Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Top 7 genetics papers

A snapshot of the highest-ranked articles in genetics and related areas in the past 30 days

1. Mapping transcriptomes
While mapping every transcriptional start site and operon of Helicobacter pylori at single-nucleotide resolution, the authors identify novel small RNAs, reveal the widespread nature of antisense transcription, and unveil a new technique to investigate the genomic complexities of other important pathogens, such as Salmonella and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

2. Epigenetics in mind
The body's tendency to silence the expression of one parental allele in favor of the other -- a phenomenon known as genomic imprinting -- is much more widespread in the brain than scientists have believed, according to a new genome-wide study in mice. Surprisingly, more than 1300 genes expressed in the mouse brain appear to exhibit "parent-of-origin" epigenetic effects.

3. Translation goes local
Protein synthesis is a complicated game, but for the first time researchers have shown direct interaction between a transmembrane receptor, called DCC, and the translational machinery in rodent neurons, a step that likely facilitates localized protein production.

4. No RNA "dark matter"?
Most of the DNA that's transcribed into RNA in fact codes for proteins, a finding that disputes previous studies that suggested that the majority of mammalian transcripts are non-coding "dark matter."

5. Super E. Coli
The mother cell of E. coli maintains a constant growth rate throughout its replicative life (hundreds of cell divisions), despite accumulating damage and an increased probability of death, suggesting that growth and aging are decoupled, unlike all other studied aging models.

6. How autophagosomes form
Under conditions of starvation, autophagosomes form to resupply the cell by bringing nutrients from the cytosol or other organelles to the lysosomes, ensuring the cell's survival. New findings reveal an essential ingredient to this mysterious process: the outer membrane of mitochondria.

7. New tumor targets?
A scan of 1800 megabases of DNA from 441 tumors reveals more than 2500 somatic mutations, providing the mutation "spectra" for cancers, including protein kinases and G-protein-coupled receptors, some of which may serve as druggable targets.

Source: The scientist

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