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This Week in Nature: Dec 15, 2016

In this week's Nature, a multi-institute team of Chinese researchers presents an analysis of the seahorse genome, uncovering new details about the genetic basis of these animals' traits such as body shape and male pregnancy. The investigators sequenced the genome of the tiger tail seahorse, Hippocampus comes, and found that genes associated with embryo hatching are highly expressed in the male brood pouch. They also discovered a loss of some potential regulatory elements that may have a role on the animal's shape, and that seahorses lack genes for enamel proteins, which may have resulted in the absence of mineralized teeth . Notably, the investigators also found that seahorses lack a gene known to be involved in limb development, which may explain the animal's loss of pelvic fins. GenomeWeb has more on the seahorse genome here.

 And in Nature Biotechnology, a University of Colorado, Boulder-led group reports on a new method for the genome-wide mapping of mutations at single-nucleotide resolutions. Called  CRISPR-enabled trackable genome engineering — or CREATE — the technique combines CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing with massively parallel oligomer synthesis and "links each guide RNA to homologous repair cassettes that both edit loci and function as barcodes to track genotype-phenotype relationships." The researchers envision applications for CREATE in protein, metabolic, and genome engineering. GenomeWeb also covers this more in-depth here.