Researchers from the US, France, and Russia report on efforts to dial back the set of amino acids encoded by the Mycoplasma genitalium genome as a means of reducing the minimal genome size for the bacterial species. Using computational methods, the team looked at the possibility of reining in or completely replacing cysteine, the rarest amino acid residue in that microbe.

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The New York Times reports that the US Department of Defense has implemented about half the recommendations made to improve safe handling of dangerous agents.

An Australian-led team has generated a draft genome assembly of the invasive cane toad in hopes it will help in population control, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

In PLOS this week: approach for teasing out archaic introgression in human genomes, immune transcription features in HCV infection, and more.

Stat News reports that Maryland is promoting itself to the biotech industry with a mobile billboard.