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This Week in PLOS: Aug 20, 2018

An international team of researchers has performed genome-wide SNP genotyping of indigenous North African goats to find a high level of genetic diversity as well as admixture. As they report in PLOS One, researchers led by the University of Limoges' Anne Da Silva found little genetic structure among the four Arabia, Draa, Black and Nord breeds, even though the Arabia goats were from Algeria and the others from Morocco. Meanwhile, the Kabyle and M'Zabite breeds, which are raised by the Berber people, were genetically distinct. This, the researchers say, indicates there has been a homogenization of North African goats. They further suggest that the Kabyle goats were part of the first wave of goat migration to North Africa about 6,000 years ago.

Also in PLOS One, researchers from New Zealand and Sweden describe the genetic structure of Pleurobranchaea maculata, the grey side-gilled slug. The slug produces a neurotoxin that has been linked to the deaths of dogs that ate the slugs. The team analyzed both microsatellite and mitochondrial genes of slugs collected from around New Zealand to find there was likely a single founding slug population in the region that subsequently split into a northern and a southern population.

Lastly, in PLOS Computational Biology, a pair of researchers from the Institute for Population Genetics in Austria describes a Java program they designed for evolve and resequencing studies. In these studies, evolving populations are re-sampled and resequenced at various intervals to examine evolution at the molecular level. As the studies require simulations of evolving populations, which the researchers say is difficult with current tools, they developed the program MimicrEE2 to enable such simulations. They report this version includes support for a quantitative trait model, sex, sex chromosomes, migration, and de novo mutations.