A study conducted by scientists at the University of Nottingham has found that common environmental contaminants found in homes and diets have resulted in a 50% reduction in human sperm quality over the past 80 years. The researchers tested two man-made chemicals — a common plasticizer di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate, diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) and polychlorinated biphenyl 153 — showed a significant effect on human male fertility. http://bit.ly/2ENh4F9
The Chinese National Health Commission is proposing that all clinical research involving gene editing, transfer, or regulation should be overseen by the government body. According to Bloomberg, “The guidelines woud require clinical trials involving gene-editing and other experimental life science technologies to be classified as high or low risk, and to obtain approval from government authorities before proceeding.” This comes on the heels of the controversial work done by a Chinese scientist who genetically modified twins to be immune to HIV. http://bit.ly/2VCjD2u
Two Ebola treatment centers run by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) have been attacked in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The World Health Organization expressed its concern over the incident. According to a WHO statement, “SUch attacks are deplorable for their immediate impact on lives and for the risk of spreading the disease further.” MSF and WHO staff reported that they were safe. http://bit.ly/2VvoFNW
Reports in the journal Science show that a form of CRISPR genetic editing “shows that one kind of base editor causes many unwanted — and potentially dangerous — off-target genetic changes. While the researchers stress that the mistakes are rare and shouldn’t interfere with laboratory uses of the technology, clinical use poses more tangible threats. http://bit.ly/2VvpiqM
An oil disaster is destroying a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Solomon Islands. A trader ship that ran aground on February 5 has been leaking oil nonstop and there are no signs of progress being made. Australian experts estimate that over 80 tons of oil has spilled into the ocean already. More than 660 tons of oil remain on board the Hong Kong-based ship. http://bit.ly/2VAR05E
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