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This Week in Nature: Dec 4, 2014

In Nature this week, researchers from the African Genome Variation Project report the results of its efforts to build a resource for the design, implementation, and interpretation of genomic studies in sub-Saharan Africa with the potential to be extended to other regions. The collaborators assessed the genetic diversity that exists among 1,481 sub-Saharan Africans and sequenced the full genomes of 320 individuals from 18 different ethnic and linguistic groups. From this they were able to identify various genetic regions under positive selection in Africa, including ones ties to malaria and hypertension susceptibility. They also uncovered evidence of a regionally distinct pattern of interbreeding between Eurasian people and African hunter-gatherers. GenomeWeb's Julia Karow has more on this here.

And in Nature Communications, a team of Chinese researchers has published the genome of the mudskipper, an amphibious fish that uses its pectoral fins to move on land and is capable of breathing out of water. The scientists sequenced the genomes of four different species of mudskipper, revealing that the fish diverged from other ray-finned fish around 140 million years ago and then began acquiring genes that helped them adapt to life on land. Such genes may also have helped more ancient vertebrates transition from water to land 360 million years ago. GenomeWeb also covers the mudskipper genome study here.

The Scan

Gap in COVAX Doses

BBC News reports that COVAX is experiencing a vaccine shortfall, as the Serum Institute of India has paused exports.

Sanofi, GSK Report Promising Results

The Wall Street Journal reports that the candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccine from Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline has had encouraging early results.

Influence of Luck

The New York Times examines how the US avoided variant-fueled increases in COVID-19 cases.

PLOS Papers on Retina GWAS, Hantaan Virus, COVID-19 Phenome-Wide Association Study

In PLOS this week: genome-wide association study of retinal morphology, analysis of hantaan virus found in a mouse, and more.