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Nature Reviews Genetics


Epigenetics: Getting instructions from mum


In gametes, most of the epigenetic modifications are erased before fertilization, but some epigenetic traits are retained and can be passed to the progeny in a process that remains poorly understood. Two studies now show that histone H3 Lys27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) is important for transgenerational

Genome organization: Tracking chromosomal conformation through the cell cycle


How chromosome organization changes during the cell cycle has been notoriously difficult to characterize owing to technical limitations, with most studies focusing on interphase nuclei. A new study reports single-cell genome conformation data for hundreds of cells in different phases of the cell cycle and

Complex disease: From non-coding risk variant to biological mechanism in CAD


Analyses of the genetic architecture of complex diseases such as coronary artery disease (CAD) have revealed that most genetic variants are located in non-coding regions of the genome. As regulatory variants can act over long genomic distances, the causal gene and specific mechanism through which

Alternative splicing: A thermometer controlling gene expression


To ensure a rapid response to environmental stress, the circadian clock — the endogenous oscillator that controls physiological and behavioural responses to the cycle of day and night — can be modulated by post-transcriptional mechanisms such as alternative splicing, instead of relying only on de

TET-mediated active DNA demethylation: mechanism, function and beyond


In mammals, DNA methylation in the form of 5-methylcytosine (5mC) can be actively reversed to unmodified cytosine (C) through TET dioxygenase-mediated oxidation of 5mC to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), 5-formylcytosine (5fC) and 5-carboxylcytosine (5caC), followed by replication-dependent dilution or thymine DNA glycosylase (TDG)-dependent base excision repair. In

The impact of replication stress on replication dynamics and DNA damage in vertebrate cells


The interplay between replication stress and the S phase checkpoint is a key determinant of genome maintenance, and has a major impact on human diseases, notably, tumour initiation and progression. Recent studies have yielded insights into sequence-dependent and sequence-independent sources of endogenous replication stress. These

Network propagation: a universal amplifier of genetic associations


Biological networks are powerful resources for the discovery of genes and genetic modules that drive disease. Fundamental to network analysis is the concept that genes underlying the same phenotype tend to interact; this principle can be used to combine and to amplify signals from individual

Exploiting induced and natural epigenetic variation for crop improvement


Plant breeding has traditionally relied on combining the genetic diversity present within a species to develop combinations of alleles that provide desired traits. Epigenetic diversity may provide additional sources of variation within a species that could be captured or created for crop improvement. It will