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In Nature this week, a Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory-led team publishes an improved maize reference genome, which was assembled and annotated using single-molecule real-time sequencing and high-resolution optical mapping. Relative to the previous reference genome, the new assembly features a 52-fold increase in contig length, as well as significant improvements in the assembly of intergenic spaces and centromeres.

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A letter criticizing actions by the US government and research institutions toward Chinese and Chinese-American scientists has garnered more than a hundred signatories.

NPR reports that researchers in New York are investigating whether it is possible to edit the genomes of human sperm.

In an opinion piece at the Nation, Sarah Lawrence College's Laura Hercher argues that everyone should be able to access prenatal genetic testing.

In Nature this week: ancient DNA uncovers presence of Mediterranean migrants at a Himalayan lake, and more.