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This Week in PLOS: Apr 1, 2014

In PLOS Genetics, the University of Missouri's Jeremy Taylor and colleagues describe relationships, ancestral histories, and domestication patterns in cattle from more than 130 breeds. The team genotyped 1,543 individuals belonging to far-flung and varied domestic cattle breeds from around the world to assess population structure in the animals. A phylogenetic analysis of the resulting data revealed relationships and admixture events between breeds that roughly reflect human migration patterns, though cattle clustered into three broad groups known as Asian indicine, Eurasian taurine, and African taurine. From such findings, the study's authors propose that "cattle migration, movement, and trading followed by admixture have been important forces in shaping modern bovine genomic variation."

GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this here.

By sequencing cell-free DNA in blood samples from 10 individuals with colorectal carcinoma, Austrian researchers detected mutations coinciding with resistance to monoclonal antibody treatments targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). For four of the individuals, anti-EGFR treatment resistance appeared to stem from gains involving the KRAS gene, they report, though focal amplifications affecting other genes such as MET and ERBB2 were also identified in the study. On the other hand, anti-EGFR treatment tended to remain more effective in colorectal carcinoma patients with high levels of the EGFR gene in their tumors. Together, blood-based sequence results from seven of the individuals tested helped the team put together a set of genetic markers that appeared to show promising for predicting anti-EGFR treatment resistance.

A University of Nevada Las Vegas team introduces a geogenomic approach to pathogen surveillance in a PLOS One study. The group developed a web-based system that they call the "Geogenomic mutational atlas of pathogens," or GoMAP, which brings together information on pathogen genetics, drug resistance-related mutations, and geographic distributions of various pathogens. In their proof-of-principle application of the approach, the researchers geographically mapped nearly 900 drug resistance mutations that have been linked to HIV resistance to antiretroviral drugs.