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This Week in Nature: Jan 14, 2016

In this week's Nature Biotechnology, a team of Dutch scientists report on the use of CRISPR/Cas9 in functional genetic screens for enhancer elements in the human genome. By targeting the genome-editing molecules to transcription factor binding sites in enhancer regions, the investigators were able to identify several functional enhancer elements, with two found to have roles in cancer. The work, the authors note, extends the use of CRISPR/Cas9 to studying the functions of the non-coding genome. 

And in Nature Genetics, a University of Chicago-led group reports on the genomic analysis of 38 species of the human pathogen Legionella pneumophila, which is responsible for the Legionnaires' disease. By sequencing, assembling, and characterizing the genomes of the species, the scientists identified large and diverse effector repertoires for the pathogen, most of which did not overlap, as well as numerous new conserved effector domains and domain combinations. GenomeWeb has more on this study here.

The Scan

Foxtail Millet Pangenome, Graph-Based Reference Genome

Researchers in Nature Genetics described their generation of a foxtail millet pangenome, which they say can help in crop trait improvement.

Protein Length Distribution Consistent Across Species

An analysis in Genome Biology compares the lengths of proteins across more than 2,300 species, finding similar distributions.

Novel Genetic Loci Linked to Insulin Resistance in New Study

A team reports in Nature Genetics that it used glucose challenge test data to home in on candidate genes involved in in GLUT4 expression or trafficking.

RNA Editing in Octopuses Seems to Help Acclimation to Shifts in Water Temperature

A paper in Cell reports that octopuses use RNA editing to help them adjust to different water temperatures.