Newsworthy Developments

A sampling of developmental biology research advances that have made the notice of news articles and blogs.

The evolution of early animal embryos: conservation or divergence?

Kalinka, Alex T. and Pavel Tomancak. Trends Ecology Evol. 27: 385-393, October 2012. Download free preprint.

Telomere maintenance and telomerase activity are differentially regulated in asexual and sexual worms

Thomas C. J. Tan, Ruman Rahman, Farah Jaber-Hijazi, Daniel A. Felix, Chen Chen, Edward J. Louis, and Aziz Aboobaker. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, February 27, 2012 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1118885109

Asymmetry and Aging of Mycobacterial Cells Lead to Variable Growth and Antibiotic Susceptibility

Bree B. Aldridge, Marta Fernandez-Suarez, Danielle Heller, Vijay Ambravaneswaran, Daniel Irimia, Mehmet Toner, and Sarah M. Fortune Science 6 January 2012: 100-104. Published online 15 December 2011 [DOI:10.1126/science.1216166]

A branch of cartilaginous fishes making do without the HoxC cluster

King, BL, JA Gillis, HR Carlisle, RD Dahn 2011 A natural deletion of the HoxC cluster in elasmobranch fishes. Science 334:1517 DOI: 10.1126/science.1210912

Bioelectricity (cell membrane potential) necessary and sufficient to specify eye development in frog embryos

Vaibhav P. Pai, Sherry Aw, Tal Shomrat, Joan M. Lemire and Michael Levin 2011. Transmembrane voltage potential controls embryonic eye patterning in Xenopus laevis, Published online before print December 7, 2011, doi: 10.1242/dev.073759

How does the fertilized egg eliminate sperm mitochondria? (2011-11)

They are digested by autophagy.

S. Al Rawi, S. Louvet-Vallee, A. Djeddi, M. Sachse, E. Culetto, C. Hajjar, L. Boyd, R. Legouis, V. Galy. Postfertilization Autophagy of Sperm Organelles Prevents Paternal Mitochondrial DNA Transmission. Science, 2011; DOI: 10.1126/science.1211878

7 Responses to Newsworthy Developments

  1. Jung Choi says:

    Nature news synopsis on the repair of damaged heart muscle, reconstitution of hair, and restoration of night vision in a mouse model of macular degeneration.

  2. Jung Choi says:

    Ed Yong’s blog post on a paper showing that transdifferentiation of fibroblasts to heart muscle cells works in a living mouse, and can transform some of the scar tissue fibroblast cells into living, beating heart muscle to aid long-term recovery from heart damage after a heart attack.

  3. Jung Choi says:

    The Cell Picture show published some spectacular images on embryos, showing a variety of organisms including fruit flies, starfish, chicken, mouse and human.

  4. Jung Choi says:

    Induced pluripotent stem cells taken to the max! If four transcription factors induce an embronic stem cell-like state, then what will six transcription factors do? Would you believe they undo or reverse cellular aging?

    Lapasset L, O Milhavet, A Prieur, E Besnard, A Babled, N Ait-Hamou, J Leschik, F Pellestor, J-M Ramirez, J De Vos, S Lehmann, J-M Lemaitre, 2011. Rejuvenating senescent and centenarian human cells by reprogramming through the pluripotent state, Genes & Develop. 25: 2248-2253 DOI: 10.1101/gad.173922.111

  5. Jung Choi says:

    Three Waves of Evolutionary Innovation Shaped Diversity of Vertebrates, Genome Analysis Reveals – a comparative genomics study of conserved non-coding sequences (putative regulatory DNA sequences) reveals millions of putative regulatory sequences that evolved around times coinciding with peak periods of evolutionary innovation.

    C. B. Lowe, M. Kellis, A. Siepel, B. J. Raney, M. Clamp, S. R. Salama, D. M. Kingsley, K. Lindblad-Toh, D. Haussler. Three Periods of Regulatory Innovation During Vertebrate Evolution. Science, 2011; 333 (6045): 1019 DOI: 10.1126/science.1202702

  6. Jung Choi says:

    An article in the Christian Science Monitor science section about birds with mixed gender phenotypes (gynandromorphs), indicating that some aspects of sexual dimorphism are cell-autonomous (independent of hormones).

    The CS Monitor article refers to this earlier article on a Nature publication on experiments with gynandromorphic chickens:

    References mentioned in the articles:
    Agate et al . 2003 Neural, not gonadal, origin of brain sex differences in a gynandromorphic finch. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 100:4873-4878

    Barske and Capel 2010 Sex determination: An avian sexual revolution. Nature 464, 171-172 (News and Views commentary on article by Zhao et al.)

    Zhao et al. 2010 Somatic sex identity is cell autonomous in the chicken. Nature 464, 237-242

  7. Jung Choi says:

    Ed Yong’s blog post on direct transdifferentiation of human foreskin cells into neurons:
    Reference: Pang, Yang, Vierbuchen, Ostermeier, Fuentes, Yang, Citri, Sebastiano, Marro, Sudhof & Wernig. 2011. Induction of human neuronal cells by defined transcription factors. Nature

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