One major threat to global food security that requires immediate attention, is the increasing incidence of host shift and host expansion in growing number of pathogenic fungi and emergence of new pathogens. The threat is more alarming because, yield quality and quantity improvement efforts are encouraging the cultivation of uniform plants with low genetic diversity that are increasingly susceptible to emerging pathogens. However, the influence of host genome differentiation on pathogen genome differentiation and its contribution to emergence and adaptability is still obscure. Here, we compared genome sequence of 6 isolates of Magnaporthe species obtained from three different host plants. We demonstrated the evolutionary relationship between Magnaporthe species and the influence of host differentiation on pathogens. Phylogenetic analysis showed that evolution of pathogen directly corresponds with host divergence, suggesting that host-pathogen interaction has led to co-evolution. Furthermore, we identified an asymmetric selection pressure on Magnaporthe species. Oryza sativa-infecting isolates showed higher directional selection from host and subsequently tends to lower the genetic diversity in its genome. We concluded that, frequent gene loss or gain, new transposon acquisition and sequence divergence are host adaptability mechanisms for Magnaporthe species, and this coevolution processes is greatly driven by directional selection from host plants.
Andrew Foote and colleagues report the whole-genome sequences and de novo assemblies of three marine mammal species[mdash]the walrus, killer whale and manatee[mdash]and an improved bottlenose dolphin genome. Their comparative genomic analysis finds evidence of parallel evolution across the marine mammal genomes.
We are bacteria, YOUR resistance is futile since we will exapt. Must be a scary episode of Star Trek. This makes a lot of sense, microbes do not have sex, hence they must transfer material otherwise. These kind of studies show us how vast and how fast resistance spreads. There is even no need for direct transfer, the community will solve it. Just like the Borg they simply exapt resistance. Yet another demonstation of the fact that adatation is meaningless in terms of evolution. It is exaptation of existing plasticity.
Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy provides a unique toolbox of experimental probes for studying dynamic processes on a wide range of timescales, ranging from picoseconds to milliseconds and beyond. Along with NMR hardware developments, recent methodological advancements have enabled the characterization of allosteric proteins at unprecedented detail, revealing intriguing aspects of allosteric mechanisms and increasing the proportion of the conformational ensemble that can be observed by experiment. Here, we present an overview of NMR spectroscopic methods for characterizing equilibrium fluctuations in free and bound states of allosteric proteins that have been most influential in the field. By combining NMR experimental approaches with molecular simulations, atomistic-level descriptions of the mechanisms by which allosteric phenomena take place are now within reach.
Arjen ten Have's insight:
Still one of the most interesting issues in protein biochemistry
Big-data analysis consists of searching for buried patterns that have some kind of predictive power. But choosing which "features" of the data to analyze usually requires some human intuition. In a database containing, say, the beginning and end dates of various sales promotions and weekly profits, the crucial data may not be the dates themselves but the spans between them, or not the total profits but the averages across those spans.
Background. Magnaporthe oryzae (anamorph Pyricularia oryzae) is the causal agent of blast disease of Poaceae crops and their wild relatives. To understand the genetic mechanisms that drive host specialization of M. oryzae, we carried out whole genome resequencing of four M. oryzae isolates from rice (Oryza sativa), one from foxtail millet (Setaria italica), three from wild foxtail millet S. viridis, and one isolate each from finger millet (Eleusine coracana), wheat (Triticum aestivum) and oat (Avena sativa), in addition to an isolate of a sister species M. grisea, that infects the wild grass Digitaria sanguinalis.
Results. Whole genome sequence comparison confirmed that M. oryzae Oryza and Setaria isolates form a monophyletic and close to another monophyletic group consisting of isolates from Triticum and Avena. This supports previous phylogenetic analysis based on a small number of genes and molecular markers. When comparing the host specific subgroups, 1.2–3.5 % of genes showed presence/absence polymorphisms and 0–6.5 % showed an excess of non-synonymous substitutions. Most of these genes encoded proteins whose functional domains are present in multiple copies in each genome. Therefore, the deleterious effects of these mutations could potentially be compensated by functional redundancy. Unlike the accumulation of nonsynonymous nucleotide substitutions, gene loss appeared to be independent of divergence time. Interestingly, the loss and gain of genes in pathogens from the Oryza and Setaria infecting lineages occurred more frequently when compared to those infecting Triticum and Avena even though the genetic distance between Oryza and Setaria lineages was smaller than that between Triticum and Avena lineages. In addition, genes showing gain/loss and nucleotide polymorphisms are linked to transposable elements highlighting the relationship between genome position and gene evolution in this pathogen species.
Conclusion. Our comparative genomics analyses of host-specific M. oryzae isolates revealed gain and loss of genes as a major evolutionary mechanism driving specialization to Oryza and Setaria. Transposable elements appear to facilitate gene evolution possibly by enhancing chromosomal rearrangements and other forms of genetic variation.
So for all of you that keep thinking of transposable elements and alike as mere selfish genes that do not contribute to the other replicators of its host, maybe you should read this. Bummer that this happens in a pathogen.
As the amount of biological data in the public domain grows, so does the range of modeling and analysis techniques employed in systems biology. In recent years, a number of theoretical computer science developments have enabled modeling methodology to keep pace. The growing interest in systems biology in executable models and their analysis has necessitated the borrowing of terms and methods from computer science, such as formal analysis, model checking, static analysis, and runtime verification. Here, we discuss the most important and exciting computational methods and tools currently available to systems biologists. We believe that a deeper understanding of the concepts and theory highlighted in this review will produce better software practice, improved investigation of complex biological processes, and even new ideas and better feedback into computer science.
Little is known about cooperative behaviour among the gut microbiota; here, limited cooperation is demonstrated for Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, but Bacteroides ovatus is found to extracellularly digest a polysaccharide not for its own use, but to cooperatively feed other species such as Bacteroides vulgatus from which it receives return benefits.
The evolution of cooperation within the gut microbiota Seth Rakoff-Nahoum, Kevin R. Foster & Laurie E. Comstock
microRNAs are crucial post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression involved in a wide range of biological processes. Although microRNAs are highly conserved among species, the functional implications of existing lineage-specific changes and their role in determining differences between humans and other great apes have not been specifically addressed. We analyzed the recent evolutionary history of 1,595 human microRNAs by looking at their intra- and inter-species variation in great apes using high-coverage sequenced genomes of 82 individuals including gorillas, orangutans, bonobos, chimpanzees and humans. We explored the strength of purifying selection among microRNA regions and found that the seed and mature regions are under similar and stronger constraint than the precursor region. We further constructed a comprehensive catalogue of microRNA species-specific nucleotide substitutions among great apes and, for the first time, investigated the biological relevance that human-specific changes in microRNAs may have had in great ape evolution. Expression and functional analyses of four microRNAs (miR-299-3p, miR-503-3p, miR-508-3p and miR-541-3p) revealed that lineage-specific nucleotide substitutions and changes in the length of these microRNAs alter their expression as well as the repertoires of target genes and regulatory networks. We suggest that the studied molecular changes could have modified crucial microRNA functions shaping phenotypes that, ultimately, became human-specific. Our work provides a frame to study the impact that regulatory changes may have in the recent evolution of our species.
Arjen ten Have's insight:
The authors do not claim this was the trigger for speciation but IMO this does demonstrate how sympatric speciation can occur.
Author Summary The brain is never quiet. Even in the absence of environmental cues, neurons receive and produce an ongoing barrage of fluctuating signals. These fluctuations are well studied in the sensory periphery but their potential influence on central circuits and behavior are unknown. In particular, activity fluctuations in action selection circuits—neural populations that drive an animal’s actions from moment to moment—may strongly influence behavior. To shed light on the influence of
Arjen ten Have's insight:
This is not only a research that has direct biological impact. More importantly it shows how complexity can arise and it is yet another step in explaining how evolution of complex organisms, doing even more complex things as driving a car through a busy city center, can actually have taken place!
The FDA has started testing the precisionFDA platform it developed with DNAnexus. The closed beta test phase is the precursor to a more widespread rollout of the system, which the CEO of DNAnexus has described as being "the most advanced bioinformatics platform in the world."
Arjen ten Have's insight:
This sounds about right but I think we need to see what it actually is. Typically these platforms are more genomics than bioinformatics/biocomputation...
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