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This Week in Science: May 6, 2016

In Science this week, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, report on the use of the genome-editing technology CRISPR to rapidly identify gene variants. Specifically, they used CRISPR to induce mitotic recombination, which can lead to the formation of a recombined chromosome with a single set of genes, rather than the two sets produced by meiotic recombination. They demonstrate the technique by identifying a genetic mutation that makes yeast sensitive to manganese. 

Also in Science, a team led by Harvard University researchers describes a new method to characterize post-translational modifications of single nucleosomes. The technique involves isolating nucleosomes, then fluorescently marking DNA ends and incubating the DNA with histones that have been marked with fluorescent antibodies. Total internal reflection microscopy is then used to detect each nucleosome, imaging millions of nucleosomes and decoding their modification state. The investigators used the method to directly quantify multiple modifications on single nucleosomes, showing that genetic and chemical changes preferentially affect nucleosomes with particular modification states. They also integrated the method into single-molecule DNA sequencing to determine the location of modified nucleosomes within a genome. GenomeWeb has more on this study here.