Editor’s Selections: Mother’s love, a fishfinder for the junk DNA seas, and hacking aphid behavior

Editor's Selections 14 Comments
By Vincent Racaniello

Vincent RacanielloVincent Racaniello selects several notable posts each week from molecular and cellular biology and virology. He blogs at virology blog.

  • Binary fission ensures that progeny cells are endowed with the same potential for growth and survival. In an alternative mechanism, cell division is asymmetrical, and one progeny cell is made from a “mother cell” that produces “babies.” The best known example is budding in yeast.
  • Protein-coding sequences only occupy about 1.5% of the roughly 3 billion base pairs in human DNA. But what was once called ‘junk DNA’ might play important roles in cell development. Like computerized fishfinders, a software tool has been developed to scan the DNA depths for the switches important for cell determination.
  • Aphids are not attracted to cucumber mosaic virus-infected plants because they do not provide food essential for survival. But virus infection causes the plant to release chemicals that attract aphids. After just one bite the aphid realizes that the plant is not nutritious and leaves in search of better food. But the aphid now has a mouthful of virus which is spread to healthy plants.

I’ll be back next Friday with more selections.

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