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'Scientific Breakthroughs' … of Doom!

With the rapid advancement of science and technology, it might be useful to stop and ask ourselves whether some breakthroughs should be made at all. Putting the serious ethical issues aside for a bit, asked its readers to consider that question using their Photoshop skills. Contributors came up with the "14 Inevitable Scientific Breakthroughs the World Will Regret." Among them: an at-home vasectomy kit, several instances of robotic technologies gone wrong, and an animal-language translator that could result in the abandonment of thousands of pets — once their owners found out how 'sassy' and 'sarcastic' they actually are. But readers say that the best instance of science gone wrong is represented by the top-ranked entry: a mockup of an August 2011 Scientific American cover, proudly proclaiming that "the empathy gene" has been "found and cured!" The simulated cover also teases feature stories about "orphan blood biodiesel" and a novel method for migraine relief. Let that be a warning to you, science.

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.