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This Week in PLoS: Jun 20, 2011

In PLoS One this week, the University of Amsterdam's Edoardo Saccenti et al. present a method for simplivariate model generation "that finds sets of variables containing informative variation," which is "subsequently expressed in easily interpretable simplivariate components." The team also presents an implementation of its simplivariate models in which the "informative variation is described by multiplicative models that can adequately represent the relations between functional genomics data," Saccenti et al. write.

Over in PLoS Genetics, Columbia University's Richard Poole and his colleagues report this week on a "genome-wide RNAi screen for factors involved in neuronal specification in Caenorhabditis elegans." In screening an RNAi library that knocked down 18,179 genes, Poole et al. found 245 genes that affect ASEL neuron development. "Our study represents the first comprehensive, genome-wide analysis of a single neuronal cell fate decision," the authors write.

Frederic Bertels and Paul Rainey at Massey University at Albany in New Zealand discuss a "new family of miniature mobile DNA in bacteria," which they've dubbed REPINs — for repetitive extragenic palindromic doublets forming hairpins. By investigating the proximal relationship between three distinct groups of REPINs "and specific REP [repetitive extragenic palindromic]-associated tyrosine transposases," Bertels and Rainey found evidence to suggest a "mechanism for within-genome dissemination" of these miniature mobile DNA elements.

A team led by investigators at Wake Forest School of Medicine report SNPs associated with non-diabetic end-stage renal disease in African Americans as well as a "role for FRMD3 in ... susceptibility and [how] accounting for c22 [chromosome 22] nephropathy risk variants can assist in detecting DN [diabetic nephropathy] susceptibility genes." The Wake Forest-led team also says that type 2 diabetic nephropathy-associated FRMD3 SNPs were only detectable in African Americans once MYH9 and the differential effects for APOL1 are accounted for.

The Scan

Alzheimer's Risk Gene Among Women

CNN reports that researchers have found that variants in MGMT contribute to Alzheimer's disease risk among women but not men.

Still Hanging Around

The Guardian writes that persistent pockets of SARS-CoV-2 in the body could contribute to long COVID.

Through a Little Spit

Enteric viruses like norovirus may also be transmitted through saliva, not just the fecal-oral route, according to New Scientist.

Nature Papers Present Method to Detect Full Transcriptome, Viruses Infecting Asgard Archaea, More

In Nature this week: VASA-seq approach to detect full transcriptome, analysis of viruses infecting Asgard archaea, and more.