An evolutionary & developmental biology lab

Month: August 2012

Next WCB meetings

Due to a very unsettled August schedule, regular meetings of the Wine Cheese and Bullshit club will resume in September.  Feel free to bullshit on your own in the meantime.

How do different HOX genes control different sets of target genes?

This is actually an old mystery because the DNA-binding specificities of different HOX proteins, determined using biochemical approaches, are remarkably similar.  How can they regulate different genes if they all bind the same site?  Well, it looks like they don’t all bind the same sites.  This paper in EMBO Journal shows that different HOX proteins associate with different genomic regions in vivo.  How they end up there is still not understood, but presumably it depends on the specific interactions between the HOX proteins and other TFs that DO recognize different DNA sequences.  This is a very intriguing paper – take a look.

More on Heliconius wing patterns

After a long period of cryptic divergence, the literature on the evolution of butterfly wing patters is going through explosive diversification.  Another recent paper in PNAS shows that the evolution of some pattern elements is associated with changes in the expression of a Wg homolog.

A modified RAD-seq technique

A new paper in Nature Methods describes a simplified approach for generating and assembling RAD libraries.  From the paper:

“Here we describe a streamlined and flexible approach for RAD genotyping, called 2b-RAD for its use of type IIB restriction enzymes. These enzymes (for example, BsaXI and AlfI) cleave genomic DNA upstream and downstream of the target site, producing tags of uniform length that are ideally suited for sequencing on existing next-generation platforms.”

Check it out.

Mt Agassiz hiking trip

This year’s lab hike was to the scenic Mt. Agassiz in Desolation Wilderness.  It was a great day – pleasantly shaded approach, just-adventurous-enough climb, great views from the summit, watermelon for lunch, and a swim in the cold mountain lake.  Extra features included a bit of rappelling practice on the western gendarme and a dog-carrying session.  The pictures are here:

Where should we go next year?

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