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This Week in PLoS: Jul 20, 2009

An interview with Pat Brown in PLoS Genetics this week takes a look at his role in developing microarrays, the creation of PLoS, and more. About his motivation behind open access publishing: "I want to LITERALLY overthrow the scientific publishing establishment," he says. "PLoS is just part of a longer range plan. The idea is to completely change the way the whole system works for scientific communication."

Also in PLoS Genetics, scientists performed the first GWAS for hypertension and blood pressure in an African American population, "a population group in the United States that is disproportionately affected by hypertension and associated complications, including stroke and kidney diseases," they say in the abstract. Scanning for 800,000 SNPs in 1,017 African Americans from Washington, D.C., they identified associations for systolic BP in or near the genes PMS1, SLC24A4, YWHA7, IPO7, and CACANA1H.

In PLoS One, scientists at CombiMatrix used miRNA expression patterns to classify tumor cells. Employing a pan-human, high-density microarray, they were able to classify five types of human cancer — prostate, colon, ovarian, breast, and lung — according to miRNA expression patterns. They say that there are enough miRNAs in one milliliter of serum to detect miRNA expression patterns without amplification.

Finally, U.S. Army Medical Research scientists published a method to predict protein structure in this week's issue of PLoS One. Their PSPP (protein structure prediction pipeline) is a "standalone protein structure prediction software package suitable for high-throughput structural genomic applications." The software does comparative modeling, fold recognition, and ab initio, and can be deployed on a user's own high-performance computing cluster.

The Scan

Purnell Choppin Dies

Purnell Choppin, a virologist who led the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has died at 91, according to the Washington Post.

Effectiveness May Decline, Data From Israel Suggests

The New York Times reports that new Israeli data suggests a decline in Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine effectiveness against Delta variant infection, though protection against severe disease remains high.

To See Future Risk

Slate looks into the use of polygenic risk scores in embryo screening.

PLOS Papers on Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus, Bone Marrow Smear Sequencing, More

In PLOS this week: genomic analysis of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, archived bone marrow sequencing, and more.