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This Week in PLOS: Nov 28, 2016

In PLOS Genetics, a Baylor College of Medicine-led team explores potential molecular mechanisms behind chromosomal insertion events. During Baylor Genetics testing on some 56,000 individuals using clinical array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) and fluorescence in situ hybridization, the researchers say, they saw 16 individuals with complex chromosomal insertions. They obtained DNA for custom high-density aCGH for 10 of the individuals, followed by long-range PCR- and targeted sequencing-based breakpoint mapping in six individuals. From these and other analyses, the investigators saw hints that inter-chromosomal insertions may stem from chromothripsis-like synthesis processes called chromoanasynthesis that involve replication repair.

A study appearing in PLOS One suggests the Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) originated in Africa roughly 1,000 years to 5,000 years ago, moving to China, India, and Russia through South and Central Asia, and reaching Europe through southern Russia roughly 280 years to 400 years ago. Researchers from Russia and Germany did a phylogeographic analysis of the CCHFV using genome sequences for more than a dozen isolates collected in Russia, Central Asia, and Africa between the late 1950s and 2000. Based on patterns in each of the three segments in the CCFV genome, the study's authors suspect that the European version of the virus "is a recently emerged zoonosis that represents a spillover from the global gene pool."

The plains bison populations living in Yellowstone National Park appear to stem from two main groups, according to another PLOS One paper, one indigenous to the area and another introduced to the park during restoration efforts in the early 1900s. Researchers from Texas A&M University and the National Park Service in Yellowstone did mitochondrial genome sequencing on 25 bison picked at random in the park. By comparing the 10 mitochondrial haplotypes detected in Yellowstone bison mitochondrial patterns from dozens of other North American bison, they attempted to untangle plains bison history in the park and uncovered some signs of recent hybridization between plains bison and wood bison from Canada.