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Cloning Researcher Sentenced

Li Ning, a former researcher at China Agricultural University, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison by a Chinese court for embezzling research funds, Nature News reports.

It adds that Li was well known in China for his work on cloning and genetically modifying animals, especially for engineering goats to express an earthworm protein and for cows to express a human milk protein. But Li was arrested along with a number of other researchers in 2014 on research grant misuse allegations, according to Nature News

Earlier this month, a Chinese court found that Li stole 34.1 million yuan (about US $4.9 million) in research grants between July 2008 and February 2012 — from what Nature News called "mega" research projects — and used that money to fund his companies, it adds, noting that Zhang Lei, Li's former assistant was also found to have helped in the embezzling and was sentenced to five or more years. Chinese media are reporting that Li plans to appeal, it adds.

The Scan

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.

Study Explores Animated Digital Message Approach to Communicate Genetic Test Results to Family Members

In the Journal of Genetic Counseling, the approach showed promise in participants presented with a hypothetical scenario related to a familial hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome diagnosis.

Computational Tool Predicts Mammalian Messenger RNA Degradation Rates

A tool called Saluki, trained with mouse and human messenger RNA data, appears to improve mRNA half-life predictions by taking RNA and genetic features into account, a Genome Biology paper reports.

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.