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This Week in Nature: Sep 14, 2017

In this week's Nature, a team of Chinese scientists presents the genome sequence of Apostasia shenzhenica, a self-pollinating orchid species from southeast China that represents one of two genera that form a sister lineage to the rest of the orchid species. The investigators find evidence of a whole-genome duplication shared by all orchids and occurring shortly before their divergence. They also compared A. shenzhenica with other orchids and angiosperms to reconstruct an ancestral orchid gene toolkit. Overall, the study sheds new light on the genetic mechanisms underpinning key orchid innovations, reveals relationships between the Orchidaceae subfamilies, and helps clarify the evolutionary history of orchids within the angiosperms, the team writes.

The Daily Scan's sister publication, GenomeWeb Daily News, has more on this study here

And in Nature Microbiology, a group from the University of Queensland reports the reconstruction of 7,903 bacterial and archaeal genomes from more than 1,500 public metagenomes, substantially expanding the tree of life. The genomes are estimated to be at least 50 percent complete and nearly half are at least 90 percent complete with no more than five percent contamination. The genomes increase the phylogenetic diversity of bacterial and archaeal genome trees by more than 30 percent. They also provide the first representatives of 17 bacterial and three archaeal candidate phyla. The scientists also recovered 245 genomes from the Patescibacteria superphylum. "The relative diversity of this group varies substantially with different protein marker sets," they note, adding, "The scale and quality of this data set demonstrate that recovering genomes from metagenomes provides an expedient path forward to exploring microbial dark matter."

GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this study here.