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Gene-edited babies: Current techniques not safe, say experts

Gene-edited babies: Current techniques not safe, say experts

Health
Current scientific techniques are not yet safe or effective enough to be used to create gene-edited babies, an international committee says.The technology could one day prevent parents from passing on heritable diseases to children, but the committee says much more research is needed.The world's first gene-edited babies were born in China in November 2018. The scientist responsible was jailed, amid a fierce global backlash.The committee was set up in response.Most countries have regulations in place preventing babies being born after gene-editing, but the incident led to calls for strong international consensus.Why is gene-editing babies controversial?Gene-editing could potentially help avoid a range of heritable diseases by deleting or changing troubles...
Farming techniques, not fungus, explain success of leafcutter ants

Farming techniques, not fungus, explain success of leafcutter ants

Science
May 9 (UPI) -- A comprehensive new survey has yielded new insights into the evolutionary success of leafcutter ants, the most advanced of the fungus-growing ants.Leafcutter ants grow the largest colonies, featuring millions of ants, and produce the most diversified workforce. Until now, scientists have credited their fungus with the group's empowerment. But new research suggests the same fungus is cultivated by other less sophisticated ant species.It is a combination of unique -- but still poorly understood -- cultivation techniques that explains the evolution of the leafcutter ants, researchers argue in a new paper, published this week in the journal Molecular Ecology.Genetic analysis of all 47 leafcutter ant species, from colonies and nests in Brazil, Texas and everywhere in-between, sug...
Computer vision techniques highlight urban change

Computer vision techniques highlight urban change

Science
July 7 (UPI) -- MIT researchers are using a computer vision system to quantify the physical improvement or deterioration of neighborhoods in five U.S. cities.The computer vision system, developed by MIT in collaboration with Harvard University, was originally created four years ago to analyze street-level photos taken in urban neighborhoods to gauge how safe the neighborhoods appeared to observers.Researchers recently used the system to compare 1.6 million pairs of photos taken seven years apart to test several popular hypotheses on the causes of urban revitalization.The study, which was published July 7 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that density of highly educated residents, proximity to central business districts and other attractive areas, and the initia...