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A Rare Find

Two whales are found on a New Zealand beach and it was initially thought that they were Gray's beaked whales, or Mesoplodon grayi. However, after sequencing part of the whales' mitochondrial DNA, researchers from University of Auckland realized that the whales were actually spade-toothed beaked whales, or M. traversii. As they note in Current Biology, spade-toothed beaked whales are quite elusive, with them only previously being identified from pieces of bones.

"We can now confirm that the spade-toothed whale is extant … and for the first time we have a description of the world's rarest and perhaps most enigmatic marine mammal," the Auckland researchers write.

The Scan

Researchers Compare WGS, Exome Sequencing-Based Mendelian Disease Diagnosis

Investigators find a diagnostic edge for whole-genome sequencing, while highlighting the cost advantages and improving diagnostic rate of exome sequencing in EJHG.

Researchers Retrace Key Mutations in Reassorted H1N1 Swine Flu Virus With Avian-Like Features

Mutations in the acidic polymerase-coding gene boost the pathogenicity and transmissibility of Eurasian avian-like H1N1 swine influenza viruses, a PNAS paper finds.

Genome Sequences Reveal Evolutionary History of South America's Canids

An analysis in PNAS of South American canid species' genomes offers a look at their evolutionary history, as well as their relationships and adaptations.

Lung Cancer Response to Checkpoint Inhibitors Reflected in Circulating Tumor DNA

In non-small cell lung cancer patients, researchers find in JCO Precision Oncology that survival benefits after immune checkpoint blockade coincide with a dip in ctDNA levels.