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This Week in Nature: Jan 10, 2014

In Nature this week, a multi-national research team reports on the sequencing and analysis of the elephant shark genome, providing insights into bone formation and the immune systems in jawed vertebrates, also known as gnathostomes. These animals can be divided into those with skeletons of bone or of cartilage. The investigators' genomic analysis of the shark revealed that a lack of genes encoding secreted calcium-binding phosphoproteins as the reason for its cartilaginous skeleton and that the shark has a unique adaptive immune system.

GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this study here.

Also in Nature, researchers from the Broad Institute and their collaborators publish the results of a large-scale genomic analysis of 21 different types of tumors, identifying all known cancer genes in the cancer types, as well as 33 genes not previously known to be significantly mutated in the disease. These include ones related to proliferation, apoptosis, chromatin regulation, and more. Down-sampling data indicate that there are more genes to be identified in the cancer catalog, and the team estimates that near-saturation could be achieved with 600 samples to 5,000 samples per tumor type.

GWDN also covers this here.

The Scan

Foxtail Millet Pangenome, Graph-Based Reference Genome

Researchers in Nature Genetics described their generation of a foxtail millet pangenome, which they say can help in crop trait improvement.

Protein Length Distribution Consistent Across Species

An analysis in Genome Biology compares the lengths of proteins across more than 2,300 species, finding similar distributions.

Novel Genetic Loci Linked to Insulin Resistance in New Study

A team reports in Nature Genetics that it used glucose challenge test data to home in on candidate genes involved in in GLUT4 expression or trafficking.

RNA Editing in Octopuses Seems to Help Acclimation to Shifts in Water Temperature

A paper in Cell reports that octopuses use RNA editing to help them adjust to different water temperatures.