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'Bits to Atoms to Biology'

At Forbes' Techonomy 2011 meeting held in Tucson, Ariz., this week, Singularity University's Andrew Hessel called synthetic biology "one of the most powerful technologies in the world," contributor Alyson Krueger reports. "We're going to make synthetic human genomes and edit them, and we’re going to end up with IVF technologies that can boot them," Hessel continued. "It will make cloning look organic, and the ways we have babies today quaint." Hessel also said that, with time, synthetic biologists will have the "ability to engineer every plant and animal, including humans," Forbes' Krueger adds. She says that's how the Techonomy speaker plans to have his own children. "For Hessel, who put off parenthood so many years ago, now's the time — and the lab is the place — to procreate," Krueger writes. A video of Hessel's talk appears here.

The Scan

Drug Response Variants May Be Distinct in Somatic, Germline Samples

Based on variants from across 21 drug response genes, researchers in The Pharmacogenomics Journal suspect that tumor-only DNA sequences may miss drug response clues found in the germline.

Breast Cancer Risk Gene Candidates Found by Multi-Ancestry Low-Frequency Variant Analysis

Researchers narrowed in on new and known risk gene candidates with variant profiles for almost 83,500 individuals with breast cancer and 59,199 unaffected controls in Genome Medicine.

Health-Related Quality of Life Gets Boost After Microbiome-Based Treatment for Recurrent C. Diff

A secondary analysis of Phase 3 clinical trial data in JAMA Network Open suggests an investigational oral microbiome-based drug may lead to enhanced quality of life measures.

Study Follows Consequences of Early Confirmatory Trials for Accelerated Approval Indications

Time to traditional approval or withdrawal was shorter when confirmatory trials started prior to accelerated approval, though overall regulatory outcomes remained similar, a JAMA study finds.