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This Week in Nature: Mar 29, 2018

In this week's Nature, a team of Dutch researchers reports a new sequencing strategy for quantifying clonal origin and cell type simultaneously at single-cell resolution. The scientists demonstrated their approach — called ScarTrace — using thousands of cells obtained from different organs of adult zebrafish. Among their findings are a small set of multipotent embryonic progenitors that generate all haematopoietic cells in the kidney marrow, and a set of resident immune cells in the fin with a distinct clonal origin from other blood cell types. The authors see multiple applications for ScarTrace in developmental and stem cell biology, and anticipate similar approaches will be used to study clonal selection in cancer models.

And in Nature Ecology & Evolution, scientists from the US and Europe discuss paleoproteomics and the key challenges facing this emerging field such as the lack of data reporting standards and data validation measures, and the failure to use suitable contamination controls in ancient protein studies. "Additionally, in contrast to the ancient DNA community, no consolidated guidelines have been proposed by which researchers, reviewers, and editors can evaluate paleoproteomics data," they note. To address these issues, the authors propose standards for ancient protein research that can be implemented at each stage of analysis to help establish paleoproteomics as a viable and powerful tool.

The Scan

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.