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 Yoder is an Assistant Professor of Biology at California State University, Northridge. He also blogs at Denim and Tweed, and tweets under the handle @jbyoder.
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