In PLOS One, Swedish researchers describe a phylogenetic study of hepatitis E viruses found in that country's moose population. The team used a PCR-based assay and serological analyses to test blood or fecal samples collected from 231 moose in several Swedish counties, searching for signs of virus — a divergent form of HEV compared to those that infect humans, pigs, deer, and wild boars. The investigators identified the virus's RNA in 15 percent of the animals, while nearly 30 percent showed signs of past infection. By sequencing a genome for the moose virus and comparing it with other forms of HEV, they determined that it falls in a group known as genotype 1-6, which houses human-infecting strains.
A team from China used a combination of messenger RNA sequencing, small RNA sequencing, and digital gene expression analyses to investigate pathways involved in cold stress response in the plant, Camellia sinensis. As they report in another PLOS One study, the researchers tested plants that had been exposed to a chill or to temperatures below freezing. When they compared the molecular pathways at play to those found in tea plants grown at more typical temperatures, the study's authors uncovered a "complex and dynamic network of genes, transcription factors, and [microRNAs] involved in the regulation of early cold response," along with pathway features that distinguish freezing from chilled tea plants.
The honeybee's evolution has been marked by genome variation driven by very high rates of meiotic recombination, according to a paper in PLOS Genetics. Researchers from Sweden and France looked at genome sequences for 30 diploid honeybees, using linkage disequilibrium patterns for more than 6 million SNPs to track the insect's recombination rate. Rather than uncovering the sorts of recombination hotspots described in the genomes of humans and other vertebrates, the team saw meiotic recombination sites across the honeybee genome. The rates of recombination were also far higher than those described in human genomes, study authors noted, coinciding with genetic variation levels.