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Arguing Over the Epigenome

In a letter to Nature, Mark Ptashne, Oliver Hobert, and Eric Davidson question an editorial that appeared in the journal. The editorial, which focused on the International Human Epigenome Consortium, says that it is "clear that epigenetics … could explain much about how these similar genetic codes are expressed uniquely in different cells, in different environmental conditions and at different times."

However, Ptashne, Hobert, and Davidson say that epigenetic marks stem from the DNA sequence and its interations with RNA and proteins. "They are thus directly dependent on the genomic sequence," they write.

At Adaptive Complexity, Michael White says he agrees with Ptashne, Hobert, and Davidson. "The idea that genomes between species are too similar to account for species diversity is absolute nonsense. And so is the idea that epigenetic information is completely independent of DNA sequence," he writes.

The Scan

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.

Team Presents Cattle Genotype-Tissue Expression Atlas

Using RNA sequences representing thousands of cattle samples, researchers looked at relationships between cattle genotype and tissue expression in Nature Genetics.

Researchers Map Recombination in Khoe-San Population

With whole-genome sequences for dozens of individuals from the Nama population, researchers saw in Genome Biology fine-scale recombination patterns that clustered outside of other populations.

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.