2016-11-15Evolutionary limb loss is a fundamental and overt change in body plan, but the underlying molecular causes have remained debated and largely elusive. Two new studies pinpoint enhancer alterations associated with limb loss during snake evolution.Mechanisms of major morphological transitions have been challenging to
2016-10-24A new study describes the high-depth sequencing of 10,545 human genomes, providing valuable insights into human genetic variation.Telenti et al. set out to assess the utility of an ultra-high-throughput short read sequencing platform for the high-depth sequencing of human whole genomes. First, to
2016-10-31During meiosis, homologous chromosomes undergo a carefully regulated programme of double-strand break formation to promote pairing and recombination, generating haploid gametes and genetic diversity. Existing maps suffer from issues of resolution because resection spreads over more than a kilobase of DNA from the break site.
2016-10-17New findings reveal how genomic duplications can result in different phenotypes, depending on their size and localization, by restructuring the higher-order chromatin structure to form new topologically associated domains (TADs), which the authors name neo-TADs. The study also shows that the effect of TADs on
2016-10-24A new technique, named assay of transposase-accessible chromatin with visualization (ATAC-see), allows imaging and sequencing of the accessible genome in the same cells.Existing epigenome analysis methods — such as DNase sequencing (DNase-seq), FAIRE-seq or ATAC-seq — probe open chromatin regions, which harbour active regulatory
2016-10-31MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are thought to directly regulate over 60% of human mRNAs and have been found to be involved in numerous biological processes as well as diseases. Nonetheless, the 'rules' by which they identify their targets are still not fully understood. Kim et al.
2016-10-31MicroRNAs (miRNAs) participate in most aspects of cellular differentiation and homeostasis, and consequently have roles in many pathologies, including cancer. These small non-coding RNAs exert their effects in the context of complex regulatory networks, often made all the more extensive by the inclusion of transcription
2016-10-03Once deemed heretical, emerging evidence now supports the notion that the inheritance of acquired characteristics can occur through ancestral exposures or experiences and that certain paternally acquired traits can be 'memorized' in the sperm as epigenetic information. The search for epigenetic factors in mammalian sperm
2016-11-07Cell types are the basic building blocks of multicellular organisms and are extensively diversified in animals. Despite recent advances in characterizing cell types, classification schemes remain ambiguous. We propose an evolutionary definition of a cell type that allows cell types to be delineated and compared
2016-10-24A genome sequence is worthless if it cannot be deciphered; therefore, efforts to describe — or 'annotate' — genes began as soon as DNA sequences became available. Whereas early work focused on individual protein-coding genes, the modern genomic ocean is a complex maelstrom of alternative
2016-10-31Nature Reviews Genetics17, 661–678 (2016)In the original version of this article, the statement that CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) is conserved in most bilaterians was incorrectly referenced. Reference 58 has now been corrected in the online version of the