The Neolithic period is characterized by major cultural transformations and human migrations, with lasting effects across Europe. To understand the population dynamics in Neolithic Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea area, we investigate the genomes of individuals associated with the Battle Axe Culture (BAC), a Middle Neolithic complex in Scandinavia resembling the continental Corded Ware Culture (CWC). We sequenced 11 individuals (dated to 3330–1665 calibrated before common era (cal BCE)) from modern-day Sweden, Estonia, and Poland to 0.26–3.24× coverage. Three of the individuals were from CWC contexts and two from the central-Swedish BAC burial ‘Bergsgraven’. By analysing these genomes together with the previously published data, we show that the BAC represents a group different from other Neolithic populations in Scandinavia, revealing stratification among cultural groups. Similar to continental CWC, the BAC-associated individuals display ancestry from the Pontic–Caspian steppe herders, as well as smaller components originating from hunter–gatherers and Early Neolithic farmers. Thus, the steppe ancestry seen in these Scandinavian BAC individuals can be explained only by migration into Scandinavia. Furthermore, we highlight the reuse of megalithic tombs of the earlier Funnel Beaker Culture (FBC) by people related to BAC. The BAC groups likely mixed with resident middle Neolithic farmers (e.g. FBC) without substantial contributions from Neolithic foragers.

Freshwater fish evolved from anadromous ancestors can be found in almost all continents. The roles of paleogeographic events and nature selection in speciation process often are under focus of research. We studied genetic diversity of anadromous and resident tapertail anchovies (Coilia nasus species complex) in the Yangtze River Basin using 4,434 nuclear loci, and tested the history of freshwater invasion of C. nasus. We found that both C. brachygnathus and C. nasus were valid species, but the resident C. nasus taihuensis and the anadromous C. nasus were not different genetically based on Bayes factor species delimitation (BFD*). Maximum likelihood tree, Network, PCA and STRUCTURE analyses all corroborated the results of BFD*. Two independent freshwater invasion events of C. nasus were supported, with the first event occurring around 4.07 Ma and the second happened around 3.2 Ka. The time of the two freshwater invasions is consistent with different paleogeographic events. Estimation showed that gene flow was higher within ecotypes than between different ecotypes. F‐DIST analyses identified 120 disruptive outliers by comparing C. brachygnathus to anadromous C. nasus, and 21 disruptive outliers by comparing resident C. nasus to anadromous C. nasus. Nine outliers were found to be common between the two comparisons, indicating that independent freshwater invasion of C. nasus might involve similar molecular pathways. The results of this study suggest that adaptation to landlocked freshwater environment of migratory fish can evolve multiple times independently, and morphology of landlocked ecotypes may cause confusion in their taxonomy.

Milkweeds (Asclepias) are used in wide-ranging studies including floral development, pollination biology, plant-insect interactions and co-evolution, secondary metabolite chemistry, and rapid diversification. We present a transcriptome and draft nuclear genome assembly of the common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca. This reconstruction of the nuclear genome is augmented by linkage group information, adding to existing chloroplast and mitochondrial genomic resources for this member of the Apocynaceae subfamily Asclepiadoideae. The genome was sequenced to 80.4× depth and the draft assembly contains 54,266 scaffolds ≥1 kbp, with N50 = 3,415 bp, representing 37% (156.6 Mbp) of the estimated 420 Mbp genome. A total of 14,474 protein-coding genes were identified based on transcript evidence, closely related proteins, and ab initio models, and 95% of genes were annotated. A large proportion of gene space is represented in the assembly, with 96.7% of Asclepias transcripts, 88.4% of transcripts from the related genus Calotropis, and 90.6% of proteins from Coffea mapping to the assembly. Scaffolds covering 75 Mbp of the Asclepias assembly formed 11 linkage groups. Comparisons of these groups with pseudochromosomes in Coffea found that six chromosomes show consistent stability in gene content, while one may have a long history of fragmentation and rearrangement. The progesterone 5β-reductase gene family, a key component of cardenolide production, is likely reduced in Asclepias relative to other Apocynaceae. The genome and transcriptome of common milkweed provide a rich resource for future studies of the ecology and evolution of a charismatic plant family.

The karyotype represents the basic genetic make-up of a eukaryotic species. Comparative cytogenetic analysis of relative species based on individually identified chromosomes has been conducted only in few plant groups, not yet in woody plants. We developed a complete set of 19 chromosome painting probes based on the reference genome of the model woody plant Populus trichocarpa. Using sequential fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), we were able to identify all poplar chromosomes in the same metaphase cells, which led to the development of poplar karyotypes based on individually identified chromosomes. We demonstrate that five Populus species, which belong to five different sections within Populus, have maintained a remarkably conserved karyotype. No inter-chromosomal structural rearrangements were observed on any of the 19 chromosomes among the five species. Thus, the chromosomal synteny in Populus has been remarkably maintained after nearly 14 million years of divergence. We propose that the karyotypes of woody species are more stable than herbaceous plants since it may take a longer period of time for woody plants to fix chromosome number or structural variants in natural populations.

Viruses and other infectious agents cause more than 15% of human cancer cases. High-throughput sequencing-based studies of virus-cancer associations have mainly focused on cancer transcriptome data.In this study, we applied a diverse selection of presequencing enrichment methods targeting all major viral groups, to characterize the viruses present in 197 samples from 18 sample types of cancerous origin. Using high-throughput sequencing, we generated 710 datasets constituting 57 billion sequencing reads.Detailed in silico investigation of the viral content, including exclusion of viral artefacts, from de novo assembled contigs and individual sequencing reads yielded a map of the viruses detected. Our data reveal a virome dominated by papillomaviruses, anelloviruses, herpesviruses, and parvoviruses. More than half of the included samples contained 1 or more viruses; however, no link between specific viruses and cancer types were found.Our study sheds light on viral presence in cancers and provides highly relevant virome data for future reference.

Contact zones between species provide a unique opportunity to test whether taxa can hybridize or not. Cross‐breeding or hybridization between closely related taxa can promote gene flow (introgression…

Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) was developed more than 30 years ago and has been the most paradigm-changing technique in cytogenetic research. FISH has been used to answer questions related to structure, mutation, and evolution of not only individual chromosomes but also entire genomes. FISH has served as an important tool for chromosome identification in many plant species. This review intends to summarize and discuss key technical development and applications of FISH in plants since 2006. The most significant recent advance of FISH is the development and application of probes based on synthetic oligonucleotides (oligos). Oligos specific to a repetitive DNA sequence, to a specific chromosomal region, or to an entire chromosome can be computationally identified, synthesized in parallel, and fluorescently labeled. Oligo probes designed from conserved DNA sequences from one species can be used among genetically related species, allowing comparative cytogenetic mapping of these species. The advances with synthetic oligo probes will significantly expand the applications of FISH especially in non-model plant species. Recent achievements and future applications of FISH and oligo-FISH are discussed.

African swine fever (ASF) is a severe disease of suids caused by African swine fever virus (ASFV). Its dsDNA genome (170–194 kbp) is scattered with homopolymers and repeats as well as inverted-terminal-repeats (ITR), which hamper whole-genome sequencing. To date, only a few genome sequences have been published and only for some are data on sequence quality available enabling in-depth investigations. Especially in Europe and Asia, where ASFV has continuously spread since its introduction into Georgia in 2007, a very low genetic variability of the circulating ASFV-strains was reported. Therefore, only whole-genome sequences can serve as a basis for detailed virus comparisons. Here, we report an effective workflow, combining target enrichment, Illumina and Nanopore sequencing for ASFV whole-genome sequencing. Following this approach, we generated an improved high-quality ASFV Georgia 2007/1 whole-genome sequence leading to the correction of 71 sequencing errors and the addition of 956 and 231 bp at the respective ITRs. This genome, derived from the primary outbreak in 2007, can now serve as a reference for future whole-genome analyses of related ASFV strains and molecular approaches. Using both workflow and the reference genome, we generated the first ASFV-whole-genome sequence from Moldova, expanding the sequence knowledge from Eastern Europe.