Monday, January 31, 2011


Ok, so no one probably cares at all about this other than me, but four new ant genomes are hitting the public!

They include one of the fire ants, the Argentine ant and a species of harvester ant. A species of leafcutter ant is on the way next month in PLOS. Including the two already published genomes, this brings the Formicidae total up to 6. Primates currently have nothing on this INTRAFAMILY genomic dataset.

These ants all differ in biology, ecology, etc. But perhaps most interesting is that the various ants also differ in the degree of eusociality. Now we may have an opportunity to look at how epigenetics affect reproduction, colony structure, etc.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

and orang genomic variation

Just to add to Jason's post on the Nature paper -- great that they also have some measure of variation w/i Sumatran and Bornean!

HERE is the New Scientist general summary (thanks Gary)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Orangutan Genome

"Structural evolution of the orang-utan genome has proceeded much more slowly than other great apes. . . "
"Our estimate of Bornean/Sumatran speciation time, 400,000 years ago, is more recent than most previous studies . . ."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Complete guide to cat coat/eye colors

This is fabulous. I would think so even if I wasn't a cat person.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fetal gene screening

"Regulators, doctors and patients need to prepare for the ethical, legal and practical effects of sequencing fetal genomes from mothers' blood." Good topic of ANTH204 discussion...

Your Brain in Love

Amusing graphic of neuropeptide involvement in "passionate love" ... just in time for Vday.

Inner Life of the Genome

Great basic science piece on gene expression mechanisms.
Including this nice summary schematic:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Genetic cliques

New controversial PNAS paper suggests friends are more likely to share variants of certain genes (eg DRD2)

modENCODE Project

Model organism Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (modENCODE) Project.

Starting with C. elegans and D. melanogaster

Yet More - epigenetics on the dad's side

New papers in Nature and Cell.

They " looked at the effect of a paternal low-protein diet in mice. Offspring of both sexes showed altered gene expression compared to controls, including genes involved in fat and cholesterol biosynthesis, consistent with physiological differences in these mice. Modest changes in DNA methylation were seen at many sites, including a reproducible change close to the Ppara gene, which encodes peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α, a regulator of lipid metabolism."

RNA sequencing review in Nature

Nice review of RNA-seq!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Diversification of Bitter Taste Receptor Gene Family in Western Chimpanzees

Variation in bitter taste receptors among 46 captive Western chimpanzees

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Defining and Mapping Mammalian Coat Pattern Genes: Multiple Genomic Regions Implicated in Domestic Cat Stripes and Spots

mapping cat coat color genes...

Also, Hoekstra lab 'news and reviews' bit on the genetics of animal patterning HERE

EvoDevo Hair Growth Schematic

Interesting Ev Anth paper by author (Lewis Held) of "Quirks of Human Anatomy: An Evo-Devo Look at the Human Body"

not-so-missing heritability

meta-analysis in AJHG on 'genes for height" -- common and rare variants

Howler hybrid pelage polymorphisms

old(ish) paper by Aguiar et al on howler monkey hybrids -- nice figure on pelage polymorphisms

Out of (North) Africa...

Balter News Focus paper in Science: Was North Africa the Launch Pad for Modern Human Migrations?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Positive selection on the killer whale mitogenome

Evidence that mitochondrial genomes in killer whales may have undergone positive selection for increased metabolic performance. This has important implications for using mitochondrial DNA in phylogenetic analyses

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Muellerian mimics: not butterflies, but catfish!

Warning signals.

Evolution of mothers' milk

Interesting snippets here, including how breast milk might influence gene expression in developing infants... Maybe something to keep in mind...

Denisovan genome

Seems we should have a post to this here...

"Using DNA extracted from a finger bone found in Denisova Cave in southern Siberia, we have sequenced the genome of an archaic hominin to about 1.9-fold coverage. This individual is from a group that shares a common origin with Neanderthals. This population was not involved in the putative gene flow from Neanderthals into Eurasians; however, the data suggest that it contributed 4–6% of its genetic material to the genomes of present-day Melanesians. We designate this hominin population ‘Denisovans’ and suggest that it may have been widespread in Asia during the Late Pleistocene epoch. A tooth found in Denisova Cave carries a mitochondrial genome highly similar to that of the finger bone. This tooth shares no derived morphological features with Neanderthals or modern humans, further indicating that Denisovans have an evolutionary history distinct from Neanderthals and modern humans."

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Genomes for foodies

"Drafts of cacao and strawberry sequences unveiled."