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Science Finds Support for Gene Drives Depends on Species Targeted, Ability to Control Drive; More

A new survey appearing in Science Advances indicates that support among US adults for the agricultural use of gene drives depends largely on the species being targeted and the ability to control the drive. A total of 1,018 individuals were informed about potential risks, benefits, and two previously researched applications for gene drives, then questioned about their support the technology. Greater support was shown for limited gene drives, as well as ones that focus on non-native species. One-fifth of respondents who seek out non-GMO labeled food were about 7.6 percent more likely to oppose gene drives, although about half still support limited gene drives on non-native species. Over 62 percent of respondents said they trust US universities and the Department of Agriculture to research gene drives, while the private sector and Department of Defense viewed as more untrustworthy.

Using data from large-scale RNA sequencing studies, a research team has identified the gene TCF4 as a master regulator in schizophrenia. As described in Science Advances, the scientists identified five potential master regulators of the disorder using RNA-seq data generated by the CommonMind Consortium and from studies in cultured neuronal cells from nasal cavity tissue, homing in on TCF4. Additional testing confirmed the gene's likely contribution to schizophrenia susceptibility at early stages of brain development.

The Scan

CDC Calls Delta "Variant of Concern"

CNN reports the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now considers the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 to be a "variant of concern."

From FDA to Venture Capital

Former FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn is taking a position at a venture capital firm, leading some ethicists to raise eyebrows, according to the Washington Post.

Consent Questions

Nature News writes that there are questions whether informed consent was obtained for some submissions to a database of Y-chromosome profiles.

Cell Studies on Multimodal Single-Cell Analysis, Coronaviruses in Bats, Urban Microbiomes

In Cell this week: approach to analyze multimodal single-cell genomic data, analysis of bat coronaviruses, and more.