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This Week in Nature: Feb 13, 2014

In Nature this week, a multi-institute team report the genome sequence of a 12,600 year old male infant from a Native American burial site in Montana. The site was in Clovis, a widely studied archaeological site known for its distinctive stone tools. The origins of the people who made the tools is unknown, but the new genomic data suggest that the child belonged to a population from which many modern-day Native Americans descended and which is closely related to all indigenous American populations. The findings also point to a deep divergence in Native American populations that predates the Clovis period.

Meanwhile, in Nature Methods, scientists from the University of California, San Francisco publish a new method to isolate rare human pluripotent stem cells with specifically engineered genetic mutations. The genome-editing approach allows for the efficient induction or reversion of mutations associated with human disease in these cells, allowing for the experimental study of the biological effects of the mutations.

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 length 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 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.