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2.  Response to Wang and Luo 
BMC Biology  2012;10:32.
This article is a response to Wang and Luo.
See correspondence article and the original research article
PMCID: PMC3379956  PMID: 22513177
3.  Polyploidization increases meiotic recombination frequency in Arabidopsis 
BMC Biology  2011;9:24.
Polyploidization is the multiplication of the whole chromosome complement and has occurred frequently in vascular plants. Maintenance of stable polyploid state over generations requires special mechanisms to control pairing and distribution of more than two homologous chromosomes during meiosis. Since a minimal number of crossover events is essential for correct chromosome segregation, we investigated whether polyploidy has an influence on the frequency of meiotic recombination.
Using two genetically linked transgenes providing seed-specific fluorescence, we compared a high number of progeny from diploid and tetraploid Arabidopsis plants. We show that rates of meiotic recombination in reciprocal crosses of genetically identical diploid and autotetraploid Arabidopsis plants were significantly higher in tetraploids compared to diploids. Although male and female gametogenesis differ substantially in meiotic recombination frequency, both rates were equally increased in tetraploids. To investigate whether multivalent formation in autotetraploids was responsible for the increased recombination rates, we also performed corresponding experiments with allotetraploid plants showing strict bivalent pairing. We found similarly increased rates in auto- and allotetraploids, suggesting that the ploidy effect is independent of chromosome pairing configurations.
The evolutionary success of polyploid plants in nature and under domestication has been attributed to buffering of mutations and sub- and neo-functionalization of duplicated genes. Should the data described here be representative for polyploid plants, enhanced meiotic recombination, and the resulting rapid creation of genetic diversity, could have also contributed to their prevalence.
PMCID: PMC3110136  PMID: 21510849
4.  Complete probabilistic analysis of RNA shapes 
BMC Biology  2006;4:5.
Soon after the first algorithms for RNA folding became available, it was recognised that the prediction of only one energetically optimal structure is insufficient to achieve reliable results. An in-depth analysis of the folding space as a whole appeared necessary to deduce the structural properties of a given RNA molecule reliably. Folding space analysis comprises various methods such as suboptimal folding, computation of base pair probabilities, sampling procedures and abstract shape analysis. Common to many approaches is the idea of partitioning the folding space into classes of structures, for which certain properties can be derived.
In this paper we extend the approach of abstract shape analysis. We show how to compute the accumulated probabilities of all structures that share the same shape. While this implies a complete (non-heuristic) analysis of the folding space, the computational effort depends only on the size of the shape space, which is much smaller. This approach has been integrated into the tool RNAshapes, and we apply it to various RNAs.
Analyses of conformational switches show the existence of two shapes with probabilities approximately 23 MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaafiart1ev1aaatCvAUfKttLearuWrP9MDH5MBPbIqV92AaeXatLxBI9gBaebbnrfifHhDYfgasaacH8akY=wiFfYdH8Gipec8Eeeu0xXdbba9frFj0=OqFfea0dXdd9vqai=hGuQ8kuc9pgc9s8qqaq=dirpe0xb9q8qiLsFr0=vr0=vr0dc8meaabaqaciaacaGaaeqabaqabeGadaaakeaadaWcaaqaaiabikdaYaqaaiabiodaZaaaaaa@2EA2@ vs. 13 MathType@MTEF@5@5@+=feaafiart1ev1aaatCvAUfKttLearuWrP9MDH5MBPbIqV92AaeXatLxBI9gBaebbnrfifHhDYfgasaacH8akY=wiFfYdH8Gipec8Eeeu0xXdbba9frFj0=OqFfea0dXdd9vqai=hGuQ8kuc9pgc9s8qqaq=dirpe0xb9q8qiLsFr0=vr0=vr0dc8meaabaqaciaacaGaaeqabaqabeGadaaakeaadaWcaaqaaiabigdaXaqaaiabiodaZaaaaaa@2EA0@, whereas the analysis of a microRNA precursor reveals one shape with a probability near to 1.0. Furthermore, it is shown that a shape can outperform an energetically more favourable one by achieving a higher probability. From these results, and the fact that we use a complete and exact analysis of the folding space, we conclude that this approach opens up new and promising routes for investigating and understanding RNA secondary structure.
PMCID: PMC1479382  PMID: 16480488

Results 1-4 (4)