Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

This Week in PLOS: Mar 7, 2016

In PLOS Genetics, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles and elsewhere describe regions of the dog genome that appear to have been subject to positive selection during relatively early stages of the domestication process. With the help of a so-called inferred demographic model, the team scrutinized half a dozen canid genomes: the genomes of wolves from China, Croatia, and Israel, the golden jackal genome, and genome sequences for the Basenji and Dingo dogs. Across the top 100 of almost 350 regions of the genome showing apparent positive selection, the study's author saw particularly pronounced representation for genes from brain-, behavior-, and lipid metabolisms-related pathways, prompting them to speculate that the dog experienced dietary adaptations as it got cozier with human hunter-gatherers.

 A team from Duke University characterizes representatives from a worrisome Cryptococcus species complex recently detected in the US Pacific Northwest and southwest Canada for another PLOS Genetics paper. The researchers focused on the C. deuterogattii strain R265, which is capable of infecting individuals who are not immune compromised, setting it apart from other Cryptococcus species such as C. neofromans. Through comparisons with other pathogenic Cryptococcus species, they conserved genes that are missing in the R265 strain, including new and known components of the RNA interference pathway. GenomeWeb has more on the study, here.

Finally, Australian researchers used genome sequencing and comparative genomics to retrace transmission patterns during a decade-long tuberculosis outbreak in New South Wales, Australia. As they report in PLOS One, the researchers sequenced and analyzed almost two dozen Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates collected in New South Wales using two bioinformatics pipelines. From the variants identified in the isolates, they defined M. tuberculosis sub-populations that pointed to at least two main braches of TB transmission in the Australian state between 2003 and 2012.