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This Week in PLoS: Sep 12, 2011

Researchers at MIT and elsewhere report in this week's PLoS Genetics on their comparative and functional genomics investigation of Rhodococcus opacus PD630 for potential biofuel development. The team sequenced the 9.27 Mb genome, and via metabolic reconstruction found 8,632 genes that they assigned to 2,017 metabolic reactions. Of all metabolic reaction-associated genes, the team found "261 ... were implicated in the R. opacus PD630 TAGs cycle by metabolic reconstruction and gene family analysis," it writes.

Elsewhere in the journal, investigators at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Bath show that "genetic effects at pleiotropic loci are context-dependent with consequences for the maintenance of genetic variation in populations." Specifically, the team shows that "over- or under-dominance and ecological cross-over interactions for single phenotypes may not be common, however multidimensional synthetic phenotypes at loci with pleiotropic effects can produce situations that favor the maintenance of genetic variation in populations." The team suggests its findings "have important implications for evolution and the notion of personalized medicine."

In another recent PLoS Genetics paper, an international team led by investigators at Boston University School of Public Health reports its GWAS for chronic kidney disease in an African ancestry population. "We identified several SNPs in association with eGFR in African ancestry individuals, as well as three suggestive loci for UACR and eGFR," the authors write, adding that "functional genetic studies support a role for kcnq1 in glomerular development in zebrafish."

This week in PLoS One, researchers at the US Department of Agriculture and elsewhere discuss the "metagenome plasticity of the bovine abomasal microbiota in immune animals in response to Ostertagia ostertagi infection." The USDA-led team compared the core bovine microbiome — which is comprised of 32 genera, forming 72 operational taxonomic units — versus its O. ostertagi-infected and -immune counterparts. "Our results demonstrate that immune animals may develop abilities to maintain proper stability of their abomasal microbial ecosystem," the authors write, adding that "a minimal disruption in the bovine abomasal microbiota by reinfection may contribute equally to the restoration of gastric function in immune animals."

The Scan

Rise of BA.5

The New York Times reports that the Omicron subvariant BA.5 has become the dominant version of SARS-CoV-2 in the US.

UK Health Secretary Resigns

Sajid Javid, the UK health secretary, resigned along with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, saying they cannot work with Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government, CNN reports.

Clones From Freeze-Dried Cells

A team in Japan has cloned mice from freeze-dried skin cells, according to the Guardian.

Genome Research Papers on Craniosynostosis, Macaque Retrotransposition, More

In Genome Research this week: structural variants in craniosynostosis, LINE-1 activity in rhesus macaque brain, and more.