In this week's Nature Genetics, a team of researchers from China, the UK, and the US report the draft genome of the grass carp, Ctenopharyngodon idellus, providing insights into the evolution and vegetarian adaptation of a key aquacultural species of fish. Based on the work, the scientists estimated that divergence between the grass carp and the model organism zebrafish occurred between 49 million and 54 million years ago. They also identified a chromosome fusion in grass carp relative to zebrafish and reported frequent crossovers between the grass carp X and Y chromosomes. The group further determined that transcriptional activation of the mevalonate pathway and steroid biosynthesis in the liver contributed to the grass carp's shift from a carnivorous to an herbivorous diet.
Meanwhile, in Nature Methods, a group led by Rockefeller University scientists describes a novel approach for mapping the interactions of cellular macromolecular complexes. The screening method enabled the exploration of parameters that affect the stability of interactions in affinity-captured complexes so that physiological binding partners can be discovered. The investigators used the screen on several macromolecular complexes from a variety of organisms, uncovering novel profiles for even well-studied proteins.