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Creators/Authors contains: "Wells, Christopher D."

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  1. Abstract

    RNA polymerases (RNAPs) transcribe genes through a cycle of recruitment to promoter DNA, initiation, elongation, and termination. After termination, RNAP is thought to initiate the next round of transcription by detaching from DNA and rebinding a new promoter. Here we use single-molecule fluorescence microscopy to observe individual RNAP molecules after transcript release at a terminator. Following termination, RNAP almost always remains bound to DNA and sometimes exhibits one-dimensional sliding over thousands of basepairs. Unexpectedly, the DNA-bound RNAP often restarts transcription, usually in reverse direction, thus producing an antisense transcript. Furthermore, we report evidence of this secondary initiation in live cells, using genome-wide RNA sequencing. These findings reveal an alternative transcription cycle that allows RNAP to reinitiate without dissociating from DNA, which is likely to have important implications for gene regulation.

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  2. Abstract

    Patterns of population biology and community structure can be studied by looking closely at the ontogeny and reproductive biology of reef‐building organisms. This knowledge is particularly important for Caribbean octocorals, which seem to be more resilient to long‐term environmental change than scleractinian corals and provide some of the same ecological services. We monitored the development of the black sea rod,Plexaura homomalla, a common, widely distributed octocoral on shallow Caribbean reefs, from eggs to three‐polyp colonies over the course of 10 weeks. Gametes were collectedex situon St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, during spawning events that occurred 3–6 days after the July full moon. Cleavage started 3.0 hr after fertilization and was holoblastic, equal, and radial. Embryos were positively buoyant until becoming planulae at 3 days after fertilization. Planulae were competent to settle 4 days after fertilization. Symbiodiniaceae began infecting polyps ~8 days after fertilization. Overall, development was typical for Caribbean octocorals, except for an increase in the number of embryos between 3.5 and 6.0 hr after fertilization.

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