BioEssays

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Edited By: Andrew Moore

Online ISSN: 1521-1878

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Volume 38, Issue 8, August 2016


Why sex is beneficial
In this issue, Nathaniel Sharp and Sarah Otto review recent findings on why sex persists despite its costs (see pages 751-757). One theory to explain this phenomenon proposes that sex increases genetic variance by uncoupling beneficial alleles from deleterious ones in the same genome. By sequencing whole-population samples of Saccharomyces cerevisiae every 90 generations for over 1,000 generations in the presence and absence of sex now helped to elucidate that this is indeed the case. The authors not only discuss the insights provided by this study but also place them in the larger context of the major theoretical models for the evolution of sex. – kb
Highlighted article: Evolution of sex: Using experimental genomics to select among competing theories (pages 751-757)

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From single cell studies to understanding differentiation
Vladimir Espinosa Angarica and Antonio del Sol discuss how computational modeling of data obtained from single cell studies can help our understanding of self-renewal and differentiation (see pages 758-768 of this issue). These single cell studies have revealed that there is a lot of heterogeneity with regards to gene expression in pluripotent stem cells. Having a better understanding of the differences on the signaling, transcriptional and epigenetics levels and constructing integrative network models will lead to a more accurate identification of cell fate determinants. This in turn may help to increase the efficiency and fidelity of differentiation, an important aspect for the development of novel therapies in regenerative medicine. – kb
Highlighted article: Modeling heterogeneity in the pluripotent state: A promising strategy for improving the efficiency and fidelity of stem cell differentiation (pages 758–768)

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Different and yet alike: How plants and animals recognize pathogens
On pages 769-781 Zane Duxbury et al. review and discuss the commonalities and differences of pathogen perception in plants and animals. Both plants and animals utilize intracellular NLR (nucleotide-binding and leucine-rich repeat-containing) receptors for the recognition of pathogens. There are several different modes of pathogen recognition in both kingdoms: NLRs can recognize their ligands through direct or indirect binding, and NLRs often cooperate to function properly. Drawing parallels from animals, the authors also speculate about the possible existence of a plant inflammasome-like complex. – kb
Highlighted article: Pathogen perception by NLRs in plants and animals: Parallel worlds (pages 769–781)

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