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In a six-minute segment last week on CNN, the anchor Brooke Baldwin was so excited to talk about "designer babies" and playing God that she couldn't let go, even when her guests tried to...

In a six-minute segment last week on CNN, the anchor Brooke Baldwin was so excited to talk about "designer babies" and playing God that she couldn't let go, even when her guests tried to tell her to.

The story was prompted by an FDA meeting on the scientific issues concerning a new technique to prevent mitochondrial disease. This occurs when genetic mutations arise in the cellular energy factories called mitochondria. These are spread throughout the cytoplasm of a human egg--not in the nucleus. And their genomes are separate from the genes found in the nucleus, which are responsible for most of our genetic attributes and most genetic ailments. (Sperm are almost all nucleus and contain very little mitochondrial DNA.)

The idea considered by the FDA's panel was that in a woman carrying mitochondrial mutations, the nucleus of her egg might be...

Much has been said recently about the possibility of cloning a Neanderthal, now that the Neanderthal's genome has been sequenced. Mistaken reports in recent days claimed that a Harvard researcher, George Church, was searching for an adventurous woman to become the surrogate mother of a Neanderthal baby. Those...

Much has been said recently about the possibility of cloning a Neanderthal, now that the Neanderthal's genome has been sequenced. Mistaken reports in recent days claimed that a Harvard researcher, George Church, was searching for an adventurous woman to become the surrogate mother of a Neanderthal baby. Those stories were debunked by a number of science reporters, including Faye Flam here on the Tracker.

Tabitha M. Powledge, who likes to find a theme for each weekly edition of her On Science Blogs, wrapped last Friday's post around Neanderthals and Denisovans, the more recently discovered relatives of Homo sapiens. While praising science bloggers generally for correcting the misleading stories about George Church, she expresses some...

In a short essay at rhrealitycheck.org, Elizabeth Gregory, the director of Women's Gender & Sexuality...

In a short essay at rhrealitycheck.org, Elizabeth Gregory, the director of Women's Gender & Sexuality Studies at the University of Houston, argues that new research linking older fathers to an increased risk of autism, schizophrenia, and other ailments in their children, is "not the end of the world." That's from the headline, and maybe she didn't write it. But it's vague. And if it means we shouldn't be too concerned about the risks of older fatherhood, it's premature.

Rhrealitycheck.org, which I'm not familiar with, says it is "an online community and publication serving individuals and organizations committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights," and a "resource for evidence-based information,...

OK, it's late, I just cleaned up the kitchen, and I turned to The New York Times for a little relaxation reading. And it wasn't relaxing.

Turning to Science Times, I saw this: Nicholas Bakalar ...

OK, it's late, I just cleaned up the kitchen, and I turned to The New York Times for a little relaxation reading. And it wasn't relaxing.

Turning to Science Times, I saw this: Nicholas Bakalar is reporting on a study that found "a 28 percent greater risk for birth defects in babies conceived with fertility treatment."

Why wasn't this on page one, you ask, for the benefit of Times readers who are considering fertility treatment? That's a huge increase.

Or maybe it isn't.

How big is a 28 percent increase? If the risk in people who didn't have fertility treatment is large, then a 28 percent increase is a large increase. If the percentage of problems in the control group is very, very small, then the 28 percent increase is very, very small.

I searched for "percent" in the Times story...