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This Week in Nature: Jan 30, 2014

In Nature this week, a team led by Harvard Medical School investigators report the results of a screening experiment of genomes of more than 1,000 modern-day humans, finding that present-day humans bear traces of Neandertal ancestry, but that Neandertal DNA is not distributed uniformly across the human genome. Genes affecting keratin filaments were in Europeans and East Asians contain a higher-than-usual amount of Neanderthal DNA, for instance, while significant parts of the modern human genome are devoid of Neandertal alleles, suggesting that they were eliminated by selection.

GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this study here.

Also in Nature, a research team working as part of The Cancer Genome Atlas project describes details on newly identified genetic mutations linked to urothelial cancer of the bladder. The researchers found recurrent mutations in 32 genes, including those involved in cell-cycle regulation, chromatin regulation, and kinase signaling pathways, noting that many are novel to bladder cancers. The analysis also identified potential therapeutic targets in 69 percent of the tumors studied.

GWDN also covers this work 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.