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This Week in PLOS: Aug 20, 2012

In PLOS Computational Biology, the University of Copenhagen's Kim Sneppen and the University of Adelaide's Ian Dodd report on their study of the histone code using computer simulations. They examined "the possibilities for generating heritably bistable systems with a minimal histone code in which there are modifications at two separate histone positions" and found a number of solutions, "including some unexpected new regulatory designs for bistable feedback systems," the researchers write. "Thus, having two histone positions that can be modified AND having reading and writing enzymes that can distinguish the four resulting nucleosome types allows a large variety of reaction circuits that can generate stable and heritable alternative modification states."

Investigators at the University of Leeds in the UK present in PLOS One a program to visualize microarray-based copy-number data. The program, called CNViewer, is "a simple, free to use, user-friendly, Windows-based software tool for use by clinicians, which allows the rapid visualisation and detection of CNVs that may be linked to a disease phenotype. Also, when used with data from multiple members of a small pedigree, it can identify CNVs segregating with a disease phenotype," the researchers write.

Also in PLOS One, researchers in China investigate various reference genes to use to normalize quantitative real-time PCR data from the tung tree. Using, geNorm, Bestkeeper, and NormFinder, they examine the expression profiles of 11 reference genes —ACT7, ALB, EF1α, EF1β, TEF1, GAPDH, LCR69, SAMDC, TCTP, UBC, and UBQ — in six different tissues during six different developmental stages. From this, the researchers found that ACT7, UBQ, GAPDH, and EF1α were good reference gene candidates as their expression eves were stable across the various samples.

The Scan

Self-Reported Hearing Loss in Older Adults Begins Very Early in Life, Study Says

A JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery study says polygenic risk scores associated with hearing loss in older adults is also associated with hearing decline in younger groups.

Genome-Wide Analysis Sheds Light on Genetics of ADHD

A genome-wide association study meta-analysis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder appearing in Nature Genetics links 76 genes to risk of having the disorder.

MicroRNA Cotargeting Linked to Lupus

A mouse-based study appearing in BMC Biology implicates two microRNAs with overlapping target sites in lupus.

Enzyme Involved in Lipid Metabolism Linked to Mutational Signatures

In Nature Genetics, a Wellcome Sanger Institute-led team found that APOBEC1 may contribute to the development of the SBS2 and SBS13 mutational signatures in the small intestine.