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This Week in Nature: Jul 20, 2017

In this week's Nature, a team led by researchers from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital reports an in-depth investigation into the genetics of medulloblastoma, the most common form of childhood brain cancer. By analyzing the genome sequences of 491 medulloblastomas and focusing on altered gene expression in another 1,256 samples, the scientists uncovered novel genetic alterations that drive the disease, including many that specific to different subgroups. Additionally, they found that certain of these genetic drivers, as well as alterations in cellular pathways, could be grouped into new subtypes. The findings, the authors wrote, underscore the heterogeneity and complexity of medulloblastoma, and represent a genomic resource for future investigations. GenomeWeb has more on this here.

And in Nature Communications, a group of US and European scientists reports sequencing the genomes of ancient dogs, generating data that points to a single geographical origin for modern dogs. The researchers sequenced genomes of an Early and End Neolithic dog from Germany, including a sample associated with an early European farming community. Both animals demonstrate continuity with each other and predominantly share ancestry with modern European dogs. Notably, there was no genetic evidence supporting the hypothesis of dual origins of dog domestication. Overall, the study reveals "a history of domestic dogs as intricate as that of the people they lived alongside," the authors state. The Scan also has more, here.