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"The Future is Now"

"'I have seen the future, and it is now.' Those words came to mind again as I recently listened to Craig Venter, one of those leading the new areas of synthetic genomics and synthetic biology," writes Lawrence Krauss in Scientific American. In the piece, Krauss says the he expects an artificial life-form to be produced soon. He also notes that while some may fear that these new life-forms, either accidentally or on purpose, may wreak havoc on the world, he is not afraid. "At present, the technological know-how associated with developing synthetic biology laboratories with malice aforethought is probably beyond the means of even sophisticated terrorist networks," Krauss writes. "Moreover, it is important not to let misplaced fears of Armageddon unduly restrict scientific work with great potential to benefit humankind."

The Scan

Single-Cell Sequencing Points to Embryo Mosaicism

Mosaicism may affect preimplantation genetic tests for aneuploidy, a single-cell sequencing-based analysis of almost three dozen embryos in PLOS Genetics finds.

Rett Syndrome Mouse Model Study Points to RNA Editing Possibilities

Investigators targeted MECP2 in mutant mouse models of Rett syndrome, showing in PNAS that they could restore its expression and dial down symptoms.

Investigators Find Shared, Distinct Genetic Contributors to Childhood Hodgkin Lymphoma

An association study in JAMA Network Open uncovers risk variants within and beyond the human leukocyte antigen locus.

Transcriptomic, Epigenetic Study Appears to Explain Anti-Viral Effects of TB Vaccine

Researchers report in Science Advances on an interferon signature and long-term shifts in monocyte cell DNA methylation in Bacille Calmette-Guérin-vaccinated infant samples.