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Trends in Genetics: TIG

Yuan Gao, Fangqing Zhao
Recent studies have demonstrated that circular RNAs (circRNAs) are ubiquitous and have diverse functions and mechanisms of biogenesis. In these studies, computational profiling of circRNAs has been prevalently used as an indispensable method to provide high-throughput approaches to detect and analyze circRNAs. However, without an overall understanding of the underlying strategies, these computational methods may not be appropriately selected or used for a specific research purpose, and some misconceptions may result in biases in the analyses...
January 12, 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Sören Boller, Rui Li, Rudolf Grosschedl
Hematopoiesis is regulated by signals from the microenvironment, transcription factor networks, and changes of the epigenetic landscape. Transcription factors interact with and shape chromatin to allow for lineage- and cell type-specific changes in gene expression. During B lymphopoiesis, epigenetic regulation is observed in multilineage progenitors in which a specific chromatin context is established, at the onset of the B cell differentiation when early B cell factor 1 (EBF1) induces lineage-specific changes in chromatin, during V(D)J recombination and after antigen-driven activation of B cells and terminal differentiation...
January 11, 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Allisa J Song, Richard D Palmiter
The Cre-lox recombination approach is commonly used to generate cell-specific gene inactivation (or activation). We have noticed that the breeding and genotyping sections of papers utilizing Cre-lox techniques are frequently incomplete. While seemingly straightforward, there are important considerations that need to be implemented in the breeding and genotyping methods to prevent the introduction of experimental confounds. Germline recombination and transient expression of Cre recombinase during development are some examples of the complications that can occur, and conventional genotyping methods may fail to identify these events...
January 11, 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Daniel R Schrider, Andrew D Kern
As population genomic datasets grow in size, researchers are faced with the daunting task of making sense of a flood of information. To keep pace with this explosion of data, computational methodologies for population genetic inference are rapidly being developed to best utilize genomic sequence data. In this review we discuss a new paradigm that has emerged in computational population genomics: that of supervised machine learning (ML). We review the fundamentals of ML, discuss recent applications of supervised ML to population genetics that outperform competing methods, and describe promising future directions in this area...
January 10, 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Teressa Paulsen, Pankaj Kumar, M Murat Koseoglu, Anindya Dutta
While the vast majority of cellular DNA in eukaryotes is contained in long linear strands in chromosomes, we have long recognized some exceptions like mitochondrial DNA, plasmids in yeasts, and double minutes (DMs) in cancer cells where the DNA is present in extrachromosomal circles. In addition, specialized extrachromosomal circles of DNA (eccDNA) have been noted to arise from repetitive genomic sequences like telomeric DNA or rDNA. Recently eccDNA arising from unique (nonrepetitive) DNA have been discovered in normal and malignant cells, raising interesting questions about their biogenesis, function and clinical utility...
January 9, 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Kirstyn T Carey, Vihandha O Wickramasinghe
Splicing and nuclear export of mRNA are critical steps in the gene expression pathway. While RNA processing factors can perform general, essential functions for intron removal and bulk export of mRNA, emerging evidence highlights that the core RNA splicing and export machineries also display regulatory potential. Here, we discuss recent insights into how this regulatory potential can selectively alter gene expression and regulate important biological processes. We also highlight the participation of RNA processing pathways in the cellular response to DNA damage at multiple levels...
January 9, 2018: Trends in Genetics: TIG
(no author information available yet)
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
December 29, 2017: Trends in Genetics: TIG
(no author information available yet)
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
December 29, 2017: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Jinmin Gao, Monica P Colaiácovo
The proteinaceous zipper-like structure known as the synaptonemal complex (SC), which forms between pairs of homologous chromosomes during meiosis from yeast to humans, plays important roles in promoting interhomolog crossover formation, regulating cessation of DNA double-strand break (DSB) formation following crossover designation, and ensuring accurate meiotic chromosome segregation. Recent studies are starting to reveal critical roles for different protein modifications in regulating SC dynamics. Protein SUMOylation, N-terminal acetylation, and phosphorylation have been shown to be essential for the regulated assembly and disassembly of the SC...
December 28, 2017: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Mallory A Ballinger, Mohamed A F Noor
Across species, many individuals carry one or more recessive lethal alleles, posing an evolutionary conundrum for their persistence. Using a population genomic approach, Amorim et al. studied the abundance of lethal disease-causing mutations in humans and found that, while appearing more common than expected, most may nonetheless persist at frequencies predicted by mutation-selection balance.
December 28, 2017: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Amy W Lasek, Hu Chen, Wei-Yang Chen
Drug addiction can be conceptualized at a basic level as maladaptive learning and memory. Addictive substances elicit changes in brain circuitry involved in reward, cognition, and emotional state, leading to the formation and persistence of strong drug-associated memories that lead to craving and relapse. Recently, perineuronal nets (PNNs), extracellular matrix (ECM) structures surrounding neurons, have emerged as regulators of learning, memory, and addiction behaviors. PNNs do not merely provide structural support to neurons but are dynamically remodeled in an experience-dependent manner by metalloproteinases...
December 27, 2017: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Ilio Vitale, Lorenzo Galluzzi
Two recent genomic studies suggest that a large fraction of human tumors evolves in the presence of limited negative selection against somatic mutations. In this context, specific genetic defects enable the establishment of a hypermutant state that may constitute a target for immunotherapeutic interventions.
December 22, 2017: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Moisés Mallo
Since their discovery Hox genes have been at the core of the established models explaining the development and evolution of the vertebrate body plan as well as its paired appendages. Recent work brought new light to their role in the patterning processes along the main body axis. These studies show that Hox genes do not control the basic layout of the vertebrate body plan but carry out region-specific patterning instructions loaded on the derivatives of axial progenitors by Hox-independent processes. Furthermore, the finding that Hox clusters are embedded in functional chromatin domains, which critically impacts their expression, has significantly altered our understanding of the mechanisms of Hox gene regulation...
December 18, 2017: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Raymond Che, Jun Zhang, Manoj Nepal, Bing Han, Peiwen Fei
In 1927 Guido Fanconi described a hereditary condition presenting panmyelopathy accompanied by short stature and hyperpigmentation, now better known as Fanconi anemia (FA). With this discovery the genetic and molecular basis underlying FA has emerged as a field of great interest. FA signaling is crucial in the DNA damage response (DDR) to mediate the repair of damaged DNA. This has attracted a diverse range of investigators, especially those interested in aging and cancer. However, recent evidence suggests FA signaling also regulates functions outside the DDR, with implications for many other frontiers of research...
December 15, 2017: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Elizabeth S Egan
Severe malaria is caused by the Apicomplexan parasite Plasmodium falciparum, and results in significant global morbidity and mortality, particularly among young children and pregnant women. P. falciparum exclusively infects human erythrocytes during clinical illness, and several natural erythrocyte polymorphisms are protective against severe malaria. Since erythrocytes are enucleated and lack DNA, genetic approaches to understand erythrocyte determinants of malaria infection have historically been limited. This review highlights recent advances in the use of hematopoietic stem cells to facilitate genetic screening for malaria host factors...
December 14, 2017: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Qinyu Sun, Qinyu Hao, Kannanganattu V Prasanth
A significant portion of the human genome encodes genes that transcribe long nonprotein-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). A large number of lncRNAs localize in the nucleus, either enriched on the chromatin or localized to specific subnuclear compartments. Nuclear lncRNAs participate in several biological processes, including chromatin organization, and transcriptional and post-transcriptional gene expression, and also act as structural scaffolds of nuclear domains. Here, we highlight recent studies demonstrating the role of lncRNAs in regulating gene expression and nuclear organization in mammalian cells...
December 14, 2017: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Tyler J Stevenson
Biological rhythms are pervasive in nature, yet our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that govern timing is far from complete. The rapidly emerging research focus on epigenetic plasticity has revealed a system that is highly dynamic and reversible. In this Opinion, I propose an epigenetic clock model that outlines how molecular modifications, such as DNA methylation, are integral components for timing endogenous biological rhythms. The hypothesis proposed is that an epigenetic clock serves to maintain the period of molecular rhythms via control over the phase of gene transcription and this timing mechanism resides in all cells, from unicellular to complex organisms...
December 5, 2017: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Mikhail V Matz
The application of genomic approaches to 'obscure model organisms' (OMOs), meaning species with no prior genomic resources, enables increasingly sophisticated studies of the genomic basis of evolution, acclimatization, and adaptation in real ecological contexts. I consider here ecological questions that can be addressed using OMOs, and indicate optimal sequencing and data-handling solutions for each case. With this I hope to promote the diversity of OMO-based projects that would capitalize on the peculiarities of the natural history of OMOs and could feasibly be completed within the scope of a single PhD thesis...
November 29, 2017: Trends in Genetics: TIG
(no author information available yet)
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 28, 2017: Trends in Genetics: TIG
Payam A Gammage, Carlos T Moraes, Michal Minczuk
In recent years mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has transitioned to greater prominence across diverse areas of biology and medicine. The recognition of mitochondria as a major biochemical hub, contributions of mitochondrial dysfunction to various diseases, and several high-profile attempts to prevent hereditary mtDNA disease through mitochondrial replacement therapy have roused interest in the organellar genome. Subsequently, attempts to manipulate mtDNA have been galvanized, although with few robust advances and much controversy...
November 24, 2017: Trends in Genetics: TIG
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