Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Category Archives: Genetics

Journal Club: Seedbanks, meant to safeguard key plant species, need to enhance their diversity

Humanity’s last hope could someday rest on a humble seed, tucked away in the cool and dark of a collection. Seed collections, called seedbanks or seed genebanks, store millions of grains, nuts, and kernels in baggies and plastic bins, meant … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Ion channel puts the squeeze on blood vessels, affecting blood pressure

Blood pressure is exquisitely regulated to respond to our physiological state. Stress raises blood pressure. Simply stand up, and the arteries constrict to maintain pressure. New findings in mice show how a protein called PKD2 helps regulate blood pressure by … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Single gene mutation may boost recombination and help produce better crops

As climate change and population growth threaten to destabilize global food security, plant breeders are ramping up efforts to create better, more productive crops. But in order to introduce new traits, breeding techniques typically rely on rare genetic recombination events … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Butterflies get diversity boost from associations with ants, plants

Harvard University evolutionary biologist Naomi Pierce began studying Lycaenidae butterflies as a graduate student in the 1980s. But only recently has she accumulated enough data, from her team’s work and others’, to begin to address the question that has long … Continue reading

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Journal Club: New screening method promises to reveal elusive cellular receptors for a range of pathogens

The surfaces of human cells are chock-full of proteins that help cells communicate with one another. Unfortunately, many viruses coopt these proteins, latching on in order to enter cells. By revealing which proteins are receptors for which viruses, researchers may … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Fruit flies’ internal circadian clocks continually check the temperature

As a fruit fly sails from sunshine into a patch of shade, its temperature drops by 10 degrees F or so. Immediately, certain neurons in its brain spring into action, telling the fly’s circadian clock about the temperature change. By … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Twin study elucidates environmental, genetic contributions to mouth microbiome and oral health

Some of the mouth’s microbial communities may promote good health, while others contribute to cavities, gum disease, and possibly even heart disease. Now, scientists are learning more about how genetic and environmental factors influence the mouth’s microbial makeup, and how … Continue reading

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Journal Club: New roles found for protein key to neurotransmission

  Scientists know many of the proteins that make neurotransmission possible, but they don’t have a handle on how all the pieces work together.  “As someone who has studied the synapse for a long time, I still find it frustrating … Continue reading

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Journal Club: CRISPR elucidates genetic basis of social behavior in ants

Drosophila has been a workhorse of genetics for roughly a century. But as a solitary insect, it hasn’t allowed researchers to investigate the genetic basis of complex social behavior in ants and bees. Now, a pair of studies published today in … Continue reading

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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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