Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

This Week in Science: Sep 19, 2014

In Science this week, a trio of researchers from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Indiana University report new data pointing to the importance of histones and related enzymes for maintaining the patterns of gene expression and repression necessary for proper development across generations. While it is known that the histone H3K27me is modified by the PRC2 protein complex, and that the two work together to inactivate specific genes in many organisms, how this repressed state is passed from mother to daughter cells is unclear. Using a Caenorhabditis elegans model, the researchers show that both sperm and egg cells transmit memory of chromatin repression to embryos using modified histones. During DNA replication, these modified histones are passed to daughter chromatids to provide chromatin memory for a few cell divisions. Meanwhile, histone-modifying enzymes replenish histone modifications and provide long-term chromatin memory.

And in Science Translational Medicine, investigators from the National Institutes of Health and Pacific Biosciences describe the use of long-read genome sequencing to reveal how certain bacteria use plasmids to develop resistance to antibiotics such as carbapenem. Over the course of two years, the researchers collected environmental samples and surveillance cultures from more than 1,000 patients at the NIH's clinical center, identifying 10 patients with carbapenem-resistant bacteria. By analyzing the bacteria's plasmid genomes, they found that plasmid-carrying bacteria were exchanging antibiotic-resistant genes in the biofilms of sink drains. While they found no evidence that the bacteria were transferred from the sink to patients, and they noted that patients carrying the bacteria might not become sick, these individuals were still capable of passing the antibiotic-resistant germs to others. 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.