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Volume 53 Issue 3, March 2021

Volume 53 Issue 3

Butterfly wing-pattern polymorphisms

The picture shows a female Heliconius numata isabellinus from eastern Peru. Heliconius numata is an Amazonian butterfly displaying one of the most impressive wing-pattern polymorphisms known, with up to seven morphs coexisting in a single population. This variation is controlled by chromosomal inversions, which ‘lock together’ wing-pattern genes but also harbor an excess of deleterious mutations. Analyzing how this mutational load is associated with the evolution of chromosomal rearrangements provides new insight into the formation of complex polymorphisms in nature.

See Jay et al.

Image: Mathieu Joron. Cover Design: Valentina Monaco.

World View

  • World View |

    It’s time for a paradigm shift in the scientific enterprise. Our social responsibilities, especially as stakeholders in a field such as genetics, are central to the responsible conduct of research.

    • Daphne Oluwaseun Martschenko
    • Markia Smith


  • Comment |

    The National Cancer Institute (NCI) Genomic Data Commons (GDC) contains more than 2.9 petabytes of genomic and associated clinical data from more than 60 NCI-funded and other contributed cancer genomics research projects. The GDC consists of five applications over a common data model and a common application programming interface.

    • Allison P. Heath
    • Vincent Ferretti
    • Robert L. Grossman

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Chromatin structure, specifically sites of open or accessible chromatin, regulates transcription-factor binding, thereby determining cell-type-specific gene expression. Two new studies identify a constant requirement for SWI/SNF-complex remodeling to maintain open chromatin. In both studies, acute inhibition or degradation of the BRG1 or BRM ATPase subunits through chemical or genetic methods led to a loss of chromatin accessibility, in some cases affecting transcription-factor binding and altered gene expression.

    • Diana C. Hargreaves
  • News & Views |

    Chromosomal inversions frequently underlie distinct phenotypic variation. A new study shows that in butterflies, inversion haplotypes accumulate deleterious mutations that prevent fixation in natural populations.

    • Clemens Küpper
  • News & Views |

    A new study builds a novel deep-learning approach to unravel the syntax of transcription-factor binding from high-resolution ChIP–nexus data. In silico simulations lead to experimental validation of complex sequence-based predictions: helical periodicity and directional cooperativity between transcription factors.

    • Emily R. Miraldi
    • Xiaoting Chen
    • Matthew T. Weirauch




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