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Grand Ideas

On its list of 10 ideas from the past year that have "the potential to make what may now seem impossible possible," Scientific American includes a number of genomics-related items.

At the beginning of its list of "world-changing ideas" are xeno nucleic acids, or XNAs, which could be used to develop synthetic life. "The goal is to create chemically controlled systems that behave like biological systems, without being biological systems," Steven Benner, a fellow at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution, tells Scientific American. "We believe whatever you can draw on a page, you can make."

Also on the list is the recent realization that the full genome of a fetus can be determined from a blood sample from the mother, possibly allowing a number of genetic disorders to be identified early on. "The new noninvasive approach would give mothers unprecedented detail about their child without endangering their pregnancy. It could also reach more women worldwide because the procedure does not require a trained obstetrician," Scientific American writes.

The Scan

Sick Newborns Selected for WGS With Automated Pipeline

Researchers successfully prioritized infants with potential Mendelian conditions for whole-genome sequencing or rapid whole-genome sequencing, as they report in Genome Medicine.

Acne-Linked Loci Found Through GWAS Meta-Analysis

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics find new and known acne vulgaris risk loci with a genome-wide association study and meta-analysis, highlighting hair follicle- and metabolic disease-related genes.

Retina Cell Loss Reversed by Prime Editing in Mouse Model of Retinitis Pigmentosa

A team from China turns to prime editing to correct a retinitis pigmentosa-causing mutation in the PDE6b gene in a mouse model of the progressive photoreceptor loss condition in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

CRISPR Screens Reveal Heart Attack-Linked Gene

Researchers in PLOS Genetics have used CRISPR screens to home in on variants associated with coronary artery disease that affect vascular endothelial function.