Subject: PLOS Biology Volume 15(3) March 2017 Content-Type: text/html; charset="utf-8" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit


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New Articles in PLOS Biology

PUBLISHED: March 01, 2017 to March 31, 2017


PLOS Biology 2016 Reviewer and Editorial Board Thank You

Research Matters

All biology is computational biology

This Research Matters article discusses how computational methods have completely re-shaped the way biological research is being done. All biological knowledge now builds on computational foundations; today, Carl von Linné would be a computational biologist.

Genome editing: Bioethics shows the way

When some scientists hear the word bioethics,' they break out in intellectual hives. They shouldn't, say the authors of this Research Matters article; instead bioethics advances innovative research that raises ethical questions, but also hopes to provide solutions to some of our world's greatest challenges.

Life is three-dimensional, and it begins with molecules

Structural biology and structural bioinformatics as seen through the career of one long-time researcher, during which time the freely accessible public collection of structures grew from less than 100 to more than 126,000.


Health disparities and clinical trial recruitment: Is there a duty to tweet?

The homogeneity of clinical trial participants often threatens the goal of attaining generalizable knowledge; this Perspective article proposes that social media, and the tools they afford for targeted recruitment, may offer a solution.

Increasing efficiency of preclinical research by group sequential designs

We demonstrate that adapting the design of experiments in biomedicine by allowing early stopping due to efficacy or futility can substantially improve efficiency and reduce animal spending as well as increase predictiveness.

Walking and talking the tree of life: Why and how to teach about biodiversity

This Perspective article finds that outdated approaches to teaching the tree of life are widespread, and highlights the need to promote a phylogenetic approach that focuses on common ancestry and derived functional traits.

Research priorities for harnessing plant microbiomes in sustainable agriculture

A better understanding of plant-associated microbiomes and ways to optimize them could enhance agricultural productivity and sustainability; this Perspective article describes five research priorities that will help achieve these goals.

Antarctica and the strategic plan for biodiversity

Assessed against the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the outlook for biodiversity in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean is surprisingly similar to that for the rest of the planet.

Community Pages

CuboCube: Student creation of a cancer genetics e-textbook using open-access software for social learning

This Community Page article presents a software system that enables undergraduate students to collaboratively create and iteratively improve an electronic cancer genetics textbook. This low-cost approach accelerates the creation of Open Educational Resources (OERs).

Teaching broader impacts of science with undergraduate research

This Community Page article describes an innovative undergraduate course that develops scientific and ethical decision-making skills by integrating research with the broader impacts of science on society.

Liquid-handling Lego robots and experiments for STEM education and research

Liquid-handling robots based on Lego Mindstorms can handle sub-microliter to milliliter liquid volumes and support K-12 STEM education and research; instructions for building and low-cost experiments are provided.

Scientific crowdsourcing in wildlife research and conservation: Tigers (Panthera tigris) as a case study

This study with a focus on tigers shows how crowdsourcing can encourage innovation in the fields of ecology, wildlife conservation and animal protection by contributing to the development of new tools and approaches.

Open Highlights

Mitochondria'A billion years of cohabitation

An engulfment of a small bacterium by a larger archaeon more than a billion years ago resulted not in death, but in one of the most successful partnerships on earth. This Open Highlight explores recent research into the interaction between mitochondria and their host cells. Browse the related collection here.

Meta-Research Article

Empirical assessment of published effect sizes and power in the recent cognitive neuroscience and psychology literature

A study of thousands of research papers in cognitive neuroscience and psychology points to low power and an associated high false-report probability as potential causes of the current replication crisis in these fields.

Research Articles

Pancreas lineage allocation and specification are regulated by sphingosine-1-phosphate signalling

This study unveils a key signaling role for the lipid sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1p) in the survival of mouse pancreas progenitors and the generation of the endocrine and acinar cell lineages. S1p promotes endocrine specification by stabilizing YAP and attenuating Notch signaling.

A mechanism for the cortical computation of hierarchical linguistic structure

Computational modeling shows that a formal mechanism ' using time to encode hierarchy ' links language computation to energy expenditure in both cortical and machine oscillators.

The mechanism of sirtuin 2'mediated exacerbation of alpha-synuclein toxicity in models of Parkinson disease

Acetylation of alpha-synuclein, a central protein in the development of Parkinson's disease, modulates its aggregation and toxicity, identifying a novel target for therapeutic intervention in synucleinopathies.

Stochastic assembly produces heterogeneous communities in the Caenorhabditis elegans intestine

During bacterial colonization of the gut of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, demographic noise is an important driver of variation between host-associated bacterial communities.

Tor1 and CK2 kinases control a switch between alternative ribosome biogenesis pathways in a growth-dependent manner

In response to nutrient depletion or stress, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae switches to an alternative non-productive ribosome biogenesis pathway; this switch is controlled by the Tor complex 1 and CK2 kinase.

Three-dimensional preservation of cellular and subcellular structures suggests 1.6 billion-year-old crown-group red algae

1.6 billion-year-old fossils from central India spark new ideas about the early evolution of multicellular red algae, pushing back their emergence by 400 million years.

Antibiotic exposure perturbs the gut microbiota and elevates mortality in honeybees

Antibiotic exposure severely alters the gut microbial community structure of honeybees, which leads to decreased survivorship of the bees, in part due to increased susceptibility to pathogen infection.

Selective stalling of human translation through small-molecule engagement of the ribosome nascent chain

This study reveals that a small molecule can inhibit synthesis of the clinically significant target PCSK9 by selectively stalling the human ribosome in a manner that is dependent on the sequence of the nascent chain inside the ribosome exit tunnel.

Pharmacogenomic identification of small molecules for lineage specific manipulation of subventricular zone germinal activity

The germinal activity of the postnatal and adult brain's subventricular zone is amenable to manipulation by small bioactive molecules in health and disease.

A fat-derived metabolite regulates a peptidergic feeding circuit in Drosophila

The enzymatic co-factor tetrahydrobiopterin acts as a fat-derived appetite suppressant that inhibits the action of feeding-related neurons in the fruit fly brain.

Fasting regulates EGR1 and protects from glucose- and dexamethasone-dependent sensitization to chemotherapy

Fasting and glucose restriction reverse the toxicity of commonly used cancer drugs in part by regulating a previously unknown stress-response pathway conserved from yeast to mammals.


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