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This Week in PLOS: Jun 23, 2014

In PLOS Genetics, a pair from the University of Oxford describes an endogenous DNA virus from the Herpesviridae family that they detected in the genome of a small primate called the Philippine tarsier. The researchers identified the within-genome viral sequences — related to herpesviruses from the same Roseolovirus genus as the human herpesvirus 6 and human herpesvirus 7 viruses — through a paleovirological and metagenomic analysis of multiple mammalian genomes. That search also revealed a rhadinovirus in the lemur genome and genes from an Epstein-Barr virus in the bonobo genome.

A PLOS One study by researchers from China and the US documents the genetic diversity and drug resistance-related mutations present in HIV-1 cases in China's Jilin province. Using a combination of phylogenetic and epidemiological data for 57 HIV-positive individuals from Changchun city, the team considered the HIV sub-types, transmission patterns, and predicted resistance profiles for HIV virus in the region. For example, the analysis pointed to the presence of several circulating HIV sub-types in the region, including some strains expected to have at least some resistance to existing antiviral treatments.

A team from Austria, the UK, and elsewhere performed phenotyping on hundreds of Candida glabrata strains in search of genes that help the opportunistic fungal pathogen grow in the presence of antifungal azole drugs. As they report in PLOS Pathogens, the researchers screened a set of 619 barcoded C. glabrata deletion strains for mutations that modified growth in different stress-related conditions or drug exposures. In the process, they defined new fitness genes and found dozens of strains with higher-than-usual drug sensitivity. "This fungal deletion collection will be a valuable resource for the community to study mechanisms of virulence and antifungal drug tolerance in C. glabrata, which is particularly relevant in view of the increasing prevalence of infections caused by this important human fungal pathogen," the study authors write.