doses of its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine provides increased protection against symptomatic COVID-19, CNN reports.

Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Response in Kids

The Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in a lower-dose format appears to generate an immune response among children, according to the Washington Post.

Chicken Changes to Prevent Disease

The Guardian writes that researchers are looking at gene editing chickens to help prevent future pandemics.

PNAS Papers on Siberian Dog Ancestry, Insect Reproduction, Hippocampal Neurogenesis

In PNAS this week: ancestry and admixture among Siberian dogs, hormone role in fruit fly reproduction, and more.