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GM Car Owners With OnStar Now Can Be Their Own Rental Agencies 195

The Los Angeles Times reports that the world of micro-rentals just got a whole lot more crowded, with the introduction of a nationwide partnership between GM and ride-sharing company RelayRides. RelayRides has been arranging short-term car sharing in just a few cities for several years; car owners can sign up to make their own cars available for short-term rentals to others, so their expensive investment (especially in cities where parking is like a second apartment's rent) isn't sitting idle. Now, the two companies are rolling out that system in a much larger market: the rest of the U.S. Owners of GM cars new enough to be equipped with OnStar monitoring systems will be able to sign up to take part with the OnStar system providing the ability to unlock and track those cars remotely, which might make the bargain more attractive to many owners who'd like to earn money from their cars (and reduce the total number of cars needed in a given area), but reluctant to hand the keys to a stranger. (Cars without the system can still be enrolled, but will require a key hand-off.)

Researchers Create First Genetically Modified Monkeys 134

Several readers tipped news that U.S. scientists have created 'chimeric' monkeys, made with genetic material from as many as six different genomes (abstract). This is significant because it's the first time researchers have used the technique on a primate. From the article: "Researchers took very early stem cells, called totipotent stem cells, from separate developing embryos and basically glued them together, implanting the mixed embryos into surrogate mother monkeys. The cells — from totally different sources — didn’t fuse, but worked together in harmony, forming fully fledged, normal, healthy animals. ... The key here was the scientists’ use of totipotent cells, so named for their ability to differentiate into the totality of possible cells in an animal. A totipotent cell can give rise to a whole animal. Pluripotent stem cells, the type most frequently used in stem cell research, can differentiate into any cell in the body, but can’t become a whole animal, and can’t make other embryonic tissues like a placenta. Totipotent stem cells are only derived from the very earliest stages of a zygote, mere days after fertilization. In humans, totipotent cells differentiate into pluripotent cells after four days."

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