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This Week in Nature: Jan 7, 2016

In Nature, a group from Massachusetts General Hospital presented details about new, high-fidelity CRISPR/Cas9 nuclease that enable targeted genome editing with no apparent off-target effects. The nuclease is designed to carry alterations that reduce non-specific DNA contacts, and when targeted to standard non-repetitive sequences, it rendered nearly all off-target events undetectable by genome-wide break capture and targeted sequencing methods. The scientists view the nuclease approach as applicable to both research and therapeutic uses of CRISPR/Cas9. GenomeWeb has more on this study, here.

And in Nature Genetics, researchers from Columbia University and Mount Sinai present a new approach for integrating genomic annotations of coding and non-coding variants into a single measure of functional importance that is not based on any labeled training data. The team demonstrates that the method performs better than single individual annotations across different scenarios and say it offers a "powerful single functional score that can be incorporated in fine-mapping studies."