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This Week in PLoS : Jul 2, 2012

In a paper published online in advance in PLoS One this week, researchers from the Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentariain in Madrid investigate whether populations of mutagenized foot-and-mouth disease virus, or FMDV, display changes in their virulence in mice. Overall, the INIA team found that "ribavirin-mediated mutagenesis of an FMDV population resulted in attenuation in vivo, albeit a large proportion of its biological clones displayed a highly virulent phenotype."

Over in PLoS Pathogens, University of Arizona's Guan-Zhu Han and Michael Worobey report on their identification of a coelacanth endogenous foamy-like virus, or CoeEFV, in the Latimeria chalumnae genome. "Phylogenetic analyses place CoeEFV basal to all known foamy viruses, strongly suggesting an ancient ocean origin of this major retroviral lineage, which had previously been known to infect only land mammals," Han and Worobey write.

And in PLoS Genetics, investigators from University Medical Center Utrecht report on their construction of a high-density transposon mutant library in Enterococcus faecium and development of a transposon mutant tracking approach, termed microarray-based transposon mapping, with which they identified "a compendium of E. faecium genes that contribute to ampicillin resistance." The authors say that their investigation "has led to the development of a broadly applicable platform for functional genomic-based studies in E. faecium, and it provides a new perspective on the genetic basis of ampicillin resistance in this organism."

Elsewhere in the same journal, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences present evidence to suggest that the genes Prestin and KCNQ4, which are associated with voltage motility during the cochlear amplification of signals, evolved in both bats and toothed whales in parallel. Combining sequence and expression analyses, the team found that "positive selection, parallel evolution, and perhaps co-evolution and gene expression affect multiple hearing genes that play different roles in audition, including voltage and bundle motility in cochlear amplification, nerve transmission, and brain function," it writes in PLoS Genetics.

The Scan

Not Yet a Permanent One

NPR says the lack of a permanent Food and Drug Administration commissioner has "flummoxed" public health officials.

Unfair Targeting

Technology Review writes that a new report says the US has been unfairly targeting Chinese and Chinese-American individuals in economic espionage cases.

Limited Rapid Testing

The New York Times wonders why rapid tests for COVID-19 are not widely available in the US.

Genome Research Papers on IPAFinder, Structural Variant Expression Effects, Single-Cell RNA-Seq Markers

In Genome Research this week: IPAFinder method to detect intronic polyadenylation, influence of structural variants on gene expression, and more.