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This Week in PLOS: Feb 23, 2015

A team from China, the US, and the UK analyzed array-based methylation profiles in blood samples from more than 650 individuals to track epigenetic patterns associated with aging. As they reported in PLOS Genetics, the researchers re-analyzed methylation data for individuals between the ages of 19- and 101-years-old, looking at age-related methylation across the genome and in relation to shifts in representation by different blood cell types. The search uncovered large stretches of genomic sequence that tend to show diminishing methylation with age.

In PLOS One, Chinese researchers present findings from a transcriptome analysis of the cabbage beetle, Colaphellus bowringi. After sequencing RNA from cabbage beetles at different developmental stages collected in China's Jiangxi province and assembling a de novo transcriptome assembly, the team identified nearly 39,400 unique predicted protein-coding genes. These included 11 potential reference genes that the study's authors analyzed in more detail through reverse trancriptase PCR.

For another PLOS One study, a group from Japan outlines the quantitative real-time PCR approach it used to track antipsychotic or propsychotic drug response in the mouse brain. The researchers evaluated transcriptional responses for a range of drugs, identifying groups of antipsychotic compounds with shared transcriptomic fingerprints despite diverse and/or undetermined mechanisms of action. "Our results suggest that transcriptional responses are conserved across various types of antipsychotics clinical effective in positive symptoms of schizophrenia," they wrote, "and also show that temporal and spatial [transcriptome fingerprint profiles] may reflect the pharmacological features of the drugs."