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This Week in PLOS: Sep 9, 2014

An international team led by investigators in Portugal used a combination of custom capture arrays and targeted high-throughput sequencing to explore regions of divergence in the genomes of rabbits from European sub-species that still hybridize with one another on the Iberian peninsula. As they report in PLOS Genetics, the researchers tracked down small regions of differentiation based on SNP patterns identified by sequencing in the genomes of a half a dozen rabbits each from the Oryctolagus cuniculus algirus and O. c. cuniculus sub-species, including regions containing genes involved in transcription or epigenetic processes implicated in speciation by past studies of other model organisms in the lab.

For another PLOS Genetics study, researchers at the University of Washington, the University of Miami, and elsewhere describe findings from a genome-wide association study meta-analysis aimed at understanding genetic factors contributing to Alzheimer's disease-related features — from dementia to neurofibrillary tangles and Alzheimer's-associated brain pathologies. Using genotyping, clinical, and other data for more than 4,900 deceased individuals who'd had brain autopsies done, the team verified associations at a dozen genomic regions outside of the locus containing the known Alzheimer's contributor APOE. Of those, nine sites showed some correlation with at least one of the other clinical and/or pathological features considered.

In PLOS One study, a research group from Europe and Africa relied on a multi-locus sequencing testing and targeted sequencing to genotype clinical strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa from West and Central Africa and to detect mutations associated with antibiotic resistance. Based on patterns identified in 184 clinical isolates collected in Senegal, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and the Central African Republic, for instance, the researchers identified 80 different sequence types amongst the clinical isolates, including two dozen that were genetically distinct from any described in the past. Nevertheless, their results indicated that specific genotypes were not tightly clustered in particular regions, while antibiotic resistance traits tended to spread within both local and international sequence types.