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Heart transplants for babies, and Big Tech’s tax tracking

A biotech company called eGenesis is experimenting with transplanting the hearts of young gene-edited pigs into baby baboons as part of a study that could pave the way for similar transplants in human babies. It hopes to transplant pig hearts into babies with serious heart defects as early as next year, in a bid to buy them more time to wait for a human heart.

The company has developed a technique that uses the gene-editing tool CRISPR to make around 70 edits to a pig’s genome. In theory, these edits should allow the organs to be successfully transplanted into people.

The practice is proving more difficult. The team is planning to test with 12 infant baboons, but of the two surgeries that have been performed so far, neither animal survived beyond a matter of days. Still the company, and others in the field, remain optimistic. Read the full story.

—Jessica Hamzelou

How tech companies got access to our tax data

You might think (or at least hope) that sensitive data like your tax returns would be kept under close care. But we learned last week that tax prep companies have been sharing millions of taxpayers’ sensitive personal information with Meta and Google, some for over a decade. 

The tax companies shared the data through tracking pixels, which are used for advertising purposes, an investigative congressional report revealed on Wednesday. Many of them say they have removed the pixels, but it’s not clear whether some sensitive data is still being held by the tech companies. 

The findings expose the significant privacy risks that advertising and data sharing pose—and it’s possible that regulators might actually do something about it. Read the full story.

—Tate Ryan-Mosley

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