At his blog, Juniorprof wonders if new investigators without R01s are essentially out of luck when it comes to receiving stimulus funding. Capital improvement grants, he says, are targeted to those already with a large grant, while the challenge grants pose the problem of experience. "I can see the critique now: 'an excellent application but the lack of experience of the investigator raises the question of whether gains can be expected within 2 years,'" he writes.

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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.