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Open Thread, 2/2/2014
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Didn’t have time to talk about the Neandertal admixture papers from last week. Big surprise to me is that no one segment from Neandertals seems fixed to 100%. Highest frequencies 60-70%. Implies we can do studies as to the phenotypic effects of the genic sequences, as there is variation within populations.

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  1. The big talk of my field is this recent paper about easily reprogramming somatic cells into pluripotent cells:

    At first look, the protocol for doing so seems ridiculously simple (just a pH bath) and I might be able to replicate some of the experiments by myself. Regardless, the results of this experiment sounds too good to be true, so a bit of skepticism is warranted.

  2. Forgive me if this is a dumb question, but how would we recognize a fixed segment as being from Neandertals?

  3. Possibly stupid question: If a segment of DNA of Neanderthal origin was fixed 100% in all modern human populations, how could we detect that it was of Neanderthal origin (as opposed to arising in the common ancestor of humans and neanderthals)? I thought the whole method for detecting genes of Neanderthal origin in modern humans RELIED on those genes not being fixed 100%.

  4. There are no segments of Neanderthal DNA that are fixed in all modern human populations.

  5. Sandgroper: surely those segments of DNA that are shared between, say, humans and sea anemones, are also shared between humans and Neanderthals? Any such stretch would be “Neanderthal DNA” and be fixed in all modern human populations, by virtue of being fixed across a much wider swathe of life than just human populations.

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