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Genomic detectives crack the case of the missing heritability
Date:2/22/2013

than focusing on large populations as is currently done. Family studies take advantage of the fact that the same genetic variations will be more common in families and thus easier to detect. However, the disadvantage of family studies is that the detected genetic variations may not be widespread in the population.

For the study in yeast, the team examined the offspring of two yeast cells, one that is commonly used in laboratory studies and the other in wine making. Although yeast usually reproduce asexually, under certain conditions, such as lack of food, two yeast cells will mate and produce offspring that, like human children, receive roughly half their genetic material from each parent. "Our study involves thousands of 'kids' from a single set of parents," Kruglyak said.

The team first sequenced the genomes of the two parent cells and then conducted scans for DNA variations in the genomes of 1,008 offspring. Yeast do not inherit height or disease risk from their parents, but they can inherit the ability to survive in adverse conditions. The researchers tested the parents and their offspring for the ability to grow under various conditions, including different temperatures, acidity levels, food sources, antibiotics, metal compounds, and in drugs such as caffeine.

The researchers then looked for associations between the DNA variations inherited from the parents and growth ability, and determined that the DNA variations accounted for nearly all of the resilience noted in the offspring.


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Contact: Morgan Kelly
mgnkelly@princeton.edu
609-258-5729
Princeton University
Source:Eurekalert  

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