Gene mutation repaired using nonviral CRISPR-Gold delivery method | High levels of cesium-137 found in beach groundwater near Fukushima plant | Pair of studies suggest earlier start to life on Earth
October 3, 2017
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Gene mutation repaired using nonviral CRISPR-Gold delivery method
Researchers covered a gold nanoparticle with CRISPR-Cas9-modified DNA to nonvirally repair a mutation that causes Duchenne muscular dystrophy in mice. To perform the nonviral delivery method, dubbed CRISPR-Gold, "you have to provide the cell [with] the Cas9 enzyme, guide RNA by which you target Cas9 to a particular part of the genome, and a big chunk of DNA, which will be used as a template to edit the mutant sequence to wild-type," said Irina Conboy, co-author of the study published in Nature Biomedical Engineering.
The Scientist online (10/2) 
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Science in the News
High levels of cesium-137 found in beach groundwater near Fukushima plant
High levels of radioactive cesium-137 have been detected in groundwater beneath beaches near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, six years after the reactors were damaged by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011, according to findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers were surprised to find that the briny groundwater had the second-highest accumulation of cesium-137 after the groundwater underneath the reactor itself.
Science News (10/2) 
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Pair of studies suggest earlier start to life on Earth
Life on Earth may have started much earlier than previously thought, according to a new pair of studies. One study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests RNA was formed in warm ponds after the elements needed to create it came to Earth via rock impacts during the planet's first billion years, while the other study, published in Nature, examined 3.95-billion-year-old rocks containing graphite, which researchers say is evidence life was present then.
New Scientist (free content) (10/2) 
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Global database shows earthquake activity triggered by human activity
A new global database has charted more than 700 earthquakes triggered by human activity over a period of 149 years. A study detailing the Human-Induced Earthquake Database is scheduled to be published this week in Seismological Research Letters.
Nature (free content) (10/2) 
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Young ichthyosaur dined on squid almost 200 million years ago
A juvenile ichthyosaur that lived nearly 200 million years ago dined on squid before it died, according to findings published in Historical Biology. Structures resembling hooks found between the creature's ribs are the squid's arms, researchers say.
BBC (10/3) 
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Dolphins that help human fishers communicate differently than those that don't
Bottlenose dolphins that cooperate with humans who are catching fish use a different whistle to communicate with each other than dolphins that don't work with humans, a study published in Ethology suggests. It's uncommon "to find such acoustic differences among dolphins of the same population that inhabit such a small area," said Mauricio Cantor, a study author.
New Scientist (free content) (10/2) 
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Youths with severe anxiety may benefit from drug, CBT combo
Nearly 60% of children and teens with severe generalized, social and separation anxiety who received the antidepressant sertraline and cognitive behavior therapy didn't have an anxiety disorder at 12 weeks after treatment, compared with roughly 25% to 30% of those who received either treatment alone, researchers reported in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology. The findings also showed increased resistance to any treatment or therapy combination among those with obsessive-compulsive disorder and those with low socioeconomic status.
National Public Radio (10/2),  Connecticut Post (Fairfield County-Bridgeport) (10/2) 
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Funding Watch
NIH to fund study on neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome
The NIH announced it will fund a study by the agency's Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development exploring treatment options and ways of improving care for infants with opioid withdrawal syndrome. The study "will allow researchers to evaluate the impact of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome across the country and to develop a multi-site clinical trial in areas hit hard by the opioid crisis," said NIH ECHO Director Dr. Matthew Gillman.
United Press International (10/2),  The Hill (10/2) 
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UK biotech company awarded up to $1.25M to study drug-resistant bacteria
Biotechnology firm Centauri Therapeutics has been awarded up to $1.25 million by Innovate UK to study treatments for drug-resistant infectious diseases. Centauri Therapeutics is working on a drug mechanism that places special molecules into patients that help their natural antibodies fight resistant bacteria.
Kent Online (U.K.) (10/2) 
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