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This Week in PLoS: Oct 17, 2011

In PLoS Genetics this week, an international team led by investigators at the Université de Rennes in France identifies 44 genomic regions that show "extreme differentiation" across multiple domestic dog breeds. In its comparative analysis, the team identified "many blocks of reduced haplotype diversity observed across the genome in dog breeds," which it attributes to both selection and genetic drift. "But extended blocks of homozygosity on a megabase scale appear to be best explained by selection," the group adds.

Elsewhere, a team led by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics reports evidence to suggest that in humans "gene expression errors are an underestimated phenomenon, in molecular evolution in general and in selection for genomic robustness in particular."

Over in PLoS One, investigators at the University of Virginia and Dartmouth Medical School report their identification of "Soat1 as a quantitative trait locus gene on mouse chromosome 1 contributing to hyperlipidemia." The team sequenced the gene's coding region, identifying four SNPs, two of which cause amino-acid substitutions. "Allelic variants of Soat1 were associated with variations in plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels in an intercross between B6.apoE−/− and C3H.apoE−/− mice," the authors write, adding that "transgenic expression of C3H Soat1 in B6.apoE−/− mice resulted in elevations of plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels."

Elsewhere, investigators at Duke University Medical Center report on their targeted GC-MS-based metabolomics study in which they found that "enteric microbiome metabolites correlate with response to simvastatin treatment." Taken with those from other recent studies, the Duke team says its results show that the "gut microbiome plays an important role in cardiovascular disease, indicate that interactions between genome, gut microbiome and environmental influences should be considered in the study and management of cardiovascular disease."

The Scan

Gone, But Now Reconstructed SARS-CoV-2 Genomes

In a preprint, a researcher describes his recovery of viral sequences that had been removed from a common database.

Rare Heart Inflammation Warning

The Food and Drug Administration is adding a warning about links between a rare inflammatory heart condition and two SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, Reuters reports.

Sandwich Sampling

The New York Times sent tuna sandwiches for PCR analysis.

Nature Papers Describe Gut Viruses, New Format for Storing Quantitative Genomic Data, More

In Nature this week: catalog of DNA viruses of the human gut microbiome, new dense depth data dump format to store quantitative genomic data, and more.