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This Week in Genome Biology: Apr 27, 2011

In a paper published online in advance in Genome Biology, a team led by investigators at Austria's Vienna University of Technology analyzes genome sequences for two biocontrol species — those which provide "a strategy for biological control of pests for plant protection" — Trichoderma atroviride and T. virens, which it compares with a T. reesei genome. The team found that the three species show a 78 percent to 96 percent conservation of gene order and a lack of active mobile elements, which it says adds to researchers' "understanding of mycoparasitism" and the "development of improved biocontrol strains."

A trio of investigators at the University of California, Santa Cruz, reports its "discovery of permuted and recently split transfer RNAs in Archaea" using a modified version of the gene-finding program tRNAscan-SE. The team "identified four novel trans-spliced tRNA genes, each in a different species of the Desulfurococcales branch of the Archaea: tRNAAsp(GUC) in Aeropyrum pernix and Thermosphaera aggregans, and tRNALys(CUU) in Staphylothermus hellenicus and Staphylothermus marinus," it reports in Genome Biology. Overall, the UC Santa Cruz trio says its findings show that "split tRNAs are sporadically spread across a major branch of the Archaea, and that permuted tRNAs are a new shared characteristic between archaeal and eukaryotic species."

In the current issue of Genome Biology, Florida State University's Christine McLaughlin and Brian Chadwick discuss their characterization of the microsatellite DXZ4, through which they found that its "sequence conservation beyond New World monkeys is limited to the promoter and CTCF binding site." In investigating chromatin organization in macaques, the team found that "DXZ4 in males and on the active X chromosome is packaged into heterochromatin, whereas on the inactive X, DXZ4 was euchromatic and bound by CTCF." Overall, McLaughlin and Chadwick say that their data suggest that DXZ4 plays conserved roles in expression on the X chromosome, CTCF binding, and tandem organization.

Researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and Genentech report a "genome-wide survey of post-meiotic segregation during yeast recombination" in a recent Genome Biology paper. In genotyping "tens of thousands of genetic markers in yeast segregants and their clonal progeny," the EMBL-Genentech team found that "post-meiotic segregation occurs in close to 10 percent of recombination events," and that this event takes place "with equal relative frequency in crossovers and non-crossovers, and usually at the edges of gene conversion tracts." The team suggests its yeast analysis opens the door to further investigations into post-meiotic segregation and whether it could play a role in allelic inheritance and allele frequencies at the population level.

The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.