Congratulations to the winners of the Editors’ Choice Awards for outstanding articles published in GENETICS in 2021! The journal’s Editorial Board considered a diverse range of articles, finding many papers worthy of recognition. After much deliberation, they settled on one exceptional article for each of the three award categories: molecular genetics, population and evolutionary genetics, and quantitative genetics. Check out some of the best GENETICS had to offer in 2021, and be sure to browse the full Spotlight collection.

GENETICS spotlights the three articles that won the Editor's Choice Awards for 2021


Neurogenesis in the adult Drosophila brain

Kassi L Crocker, Khailee Marischuk, Stacey A Rimkus, Hong Zhou, Jerry C P Yin, Grace Boekhoff-Falk

GENETICS Oct 2021, 219(2), iyab092,

Crocker et al. describe the Drosophila central brain as a new model in which to investigate adult neurogenesis. The authors observe a significant increase in the number of proliferating cells following injury; they detect new glia, new neurons, and the formation of new axon tracts that target appropriate brain regions. The authors anticipate that this paradigm will facilitate the dissection of the mechanisms of neural regeneration and that these processes will be relevant to human brain repair.


The timing of human adaptation from Neanderthal introgression

Sivan Yair, Kristin M Lee, Graham Coop

GENETICS May 2021, 218(1), iyab052,

Some Neanderthal-introgressed alleles in modern human populations were adaptive; however, the context in which they provided a fitness advantage is unknown. Yair, Lee, and Coop develop a population genetic method that uses ancient DNA and the hitchhiking effect to determine when natural selection favored the spread of Neanderthal-introgressed alleles. They identify regions of the genome in which Neanderthal alleles were immediately adaptive and others in which there was a significant time lag between admixture and the allele’s rise in frequency.


Why genetic selection to reduce the prevalence of infectious diseases is way more promising than currently believed

Andries D Hulst, Mart C M de Jong, Piter Bijma

GENETICS April 2021, 217(4), iyab024,

Quantitative genetic analyses of binary disease status indicate low heritability for most infectious diseases, suggesting that the potential response to selection in disease prevalence is limited. By integration of quantitative genetics with epidemiological models, Hulst, de Jong, and Bijma show that the typical low heritability values of disease status correspond to a substantial genetic variation in disease susceptibility and to a large potential response to selection. Positive feedback mechanisms occurring in disease transmission are crucial for this response and even make eradication of infectious diseases possible. However, current quantitative genetic models ignore these feedback effects and thereby underestimate response to selection in disease prevalence.