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This Week in PLOS: Sep 26, 2016

In PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases study, members of the International Typhoid Consortium describe findings from a molecular surveillance study of the Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi) in Nigeria. By screening blood cultures from more than 10,000 children treated at sites in central or northwest Nigeria, the team narrowed in on bacterial infections, including almost 400 infections caused by S. Typhi. The researchers randomly selected a subset of 128 S. Typhi isolates for whole-genome sequencing, analyzed alongside S. Typhi sequences generated in the past. Their results revealed drug resistance patterns for S. Typhi isolates in Nigeria and their relationships to clusters of the typhoid fever-causing bacteria from other parts of Africa.

Researchers from the University of Toronto and the University of Wisconsin-Madison explore gene expression and expression plasticity in the fruit fly model organism Drosophila melanogaster as it adapts to diets that are rich in cadmium or salt. For its PLOS Genetics study, the team used RNA sequencing to track transcriptome patterns in Drosophila populations on salt-enriched, cadmium-enriched, or variable diets over roughly 130 generations. "We find the plastic response of the ancestral population that is naïve to both environments is generally opposed by the evolved differences between populations adapted to alternative environments," they write. "Populations that live in heterogeneous environments show evidence of adaptive expression evolution in genes predicted to evolve changes in plasticity."

Researchers from Spain present results in PLOS One from a genome-wide association study aimed at uncovering genetic factors involved in attention function in thousands of children. Starting with genotyping data for array-based genotyping data for 1,655 children between the ages of seven- and 12-years-old who had been assessed using tests for executive attention and traits, the team saw more than a dozen loci with suggestive links to attention function. After a replication analysis in nearly 550 more children between five- and eight-years-old, the group was left with a nominally significant association involving a locus near the PID1 gene. Variants with potential ties to attention function also appeared to be over-represented in pathways implicated in mTOR signaling and amyloid-related processes.