King's College London sociologists Claire Marris and Nikolas Rose work with synthetic biologists at the Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation, and they write in New Scientist that it's time to have a real discussion about the pros and cons of synthetic biology, without the accompanying Sturm und Drang. Synthetic biology is "exciting but terrifying. Powerful but scary," they write.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has released the results of a genetic ancestry analysis, the Boston Globe reports.

Retraction Watch's Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus report that Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital have recommended that more than 30 papers from a former researcher be retracted.

Thomas Steitz, who won the 2009 chemistry Nobel Prize for his ribosome work, has died, the Washington Post reports.

In PLOS this week: mechanisms for genes implicated in coronary artery disease, rumen microbes and host genetics influence cow methane production, and more.