Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

This Week in PLOS: Jul 6, 2015

Korean researchers used 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing to characterize microbial communities in the mouths of dogs and their human owners for a study in PLOS One. Using samples from four mouths, spit samples from one human from each dog's household, and two human controls from other homes, the team uncovered dog and human oral microbiome members from almost 250 operational taxonomic units and eight bacterial phyla. The most common bacterial phyla in dog mouths resembled those in the human oral microbiome. And while the oral microbial communities in dogs did not correlate with those of their owners, the study's authors saw apparent examples of dog-to-human transfer of opportunistic pathogens.

A team from the US National Institutes of Health and the University of Southern Mississippi tallies up compounds present in saliva samples from Lone Star ticks for another PLOS One paper. The researchers' RNA sequencing experiments of salivary gland samples collected from Lone Star ticks at different feeding times suggest this so-called 'sialome' is comprised of nearly 5,800 expressed transcripts — far more than the number of tick salivary sequences described in public databases previously. Moreover, the study's authors note that a "remarkable time-dependent transcript expression was found, mostly related to secretory products, supporting the idea that ticks may have several 'sialomes' that are expressed at different times during feeding."

In PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, an international team led by investigators in Switzerland delves into structure and genetic diversity of the malaria-causing parasite Plasmodium vivax populations in Africa, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and the South Pacific. Based on genotyping profiles at 11 microsatellite markers in 841 P. vivax isolates, the researchers found the highest genetic diversity in parasites from Southeast Asia. The South American and Central Asian isolates had the lowest apparent diversity, while P. vivax populations in Africa and the South Pacific fell somewhere in the middle. The analysis provided a look at population structures within regions as well, with parasites in parts of South America falling into multiple sub-clusters.