Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

This Week in PLOS: Aug 20, 2013

In an effort to learn more about what might be behind the apparent hike in lung cancer rates detected in past studies of slaughterhouse workers, New Zealand researchers turned to metagenomic sequencing to narrow in on two viruses found in aerosol samples from cattle and sheep slaughterhouses in that country. The team sequenced and assessed two pooled sets of slaughterhouse aerosol samples to track down sequences suspected of stemming from a WU polyomavirus and the human papillomavirus 120. Based on their findings so far, the study's authors argue in PLOS One that these candidate viruses are "worthy of further investigation … given the increased lung malignancies that are observed in the occupational setting of animal slaughterhouses."

A large Boston University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Brigham and Women's Hospital-led team that included members of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Framingham Heart Study and Center for Population Studies unearthed loci linked to body fat distribution patterns in individuals from the African-American population. As they report in PLOS Genetics, the researchers did a multi-stage genome-wide association study for body mass index, waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio using genotyping data for tens of thousands of African Americans. The search led to two suggestive loci not implicated in body fat distribution patterns in the past, study authors note, and verified half a dozen of the loci detected in past studies of individuals with European-American ancestry.

In PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, researchers with the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases describe an oligonucleotide array dubbed ArboChip5.1, designed to recognize gene from RNA viruses from multiple genera so that they can be identified in their mosquito hosts. The strategy targets around three genes apiece from each virus for PCR amplification, the study authors say. And their experiments in lab-infected mosquitos and mosquitoes nabbed in the field in Thailand suggest the array is capable of distinguishing between a range of related RNA virus, including dengue virus type 3, Japanese encephalitis virus, and others.