Researchers at the Australian National University used RNAi to silence the expression of DNA methyltransferase Dnmt3 in honeybee larvae, finding that this caused the bees to develop into fertile queens. Normally only larvae fed royal jelly will develop into queens; others will become sterile, female worker bees, revealing the large impact that epigenetics has on development.
A collaborative study out of the University of Washington and Cold Spring Harbor has used CGH arrays to find multiple, individually rare mutations that contribute to causing schizophrenia. Analyzing microdeletions and microduplications in 150 schizophrenics, researchers found that the mutations varied from person to person but were concentrated in genes known to be involved in brain development, writes a New York Times article.
In a news focus, Jennifer Couzin writes about genome-wide association studies and how scientists and doctors will make use of all the new data, especially when it comes to advising patients. More often these days, finding new low-risk variants, Couzin writes, has had "leaders in the field wondering how best to apply recent findings, where to focus the next round of studies, and how to convey often sketchy data to the public."