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This Week in Nature: Oct 10, 2014

The Genetic Investigation of Anthropometric Traits Consortium has uncovered additional gene regions linked to variation in human height. As the team reports in Nature Genetics, it drew on genome-wide data from more than a quarter of a million people to identify 697 significant variants in 423 loci that can explain 36 percent of the heritability of height. "Our results indicate a genetic architecture for human height that is characterized by a very large but finite number (thousands) of causal variants," the researches write. GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this study here.

Meanwhile in Nature Biotechnology, researchers from the US and France report reprogramming Cas9 to target virulence genes so that it kills virulent Staphylococcus aureus that but not bugs that are avirulent. Such targeting, they add, can also destroy plasmids that contain drug resistance genes. "[W]e present the use of the programmable Cas9 nuclease as a sequence-specific antimicrobial to manipulate heterogeneous bacterial populations," the researchers say. "Such CRISPR-Cas9 antimicrobials could be used to decolonize patients of antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as beta-lactam- or vancomycin-resistant staphylococci, enterococci, enterobacteria and toxigenic clostridia."