Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Category Archives: Genetics

Journal Club: Phage find clever ways to infiltrate resistant bacteria and shuttle DNA between strains

In the gut, in the soil, and myriad other spots, bacteria reign, forming complex communities—but not in isolation. They’re often influenced by bacteria-killing viruses known as bacteriophages. A recent study in Cell now shows how such viruses can infect bystander, … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Fruit fly hybrids make poor foragers, offering insight into how species remain distinct

  When one fruit fly species meets another, they sometimes interbreed. And yet despite this genetic mixing, distinct species still persist—over 2,000 of them. Evolutionary biologist Daniel Matute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is one of … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Social context affects immune system’s ability to fight infection

Social adversity has profound biological effects in the individuals who experience it. Risk of physical injuries and food scarcity aside, it turns out that experiencing adversity changes how effectively immune cells combat infection. But this effect is reversible, a new … Continue reading

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Journal Club: “Zombie” HIV RNA could cause ongoing damage

Streaming through the blood of people with HIV are cells carrying mutant, incomplete viral genomes—viral DNA sets that researchers have long deemed duds, irrelevant to disease. But a study in PNAS this week refocuses attention on these defective viral tagalongs. … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Human genetics contributes to gut microbiome composition

Microbial communities in the human gut are formed at birth and shaped over time by a person’s diet, and other aspects of lifestyle and environment. Now scientists have confirmed that human genetic sequence polymorphisms also play a key role in … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Mutations in non-coding gene signal risk of celiac disease

Researchers struggling to find genes linked to celiac disease may have been looking in the wrong place. Recent findings have uncovered a gene that appears to amplify risk for the common autoimmune disorder by spelling out not a protein, but … Continue reading

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Journal Club: How to find the rare, disease-resistant individuals who could help forge new therapies

A new study finds individuals who appear healthy despite having mutations associated with severe childhood diseases, a finding that could help uncover factors that protect against these diseases. “Finding those individuals is the starting point for searching for the other … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Tasmanian devils hit with another contagious cancer

Cancers aren’t usually contagious, but a tiny number of them can spread when diseased cells move from one animal to another. One such cancer, an aggressive facial tumor, has wiped out large numbers of Tasmanian devils in Australia over the … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Even in honeybees, early aggression makes for angry adults

A childhood of violence can make humans and other animals violent later on. Now scientists unexpectedly find the same holds true for even the simple honeybee. Unlike people, however, greater aggression in honeybees was not associated with later health problems. … Continue reading

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Journal Club: T-cells transform, defying expectations and suggesting a new therapeutic avenue

Inflammation can help the human body fight off infections. If left unchecked, it can also lead to a variety of inflammatory disorders, such as gout and lupus. Now scientists find that in mice, a kind of immune cell that normally … Continue reading

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