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This Week in PLOS: Jun 29, 2015

A team from Malaysia reporting in PLOS One describes findings from a genomic analysis of a Mycobacterium tuberculosis strain called UM 1072388579 — the first extensively drug-resistant strain detected in that country. With the help of mate-pair sequencing and a two kilobase insert library, the researchers sequenced the UM 1072388579 genome, folding in existing paired-end reads to produce a genome assembly that's more than 99 percent complete and covered to a depth of 100-fold, on average. Their analyses of the genome indicated that strain is part of an ancient, non-Beijing TB clade falling in East Asia lineage 2 and contains drug resistance mutations affecting drug efflux pump genes, cell wall production pathways, and more.

Chinese researchers introduce a resource called the Bat Genome Database (BGD) in another PLOS One paper. The open-access, web-based database is designed to bring together genetic and genomic data on bats from as many species as possible, while facilitating phylogenetic and other analyses. It currently contains information on two megabat species, Pteropus alecto and P. vampyrus, and four microbats, Myotis davidii, M. brandtii, M. lucifugous, and Eptesicus fuscus. "The database not only provides a large resource for [bat researchers], but also supplies a platform for comparative genomic analysis," the authors conclude.

In PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, a California team outlines a computational strategy for tackling the genome of Trypanosoma cruzi, the eukaryotic parasite behind Chagas disease. The researchers brought together and selectively validated genomic, metabolomics, and bioinformatic information for T. cruzi, along with information generated through past small molecule screens. The resulting Pathway Genome Data made it possible to begin predicting potential drug targets in the parasite, they say, noting that they uncovered 97 candidate compounds using this virtual screening approach. In follow-up experiments, for example, the study's author found that an antimalarial drug appeared to show promise for treated acute Chagas disease in a mouse model of the condition.