February 2012 C
A recent study has given some light into the controversial forensic familial searching, i.e., the association of a crime scene-related DNA sample with other database samples that may account for close relatives. It demonstrates that population structure, which tends to be highly biased on US minority populations, is crucial for accurate associations.
Although commonly associated with diseases, prions have been proven to be a common mechanism of trait inheritance and even beneficial for yeast evolution.
A recent study provides evidence on cell-to-cell plastid movement using tobacco grafts; the authors highlight the biotechnological value of this phenomena as a new gene introgression method that can compete with current backcrossing schemes.
An research group from the University of Iceland has recently reported the most comprehensive genome-scale metabolic reconstruction of the photosynthesis metabolism in the cyanobacteria Synechocystis. With a prediction error of less than 5%, the model allowed for a Biomass Objective Function and holds high biotechnological value.
New findings in an Early Jurassic excavation have led to the discovery of the oldest dinosaur nest reported to present date; it is claimed to be 100 million years older than the oldest previously described dinosaur nesting sites and it also contains embryonic remains. This finding provide evidence on reproductive behavior of dinosaurs and its relations with the behavior of extant reptiles and birds.