The Current Opinion journals were developed out of the recognition that it is increasingly difficult for specialists to keep up to date with the expanding volume of information published in their subject. Elsevier’s Current Opinion journals comprise of 26 leading titles in life sciences and adjacent fields.

Current Opinion in Genetics & Development

5-Year Impact Factor: 5.908
Issues per year: 6 issues
Editorial Board

Current Opinion in Genetics & Development

Current Opinion in Genetics and Development aims to stimulate scientifically grounded, interdisciplinary, multi-scale debate and exchange of ideas. It contains polished, concise and timely reviews and opinions, with particular emphasis on those articles published in the past two years. In addition to describing recent trends, the authors are encouraged to give their subjective opinion of the topics discussed.

In Current Opinion in Genetics and Development we help the reader by providing in a systematic manner:

1. The views of experts on current advances in their field in a clear and readable form.
2. Evaluations of the most interesting papers, annotated by experts, from the great wealth of original publications

Current Opinion in Genetics and Development will serve as an invaluable source of information for researchers, lecturers, teachers, professionals, policy makers and students.

Division of the subject into sections
The subject of Genetics and Development is divided into six themed sections, each of which is reviewed once a year:

Cancer Genomics
Genome Architecture and Expression
Molecular and genetic basis of disease
Developmental mechanisms, patterning and evolution
Cell reprogramming, regeneration and repair
Genetics of Human Origin / Evolutionary genetics (alternate years)

Selection of topics to be reviewed

Section Editors, who are major authorities in the field, are appointed by the Editors of the journal. They divide their section into a number of topics, ensuring that the field is comprehensively covered and that all issues of current importance are emphasised. Section Editors commission reviews from authorities on each topic that they have selected. The Editorial Board provides support to the Editors and the Section Editors with their comments and suggestions on names and topics.

Review articles in Current Opinion in Genetics and Development are by invitation only.

Review Articles

Authors write short review articles in which they present recent developments in their subject, emphasizing the aspects that, in their opinion, are most important. In addition, they provide short annotations to the papers that they consider to be most interesting from all those published in their topic over the previous two years.

Editorial Overview

Section Editors write a short overview at the beginning of the section to introduce the reviews and to draw the reader's attention to any particularly interesting developments.

This successful format has made Current Opinion in Genetics and Development one of the most highly regarded and highly cited review journals in the field.

Best Cited over the last year.

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Active human retrotransposons: Variation and disease

Mobile DNAs, also known as transposons or 'jumping genes', are widespread in nature and comprise an estimated 45% of the human genome. Transposons are divided into two general classes based on their transposition intermediate (DNA or RNA). Only one subclass, the non-LTR retrotransposons, which includes the Long INterspersed Element-1 (LINE-1 or L1), is currently active in humans as indicated by 96 disease-causing insertions. The autonomous LINE-1 is capable of retrotransposing not only a copy…

Volume 22, Issue 3, 01 June 2012, Pp 191-203
Dustin C. Hancks | Haig H. Kazazian

Genetic architecture in autism spectrum disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by impairments in reciprocal social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behaviors. Family studies indicate a significant genetic basis for ASD susceptibility, and genomic scanning is beginning to elucidate the underlying genetic architecture. Some 5-15% of individuals with ASD have an identifiable genetic etiology corresponding to known chromosomal rearrangements or single gene disorders. Rare ( < 1% frequency) de novo…

Volume 22, Issue 3, 01 June 2012, Pp 229-237
Bernie Devlin | Stephen W. Scherer

Cancer epigenomics: Beyond genomics

For many years cancer research has focused on genetic defects, but during the last decade epigenetic deregulation has been increasingly recognized as a hallmark of cancer. The advent of genome-scale analysis techniques, including the recently developed next-generation sequencing, has enabled an invaluable advance in the molecular mechanisms underlying tumor initiation, progression, and expansion. In this review we describe recent advances in the field of cancer epigenomics concerning DNA…

Volume 22, Issue 1, 01 February 2012, Pp 50-55
Juan Sandoval | Manel Esteller

MTOR in aging, metabolism, and cancer

The target of rapamycin (TOR) is a highly conserved serine/threonine kinase that is part of two structurally and functionally distinct complexes, TORC1 and TORC2. In multicellular organisms, TOR regulates cell growth and metabolism in response to nutrients, growth factors and cellular energy. Deregulation of TOR signaling alters whole body metabolism and causes age-related disease. This review describes the most recent advances in TOR signaling with a particular focus on mammalian TOR (mTOR) in…

Volume 23, Issue 1, 01 February 2013, Pp 53-62
Marion Cornu | Verena Albert | Michael N. Hall

MiRNA profiling of cancer

A steadily growing number of studies have shown that microRNAs have key roles in the regulation of cellular processes and that their dysregulation is essential to keep the malignant phenotype of cancer cells. The distorted and unique expression profile of microRNAs in different types and subsets of tumor coupled with their presence in biological fluids make of microRNAs an attractive source of sensitive biomarkers. Here, we will discuss how microRNA profiles are altered in cancer, highlighting…

Volume 23, Issue 1, 01 February 2013, Pp 3-11
Gianpiero Di Leva | Carlo M. Croce

Mechanisms for recurrent and complex human genomic rearrangements

During the last two decades, the importance of human genome copy number variation (CNV) in disease has become widely recognized. However, much is not understood about underlying mechanisms. We show how, although model organism research guides molecular understanding, important insights are gained from study of the wealth of information available in the clinic. We describe progress in explaining nonallelic homologous recombination (NAHR), a major cause of copy number change occurring when…

Volume 22, Issue 3, 01 June 2012, Pp 211-220
Pengfei Liu | Claudia M.B. Carvalho | P. J. Hastings | James R. Lupski

Combinatorial complexity in chromatin structure and function: Revisiting the histone code

Covalent modifications of histone proteins play key roles in transcription, DNA repair, recombination, and other such processes. Over a hundred histone modifications have been described, and a popular idea in the field is that the function of a single histone mark cannot be understood without understanding its combinatorial co-occurrence with other marks, an idea generally called the 'histone code hypothesis.' This idea is hotly debated, with increasing biochemical evidence for chromatin…

Volume 22, Issue 2, 01 April 2012, Pp 148-155
Oliver J. Rando

Existence and consequences of G-quadruplex structures in DNA

While the discovery of B-form DNA 60 years ago has defined our molecular view of the genetic code, other postulated DNA secondary structures, such as A-DNA, Z-DNA, H-DNA, cruciform and slipped structures have provoked consideration of DNA as a more dynamic structure. Four-stranded G-quadruplex DNA does not use Watson-Crick base pairing and has been subject of considerable speculation and investigation during the past decade, particularly with regard to its potential relevance to genome…

Volume 25, Issue 1, 01 April 2014, Pp 22-29
Pierre Murat | Shankar Balasubramanian

Autophagy and human disease: Emerging themes

Malfunction of autophagy, the process that mediates breakdown and recycling of intracellular components in lysosomes, has been linked to a variety of human diseases. As the number of pathologies associated with defective autophagy increases, emphasis has switched from the mere description of the status of autophagy in these conditions to a more mechanistic dissection of the autophagic changes. Understanding the reasons behind the autophagic defect, the immediate consequences of the autophagic…

Volume 26, Issue , 01 January 2014, Pp 16-23
Jaime L. Schneider | Ana Maria Cuervo

Enhancer and promoter interactions-long distance calls

In metazoans, enhancers of gene transcription must often exert their effects over tens of kilobases of DNA. Over the past decade it has become clear that to do this, enhancers come into close proximity with target promoters with the looping away of intervening sequences. In a few cases proteins that are involved in the establishment or maintenance of these loops have been revealed but how the proper gene target is selected remains mysterious. Chromatin insulators had been appreciated as…

Volume 22, Issue 2, 01 April 2012, Pp 79-85
Ivan Krivega | Ann Dean

TERT promoter mutations in cancer development

Human telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) encodes a rate-limiting catalytic subunit of telomerase that maintains genomic integrity. TERT expression is mostly repressed in somatic cells with exception of proliferative cells in self-renewing tissues and cancer. Immortality associated with cancer cells has been attributed to telomerase over-expression. The precise mechanism behind the TERT activation in cancers has mostly remained unknown. The newly described germline and recurrent somatic…

Volume 24, Issue 1, 01 February 2014, Pp 30-37
Barbara Heidenreich | P. Sivaramakrishna Rachakonda | Kari Hemminki | Rajiv Kumar

Mutational signatures: The patterns of somatic mutations hidden in cancer genomes

All cancers originate from a single cell that starts to behave abnormally due to the acquired somatic mutations in its genome. Until recently, the knowledge of the mutational processes that cause these somatic mutations has been very limited. Recent advances in sequencing technologies and the development of novel mathematical approaches have allowed deciphering the patterns of somatic mutations caused by different mutational processes. Here, we summarize our current understanding of mutational…

Volume 24, Issue 1, 01 February 2014, Pp 52-60
Ludmil B. Alexandrov | Michael R. Stratton

Small RNAs in development - insights from plants

microRNAs (miRNAs) and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), which constitute two major classes of endogenous small RNAs in plants, impact a multitude of developmental and physiological processes by imparting sequence specificity to gene and genome regulation. Although lacking the third major class of small RNAs found in animals, Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs), plants have expanded their repertoire of endogenous siRNAs, some of which fulfill similar molecular and developmental functions as piRNAs in…

Volume 22, Issue 4, 01 August 2012, Pp 361-367
Xuemei Chen

The ciliopathies: A transitional model into systems biology of human genetic disease

The last decade has witnessed an explosion in the identification of genes, mutations in which appear sufficient to cause clinical phenotypes in humans. This is especially true for disorders of ciliary dysfunction in which an excess of 50 causal loci are now known; this discovery was driven partly by an improved understanding of the protein composition of the cilium and the co-occurrence of clinical phenotypes associated with ciliary dysfunction. Despite this progress, the fundamental challenge…

Volume 22, Issue 3, 01 June 2012, Pp 290-303
Erica E. Davis | Nicholas Katsanis

Recent developments in the genetics of autism spectrum disorders

The last several years have marked a turning point in the genetics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) due to rapidly advancing genomic technologies. As the pool of bona fide risk genes and regions accumulates, several key themes have emerged: these include the important role of rare and de novo mutation, the biological overlap among so-called syndromic and 'idiopathic' ASD, the elusive nature of the common variant contribution to risk, and the observation that the tremendous locus heterogeneity…

Volume 23, Issue 3, 01 June 2013, Pp 310-315
John D. Murdoch | Matthew W. State

Higher-order chromatin structure: Bridging physics and biology

Advances in microscopy and genomic techniques have provided new insight into spatial chromatin organization inside of the nucleus. In particular, chromosome conformation capture data has highlighted the relevance of polymer physics for high-order chromatin organization. In this context, we review basic polymer states, discuss how an appropriate polymer model can be determined from experimental data, and examine the success and limitations of various polymer models of higher-order interphase…

Volume 22, Issue 2, 01 April 2012, Pp 115-124
Geoffrey Fudenberg | Leonid A. Mirny

MicroRNAs in the ionizing radiation response and in radiotherapy

Radiotherapy is a form of cancer treatment that utilizes the ability of ionizing radiation to induce cell inactivation and cell death, generally via inflicting DNA double-strand breaks. However, different tumors and their normal surrounding tissues are not equally sensitive to radiation, posing a major challenge in the field: to seek out factors that influence radiosensitivity. In this review, we summarize the evidence for microRNA (miRNA) involvement in the radioresponse and discuss their…

Volume 23, Issue 1, 01 February 2013, Pp 12-19
Chanatip Metheetrairut | Frank J. Slack

Transcription factories: Genetic programming in three dimensions

Among the most intensively studied systems in molecular biology is the eukaryotic transcriptional apparatus, which expresses genes in a regulated manner across hundreds of different cell types. Several studies over the past few years have added weight to the concept that transcription takes place within discrete 'transcription factories' assembled inside the cell nucleus. These studies apply innovative technical approaches to gain insights into the molecular constituents, dynamical behaviour…

Volume 22, Issue 2, 01 April 2012, Pp 110-114
Lucas Brandon Edelman | Peter Fraser

Organoid cultures for the analysis of cancer phenotypes

Preclinical models of cancer are essential for a basic understanding of cancer biology and its translation into efficient treatment options for affected patients. Cancer cell lines and xenografts derived directly from primary human tumors have proven very valuable in fundamental oncology research and anticancer drug discovery. Both models inherently comprise advantages and caveats that have to be accounted for. We will outline in these and discuss primary patient derived organoids as third…

Volume 24, Issue 1, 01 February 2014, Pp 68-73
Norman Sachs | Hans Clevers

Hedgehog signaling from the primary cilium to the nucleus: An emerging picture of ciliary localization, trafficking and transduction

The unexpected connection between cilia and signaling is one of the most exciting developments in cell biology in the past decade. In particular, the Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway relies on the primary cilium to regulate tissue patterning and homeostasis in vertebrates. A central question is how ciliary localization and trafficking of Hh pathway components lead to pathway activation and regulation. In this review, we discuss recent studies that reveal the roles of ciliary regulators,…

Volume 23, Issue 4, 01 August 2013, Pp 429-437
Yoko Inès Nozawa | Chuwen Lin | Pao Tien Chuang

ECM-modulated cellular dynamics as a driving force for tissue morphogenesis

The extracellular matrix (ECM) plays diverse regulatory roles throughout development. Coordinate interactions between cells within a tissue and the ECM result in the dynamic remodeling of ECM structure. Both chemical signals and physical forces that result from such microenvironmental remodeling regulate cell behavior that sculpts tissue structure. Here, we review recent discoveries illustrating different ways in which ECM remodeling promotes dynamic cell behavior during tissue morphogenesis.…

Volume 23, Issue 4, 01 August 2013, Pp 408-414
William P. Daley | Kenneth M. Yamada

Genetic and epigenetic determinants of DNA replication origins, position and activation

In the genome of eukaryotic cells, DNA synthesis is initiated at multiple sites called origins of DNA replication. Origins must fire only once per cell cycle and how this is achieved is now well understood. However, little is known about the mechanisms that determine when and where replication initiates in a given cell. A large body of evidence indicates that origins are not equal in terms of efficiency and timing of activation. Origin usage also changes concomitantly with the different cell…

Volume 23, Issue 2, 01 April 2013, Pp 124-131
Marcel Méchali | Kazumasa Yoshida | Philippe Coulombe | Philippe Pasero

Genomic imprinting: Recognition and marking of imprinted loci

Genomic imprinting is an epigenetic process resulting in the monoallelic parent-of-origin-specific expression of a subset of genes in the mammalian genome. The parental alleles are differentially marked by DNA methylation during gametogenesis when the genomes are in separate compartments. How methylation machinery recognizes and differentially modifies these imprinted regions in germ cells remains a key question in the field. While studies have focused on determining a sequence signature that…

Volume 22, Issue 2, 01 April 2012, Pp 72-78
Lara K. Abramowitz | Marisa S. Bartolomei

New perspectives on the biology of fragile X syndrome

Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a trinucleotide repeat disorder caused by a CGG repeat expansion in FMR1, and loss of its protein product FMRP. Recent studies have provided increased support for the role of FMRP in translational repression via ribosomal stalling and the microRNA pathway. In neurons, particular focus has been placed on identifying the signaling pathways such as PI3K and mTOR downstream of group 1 metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR1/5) that regulate FMRP. New evidence also…

Volume 22, Issue 3, 01 June 2012, Pp 256-263
Tao Wang | Steven M. Bray | Stephen T. Warren

Chromatin organization and transcriptional regulation

Cell type specific transcriptional regulation must be adhered to in order to maintain cell identity throughout the lifetime of an organism, yet it must be flexible enough to allow for responses to endogenous and exogenous stimuli. This regulation is mediated not only by molecular factors (e.g. cell type specific transcription factors, histone and DNA modifications), but also on the level of chromatin and genome organization. In this review we focus on recent findings that have contributed to…

Volume 23, Issue 2, 01 April 2013, Pp 89-95
Michael R. Hübner | Mélanie A. Eckersley-Maslin | David L. Spector