Annual Review of Genetics

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 0066-4197 / 1545-2948
Published by: Annual Reviews (10.1146)
Total articles ≅ 1,439
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Latest articles in this journal

James Umen, Matthew D. Herron
Published: 21 September 2021
Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 55; https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-genet-032321-091533

Abstract:
The repeated evolution of multicellularity across the tree of life has profoundly affected the ecology and evolution of nearly all life on Earth. Many of these origins were in different groups of photosynthetic eukaryotes, or algae. Here, we review the evolution and genetics of multicellularity in several groups of green algae, which include the closest relatives of land plants. These include millimeter-scale, motile spheroids of up to 50,000 cells in the volvocine algae; decimeter-scale seaweeds in the genus Ulva (sea lettuce); and very plantlike, meter-scale freshwater algae in the genus Chara (stoneworts). We also describe algae in the genus Caulerpa, which are giant, multinucleate, morphologically complex single cells. In each case, we review the life cycle, phylogeny, and genetics of traits relevant to the evolution of multicellularity, and genetic and genomic resources available for the group in question. Finally, we suggest routes toward developing these groups as model organisms for the evolution of multicellularity. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 55 is November 2021. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
Shashank Gandhi, Marianne E. Bronner
Published: 21 September 2021
Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 55; https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-genet-071719-020954

Abstract:
Neural crest stem/progenitor cells arise early during vertebrate embryogenesis at the border of the forming central nervous system. They subsequently migrate throughout the body, eventually differentiating into diverse cell types ranging from neurons and glia of the peripheral nervous system to bones of the face, portions of the heart, and pigmentation of the skin. Along the body axis, the neural crest is heterogeneous, with different subpopulations arising in the head, neck, trunk, and tail regions, each characterized by distinct migratory patterns and developmental potential. Modern genomic approaches like single-cell RNA- and ATAC-sequencing (seq) have greatly enhanced our understanding of cell lineage trajectories and gene regulatory circuitry underlying the developmental progression of neural crest cells. Here, we discuss how genomic approaches have provided new insights into old questions in neural crest biology by elucidating transcriptional and posttranscriptional mechanisms that govern neural crest formation and the establishment of axial level identity. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 55 is November 2021. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
Leor Eshed Williams
Published: 21 September 2021
Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 55; https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-genet-071719-020439

Abstract:
Plants exhibit remarkable lineage plasticity, allowing them to regenerate organs that differ from their respective origins. Such developmental plasticity is dependent on the activity of pluripotent founder cells or stem cells residing in meristems. At the shoot apical meristem (SAM), the constant flow of cells requires continuing cell specification governed by a complex genetic network, with the WUSCHEL transcription factor and phytohormone cytokinin at its core. In this review, I discuss some intriguing recent discoveries that expose new principles and mechanisms of patterning and cell specification acting both at the SAM and, prior to meristem organogenesis during shoot regeneration. I also highlight unanswered questions and future challenges in the study of SAM and meristem regeneration. Finally, I put forward a model describing stochastic events mediated by epigenetic factors to explain how the gene regulatory network might be initiated at the onset of shoot regeneration. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 55 is November 2021. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
Baptiste Libé-Philippot, Pierre Vanderhaeghen
Published: 17 September 2021
Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 55; https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-genet-071719-020705

Abstract:
The cerebral cortex is at the core of brain functions that are thought to be particularly developed in the human species. Human cortex specificities stem from divergent features of corticogenesis, leading to increased cortical size and complexity. Underlying cellular mechanisms include prolonged patterns of neuronal generation and maturation, as well as the amplification of specific types of stem/progenitor cells. While the gene regulatory networks of corticogenesis appear to be largely conserved among all mammals including humans, they have evolved in primates, particularly in the human species, through the emergence of rapidly divergent transcriptional regulatory elements, as well as recently duplicated novel genes. These human-specific molecular features together control key cellular milestones of human corticogenesis and are often affected in neurodevelopmental disorders, thus linking human neural development, evolution, and diseases. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 55 is November 2021. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
Sarah N. Ur, Kevin D. Corbett
Published: 16 September 2021
Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 55; https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-genet-071719-020235

Abstract:
The specialized two-stage meiotic cell division program halves a cell's chromosome complement in preparation for sexual reproduction. This reduction in ploidy requires that in meiotic prophase, each pair of homologous chromosomes (homologs) identify one another and form physical links through DNA recombination. Here, we review recent advances in understanding the complex morphological changes that chromosomes undergo during meiotic prophase to promote homolog identification and crossing over. We focus on the structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) family cohesin complexes and the meiotic chromosome axis, which together organize chromosomes and promote recombination. We then discuss the architecture and dynamics of the conserved synaptonemal complex (SC), which assembles between homologs and mediates local and global feedback to ensure high fidelity in meiotic recombination. Finally, we discuss exciting new advances, including mechanisms for boosting recombination on particular chromosomes or chromosomal domains and the implications of a new liquid crystal model for SC assembly and structure. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 55 is November 2021. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
Kook Hui Ryu, Yan Zhu, John Schiefelbein
Published: 16 September 2021
Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 55; https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-genet-071719-020453

Abstract:
High-throughput single-cell transcriptomic approaches have revolutionized our view of gene expression at the level of individual cells, providing new insights into their heterogeneity, identities, and functions. Recently, technical challenges to the application of single-cell transcriptomics to plants have been overcome, and many plant organs and tissues have now been subjected to analyses at single-cell resolution. In this review, we describe these studies and their impact on our understanding of the diversity, differentiation, and activities of plant cells. We particularly highlight their impact on plant cell identity, including unprecedented views of cell transitions and definitions of rare and novel cell types. We also point out current challenges and future opportunities for the application and analyses of single-cell transcriptomics in plants. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 55 is November 2021. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
Yan Zhang, Carol A. Gross
Published: 16 September 2021
Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 55; https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-genet-071819-031654

Abstract:
Bacteria often encounter temperature fluctuations in their natural habitats and must adapt to survive. The molecular response of bacteria to sudden temperature upshift or downshift is termed the heat shock response (HSR) or the cold shock response (CSR), respectively. Unlike the HSR, which activates a dedicated transcription factor that predominantly copes with heat-induced protein folding stress, the CSR is mediated by a diverse set of inputs. This review provides a picture of our current understanding of the CSR across bacteria. The fundamental aspects of CSR involved in sensing and adapting to temperature drop, including regulation of membrane fluidity, protein folding, DNA topology, RNA metabolism, and protein translation, are discussed. Special emphasis is placed on recent findings of a CSR circuitry in Escherichia coli mediated by cold shock family proteins and RNase R that monitors and modulates messenger RNA structure to facilitate global translation recovery during acclimation. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 55 is November 2021. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
Franziska Böwer, Arp Schnittger
Published: 16 September 2021
Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 55; https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-genet-112618-043553

Abstract:
One of the major cell fate transitions in eukaryotes is entry into meiosis. While in single-celled yeast this decision is triggered by nutrient starvation, in multicellular eukaryotes, such as plants, it is under developmental control. In contrast to animals, plants have only a short germline and instruct cells to become meiocytes in reproductive organs late in development. This situation argues for a fundamentally different mechanism of how plants recruit meiocytes, and consistently, none of the regulators known to control meiotic entry in yeast and animals are present in plants. In recent years, several factors involved in meiotic entry have been identified, especially in the model plant Arabidopsis, and pieces of a regulatory network of germline control in plants are emerging. However, the corresponding studies also show that the mechanisms of meiotic entry control are diversified in flowering plants, calling for further analyses in different plant species. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 55 is November 2021. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
Hainan Zhang, Tong Li, Yidi Sun, Hui Yang
Published: 16 September 2021
Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 55; https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-genet-071719-030438

Abstract:
CRISPR-based genome editing holds promise for genome engineering and other applications in diverse organisms. Defining and improving the genome-wide and transcriptome-wide specificities of these editing tools are essential for realizing their full potential in basic research and biomedical therapeutics. This review provides an overview of CRISPR-based DNA- and RNA-editing technologies, methods to quantify their specificities, and key solutions to reduce off-target effects for research and improve therapeutic applications. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 55 is November 2021. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
Thomas O. Auer, Michael P. Shahandeh, Richard Benton
Published: 16 September 2021
Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 55; https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-genet-071719-020719

Abstract:
Defining the mechanisms by which animals adapt to their ecological niche is an important problem bridging evolution, genetics, and neurobiology. We review the establishment of a powerful genetic model for comparative behavioral analysis and neuroecology, Drosophila sechellia. This island-endemic fly species is closely related to several cosmopolitan generalists, including Drosophila melanogaster, but has evolved extreme specialism, feeding and reproducing exclusively on the noni fruit of the tropical shrub Morinda citrifolia. We first describe the development and use of genetic approaches to facilitate genotype/phenotype associations in these drosophilids. Next, we survey the behavioral, physiological, and morphological adaptations of D. sechellia throughout its life cycle and outline our current understanding of the genetic and cellular basis of these traits. Finally, we discuss the principles this knowledge begins to establish in the context of host specialization, speciation, and the neurobiology of behavioral evolution and consider open questions and challenges in the field. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Genetics, Volume 55 is November 2021. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.
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