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This Week in PLOS: Jul 24, 2017

Investigators from Finland and the UK consider factors influencing vaginal microbial community composition and detection in the same women over time for a paper in PLOS One. The team obtained 70 samples from 10 premenopausal women in southern Finland, representing half a dozen vaginal sites obtained using swabs, a self-sampling device, or other sampling techniques. With 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing, the group then compared the microbial representatives detected at each vaginal site in each individual, demonstrating relatively consistent microbiome makeup and diversity regardless of the samples method used.

In PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, members of an international team led by investigators in the UK, Ecuador, the US, and Italy explore population patterns for kissing bugs in the Rhodnius ecuadoriensis species, known as a vector for Chagas disease parasites in parts of Ecuador and northern Peru. The researchers used 2b restriction site-associated DNA genotyping with multiple restriction enzymes to characterize genetic patterns for 20 adult R. ecuadoriensis individuals from Ecuadorian sites in the southern Andes and central coast. From these data, they documented genetic structure in R. ecuadoriensis kissing bug populations in Ecuador.

A team from Brazil and the UK takes a look at the diversity of trypanosome parasites present in Brazilian bats for another PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases paper. Using 18S ribosomal RNA sequencing, the researchers assessed trypanosomes in blood samples from 90 representatives of 17 bat species in Brazil. Their analysis uncovered more than a dozen operational taxonomic units in 34 of the bats tested, including unknown species and Trypanosoma species known for causing infections in humans. "We exposed high rates of local bat parasitism by multiple trypanosome species, some known to cause fatal human disease, others non-pathogenic, novel, or yet little understood," the authors note.

The Scan

Foxtail Millet Pangenome, Graph-Based Reference Genome

Researchers in Nature Genetics described their generation of a foxtail millet pangenome, which they say can help in crop trait improvement.

Protein Length Distribution Consistent Across Species

An analysis in Genome Biology compares the lengths of proteins across more than 2,300 species, finding similar length distributions.

Novel Genetic Loci Linked to Insulin Resistance in New Study

A team reports in Nature Genetics that it used glucose challenge test data to home in on candidate genes involved in GLUT4 expression or trafficking.

RNA Editing in Octopuses Seems to Help Acclimation to Shifts in Water Temperature

A paper in Cell reports that octopuses use RNA editing to help them adjust to different water temperatures.