Research

 

Ferree Group Publishes Research Article on Genome Elimination
Associate Professor of Biology Patrick Ferree
2/21/2017
 
 
Patrick Ferree’s research group published a study that uncovered a unique chromatin basis of genome elimination occurring in the jewel wasp Nasonia vitripennis. Many organisms undergo genome or chromosome elimination that is an essential and programmed part of their development. However, in the jewel wasp, genome elimination is caused by a non-essential extra chromosome that is named Paternal Sex Ratio (or PSR). This type of genome elimination is critical for transmission of the PSR chromosome, but it is very harmful for the wasp. Based in large part on the thesis work of former student Sasha Leibholz (Scripps ’16), the Ferree group showed that PSR causes genome elimination by disrupting three different aspects of the wasp’s higher-order packaging of DNA into chromatin with histone proteins. These three alterations together create an incorrect ‘word’ in the histone ‘code,' thereby causing severe chromatin abnormalities that subsequently cause genome elimination. This work paves the way for ongoing studies aimed at understanding mechanistically how PSR induces these abnormal chromatin changes, and it helps to shed light on how such cases of genome conflict can arise over evolutionary time. The full article can be found at: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep42551  
 

 

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