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Woodpecker Genomes Point to Cross-Continent Adaptation Convergence

In Science Advances, researchers from Colombia University, the American Museum of Natural History, and the University of Massachusetts look at local adaptations in similar, but non-sister, woodpecker species, highlighting convergent genomic adaptations to temperature, precipitation, and other environmental features. With whole-genome resequencing data for 70 downy woodpeckers (Dryobates pubescens) and 70 hairy woodpeckers (D. villosus), the team focused in on genes and other genomic loci that appear to have been subject to selection in both species — from genes involved in body size to those influencing plumage color and variation patterns. "We demonstrate that genomic convergence is an important phenomenon driving adaptive evolution across broad environmental scales," they report, "and we present exciting new candidate genes putatively implicated in key phenotypic differences in local adaptation."

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.