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This Week in Nature: Jul 6, 2017

In this week's Nature Communications, a team led by scientists from the University of Tubingen reports the reconstruction of the complete mitochondrial DNA genome isolated from an Neanderthal femur found in an archeological site in southwestern Germany. The mtDNA was found to split from other Neanderthals around 270,000 years ago. This alters the timeline of when Neanderthals might have received a genetic contribution from hominins closely related to modern humans, suggesting that the event occurred much earlier than previously thought. GenomeWeb has more on this study, here

And in Nature Genetics, a St. Jude Children's Research Hospital-led group reports the genome-wide sequencing of T-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). Using integrated genomic analysis of 264 T-ALL cases, the scientists identified 106 putative driver genes, half of which had not previously been described in childhood T-ALL. They also discovered new mechanisms of coding and noncoding alteration, and identify 10 recurrently altered pathways with associations between mutated genes and pathways, and stage or subtype of T-ALL. The genomic landscape "provides a logical framework for the development of faithful genetic models and new therapeutic approaches," the authors state. GenomeWeb also covers this and a related study, here.