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Genetics

  • Beyond TALENs

    Zinc finger nucleases and TALENS are not the only up-and-coming genome engineering tools. There are meganucleases that are DNA-cutting enzymes encoded by certain mobile elements, nucleases that might do the job solo, and a potential bacterial defense system.

  • All Eyes on RNA

    The list of RNA-binding proteins linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is growing; RNA may also explain why a common mutation causes this fatal motor neuron disease—and a dementia.

  • Around the World

    In science news around the world this week, the U.S. Supreme Court is pondering if human genes are patentable, Italy scrapped plans for the SuperB accelerator, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a "hub" to focus on batteries and energy storage, and a new chair of the U.S. House of Representatives science committee has been chosen.

  • In Search of the Wild Chicken

    Researchers are melding genetics and archaeology to close in on the origin of the world's most common bird—and potentially help protect a major source of animal protein.

  • From Farmyard to the Lab

    Chinese biologist Jianlin Han is attempting to breed better red jungle fowl to benefit the rural poor and gather a massive data set to understand the genetic underpinnings of the domestic chicken.

  • Around the World

    In science news around the world this week, a highly unpopular proposed merger between the celebrated British Antarctic Survey and the National Oceanography Centre has been halted, India's new science minister has taken a skeptical stance on genetically modified crops, Laos has given builders a green light to finish work on a controversial megadam on the Mekong River, and papers will no longer be considered for publication in BMJ unless authors agree to share raw clinical information.

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