Remodelling of the human embryo at implantation is indispensable for successful pregnancy. Yet it has remained mysterious because of the experimental hurdles that beset the study of this developmental phase. Here, we establish an in vitro system to culture human embryos through implantation stages in the absence of maternal tissues and reveal the key events of early human morphogenesis.

Implantation of the blastocyst is a developmental milestone in mammalian embryonic development. At this time, a coordinated program of lineage diversification, cell-fate specification, and morphogenetic movements establishes the generation of extra-embryonic tissues and the embryo proper, and determines the conditions for successful pregnancy and gastrulation. Despite its basic and clinical importance, this process remains mysterious in humans. Here we report the use of a novel in vitro system to study the post-implantation development of the human embryo.

New excavations in Liang Bua, where the remains of the ‘Hobbit’ (Homo floresiensis) were discovered, show that this diminutive human species used this cave between 190,000 and 50,000 years ago, and not until as recently as 12,000 years ago as previously interpreted; modern humans have been present in Australia since around 50,000 years ago, so whether Homo floresiensis survived long enough to witness the arrival of modern humans is still an open question.

The genetic underpinnings associated with the earliest stages of plant and animal domestication have remained elusive. Because a genome-wide response to selection can take many generations, the earliest detectable changes associated with domestication may first manifest as heritable changes to global patterns of gene expression. Here, to test this hypothesis, we measured differential gene expression in the offspring of wild and first-generation hatchery steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) reared in a common environment.

This paper presents the first Indo-French Prehistorical Mission in the Himalayan foothills, northwestern India, and introduces the results of the multidisciplinary research program “Siwaliks” under the patronage of Professor Yves Coppens, from the Collège de France and Académie des Sciences, France. This program is dedicated to the discovery of cut marks on mineralized bovid bones collected among vertebrate fossils in a fluviatile formation named “Quranwala zone” in the Chandigarh anticline, near the village Masol, and located just below the Gauss–Matuyama polarity reversal (2.58 Ma).

Structural variants are implicated in numerous diseases and make up the majority of varying nucleotides among human genomes. Here we describe an integrated set of eight structural variant classes comprising both balanced and unbalanced variants, which we constructed using short-read DNA sequencing data and statistically phased onto haplotype blocks in 26 human populations.

The contribution of rare and low-frequency variants to human traits is largely unexplored. Here we describe insights from sequencing whole genomes (low read depth, 7×) or exomes (high read depth, 80×) of nearly 10,000 individuals from population-based and disease collections.

Przewalski’s horses (PHs, Equus ferus ssp. przewalskii) were discovered in the Asian steppes in the 1870s and represent the last remaining true wild horses. PHs became extinct in the wild in the 1960s but survived in captivity, thanks to major conservation efforts. The current population is still endangered, with just 2,109 individuals, one-quarter of which are in Chinese and Mongolian reintroduction reserves. These horses descend from a founding population of 12 wild-caught PHs and possibly up to four domesticated individuals.

The genes that control the response of the human immune system vary enormously between individuals. Understanding the evolution of these genetic differences and how they individualize immune responses is central to understanding how the immune system works in health and disease. In this regard, the KhoeSan of southern Africa are particularly informative because they are genetically diverse, divergent from other modern human populations and have been subject to unique demographic history. In the KhoeSan population, we studied variable genes that control natural killer cell function.

Rapid alteration of gene pools could fight disease – and harm ecosystems.

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