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Will We Also Have Flying Cars?

In 2045, human beings will achieve immortality through a mixture of genetics and various kinds of technology — so says inventor Ray Kurzweil, a leader of the transhumanist movement. The Boston Globe's Mark Baard reports that most transhumanists, excited by recent advances in technology, say that the moment of immortality — the "singularity" — is almost upon us. "All that most of us need to do, transhumanists say, is wait," Baard reports. But one transhumanist, Joseph Jackson, doesn't agree. Jackson fears the biotech industry is too interested in increasing revenue and, as such, runs away from risk, Baard says. Jackson's alternative to biotech's proprietary research and patents is an "open science" model whereby scientists freely share their data and use each other's discoveries to make discoveries of their own. "Jackson says open science will speed innovation in the same way the open source code movement revolutionized Internet applications," Baard reports. "He also wants transhumanists to support the thousands of backyard tinkerers, known as citizen scientists, who are already studying microbes, mapping genomes, and seeking cures for diseases." However, while many transhumanists are heeding Jackson's call, not all citizen scientists are convinced the "singularity" is at hand, Baard says.

The Scan

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.

Study Uncovers Genetic Mutation in Childhood Glaucoma

A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation ties a heterozygous missense variant in thrombospondin 1 to childhood glaucoma.

Gene Co-Expression Database for Humans, Model Organisms Gets Update

GeneFriends has been updated to include gene and transcript co-expression networks based on RNA-seq data from 46,475 human and 34,322 mouse samples, a new paper in Nucleic Acids Research says.

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.