Nature Communications

A birth defect breakthrough

Science | Researchers cure a genetic disease in unborn mice
by Julie Borg
Posted 8/13/18, 12:41 pm

Each year an estimated 8 million children are born worldwide with severe genetic disorders. During pregnancy, genetic disorders can impair fetal development and lead to birth defects, but currently no approved medical treatments exist to correct gene mutations before birth.

Now, in a study published on June 26 in Nature Communications, researchers from Carnegie Mellon and Yale universities used a unique gene modification method to correct gene mutations in mice early in embryonic development.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Cracking the bacteria

Science | A weak spot in a bacterial protein could be key to killing superbugs 
by Julie Borg
Posted 4/26/18, 02:32 pm

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria pose an ever-growing global threat, currently claiming the lives of at least 23,000 people in the United States each year. Research published this year shows that certain strains of a deadly, multidrug-resistant bacterium have now developed resistance to the last-resort antibiotic colistin.

That’s worrisome news, but scientists at Harvard University have discovered a weakness in the protective covering of most bacteria that could offer a glimmer of hope in the battle against superbugs.

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Associated Press/Sun Qiang and Poo Muming/Chinese Academy of Sciences

Scientists clone monkeys for the first time

by Lynde Langdon
Posted 1/25/18, 11:21 am

Scientists in China announced this week the birth of two healthy baby monkey clones. Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai cloned the infant macaques, about 7 and 8 weeks old, from a monkey fetus. The monkeys’ births are the first successful attempt to clone primates, showing that cloning humans could be theoretically possible, scientists said. “The barrier of cloning primate species is now overcome,” said researcher Muming Poo. But the team that engineered the monkey clones has no intent of trying to do the same to humans.

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