Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hot off the presses! Jul 01 Trends Genet

The Jul 01 issue of the Trends Genet is now up on Pubget (About Trends Genet): if you're at a subscribing institution, just click the link in the latest link at the home page. (Note you'll only be able to get all the PDFs in the issue if your institution subscribes to Pubget.)

Latest Articles Include:

  • Editorial Board
    - Trends Genet 27(7):i (2011)
  • Demography, kinship, and the evolving theory of genomic imprinting
    - Trends Genet 27(7):251-257 (2011)
    Genomic imprinting is the differential expression of an allele based on the parent of origin. Recent transcriptome-wide evaluations of the number of imprinted genes reveal complex patterns of imprinted expression among developmental stages and cell types. Such data demand a comprehensive evolutionary framework in which to understand the effect of natural selection on imprinted gene expression. We present such a framework for how asymmetries in demographic parameters and fitness effects can lead to the evolution of genomic imprinting and place recent theoretical advances in this framework. This represents a modern interpretation of the kinship theory, is well suited to studying populations with complex social interactions, and provides predictions which can be tested with forthcoming transcriptomic data. To understand the intricate phenotypic patterns that are emerging from the recent deluge of data, future investigations of genomic imprinting will require integrating e! volutionary theory, transcriptomic data, developmental and functional genetics, and natural history.
  • Evolutionary genetics of plant adaptation
    - Trends Genet 27(7):258-266 (2011)
    Plants provide unique opportunities to study the mechanistic basis and evolutionary processes of adaptation to diverse environmental conditions. Complementary laboratory and field experiments are important for testing hypotheses reflecting long-term ecological and evolutionary history. For example, these approaches can infer whether local adaptation results from genetic tradeoffs (antagonistic pleiotropy), where native alleles are best adapted to local conditions, or if local adaptation is caused by conditional neutrality at many loci, where alleles show fitness differences in one environment, but not in a contrasting environment. Ecological genetics in natural populations of perennial or outcrossing plants can also differ substantially from model systems. In this review of the evolutionary genetics of plant adaptation, we emphasize the importance of field studies for understanding the evolutionary dynamics of model and nonmodel systems, highlight a key life history tr! ait (flowering time) and discuss emerging conservation issues.
  • Functional consequences of bidirectional promoters
    - Trends Genet 27(7):267-276 (2011)
    Several studies have shown that promoters of protein-coding genes are origins of pervasive non-coding RNA transcription and can initiate transcription in both directions. However, only recently have researchers begun to elucidate the functional implications of this bidirectionality and non-coding RNA production. Increasing evidence indicates that non-coding transcription at promoters influences the expression of protein-coding genes, revealing a new layer of transcriptional regulation. This regulation acts at multiple levels, from modifying local chromatin to enabling regional signal spreading and more distal regulation. Moreover, the bidirectional activity of a promoter is regulated at multiple points during transcription, giving rise to diverse types of transcripts.
  • Constitutive gene expression and the specification of tissue identity in adult planarian biology
    - Trends Genet 27(7):277-285 (2011)
    Planarians are flatworms that constitutively maintain adult tissues through cell turnover and can regenerate entire organisms from tiny body fragments. In addition to requiring new cells (from neoblasts), these feats require mechanisms that specify tissue identity in the adult. Crucial roles for Wnt and BMP signaling in the regeneration and maintenance of the body axes have been uncovered, among other regulatory factors. Available data indicate that genes involved in positional identity regulation at key embryonic stages in other animals display persisting regionalized expression in adult planarians. These expression patterns suggest that a constitutively active gene expression map exists for the maintenance of the planarian body. Planarians thus present a fertile ground for the identification of factors regulating the regionalization of the metazoan body plan and for the study of the attributes of these factors that can lead to the maintenance and regeneration of adul! t tissues.
  • Strategies for viral RNA stability: live long and prosper
    - Trends Genet 27(7):286-293 (2011)
    Eukaryotic cells have a powerful RNA decay machinery that plays an important and diverse role in regulating both the quantity and the quality of gene expression. Viral RNAs need to successfully navigate around this cellular machinery to initiate and maintain a highly productive infection. Recent work has shown that viruses have developed a variety of strategies to accomplish this, including inherent RNA shields, hijacking host RNA stability factors, incapacitating the host decay machinery and changing the entire landscape of RNA stability in cells using virally encoded nucleases. In addition to maintaining the stability of viral transcripts, these strategies can also contribute to the regulation and complexity of viral gene expression as well as to viral RNA evolution.

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