DAILY DOSE: Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine approval; Ties between Genetics and homosexuality.

In a development that can only be described as long overdue, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. This provides governments and employers firmer ground from which to mandate vaccines. Per the Associated Press, “The U.S. gave full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine Monday, potentially boosting public confidence in the shots and instantly opening the way for more universities, companies and local governments to make vaccinations mandatory. The Pentagon promptly announced it will press ahead with plans to force members of the military to get vaccinated amid the battle against the extra-contagious delta variant. The University of Minnesota likewise said it will require its students get the shot, as did Louisiana’s major public universities, including LSU, though state law there allows broad exemptions.”

The FDA approval of Pfizer’s vaccine couldn’t come soon enough as the Delta variant rips through the world’s population. An article in Science puts together a handful of basic questions pertaining to the variant and whether booster shots will be effective against it. It’s worth the read.

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When it comes to human-induced damage to nature, it takes a lot to shock these days. After all, we’re destroying the planet. It doesn’t get much worse than that. But something happened in Spain that drives home just how tangibly destructive we can be towards the environment. Per the BBC, “Tonnes of dead fish have washed up on the shores of a large saltwater lagoon in south-east Spain in recent days after a mass die-off that has shocked local residents and environmentalists. The local government has blamed recent hot weather for the deaths of the fish in the Mar Menor, south of Murcia. But scientists say pollution from local farming has degraded the water quality.” That’s some Biblical s**t there.

As controversial as the notion of a “gay gene” is, there is some evidence that something akain to a genetic predisposition to homosexuality may exist. In a recent study, researchers identified genetic patterns that could be associated with homosexual behavior and showed that they may also help people to find different-sex mates and reproduce. Per Nature, “The authors say their findings, published on 23 August in Nature Human Behaviour1, could help to explain why genes that predispose people to homosexuality continue to be passed down. But other scientists question whether these data can provide definitive conclusions… Zietsch and his team decided to test whether these genetic patterns might provide an evolutionary edge by increasing a person’s number of sexual partners. They sorted the participants who had only had heterosexual sex by the number of partners they said they had had, and found that those with numerous partners tended to share some of the markers that the team had found in people who had had a same-sex partner.” That said, the authors and independent experts caution that there are a lot of other factors not tracked in the study that may play a role. So for now, take it with a grain of salt.

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

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