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 16 leading titles in life sciences and adjacent fields.

Current Opinion in Genetics & Development

5-Year Impact Factor: 7.824
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.

Genetic and cellular mechanisms of oncogenesis
Chromosomes, genomes and expression mechanisms
Molecular and genetic bases of disease
Developmental mechanisms, patterning and evolution
Differentiation and gene regulation
Genetics of system biology

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 (Impact factor = 8.987).

Best Cited over the last year.

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HIF-1: upstream and downstream of cancer metabolism

Hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) plays a key role in the reprogramming of cancer metabolism by activating transcription of genes encoding glucose transporters and glycolytic enzymes, which take up glucose and convert it to lactate; pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 1, which shunts pyruvate away from the mitochondria; and BNIP3, which triggers selective mitochondrial autophagy. The shift from oxidative to glycolytic metabolism allows maintenance of redox homeostasis and cell survival under…

Volume 20, Issue 1, 01 February 2010, Pp 51-56
Gregg L L. Semenza

Common vs. rare allele hypotheses for complex diseases

There has been growing debate over the nature of the genetic contribution to individual susceptibility to common complex diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer. The 'Common Disease, Common Variant (CDCV)' hypothesis argues that genetic variations with appreciable frequency in the population at large, but relatively low 'penetrance' (or the probability that a carrier of the relevant variants will express the disease), are the major contributors to genetic susceptibility to common…

Volume 19, Issue 3, 01 June 2009, Pp 212-219
Nicholas J. Schork. | Sarah Shaw Murray | Kelly A. Frazer | Eric J. Topol

The RASopathies: developmental syndromes of Ras/MAPK pathway dysregulation

The Ras/mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway is essential in the regulation of the cell cycle, differentiation, growth and cell senescence, all of which are critical to normal development. It is therefore not surprising that its dysregulation has profound effects on development. A class of developmental syndromes, the 'RASopathies', is caused by germline mutations in genes that encode protein components of the Ras/MAPK pathway. The vast majority of these mutations result in increased…

Volume 19, Issue 3, 01 June 2009, Pp 230-236
William E. Tidyman | Katherine A. Rauen

Targeting the PI3K signaling pathway in cancer

The phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway is activated in a variety of different human cancers, and inhibitors of this pathway are under active development as anti-cancer therapeutics. In this review, we discuss the data supporting the use of PI3K pathway inhibitors in genetically and clinically defined cancers. This review focuses on their efficacy as single agents and in combination with other targeted therapies, specifically those targeting the MEK-ERK signaling pathway. © 2009 Elsevier…

Volume 20, Issue 1, 01 February 2010, Pp 87-90
Kwokkin Wong | Jeffrey A. Engelman | Lewis Clayton Cantley

Cancer-associated fibroblasts and tumor growth - bystanders turning into key players

Novel mechanisms, and molecular mediators, of the pro-tumorigenic effects of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) have been identified. These include CXCL12/SDF-1-mediated recruitment of bone marrow-derived endothelial precursor cell and pro-metastatic effects of CCL5. Co-culture experiments also suggest that CAFs can influence the drug-sensitivity of cancer cells. Comparisons of CAFs from different tumors have started to identify tumor-type specific differences in CAF gene expression and…

Volume 19, Issue 1, 01 February 2009, Pp 67-73
Arne Östman | Martin Augsten

AngiomiRs-Key regulators of angiogenesis

The formation of new blood vessels through the process of angiogenesis is critical in vascular development and homeostasis. Aberrant angiogenesis leads to a variety of diseases, such as ischemia and cancer. Recent studies have revealed important roles for miRNAs in regulating endothelial cell (EC) function, especially angiogenesis. Mice with EC-specific deletion of Dicer, a key enzyme for generating miRNAs, display defective postnatal angiogenesis. Specific miRNAs (angiomiRs) have recently been…

Volume 19, Issue 3, 01 June 2009, Pp 205-211
Shusheng Wang | Eric N N. Olson

Chromatin higher-order structures and gene regulation

Genomic DNA in the eukaryotic nucleus is hierarchically packaged by histones into chromatin to fit inside the nucleus. The dynamics of higher-order chromatin compaction play a crucial role in transcription and other biological processes inherent to DNA. Many factors, including histone variants, histone modifications, DNA methylation, and the binding of non-histone architectural proteins regulate the structure of chromatin. Although the structure of nucleosomes, the fundamental repeating unit of…

Volume 21, Issue 2, 01 April 2011, Pp 175-186
Guohong Li | Danny Reinberg

RNAi-dependent formation of heterochromatin and its diverse functions

Expression profiling of eukaryotic genomes has revealed widespread transcription outside the confines of protein-coding genes, leading to production of antisense and non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). Studies in Schizosaccharomyces pombe and multicellular organisms suggest that transcription and ncRNAs provide a framework for the assembly of heterochromatin, which has been linked to various chromosomal processes. In addition to gene regulation, heterochromatin is crucial for centromere function, cell…

Volume 20, Issue 2, 01 April 2010, Pp 134-141
Shiv I I S Grewal

Inflammation and oncogenesis: a vicious connection

Epidemiological and experimental data suggest a close connection between inflammation and tumorigenesis. Solid tumors are typically infiltrated with immune cells and inflammation impacts most, if not all, stages of tumorigenesis. Molecular and cellular pathways, which connect inflammation and cancer, have emerged as attractive targets for prevention and therapy. In this review we discuss general mechanisms and concepts of cancer promoting inflammation. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Volume 20, Issue 1, 01 February 2010, Pp 65-71
Sergei I. Grivennikov | Michael Karin

Biochemical mechanisms of gene regulation by polycomb group protein complexes

Polycomb group (PcG) proteins are transcriptional repressors that control expression of developmental regulator genes in animals and plants. Recent advances in our understanding of the PcG system include biochemical purifications that revealed a substantial variety in PcG complex composition. These different complexes contain distinct chromatin-modifying activities and engage in cross-talk with other chromatin modifications. Complementing these biochemical analyses, structural studies have…

Volume 19, Issue 2, 01 April 2009, Pp 150-158
Jürg Leo Müller | Peter Verrijzer

The genetics of Parkinson's syndromes: a critical review

Genetic analysis has identified many loci designated as PARK loci (OMIM #168600). Many of these loci do not refer to idiopathic Parkinson's disease which is characterized by Lewy body pathology, but rather to clinical parkinsonisms. In this review, besides reviewing the genetic of the disorder, we argue that this designation is misleading and that if we seek to understand the pathogenesis, we should study the genetics of Lewy body diseases: these include not only idiopathic Parkinson's disease,…

Volume 19, Issue 3, 01 June 2009, Pp 254-265
John Anthony Hardy | Patrick A. Lewis | Tamás R. Révész | Andrew John Lees | Coro Paisán-Ruíz

Function and regulation of the Mediator complex

Over the past few years, advances in biochemical and genetic studies of the structure and function of the Mediator complex have shed new light on its subunit architecture and its mechanism of action in transcription by RNA polymerase II (pol II). The development of improved methods for reconstitution of recombinant Mediator subassemblies is enabling more in-depth analyses of basic features of the mechanisms by which Mediator interacts with and controls the activity of pol II and the general…

Volume 21, Issue 2, 01 April 2011, Pp 225-230
Ronald C. Conaway | Joan Weliky Conaway

Duplication hotspots, rare genomic disorders, and common disease

The human genome is enriched in interspersed segmental duplications that sensitize approximately 10% of our genome to recurrent microdeletions and microduplications as a result of unequal crossing over. We review the recent discovery of recurrent rearrangements within these genomic hotspots and their association with both syndromic and nonsyndromic diseases. Studies of common complex genetic disease show that a subset of these recurrent events plays an important role in autism, schizophrenia,…

Volume 19, Issue 3, 01 June 2009, Pp 196-204
Heather C. Mefford | Evan E. Eichler

Nuclear neighborhoods and gene expression

The eukaryotic nucleus is a highly compartmentalized and dynamic environment. Chromosome territories are arranged nonrandomly within the nucleus and numerous studies have indicated that a gene's position in the nucleus can impact its transcriptional activity. Here, we focus on recent advances in our understanding of the influence of specific nuclear neighborhoods on gene expression or repression. Nuclear neighborhoods associated with transcriptional repression include the inner nuclear…

Volume 19, Issue 2, 01 April 2009, Pp 172-179
Rui Zhao | Megan S. Bodnar | David L. Spector

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 or…

Volume 22, Issue 3, 01 June 2012, Pp 229-237
Bernie Devlin | Stephen Wayne 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 Miguel Sandoval | Manel Asunción Alsina Esteller

Autophagy in tumorigenesis and energy metabolism: Friend by day, foe by night

Autophagy is the mechanism by which cells consume parts of themselves to survive starvation and stress. This self-cannibalization limits cell death and tissue inflammation, recycles energy and biosynthetic substrates and removes damaged proteins and organelles, accumulation of which is toxic. In normal tissues, autophagy-mediated damage mitigation may suppress tumorigenesis, while in advanced tumors macromolecular recycling may support survival by buffering metabolic demand under stress. As a…

Volume 21, Issue 1, 01 February 2011, Pp 113-119
Robin Mathew | Eileen P. White

Cohesin: Genomic insights into controlling gene transcription and development

Over the past decade it has emerged that the cohesin protein complex, which functions in sister chromatid cohesion, chromosome segregation, and DNA repair, also regulates gene expression and development. Even minor changes in cohesin activity alter several aspects of development. Genome-wide analysis indicates that cohesin directly regulates transcription of genes involved in cell proliferation, pluripotency, and differentiation through multiple mechanisms. These mechanisms are poorly…

Volume 21, Issue 2, 01 April 2011, Pp 199-206
Dale Dorsett

Cellular senescence: Putting the paradoxes in perspective

Cellular senescence arrests the proliferation of potential cancer cells, and so is a potent tumor suppressive mechanism, akin to apoptosis. Or is it? Why did cells evolve an anti-cancer mechanism that arrests, rather than kills, would-be tumor cells? Recent discoveries that senescent cells secrete growth factors, proteases and cytokines provide a shifting view-from senescence as a cell autonomous suppressor of tumorigenesis to senescence as a means to mobilize the systemic and local tissue…

Volume 21, Issue 1, 01 February 2011, Pp 107-112
Judith Campisi

Genetic advances in autism: heterogeneity and convergence on shared pathways

The autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a heterogeneous set of developmental disorders characterized at their core by deficits in social interaction and communication. Current psychiatric nosology groups this broad set of disorders with strong genetic liability and multiple etiologies into the same diagnostic category. This heterogeneity has challenged genetic analyses. But shared patient resources, genomic technologies, more refined phenotypes, and novel computational approaches have begun to…

Volume 19, Issue 3, 01 June 2009, Pp 271-278
Brent R. Bill | Daniel H. Geschwind

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 Haig Kazazian

Circulating tumor cells: a window into cancer biology and metastasis

The presence of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) accompanies tumor invasion into the bloodstream. Detection, monitoring, and molecular analysis of these rare cancer cells shed into blood will provide a powerful and noninvasive approach for the detection of early disease, assessing prognosis and therapeutic response in established cancers, and targeting metastatic precursor cells. We review current and emerging technologies for CTC isolation, with a focus on capture efficiency, purity, and…

Volume 20, Issue 1, 01 February 2010, Pp 96-99
Shyamala Maheswaran | Daniel A. Haber

The nuclear envelope - a scaffold for silencing?

An increasing number of studies indicate that chromosomes are spatially organized in the interphase nucleus and that some genes tend to occupy characteristic zones of the nuclear volume. FISH studies in mammalian cells suggest a differential localization of active and inactive loci, with inactive heterochromatin being largely perinuclear. Recent genome-wide mapping techniques confirm that the nuclear lamina, which lies beneath the nuclear envelope, interacts preferentially with silent genes. To…

Volume 19, Issue 2, 01 April 2009, Pp 180-186
Benjamin D. Towbin | Peter Meister | Susan M. Gasser

Finding distal regulatory elements in the human genome

Transcriptional regulation of human genes depends not only on promoters and nearby cis-regulatory elements, but also on distal regulatory elements such as enhancers, insulators, locus control regions, and silencing elements, which are often located far away from the genes they control. Our knowledge of human distal regulatory elements is very limited, but the last several years have seen rapid progress in the development of strategies to identify these long-range regulatory sequences throughout…

Volume 19, Issue 6, 01 December 2009, Pp 541-549
Nathaniel D. Heintzman | Bing Ren

Hypoxia and energetic tumour metabolism

The hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF-1), in addition to genetic and epigenetic changes, is largely responsible for alterations in cell metabolism in hypoxic tumour cells. This transcription factor not only favours cell proliferation through the metabolic shift from oxidative phosphorylation to glycolysis and lactic acid production but also stimulates nutrient supply by mediating adaptive survival mechanisms. These include epithelial-mesenchymal transition, angiogenesis, autophagy, and synthesis…

Volume 21, Issue 1, 01 February 2011, Pp 67-72
Marie Christiane Brahimi-Horn | Gregory Lucien Bellot | Jacques M. Pouysségur