Volume 53

  • No. 12 December 2021

    Mapping the regeneration of the endometrium

    The endometrium, the mucosal layer of the uterus, is represented as a garden cycling through the seasons: first the stems and foliage grow, then bloom, and ultimately die and wither away before the cycle starts again. These phases in the garden year represent the proliferative, secretory and menstrual phases of the endometrium, which is explored using single-cell analysis.

    See Garcia-Alonso et al.

  • No. 11 November 2021

    Esophageal cancer across countries

    The study of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma combines the analysis of mutations in the tumour genome (mutational signatures) with cancer epidemiology to give insights into the global variation in incidence rates.

    See Moody et al.

  • No. 10 October 2021

    A multi-population atlas of genetic associations

    A Manhattan plot of cross-population genome-wide association studies is depicted as a traditional Japanese painting called a ‘ukiyoe’. Three origami cranes facing each other represent three global populations studied (Japan, UK and Finland), highlighting the importance of multi-ancestry analyses in human genetic studies.

    SeeSakaue et al.

  • No. 9 September 2021

    Lung cancer in never smokers

    The Sherlock-Lung study analyzes tumor genomic changes as ‘fingerprints’ to infer carcinogenic processes and evolutionary trajectories of lung cancer in never smokers.

    See Zhanget al.

  • No. 8 August 2021

    Chromatin neighborhoods

    This cartoon depicts a genomic ‘neighborhood’ with houses and apartments representing genes. The mailbox ‘promoters’ and mRNA mailtruck are all wired into a complex network of cis-regulatory elements depicted as power plants, lighting each of the homes to different levels. A new approach called HCR–FlowFISHallows researchers to use CRISPR to perturb these elements, quantifying and mapping how they connect to genes.

    See Reilly et al.

  • No. 7 July 2021

    Genomic signatures of cancer radiotherapy

    When tumors undergo radiation therapy, depicted here as an intense beam hitting a tumor mass, what happens to the DNA, and how does the cell cope with this damage? Analysis of the genomic consequences of radiotherapy for cancer treatment sheds light on these questions, identifying increased genomic deletions and specific signatures of DNA-repair processes in post-treatment primary and metastatic tumors, and relating these genomic events to clinical outcomes.

    See Kocakavuk et al.

  • No. 6 June 2021

    Genomes of Icelanders

    A section of an Icelandic traditional wool sweater (lopapeysa), with a pattern akin to a double-helix shape near the yoke representing the genetic material of individuals analyzed in this study. The analysis of long-read sequencing of 3,622 Icelanders led to the discovery of a number of associations of structural variants (SVs) with phenotypes, thus providing insights into the roles of SVs in human diseases and other traits. The lopapeysa in the photograph was handknitted by a member of the Handknitting Association of Iceland.

    See Beyter et al.

  • No. 5 May 2021

    Dinoflagellate endosymbionts of cauliflower coral

    The image shows a fluorescence microscopy close-up of polyps of the cauliflower coral Stylophora pistillata and their dinoflagellate endosymbionts. The coral host exhibits green fluorescence due to natural GFP expression, and the symbiotic Symbiodinium microadriaticum dinoflagellates are visible because of their red fluorescence from excited chlorophyll.

    See Nand et al.

  • No. 4 April 2021

    Different tissues, same 3D genome

    This image shows a cross-section through a Drosophila melanogaster embryo at the very beginning of gastrulation. Cells in different parts of the embryo express different genes (colored highlights) and will form different tissues. However, chromosome conformation capture and imaging approaches show that the three-dimensional organization of the genome across these different tissues is the same.

    See Ing-Simmons et al.

  • No. 3 March 2021

    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.

  • No. 2 February 2021

    Ripe ears of rice

    This picture shows ripe ears of a rice variety used in a genetic study that has generated a quantitative genomics map of rice. The photograph was taken in Shanghai, China, at harvest time in early October of 2020.

    See Wei et al.

  • No. 1 January 2021

    The Gemini twins

    Identical twins, represented by the Gemini constellation, are a classic model used in genetics studies. Whole-genome sequencing of monozygotic twins now identifies postzygotic mutations present in the somatic tissue of one twin but not the other, and characterizes differences in the number and timing of these mutations. Thus, identical twins are not always as strictly identical as has been assumed.

    See Jónsson et al.