In PLOS One, researchers from Oman, the UK, and Portugal explore the genetic diversity in tick-transmitted Theileria annulata parasite in Oman. The team did PCR amplification and assessment on 10 microsatellite and mini-satellite markers for T. annulata in hundreds of blood samples from cattle populations in the Batinah, Dhira, Sharqia, and Dhofar regions of the country. Results from the analysis suggests that the Theileriosis disease-causing parasite is genetically diverse, though the study's authors did not see much in the way of genetic differentiation between the four populations. "These findings are consistent with a high parasite transmission rate and frequent movement of animals between different regions in Oman," they write.
A Korean and American team profiles gene expression patterns in glioblastoma tumors for another PLOS One paper. The researchers scrutinized gene expression patterns in 43 tumor samples obtained from 28 individuals with glioblastoma — a set that included more than a dozen paired primary and recurrent tumors. They saw two transcriptional clusters in the glioblastoma tumors: a G1 sub-type containing tumors with marked expression of proliferation-related genes and a G2 sub-type with gene expression patterns resembling those in neurons. And by folding in information on expression characteristics of the recurrent tumors, the group gained clues to the types of drug resistance typically displayed by each sub-type.
Belgian researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases describe a case of Chagas disease that appears to have been cause by a blood transfusion-based transmission of the Trypanosoma cruzi pathogen. The team used PCR to test pre- and post-red blood cell transfusion samples from a seven-year-old Belgian boy with sickle cell disease. Together with tests on the donor individual, a 47-year-old man who had been born in Brazil and moved to Belgium seven years earlier, the study's authors determined that the T. cruzi parasite had been transmitted at the time of transfusion. As such, they note, "Chagas infection has to be considered, even in European countries that host a lower population from [Latin America], such as Belgium."