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This Week in Science: Oct 27, 2017

In this week's Science, researchers from the Broad Institute report a new version of the genome-editing technology CRISPR that targets RNA rather than DNA. Unlike traditional CRISPR systems that use Cas9 to cleave target DNA, the new approach — called REPAIR — uses Cas13b fused to the adenosine deaminase domain of ADAR2 to achieve precise A to I edits. With no strict sequence constraints, REPAIR can be used to edit full-length transcripts containing pathogenic mutations and represents "a promising RNA editing platform with broad applicability for research, therapeutics, and biotechnology," the researchers write. GenomeWeb has more on this and a related study, here.

And in Science Translational Medicine, a team of British scientists describes using genome sequencing to track the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) during a one-year period in the East of England. The investigators prospectively identified 1,465 individuals in a one-year timeframe who had MRSA-positive samples that came from one of three hospitals and 75 general practitioners' offices processed by a routine diagnostic laboratory. They then sequenced the genomes of 2,282 MRSA isolates to identify 173 separate clusters of closely related bacteria, and used epidemiological data to link the cases. Because the samples included MRSA lineages from Taiwan and the US, the findings "may be applicable to other UK regions and other countries," the authors conclude. GenomeWeb also covers this, here.