In this week's Nature, a French National Center for Scientific Research-led team reports the whole-genome sequencing and phenotyping of 1,011 Saccharomyces cerevisiae isolates, providing a view into the genomic evolution of this yeast. The study supports a single "out-of-China" origin for the species, followed by a series of domestication events. Among the other findings are very low frequencies of most SNPs, with copy number changes comprising the largest number variants. "This resource will guide future population genomics and genotype-phenotype studies in this classic model system," the authors write. GenomeWeb has more on this study, here.
And in Nature Genetics, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, describe a new approach for efficient and precise genome-wide variant engineering using CRISPR-Cas9. The investigators used their method to examine the functional consequences of premature-termination codons (PTCs) at different locations within all annotated essential genes in yeast, finding that most PTCs were highly deleterious unless they occurred close to the 3′ end of the gene and did not affect an annotated protein domain. They also found that some genes believed to be essential were dispensable, while others have large dispensable regions. The researchers say that the method will prove useful for high-throughput profiling the effects of large classes of variants. GenomeWeb also covers this study, here.