In Nature this week, an international team of researchers report the sequences of 101 monarch butterfly genomes, providing insights into the genetic basis of the insects' migration patterns and coloration. The scientists examined the genomes of monarch butterflies from around the world, including non-migratory and white varieties. Among those that migrate, they discovered genes involved in flight efficiency, including ones that enhance flight muscle function. They also found that monarch coloration is controlled by a single myosin gene that has not previously been implication in insect pigmentation. GenomeWeb Daily News has more on the monarch butterfly genome here.
Meanwhile, in Nature Genetics, scientists from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center publish the results of an analysis of the complete genome sequences of 863 human tumors, uncovering noncoding regions that are recurrently mutated in cancer. Using new frequency- and sequence-based approaches, they found recurrent mutations in regulatory elements upstream of a number of genes, including one in which promoter mutations are frequent in melanoma and are associated with reduced gene expression and poor prognosis.