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Snakes' diet diversified after dinosaurs died out

October 14, 2021

Snakes' diet diversified after dinosaurs died out

The Cenozoic marked a period of dramatic ecological opportunity in Earth history; a phylogenetic natural history study by Michael Grundler and Daniel Rabosky offers new insights into the evolution of snake ecological diversity after the K-Pg mass extinction, as they took advantage of these new opportunities.

Image credit: Flickr user USFWS Mountain Prairie

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PLOS BIOLOGUE

10/13/2021

Research Article

Topology thwarts CRISPR

Derived from phages of the gut microbiome, Kevin Forsberg, Harmit Malik and co-authors describe a CRISPR-Cas9 inhibitor with an unexpected mechanism; instead of binding Cas9 itself, this “anti-CRISPR” relaxes plasmid DNA and enables Cas9 evasion, suggesting that DNA topology is an underappreciated battleground in phage-bacterial conflicts.

Image credit: pbio.3001428

Topology thwarts CRISPR

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Current Issue

Current Issue September 2021

10/13/2021

Research Article

It ain't heavy; it's my plasmid

Carrying a plasmid is burdensome, but why? James Hall, Michael Brockhurst and co-workers show that specific gene interactions (rather than general properties of plasmids such as their size) are principally responsible for the fitness costs that plasmids impose. The propensity of such conflicts to be resolved by single compensatory mutations may help to explain why plasmids are so widespread.

Image credit: Edward Ross

It ain't heavy; it's my plasmid

10/12/2021

Research Article

Phage resistance in structured environments

Bacteriophages represent a promising avenue to overcome the current antibiotic resistance crisis, but what about phage resistance? Erin Attrill, Stefano Pagliara and colleagues show that in the presence of spatial refuges, genetic resistance to phage is less of a problem than commonly assumed, but that eradicating bacterial pathogens from structured environments may require combined phage-antibiotic therapies.

Image credit: pbio.3001406

Phage resistance in structured environments

10/11/2021

Research Article

SARS-CoV-2 forms liquid condensates

The packaging of the SARS-CoV-2 genome is mediated by the nucleocapsid (N) protein; Amanda Jack, Ahmet Yildiz and co-workers show that the N protein forms liquid condensates with viral genomic RNA and identify small molecules that alter these condensates.

SARS-CoV-2 forms liquid condensates

Image credit: pbio.3001425

10/11/2021

Research Article

Sharpening proprioception

Animals modulate sensory processing in concert with motor actions. A study of the corollary discharge in zebrafish by Dimitri Skandalis, Elias Lunsford and James Liao reveals that it modulates the sensitivity of the lateral line during swimming to prevent sensor adaptation and maintain the high-quality feedback necessary for kinematic control.

Sharpening proprioception

Image credit: pbio.3001420

10/11/2021

Research Article

Oscillations at the cocktail party

Mohsen Alavash, Sarah Tune and Jonas Obleser investigate how intrinsic neural oscillations, acting in concert, tune into attentive listening. Using EEG signals collected from people in a dual-talker listening task, the authors find that network connectivity of frontoparietal beta and posterior alpha oscillations is regulated according to the listener's goal.

Oscillations at the cocktail party

Image credit: pbio.3001410

10/11/2021

Short Reports

Mapping the intestinal lymphoid follicle

The intestine is lined with isolated lymphoid follicles that facilitate sampling of luminal antigens to elicit immune responses. This study identifies spatially localized cellular states in intestinal follicles and their associated epithelium.

Mapping the intestinal lymphoid follicle

Image credit: pbio.3001214

10/07/2021

Perspective

Protecting wildlife from crime and trade

John Scanlon argues that as we struggle to combat climate change, with the potential loss of a million species and increasing exposure to thousands of new viruses that could spill over from wildlife to humans, it is time to change course.

Protecting wildlife from crime and trade

Image credit: Unsplash user NY Public Library

10/07/2021

Essay

Cultivating computational biology

Despite the major contributions of computational biology, those attempting to bridge the interdisciplinary gap often languish in career advancement, publication, and grant review. Here, sixteen computational biologists around the globe focus on solutions.

Cultivating computational biology

Image credit: pbio.3001419

10/07/2021

Meta-Research Article

Looking beyond the English-language literature...

A survey of 419,680 peer-reviewed papers in 16 languages reveals that non-English-language studies can expand geographical and taxonomic coverage of data regarding biodiversity conservation interventions.

Looking beyond the English-language literature...

Image credit: Pieter Bruegel

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