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This Week in PLOS: Sep 18, 2017

In PLOS Genetics, a University of Edinburgh- and University of Queensland Translational Research Institute-led team presents a gene expression catalog for the domestic sheep, Ovis aries, that spans dozens of adult, juvenile, neonatal, and prenatal tissue types. By sequencing hundreds of new RNA sequence libraries, the researchers documented expression for more than 19,900 protein-coding genes and thousands more non-coding genes. With this collection, they subsequently examined gene co-expression patterns, expression networks, and transcriptional signatures, including gene clusters with expression profiles that appeared to be pertinent to innate immunity in sheep.

Researchers from Spain and Germany explore the mutation rates for chloroplastic and nuclear viroid representatives found in the eggplant host plant in PLOS Pathogens. When they compared the mutation frequencies in the chloroplastic eggplant latent viroid and the nuclear potato spindle tuber viroid — assessed with high fidelity, ultra-deep duplex sequencing on viroids that were isolated and amplified from three eggplants that were infected as seedlings and grown for six months — the authors found that spontaneous mutation rates in the chloroplastic viroid eclipsed those in the nuclear viroid, suggesting "extremely high mutability is a common feature of chloroplastic viroids."

A team from the US and United Arab Emirates report on viral diversity in respiratory tract samples from dromedary camels in UAE for a PLOS One paper. The researchers focused on 108 dromedary camels from a live animal market in Abu Dhabi that already tested positive for Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus. With metagenomic sequencing on nasopharyngeal swab samples from these animals, they saw sequences coinciding with viruses from 10 families, along with five viral species or strains not described previously. In addition, the authors found that nearly 93 percent of the dromedary camels considered carried two or more camel coronaviruses, though they note that "it will be important to look at samples from MERS-CoV-negative camels from the same market to understand the viral diversity and compare the relative prevalence of these viruses."