Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

This Week in Nature: Feb 15, 2018

In Nature Ecology & Evolution this week, a team of US and German scientists presents the sequenced genome of the Amazon molly, a fish representing one of the few examples of an asexual vertebrate. While asexuality among vertebrates in nature is generally explained by genomic decay due to absence of meiotic recombination, the researchers discovered few signs of genetic degeneration or harmful mutations in the animal's genome. They also found a high level of genetic diversity and ongoing evolution, and suggest the rarity of asexuality vertebrate lineages is not due to disadvantage, but rather "because the genomic combinations required to bypass meiosis and to make up a functioning hybrid genome are rarely met in nature."

And in Nature Communications, a group led by researchers at the Barcelona Institute for Science and Technology publishes a study demonstrating that gene expression changes may be used to determine a person's time of death. The investigators examined the RNA sequencing data of 36 different post-mortem tissues from the Genotype Tissue Expression consortium — or GTEx — and found that time elapsed since death has different effects on gene expression patterns in different tissues. They also developed a model that can be used to predict time since death by analyzing the transcriptome of a few readily accessible tissues. GenomeWeb has more on this study, here.