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Insect Genomes Reveal Rampant Horizontal Gene Transfer

Investigators at Zhejiang University and other centers in China and the US track horizontal gene transfer (HGT) in insects for a paper appearing in Cell. Using high-quality genome sequences for 218 insects, the team tracked down 741 apparent transfer events involving more than 1,400 genes, including adaptation-related genes in the HGT-rich genomes of lepidopteran species such as moths and butterflies. In their CRISPR-Cas9-based gene editing experiments, for example, the authors detected a decline in courtship by male diamondback moths missing a HGT-acquired gene known as LOC105383139. These and other findings from the study "provide a resource of HGT-acquired genes in insects," they explain. "This resource will enable users to study the functions of these foreign genes not only in our examined species but also in other insects."

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.