In Nature this week, a team from Wageningen University reports on the identification of a gene that regulates the initiation of tuber development and plant maturity in potatoes. The plant originated in the Andes and evolved short day-dependent tuber formation as a propagation strategy. In more northern latitudes such as the US and Europe, potatoes needed to adapt to being grown in long-day conditions. The researchers identified a gene responsible for early tuberization in such an environment and suggest that the trait helped form the basis for the plant's domestication in northern countries.
Meanwhile, in Nature Genetics, researchers from the University of Michigan describe newly identified genetic variants associated with age-related macular degeneration. They conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for the disease, including over 17,000 individuals with advanced AMD and 60,000 healthy controls. They found seven genomic regions newly associated with AMD risk and 19 associated regions overall, providing "new directions for biological, genetic and therapeutic studies of AMD."
Our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this report here.