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Who Knew What When?

Stanford University officials have started an investigation to determine just what some faculty members there knew about He Jiankui's effort to edit the genomes of human embryos, according to Technology Review.

He announced in November that he used the CRISPR editing approach to alter the CCR5 genes of human embryos, which resulted in the birth of twin girls in the fall and another ongoing pregnancy. This revelation shocked much of the international scientific community, many members of which argued the work was unethical and poor science.

He didn't, though, keep his plans to himself. He reportedly discussed his idea with a number of individuals, including three Stanford faculty members: bioethicist William Hurlbut, gene-editing researcher Matthew Porteus, and Stephen Quake, He's former postdoc advisor, as Tech Review notes.

Hurlbut and Porteus say they objected to the work and tried to dissuade He from pursuing it, according to the Associated Press, while Quake says they only discussed it in broad terms.

Rice University announced in November that it was conducted its own investigation into the role of its faculty member, Michael Deem, who was He's graduate school advisor and whoe had told the AP he helped He.

The Scan

International Team Proposes Checklist for Returning Genomic Research Results

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics present a checklist to guide the return of genomic research results to study participants.

Study Presents New Insights Into How Cancer Cells Overcome Telomere Shortening

Researchers report in Nucleic Acids Research that ATRX-deficient cancer cells have increased activity of the alternative lengthening of telomeres pathway.

Researchers Link Telomere Length With Alzheimer's Disease

Within UK Biobank participants, longer leukocyte telomere length is associated with a reduced risk of dementia, according to a new study in PLOS One.

Nucleotide Base Detected on Near-Earth Asteroid

Among other intriguing compounds, researchers find the nucleotide uracil, a component of RNA sequences, in samples collected from the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu, as they report in Nature Communications.