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Genomics In The Journals: Jun 2, 2011

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – By genotyping 162 classical or wild-derived laboratory mouse strains and three-dozen mice caught in the wild with the Mouse Diversity array, an international research group was able to construct a high-resolution map outlining phylogenetic patterns in inbred lab mouse genomes and relationships between the strains. For instance, their genome-wide haplotype map hints that classical, inbred laboratory mouse genomes typically house specific subsets of the genetic diversity found in mice overall. As they reported in Nature Genetics, the team came up with a resource called Mouse Phylogeny Viewer for exploring lab mouse relationships and genetic patterns.

"The viewer provides scientists with a visual tool where they can actually go and look at the genome of the mouse strains they are using or considering, compare the differences and similarities between strains and select the ones most likely to provide the basis for experimental results that can be more effectively extrapolated to the diverse human population," University of North Carolina researcher Pardo-Manuel de Villena, who was co-corresponding author on the study, said in a statement.

Ancient human migrations into southern France during the Neolithic period likely involved more genetic influx from the Mediterranean than from central Europe, French researchers report in the early, online version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The team used mitochondrial DNA, Y chromosome, and lactase gene typing to analyze ancient DNA samples from dozens of individuals who lived in what is now the Aveyron region of France some 5,000 years ago. Based on their findings, they speculate that Neolithic migrations into southern France probably involved more individuals from in and around the Mediterranean Sea than from the plains of central Europe. The study also offers clues about community structure and relationships between those buried at the necropolis tested, the authors explained, and provide a glimpse at the sorts of burial customs used in the community.

In Genome Biology, researchers from Canada, France, and the US used mitochondrial genome comparisons to show that two mammoth species typically considered genetically diverse likely mated at some point in their evolutionary history. The team sequenced the complete mitochondrial genomes of an 11,000 year old Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi) specimen found in Utah and a woolly mammoth (M. primigenius) sample from Alaska, showing that the two mitochondrial genomes were almost identical, with the Columbian mammoth sample falling in a woolly mammoth mitochondrial sub-clade.

"We think this individual may have been a woolly-Columbian hybrid," lead author Jacob Enk, a researcher at McMaster University's Ancient DNA Centre, said in a statement. "Since woolly and Columbian ranges periodically overlapped in time and space, it's likely that they engaged in similar behaviour and left a similar genetic signal."

Through a prospective, multi-center study of nearly 35,000 newborns, researchers involved in the CMV and Hearing Multi-center Screening study found that real-time PCR-based testing could accurately detect congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infections — which can eventually cause hearing loss — in both liquid and dried saliva samples from the infants.

The researchers compared real-time-PCR-based testing to rapid culture methods for detecting CMV in saliva samples from babies at seven US hospitals. Results of their study suggest that the PCR strategy was effective for screening saliva samples that were either fresh or dried, showing 100 percent sensitivity and 99.9 percent specificity in the liquid saliva samples and 97.4 percent sensitivity and 99.9 percent specificity in dried samples.

"Real-time PCR assays of both liquid- and dried-saliva specimens showed high sensitivity and specificity for detecting CMV infection and should be considered potential screening tools for CMV in newborns," study authors wrote.

Genomics In The Journals is a weekly feature pointing readers to select, recently published articles involving genomics and related research.

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