In Nature this week, biosecurity expert Tim Trevan argues for the need to rethink biosafety guidelines amid the growing availability of gene-editing tools such as CRISPR/Cas9. He calls for a greater focus on safety before productivity, an approach taken by the nuclear industry, and highlights recent problems at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the global gold standard for biosafety and biosecurity — like the potential accidental exposure of individuals to anthrax as an example of the need for change. To avoid harm, those in biological research must "learn from those doing safety better," he writes.
And in this week's Nature Genetics, researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine and the MD Anderson Cancer Center report on the genomic analysis of patients with Sézary syndrome, uncovering potential new therapeutic targets for this rare and largely untreatable form of lymphoma. Using multiple technologies, the team examined the genomes of 37 patients, finding dysregulation of cell checkpoint and T cell signaling, as well as key mutations and gene overexpression common to many of the individuals. GenomeWeb has more on this and a related study, here.
Meanwhile, in Nature Methods, a group from the University of Utah describes a new indexing strategy to speed analyses of genome-variation datasets in Variant Cell Format based on sample genotypes, phenotypes, and relationships. Called Genotype Query Tools, the approach's compressed genotype index minimizes decompression for analysis, and its performance relative to that of existing methods improves with cohort size, according to the scientists.