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Genomes, Evolution, and the K-T Boundary

Adaptive Complexity's Michael White points out a new journal, called Genome Biology and Evolution. The journal editors say in an introduction that "advances in genomic technologies are revolutionizing our perspectives on evolution once again" and that "GBE aims to nurture the highest standard of evolutionary genomic research, with the help of the molecular evolutionary and population genetic expertise." White also says to take a look at one of the journal's first papers, from Indiana University's Michael Lynch. That paper says that there were "widespread reductions in genome size" in mammalian lineages after the Cretaceous–Tertiary boundary, though "there is no evidence for such changes in other vertebrate, invertebrate, or land plant lineage."

The Scan

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.

Study Tracks Outcomes in Children Born to Zika Virus-Infected Mothers

By following pregnancy outcomes for women with RT-PCR-confirmed Zika virus infections, researchers saw in Lancet Regional Health congenital abnormalities in roughly one-third of live-born children.

Team Presents Benchmark Study of RNA Classification Tools

With more than 135 transcriptomic datasets, researchers tested two dozen coding and non-coding RNA classification tools, establishing a set of potentially misclassified transcripts, as they report in Nucleic Acids Research.

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.