What we're reading: Genomes from museum specimens, adaptive polyploidy, and "crowdsourced" fertility planning

Readers I
In the journals
Staats, M., R. H. J. Erkens, B. van de Vossenberg, J. J. Wieringa, K. Kraaijeveld, B. Stielow, J. Geml, J. E. Richardson, and F. T. Bakker. 2013. Genomic treasure troves: Complete genome sequencing of herbarium and insect museum specimens. PLoS ONE 8:e69189. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0069189.

Here we show that using a standard multiplex and paired-end Illumina sequencing approach, genome-scale sequence data can be generated reliably from dry-preserved plant, fungal and insect specimens collected up to 115 years ago, and with minimal destructive sampling.

Chao, D.-Y., B. Dilkes, H. Luo, A. Douglas, E. Yakubova, B. Lahner, and D. E. Salt. 2013. Polyploids exhibit higher potassium uptake and salinity tolerance in Arabidopsis. Science 658:10–12. doi: 10.1126/science.1240561.

We found that the cytotype of the root, and not the genotype, determined the majority of heritable natural variation in leaf potassium (K) concentration in Arabidopsis thaliana. Autopolyploidy also provided resistance to salinity and may represent an adaptive outcome of the enhanced K accumulation of plants with higher ploidy.

In the news
The Ecological Society of America met in Minneapolis this week. And there was coverage at Dynamic Ecology and the EEB & Flow, and of course all over Twitter
How pipes turn Unix into a chainsaw.
“Zen” and the art of responding to reviewer comments.
Want to contribute information about your menstrual cycle, sexual practices, and success at conception to an effort in fertility-related data-mining? There’s an app for that.

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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