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Synthego Online CRISPR Tools

Synthego has released online CRISPR tools that make more than 100,000 genomes accessible for gene knockout guide design. The tools include a guide designer, a design validator, and the ability to order CRISPR guide RNA. Researchers can select a desired gene of interest from a curated list of genomes representing more than 9,000 species. The Synthego tool then uses several built-in algorithms to instantly generate guide designs and recommendations for the most efficient guides with low off-target effects and highest likelihood to knock out the function of a gene, the firm said. Additional features include the ability to validate, share, and purchase synthetic single guide RNA. The new tools are free to use and available at

The Scan

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.

Study Tracks Outcomes in Children Born to Zika Virus-Infected Mothers

By following pregnancy outcomes for women with RT-PCR-confirmed Zika virus infections, researchers saw in Lancet Regional Health congenital abnormalities in roughly one-third of live-born children.

Team Presents Benchmark Study of RNA Classification Tools

With more than 135 transcriptomic datasets, researchers tested two dozen coding and non-coding RNA classification tools, establishing a set of potentially misclassified transcripts, as they report in Nucleic Acids Research.

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.