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This Week in PLoS: Dec 5, 2011

In PLoS One this week, researchers at Università degli Studi di Perugia in Italy present molecular and phenotypic evidence to delineate a new species of the genius Esox, the southern pike, E. flaviae. "We address the taxonomic position of the southern European individuals of pike, performing a series of tests and comparisons from morphology, DNA taxonomy and population genetics parameters, in order to support the hypothesis that two species of pike ... exist in Europe," the authors write.

Elsewhere in the journal, investigators at South China Agricultural University in Guangzhou investigate the population structure and genetic diversity of an Oryza sativa L. rice core collection using short sequence repeat markers. The authors say "the results of this study ... provide valuable information for association mapping using the rice core collection in future."

Using a targeted resequencing array, researchers in Spain detected both known and novel retinitis pigmentosa-associated mutations in 102 patients. In a PLoS One paper published this week, the team says that "as a result of the screening, we detected 44 variants, of which 15 are very likely pathogenic detected in 14 arRP [autosomal recessive retinitis pigmentosa] families." Overall, the team adds that its array design "can easily be transformed in an equivalent diagnostic system based on targeted enrichment followed by next-generation sequencing."

Over in PLoS Genetics, an international team led by investigators at the Pierre and Marie Curie University and Medical School in Paris reports its use of "a method of extraction of expression patterns — independent component analysis — to identify sets of co-regulated genes" within the human genome. "We detected three genomic regions significantly associated with co-regulated gene modules," the authors write, adding that, overall, their "study shows that a method exploiting the structure of co-expressions among genes can help identify genomic regions involved in trans regulation of sets of genes and can provide clues for understanding the mechanisms linking genome-wide association loci to disease."

The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.