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This Week in Nature: Oct 17, 2014

In this week's Nature, a team led by National Institutes of Health scientists report new data on the fundamental genome-folding principles that govern higher-order chromosome organization required for coordinating nuclear functions. They conducted a genome-wide chromatin conformation capture analysis to examine the organization of the genome of the model organism Schizosaccharomyces pombe, and found that globules are a prominent feature of local chromatin organization. Further, globules require cohesin and are a basic element of chromosome arm architecture, distinct from cohesin-dependent long-range loop interactions between gene regulatory elements in higher eukaryotes. Heterochromatin was also shown to mediate chromatin fiber compaction at centromeres and promote prominent inter-arm interactions within centromere-proximal regions, setting structural constraints for proper genome organization. Loss of heterochromatin, meanwhile, was found to ease these constraints, causing an increase in intra-and inter-chromosomal interactions.

And in Nature Genetics, Chinese investigators publish the discovery of genetic regions associated with selective breeding in tomatoes. By sequencing the genomes of 360 tomato varieties, they found a group whose genetic makeup was between wild tomato plants and ones that have been breed for commercial purposes. Using this group, that found that about 8 percent of the tomato genome is involved in domestication, and about 7 percent of the genome that was selected for during the later improvement phase. About one-fifth of these regions overlapped. GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this study here.

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.