Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

This Week in PNAS: Jan 6, 2010

In the early, online version PNAS this week, an American research team reports that they have identified five new viruses in Drosophila and mosquito cells by sifting through data from published small RNA libraries. Since invertebrates process replicating RNA virus genomes into small interfering RNAs to help clear them, the researchers were able to home in on viral sequences from fruit fly, mosquito, and nematode cells to find previously overlooked viruses in invertebrates in a culture-independent way.

Antonis Rokas and team tested the use of RNA-Seq to help decipher relationships in the tree of life. The researchers made phylogenetic inferences after generating reads from ten mosquito species' transcriptomes and assembling them into phylogenomic data matrices. "This approach is more efficient, data-rich, and economical than traditional PCR-based and EST-based methods and provides a scalable strategy for generating phylogenomic data matrices to infer the branches and twigs of the tree of life," they write.

An international research team reports on a way to examine protein-induced conformational changes in DNA. The real-time, in situ method relies on a combination of surface bound double-stranded DNA probes measuring electrical orientation and an optical technique assessing DNA conformational change kinetics. Those involved say the method is not only effective, but can also be scaled up for use in high-throughput assays.

Japanese researchers found duplicated mitochondrial genes in the rice nuclear genome that contribute to hybrid sterility in rice. Their functional analysis shows that genes coding for the mitochondrial ribosomal protein L27 are involved in pollen development — and reciprocal loss of these genes leads to reproductive isolation in cultivated and wild rice hybrid plants.

The Scan

Study Finds Sorghum Genetic Loci Influencing Composition, Function of Human Gut Microbes

Focusing on microbes found in the human gut microbiome, researchers in Nature Communications identified 10 sorghum loci that appear to influence the microbial taxa or microbial metabolite features.

Treatment Costs May Not Coincide With R&D Investment, Study Suggests

Researchers in JAMA Network Open did not find an association between ultimate treatment costs and investments in a drug when they analyzed available data on 60 approved drugs.

Sleep-Related Variants Show Low Penetrance in Large Population Analysis

A limited number of variants had documented sleep effects in an investigation in PLOS Genetics of 10 genes with reported sleep ties in nearly 192,000 participants in four population studies.

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.