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This Week in PLoS: May 14, 2012

A team led by investigators at the University of California, Los Angeles, reports having employed 'four core genotypes' mouse model to investigate sex differences in adiposity. In its study, the team found a subset of genes that escape X chromosome inactivation showed higher expression levels in adipose tissue and liver of XX compared to XY mice, which may contribute to sex differences in obesity. Writing in PLoS Genetics, the researchers say that their study "is the first to identify sex chromosome complement, a factor distinguishing all male and female cells, as a cause of sex differences in obesity and metabolism."

Over in PLoS One, researchers at China's Northwest A&F University present their assembly and analysis of the chloroplast genome, or plastome, of Ageratina adenophora, making it the first sequenced in the Eupatorieae tribe. The team says it anticipates the A. adenophora plastome will benefit future phylogenetic and evolutionary analyses.

Elsewhere in PLoS One this week, investigators at India's National Institute of Plant Genome Research report on the expression stability of 12 candidate reference genes including ACT2, ELFA, GAPDH, TUA, and UBQ9 for use in quantitative real-time, reverse-transcriptase PCR experiments on Brassica crops. "A combination of GAPDH, TUA, TIPS-41, and CAC were identified as the most suitable reference genes for total developmental stages. … Across five cultivars of B. juncea, the expression of CAC and TIPS-41 did not vary significantly and were identified as the most stably expressed reference genes," the authors report.

Finally, in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, a team led by investigators at the University of Virginia Health System presents proteome data for naturally occurring Entamoeba histolytica cysts, which the authors say "provide important insights into the infectious cyst form." In its paper, the team also identifies candidate proteins that it says may aid in the development of new diagnostic tools.

The Scan

Study Finds Few FDA Post-Market Regulatory Actions Backed by Research, Public Assessments

A Yale University-led team examines in The BMJ safety signals from the US FDA Adverse Event Reporting System and whether they led to regulatory action.

Duke University Team Develops Programmable RNA Tool for Cell Editing

Researchers have developed an RNA-based editing tool that can target specific cells, as they describe in Nature.

Novel Gene Editing Approach for Treating Cystic Fibrosis

Researchers in Science Advances report on their development of a non-nuclease-based gene editing approach they hope to apply to treat cystic fibrosis.

Study Tracks Responses in Patients Pursuing Polygenic Risk Score Profiling

Using interviews, researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics qualitatively assess individuals' motivations for, and experiences with, direct-to-consumer polygenic risk score testing.