In this week's Nature Genetics, a New York University-led group of investigators present a SNP map of African rice — a cereal closely related to Asian rice and known for its resistance to abiotic stresses — from their whole-genome resequencing of 93 varieties. The study revealed a population bottleneck in African rice that began around 14,000 years ago and a long period of population size reduction likely resulting from pre-domestication management and cultivation. The researchers also uncovered loci for salt tolerance traits located in genomic regions with signatures of positive selection. GenomeWeb has more on this study, here.
And in Nature Methods, a Garvan Institute of Medical Research-led team published two papers detailing sequins — set of DNA and RNA standards that can be used to emulate human genetic features and act as spike-in controls for genome sequencing. In the first paper, the investigators describe the use of sequins to represent common and clinically important genetic variation, ranging from SNPs to large structural rearrangements and copy number variations. In the second paper, they demonstrate the use of sequins in RNA-seq experiments to measure sample-specific biases and "determine the limits of reliable transcript assembly and quantification in accompanying human RNA samples."