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This Week in Genome Biology: Dec 3, 2014

Researchers from Norway and the UK retraced the history of an extensively drug-resistant case of Mycobacterium tuberculosis that cropped up in a single individual. By sequencing nine samples collected from the individual over three-and-a-half years, the team identified several M. tuberculosis lineages that appeared to compete with and replace one another following exposure to various tuberculosis treatments. The study's authors saw the advent of drug-dodging mutations in multiple clones, with resistant clones generally out-competing those susceptible to treatment. "We observed both rapid acquisitions of resistance to antimicrobial compounds mediated by individual mutations," they write, "as well as a gradual increase in fitness in the presence of antibiotics, likely driven by stable gene expression reprogramming."

A Broad Institute-led team describes the deep RNA sequencing strategy it developed to sequence and assemble Lassa virus and Ebola virus genomes from clinical and biological source samples. With the help of hybrid selection strategy and targeted RNase H enzyme step that digests ribosomal RNA and other contaminants, the researchers successfully enriched for RNA from the Lassa and Ebola genomes, making it possible to get unbiased, deep coverage of the viral sequences. For more on the sequencing approaches used, check out this GenomeWeb feature story.

In a commentary article in Genome Biology, researchers based at Redeemer's University and the University of Ibadan, both in Nigeria, outline existing initiatives aimed at increasing the availability of genomics infrastructure and staff within Africa — advances that they argue will help in controlling infectious disease on the continent and beyond. In particular, the team pointed to the H3Africa consortium, funded by the Wellcome Trust, and the National Institute of Health, and to the World Bank-funded African Center of Excellence for Genomics and Infectious Diseases (ACEGID). "The initial success of the H3Africa and ACEGID initiatives has shown that well though through and articulated programs can enable African scientists to purse high-impact projects," they write. "This work will not only bring regional academic and research success for African science, but will also contribute to the improvement of global public health."

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.