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This Week in PLoS: May 25, 2009

In PLoS Computational Biology this week, Michael Brudno published his short read aligner, SHRiMP, or SHort Read Mapping Package, which is a "set of algorithms and methods to map short reads to a genome, even in the presence of a large amount of polymorphism." The software is based on a fast read mapping technique for both regular letter-space and AB SOLiD, or color-space, reads. SHRiMP is free and available here.

A paper in PLoS Genetics looks at obesity susceptibility loci for African Americans. To find loci affecting BMI, or body mass index, scientists performed a pooled GWAS of 15,280 African Americans from 14 epidemiologic studies. In obese people, they found two loci with increased African ancestry on chromosome X and one locus with increased European ancestry on chromosome 5. Their results "suggest that genetic factors may contribute to the difference in obesity prevalence between African Americans and European Americans," they write in the author summary.

In PLoS One, Spanish researchers performed shotgun sequencing on an extinct, 6,000 year-old bone sample from a caprine, Myotragus balearicus, from the Balearic Islands. They found that only .27% of the resulting sequences were endogenous and that "despite being in an unfavourable thermal environment...[the] study demonstrates that it is possible to obtain genomic data from extinct species from temperate regions."

The Scan

Fertility Fraud Found

Consumer genetic testing has uncovered cases of fertility fraud that are leading to lawsuits, according to USA Today.

Ties Between Vigorous Exercise, ALS in Genetically At-Risk People

Regular strenuous exercise could contribute to motor neuron disease development among those already at genetic risk, Sky News reports.

Test Warning

The Guardian writes that the US regulators have warned against using a rapid COVID-19 test that is a key part of mass testing in the UK.

Science Papers Examine Feedback Mechanism Affecting Xist, Continuous Health Monitoring for Precision Medicine

In Science this week: analysis of cis confinement of the X-inactive specific transcript, and more.