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Children to get CRISPR treatment for sickle cell disease in trial

Children to get CRISPR treatment for sickle cell disease in trial

Gene-editing trials for treating sickle cell disease and beta thalassaemia are being extended to include children aged under 12 after the therapies proved successful in ongoing trials involving people aged between 12 and 35. The aim is to treat children early enough to prevent them getting lasting damage from these . “The results are superb,” says at Imperial College London, a doctor who is involved in the trials, which include patients from multiple sites across the European Union, UK and US.Now, the challenge will be making the treatment widely available, which could be an issue because...

Jun 16
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What will the crypto crash mean for 'bitcoin nation' El Salvador?

What will the crypto crash mean for 'bitcoin nation' El Salvador?

Bitcoin’s value has plunged by 22 per cent in the past five days as investors rush to sell the cryptocurrency amid fears that an asset bubble is bursting. The average buyer is after the world’s most popular cryptocurrency shed a trillion dollars in value in two months. For El Salvador, which staked its economy on the success of bitcoin when it became in September 2021, the crash has wiped out more than half of its bitcoin holdings – and could be the death knell for its national crypto experiment.AdvertisementEl Salvador has invested heavily in creating and promoting the bitcoin...

Jun 16
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Controlling deforestation and wildlife trade could prevent pandemics

Controlling deforestation and wildlife trade could prevent pandemics

×Future pandemics could be prevented if unsustainable practices like deforestation and the industrial-scale wildlife trade are halted, according to a global biodiversity report. The cost of doing so would be paid back many times over, simply because we wouldn’t have to go through another .Millions of people are living or working in close contact with wild animals that carry diseases, and these industries aren’t properly regulated. The more people , for example, the more they are pushing into animals’ habitats and thus coming into regular contact with disease-carrying wildlife.Controlling...

November 6, 2020
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We may have spotted a parallel universe going backwards in time

We may have spotted a parallel universe going backwards in time

×IN THE , things happen at a glacial pace. Just ask Peter Gorham. For a month at a time, he and his colleagues would watch a giant balloon carrying a collection of antennas float high above the ice, scanning over a million square kilometres of the frozen landscape for evidence of high-energy particles arriving from space.When the experiment returned to the ground after its first flight, it had nothing to show for itself, bar the odd flash of background noise. It was the same story after the second flight more than a year later.While the balloon was in the sky for the third time, the...

May 20, 2020
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Disco-ball sail propelled by laser could fly to a nearby star

Disco-ball sail propelled by laser could fly to a nearby star

×Cone-shaped sails are so last year. If we really want to send probes outside our solar system, spherical sails may be the way to go.Earlier this year, billionaire Yuri Milner announced Breakthrough Starshot, an ambitious plan to accelerate tiny probes through space at a fifth of the speed of light. At that speed, an could reach our closest neighbouring star system in just 20 years, sending back pictures of anything interesting once it arrived.The LightSail spacecraft successfully showed last year that it is possible for to propel spacecraft using rays of sunlight. But to achieve the...

July 2, 2020
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Extreme rising seas could wipe out assets worth $14 trillion by 2100

Extreme rising seas could wipe out assets worth $14 trillion by 2100

×Coastal floods wrought by rising seas could affect tens of millions more people and cause trillions of dollars of harm by the end of the century if the world fails to prevent the worst-case climate change scenario, according to a new analysis.The area of land globally at risk from coastal flooding could increase by almost half by 2100 as sea level rises put more homes, roads and other infrastructure in the firing line. Asia and north-west Europe are anticipated to be hit hardest.However, this worst-case scenario assumes humanity pumps out high levels of carbon dioxide, implements no flood...

August 1, 2020
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Pocket-sized device tests DNA in blood samples for genetic conditions

Pocket-sized device tests DNA in blood samples for genetic conditions

×It is now possible to use a cheap, lightweight and smartphone-powered detector to identify DNA in blood, urine and other samples, on the spot.At the moment, testing to identify DNA is usually done in laboratories using expensive, specialised equipment. To make this process faster and cheaper, Ming Chen at the Army Medical University in China and his colleagues developed a portable DNA detector made of 3D-printed parts that attach to a standard smartphone.The device can detect DNA based on characteristic mutations or short genetic sequences. It costs less than $10 to make, weighs just 60...

April 25, 2020
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Air pollution linked to greater risk of dying from covid-19 in the US

Air pollution linked to greater risk of dying from covid-19 in the US

×Living in a part of the United States with dirty air has been linked to a significantly greater risk of dying from covid-19, raising the prospect of air pollution data being used to forecast which areas may need the most help treating people with the illness.As long-term exposure to air pollution weakens the lungs, and covid-19 attacks them, researchers worldwide have been racing to establish whether poor air quality makes the disease more severe. Links have been drawn, but , such as population density.Francesca Dominici at Harvard University and her colleagues have now found that each...

November 9, 2020
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Rare bigfin squid found in Australian waters for the first time

Rare bigfin squid found in Australian waters for the first time

×The extremely rare bigfin squid, a found more than 2 kilometres underwater, has been spotted in for the first time.Deborah Osterhage at CSIRO in Hobart, Australia, and her colleagues came across the squid during underwater surveys in the , an open bay off Australia’s southern coast.“I knew exactly what it was when I saw it, probably because I’m a bit of a deep sea geek,” says Osterhage. “They’re very rarely seen around the world.” Only three sightings had previously been recorded in the southern hemisphere.AdvertisementBigfin squid (Magnapinna) have a distinctive appearance: they have...

November 12, 2020
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What is the Hertzbleed computer chip hack and should you be worried?

What is the Hertzbleed computer chip hack and should you be worried?

Hertzbleed, a newly identified attack that could be used to grab information from computer chips, has captured the attention of technology security researchers – and technology news websites. Here’s what you need to know about the story. It is a new computer hack that takes advantage of a power-saving feature common to modern computer chips in order to steal sensitive data. It has been demonstrated in the lab and could be used by hackers in the wild.AdvertisementMost chips use a technique called dynamic frequency scaling, or CPU throttling, to increase or reduce the speed with which...

Jun 16
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