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This Week in PLOS: Mar 24, 2014

A PLOS One study by Norwegian researchers suggests metabolomic markers in blood and urine samples from pregnant women can help in predicting preeclampsia risk. Using a magnetic resonance-based metabolomics profiling approach, the team tested blood and urine samples from 10 pregnant women with preeclampsia, 10 unaffected pregnancies, and 10 age-matched women who were not pregnant. The search led to a set of nine metabolites in urine samples that were found at significantly different levels in women with preeclampsia. In the blood samples, meanwhile, the investigators picked up differences in high- and low-density lipoprotein levels in women with preeclampsia compared with those from both control groups. Our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has more on the study, here.

In another PLOS One study, a team from the University of Ottawa describes the dielectric breakdown method they've developed for creating and enlarging solid-state nanopores in a fast and cost-effective manner. The approach, which involves applying voltage across a membrane composed of insulating material until a single breakdown event occurs, was presented in Arxiv last fall. For more on the nanopore fabrication method and its potential applications, check out this story from our recent issue of In Sequence.

The Scan

Close Panel Vote on Califf Nomination

The New York Times reports there was a close committee vote to advance the nomination of Robert Califf to lead the US Food and Drug Administration to the full Senate.

Task Force Reports on Scientific Integrity

Nature News writes that that a new task force report recommends that the US establish a cross-agency scientific integrity council.

Across the Hall

Genetic testing, closed-circuit cameras, and more show how a traveler, without any contact, infected others at a New Zealand quarantine facility, CNN reports.

Science Paper Examines Influence of Chromatin Modifications on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

In Science this week: genes regulating chromatin modification may contribute to OCD risk.