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Hair, Skin-Related Genomic Regions Evolving at Different Rates in Mammals With Little Hair

Researchers from the University of Utah applied an evolutionary-rates-based method dubbed RERconverge to search for genomic regions that are evolving at different rates among mammals that have little hair, like whales, naked mole rats, or humans, as compared to mammals with more hair. As they report in eLife, the researchers analyzed 62 different mammalian species to home in on genes like the fibroblast growth factor gene FGF11. In hairless mammals, FGF11 has been evolving faster, likely due to a relaxing of evolutionary constraint, the researchers add. Genes under accelerated evolution additionally included known hair- and skin-related genes like KRT2, KRT35, PKP1, and PTPRM, and there was also accelerated evolution at non-coding regions, which was particularly enriched near hair-related genes and microRNAs like mir205, ELF3, and FOXC1. "This study has revealed a slew of fresh candidate genes, noncoding regions, and microRNAs putatively associated with hair growth," the researchers write, adding that the analysis not only contributes to "understanding hair growth, but also [to] understanding the evolution of hair across all mammals."

The Scan

Suicidal Ideation-Linked Loci Identified Using Million Veteran Program Data

Researchers in PLOS Genetics identify risk variants within and across ancestry groups with a genome-wide association study involving veterans with or without a history of suicidal ideation.

Algorithm Teases Out Genetic Ancestry in Individuals at Biobank Scale

Researchers develop an algorithm known as Rye to tease apart ancestry fractions in admixed individuals at a biobank-scale, applying it to 488,221 UK Biobank participants in Nucleic Acids Research.

Multi-Ancestry Analysis Highlights Comparable Common Variants at Complex Trait-Linked Loci

Researchers in Nature Genetics examine common variants implicated in more than three dozen conditions, estimating genetic effect similarities across ancestry tracts in admixed individuals.

Sick Newborns Selected for WGS With Automated Pipeline

Researchers successfully prioritized infants with potential Mendelian conditions for whole-genome sequencing or rapid whole-genome sequencing, as they report in Genome Medicine.