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This Just In: Venter Is Actually Not God

A somewhat strangely timed essay in the Boston Globe clarifies (just in case you missed it) that Craig Venter's latest synthetic biology achievement is not the same as "synthesizing life." Erik Parens, a senior research scholar at bioethics research institute The Hastings Center, writes about what Venter did do -- "stitch together segments of commercially produced copies of naturally occurring DNA to produce an almost exact replica of the genome of a bacterium" -- as well as about Venter's plans to transplant that genome into a cell to see if it will take over the native genome's role.

And if you just can't get enough of Craig, he's also mentioned in this Guardian article about predictions for the biggest tech challenges. Venter was a member of the 18-person panel that cited, among other things, the need to better understand genes to enable personalized medicine.

 

The Scan

Fertility Fraud Found

Consumer genetic testing has uncovered cases of fertility fraud that are leading to lawsuits, according to USA Today.

Ties Between Vigorous Exercise, ALS in Genetically At-Risk People

Regular strenuous exercise could contribute to motor neuron disease development among those already at genetic risk, Sky News reports.

Test Warning

The Guardian writes that the US regulators have warned against using a rapid COVID-19 test that is a key part of mass testing in the UK.

Science Papers Examine Feedback Mechanism Affecting Xist, Continuous Health Monitoring for Precision Medicine

In Science this week: analysis of cis confinement of the X-inactive specific transcript, and more.