Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

This Week in PLOS: Jun 1, 2015

A PLOS Pathogens paper considered population genetics in Plasmodium knowlesi, a malaria-causing parasite that's on the rise in macaques from Malaysia and other parts of South Asia. Researchers from the UK, Malaysia, and the Netherlands used species-specific microsatellite profiling to test samples from 47 wild macaque infections and more than 550 human infections with P. knowlesi from 10 sites spanning almost 1,000 miles. From genetic patterns in the parasites, the team found that two-thirds of the human cases involved a form of P. knowlesi that's usually associated with the long-tailed macaque, while the remaining cases were caused by a cluster of P. knowlesi parasites similar to those in the pig-tailed macaque, though admixture also occurred between the differentiated parasite groups.

In PLOS One, Swedish researchers used targeted PCR-based testing, 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing, and microbial arrays to assess oral biofilm and saliva samples from hundreds of three-month old infants and three-year-old children, including toddlers with or without dental caries. From patterns in these samples, the team was able to compare infant and toddler samples to follow oral microbiome development and take a look at microbial communities features found in children with cavities.

A University of Colorado-led team took a look at microbial communities found in esophageal samples from healthy individuals or individuals with conditions such as eosinophilic esophagitis or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) for another PLOS One paper. Using 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing, the researchers tested esophageal string test samples collected from 70 children or adults with or without eosinophilic esophagitis or GERD. In both conditions, they saw a rise in the number of bacteria, including a jump in Haemophilus in individuals with eosinophilic esophagitis. On the other hand, individuals with GERD who were taking proton pump inhibitor treatments tended to have l-than-usual Streptococcus levels, they report.