A researcher claims to have edited the genes of a pair of twins, sending the scientific community into debate. (Photo: WikiCommons)


By Jacob Williamson-Rea

Our round-up compiles stories and news, both from here at Penn and around the world, that highlight the intersection of animal, environmental, and human health.

Chinese researcher claims first gene-edited babies
AP News, Nov. 26, 2018
Chinese researcher He Jiankui claims to have successfully gene-edited day-old embryos. He altered the DNA of twin girls, using a rare gene that allows one to naturally fight off HIV. Controversy surrounds this news, and some experts have strongly condemned the experiment.

Malaysia is ground zero for the next malaria menace
Science News, Nov. 4, 2018
Cases of monkey malaria are increasing in Malaysia, and deforestation is partially to blame. Malaria-carrying mosquitoes thrive in deforested areas with felled trees because humans move closer to the cleared areas.

Massive crater under Greenland’s ice points to climate-altering impact in the time of humans
Science, Nov. 14, 2018
Beneath the Hiawatha Glacier in Northwest Greenland, there’s a crater bigger than Washington, D.C., researchers report in Science Advances. The crater might hold the key to understanding the crater’s impact changed our climate.

Palm oil: One woman’s fight to save ‘the last place on Earth’
BBC, Nov. 18, 2018
Sumatra’s Leuser Ecosystem is the only place on Earth where elephants, rhinos, orangutans, and tigers live together. Facing climate change and the palm oil industry, environmental activist Farwiza Farhan vows to protect it.

WHO chief warns Congo violence is allowing Ebola to spread
Scientific American, Nov. 19, 2018
World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warns that rebel attacks in the Democratic of Congo, particularly on the Ebola outbreak center in Beni, have made the virus difficult to contain.

Air pollution cuts two years off global average lifespan, says study
The Guardian, Nov. 20, 2018
Pollution produced by vehicles, industry, and fossil fuels cuts the average human lifespan by about two years, according to a new study. The effect worsens in heavily polluted nations such as China and India, which see lifespans shortened by six years.