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This Week in PLOS: Aug 25, 2014

In PLOS One, an Arizona State University-led team took a look at the transcriptional programs involved in lizard tail regeneration in the green anole, Anolis carolinensis. Through RNA sequencing on tissue samples from green anole tails, including more than two-dozen samples taken from regenerating tails, the researchers identified 326 genes showing differential expression during tail regrowth. The reforming tails did not appear to contain especially elevated levels of genes involved in stem or progenitor cell processes, the study's authors note. Rather, their results hinted suggest the lizard tail regeneration "involves the activation of conserved developmental and wound response pathways, which are potential targets for regenerative medical therapies."

By scrutinizing data from dozens of eligible studies published between early 2008 and mid-November, 2013, researchers from Belgium and the UK attempted to define consistent patterns in vaginal microbiome profiles from healthy women and women with various forms of vaginitis. Their review verified the notion that lactobacillus bugs, particularly Lactobacillus crispatus, tend to overshadow other microbes in the molecular vaginal microbiota profiles from healthy women. Bacterial dysbiosis and a decline in lactobacilli often occurs in conjunction with infections such as HIV, human papillomavirus, or Trichomonas vaginalis, the team notes, though Candida fungal infections commonly appeared in conjunction with lactobacilli-rich vaginal microbiomes.

A PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases study highlights approaches used by members of the international Glossina genome initiative over the past decade. In an effort to characterize tsetse fly species that carry the human sleeping sickness-causing trypanosome parasite Trypanosoma brucei, the team initially established expressed sequence tags, bacterial artificial chromosome libraries, and other molecular tools for the tsetse fly, authors of the article explain, ultimately completing a genome for the Glossina morsitans morsitans tsetse fly. "Targeting tsetse-trypanosome interactions with the goal of identifying genes that modulate trypanosome transmission has entered the realm of feasibility with the completion of the tsetse genome sequencing project," they write.