• Scientists think they have achieved the first gene editing inside the body, altering DNA in adults to try to treat a disease, although it’s too soon to know if this will help.
  • Preliminary results suggest that two men with a rare disorder now have a corrective gene at very low levels, which may not be enough to make the therapy a success.
  • Still, it’s a scientific milestone toward one day doctoring DNA to treat many diseases caused by faulty genes.

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  • Gene editing is intended as a more precise way to do gene therapy, to disable a bad gene or supply a good one that’s missing.
  • Trying it in adults to treat diseases is not controversial and the DNA changes do not pass to future generations, unlike the recent case of a Chinese scientist who claims to have edited twin girls’ genes when they were embryos.
  • The studies involve men with Hunter or Hurler Syndrome, diseases caused by a missing gene that makes an enzyme to break down certain sugar compounds.
  • Without it, sugars build up and damage organs, often killing people in their teens.
  • The key test will be stopping the patients’ weekly enzyme treatments to see if their bodies can now make enough of it on their own.

Wayanad sanctuary yields a new spider

  • A new species of spider has been discovered from the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, a major biodiversity hotspot
  • The new species, Cocalus lacinia, spotted in the Kurichiad forest range of the sanctuary, is taxonomically related to an Australian species, described by arachnologist Fred Wanless in 1981.
  • The head of the 8-mm-long male spider is brownish yellow and there are black lines along the sides of the hairy head region. Its eyebrows and forehead are white.
  • The oval shaped abdomen is yellow and covered with black and white scales.
  • The head of the 13-mm-long female is brownish and hairy.
  • There is a V-shaped black mark on the upper surface of the head and red lines along the sides.
  • The nocturnal spider hides in the crevices of teak plants during day, and hunts at night for small insects.
  • This discovery of a new species of spider from India and the presence of its close relative from Australia supports the theory that millions of years ago the biosphere was united and the present continents were formed by splitting a single big continent named Pangea.
  • It may give more information on plate tectonics and the evolution of modern spiders, he said.