Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

This Week in PLOS: May 4, 2015

In PLOS Genetics, researchers from the UK and the US describe findings from a genetic study of Plasmodium falciparum populations in Thailand, Cambodia, Gambia, and Malawi. Using linkage disequilibrium patterns for 86,000 SNPs in 459 P. falciparum isolates from the four countries, the team tracked down genes under positive selection, including chloroquine-resistance loci in P. falciparum isolates from Thailand, Cambodia, and Gambia and artemisinin-resistance genes in the Cambodian isolates.

A PLOS One study by researchers in the US and Kenya considered genetic variation in the Epstein-Barr viruses present in pediatric patients in Kenya. The team did multiplexed, high-throughput sequencing on EBV isolates in lymphoblastoid cell lines generated for four infected individuals from western Kenya. Comparisons with existing sequences for EBV type 1 and 2 strains revealed close relationships between the sub-Saharan isolates and the EBV-1 strain in three of four cases, while the remaining case was more similar to EBV-2. "[W]e have shown that [next-generation sequencing] is highly useful for deciphering detailed inter- and intra-variations in EBV genomes," the study's authors say, "and that within a geographic region different EBV genetic variations can co-exist."

In another PLOS One paper, Chinese researchers searched for germline mutations in protein-coding sequences from 150 genes suspected of contributing to cancer risk in nearly 100 individuals with breast cancer. The search led to 42 suspicious mutations in 21 genes in 34 of the patients, including germline alterations affecting BRCA1, BRCA2, TP53, CDH1, and genes in the Fanconi anemia pathway. "Together, these findings highlight the importance of genetic testing based on [NCCN] guidelines and multi-gene analysis using [next-generation sequencing] may be a supplement to traditional genetic counseling," the study's authors argue.

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.