Juicy Genomics

When Pulitzer Prize and Grammy award winner Kendrick Lamar rapped “I got millions, I got riches buildin’ in my DNA,” he almost certainly wasn’t talking about the humble tomato. But a new study unveiling more than 230,000 DNA differences across 100 tomato varieties which will allow breeders and scientists to engineer larger, juicier, more profitable plants, proves that tomatoes indeed have riches buildin’ in their DNA, too.

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Researchers identify most powerful gene variant for height known to date

• Newly discovered gene variant in Peruvian populations is powerfully linked with height
• Five percent of Peruvians carry the variant, which originates exclusively from Native American populations
• The variant occurs on a gene that, when mutated, causes Marfan syndrome, a condition marked by connective tissue abnormalities, including serious cardiovascular problems
• The newly discovered variant is not associated with disease and may confer adaptive evolutionary advantage to populations that carry it

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NEI researchers link age-related DNA modifications to susceptibility to eye disease

National Eye Institute (NEI) researchers profiling epigenomic changes in light-sensing mouse photoreceptors have a clearer picture of how age-related eye diseases may be linked to age-related changes in the regulation of gene expression. The findings, published online April 21 in Cell Reports, suggest that the epigenome could be targeted as a therapeutic strategy to prevent leading causes of vision loss, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

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New drug target for prostate cancer found in the non-coding genome

Scientists at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre have identified the drivers of a crucial gene involved in prostate cancer, revealing new targets for drug design.

Researchers identified a set of cis-regulatory elements – namely enhancers and the promoter – in the non-coding region of the genome, which affect the expression of FOXA1 gene, one of the major drivers or oncogenes involved in prostate cancer development.

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Grain traits traced to ‘dark matter’ of rice genome

Domesticated rice has fatter seed grains with higher starch content than its wild rice relatives — the result of many generations of preferential seed sorting and sowing. But even though rice was the first crop to be fully sequenced, scientists have only documented a few of the genetic changes that made rice into a staple food for more than half the world’s population.

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