Weekly PLoS ONE News and Blog Round-Up

Although the press and the blogosphere are still discussing and podcasting about the PLoS ONE article published last week by Jørn Hurum and colleagues (Complete Primate Skeleton from the Middle Eocene of Messel in Germany: Morphology and Paleobiology) in which the 47-million-year old fossil of Ida, the Eocene primate with the scientific name Darwinius masillae was described, a number of other PLoS ONE papers have also received some news and blog coverage this week.

Anterior view of the mandible

This image is Fig. 4 of the PLoS ONE article, published under the Creative Commons Attribution License; any reuse should cite the authors and the journal.

A team of scientists led by Gwen Robbins at Appalachian State University in North Carolina analysed a 4000-year-old skeleton from India, which, they report, represents both the earliest archaeological evidence for human infection with leprosy (Mycobacterium leprae) in the world and the first evidence for the disease in prehistoric India. The study was covered by the New York Times, the Associated Press, ScienceNOW, LiveScience, Anthropology.Net and Greg Laden’s Blog, among other places. Many of the stories included images from the paper (all of which can be reused under the terms of our Open Access license), such as Figure 4, reproduced above.

In their PLoS ONE article, Einar Árnason and colleagues at the University of Iceland and the Marine Research Institute in Reykjavík report that fishing is leading to accelerated evolution among cod populations, which in turn leads the authors to predict the imminent extinction of cod in the Icelandic seas, which host one of the world’s few remaining cod fisheries. Some of the online coverage of the study has included a report in New Scientist.

An article by Barbara Mintzes and colleagues at the University of British Columbia has been picking up some attention in Canada, including an article in the Vancouver Sun. In the study, the team analysed the advertising spending on prescription drugs over a period of 12 years and found that the spending rose from less than $2 million per year prior to 1999 to more than $22 million in 2006.

Liisa T. Ukkola and colleagues at the University of Helsinki published an article in PLoS ONE last week in which they reported an association between the AVPR1a (and other genes) with musical ability. The study has been discussed on a number of blogs, including Music Matters and NeuroWhoa!. Other interesting recent blog posts on papers published in PLoS ONE include a post on EcoTone about Holly Jones’s article, Rapid Recovery of Damaged Ecosystems, and the Observations of a Nerd post, which discusses an article by Abigail Marsh and colleagues (Larger than Life: Humans’ Nonverbal Status Cues Alter Perceived Size)

From the Other PLoS Journals

In last week’s PLoS Biology, an international team of scientists published the first complete sequencing of the mouse genome and provided the first comprehensive comparison between the genes of mice and humans in their article, Lineage-Specific Biology Revealed by a Finished Genome Assembly of the Mouse. Some of the online coverage of the study has included the BBC News website and the Mermaid’s Tale blog.

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