What we're reading: GWA with low coverage and rare variants, cardenolide resistance, and felony experimentation

As we head into the weekend, here’s a few things we’ve noticed that are worth your screen-time.
In the journals
Navon, O., Sul, J.H., Han, B., Conde, L., Bracci, P., Riby, J., et al. 2013. Rare variant association testing under low-coverage sequencing. Genetics, doi: 10.1534/genetics.113.150169.

In this paper, we propose two novel methods for detecting association of rare SNPs with disease risk, using low coverage, error-prone sequencing. We show by simulation that our methods outperform previous methods under both low and high coverage sequencing, and under different disease architectures.

Petschenka, G., Fandrich, S., Sander, N., Wagschal, V., Boppré, M. & Dobler, S. n.d. Stepwise evolution of resistance to toxic cardenolides via genetic substitutions in the Na+/K+-ATPase of milkweed butterflies (Lepidoptera: Danaini). Evolution, doi: 10.1111/evo.12152.

Despite the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) being famous for its adaptations to the defensive traits of its milkweed host plants, little is known about the macroevolution of these traits.

In the news
Infuriating: Sixteen-year-old conducts a DIY chemistry experiment that probably all of us have seen done, ends up charged with a felony.
Still more on the increasingly worrying politics around U.S. government funding for science by Phil Plait.

About Jeremy Yoder

Jeremy B. Yoder is an Associate Professor of Biology at California State University Northridge, studying the evolution and coevolution of interacting species, especially mutualists. He is a collaborator with the Joshua Tree Genome Project and the Queer in STEM study of LGBTQ experiences in scientific careers. He has written for the website of Scientific American, the LA Review of Books, the Chronicle of Higher Education, The Awl, and Slate.
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