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This Week in Nature: Dec 31, 2015

In Nature Methods this week, the journal names single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) as the Method of the Year 2015, citing its ability to determine difficult protein and protein-complex structures at high resolution. Unlike x-ray crystrallography, cryo-EM does not require the time-consuming step of protein crystallization and can be applied to large and structurally diverse protein complexes. A history of the technology is presented, as is a primer providing an overview of the cryo-EM technique.

And in Nature Genetics, a team led by Columbia University researchers reports on a new approach for the functional annotation of coding and non-coding variants in human genome sequences. The method integrates different annotations into a single measure of functional importance that, unlike other techniques, is not based on any labeled training data. The researchers show that their approach yields a meta-score with better discriminatory ability using disease-associated and putatively benign variants from published studies than combined annotation-dependent depletion.