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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

Transcriptomic, Epigenetic Study Appears to Explain Anti-Viral Effects of TB Vaccine

Researchers report in Science Advances on an interferon signature and long-term shifts in monocyte cell DNA methylation in Bacille Calmette-Guérin-vaccinated infant samples.

DNA Storage Method Taps Into Gene Editing Technology

With a dual-plasmid system informed by gene editing, researchers re-wrote DNA sequences in E. coli to store Charles Dickens prose over hundreds of generations, as they recount in Science Advances.

Researchers Model Microbiome Dynamics in Effort to Understand Chronic Human Conditions

Investigators demonstrate in PLOS Computational Biology a computational method for following microbiome dynamics in the absence of longitudinally collected samples.

New Study Highlights Role of Genetics in ADHD

Researchers report in Nature Genetics on differences in genetic architecture between ADHD affecting children versus ADHD that persists into adulthood or is diagnosed in adults.