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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

Omicron's Emergence

The World Health Organization has called Omicron a SARS-CoV-2 "variant of concern," the Los Angeles Times writes.

Not as Much

Merck's pill to treat COVID-19 reduces the risk of hospitalization and death among COVID-19 patients by less than previously reported, the New York Times says.

Bats That Hang Together

Discover magazine writes that researchers have found a social microbiome among vampire bats.

PLOS Papers on CEWAS, Simian Varicella Virus Transcriptome, Dermatomyositis Markers

In PLOS this week: multi-omic approach to home in on genetic risk variants, transcriptomic analysis of the simian varicella virus, and more.