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This Week in Genome Biology: Mar 13, 2013

Researchers from the US and France used comparative genomics to begin defining the core and accessory genomes of nitrogen-fixing root nodule bacteria from a genus called Sinorhizobium. The team started by sequencing and assembling draft genomes for four dozen strains representing five so-called genospecies: S. meliloti, S. medicae, S. fredii, S. saheli, and S. terangae. From there, they compared sequences across the strains, particularly with respect to each strain's capabilities and preferred host plants. "The diversity of genes present in the accessory genomes of members of [the Sinorhizobium] genus indicates that each bacterium has adopted slightly different strategies to interact with diverse plant genera and soil environments," the University of Minnesota's Michael Sadowsky and colleagues say.

A study led by the University of Bristol's Seirian Sumner looks at transcriptional profiles contributing to primitive forms of eusocial insect behavior. Together with colleagues from the UK, Spain, and Switzerland, Sumner (who was based at the Zoological Society of London while the research was carried out) performed transcriptome sequencing on brain tissue from tropical paper wasps representing different social castes. The group's results indicate that the brain transcriptomes of worker wasps tend to be more active those of queen wasps, showing particularly pronounced expression differences at uncharacterized genes. For more on the study, check out GenomeWeb Daily News.

A team from Germany and the US describes work done delineating a de novo assembly of the newt transcriptome. The researchers turned to Sanger, Illumina, and Roche 454 sequencing techniques to assemble RNA sequences representing nearly 121,000 non-redundant transcripts for the red spotted newt, Notophthalmus viridescens, an amphibian with large, complicated, and yet-unsequenced genome. Among the newly assembled sequences were more than 800 transcripts that appear to be specific to the urodeles — an order that includes newts, salamanders, and other amphibians that regenerate limbs or tissues — suggesting some of these transcripts may contribute to the regeneration process. "Our data provide the groundwork for mechanistic experiments to answer the question [of] whether urodeles utilize proprietary sets of genes for tissue regeneration," they write.

GWDN has more on that study, here.