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This Week in Nature: Aug 8, 2014

In Nature this week, a Boston-based team of researchers report on the use of the CRISPR/Cas9 technology to rapidly generate a cancer model in vivo in wild-type mice. Specifically, they used the approach to mutate the tumor-suppressor genes Pten and p53, resulting in mice with liver tumors that mimicked those caused when the genes are deleted using an existing technology. Although additional investigating into CRISPR/Cas 9 is warranted, the findings point to it as a promising new avenue for novel cancer model creation, the researchers say.

Meanwhile, in Nature Genetics, University of California, San Diego, investigators publish the results of a study pointing to two genetic mutations that can be used to predict worse survival rates for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma patients. They conducted an analysis of 250 individuals with this disease and discovered that the loss of a gene called TP53 and the loss of part of chromosome 3 predicted poor survival — even beyond what would be expected from each mutation's effect alone. GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this study here.