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George Williams Dies

Evolutionary biologist George Williams died last week, reports the New York Times. He was 83. In his 1966 book "Adaptation and Natural Selection," Williams laid out his argument that natural selection works at the level of the gene and individual, writing that "one should assume the adequacy of the simplest form of natural selection unless the evidence clearly shows that this theory does not suffice." The idea, the Times adds, was popularized in Richard Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene." Evolutionary biologist Douglas Futuyma tells the Times that Williams was "widely regarded by peers in his field as one of the most influential and incisive evolutionary theorists of the 20th century."

The Scan

Nucleotide Base Detected on Near-Earth Asteroid

Among other intriguing compounds, researchers find the nucleotide uracil, a component of RNA sequences, in samples collected from the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu, as they report in Nature Communications.

Clinical Trial Participants, Investigators Point to Importance of Clinical Trial Results Reporting in Canadian Study

Public reporting on clinical trial results is crucial, according to qualitative interviews with clinical trial participants, investigators, and organizers from three provinces appearing in BMJ Open.

Old Order Amish Analysis Highlights Autozygosity, Potential Ties to Blood Measures

Researchers in BMC Genomics see larger and more frequent runs-of-homozygosity in Old Order Amish participants, though only regional autozygosity coincided with two blood-based measures.

Suicidal Ideation-Linked Loci Identified Using Million Veteran Program Data

Researchers in PLOS Genetics identify risk variants within and across ancestry groups with a genome-wide association study involving veterans with or without a history of suicidal ideation.