In this week's Nature, a team led by scientists from Harvard Medical School presents a genomic analysis of European Neolithic individuals, giving insights into the genetic history of early farmers on the continent. Previous studies suggest that Neolithic Europeans are descended from Anatolian migrant farmers with limited genetic admixture from resident hunter-gatherers. To investigate this theory, the scientists analyzed the genomes of 180 individuals who lived in Hungary, Germany, and Spain between 6000 BC and 2200 BC. They discovered that the arrival of migrants resulted in significant interbreeding with local hunter-gatherers, which lead to "observable population transformation across almost all cultural transitions." These transformations, the study's authors write, left "distinct signatures in each region, implying that they resulted from a complex web of local interactions rather than from a uniform demographic phenomenon." GenomeWeb has more on this, here.
And in Nature Genetics, members of the GENCODE consortium describe the use of a capture long-read sequencing to create a high-throughput annotation of full-length long non-coding RNAs, addressing a key bottleneck in transcriptome annotation. The approach — called RNA capture long seq, or CLS — combines targeted RNA capture with third-generation long-read cDNA sequencing. Using CLS, the investigators performed an experimental reannotation of the GENCODE intergenic lncRNA populations in matched human and mouse tissues, resulting in novel transcript models for 3,574 and 561 gene loci, respectively. CLS, the researchers write, roughly doubled the annotated complexity of targeted loci, outperforming existing short-read techniques, and represents a way to generate manual-quality full-length transcript models at high-throughput scales.