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This Week in Science: Feb 22, 2019

In Science this week, a multi-institute team reports new DNA- and RNA-like systems engineered using eight nucleotide building blocks — dubbed hachimoji — that form orthogonal pairs. According to the scientists, the synthetic systems meet the structural requirements needed to support Darwinian evolution and offer increased informational density over standard DNA. "These results expand the scope of molecular structures that might support life, including life throughout the cosmos," the authors say.

Also in Science, scientists from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Berkeley, discuss the need for regulatory standards for the clinical use of artificial intelligence and predictive analytics. They say that regulatory standards for assessing algorithm safety and impact have not existed until recently, and that evaluations of these algorithms are neither readily understandable by clinicians or held to traditional clinical trial standards. Still, a number of commercial devices based on advanced analytics have received regulatory clearance. The collaborators propose a number of standards that could help in the evaluation of regulation of clinical predictive analytics including the establishment of regulatory audits following market approval.