Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Category Archives: Genetics

Journal Club: Epigenetic marks may reveal how the environment affected ancient societies

Ancient DNA can shed light on the past in myriad ways — for instance, genes and mutations may reveal important adaptations or physiological changes. But gene-regulating molecules latched onto the DNA, known as epigenetic marks, may also reveal important clues. … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Study reveals most comprehensive snake family tree to date

Snakes are incredibly diverse, with more than 3,400 living species found on land and in the water. But little is known about how the first serpents looked and behaved. Now scientists at Yale University have reconstructed what the ancestor of … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Newly found mutation contributes to irregular chromosome number, a major cause of pregnancy loss

When a baby does not make it to term, an irregular number of chromosomes in the embryo is often the root cause. The phenomenon, known as aneuploidy, is surprisingly common: it can be detected in roughly three-quarters of human embryos … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Cultivated sweet potatoes were genetically modified — naturally 

The first genetically modified foods were not human creations. Scientists have now found that sweet potatoes all over the world naturally contain bacterial genes that the microbes introduced. Such transgenes may have provided attractive traits for domestication, researchers added. The … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Genetic detective work suggests a crucial role for Maya in papaya domestication

Papaya is a multimillion-dollar crop with a complicated sex life. Now plant geneticist Ray Ming at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his colleagues find that hermaphrodite papayas, the version most useful to farmers, most likely arose due to … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Newly found tiny peptides may have a big role

Tiny proteins known as micropeptides can play key roles in developmental biology. These molecules are encoded by equally little bits of DNA known as short or small open reading frames that often escape detection amidst an extraordinary number of meaningless … Continue reading

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Journal Club: High-throughput sequencing transforms the study of human evolution

In the last five years, great strides have been made in the field of human evolution, such as the sequencing of the Neanderthal genome that revealed that modern humans and Neanderthals interbred, and the discovery of an extinct branch of … Continue reading

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Tracking the spread of a cancer

As a cancer spreads throughout a person’s body—bits of a primary tumor lodging themselves in new organs and spawning new tumors—the cancerous cells are constantly changing and evolving. Exactly when, and how fast, cancers spread—or metastasize—and how the timing of … Continue reading

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A genetic connection to alcohol consumption

Identifying genes for alcoholism has been tricky due to its complex nature. Now scientists have found a gene in rats linked to increased alcohol consumption and preference that could one day be a potential target for therapies, report findings detailed … Continue reading

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Evidence of ancient migration from Eurasia to Africa

Investigators of human population genetics often assume that migrations in human history have been in the direction away from Africa — from Africa to the Middle East, then on to Europe and East Asia, and then on to the Americas … Continue reading

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