General microbiology and science, July 22

Amplifying long PCR products, primer design, metagenomic analysis and ecology, network analysis and the Picks.


Long-range PCR in next-generation sequencing: comparison of six enzymes and evaluation on the MiSeq sequencer – Haiying Jia – Nature Scientific Reports

“We evaluated six long-range DNA polymerases to amplify three amplicons, with sizes of 12.9 kb, 9.7 kb, and 5.8 kb, respectively. “

DegePrime, a Program for Degenerate Primer Design for Broad-Taxonomic-Range PCR in Microbial Ecology Studies – Luisa W. Hugerth – Applied and Environmental Microbiology

“Here, we present the computer program DegePrime that, for each position of a multiple sequence alignment, finds a degenerate oligomer of as high coverage as possible and outputs its coverage among taxonomic divisions.”

Metagenomic analysis and ecology

Implications of streamlining theory for microbial ecology – Stephen J Giovannoni – ISME Journal

“The small genomes of obligate insect endosymbionts have been attributed to genetic drift caused by small effective population sizes (Ne). In contrast, streamlining theory attributes small cells and genomes to selection for efficient use of nutrients in populations where Ne is large and nutrients limit growth.”

Parallel Evolution of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Streptococcus mitis to Pathogenic and Mutualistic Lifestyles – Mogens Kilian – mBio

“In a comparative analysis of 35 genomes, including phylogenetic analyses of all predicted genes, we have shown that the pathogenic pneumococcus has evolved into a master of genomic flexibility while lineages that evolved into the nonpathogenic S. mitis secured harmonious coexistence with their host by stabilizing an approximately 15%-reduced genome devoid of many virulence genes.”


Elevated temperature alters proteomic responses of individual organisms within a biofilm community – Annika C Mosier – ISME Journal

“The study is the first application of tandem mass tag (TMT)-based proteomics to a microbial community. We accurately, precisely and reproducibly quantified thousands of proteins in biofilms growing at 40, 43 and 46 °C. “


Detecting Communities Based on Network Topology – Wei Liu – Nature Scientific Reports

“We analyzed 16 different types of networks, and compared our partitions with Infomap, LPA, Fastgreedy and Walktrap, which are popular algorithms for community detection. Most of the partitions generated using our approach compare favorably to those generated by these other algorithms. “

Dr. Bik’s Picks

FGF5 is a crucial regulator of hair length in humans – Claire A. Higgins – PNAS

“In this study, we obtained DNA from families segregating excessively long eyelashes consistent with an autosomal recessive trait.”

Science and Culture: Hunting fractals in the music of J. S. Bach – Stephen Ornes – PNAS

“Bach has similarly attracted the attention of other fractal hunters, including Harlan Brothers, a jazz guitarist, composer, and mathematician in Branford, Connecticut. For more than a decade, Brothers has been mapping fractals in music.”