Genome editing reveals role of gene important for human embryo development

Researchers have used genome editing technology to reveal the role of a key gene in human embryos in the first few days of development. This is the first time that genome editing has been used to study gene function in human embryos, which could help scientists to better understand the biology of our early development.

Human papillomavirus 16 infections may pose variable cancer risk

Human papillomavirus 16 accounts for about half of all cervical cancers, but researchers have found that not all infections are equal. An analysis of the HPV16 genome from 5,570 human cell and tissue samples revealed that the virus actually consists of thousands of unique genomes, such that infected women living in the same region often have different HPV16 sequences and variable risks to cancer.

Human skin cells transformed directly into motor neurons

Scientists have converted skin cells from healthy adults directly into motor neurons without going through a stem cell state. The technique makes it possible to study motor neurons of the human central nervous system in the lab. Unlike commonly studied mouse motor neurons, human motor neurons growing in the lab would be a new tool since researchers can’t take samples of these neurons from living people but can easily take skin samples.

Gut microbiota of larvae has an impact on mosquito's ability to transmit human pathogens

Researchers have demonstrated that differential bacterial exposure during the development of mosquito larvae (Aedes aegypti) can have carry-over effects on adult traits related to an insect’s ability to be a successful vector of arboviruses. This study represents an important step toward a more comprehensive understanding of how the environment shapes the risk of vector-borne disease.