PULLMAN —Two studies by WSU scientists rank among the most-cited and most-read papers by other scientists, according to lists recently published by two leading journals.

In its September issue, The Scientist magazine announced that a 2005 paper by WSU’s Matthew Anway, Andrea Cupp, Mehmet Uzumcu and Michael Skinner has already been referred to in 112 other scientific articles. According to the announcement, an “average” paper of the same age and in the same field would have been cited just one or two times during the first two years after its publication.

Frequent citation “means you’ve made an observation that’s probably being picked up by researchers in a lotof different fields. The impact is high because it influences work in many fields,” said research team leader
Skinner.

He said his group’s paper is being cited by researchers working in toxicology, evolutionary biology, and basic biomedical science, among others.

The original paper, published in the Journal Science, showed that in utero exposure to certain environmental toxins causes health problems in male rats that can be passed on to future generations. It sparked a surge of interest in how the environment might affect inherited predisposition to disease and in the burgeoning field of “epigenetics,” the study of how chemical modifications of DNA (rather than mutations in DNA sequences) affect development and health.

“It offered a mechanism for how environment can influence the epigenome,” said Skinner. “It also suggested, to everybody’s surprise, that disease may be due as much to environmental influences as to gene mutations.”

Additionally, in early September, Nature magazine announced that a study co-authored by WSU’s Bryan Thines, John Browse and Yajie Niu made its “Top Ten” list of the papers most frequently downloaded by visitors to the magazine’s Web site in August. In the article, which was published in July, 2007, the WSU researchers and colleagues at Michigan State University identified a family of proteins that allow plants to perceive and respond to the hormone jasmonate, which plays a key role in plant reproduction and defense. Despite its significance in plant biology, the chemical steps that convert the hormonal signal into cellular action had not previously been known.

The papers:

– “Epigenetic transgenerational actions of endocrine disruptors and male fertility,” by M.D. Anway, et al. Science, volume 308, pages 1466-1469, June 3, 2005.

The WSY press release about the 2005 paper is available at http://researchnews.wsu.edu/health/79.html, and a short feature describing the genesis of the work can be found at http://researchnews.wsu.edu/health/97.html.

– “JAZ repressor proteins are targets of the SCFCOI1 complex during jasmonate signalling,” by Bryan Thines, et al. Nature, volume 448, pages 661-665, July 18, 2007.

The WSU press release about the paper is available at http://researchnews.wsu.edu/health/180.html.