Crop brassicas include three diploid [ Brassica rapa (AA; 2 n = 2 x = 16), B. nigra (BB; 2 n = 2 x = 18), and B. oleracea (CC; 2 n = 2 x = 20)] and three derived allotetraploid species. It is difficult to distinguish Brassica chromosomes as they are small and morphologically similar. We aimed to develop a genome-sequence based cytogenetic toolkit for reproducible identification of Brassica chromosomes and their structural variations. A bioinformatic pipeline was used to extract repeat-free sequences from the whole genome assembly of B. rapa . Identified sequences were subsequently used to develop four c. 47-mer oligonucleotide libraries comprising 27,100, 11,084, 9,291, and 16,312 oligonucleotides. We selected these oligonucleotides after removing repeats from 18 identified sites (500–1,000 kb) with 1,997–5,420 oligonucleotides localized at each site in B. rapa . For one set of probes, a new method for amplification or immortalization of the library is described. oligonucleotide probes produced specific and reproducible in situ hybridization patterns for all chromosomes belonging to A, B, C, and R ( Raphanus sativu s) genomes. The probes were able to identify structural changes between the genomes, including translocations, fusions, and deletions. Furthermore, the probes were able to identify a structural translocation between a pak choi and turnip cultivar of B. rapa. Overall, the comparative chromosomal mapping helps understand the role of chromosome structural changes during genome evolution and speciation in the family Brassicaceae. The probes can also be used to identify chromosomes in aneuploids such as addition lines used for gene mapping, and to track transfer of chromosomes in hybridization and breeding programs.

The systematics and taxonomy of the tropical Asian jumping spiders of the tribe Baviini is reviewed, with a molecular phylogenetic study (UCE sequence capture, traditional Sanger sequencing) guiding a reclassification of the group’s genera. The well-studied members of the group are placed into six genera: Bavia Simon, 1877, Indopadilla Caleb & Sankaran, 2019, Padillothorax Simon, 1901, Piranthus Thorell, 1895, Stagetillus Simon, 1885, and one new genus, Maripanthus Maddison, gen. nov. The identity of Padillothorax is clarified, and Bavirecta Kanesharatnam & Benjamin, 2018 synonymized with it. Hyctiota Strand, 1911 is synonymized with Stagetillus. The molecular phylogeny divides the baviines into three clades, the Piranthus clade with a long embolus (Piranthus, Maripanthus), the genus Padillothorax with a flat body and short embolus, and the Bavia clade with a higher body and (usually) short embolus (remaining genera). In general, morphological synapomorphies support or extend the molecularly delimited groups. Eighteen new species are described: Bavia nessagyna, Indopadilla bamilin, I. kodagura, I. nesinor, I. redunca, I. redynis, I. sabivia, I. vimedaba, Maripanthus draconis (type species of Maripanthus), M. jubatus, M. reinholdae, Padillothorax badut, P. mulu, Piranthus api, P. bakau, P. kohi, P. mandai, and Stagetillus irri, all sp. nov., with taxonomic authority W. Maddison. The distinctions between baviines and the astioid Nungia Żabka, 1985 are reviewed, leading to four species being moved into Nungia from Bavia and other genera. Fifteen new combinations are established: Bavia maurerae (Freudenschuss & Seiter, 2016), Indopadilla annamita (Simon, 1903), I. kahariana (Prószyński & Deeleman-Reinhold, 2013), I. sonsorol (Berry, Beatty & Prószyński, 1997), I. suhartoi (Prószyński & Deeleman-Reinhold, 2013), Maripanthus menghaiensis (Cao & Li, 2016), M. smedleyi (Reimoser, 1929), Nungia hatamensis (Thorell, 1881), N. modesta (Keyserling, 1883), N. papakula (Strand, 1911), N. xiaolonghaensis (Cao & Li, 2016), Padillothorax casteti (Simon, 1900), P. exilis (Cao & Li, 2016), P. flavopunctus (Kanesharatnam & Benjamin, 2018), Stagetillus banda (Strand, 1911), all comb. nov. One combination is restored, Bavia capistrata (C. L. Koch, 1846). Five of these new or restored combinations correct previous errors of placing species in genera that have superficially similar palps but extremely different body forms, in fact belonging in distantly related tribes, emphasizing that the general shape of male palps should be used with caution in determining relationships. A little-studied genus, Padillothorus Prószyński, 2018, is tentatively assigned to the Baviini. Ligdus Thorell, 1895 is assigned to the Ballini.

Repeatable, convergent outcomes are prima facie evidence for determinism in evolutionary processes. Among fishes, well-known examples include microevolutionary habitat transitions into the water column, where freshwater populations (e.g., sticklebacks, cichlids, and whitefishes) recurrently diverge toward slender-bodied pelagic forms and deep-bodied benthic forms. However, the consequences of such processes at deeper macroevolutionary scales in the marine environment are less clear. We applied a phylogenomics-based integrative, comparative approach to test hypotheses about the scope and strength of convergence in a marine fish clade with a worldwide distribution (snappers and fusiliers, family Lutjanidae) featuring multiple water-column transitions over the past 45 million years. We collected genome-wide exon data for 110 (∼80%) species in the group and aggregated data layers for body shape, habitat occupancy, geographic distribution, and paleontological and geological information. We also implemented approaches using genomic subsets to account for phylogenetic uncertainty in comparative analyses. Our results show independent incursions into the water column by ancestral benthic lineages in all major oceanic basins. These evolutionary transitions are persistently associated with convergent phenotypes, where deep-bodied benthic forms with truncate caudal fins repeatedly evolve into slender midwater species with furcate caudal fins. Lineage diversification and transition dynamics vary asymmetrically between habitats, with benthic lineages diversifying faster and colonizing midwater habitats more often than the reverse. Convergent ecological and functional phenotypes along the benthic–pelagic axis are pervasive among different lineages and across vastly different evolutionary scales, achieving predictable high-fitness solutions for similar environmental challenges, ultimately demonstrating strong determinism in fish body-shape evolution.

Parmeliaceae is the largest family of lichen-forming fungi with a worldwide distribution. We used a target enrichment data set and a qualitative selection method for 250 out of 350 genes to infer the phylogeny of the major clades in this family including 81 taxa, with both subfamilies and all seven major clades previously recognized in the subfamily Parmelioideae. The reduced genome-scale data set was analyzed using concatenated-based Bayesian inference and two different Maximum Likelihood analyses, and a coalescent-based species tree method. The resulting topology was strongly supported with the majority of nodes being fully supported in all three concatenated-based analyses. The two subfamilies and each of the seven major clades in Parmelioideae were strongly supported as monophyletic. In addition, most backbone relationships in the topology were recovered with high nodal support. The genus Parmotrema was found to be polyphyletic and consequently, it is suggested to accept the genus Crespoa to accommodate the species previously placed in Parmotrema subgen. Crespoa. This study demonstrates the power of reduced genome-scale data sets to resolve phylogenetic relationships with high support. Due to lower costs, target enrichment methods provide a promising avenue for phylogenetic studies including larger taxonomic/specimen sampling than whole genome data would allow.

Modified-live herpesvirus vaccines are widely used in humans and animals, but field strains can emerge that have a higher virulence and break vaccinal protection. Since the introduction of the first vaccine in the 1970s, Marek’s disease virus overcame the vaccine barrier by the acquisition of numerous genomic mutations. However, the evolutionary adaptations in the herpesvirus genome responsible for the vaccine breaks have remained elusive. Here, we demonstrate that point mutations in the multifunctional meq gene acquired during evolution can significantly alter virulence. Defined mutations found in highly virulent strains also allowed the virus to overcome innate cellular responses and vaccinal protection. Concomitantly, the adaptations in meq enhanced virus shedding into the environment, likely providing a selective advantage for the virus. Our study provides the first experimental evidence that few point mutations in a single herpesviral gene result in drastically increased virulence, enhanced shedding, and escape from vaccinal protection.

Old World lupins constitute an interesting model for evolutionary research due to diversity in genome size and chromosome number, indicating evolutionary genome reorganization. It has been hypothesized that the polyploidization event which occurred in the common ancestor of the Fabaceae family was followed by a lineage-specific whole genome triplication (WGT) in the lupin clade, driving chromosome rearrangements. In this study, chromosome-specific markers were used as probes for heterologous fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to identify and characterize structural chromosome changes among the smooth-seeded (Lupinus angustifolius L., Lupinus cryptanthus Shuttlew., Lupinus micranthus Guss.) and rough-seeded (Lupinus cosentinii Guss. and Lupinus pilosus Murr.) lupin species. Comparative cytogenetic mapping was done using FISH with oligonucleotide probes and previously published chromosome-specific bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones. Oligonucleotide probes were designed to cover both arms of chromosome Lang06 of the L. angustifolius reference genome separately. The chromosome was chosen for the in-depth study due to observed structural variability among wild lupin species revealed by BAC-FISH and supplemented by in silico mapping of recently released lupin genome assemblies. The results highlighted changes in synteny within the Lang06 region between the lupin species, including putative translocations, inversions, and/or non-allelic homologous recombination, which would have accompanied the evolution and speciation.

William Adams (Miura Anjin) was an English navigator who sailed with a Dutch trading fleet to the far East and landed in Japan in 1600. He became a vassal under the Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, was bestowed with a title, lands and swords, and became the first SAMURAI from England. “Miura” comes from the name of the territory given to him and “Anjin” means “pilot”. He lived out the rest of his life in Japan and died in Hirado, Nagasaki Prefecture, in 1620, where he was reportedly laid to rest. Shortly after his death, graveyards designated for foreigners were destroyed during a period of Christian repression, but Miura Anjin’s bones were supposedly taken, protected, and reburied. Archaeological investigations in 1931 uncovered human skeletal remains and it was proposed that they were those of Miura Anjin. However, this could not be confirmed from the evidence at the time and the remains were reburied. In 2017, excavations found skeletal remains matching the description of those reinterred in 1931. We analyzed these remains from various aspects, including genetic background, dietary habits, and burial style, utilizing modern scientific techniques to investigate whether they do indeed belong to the first English SAMURAI.

Genetic analyses are an important contribution to wildlife reintroductions, particularly in the modern context of extirpations and ecological destruction. To address the complex historical ecology of the sea otter (Enhydra lutris) and its failed 1970s reintroduction to coastal Oregon, we compared mitochondrial genomes of pre-extirpation Oregon sea otters to extant and historical populations across the range. We sequenced, to our knowledge, the first complete ancient mitogenomes from archaeological Oregon sea otter dentine and historical sea otter dental calculus. Archaeological Oregon sea otters (n = 20) represent 10 haplotypes, which cluster with haplotypes from Alaska, Washington and British Columbia, and exhibit a clear division from California haplotypes. Our results suggest that extant northern populations are appropriate for future reintroduction efforts. This project demonstrates the feasibility of mitogenome capture and sequencing from non-human dental calculus and the diverse applications of ancient DNA analyses to pressing ecological and conservation topics and the management of at-risk/extirpated species.

Development of progenitor B cells (ProB cells) into precursor B cells (PreB cells) is dictated by immunoglobulin heavy chain checkpoint (IgHCC), where the IgHC encoded by a productively rearranged Igh allele assembles into a PreB cell receptor complex (PreBCR) to generate signals to initiate this transition and suppressing antigen receptor gene recombination, ensuring that only one productive Igh allele is expressed, a phenomenon known as Igh allelic exclusion. In contrast to a productively rearranged Igh allele, the Igh messenger RNA (mRNA) (IgHR) from a nonproductively rearranged Igh allele is degraded by nonsense-mediated decay (NMD). This fact prohibited firm conclusions regarding the contribution of stable IgHR to the molecular and developmental changes associated with the IgHCC. This point was addressed by generating the IghTer5H∆TM mouse model from IghTer5H mice having a premature termination codon at position +5 in leader exon of IghTer5H allele. This prohibited NMD, and the lack of a transmembrane region (∆TM) prevented the formation of any signaling-competent PreBCR complexes that may arise as a result of read-through translation across premature Ter5 stop codon. A highly sensitive sandwich Western blot revealed read-through translation of IghTer5H message, indicating that previous conclusions regarding a role of IgHR in establishing allelic exclusion requires further exploration. As determined by RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq), this low amount of IgHC sufficed to initiate PreB cell markers normally associated with PreBCR signaling. In contrast, the IghTer5H∆TM knock-in allele, which generated stable IgHR but no detectable IgHC, failed to induce PreB development. Our data indicate that the IgHCC is controlled at the level of IgHC and not IgHR expression.