A study by researchers from Sweden, the US, and elsewhere in PLOS Genetics looks at obesity in light of both genetic and physical activity contributors. Using self-reported physical activity data for 111,421 individuals of European ancestry whose genotype at a dozen obesity-related risk loci had been directly assessed or imputed, the group did a gene-by-activity analysis aimed at understanding whether high levels of activity can dial back genetic obesity risk. The study's authors did see an interaction, though they noted that "these findings hinge on the inclusion of cohorts from North America, indicating that these results are either population-specific or non-causal."
In PLOS Computational Biology, researchers from the US and Israel present findings from a co-expression analysis of mouse brain tissue that focused on more than two dozen genes implicated in autism spectrum disorder. With the help of data generated for the Allen Mouse Brain Atlas, the team uncovered a pair of co-expression networks involving 26 autism-associated genes. Both gene networks had especially pronounced expression in a part of the brain called the cerebellar cortex — expression boosts that were most noticeable in a cell type known as granule cells.
The DNA arbovirus strains behind current African swine fever cases have likely been circulating for more than 300 years, according to a phylogenetic study in PLOS One study. Researchers based in France and Madagascar brought together sequence information for hundreds of African swine fever isolates collected during the past seven decades, using information at three viral genes to determine phylogenetic relationships between the strains. From the resulting viral clusters, the team estimated that the African swine fever virus strains currently in circulation are descended from a common ancestor that existed in around the 18th century.