What we're reading: Genetics of ecological speciation and translating plant genetics to the farm

In the journals
Arnegard M.E., M.D. McGee, B. Matthews, K.B. Marchinko, G.L. Conte, S. Kabir, N. Bedford, S. Bergek, Y.F. Chan, F.C. Jones, D.M. Kingsley, C.L. Peichel, D. Schluter. 2014. Genetics of ecological divergence during speciation. Nature doi: 10.1038/nature13301.

Here we investigate the genetic architecture of niche differentiation in a sympatric species pair of threespine stickleback fish by mapping the environment-dependent effects of phenotypic traits on hybrid feeding and performance under semi-natural conditions.

Ronald P.C. 2014. Lab to farm: Applying research on plant genetics and genomics to crop improvement. PLoS Biology 12(6): e1001878. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001878.

In this Essay, I describe how basic research advances have been translated into crop improvement, explore some lessons learned, and discuss the potential for current and future contribution of plant genetic improvement technologies to continue to enhance food security and agricultural sustainability.

In the news
“Everyone is, to some degree, winging it. Your career decisions may be as much serendipity as serious long term planning.”
“In our study, a low-frequency variant in HNF1A — present in 2 percent of type 2 diabetes cases and 0.4 percent of healthy controls — quintupled risk of type 2 diabetes, the largest effect ever observed for a type 2 diabetes variant found in more than 0.1 percent of the population.”

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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