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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Satellite DNA evolution: old ideas, new approaches.

A substantial portion of the genomes of most multicellular eukaryotes consists of large arrays of tandemly repeated sequence, collectively called satellite DNA. The processes generating and maintaining different satellite DNA abundances across lineages are important to understand as satellites have been linked to chromosome mis-segregation, disease phenotypes, and reproductive isolation between species. While much theory has been developed to describe satellite evolution, empirical tests of these models have fallen short because of the challenges in assessing satellite repeat regions of the genome. Advances in computational tools and sequencing technologies now enable identification and quantification of satellite sequences genome-wide. Here, we…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Tracing the de novo origin of protein-coding genes in yeast.

De novo genes are very important for evolutionary innovation. However, how these genes originate and spread remains largely unknown. To better understand this, we rigorously searched for de novo genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae S288C and examined their spread and fixation in the population. Here, we identified 84 de novo genes in S. cerevisiae S288C since the divergence with their sister groups. Transcriptome and ribosome profiling data revealed at least 8 (10%) and 28 (33%) de novo genes being expressed and translated only under specific conditions, respectively. DNA microarray data, based on 2-fold change, showed that 87% of the de novo genes…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Moving forward: recent developments for the ferret biomedical research model.

Since the initial report in 1911, the domestic ferret has become an invaluable biomedical research model. While widely recognized for its utility in influenza virus research, ferrets are used for a variety of infectious and noninfectious disease models due to the anatomical, metabolic, and physiological features they share with humans and their susceptibility to many human pathogens. However, there are limitations to the model that must be overcome for maximal utility for the scientific community. Here, we describe important recent advances that will accelerate biomedical research with this animal model. Copyright © 2018 Albrecht et al.

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Meeting report: mobile genetic elements and genome plasticity 2018

The Mobile Genetic Elements and Genome Plasticity conference was hosted by Keystone Symposia in Santa Fe, NM USA, February 11–15, 2018. The organizers were Marlene Belfort, Evan Eichler, Henry Levin and Lynn Maquat. The goal of this conference was to bring together scientists from around the world to discuss the function of transposable elements and their impact on host species. Central themes of the meeting included recent innovations in genome analysis and the role of mobile DNA in disease and evolution. The conference included 200 scientists who participated in poster presentations, short talks selected from abstracts, and invited talks. A…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Recombination hotspots in an extended human pseudoautosomal domain predicted from double-strand break maps and characterized by sperm-based crossover analysis.

The human X and Y chromosomes are heteromorphic but share a region of homology at the tips of their short arms, pseudoautosomal region 1 (PAR1), that supports obligate crossover in male meiosis. Although the boundary between pseudoautosomal and sex-specific DNA has traditionally been regarded as conserved among primates, it was recently discovered that the boundary position varies among human males, due to a translocation of ~110 kb from the X to the Y chromosome that creates an extended PAR1 (ePAR). This event has occurred at least twice in human evolution. So far, only limited evidence has been presented to suggest…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

An investigation of Y chromosome incorporations in 400 species of Drosophila and related genera.

Y chromosomes are widely believed to evolve from a normal autosome through a process of massive gene loss (with preservation of some male genes), shaped by sex-antagonistic selection and complemented by occasional gains of male-related genes. The net result of these processes is a male-specialized chromosome. This might be expected to be an irreversible process, but it was found in 2005 that the Drosophila pseudoobscura Y chromosome was incorporated into an autosome. Y chromosome incorporations have important consequences: a formerly male-restricted chromosome reverts to autosomal inheritance, and the species may shift from an XY/XX to X0/XX sex-chromosome system. In order…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

iMGEins: detecting novel mobile genetic elements inserted in individual genomes.

Recent advances in sequencing technology have allowed us to investigate personal genomes to find structural variations, which have been studied extensively to identify their association with the physiology of diseases such as cancer. In particular, mobile genetic elements (MGEs) are one of the major constituents of the human genomes, and cause genome instability by insertion, mutation, and rearrangement.We have developed a new program, iMGEins, to identify such novel MGEs by using sequencing reads of individual genomes, and to explore the breakpoints with the supporting reads and MGEs detected. iMGEins is the first MGE detection program that integrates three algorithmic components:…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Allele-level KIR genotyping of more than a million samples: Workflow, algorithm, and observations.

The killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) genes regulate natural killer cell activity, influencing predisposition to immune mediated disease, and affecting hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) outcome. Owing to the complexity of the KIR locus, with extensive gene copy number variation (CNV) and allelic diversity, high-resolution characterization of KIR has so far been applied only to relatively small cohorts. Here, we present a comprehensive high-throughput KIR genotyping approach based on next generation sequencing. Through PCR amplification of specific exons, our approach delivers both copy numbers of the individual genes and allelic information for every KIR gene. Ten-fold replicate analysis of a set…

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