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Transcriptome Study Tracks Evolution of Root Cell Types in Crop Plants

Researchers in the US, the United Arab Emirates, and Canada have used single-cell transcriptomics to characterize shared and divergent root cell traits in three grass species grown as crop plants: the corn plant Zea mays, sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), and millet (Setaria viridis). As they report in Nature, the investigators used single-nucleus RNA sequencing to tally root cell types and track down related cell marker genes across the plants, comparing gene expression modules, sequence rearrangements, and cell type divergence patterns found in the roots with this "pan-grass transcriptome" approach. "The comparative cellular analysis shows that the transcriptomes of some cell types diverged more rapidly than those of others — driven, in part, by recruitment of gene modules from other cell types," the team writes. "The data also show that a recent whole-genome duplication provides a rich source of new, highly localized gene expression domains that favor fast-evolving cell types."

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.