2019-03-15 17.54.52

Adopt a moratorium on heritable genome editing (nature.com)

We call for a global moratorium on all clinical uses of human germline editing — that is, changing heritable DNA (in sperm, eggs or embryos) to make genetically modified children.

By ‘global moratorium’, we do not mean a permanent ban. Rather, we call for the establishment of an international framework in which nations, while retaining the right to make their own decisions, voluntarily commit to not approve any use of clinical germline editing unless certain conditions are met.

To begin with, there should be a fixed period during which no clinical uses of germline editing whatsoever are allowed. As well as allowing for discussions about the technical, scientific, medical, societal, ethical and moral issues that must be considered before germline editing is permitted, this period would provide time to establish an international framework.

Thereafter, nations may choose to follow separate paths. About 30 nations currently have legislation that directly or indirectly bars all clinical uses of germline editing1, and they might choose to continue the moratorium indefinitely or implement a permanent ban. However, any nation could also choose to allow specific applications of germline editing, provided that it first: gives public notice of its intention to consider the application and engages for a defined period in international consultation about the wisdom of doing so; determines through transparent evaluation that the application is justified; and ascertains that there is broad societal consensus in the nation about the appropriateness of the application. Nations might well choose different paths, but they would agree to proceed openly and with due respect to the opinions of humankind on an issue that will ultimately affect the entire species.

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Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Crawl by jansenphotojansenphoto (Dutch Goes the Photo)

All that crawls…

Planes crawled across the sky over Franklin Township travelling to and fro Newark Liberty International Airport. I walked on the path cut into the grassland, encountered ice and swamp-like mud. I slipped and slid, twisted and hurt something in my right foot. But I didn't know that at the time. Just a lingering feeling that…

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Flying Squid

Scientists Unravel Mystery of Flying Squid – National Geographic Blog by Valarie Chapman (blog.nationalgeographic.org)

While swimming, the squid open up their mantle and draw in water. Then these squid launch themselves into the air with a high-powered blast of the water from their bodies. Once launched by this jet propulsion, these squid spread out both their fins and their tentacles to form wings. The squid have a membrane between their tentacles similar to the webbed toes of a frog. This helps them use their tentacles as a wing and create aerodynamic lift so they can glide – similar to a well-made paper airplane.

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Euderus set

Euderus set

New Crypt-Keeper Wasp Is Parasite That Bursts From Host's Head (National Geographic News)

Scientists have discovered a new parasitic wasp species with a life cycle so diabolical, they named it after Set, the Egyptian god of evil and chaos.

Meet Euderus set, otherwise known as the crypt-keeper wasp.

Native to the southeastern United States, this species lays its egg inside the tiny, wooden chambers that another parasitic wasp species, the gall wasp (Bassettia pallida), carves out in sand live oak trees. These knobby protuberances, known as galls, are sort of like tree cysts induced by the presence of the host wasp's young.

Once the egg hatches, the crypt-keeper larva burrows into the other wasp and takes over its mind, forcing it to start tunneling through the tree’s bark to freedom—a feat the crypt-keeper struggles to perform on its own. (Read more about mindsucking parasites in National Geographic magazine.)

Thus feels so … stranger than fiction.

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