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Reproductive Cloning in Sight?

A story in Wired looks at the possibility of human cloning. In a study led by Robert Lanza, scientific director of Advanced Cell Technologies, he showed that the genes turned on in normal human embryos are the same genes turned on in human clones. When they performed SCNT using egg cells from both humans and animals, "the animal-human hybrids didn't develop normally, but the human-human cloned embryos displayed many of the genetic characteristics of healthy development," writes Brendon Keim. While it opens the window further for successful human reproductive cloning, New York Medical College cell biologist Stuart Newman is not sold. Though the paper "shows that interspecies SCNT is a bust," Newman says, there are still "substantial differences" between human clones and IVF embryos.

The Scan

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.

Study Tracks Outcomes in Children Born to Zika Virus-Infected Mothers

By following pregnancy outcomes for women with RT-PCR-confirmed Zika virus infections, researchers saw in Lancet Regional Health congenital abnormalities in roughly one-third of live-born children.

Team Presents Benchmark Study of RNA Classification Tools

With more than 135 transcriptomic datasets, researchers tested two dozen coding and non-coding RNA classification tools, establishing a set of potentially misclassified transcripts, as they report in Nucleic Acids Research.

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.