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Practical Experience

As part of their final year of the scientific baccalaureate, 17 and 18-year-old French students have long been using plasmids to create transgenic Escherichia coli and now that classroom exercise has been to expanded allow younger 15- and 16-year-old students to take part. That prompted an outcry from France's Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering, reports Nature News. "We believe such material should not be manipulated by students before they reach university," says CRIIGEN's Gilles-Eric Séralini. The French Association of Biology and Geology Teachers, which sells the kits, disagrees. "The bacteria are not pathogenic and are destroyed with bleach when experiments are over," says Serge Lacassie from the teacher's association.

Patrick Morgan at Discover's Discoblog adds that "Séralini and Lacassie hold fundamentally different ideas about what a classroom experience should entail. One sees practical experience as a roadblock to biological knowledge, and the other sees it as a gateway to reality, proving that more than just a classroom bacterium hangs in the balance."

The Scan

Breast Cancer Risk Gene Candidates Found by Multi-Ancestry Low-Frequency Variant Analysis

Researchers narrowed in on new and known risk gene candidates with variant profiles for almost 83,500 individuals with breast cancer and 59,199 unaffected controls in Genome Medicine.

Health-Related Quality of Life Gets Boost After Microbiome-Based Treatment for Recurrent C. Diff

A secondary analysis of Phase 3 clinical trial data in JAMA Network Open suggests an investigational oral microbiome-based drug may lead to enhanced quality of life measures.

Study Follows Consequences of Early Confirmatory Trials for Accelerated Approval Indications

Time to traditional approval or withdrawal was shorter when confirmatory trials started prior to accelerated approval, though overall regulatory outcomes remained similar, a JAMA study finds.

Sequencing Study Leads to Vaccine Target in Bacteria Behind Neonatal Meningitis

Researchers eBioMedicine track down potential vaccine targets with transposon sequencing on mutant bacteria causing neonatal meningitis in mouse models of the disease.