In this week's Science, researchers from Decode Genetics and their collaborators report on genetic nurture — a phenomenon wherein parental genes that are not transmitted to offspring can still affect a child's phenotypes by influencing the family environment. They studied associations between educational attainment in 21,637 individuals and their parents' nontransmitted genes linked to the trait, and found that parents' non-inherited genotype affected approximately 30 percent of the child's educational attainment. Further analysis showed that fathers and mothers have similar effects on their children's educational attainment, but mothers contribute more than fathers to nutrition- and health-related traits. GenomeWeb has more on this, here.
Also in Science, a Weizmann Institute of Science team publishes a comprehensive characterization of bacterial antiphage defense systems, identifying a number of previously unknown ones. The scientists examined gene families clustered next to known defense genes in prokaryotic genomes, engineering candidate systems into bacteria to test their antiphage activity. They discovered nine new antiphage systems and one antiplasmid systems that are widespread in microbes, including ones that adopted components of the bacterial flagella and condensin complexes The data also point to "a common, ancient ancestry of innate immunity components shared between animals, plants, and bacteria," the researchers state.