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To Inform the Discussion

Gene editing is a field people need to know about to inform the conversation surrounding its use, writes Dan Rather, the former CBS Evening News anchor, in a commentary at the Guardian.

The gene-editing approach CRISPR, he notes, is a powerful tool. It could be used to cure genetic diseases like sickle cell and coax plants to produce more food, but it also could be used in unpredictable ways. Rather is the executive producer of the documentary Human Nature that explores CRISPR and its possible uses, and he writes in the Guardian that when researchers talk about CRISPR, "you can feel the urgency in their voices." This, he adds, is "something you need to know about."

There needs to be a discussion regarding gene editing sooner, rather than later, and before a "crisis hits," Rather adds.

"The inspiring researchers we talked to for the film know that the ethical and moral questions this technology raises are not for them to decide. Science has given us the tools, but not the answers," he writes. "This is up to us, all of us. We need to be informed."

The Scan

Cancer Survival Linked to Mutational Burden in Pan-Cancer Analysis

A pan-cancer paper appearing in JCO Precision Oncology suggests tumor mutation patterns provide clues for predicting cancer survival that are independent of other prognostic factors.

Australian Survey Points to Public Support for Genetic Risk Disclosure in Relatives of At-Risk Individuals

A survey in the European Journal of Human Genetics suggests most adult Australians are in favor of finding out if a relative tests positive for a medically actionable genetic variant.

Study Links Evolution of Stony Coral Skeleton to Bicarbonate Transporter Gene

A PNAS paper focuses on a skeleton-related bicarbonate transporter gene introduced to stony coral ancestors by tandem duplication.

Hormone-Based Gene Therapy to Sterilize Domestic Cat

A new paper in Nature Communication suggests that gene therapy could be a safer alternative to spaying domestic cats.