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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

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.