In Nature this week, scientists from Uppsala University report on the sequencing of the genomes of two species of flycatchers, providing insights into the divergence of the birds' lineages and speciation in general. As lineages diverge, a combination of reproductive isolation barriers arises. Little is known about the genetic basis of speciation, and the "identity, number, and effect size of loci involved in population divergence, their genomic distribution, and the type of mutations involved" remains unclear. In their study, the investigators offer new details about the genetics of species divergence, and find that targets for selection are not only individual genes but also discrete regions of the genome. Daily Scan's sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this study here.
Also in Nature, Garvin Institute of Medical Research investigators publish data from a genetic analysis of early-stage pancreatic cancer patients, uncovering novel drivers of the disease including mutations in genes not previously implicated in the cancer, but now linked to disease progression and patient survival. The findings suggest that "a deeper understanding of the underlying molecular pathophysiology of the clinical disease is needed to advance the development of effective therapeutic and early detection strategies." GWDN also covers this project here.