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This Week in Nature: Mar 10, 2016

In Nature this week, two public affairs and technology experts sound off on the rise of the genome-editing technology CRISPR and perceptions about how it should be used and regulated. In the first comment piece, Todd Kuiken of the Wilson Center's Synthetic Biology Project argues against worries that do-it-yourself biologists may misuse CRISPR and that there is "no a priori reason to expect this community to cause more harm through using it than anyone else."

In a second commentary, North Carolina State University's Jennifer Kuzma discusses regulatory concerns surrounding CRISPR and other genetic engineering approaches, before delving into the "product or process" debate and calling for "a governance system that is both informed by the science and guided by the concerns and values of citizens."

And in Nature Genetics, a University of Oregon-led research team reports the sequenced genome of the spotted gar, a fish whose lineage diverged from teleosts before the teleost genome duplication event. They show how the gar genome can serve as a bridge between tetrapods and teleost biomedical models, and find, among other things, that sequences formerly considered unique to teleosts or tetrapods are often shared by ray-finned and lobe-finned vertebrates including humans. The gar genome, they conclude, may serve as a resource for understanding evolution after genome duplication, the origin of vertebrate genomes, and the function of human regulatory sequences. GenomeWeb has more on this study here.