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This Week in Nature: Jan 21, 2016

In this week's Nature Communications, a pair of studies examining the DNA from ancient British individuals provides new details about migration from continental Europe into the United Kingdom before and after the Anglo-Saxon invasion around the fifth century. In one report, a team led by scientists from Trinity College Dublin sequenced the DNA of nine Northern British people, including ones who lived during the Roman-era, the Iron Age, and after the Anglo-Saxon invasion. They found that the whole genomes of Roman-era people were similar to the British Celtic population and to the earlier Iron Age genomes, but are different from modern Yorkshire or Anglo-Saxon genomes. One Roman individual possessed high genetic similarity to modern Middle Eastern and North African populations, indicating that distant migrations were occurring during the Roman Empire. In the second paper, a Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute-led group sequenced the genomes of 10 people dating back to the Iron Age and Anglo-Saxon era who were buried in east England, and showed that present-day people from east Britain derive about a third of their ancestry from Anglo-Saxon migrants, and that the Anglo-Saxon samples share more genetic similarities with modern Dutch and Danish populations than with Iron Age samples. GenomeWeb has more on these studies here.

And in Nature Methods, a group from the Broad Institute presents GenomeSpace, a cloud-based, cooperative community resource that hosts the streamlined interaction of 20 bioinformatics tools and data resources. According to the scientists, the tool offers a set of short workflows to guide investigators without programming expertise through high-utility analysis tasks.