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Scientists Unveil Mastodon Family Tree

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute sequenced the complete mitochondrial genome of the extinct mastodon, an ancestor of elephants that diverged about 26 million years ago. Their data, published in PLoS Biology, allowed them to estimate the time of divergence of African elephants from Asian elephants and mammoths to be 7.6 million years ago, and the time of divergence between mammoths and Asian elephants to be 6.7 million years ago. These dates, they say, are similar to the divergence times for humans, chimps, and gorillas, which might mean that speciation for both had a common cause.

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.