Genomics
Study reveals genomic similarity between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2
A new technique has shown that conserved genetic sequences between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 may be important for their stability within host cells and ability to infect and replicate efficiently. The methodology was published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.  Discuss
Academic lab quickly converts to perform SARS-CoV-2 testing
Academic labs could be converted to perform clinical work and process SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic assays with rapid turnaround times to meet increased demand for testing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Investigators from Boston University and Boston Medical Center provided an outline of how they adapted a lab in an article published online May 10 in Med.  Discuss
Pangolin genome offers insight into SARS-CoV-2's jump to humans
Research into the source of SARS-CoV-2 in China has focused on pangolins, anteater-like mammals that may have harbored the virus before it jumped to humans. New findings published May 8 in Frontiers in Immunology indicate pangolins may lack two virus-sensing genes, making them more susceptible to being carriers of coronaviruses.  Discuss
Genomic tools help researchers understand how SARS-CoV-2 is evolving
A new study has identified nearly 200 recurrent genetic mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to research published as a preproof in Infection, Genetics and Evolution on May 5. The findings could offer clues to how the virus is adapting and evolving in humans and lead to optimal drug and vaccine targets.  Discuss
An update on RNA extraction kit supply due to COVID-19
The extraordinary demand for COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction testing has strained the production capabilities of vendors in the nucleic acid preparation market. Several vendors are reporting skyrocketing demand for RNA extraction kits and other COVID-19-related products.  Discuss
Bioinformatics helps pinpoint evolutionary mutations of SARS-CoV-2
A new bioinformatics approach to classifying genetic variants of SARS-CoV-2 helps to answer questions such as whether there are one or more circulating strains of the virus with different virulence levels and, if so, which of those strains should be used for therapeutic research. Australian researchers explore this technique in an April 19 article in Transboundary and Emerging Diseases.  Discuss
Major class of probiotics gets new taxonomy
A new paper published in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology proposes major changes to the classification and naming of Lactobacillus probiotics based on new information gained by modern DNA analysis tools.  Discuss
Shortage of RNA extraction kits threatens coronavirus testing
The weak link in the U.S. response to diagnostic testing for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 could be a shortage of RNA extraction kits. Fortunately, suppliers of RNA purification kits are working overtime to get more kits into circulation, according to Alice Kan of Strategic Directions International.  Discuss
Bacteria survive by possessing multiple genes to uptake the same amino acid
Researchers have long known that the uptake systems in clonal cells can differ based on their environments. Scientists reported their observations of this amino acid uptake pathway in bacteria for the first time in a new study published March 5 in Nature Communications.  Discuss
Zigzag DNA provides insight into chromosome organization
New Z-loops -- DNA folded into a zigzag structure and guided by essential condensin proteins -- have been caught on camera for the first time. The results of the study provide insight into the organization of chromosomes and were published in Nature on March 4.  Discuss
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