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This Week in Science: Jun 14, 2014

In this week's Science, a team led by Stanford University researchers report the results of a study of the fine-scale patterns of genome evolution in Mexico, showing how that the genetics of country's people has been influenced by population dynamics of ancient Native Americans who lived there prior to European colonization. The findings show distinct genetic makeups of these ancient groups and suggest that many were highly isolated. The researchers also found a correlation between the degree of indigenous ancestry and lung health based on geography, indicating that the data may have use in precision medicine. GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this work here.

Also in Science, a multi-institute group of investigators provide evidence that male chimpanzees contribute significantly more mutations to their offspring than do female chimpanzees due to an exaggerated bias more pronounced than that seen in humans. The scientists studied a pedigree of nine related Western chimpanzees over three generations and found that, while the chimps’ overall mutation rate has been comparable to humans’, male chimpanzees contribute seven to eight times more mutations to the next generation than females. The researchers also found that male chimpanzees contribute three more mutations to the germline with each year of age, while human males add just two new mutations into the mix each year. The results indicate that differences in the species' mating systems can influence gender bias and differential mutation rates.