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Synthetic Ethics

Amy Gutmann tells The Scientist that the US presidential commission on bioethics looked for the "Aristotelian mean" between a no-holds-barred approach to synthetic biology and one that prevents the field from moving forward until all risk is removed. "We're likely to recommend that new organisms when they're created should be marked or branded in some manner to be able to monitor development in synthetic biology," Gutmann says, adding that there are multiple ways of doing so.

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Bloomberg reports that the DNA-for-cash deal reported in Kentucky might be a more widespread scam.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have treated infants with X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency using gene therapy in an early phase study.

St. Louis Public Radio reports that some African Americans are turning to DNA ancestry testing to help guide genealogical searches.

In Nature this week: a genomic analysis of the snailfish Pseudoliparis swirei, ancient DNA analysis gives insight into the introduction of farming to England, and more.