Split Ends: New studies show how DNA crossovers can drive healthy, abnormal sperm, egg cell division

Human genetic diversity wouldn’t be possible without DNA crossovers in egg and sperm cells. Two Harvard Medical School studies provide new insights into how crossovers go right–and wrong, leading to infertility, miscarriages and birth defects.

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Benefits of Fetal Surgery for Spina Bifida Persist in School-Age Children

In a follow-up to the landmark 2011 study that demonstrated prenatal surgery for spina bifida has measurable benefits over surgery after birth for one of the most disabling neural tube defects, researchers have published new findings. These findings show significant physical and emotional benefits a decade later in school-age children who received corrective surgery in the womb for myelomeningocele, the most severe form of spina bifida.

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BREAK POINT

At a glance:

Experiments in worms reveal the molecular damage caused by DEHP, a chemical commonly used to make plastics flexible
DEHP interferes with proper cell division during egg formation, leads to excessive DNA breakage, alters chromosome appearance
Abnormalities help explain known link between DEHP and human birth defects, male infertility
If replicated in further research, the insights can help inform regulatory changes, consumer choice

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