In Science this week, a trio of investigators from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center report "a general strategy for studying nucleosome dynamics and uncover nucleosome turnover differences across the genome that are likely to have functional importance for epigenome maintenance, gene regulation, and control of DNA replication." Namely, they found that nucleosome turnover occurs rapidly over active gene bodies, epigenetic regulators, and replication origins in Drosophila cells.
Researchers in Tokyo report their elucidation of a horizontal gene transfer event that moved a nuclear monocot gene into the genome of Striga hermonthica, a parasitic plant. In their analysis of expressed sequence tags, they found that "S. hermonthica contains a nuclear gene that is widely conserved among grass species but is not found in other eudicots."
In Science Translational Medicine this week, a team of researchers in Boston reports their comprehensive metabolomic investigation of human plasma before and after exercise. They measure more than 200 metabolites using mass spec and identified several "metabolites that were highly correlated with fitness parameters." Plasma metabolic profiles obtained during exercise supply signatures of cardiovascular disease susceptibility as well as exercise performance, the authors suggest.
Science has an interview with Francis Collins this week. The National Institutes of Health director speaks of the 2011 budget — though it is yet unknown, "the signs are not particularly good that the Congress will do better than the president's budget," which represents and increase of 3.2 percent — and the potential implications for grant applicants. "We will undoubtedly have to look at draconian things like downward negotiations, which means cutting the budgets of approved grants in order to try to free up dollars to fund more grants," Collins tells Science. "We are trying to protect certain parts of the enterprise. Postdoc training slots, for instance. But I'm sorry, I can't come up with a magic solution here that is going to reduce all of the pain."