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This Week in Genome Biology: Apr 19, 2017

Investigators at the Babraham Institute, the European Bioinformatics Institute, and elsewhere describe an apparent age predictor in mice based on DNA methylation patterns. After using reduced-representation bisulfite sequencing to track methylation profiles in liver, lung, heart, and brain cortex tissue from male mice in the same strain — ranging in age from newborn to 41 weeks old — the team came up with an age prediction model based on cytosine methylation status at more than 300 CpG methylation marks. "Based on these findings," they write, "we generated a multi-tissue predictor for the mouse, characterized its properties, and demonstrated that it can be applied to inform other studies."

A Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology team took a look at the functional effects of introgressed Neanderthal sequences in the genomes of present-day human populations outside of Africa. With genotyping and gene expression profiles for dozens of tissues from up to 450 individuals, for example, the authors argue that "introgressed archaic DNA is likely to exert a larger effect through change in gene regulation than through modifications to protein sequences." The researchers' analyses also focused on factors ranging from introgressed allele frequency changes to phenotypes related to variants inherited from Neanderthals.

Researchers from Mexico, Spain, Argentina, and elsewhere consider common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) population genetics. The researchers did nuclear and chloroplast genome re-sequencing data on 29 representative plants from a dozen species in the Phaseolus genus, unearthing variants that proved useful for phylogenetic analyses, along with studies of domestication-related genetic features, speciation events, apparent adaptive introgression from related plants, and more.