Trends in Genetics

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  1. Embracing Complex Associations in Common Traits: Critical Considerations for Precision Medicine.

    Trends in Genetics 32(8):470 (2016) PMID 27392675

    Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified numerous loci associated with human phenotypes. This approach, however, does not consider the richly diverse and complex environment with which humans interact throughout the life course, nor does it allow for interrelationships between gene...
  2. On TADs and LADs: Spatial Control Over Gene Expression.

    Trends in Genetics 32(8):485 (2016) PMID 27312344

    The combinatorial action of transcription factors drives cell-type-specific gene expression patterns. However, transcription factor binding and gene regulation occur in the context of chromatin, which modulates DNA accessibility. High-resolution chromatin interaction maps have defined units of c...
  3. Timing the Drosophila Mid-Blastula Transition: A Cell Cycle-Centered View.

    Trends in Genetics 32(8):496 (2016) PMID 27339317 PMCID PMC4958567

    At the mid-blastula transition (MBT), externally developing embryos refocus from increasing cell number to elaboration of the body plan. Studies in Drosophila reveal a sequence of changes in regulators of Cyclin:Cdk1 that increasingly restricts the activity of this cell cycle kinase to slow cell...
  4. Investigations at the 'Four-Front' of Mammalian Development.

    Trends in Genetics 32(8):457 (2016) PMID 27256906 PMCID PMC4958497

    Understanding how and when cells become different during embryogenesis is a goal that is at the forefront of investigations in mammalian development. Two recent studies from the laboratories of Nicholas Plachta and Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz present evidence that cellular heterogeneities detected ...
  5. Transcription Termination: Variations on Common Themes.

    Trends in Genetics 32(8):508 (2016) PMID 27371117

    Transcription initiates pervasively in all organisms, which challenges the notion that the information to be expressed is selected mainly based on mechanisms defining where and when transcription is started. Together with post-transcriptional events, termination of transcription is essential for...
  6. Broadening Our Portfolio in the Genetic Improvement of Maize Chemical Composition.

    Trends in Genetics 32(8):459 (2016) PMID 27235112

    The adoption of recombinant inbred line and introgression line populations, as well as the study of association mapping panels, has greatly accelerated our ability to identify the genes underlying plant phenotypic variance. In tandem, the development of metabolomics approaches has greatly enhanc...
  7. Causes and Consequences of Multi-Locus Imprinting Disturbances in Humans.

    Trends in Genetics 32(7):444 (2016) PMID 27235113

    Eight syndromes are associated with the loss of methylation at specific imprinted loci. There has been increasing evidence that these methylation defects in patients are not isolated events occurring at a given disease-associated locus but that some of these patients may have multi-locus imprint...
  8. Stepwise Progression of Embryonic Patterning.

    Trends in Genetics 32(7):432 (2016) PMID 27230753

    It is long established that the graded distribution of Dorsal transcription factor influences spatial domains of gene expression along the dorsoventral (DV) axis of Drosophila melanogaster embryos. However, the more recent realization that Dorsal levels also change with time raises the question ...
  9. Mitochondrial Replacement Techniques: Divergence in Global Policy.

    Trends in Genetics 32(7):385 (2016) PMID 27206380

    In 2015, the UK became the first country permitting the clinical application of mitochondrial replacement techniques (MRT). Here, we explore how MRT have led to diverging international policy. In response, we recommend focused regulatory efforts coupled with United Nations (UN) leadership to bui...
  10. Can Population Genetics Adapt to Rapid Evolution?

    Trends in Genetics 32(7):408 (2016) PMID 27185237

    Population genetics largely rests on a 'standard model' in which random genetic drift is the dominant force, selective sweeps occur infrequently, and deleterious mutations are purged from the population by purifying selection. Studies of phenotypic evolution in nature reveal a very different pic...
  11. Dynamic Encounters of Genes and Transcripts with the Nuclear Pore.

    Trends in Genetics 32(7):419 (2016) PMID 27185238

    Transcribed mRNA molecules must reach the cytoplasm to undergo translation. Technological developments in imaging have placed mRNAs under the spotlight, allowing the quantitative study of the spatial and temporal dynamics of the nucleocytoplasmic mRNA export process. Here, we discuss studies tha...
  12. NORAD: Defender of the Genome.

    Trends in Genetics 32(7):390 (2016) PMID 27157388

    Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are a fascinating, but still largely uncharacterized, class of genes. A recent paper by the Mendell group identifies NORAD, a novel lncRNA that is regulated in response to DNA damage and plays a key role in maintaining genome integrity by modulating the activity th...
  13. The Meaning of NMD: Translate or Perish.

    Trends in Genetics 32(7):395 (2016) PMID 27185236

    Premature translation termination leads to a reduced mRNA level in all types of organisms. In eukaryotes, the phenomenon is known as nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). This is commonly regarded as the output of a specific surveillance and destruction mechanism that is activated by the presence ...
  14. Fishing for Function in the Human Gene Pool.

    Trends in Genetics 32(7):392 (2016) PMID 27220646 PMCID PMC4912909

    Identification and characterization of causal non-coding variants in human genomes is challenging and requires substantial experimental resources. A new study by Tehranchi et al. describes a cost-effective approach for accurate mapping of molecular quantitative trait loci (QTLs) from pooled samp...
  15. The Long and Short of Circulating Cell-Free DNA and the Ins and Outs of Molecular Diagnostics.

    Trends in Genetics 32(6):360 (2016) PMID 27129983

    The discovery of cell-free tumor and fetal DNA molecules in the plasma of cancer patients and pregnant women, respectively, has opened up exciting opportunities in molecular diagnosis. The understanding of the biological properties of circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) molecules would be essentia...
  16. Escape Artists of the X Chromosome.

    Trends in Genetics 32(6):348 (2016) PMID 27103486

    Inactivation of one X chromosome in mammalian females achieves dosage compensation between XX females and XY males; however, over 15% of human X-linked genes continue to be expressed from the inactive X chromosome. New genomic methodologies have improved our identification and characterization o...
  17. To Be Specific or Not: The Critical Relationship Between Hox And TALE Proteins.

    Trends in Genetics 32(6):334 (2016) PMID 27066866 PMCID PMC4875764

    Hox proteins are key regulatory transcription factors that act in different tissues of the embryo to provide specific spatial and temporal coordinates to each cell. These patterning functions often depend on the presence of the TALE-homeodomain class cofactors, which form cooperative DNA-binding...
  18. Expanding the Regulatory Network for Meristem Size in Plants.

    Trends in Genetics 32(6):372 (2016) PMID 27129984

    The remarkable plasticity of post-embryonic plant development is due to groups of stem-cell-containing structures called meristems. In the shoot, meristems continuously produce organs such as leaves, flowers, and stems. Nearly two decades ago the WUSCHEL/CLAVATA (WUS/CLV) negative feedback loop ...
  19. Nuclear m(6)A Reader YTHDC1 Regulates mRNA Splicing.

    Trends in Genetics 32(6):320 (2016) PMID 27050931

    N(6)-Methyladenosine (m(6)A) is emerging as a chemical mark that broadly affects the flow of genetic information in various biological processes in eukaryotes. Recently, Xiao et al. reported that the nuclear m(6)A reader protein YTHDC1 impacts mRNA splicing, providing a transcriptome-wide glance...
  20. Participatory Genomic Testing as an Educational Experience.

    Trends in Genetics 32(6):317 (2016) PMID 27117243

    Several institutions have incorporated participatory genomic testing into their curricula to engage students in experiential learning, and this has raised ethical concerns. We summarize strategies for managing these concerns and review evidence of the influence of this experiential approach on s...