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This Week in PLOS: Feb 9, 2015

In PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, a team from the US and Peru used patterns at more than a dozen microsatellite sites to assess population structure in Triatoma infestans, an insect that transmits the Chagas disease-causing parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. The researchers considered genetic patterns in 180 T. infestans samples collected at sites within the Peruvian city of Arequipa in 2007 and 2011, looking at relationships between the bugs depending on the sampling site, year, and so on. Their results indicated that most city blocks are home to one main T. infestans genotype, for example, suggesting sub-populations may not be able to move easily between city streets.

Spanish researchers delved into the genetics of seahorses for a paper appearing in PLOS One. In an effort to unearth genetic features that may aid in conserving the endangered Hippocampus guttulatus species, the team used multiplex PCR to amplify and genotype 13 microsatellite markers in captive seahorses and seahorse samples collected at sites in the Cantabrian Sea or South Atlantic between 2006 and 2012 to track genetic diversity and stability over time and between populations. As such, the study's authors say, the work "provides genetic information about H. guttulatus in the wild and captivity within an uncovered range for this data deficient species, to be taken into account for management and conservation purposes."

A PLOS Genetics study implicates overlapping loci in the risk of two different hematological malignancies — B-cell lymphoma and hemangiosarcoma — in golden retrievers. Researchers from the US and Sweden did performed a genome-wide association analysis involving 148 golden retrievers with hemangiosarcoma and 172 cancer-free controls and another GWAS that compared the same healthy control set with 41 B-cell lymphoma cases. For each condition, they detected associations at the same two chromosome 5 sites. Through follow-up genome sequencing, genotyping, and gene expression analyses, meanwhile, the team delineated haplotypes at these loci that were linked to one or both of the hematological cancers via apparent regulatory effects on components of the T-cell immune pathway.