Over at the American Scientist, Robert Dorit, an associate professor of biology at Smith College argues that synthetic biology "imitates but cannot replicate living organisms." He likens the scenario to Deep Blue, the massive computer built by IBM. Deep Blue, Dorit says, defeating the chess Grand Master Garry Kasparo. Deep Blue, he says, won by mimicking and calculating human intelligence, not by being intelligent itself.

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Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen also contributed to brain research, NPR reports.

The New York Times reports on the shifting interpretations of what some genetic variants mean over time.

MIT's Technology Review reports on Genentech's pursuit of personalized cancer vaccines.

In Cell this week: investigation of metastatic tumor evolution, more than 16,000 genetic variants introduced into the budding yeast model organism, and more.