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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

Study Reveals New Details About Genetics of Major Cause of Female Infertility

Researchers in Nature Medicine conducted a whole-exome sequencing study of mote than a thousand patients with premature ovarian insufficiency.

Circulating Tumor DNA Shows Potential as Biomarker in Rare Childhood Cancer

A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has found that circulating tumor DNA levels in rhabdomyosarcoma may serve as a biomarker for prognosis.

Study Recommends Cancer Screening for Dogs Beginning Age Seven, Depending on Breed

PetDx researchers report in PLOS One that annual cancer screening for dogs should begin by age seven.

White-Tailed Deer Harbor SARS-CoV-2 Variants No Longer Infecting Humans, Study Finds

A new study in PNAS has found that white-tailed deer could act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 variants no longer found among humans.