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Late Antiquity Grapevine Lineage Reveals Past Cultivation, Trading Patterns

A team from Tel Aviv University and other international centers look back at ancient legacy grapevine varieties from desert sites in southern Israel in an effort to find winemaking cultivars that are adapted to dry, hot environments, rather than temperate climate-adapted European cultivars typically used in winemaking. As they report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers relied on targeted-enrichment to do genome-wide sequencing on 16 ancient grapevine pips from a handful of archeological sites in the Negev Highlands, focusing on sequences from five pips for their analyses. Along with evidence of long-term grape cultivation in the region, they saw signs of genetic diversity and genetic ties to cultivars in other parts of the world, while uncovering the oldest white grape representative found so far. Together, the results "shed light on historical Byzantine trading networks and on the genetic contribution of Levantine varieties to the classic Aegean landscape," the authors write, adding that "modern-day close relatives of the archeological grapes may now provide an exceptional platform for future studies on grapevine resilience to aridity."

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

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Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.