Researchers used CRISPR, a genome-editing tool, to figure out the hidden roles of a developmental gene called WOX9. It usually induces flower branching in tomatoes and influences embryo growth in a plant related to broccoli. By tweaking the DNA in the gene's nearby promoter region, the researchers found WOX9 could induce flower branching in other species. These types of genetic manipulations provide new opportunities to improve crop traits while eliminating unwanted side effects.
A new study employing ancient human DNA reveals how tuberculosis has affected European populations over the past 2,000 years, specifically the impact that disease has had on the human genome. This work has implications for studying not only evolutionary genetics, but also how genetics can influence the immune system.