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This Week in Nature: May 2, 2019

In Nature Genetics this week, an international research team reports resequencing hundreds of chickpea varieties from different regions, gaining new insights into the crop plant's genomic diversity, its domestication, and various agronomic traits. The researchers generated a map of nearly 5 million chickpea SNPs from their whole-genome resequencing of 429 chickpea lines from 45 countries. They found 122 candidate regions with 204 genes under selection — mostly related to stress response — during chickpea breeding and identified 262 markers and several candidate genes for 13 traits. Their data also point to the Eastern Mediterranean region as "the primary center of origin and migration route of chickpea from the Mediterranean/Fertile Crescent to Central Asia." The findings, the researchers state, should aid in the development of climate change-ready cultivars that can boost agricultural development in developing countries. GenomeWeb has more on this, here

And in Nature Ecology & Evolution, a multi-institute team led by Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History scientists publishes a genetic study of the people of inner Eurasia, revealing the history of admixture across the region. The investigators generated novel genome-wide data for 763  individuals from Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, and elsewhere, as well as new data from two previously reported ancient individuals from Kazakhstan. Among the findings are three distinct admixture clines stretching between various western and eastern Eurasian ancestries — and mirroring geography — for present-day inner Eurasians. The ancient genomes point to a northward spread of the southern steppe cline in Central Asia during the first millennium, while the genetics of Caucasus populations "highlights a role of the Caucasus Mountains as a barrier to gene flow and suggests a post-Neolithic gene flow into North Caucasus populations from the steppe," the authors write. GenomeWeb also covers this, here.