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This Week in Nature: Feb 2, 2017

In this week's Nature Genetics, an international team of researchers presents an analysis into the genomic influence of cattle on Mongolian yaks. The yak has adapted to high altitude living and, at lower elevations, is commonly hybridized with cattle. Hybrid males are sterile, which prevents the establishment of a stable hybrid population, but not a limited introgression after backcrossing several generations of female hybrids to male yaks. Using high-density SNP genotyping and whole-genome sequencing, the researchers inferred bovine haplotypes in the genomes of 76 Mongolian yaks. They found that the yaks inherited about 1.3 percent of their genome from bovine ancestors after nearly continuous admixture over at least 1,500 years. Introgressed regions were found to be enriched in genes involved in nervous system development and function, and a novel mutation associated with a hornless phenotype found among Mongolian Turano cattle was discovered. GenomeWeb has more on this here.

And in Nature Methods, scientists from Oregon Health and Science University report details on a new method for sequencing thousands of single-cell genomes. Called single-cell combinatorial indexed sequencing, or SCI-seq, the technique enables the simultaneous generation of thousands of low-pass single-cell libraries for detection of somatic copy-number variants. The team used the method to construct libraries for 16,698 single cells from a combination of cultured cell lines, primate frontal cortex tissue, and two human adenocarcinomas, and conducted a detailed assessment of subclonal variation within a pancreatic tumor. GenomeWeb also covers this and a related study here.

The Scan

Polygenic Risk Score to Predict Preeclampsia, Gestational Hypertension in Pregnant Women

Researchers in Nature Medicine provide new mechanistic insights into the development of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, which may help develop therapeutics.

New Oral Nanomedicine Strategy Targets Gut-Brain Axis to Treat IBD

A new paper in Science Advances describes a platform to design polyphenol-armored oral medicines that are effective at treating inflammatory bowel disease.

Phylogenetic Data Enables New Floristic Map

Researchers in Nature Communications use angiosperm phylogenetic data to refine the floristic regions of the world.

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.