Editor’s Selections: Why there aren’t more sickle cell anemics in the Mediterranean, noisy and bistable gene expression, and the effect of Ebola virus on gorilla genetics

Editor's Selections 5 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.

  • In regions like the Mediterranean where malaria has historically been prevalent, the human population has not evolved the higher frequency of sickle-cell genes that you’d expect given their protective effects against the disease. This may be because of interactions between the sickle-cell gene and another genetic blood disorder, thalassemia.
  • A cell’s phenotype was thought to be a product of its genetic background and its environment. As we begin looking more in depth at cell populations at the single cell level, we are finding that this paradigm isn’t always true.
  • Outbreaks of Ebola hemorrhagic fever have killed so many Western lowland gorillas this past decade that they are now classified as critically endangered. The genetic diversity of Western lowland gorillas is adequate for long-term survival of the species, as long as gorilla numbers begin to rebound.

I’ll be back next Friday with more selections.

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