Gene editing technique successful, but mosaic roadblock found | Early galaxies didn't have much dark matter, study suggests | Spiders devour massive amount of insects annually
March 16, 2017
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Gene editing technique successful, but mosaic roadblock found
Using the CRISPR-Cas9 technique, researchers in China have successfully edited genetic mutations in viable human embryos for the first time, but they also encountered a major problem that will need to be addressed before the technique can be used safely, according to findings published in Molecular Genetics and Genomics. Two of the embryos were mosaics in which edited and unedited cells mixed, meaning the disease the editing was meant to fix might still develop.
New Scientist (free content) (3/15) 
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Science in the News
Early galaxies didn't have much dark matter, study suggests
Dark matter was just a small part of early galaxies, though its influence on galaxies has grown over time, according to a study published in Nature. Researchers looked at early galaxies using the Very Large Telescope in Chile and found that 10% or less of their effective radius was composed of dark matter.
Space.com (3/15) 
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Spiders devour massive amount of insects annually
Spiders eat a lot of insects annually, rivaling the amount of meat and fish eaten by humans worldwide in a year, a study published in The Science of Nature suggests. The world's spiders consume between 440 million tons, or about 400 million metric tons, and 880 million tons, or about 800 million metric tons, of insects each year, researchers say.
LiveScience.com (3/15) 
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Microscale optics advance with grain-sized 3D-printed lens
Using a unique 3D-printing technique called two-photon direct laser writing, researchers at Germany's Stuttgart University have produced a high-performance optical lens on the scale of a salt grain. The lens could be used in nanoscale and microscale optical applications in fields including medicine and aerospace.
ASME.org (3/2017) 
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Study: Brain needs a second to process mistakes, or accuracy suffers
When the brain registers that we've made a mistake, it needs a bit of time to process it or we could make another error in our next choice, according to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience. Participants' accuracy after making a mistake on a difficult task dropped if they had to respond to the next challenge immediately with little time to process their error, researchers say.
Science News (3/14) 
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Protein might help locate T cells hiding latent HIV
The protein CD32a may help locate hidden T cells infected with HIV that lie dormant for years, according to findings published in Nature. "Since 1996, the dream has been to kill these nasty cells in hiding, but we had no way to do it because we had no way to recognize them," said lead study author Monsef Benkirane.
Nature (free content) (3/15) 
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Report: Stem-cell injections result in permanent eye damage in 3 women
Three women who paid $5,000 each for stem-cell injections to treat macular degeneration suffered permanent eye damage, with one woman becoming completely blind, according to a report in The New England Journal of Medicine. The unproven treatment was undertaken at a private clinic in Florida, where technicians injected the women's eyes with stem cells extracted from their own belly fat.
The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (3/15) 
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Funding Watch
Trump budget cuts target medical, scientific research funding
President Donald Trump's budget blueprint includes deep and wide-ranging cuts in government-backed medical and scientific research. For example, the National Institutes of Health budget could be cut by almost $6 billion, and other agencies and projects, such as the Chemical Safety Board and an Environmental Protection Agency plan to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, would be eliminated outright.
The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (3/16) 
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NIH awards $2.8M for DiamiR's Alzheimer's disease test
Princeton, N.J.-based DiamiR has won a three-year Phase IIB Small Business Innovation Research grant worth about $2.8 million from the NIH's National Institute on Aging for the development of its CogniMir test. Kira Sheinerman, CEO of the microRNA diagnostics firm, said the test is initially intended for characterizing patients with early-stage Alzheimer's disease in clinical trials but could eventually be used for risk evaluation or monitoring of disease progression.
GenomeWeb Daily News (free registration) (3/15) 
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