Patrick Schnable has been named director of Iowa State University's Plant Sciences Institute.

Schnable is currently a professor in ISU's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and received the inaugural chair in genetics in ISU's department of agronomy in 2013.

He also founded and directs the Center for Plant Genomics, a center within the Plant Sciences Institute (PSI) and served as the PSI's associate director 2005 to 2010.

Separately, Schnable is managing partner of Data2Bio, a next-generation sequencing services firm.

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The UK's Nuffield Council on Bioethics says genetically modifying human embryos could be morally permissible, according to the Guardian.

A new Nature Biotechnology paper reports that CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing can lead to large deletions or complex rearrangements that could be pathogenic.

The Wall Street Journal likens a prototype developed by Synthetic Genomics to a "biological fax machine."

In PNAS this week: strategy for reactivating Rett syndrome-linked MECP2, small molecules able to suppress Staphylococcus aureus virulence, and more.