Nature Genetics publishes the very highest quality research in genetics. It encompasses genetic and functional genomic studies on human traits and on other model organisms, including mouse, fly, nematode and yeast. Current emphasis is on the genetic basis for common and complex diseases and on the functional mechanism, architecture and evolution of gene networks, studied by experimental perturbation.
Systems models of the ways transcription factor networks operate and evolve are essential for understanding cell identity, developmental commitment and regulatory variation. Terminologies from different techniques and disciplines may need to be adapted or put aside to make and test these models effectively.
Bacterial whole-genome sequencing of longitudinally collected isolates enables the investigation of evolutionary trajectories, which may inform both the prevention and treatment of human-associated pathogen infections. A new study explores the adaptation of multiple lineages of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to the lungs of young patients with cystic fibrosis and finds evidence of convergent molecular evolution and historical contingencies.
Orchids have captured imaginations worldwide for hundreds of years. The publication of the moth orchid genome sequence opens the door to a greater understanding of orchid morphological evolution and physiological adaptation.
Betalains are bright red and yellow pigments, which are produced in only one order of plants, the Caryophyllales, and replace the more familiar anthocyanin pigments. The evolutionary origin of betalain production is a mystery, but a new study has identified the first regulator of betalain production and discovered a previously unknown link between the two pigment pathways.
Somasekar Seshagiri, James Brugarolas and colleagues report the mutational landscape of 167 non–clear cell renal cell carcinomas (nccRCCs) from multiple subtypes. They identify subtype-specific driver mutations and gene fusions, including ones involving MITF, which result in expression of the anti-apoptotic protein BIRC7 and might thus indicate candidates for treatment with BIRC7 inhibitors.
Guido Sauter, Roland Eils, Christoph Plass, Raffaella Santoro and colleagues report that the gene encoding the epigenetic regulator BAZ2A is overexpressed in prostate cancer, where it interacts with EZH2 to induce aberrant gene silencing and cell proliferation. The authors find that BAZ2A levels are predictive of disease recurrence in patients with prostate cancer.
Martin Reincke, Martin Fassnacht and colleagues identify somatic mutations in the USP8 deubiquitinase gene in corticotroph adenomas in Cushing's disease. The mutations enhanced proteolytic cleavage and catalytic activity of USP8, which led to activation of EGF receptor signaling.
Anna-Elina Lehesjoki and colleagues report exome sequencing of 84 cases of progressive myoclonus epilepsy (PME) and targeted resequencing of an additional 28 cases. They identify de novo mutations in KCNC1 in 13 cases and mutations in genes not previously associated with PME, including PRNP, SACS and TBC1D24, in additional cases.
Roland Rad and colleagues report development of a new conditional piggyBac transposition system for performing insertional mutagenesis screens in mice. They apply the system to identify new oncogenic driver pathways for pancreatic cancer.
Rasmus Marvig and colleagues report the whole-genome sequencing of 474 longitudinally collected clinical isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa sampled from 34 children and young patients with cystic fibrosis. They identify evidence of convergent evolution in 52 genes and suggest pathways involved in within-host adaptation and pathogenesis.
Zhong-Jian Liu, Lai-Qiang Huang, Yi-Bo Luo, Hong-Hwa Chen and Yves Van de Peer report the first genome sequence of a crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) plant, the orchid Phalaenopsis equestris. They identify genes encoding CAM pathway enzymes and find that gene duplication was likely a key process in the evolution of CAM photosynthesis.
Cas Simons, Ryan Taft and colleagues report the identification of KCNH1 mutations in six individuals with Temple-Baraitser syndrome (TBS). Electrophysiological measurements of cells expressing mutant KCNH1 channels show decreased activation thresholds and slower deactivation in comparison to wild-type channels, suggesting that these mutations lead to gain of function of KCNH1.
Stéphanie Debette and colleagues report the results of a genome-wide association study of cervical artery dissection, a major cause of ischemic stroke in young adults. They show that common variation in PHACTR1, previously associated with lower risk of migraine and increased risk of myocardial infarction, is associated with reduced risk of cervical artery dissection.
Mark Walker and colleagues report the whole-genome sequencing of 132 group A Streptococcus (GAS) isolates of a sequence type that has been associated with scarlet fever. The isolates were obtained from 58 clinical cases of scarlet fever and 83 cases without scarlet fever during the course of a recent epidemic in Hong Kong.
Emmanouil Dermitzakis, Alfonso Buil and colleagues measure transcriptome-wide expression in a sample of twins to measure the relative contribution of genetic and environmental effects on allele-specific expression and find substantial effects of gene × gene and gene × environment interactions.
Alan Lloyd and colleagues identify a MYB gene in beet that acts as a key regulator of the betalain red pigmentation pathway. They further show that this gene resides at the classical Y pigmentation locus and shares homology with MYB genes that encode positive regulators of the anthocyanin pigmentation pathway in other species.