World

4 things you wanted to know about gene editing

Feb 1, 2016
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Regulators in the UK today approved research on human embryos using CRISPR-Cas9, a controversial form of gene editing that has been exciting scientists and alarming bioethicists around the world.

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 Mark Kauzlarich/Reuters  

The Iowa Caucus baffles many Americans. It’s the first "vote" of a presidential campaign. But its processes are a little mysterious.

There’s some kind of poll by both parties for each of the 99 counties and 1681 precincts in the Hawkeye state. Some precincts pool their efforts, so that, in all, there are about 900 separate community Caucus meetings.

And that’s one of the most unusual things: That people actually have to go out in the evening on Caucus day and listen to an hour or two of speeches before making their choice.

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Josue Decavele

The Zika virus, which has been declared a global emergency by the WHO, has been known for decades in East Africa. But until now, its reputation in Africa has been much less serious. 

When some Western musicians picture life in India, they seem to think you can't turn a corner without someone blasting you in the face with brightly colored powder.

The World Health Organization announced Monday a public health emergency. The cause for alarm is the cluster of birth defects among babies born to mothers infected with the Zika virus, which has spread rapidly through Brazil and much of Latin America since 2015.

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Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

For the first time, the government is allowing scientists to edit the DNA inside human embryos. As NPR's health correspondent, Rob Stein, reports, that's extremely controversial.

Editor's note: A previous version of this piece was published prematurely and contained a number of errors and mischaracterizations of Tom Gjelten's original reporting. We have corrected this post.

Benoit Violier, the renowned 44-year-old chef of Restaurant de l'Hôtel de Ville in Crissier, Switzerland, has died in what police say has the look of a suicide. The authorities say they found Violier's body next to a gun in his home.

For years now, the Restaurant de l'Hôtel de Ville has won the coveted three stars in the annual Michelin restaurant guide. In December, it was named No. 1 on La Liste, a French survey of the best restaurants worldwide.

The World Health Organization has declared the cluster of microcephaly associated with the spread of the Zika virus to be a public health emergency of international concern — a designation reserved for an"extraordinary event" that is "serious, unusual or unexpected."

Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO's director-general, said during a press briefing Monday that an international coordinated response was needed to improve mosquito control as well as to expedite the development of tests that detect the Zika virus.

Last October, China ended its 35-year-old policy of restricting most urban families to one child. Commonly referred to as the "one-child" policy, the restrictions were actually a collection of rules that governed how many children married couples could have.

"The basic idea was to encourage everybody, by coercion if necessary, to keep to ... one child," journalist Mei Fong tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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