February 18th, 2023

Bonjour from Paris, France !

In today’s digest you will find a broad range of amazing preprints and published papers! An amazing read is a fresh preprint from Fritz and collaborator describing an exciting method of sampling in difficult to reach environments. The authors used army ants of the genus Dorylus which are foragers to survey the viral diversity of plants, vertebrate and invertebrates of the tropical forest!

Today’s non-microbiology pick is an opinion piece on the current state and limitation of viral taxonomy. In this piece, Simmonds and collaborators, provide concrete recommendations to guide the development of a coherent and comprehensive virus taxonomy.

Have a great Saturday!

Pregnancy and early life

The investigation of the association of pregnancy weight gain on maternal and neonatal gut microbiota composition and abundance using 16sRNA sequencing – Song and Liu – BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth

Human gut microbiome

The diet rapidly and differentially affects the gut microbiota and host lipid mediators in a healthy population – Bourdeau-Julien et al. – Microbiome

Review: Conversations in the Gut: The Role of Quorum Sensing in Normobiosis – Markus et al. – International Journal of Molecular Sciences

Review: Gut Microbiome and Neurodevelopmental Disorders: A Link Yet to Be Disclosed – Illiodromiti et al. – Microorganisms

Natural Green Spaces, Sensitization to Allergens, and the Role of Gut Microbiota during Infancy – Buchholz et al. – mSystems

Animal experiments

Mimicking seasonal changes in light-dark cycle and ambient temperature modulates gut microbiome in mice under the same dietary regimen – Matsumoto et al – Plos One

Animal microbiome

Preprint: Taurine as a key intermediate for host-symbiont interaction in the tropical sponge Ianthella basta – Moeller et al. – BioRxiV

Plant, root, and soil microbiome

Preprint: Transmission of synthetic seed bacterial communities to radish seedlings: impact on microbiota assembly and plant phenotype – Simonin et al. – BioRxiV

Preprint: Viral but not bacterial community succession is characterized by extreme turnover shortly after rewetting dry soils – Santos-Medellin et al. – BioRxiV

Ecological drivers and potential functions of viral communities in flooded arsenic-contaminated paddy soils – Gao et al. – Science of the total environment

Water and extremophile microbiome

Preprint: Redefinition of archetypal phytoplankton-associated bacteria taxa based on globally distributed dinoflagellates and diatoms – Yang et al. – BioRxiV

Preprint: Plastic Leachate Exposure Drives Antibiotic Resistance and Virulence in Marine Bacterial Communities – Vlaanderen et al. – BioRxiV

Phages and viruses

Preprint: African army ants at the forefront of virome surveillance in a remote tropical forest – Fritz et al. – BioRxiV


Preprint: Dancing the Nanopore limbo – Nanopore metagenomics from small DNA quantities for bacterial genome reconstruction – Simon et al. – BioRxiV

Preprint: The long and short of it: Benchmarking viromics using Illumina, Nanopore and PacBio sequencing technologies – Cook et al. – BioRxiV

Non microbiology pick

Opinion: Four principles to establish a universal virus taxonomy – Simmonds et al. – PLoS Biology

December 9, 2022

Today’s digest features global antimicrobial resistance, comammox and anammox bacteria in wastewater treatment, mOTUs3, and more. Check out Elisa Granato & Christoph Ziegenhain’s story about postdoc life. Happy Friday and see you next week at #MVIF!

Global microbiome & resistome

Experimental temperatures shape host microbiome diversity and composition – Jingdi Li – Global Change Biology

Global biogeography and projection of soil antibiotic resistance genes – Zheng et al. – Science Advances

*Genomic analysis of sewage from 101 countries reveals global landscape of antimicrobial resistance – Patrick Munk – Nature Communications

Blood microbiome

No evidence for a common blood microbiome based on a population study of 9,770 healthy humans – Cedric C.S. Tan – bioRxiv

Gut microbiome

Effects of dog ownership on the gut microbiota of elderly owners – Chaona Jiang – Plos One

Prokaryotic and viral genomes recovered from 787 Japanese gut metagenomes revealed microbial features linked to diets, populations, and diseases – Yoshihiko Tomofuji – Cell Genomics

Gut microbiome-wide association study of depressive symptoms – Djawad Radjabzadeh – Nature Communications

Development of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis is associated with gut microbiota but not oxysterol synthesis – Jacqueline Wyss – bioRxiv

The microbiome’s fiber degradation profile and its relationship with the host diet – Yotam Cohen & Elhanan Borenstein – BMC Biology

Animal microbiome

Lactobacillus reuteri improves the development and maturation of fecal microbiota in piglets through mother-to-infant microbe and metabolite vertical transmission – Gang Wang – Microbiome

Live biotherapeutics

Development of a live biotherapeutic throat spray with lactobacilli targeting respiratory viral infections – Irina Spacova – Microbial Biotechnology

Soil/root/plant microbiome

Differential microbial assembly processes and co-occurrence networks in the soil-root continuum along an environmental gradient – Yangquanwei Zhong – iMeta

Water microbiome

*Co-occurrence and cooperation between comammox and anammox bacteria in a full-scale attached growth municipal wastewater treatment process – Katherine J Vilardi – bioRxiv

Full-scale activated sludge transplantation reveals a highly resilient community structure – Giulia Dottorini – Water Research


Towards complete representation of bacterial contents in metagenomic samples – Xiaowen Feng, Heng Li – arXiv

*Cultivation-independent genomes greatly expand taxonomic-profiling capabilities of mOTUs across various environments – Hans-Joachim Ruscheweyh – Microbiome

Database Resources of the National Genomics Data Center, China National Center for Bioinformation in 2023 – CNCB-NGDC Members and Partners – Nucleic Acids Research

Nanopore long-read-only metagenomics enables complete and high-quality genome reconstruction from mock and complex metagenomes – Lei Liu – Microbiome

November 7, 2022

Human and General Microbiome

Immunomodulatory fecal metabolites are associated with mortality in COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure – Matthew R Stutz – Nature Communications

Taxonomic Abundance in Primary and Secondary Root Canal Infections – Ronald Ordinola-Zapata – International Endodontic Journal

Review: The intestinal barrier in disorders of the central nervous system – Carolina Pellegrini – The Lancet. Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Review: Resistance is futile? Mucosal immune mechanisms in the context of microbial ecology and evolution – Emma Slack – Mucosal Immunology

Correspondence: A critical analysis of eating disorders and the gut microbiome – Sydney M Terry – Journal of Eating Disorders

Beneficial Microbes and Compounds

Bifidobacterial carbohydrate/nucleoside metabolism enhances oxidative phosphorylation in white adipose tissue to protect against diet-induced obesity – Gihyeon Kim – Microbiome

Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG supernatant promotes intestinal mucin production through regulating 5-HT4R and gut microbiota – Yu Gu – Food & Function

Animal Model Microbiome

Genetic and environmental circadian disruption induce weight gain through changes in the gut microbiome – Baraa Altaha – Molecular Metabolism

Strains producing different short-chain fatty acids alleviate DSS-induced ulcerative colitis by regulating intestinal microecology – Shuo Yang – Food & Function

Non-Model Animal Microbiome

Microbiome assembly and maintenance across the lifespan of bumble bee workers – Tobin J Hammer – Molecular Ecology

The gut microbiome reflects ancestry despite dietary shifts across a hybrid zone – Danny P Nielsen – Ecology Letters

Characterization of the core gut microbiota of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus): indication of a putative novel Cetobacterium species and analysis of its potential function on nutrition – Ziyue Zhang – Archives of Microbiology

Forensic Microbiome

Sampling from four geographically divergent young female populations demonstrates forensic geolocation potential in microbiomes – Thomas Clarke – Scientific Reports

Plant Microbiome

Insights into the potential for mutualistic and harmful host-microbe interactions affecting brown alga freshwater acclimation – Hetty KleinJan – Molecular Ecology

Built Environment Microbiome

Review: Microplastics in urban waters and its effects on microbial communities: a critical review – Saber Entezari – Environmental Science and Pollution Research International

Microbiome Analysis and Techniques

Assessing the Dark Field of Metaproteome – Haonan Duan – Analytical Chemistry

October 05, 2022

Pregnancy and early life

Multi-omic factors associated with future wheezing in infants – Beheshti et al. – Pediatric Research

Multi-site human microbiome

Race is a key determinant of the human intratumor microbiome – Lua et al. – Cancer Cell

Human respiratory microbiome

Alterations in the respiratory tract microbiome in COVID-19: current observations and potential significance – Merenstein, Bushman & Collman – Microbiome

Human milk microbiome

Maternal weight status and the composition of the human milk microbiome: A scoping review – Daiy et al. – PLOS One

Human oral microbiome

Functional changes in the oral microbiome after use of fluoride and arginine containing dentifrices: a metagenomic and metatranscriptomic study – Carda-Dieguez, Mazzez & Mira – Microbiome

Remembering St. Louis individual—structural violence and acute bacterial infections in a historical anatomical collection – Austin et al. – Communications Biology

Human gut microbiome

[REVIEW]SARS-CoV-2-associated gut microbiome alteration; A new contributor to colorectal cancer pathogenesis – Mozaffari et al. – Pathology – Research and Practice

Population structure discovery in meta-analyzed microbial communities and inflammatory bowel disease using MMUPHin – Ma et al. – Genome Biology

Microbiota imbalance induced by dietary sugar disrupts immune-mediated protection from metabolic syndrome – Kawano et al. – Cell

Rural environment reduces allergic inflammation by modulating the gut microbiota – Yang et al. – Gut Microbes

Animal experiments (mouse/rat experiments, chickens/pigs on different diets)

Six types of tea extracts attenuated high-fat diet-induced metabolic syndrome via modulating gut microbiota in rats – Zhou et al. – Food Research International

Adaptation of the gut holobiont to malnutrition during mouse pregnancy depends on the type of nutritional adversity – Connor et al. – The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry

Animal microbiome (for animals in the wild)

A global phylogenomic and metabolic reconstruction of the large intestine bacterial community of domesticated cattle – Teseo et al. – Microbiome

Comparative multiomics study of the effects of Ellagic acid on the gut environment in young and adult mice – Duan et al. – Food Research International

[REVIEW]Crosstalk between the microbiota and insect postembryonic development – Girard et al. – Trends in Microbiology

Culturomic, metagenomic, and transcriptomic-based characterization of commensal lactic acid bacteria isolated from domestic dogs using Caenorhabditis elegans as a model for aging – Kang et al. – Journal of Animal Science

Plant, root, sponge and soil microbiome

Recruitment of specific microbes through exudates affects cadmium activation and accumulation in Brassica napus – Wu et al. – Journal of Hazardous Materials

Novel trends of genome evolution in highly complex tropical sponge microbiomes – Kelly et al. – Microbiome

[Petroleum pollution affects soil chemistry and reshapes the diversity and networks of microbial communities](Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety) – Li et al. –

Water and extremophile microbiome (sea, rivers, lakes, glaciers, permafrost, high-salt)

Marine DNA methylation patterns are associated with microbial community composition and inform virus-host dynamics – Seong et al. – Microbiome

Untangling microbial diversity and assembly patterns in rare earth element mine drainage in South China – Chen et al. – Water Research


Benchmarking Community-Wide Estimates of Growth Potential from Metagenomes Using Codon Usage Statistics – Weissman et al. – mSystems

[SOFTWARE]PhyloDM is a high-performance library that converts a phylogenetic tree into a pairwise distance matrix. – Aaron Mussig – github

July 28, 2022

Today’s digest includes research on the gut microbiome of infants, ruminants, and sand flies! There is also a preprint about sewage microbiomes as well as a research article about photosynthetic bacterial communities in crop fields.

Happy reading!

Human skin microbiome

Lichen Planopilaris: The first biopsy layer microbiota inspection – Pinto et al. – PLOS One

Human gut microbiome

Adaptation of the infant gut microbiome during the complementary feeding transition – McKeen et al. – PLOS One

Animal microbiome

Metagenomic insights into the microbe-mediated B and K2 vitamin biosynthesis in the gastrointestinal microbiome of ruminants – Jiang et al. – Microbiome

Comparative analysis of the gut microbiota of sand fly vectors of zoonotic visceral leishmaniasis (ZVL) in Iran; host-environment interplay shapes diversity – Karimian et al. – PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Plant, root, and soil microbiome

Metagenomic analysis of the dynamical conversion of photosynthetic bacterial communities in different crop fields over different growth periods – Cheng et al. – PLOS One

Built environment

Preprint: A metagenomic investigation of spatial and temporal changes in sewage microbiomes across a university campus – Fierer et al. – bioRxiv

June 18, 2022

Have a nice weekend! Today, in this Digest: The effect of the gut dysbiosis on prostate cancer, microbial inheritance, bee microbiome, rhizosphere microbiota, a comparison of DNA isolation techniques for deep amplicon sequencing, and more…

Human and General Microbiome

Gut dysbiosis promotes prostate cancer progression and docetaxel resistance via activating NF-κB-IL6-STAT3 axis – Weibo Zhong – Microbiome

On the effect of inheritance of microbes in commensal microbiomes – Román Zapién-Campos – BMC Ecology and Evolution

Ureaplasma and Prevotella colonization with Lactobacillus abundance during pregnancy facilitates term birth – Sunwha Park – Scientific Reports

Deep Grouping Analysis of the Altered Cervical Canal Microbiota in Intrauterine Adhesion Patients – Xiangdong Hua – Reproductive Sciences

Intestinal microbiota transplantation: do not forget the metabolites – Benjamin H Mullish – The Lancet. Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Characterization of oral and gut microbiome and plasma metabolomics in COVID-19 patients after 1-year follow-up – Guang-Ying Cui – Military Medical Research

Congenitally underdeveloped intestine drives autism-related gut microbiota and behavior – Jie Li – Brain, Behavior, and Immunity

Beneficial Microbes and Compounds

Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus HA-114 improves eating behaviors and mood-related factors in adults with overweight during weight loss: a randomized controlled trial – Béatrice S-Y Choi – Nutritional Neuroscience

Model Animal Microbiome

New Strains of Akkermansia muciniphila and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii are Effective for Improving the Muscle Strength of Mice with Immobilization-Induced Muscular Atrophy – Hye Rim Byeon – Journal of Medicinal food

Non-Model Animal Microbiome

Comparative metagenomics reveals expanded insights into intra- and interspecific variation among wild bee microbiomes – Wyatt A Shell – Communications Biology

Rumen multi-omics addressing diet-host-microbiome interplay in farm animals: a review – Sonam Dixit – Animal Biotechnology

Plant Microbiome

Spatio-temporal variation in the root-associated microbiota of orchard-grown apple trees – Maximilian Fernando Becker – Environmental Microbiome

Identifying plant genes shaping microbiota composition in the barley rhizosphere – Carmen Escudero-Martinez – Nature Communications

Disentangling the genetic basis of rhizosphere microbiome assembly in tomato – Ben O Oyserman – Nature Communications

Environmental Microbiome

Rapid changes in coastal ocean microbiomes uncoupled with shifts in environmental variables – Jessica L Gronniger – Environmental Microbiology

Microplastics alter nitrous oxide production and pathways through affecting microbiome in estuarine sediments – Cheng Chen – Water Research

500 metagenome-assembled microbial genomes from 30 subtropical estuaries in South China – Lei Zhou – Scientific Data

Food Microbiome

Microbiome and -omics application in food industry – Ilario Ferrocino – International Journal of Food Microbiology

Bioinformatic and Experimental Microbiome Analysis

A comparison of six DNA extraction protocols for 16S, ITS and shotgun metagenomic sequencing of microbial communities – Justin P Shaffer – BioTechniques

Review: Machine Learning Advances in Microbiology: A Review of Methods and Applications – Yiru Jiang – Frontiers in Microbiology

June 8, 2022

Happy Friday! Today’s digest includes articles about Gardnerella vaginalis clades in pregnancy, how a Japanese herbal medicine may alleviate a leaky gut, and a feasibility study of the impact of oral activated charcoal on healthy volunteers.

General microbiome

Clinical Burkholderia pseudomallei isolates from north Queensland carry diverse bimABm genes that are associated with central nervous system disease and are phylogenomically distinct from other Australian strains – Burnard et al. – PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Preprint: The energy requirements of ion homeostasis determine the lifespan of starving bacteria – Schink et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint: A novel bacterial speciation process observed in a symbiotic marine population – Wang et al. – bioRxiv

Human vaginal microbiome

Gardnerella vaginalis clades in pregnancy: New insights into the interactions with the vaginal microbiome – Severgnini et al. – PLOS One

Human gut microbiome

Saireito, a Japanese herbal medicine, alleviates leaky gut associated with antibiotic-induced dysbiosis in mice – Ozaka et al. – PLOS One

A dose-finding safety and feasibility study of oral activated charcoal and its effects on the gut microbiota in healthy volunteers not receiving antibiotics – Rashidi et al. – PLOS One

Water and extremophile microbiome

The microbial community and functional potential in the Midland Basin reveal a community dominated by both thiosulfate and sulfate-reducing microorganisms – Tinker et al. – Microbiology Spectrum


Performance of the TaqMan COVID-19 Pooling Kit for detection of SARS-CoV-2 in asymptomatic and symptomatic populations – Ganz et al.- PLOS One

March 23, 2022

General microbiome

Microbial communities form rich extracellular metabolomes that foster metabolic interactions and promote drug tolerance – Yu et al. – Nature Microbiology

Human skin microbiome

Skin microbiota diversity among genetically unrelated individuals of Indian origin – Pothbhare et al. – PeerJ

Human gut microbiome

[REVIEW]Gut microbiota and allergic diseases in children – Akagawa & Kaneko – Allergology International

[REVIEW]Gut microbiome: New biomarkers in early screening of colorectal cancer – Zhou et al. – Journal of Clinical Laboratory Analysis

Can gut microbiota throughout the first 10 years of life predict executive functioning in childhood? – Eckermann et al. – Developmental Psychobiology

[PREPRINT]Meta-analysis of the autism gut microbiome identifies factors influencing study discrepancies and machine learning classification – Chavira, Wang & Mills – bioRxiv

Changes of Intestinal Microflora in Colorectal Cancer Patients after Surgical Resection and Chemotherapy – Huang et al. – Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine

Animal microbiome

Captivity and Animal Microbiomes: Potential Roles of Microbiota for Influencing Animal Conservation – Dallas & Warne – Microbial Ecology

Changes in gut microbiota composition with age and correlations with gut inflammation in rats – Meng et al. – PLOS One

[REVIEW]Translational multi-omics microbiome research for strategies to improve cattle production and health – Wang & Guan – Emerging Topics in Lefe Sciences

Multi-omics reveals host metabolism associated with the gut microbiota composition in mice with dietary ε-polylysine – Zhang et al. – Food & Function

Soil causes gut microbiota to flourish and total serum IgE levels to decrease in mice – Zhou et al. – Environmental Microbiology

Microbiome-metabolomics deciphers the effects of Cistanche deserticola polysaccharides on agedconstipated rats – Liu et al. – Food & Function

Plant, root, and soil microbiome

[PREPRINT]Plant Virus Database: a resource for exploring the diversity of plant viruses and their interactions with hosts – Wu et al. – bioRxiv

Waste microbiome

[PREPRINT]Identification of Microbial Flora and Isolation of Functional Strains Related to the Degradation of Domestic Waste – Huang, Liu & Zong – bioRxiv

Food microbiology

Comprehensive characterization of the bacterial community structure and metabolite composition of food waste fermentation products via microbiome and metabolome analyses – Li et al. – PLOS One


MetaPop: a pipeline for macro- and microdiversity analyses and visualization of microbial and viral metagenome-derived populations – Gregory et al. – Microbiome

HAM-ART: An optimised culture-free Hi-C metagenomics pipeline for tracking antimicrobial resistance genes in complex microbial communities – Kalmar et al. – PLOS Genetics


[PREPRINT]Vaginal microbiome-host interactions modeled in a human vagina-on-a-chip – Mahajan et al. – bioRxiv

Microbes in the news (popular press, EurekAlert, ScienceDaily, Youtube, NPR, etc)

Florence tomb by Michelangelo restored with aid of bacteria – The Guardian

December 20, 2021

Today’s digest is a grab bag that includes research articles on the vaginal microbiota, the gut microbiota of dairy calves, microbial loads in medical waste, and more! I’ve also highlighted a non-microbiology article that found that pet dog owners were significantly less depressed than non-pet owners during the pandemic. So if you’re looking for more reasons to adopt a new furry friend, you can add this one to the list!

General microbiome

Genomic comparison and phenotypic profiling of small colony variants of Burkholderia pseudomallei – Zulkefli et al. – PLOS One

Human vaginal microbiome

Vaginal microbiota of American Indian women and associations with measures of psychosocial stress – Borgogna et al. – PLOS One

Human gut microbiome

Gut microbiota features associated with Clostridioides difficile colonization in dairy calves – Redding et al. – PLOS One

Animal microbiome

Culicoides Latreille (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) as potential vectors for Leishmania martiniquensis and Trypanosoma sp. in northern Thailand – Sunantaraporn et al. – PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Migratory wild birds carrying multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli as potential transmitters of antimicrobial resistance in China – Yuan et al. – PLOS One

Plant, root, and soil microbiome

Characterization of soils conducive and non-conducive to Prunus replant disease – Khan et al. – Plos One

Built environment

Disposal habits and microbial load of solid medical waste in sub-district healthcare facilities and households in Yilo-Krobo municipality, Ghana – Egbenyah et al. – PLOS One

Phages and viruses

A systematic review and meta-analysis of the potential non-human animal reservoirs and arthropod vectors of the Mayaro virus – Celone et al. – PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases


Genomic prediction using low-coverage portable Nanopore sequencing – Lamb et al. – PLOS One

Development of an efficient Sanger sequencing-based assay for detecting SARS-CoV-2 spike mutations – Lim et al. – PLOS One

Kara’s non-microbiology pick

***Depression, anxiety, and happiness in dog owners and potential dog owners during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States – Martin et al. – PLOS One

December 2, 2021

Happy December from Pittsburgh!

Today’s digest includes original research on the impacts of fungal entomopathogens on Wolbacia infections and the influence of nutrient status on the response of a diatom to oil and dispersant. I have also included a study protocol for oral microbiome transplant for the treatment of dental caries and periodontal disease as well as preprints on a variety of topics. Finally, I want to highlight two articles I included that are little different from my usual content: the first is on predictors of willingness to receive the COVID-19 vaccination and the second is focused on transparency in peer review.



***To vaccinate or not to vaccinate!? Predictors of willingness to receive Covid-19 vaccination in Europe, the U.S., and China – Brailovskaia et al. – PLOS One

General microbiome

Preprint: Copper nanoparticles as modulator of active bacterial population and their physiology in ecosphere – Alboloushi et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint: Metabolite Damage and Damage-Control in a Minimal Genome – Haas et al. – bioRxiv

Development and characterization of an oral microbiome transplant among Australians for the treatment of dental caries and periodontal disease: A study protocol – Nath et al. – PLOS One

Preprint: Heat activation and inactivation of bacterial spores. Is there an overlap? – Wen et al. – bioRxiv

Animal experiments

Inferring Mycobacterium bovis transmission between cattle and badgers using isolates from the Randomised Badger Culling Trial – van Tonder et al. – PLOS Pathogens

Animal microbiome

Impacts of fungal entomopathogens on survival and immune responses of Aedes albopictus and Culex pipiens mosquitoes in the context of native Wolbachia infections – Ramirez et al. – PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Water and extremophile microbiome

Influence of nutrient status on the response of the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum to oil and dispersant – Kamalanathan et al. – PLOS One

Preprint: Community-wide epigenetics provides novel perspectives on the ecology and evolution of marine microbiome – Seong et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint: Microbial cysteine degradation is a source of hydrogen sulfide in oxic freshwater lakes – Tran et al. – bioRxiv


When and why direct transmission models can be used for environmentally persistent pathogens – Benson – PLOS Computational Biology


Preprint: The processing of staphylococcal biofilm images from Fluorescence and Confocal Microscopy to assess in vitro efficacy of antiseptic molecules – Krasowski et al. – bioRxiv

Science, publishing, and career

***Transparency in peer review: Exploring the content and tone of reviewers’ confidential comments to editors – O’Brien et al. – PLOS One