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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Two researchers have found that behavioral genetic defenses in criminal cases don't tend to affect outcomes, according to Popular Science.

Researchers report that while host genetics influence the oral microbiome, they don't appear to affect cavity-causing microbes, the Economist says.

Pandas' gut microbiomes change as what they eat changes with the seasons, writes Discover's Inkfish blog.

In PLOS this week: comparative genomic study of malaria-linked macaque parasite, search for apple root reference genes, and more.