What we’re reading: Human population growth rates, canine population genomics, and things Hope Jahren will not do

Reading in the snow

In the journals

Gazave E, L Ma, D Chang, A Coventry, F Gao, D Muzny, E Boerwinkle, RA Gibbs, CF Sing, AG Clark, and A Keinan. 2013. Neutral genomic regions refine models of recent rapid human population growth
PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.1310398110.

Here, to study recent human history with minimal confounding by selection, we sequenced and examined genetic variants far from genes. These data point to the human population size growing by about 3.4% per generation over the last 3,000–4,000 y, resulting in a greater than 100-fold increase in population size over that epoch.

Freedman AH, I Gronau, RM Schweize, D Ortega-Del Vecchyo, E Han, et al. 2014. Genome Sequencing Highlights the Dynamic Early History of Dogs. PLoS Genetics 10(1): e1004016. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004016.

Regarding the geographic origin of dogs, we find that, surprisingly, none of the extant wolf lineages from putative domestication centers is more closely related to dogs, and, instead, the sampled wolves form a sister monophyletic clade. This result, in combination with dog-wolf admixture during the process of domestication, suggests that a re-evaluation of past hypotheses regarding dog origins is necessary.

In the news

On being poor in graduate school.

What does it take to get Hope Jahren to take a principled stand? Misogynistic nonsense in the pages of Nature, apparently.

On what counts in doing science: experience, rather than genius.

Why are academics so vulnerable to online outrage?

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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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