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Synbio, the New Tempest

Madeleine Bunting's column in the UK's Guardian lays out the terrifying threats of "synbio," which she says could lead to GM crops looking like "a storm in a tea cup." Her list includes (horrors!) bacteria to produce cheap anti-malarial drugs, bacteria to break down cellulose into ethanol, and bacteria to clean up environmental messes (never mind that some bacteria can already do this). "So beware of how we are being sold this scientific revolution with pledges to help Africa's poor and ease global warming," writes Bunting. Many of her commenters take her to task, one saying, "[Bunting's] de facto position on science and technology is both shrill and misinformed."

The Scan

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.

Survey Sees Genetic Literacy on the Rise, Though Further Education Needed

Survey participants appear to have higher genetic familiarity, knowledge, and skills compared to 2013, though 'room for improvement' remains, an AJHG paper finds.

Study Reveals Molecular, Clinical Features in Colorectal Cancer Cases Involving Multiple Primary Tumors

Researchers compare mismatch repair, microsatellite instability, and tumor mutation burden patterns in synchronous multiple- or single primary colorectal cancers.

FarGen Phase One Sequences Exomes of Nearly 500 From Faroe Islands

The analysis in the European Journal of Human Genetics finds few rare variants and limited geographic structure among Faroese individuals.