In a statement condemning the work of Chinese scientist He Jiankui in using CRISPR to genetically modify human embryos, Francis Collins, head of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, says the only way forward in germline gene editing trials is “strict independent oversight.” Collins says NIH embraces the role it may need to play in overseeing controversial gene-editing projects going forward.
An investigation of public records and documents known as the Paradise Papers has found that leading research philanthropies—including the Wellcome Trust and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation—have invested more than $5 billion in offshore tax and secrecy havens. Some investments, such as those in highly polluting fuels, undermine the groups’ charitable goals. Critics say that when foundations lend their sterling reputations to offshore strategies, they help legitimize lawful but extreme tax avoidance, and provide cover for money laundering.
Scientists have long puzzled over something called the “faint young sun” paradox: Even though our sun used to put out far less energy—and heat—than it does today, there’s ample evidence of flowing water on early Earth and Mars. Now, a team of astronomers says the early sun was actually more massive than we thought—and that proof of its mass should be found in sedimentary rocks on Mars.
When howler monkeys in Costa Rica started to develop yellow patches on their typically black tails and legs, scientists analyzed their fur to find the source of the strange transformation. The researchers found evidence that the animals’ pigmentation is being altered by increased sulfur from pesticides they ingest as they munch on the leaves of trees surrounding pineapple, banana, and African palm oil farms.
When Rebecca Cunningham was 5 years old, her mother bought a gun and kicked out her violent husband, who had beaten and threatened to kill her. Now, Cunningham, a professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, is directing the largest gun research grant the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded in at least 30 years. With $4.9 million from NIH’s child health institute and a team of 27 researchers at 12 institutions, she is on a mission to jump-start gun injury research on a population as vulnerable as she once was: U.S. children and teenagers, for whom guns are the second-leading cause of death.