Over the winter holidays in Nature, Harvard molecular biologist George Church and University of Houston chemist Xiaolian Gao described a new technique for fabricating long strands of nucleotides using microchips that promises to make genome synthesis even more efficient and accurate. For researchers hoping to design functional proteins, pathways, or engineered cells that don’t otherwise exist in nature, this is good news.

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23andMe's Anne Wojcicki ponders DNA and what it means to be human in a New York Times essay.

A new estimate places the last universal common ancestor to life on Earth as living 3.9 billion years ago, Inverse reports.

In PNAS this week: retinitis pigmentosa gene therapy, role of microbiome in growth stunting, and more.

Bloomberg reports that researchers and drug companies are modeling anti-obesity treatments after the rare genetic condition essential fructosuria.