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PLOS Presents a GWAS on QRS Duration and More

A University of Washington-led team of researchers has tied two novel loci to QRS duration through a genome-wide association study of individuals of Hispanic or Latino ancestry in a paper appearing in PLOS One. A prolonged QRS duration — measured by electrocardiogram — is associated with poor heart failure prognosis and cardiovascular death, and while SNPs at two dozen loci have been linked to the condition, they have been identified in European, African, and Asian-descent populations. In this study, the researchers combined data from 15,124 individuals of Hispanic/Latino ancestry from four studies to link six loci to QRS, including the two novel loci of MYOCD, which is a heart-expressed, and SYT1, an integral membrane protein. 

In PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, a Singapore-led team of researchers reports on a strain of group B Streptococcus (GBS) that they found to be widespread in Southeast Asia. The researchers note Singapore experienced a foodborne outbreak of disease caused by GBS in 2015, which was thought to be unique. However, through their literature review, whole-genome analysis of 145 GBS isolates from half-a-dozen Southeast Asian countries, and phylogenetic analysis of nearly 7,500 GBS sequences, the researchers found the ST283 clone to be widespread in the region. Additional studies, the researchers say, are needed to tease out the clone's origin and transmission path, which would then help them to "be able to interrupt transmission, to the benefit of fish, farmers, and the general public."

Participants' moves and strategies in the Eterna project can help improve automated computational RNA design, report researchers from Stanford University in PLOS Computational Biology. Through the Eterna project, the researchers crowd-sourced RNA design to more than 250,000 players on the internet that tackled complex problems. These players' approaches, the researchers report, could be incorporated into an automated approach and enable it to better perform in comparison to other tools.