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This Week in PLOS: Mar 21, 2016

A PLOS One paper by researchers from Spain and the US describes results from a low-coverage, whole-genome sequencing study of the filter-feeding Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis. The team tackled the genome, estimated at 1.6 billion bases, using paired-end sequencing and a variety of library insert sizes. It also did de novo transcriptome sequencing on four M. galloprovincialis tissue types. The resulting genome assembly contained some 10,891 predicted protein-coding genes, though nearly one-third of the sequences were comprised of repeat elements. By comparing the genome to sequences from four other mollusk species, the study's authors were able to begin unraveling some of the function similarities and differences between them.

A team from Brazil reports on findings from a survey of viruses found in fur seal fecal samples for another PLOS One study. Using viral genome isolation and metagenomic sequencing, the researchers profiled viruses in five fecal samples from five deceased South American fur seals (Arctocephalus australis) and five deceased Sub Antarctic fur seals (A. tropicalis) found on shore in southern Brazil from late summer 2012 to the following fall. In seals from both species, fecal samples contained many viruses classified as bacteriophages, or bacteria-infecting viruses. Viruses from the Anelloviridae and Parvoviridae families also turned up, the team notes, as did sequences resembling picornaviruses, picobirnaviruses, hepeviruses, sapoviruses, and unknown viruses. 

In PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, French investigators explore the prevalence of co-infection in Ixodes ricinus ticks with a high-throughput real-time PCR approach targeting DNA or RNA from dozens of bacteria, viruses, parasites, or endosymbionts. When it tested samples from 267 adult female ticks collected in the Ardennes region in France, the team detected parasites or pathogens in nearly half of the ticks, with almost half of the infected ticks harboring more than one possible disease-causing culprit. GenomeWeb has more on the study, here.