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Fooled You!

Researchers have found a way to turn fully formed cells into other kinds of tissue without needing to revert the cells back to an embryonic stem cell state first, reports Malcolm Ritter at the Associated Press. "It's like flying direct rather than scheduling a stopover," he adds. This direct conversion method may one day allow doctors to coax tissue cells into changing their type in order to repair damaged organs from within the body, Ritter says, but for now researchers say the method is a more efficient means of producing specialized cells in the lab than using embryonic stem cells, which are fraught with controversy and are difficult to use. In order to "trick" the cells into changing type, the researchers insert chemical signals to activate particular genes and suppress others, Ritter says. There's still a lot of work that needs to be done before these cells can be used medically, he adds, but some researchers say this method is the future of stem cell science.

The Scan

Study Links Genetic Risk for ADHD With Alzheimer's Disease

A higher polygenic risk score for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is also linked to cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease, a new study in Molecular Psychiatry finds.

Study Offers Insights Into Role of Structural Variants in Cancer

A new study in Nature using cell lines shows that structural variants can enable oncogene activation.

Computer Model Uses Genetics, Health Data to Predict Mental Disorders

A new model in JAMA Psychiatry finds combining genetic and health record data can predict a mental disorder diagnosis before one is made clinically.

Study Tracks Off-Target Gene Edits Linked to Epigenetic Features

Using machine learning, researchers characterize in BMC Genomics the potential off-target effects of 19 computed or experimentally determined epigenetic features during CRISPR-Cas9 editing.