In Nature this week, a University of Oxford-led team of researchers reports the results of a broad genetic analysis of the British population, uncovering new details about how Britain was populated. The scientists used haplotype-based statistical methods to analyze genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism data from a geographically diverse sample of 2,039 individuals from the UK. Among their findings were patterns of genetic differentiation within the British population that correspond with geographical regions and reflect historical migration events. They also found that there is not a general Celtic population in non-Saxon parts of the UK, but rather distinct subgroups that are as different to one other as they are to the populations of Saxon heritage. GenomeWeb has more on this study here.
Also in Nature, research group from the UK presents the details of a new method for the transcriptome-wide identification of RNA secondary structures interacting with RNA-binding proteins. They used the approach, called hiCLIP, to look at RNA structures bound by Staufen 1 in human cells and found a dominance of intra-molecular RNA duplexes, a depletion of duplexes from coding regions of highly translated mRNAs, an unexpected prevalence of long-range duplexes in untranslated regions, and a decreased incidence of single-nucleotide polymorphisms in duplex-forming regions. The findings suggest that hiCLIP may have applications for discovering new RNA duplexes, especially long-range ones.