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This Week in PLOS: Oct 9, 2017

A team from the UK and Thailand tracks nasopharyngeal microbes in children from a refugee camp on the border of Thailand and Myanmar over time several years, from 2007 to 2010. For a study published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, the researchers followed 21 infants, collecting 544 nasopharyngeal swabs from the children from the time they were born until the age of 24 months. Based on the 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing profiles in these samples, the authors got a sense of the nasopharyngeal microbe community members shifts associated with age, antibiotic use, pneumonia risk, and other respiratory infections. "Monthly sampling demonstrates that the nasopharyngeal microbiota is in flux throughout the first two years of life," they write, "and that in this refugee camp population the pool of potential bacterial colonizers may not be limited."

A paper in PLOS One documents ties between oculocutaneous albinism in German Spitz dogs and a splice site variant in OCA2, a gene containing variants already associated with oculocutaneous albinism type 2 in humans. Researchers from the University of Bern focused on a German Spitz pooch family with lightly pigmented, blue-eyed pups, comparing whole-genome sequences from one of the affected pups, 188 sequenced, unaffected dogs, and three wolves. With these data, and genotyping profiles for 181 normally colored canines, they narrowed in on a splice variant at a conserved site at the 5'-end of the OCA2 gene.

In PLOS Genetics, a pair of investigators from the University of California, Davis, and Rockefeller University explores genomic features contributing to parallel adaptation in Drosophila melanogaster relative to a long-diverged fruit fly species, D. hydei. With a new, high-coverage 139 million base genome sequence for a female D. hydei fruit fly, the researchers identified almost 12,400 predicted protein-coding genes, repetitive elements, and other features — genome contents used to assess adaptations in D. hydei. "[D]espite the roughly 50 million years of time separating D. melanogaster and D. hydei, and despite their considerably divergent biology, they exhibit substantial parallelism," the authors note, "suggesting the existence of a fundamental predictability of adaptive evolution in the genus."