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This Week in Genome Biology: Nov 4, 2015

A Korean-led research team reports on results from an effort to sequence the genome and transcriptome of the cinereous vulture, Aegypius monachus. The researchers used the Illumina HiSeq2000 to generate reads spanning more than 100 billion bases of the cinereous vulture genome, which were mapped to the bald eagle reference genome sequence. Together with transcript sequences from a cinereous vulture blood sample, the genome sequence helped them track down apparent protein-coding genes and SNPs. And through comparisons with sequences from other birds, the study's authors narrowed in on genes that appeared to be under selection in A. monachus, including genes falling in immune and digestion-related pathways.

Researchers from the University College Dublin and elsewhere present findings from a genome sequencing study focused on the extinct Eurasian wild aurochs, Bos primigenius, an ancestor to at least two main domestic cattle species. Using DNA from a 6,750-year-old aurochs bone from Britain, the team generated B. primigenius genome sequence reads that were mapped to a cattle reference genome. Comparisons between the aurochs sequences, genome sequences from 81 B. taurus and B. indicus cattle, genome-wide SNP sequences for more than 1,200 more modern cattle breeds revealed historical relationships between cattle groups as well as genes that appear to have experience selective pressure in present-day cattle species. GenomeWeb has more on this, here.

Indiana University researchers describe a subtractive assembly strategy for comparing gut microbial communities in individuals with or without diabetes. The team tested its approach, which relies on comparisons aided by de novo metagenome assemblies, using simulated datasets and real data for dozens of type 2 diabetes (T2D) cases and controls. Results of the latter analysis offered insights into gut microbes and microbial functions that are enhanced in individuals with T2D, the study authors explain. "[I]n general, we confirm that T2D-associated metagenomes have an increased ability to harvest energy from diverse carbohydrates, as other studies have shown," they write. "We believe our subtractive assembly approach can be applied to other datasets … to reveal the association between microbial communities and other human diseases."