Weekly Nature

6 10 2006

The availability of a reconstructed 1918 influenza
pandemic virus means that it is now possible to study host reactions to
the infection, and to use such information to inform public health
measures and in the development of new antivirals. A study in mice
shows that viruses containing all eight genes from the pandemic strain
provoked much greater inflammatory and cell death responses than
viruses containing subsets of the genes. This extreme response may be a
factor in the severe immunopathology characteristic of the 1918
infection.

Letter: Genomic analysis of increased host immune and cell death responses induced by 1918 influenza virus

John C. Kash,
Terrence M. Tumpey,
Sean C. Proll,
Victoria Carter,
Olivia Perwitasari,
Matthew J. Thomas,
Christopher F. Basler,
Peter Palese,
Jeffery K. Taubenberger,
Adolfo García-Sastre,
David E. Swayne
and
Michael G. Katze

doi:10.1038/nature05181

First paragraph | Full Text
| PDF (370K) | Supplementary information


PIXFOLIO/ALAMY: Transposable elements affect maize colour.

Once dismissed as junk, selfish or parasitic DNA,
transposable elements or ‘jumping genes’ are now regarded as major
players in many of the processes that reshape the genome and control
the activity of its genes. Christian Biémont and Cristina Vieira
consider the two-pronged evolutionary impact of transposable elements
as promoters of genetic diversity, and as agents for inflicting genetic
damage and causing disease.

News and Views Feature: Genetics: Junk DNA as an evolutionary force

Transposable
elements were long dismissed as useless, but they are emerging as major
players in evolution. Their interactions with the genome and the
environment affect how genes are translated into physical traits.

Christian Biémont
and
Cristina Vieira

doi:10.1038/443521a

Full Text
| PDF (671K)


Hundreds of genes are transcribed periodically during
the cell cycle. The protein complexes involved are much the same among
all eukaryotes, but comparison of large-scale microarray data sets from
humans, yeasts and plants shows that many different solutions have
evolved for assembling the same molecular machinery at the right point
in the cell cycle. Transcriptional and post-translational controls
evolve in tandem and change is surprisingly rapid in evolutionary terms
— over periods of just a few hundred million years. This implies that
even within vertebrates, regulatory systems can differ considerably.

News and Views: Cell cycle: Complex evolution

Cell
division is fundamental to life, and so might be expected to have
changed little during evolution. Data from four species show that the
genes involved can vary, but the regulation of complexes is a common
theme.

Gavin Sherlock

doi:10.1038/443513a

Full Text
| PDF (296K)

Letter: Co-evolution of transcriptional and post-translational cell-cycle regulation

Lars Juhl Jensen,
Thomas Skøt Jensen,
Ulrik de Lichtenberg,
Søren Brunak
and
Peer Bork

doi:10.1038/nature05186

First paragraph | Full Text
| PDF (634K) | Supplementary information


Evolutionary biology: Fly eyes get the whole picture

The
compound eyes of ancestral flies picked up only one picture point in
each facet. The evolution of a means to split up the light-sensitive
cells increased this number to seven, boosting the eye’s resolution
greatly.

"As anyone knows who has tried to catch one, flies see extremely well."

— Ian A. Meinertzhagen

Full Text
| PDF

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