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The Vulnerabilities

By exploiting genetic vulnerabilities, genome editing may be able to help combat disease, the Boston Herald's Jordan Graham says. For instance, Graham notes that the HIV virus cannot infect some people who lack a specific protein, and genome editing could be used in others so that they do not produce that protein and thus cannot be infected.

"We take out cells, correct it, ... and put the cell back into the person," says the Broad Institute's Feng Zhang, who developed the CRISPR approach. "It's a biotechnology that allows us to go into the genome, the DNA of a cell, and make very exact changes within the DNA."

However, it would be a time-consuming process to do that for HIV, Graham adds, as every blood cell in the person would have to be removed and changed.

Still, Zhang says that the process could address other diseases like sickle cell anemia and most viruses.

The Scan

Foxtail Millet Pangenome, Graph-Based Reference Genome

Researchers in Nature Genetics described their generation of a foxtail millet pangenome, which they say can help in crop trait improvement.

Protein Length Distribution Consistent Across Species

An analysis in Genome Biology compares the lengths of proteins across more than 2,300 species, finding similar length distributions.

Novel Genetic Loci Linked to Insulin Resistance in New Study

A team reports in Nature Genetics that it used glucose challenge test data to home in on candidate genes involved in GLUT4 expression or trafficking.

RNA Editing in Octopuses Seems to Help Acclimation to Shifts in Water Temperature

A paper in Cell reports that octopuses use RNA editing to help them adjust to different water temperatures.