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This Week in Nature: Mar 22, 2018

In this week's Nature, an international research team presents the sequenced genomes of five Neanderthals, uncovering new details about the genetic history of the archaic humans. The researchers sequenced the genomes of five Neanderthals who lived around 39,000 years to 47,000 years ago in Belgium, France, Croatia, and the Russian Caucasus, and compared them them with the genome of an older Neanderthal from the Caucasus. Their analysis suggests that the bulk of Neanderthal gene flow into early modern humans originated from one or more source populations that diverged from the five Neanderthals in this study at least 70,000 years ago. The researchers also note that they found no evidence of any recent gene flow from early modern humans into Neanderthals. GenomeWeb has more on this study, here.

And in Nature Communications, a group of Chinese investigators reports the sequencing and analysis of the American cockroach, providing insights into how the insect has adapted to urban environments. In their study, the researchers show that the American cockroach has the second largest sequenced insect genome after the locust, and identify gene families likely associated with environmental adaptation — such as chemoreception and detoxification — that have undergone expansion. They also found signaling pathways involved in development and regeneration, as well as a high level of sequence identity in genes between the American cockroach and two termite species. GenomeWeb also covers this, here.