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This Week in PLOS: Apr 16, 2018

Ticks alter what genes are expressed in their saliva as they feed on their hosts, researchers from the Czech Republic and the US report in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. They performed RNA sequencing on single salivary glands from adult female Ixodes ricinus ticks. These ticks fed on either naturally on a rabbit or through artificial membrane feeding of rabbit blood lacking immune factors prior to the collection of their salivary glands. The researchers found that the ticks' salivary transcriptomes, or sialomes, changed with both feeding mode and time. In particular, they found a number of genes that are up-regulated early on in feeding in response to host immune factors. These could be candidates for anti-tick measures, the researchers note.

Researchers from the Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) study report in PLOS Medicine that type 1 diabetes genetic risk scores could identify infants without a family history of the condition who are at risk of developing it. The researchers calculated two genetic risk scores, one based on HLA and 40 type 1 diabetes susceptibility loci and another based on HLA and 25 susceptibility loci to find that children with high merged scores had a more than 10 percent risk of developing multiple islet autoantibodies by the age of six. They added that these scores could help identify children who might benefit from type 1 diabetes prevention efforts.

McGill University researchers developed an algorithm called PopSV to better identify copy-number variants from within whole-genome sequencing data. When they applied PopSV to sequencing data from 198 individuals with epilepsy and 301 controls, the researchers uncovered not only an enrichment of rare non-coding CNVs near known epilepsy genes, but also of rare exonic events affecting genes with low tolerance for loss-of-function alterations. As they report in PLOS Genetics, the McGill researchers also developed a list of 21 regions harboring likely pathogenic variants.