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Silencing for Preeclampsia

A study in baboons suggests RNA silencing could help treat preeclampsia, New Scientist reports.

Preeclampsia, or high-blood pressure during pregnancy, occurs in between 3 percent and 7 percent of pregnancies, according to the US National Library of Medicine, and can lead to serious side effects like seizure, stroke, and, in rare cases, death.

Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School — including Melissa Moore, who tells New Scientist she experienced the condition, calling it "very scary" — developed short interfering RNAs that targeted three sFLT1 mRNA isoforms. sFLT1 is a placental protein whose expression is ramped up in preeclampsia. As they report in Nature Biotechnology, the researchers found that these siRNAs reduced sFLT1 expression in both mouse and baboon models of preeclampsia. New Scientist notes that the three treated baboons gave birth to healthy offspring, though the infants were a little smaller than average.

The researchers note in their paper that, as dry siRNAs can be stored at room temperature for a long time and are straightforward to manufacture and deliver, they could present a possible treatment for preeclampsia in the developing world, where it contributes to maternal mortality.

The Scan

Unwrapping Mummies' Faces

LiveScience reports that Parabon NanoLabs researchers have reconstructed how three Egyptian mummies may have looked.

Study on Hold

The Spectrum 10K study has been put on hold due to a backlash, leading the researchers to conduct consultations with the autism community, Nature News reports.

Others Out There Already

Reuters reports that Sanofi is no longer developing an mRNA-based vaccine for SARS-CoV-2.

PNAS Papers on GWAS False Discovery, PRAMEF2 Role in Tumorigenesis, RNA Virus Reverse Genetics

In PNAS this week: strategy to account for GWAS false-discovery rates, role of PRAMEF2 in cancer development, and more.