What we're reading: The heritability of flammability, genomics of adaptation to climate, and when to take a break already

Reading a Book
In the journals
Moreira B., MC Castellanos, and JG Pausas. 2014. Genetic component of flammability variation in a Mediterranean shrub Molecular Ecology. doi: 10.1111/mec.12665.

Our general hypothesis is that flammability-enhancing traits are adaptive; here we test whether they have a genetic component. … We found that at least 42% of the phenotypic variation in flammability was explained by the genetic divergence in a subset of AFLP loci.

Yoder JB, J Stanton-Geddes, P Zhou, R Briskine, ND Young, and P Tiffin. 2014. Genomic signature of local adaptation to climate in Medicago truncatula. Genetics. doi: 10.1534/genetics.113.159319.

Genotypes at [climate-associated] candidate loci also predicted the performance of an independent sample of plant accessions grown in climate-controlled conditions. … candidates for two climate gradients, AMT and PWM, were significantly enriched for genic regions; and genome segments flanking genic AMT and PWM candidates harbored less nucleotide diversity, elevated differentiation between haplotypes carrying alternate alleles, and an overrepresentation of the most common haplotypes.

In the news
“… the biggest consumers of peer review seem to contribute the least to the process.” — Should journals refuse to take submissions from authors who don’t review for them?
“The mistake made by all bibliometricians is that they fail to consider the content of papers, because they have no desire to understand research.” — Why “altmetrics,” and other numeric proxies of a paper’s impact, are bunk.
“The FDA approved a machine called the MiSeqDx, ‘the first FDA-regulated test system that allows laboratories to develop and validate sequencing of any part of a patient’s genome.’ ” — Why the 23andMe decision doesn’t mean the FDA is opposed to genetic testing.
“We are a culture where boasting contests about who’s busier and who’s getting less sleep are not uncommon.” — Are you too busy thinking about tomorrow’s experiment to celebrate today’s results?

About Jeremy Yoder

Jeremy B. Yoder is an Assistant 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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