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This Week in Nature: Dec 21, 2012

In Nature this week, University of California, Berkeley, researchers publish the draft genomes of two annelids — a freshwater leech and a marine polychaete — and one mollusk — the owl limpet — providing new insights into the evolution of bilateral symmetry. By comparing these genomes with those of other animals, the team identified some of the genetic changes that gave rise to bilaterians.

Our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this study here.

Meanwhile, in Nature Genetics, Chinese scientists report on their whole-genome sequencing of 34 giant pandas and combined the findings with data from the previously deep-sequenced panda genome to reconstruct a continuous demographic history of pandas from their origin to the present day. They identified two population expansions, two bottlenecks, and two divergences, and conclude that human activities and not global climate changes have driven recent population divergence and decline.

GenomeWeb Daily News also covers this paper here.

The Scan

J&J Booster Support

A US Food and Drug Administration advisory panel has voted to support a booster dose of Johnson & Johnson's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, according to the Los Angeles Times.

To Keep the Cases Moving

The president of the UK Royal College of Pathologists tells the Financial Times that more investment is needed to tackle a backlog of cases.

NAS Expels Archaeologist

Science reports Luis Jaime Castillo Butters' expulsion is the first of an international member from the US National Academy of Sciences.

PLOS Papers on Angelman Syndrome-Like Cases, Salmonella Paratyphi A, SARS-CoV-2 in Brazil

In PLOS this week: exome sequencing analysis of Angelman syndrome-like cases, genetic epidemiology of Salmonella Paratyphi A, and more.