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A Veritable Melting Pot

In a study looking at the genetic diversity of Spaniards published yesterday in the American Journal of Human Genetics, scientists found that about 11 percent of Spaniards have North African ancestry while almost 20 percent, Sephardic Jewish. Analyzing Y chromosome haplotypes in 1140 males from the Iberian Peninsula and Balearic Islands, the work suggests that many more immigrants to Spain converted to Catholicism during the Spanish Inquisition of the 15th and 16th centuries than was previously known or believed, say two New York Times stories. The data confronts two separate histories of Spain, writes Nicholas Wade, "one holds that Spanish civilization is Catholic and all other influences are foreign, the other that Spain has been enriched by drawing from all three of its historical cultures, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim."

Unrelated to the study but in the same vein, a first-hand commentary in Forbes from someone who had her genome analyzed as part of the Genographic Project relates how she feels about finding out that her Spanish Catholic ancestors were themselves descendants of Eastern European Ashkenazi Jews. "My results from the Genographic Project didn’t quite rock my world, but they were surprising," she says.


The Scan

Another Resignation

According to the Wall Street Journal, a third advisory panel member has resigned following the US Food and Drug Administration's approval of an Alzheimer's disease drug.

Novavax Finds Its Vaccine Effective

Reuters reports Novavax's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.

Can't Be Used

The US Food and Drug Administration says millions of vaccine doses made at an embattled manufacturing facility cannot be used, the New York Times reports.

PLOS Papers on Frozen Shoulder GWAS, Epstein-Barr Effects on Immune Cell Epigenetics, More

In PLOS this week: genome-wide association study of frozen shoulder, epigenetic patterns of Epstein-Barr-infected B lymphocyte cells, and more.