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This Week in PLoS: Jul 19, 2010

Researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill have developed a six-gene signature that may better identify the disease stage of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma patients, as they report in PLoS Medicine. The researchers identified six genes that were differentially over-expressed between nonmetastatic and metastatic tumors and then applied them to a training set and an independent cohort. The authors say that these gene signatures may "assist in the difficult treatment decisions of surgery and to select patients whose tumor biology may benefit most from neoadjuvant therapy."

In PLoS Computational Biology, Jens Nielsen and his colleagues "propose a method to integrate gene expression data with flux data by transforming a limited amount of quantitative flux data into a genome-scale set of statistical scores similar to the one obtained from DNA microarrays." They say this method can aid in the study of metabolic disease therapies and metabolic engineering.

Researchers led by Valter Longo report that cellular processes, including fatty acid metabolism, amino acid biosynthesis, and tRNA modification, affect aging in yeast. By using a competitive genome-wide approach, they screened 4,800 viable deletion mutants to find genes that influence lifespan and found that the deletion of ACB1, CKA2, and TRM9, which are thought to be involved in fatty acid transport and biosynthesis, cell signaling, and tRNA methylation, led to longer life. "Several of these genes are evolutionary conserved suggesting that they may also function to control longevity in other species," the authors write.

Finally, in PLoS Biology Gregory Singer and his colleagues write that researchers and conservation organizations are planning to launch the International Barcode of Life Project in the fall. The project, they say, will "bring together 26 countries to broaden and strengthen DNA barcoding research with potential social, cultural, and economic, implications—direct and indirect—with a special focus on developing countries."

The Scan

Alzheimer's Risk Gene Among Women

CNN reports that researchers have found that variants in MGMT contribute to Alzheimer's disease risk among women but not men.

Still Hanging Around

The Guardian writes that persistent pockets of SARS-CoV-2 in the body could contribute to long COVID.

Through a Little Spit

Enteric viruses like norovirus may also be transmitted through saliva, not just the fecal-oral route, according to New Scientist.

Nature Papers Present Method to Detect Full Transcriptome, Viruses Infecting Asgard Archaea, More

In Nature this week: VASA-seq approach to detect full transcriptome, analysis of viruses infecting Asgard archaea, and more.