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This Week in PLOS: May 11, 2015

In PLOS One, a team from the US and India looked at genetic patterns in a sloth bear population from Central India. Through targeted sequencing on nearly 200 sloth bear fecal and hair samples collected in tiger reserves in India's Satpura-Maikal region, the researchers detected DNA from at least 55 different sloth bear individuals. This meta-population included sloth bears from two genetic clusters, including individuals that appear to have migrated relatively recently between tiger reserves in different parts of India. Based on these and other findings, the study's authors argued that "habitat connectivity and corridors play an important role in maintaining gene flow in this meta-population."

Researchers from Norway, the UK, and Belgium describe copy number changes they identified in canine mammary tumors for another PLOS One study. The team used array-based copy number profiling on 117 canine mammary tumor samples collected from 69 dogs to profile gains and losses associated with the tumors, which are suspected of enhancing cancer progression by increasing the genomic instability. In particular, the study's authors saw an overrepresentation of gains in the tumors, with amplifications occurring most frequently in a region containing the MYC gene. On the deletion side, they noted losses tended to occur in and around a region housing PTEN.

Rare microdeletions affecting neurodevelopmental genes appear to play a pronounced role in generalized epilepsies, according to a study in PLOS Genetics. An international team that included members of the EPICURE consortium searched for large, rare microdeletions in samples from 1,366 individuals with genetic generalized epilepsy and more than 5,200 controls from the same population. Whereas microdeletions turned up in around 4 percent of controls, the researchers saw microdeletions in more than 7 percent of those with genetic generalized epilepsy, including microdeletion events that turned up at seven genomic hotspots and sites near genes previously linked to neurodevelopmental conditions.