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This Week in Nature: Oct 4, 2013

In Nature Genetics, a team led by University of Michigan researchers report on the discovery of a long non-coding RNA that promotes aggressive prostate cancer and antagonizes the SWI/SNF chromatin-modifying complex. Based on the findings, the lncRNA, called SChLAP1, appears to contribute to the development of lethal cancer at least in part by antagonizing the tumor-suppressive functions of the SWI/SNF complex.

Meanwhile, in Nature Methods, investigators from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology led by George Church describe their characterization of a set of fully orthogonal Cas9 proteins and demonstrate their ability to mediate simultaneous and independently targeted gene regulation and editing in bacteria and in human cells. The scientists found that Cas9 orthologs display consistent patterns in their recognition of target sequences, and identified an "unexpectedly versatile" Cas9 protein from Neisseria meningitides. They also provide a basal set of orthogonal RA-guided proteins for controlling biological systems and provide a general methodology for characterizing additional proteins.

The Scan

And For Adolescents

The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for children between the ages of 12 and 15 years old.

Also of Concern to WHO

The Wall Street Journal reports that the World Health Organization has classified the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.617 as a "variant of concern."

Test for Them All

The New York Times reports on the development of combined tests for SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses like influenza.

PNAS Papers on Oral Microbiome Evolution, Snake Toxins, Transcription Factor Binding

In PNAS this week: evolution of oral microbiomes among hominids, comparative genomic analysis of snake toxins, and more.