Duke's Claudia Gunsch is working on a way to silence genes in bacteria using short, singled-stranded DNA, says MIT's Technology Review. If she can get it to work -- she recently presented a proof-of-concept study at the American Society for Microbiology -- there are a variety of applications, including engineering better biofuels, turning off bacterial antibiotic-resistance genes, and filtering bacteria in water.

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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.