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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

Team Tracks Down Potential Blood Plasma Markers Linked to Heart Failure in Atrial Fibrillation Patients

Researchers in BMC Genomics found 10 differentially expressed proteins or metabolites that marked atrial fibrillation with heart failure cases.

Study Points to Synonymous Mutation Effects on E. Coli Enzyme Activity

Researchers in Nature Chemistry saw signs of enzyme activity shifts in the presence of synonymous mutations in a multiscale modeling analysis of three Escherichia coli genes.

Team Outlines Paternal Sample-Free Single-Gene Approach for Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening

With data for nearly 9,200 pregnant individuals, researchers in Genetics in Medicine demonstrate the feasibility of their carrier screening and reflex single-gene non-invasive prenatal screening approach.

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.