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Articles on Genomics

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South Africa’s massive ‘sardine run’ leads fish into an ecological trap

Sardines from the cold waters off South Africa’s Atlantic coast are attracted to cold water upwelling in the Indian Ocean. When the upwelling ends, they are trapped in water that is too warm for them.
You can plant a seed from a delicious Honeycrisp apple from the grocery store — but the fruit that comes from that tree will not be Honeycrisp. (Shutterstock)

How a few good apples spawned today’s top varieties — and why breeders must branch out

Apple breeders have created crisp, juicy and tasty fruits, but the limited varieties leave crops vulnerable to diseases, pests and climate change. Introducing new traits could improve crop resilience.
Nigeria must increase its testing capacity to deal with rising COVID-19 cases Olukayode Jaiyeola/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Nigeria isn’t ready to deal with rising COVID-19 cases

Nigeria must increase its testing capacity and do more genomic studies to deal effectively with the Delta variant of COVID-19.
A tailings pond at an oilsands facility near Fort McMurray, Alta., in July 2012. The estimated cost of reclaiming oilsands mines is almost $31 billion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

How engineered bacteria could clean up oilsands pollution and mining waste

Solutions to some of the globe’s most daunting environmental challenges may be closer than you think. Scientists are harnessing nature to clean up toxic chemicals and mining waste.
A security guard leads reporters away from the Wuhan Institute of Virology after a WHO team arrived for a field visit in Wuhan, Hubei province of China, Feb. 3, 2021. The team came to no conclusions about the origins of the pandemic. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Origins of SARS-CoV-2: Why the lab-leak idea is being considered again

Gain-of-function studies make a natural virus more dangerous or transmissible to humans. Could the Wuhan Institute of Virology be the source of SARS-CoV-2?
Sequencing the genetic code of virus samples taken from COVID-19 patients reveals how SARS-CoV-2 is spreading and changing. Nate Langer/UPMC

Genomic surveillance: What it is and why we need more of it to track coronavirus variants and help end the COVID-19 pandemic

The US lags in testing coronavirus samples from COVID-19 patients, which can help track the spread of the virus and the emergence of new variants. But labs are ramping up this crucial surveillance.
Medical technician Amira Doudou prepares samples at the University Hospital Institute for Infectious Diseases in Marseille, France, Jan. 13, 2021, to study the highly contagious COVID-19 variant. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Why new COVID-19 variants are on the rise and spreading around the world

Multiple COVID-19 variants are circulating around the world and becoming more common. These mutations can alter the ability of the virus to take hold and replicate within our cells.
Mink can be readily infected with SARS-CoV-2 and then pass the virus to humans. (Shutterstock)

The mink link: How COVID-19 mutations in animals affect human health and vaccine effectiveness

In the disturbing scenario of human-to-mink-to-human COVID-19 transmission, the virus may mutate in mink prior to re-infecting people. That possibility makes vaccine design even more crucial.

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