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The scientist who edited the genomes of twin girls in an attempt to make them resistant to HIV might have inadvertently shortened their life expectancy. People with two disabled copies of the CCR5 gene — the version that protects against HIV infection — are 21% more likely to die before the age of 76 than are people with at least one working copy of the gene. The analysis is based on genetic and health data from nearly 410,000 people enrolled in the UK Biobank research project.
Read more: CRISPR baby gene edits could affect a range of traits (from 2018)
Members of the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) have overwhelmingly voted to amend the organization’s by-laws so that members can be expelled for misconduct, including proven cases of sexual harassment.
Investigations instigated by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) have led have led research institutions to seek the dismissal of at least five ethnically Chinese scientists — leaving researchers uneasy about racial profiling. The NIH denies that researchers of Chinese descent are being unfairly targeted, as does one of the research centres involved. “If this continues, we’re going to see changes in the populations that we have on our campuses,” says Wayne Mowery, a university export-compliance officer.
A quantum jump — when an electron leaps from one atomic energy level to the next — is “neither instantaneous nor as fully random as we thought it was”,’ says physicist Zlatko Minev and his colleagues. Researchers built an artificial atom out of a superconducting circuit to explore the quantum behaviour. They were able to predict when the leap was about to take place. They could even interfere to reverse the jumps and stop them happening, which might come in handy for correcting errors in quantum computing.
FEATURES & OPINION
Consider your favourite eukaryote — perhaps it’s the nematode, the zebrafish or maybe Homo sapiens? It’s time to make room in your list for algae, argues biochemist Christopher Howe in his review of a new book by botany writer Ruth Kassinger. “Kassinger rightly describes algae as ‘the most powerful organisms on the planet’ — not least for the amount of carbon dioxide they ‘fix’, or turn into organic matter,” Howe says.
When a large government research grant is out of reach, consider looking outside the box at sources such as foreign governments, professional societies and philanthropies. Explore how to use online search portals, networking and even crowdfunding to fill your research coffers.
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