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This Week in Nature: Dec 18, 2014

In Nature Biotechnology this week, a team from Boston Children's Hospital describes a new genome-wide method for detecting DNA double-strand breaks generated by engineered nucleases. By combining high-throughput, genome-wide translocation sequencing with different CRISPR/Cas9 and TALEN gene-editing nucleases, the researchers identified off-target hotspot numbers for the given nucleases and extended the number of known off-targets for certain previously characterized nucleases. They also identified translocations between bona fide nuclease targets on homologous chromosomes, an undesirable collateral effect not previously described.

Meanwhile, in Nature Genetics, a multi-institute team reports the results of its pan-cancer analysis of mutated genetic networks in nearly 4,000 samples from 12 cancer types from The Cancer Genome Atlas. Using a new algorithm designed to find mutated subnetworks more efficiently than existing single-gene pathway and network approaches, the investigators identified 16 significantly mutated subnetworks that comprise well-known cancer signaling pathways, as well as subnetworks with less characterized roles in cancer. Many of the subnetworks exhibit co-occurring mutations across samples and contain genes with rare somatic mutations across multiple cancer types. GenomeWeb has more on this here.

The Scan

Not Immediately Told

The US National Institutes of Health tells lawmakers that one of its grantees did not immediately report that it had developed a more infectious coronavirus, Science says.

Seems Effective in Kids

The Associated Press reports that the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for children appears to be highly effective at preventing symptomatic disease.

Intelligence Warning on Bioeconomy Threats

US intelligence warns over China's focus on technologies and data related to the bioeconomy, the New York Times reports.

PLOS Papers on Campylobacteriosis Sources, Inherited Retinal Dystrophies, Liver Cancer Prognosis

In PLOS this week: approach to uncover source of Campylobacteriosis, genetic risk factors for inherited retinal dystrophies, and more.