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PLOS Papers on Tremor Condition, Medical Plant Populations, Brewing Yeast Transcriptomics

In PLOS Genetics, researchers from Stanford University and elsewhere describe apparent ties between familial forms of adult-onset essential tremor conditions and TUB transcription factor-coding gene variants, initially uncovered with exome sequencing on 10 tremor-affected and half a dozen tremor-unaffected members of the same family. After identifying a TUB variant that tracked with disease and seemed to be inherited in an autosomal dominant manner in that family, the team did targeted TUB sequencing on another 820 sporadic essential tremor cases and 630 unaffected controls, leading to additional rare, non-synonymous changes in the gene that were over-represented in the affected individuals. From follow up chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing experiments in mouse brain samples, the authors suggest that the neuronal cell-expressed gene "regulates pathways responsible for neurotransmitter production as well as thyroid hormone signaling."

A team from Kenya and Benin present findings from an ultra-high-throughput diversity array technology (DArT) sequencing-based analysis of a West and Central African tree noted for its traditional medicine value. As they report in PLOS One, the investigators used this DArT-seq strategy to focus in on more than 43,700 SNPs found across 102 accessions of the Garcinia kola tree from eight sampling sites in West Africa. That set included nearly 12,600 variants for their subsequent population structure and genetic diversity analyses, the authors write, noting that the findings reveal "low genetic variation among the studied populations and high variation among individuals within populations."

German researchers take a look at the transcriptome features in Saccharomyces cerevisiae "top fermenting" and "bottom fermenting" S. pastorianus brewing yeast strains, comparing the RNA sequencing patterns in four brewing strains from each species, grown at two different temperatures, for another paper in PLOS One. Results from the team's analysis suggest that it is possible to set gene expression patterns in these commercially available strains by including data from sub-optimal brewing temperatures for each, producing a brewing yeast "pan-transcriptome" comprised of core and accessory transcripts for the strains in strains used to brew lager and ale beer. The authors note that the yeast behind ale tend to be less transcriptionally diverse than the lager yeasts, for example, while the broader analysis serves as "proof of concept … for the demonstration of the potential of the de novo transcriptomic approach."

The Scan

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