Complex population structure of the Atlantic puffin revealed by whole genome analyses

  • Oliver Kersten
  • Bastiaan Star
  • Sanne Boessenkool
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  • Image description: A black flag crossed diagonally from top left to bottom right by a “lightning bolt” band divided into parallel stripes of five colours: light blue, yellow, white, red, and green. There are narrow bands of black between the colours.

    July is Disability Pride Month here in New York, where part of the Communications Biology team is based. To mark this occasion, here we feature interviews with scientists across career stages with the hopes of redefining public perception of what it means to be a scientist with a disability.

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    In this blog post, Associate Editor Karli Montague-Cardoso spoke to neuroscientists at different career stages who are shaping the brain research landscape with a range of diversity and inclusion initiatives.

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  • Karmakar et al produced a dermotropic, live attenuated centrin gene-deleted Leishmania major (LmCen−/−) vaccine against Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL). They demonstrated in hamsters that a single intradermal injection confers robust and durable protection against lethal VL that is transmitted naturally via bites of L. donovani-infected sand flies.

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  • Katja Schlatterer et al. use mouse models to show that elevated serum acetate concentrations prime human neutrophils in a GPR43-dependent fashion, and rescue mice from severe sepsis. These results suggest microbiome-, diet-, or pathogen-derived short-chain fatty acids govern the defense capacities of immune cells, potentially hinting at the therapeutic potential of GPR43 in treating sepsis.

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  • Kersten et al. sequence a draft genome for the Atlantic puffin and report its population structure, genetic diversity and gene flow among four main clusters of populations across the northern Atlantic. These results identify a secondary contact zone between the puffins from the High Arctic and other colonies and proposes a new population structure from the currently recognized three subspecies.

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    • Bastiaan Star
    • Sanne Boessenkool
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  • Williams et al. confirm that human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes express the protein machinery critical for SARS-CoV-2 infection and are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 spike protein pseudotyped virus infection. They further use this platform as a screen to identify inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 infection, reporting benztropine (targeting B0AT1/ACE2 complex) and DX600 (targeting ACE2) as potential inhibitors.

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  • The theme for World Brain Day (WBD) this year is ‘Stopping MS’. Despite the amazing progress that science and medicine have made in the development of therapies for multiple sclerosis (MS), access to such therapies is still a major challenge in many parts of the world. We spoke to Professor Tissa Wijeratne, one of the founders of WBD, who has steered many initiatives that aim to improve brain health globally and Dr Joanna Laurson-Doube about the actions needed to improve MS treatment worldwide.

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  • This year’s World Brain Day is focused on stopping Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Although amazing progress has resulted in the development of relatively successful MS therapies, access to such therapies is a major problem for most of the world. In addition, major advances are still needed that would enable more precise treatment of MS for all patient demographics. We therefore spoke to Dr Maurico Farez, whose pioneering work focuses on the use of AI for precision medicine in MS and Helen Onourah, who has highlighted crucial issues surrounding the inequities that exist in MS research.

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  • July is Disability Pride Month here in New York, where part of the Communications Biology team is based. To mark this occasion, we are featuring a series of scientist interviews on the Nature Portfolio Ecology & Evolution Community site and wanted to elaborate on our motivations behind this post and our hopes for the future concerning the lived experience of disability in science.

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  • Dr Maël Lebreton is about to set up his own lab at the Paris School of Economics, in September 2021, thanks to an ERC Starting Grant. In the meantime he holds a part-time position at the Swiss Center for Affective Science at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, where he has been a Senior Research Associate since 2018. Mael originally obtained a B.Sc and MSc in Biosciences from the Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon, and a PhD in Cognitive Neurosciences from Université Pierre et Marie Curie Paris 6 (now Sorbonne Université) in 2013. He then moved to the University of Amsterdam, where he spent over 4 years as a postdoc at the Center for Research in Experimental Economics and Political Decision-Making at the Faculty of Economics and Business. This is where he truly began his independent research career.

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World Microbiome Day 2021

World Microbiome Day 2021

World Microbiome Day on June 27th celebrates achievements in microbiome research, as well as the important role of the microbiome in human and environmental health. This year, our editors have curated a collection of articles from Communications Biology to highlight microbiome research in all its forms. For more information about World Microbiome Day, please visit these resources here and here. You can also find a previous collection of articles commemorating milestones in human microbiota research from editors across the Nature Portfolio here.
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