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This Week in PLOS: Jun 8, 2015

In PLOS One, researchers from India use shotgun metagenomic sequencing to look at the microbes found on paper currency in that country. By sequencing DNA from bills deemed most and least circulated from Reserve Bank of India data, the team detected sequences coinciding with dozens of antibiotic resistance genes, as well as sequences believed to represent pathogenic and cellulose degrading organisms. "Our analysis suggests a significant diversity in the microbial population on paper currency notes," study authors write, "and presence of antibiotic resistance genes."

University of California, Los Angeles, researchers explore the DNA methylation marks found in pancreatic cancer tumors from individuals with different survival outcomes for another PLOS One paper. The team performed reduced-representation bisulfite sequencing on tumor samples from 11 individuals with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, along with two normal samples and three pancreatitis samples. The study's authors detected methylation shift that seemed to coincide with patient outcomes, including epigenomic features that appear to coincide with pathways related to cellular identity.

Finally, a team from the University of Georgia and Emory University examined spontaneous cases of head and neck cancer in dogs to compare them with human cancers. As they report in PLOS Genetics, the researchers did array comparative genomic hybridization and RNA sequencing on a dozen cases of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, including nine oral squamous cell carcinomas. The analysis uncovered copy number and gene expression patterns comparable to those found in some human head and neck squamous cell carcinomas, the study's author note, such as alterations affecting cell cycle, protein kinase, and other pathways.

The Scan

Hormone-Based Gene Therapy to Sterilize Domestic Cat

A new paper in Nature Communication suggests that gene therapy could be a safer alternative to spaying domestic cats.

Active Lifestyle Linked to Type 2 Diabetes Prevention in People at High Genetic Risk

A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that an active lifestyle goes a long way in type 2 diabetes prevention.

Beneficial, Harmful Effects of Introgression Between Wild and Domesticated European Grapes

A paper in PNAS shows that European wild grapevines were an important resource for improving the flavor of cultivated wine grapes.

Genetic Ancestry of South America's Indigenous Mapuche Traced

Researchers in Current Biology analyzed genome-wide data from more than five dozen Mapuche individuals to better understand their genetic history.