Sunday, August 19, 2007

A couple of interesting PLoS articles

Translating Pharmacogenomics: Challenges on the Road to the Clinic by Jesse J. Swen et al in PLoS Medicine

Pharmacogenomics is one of the first clinical applications of the postgenomic era. It promises personalized medicine rather than the established “one size fits all” approach to drugs and dosages. The expected reduction in trial and error should ultimately lead to more efficient and safer drug therapy. In recent years, commercially available pharmacogenomic tests have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but their application in patient care remains very limited. More generally, the implementation of pharmacogenomics in routine clinical practice presents significant challenges. This article presents specific clinical examples of such challenges and discusses how obstacles to implementation of pharmacogenomic testing can be addressed.

Explains why the mapping of the human genome has yet to result in the expected tailoring of medicine, that take into account genetic differences.

Protistan Diversity in the Arctic: A Case of Paleoclimate Shaping Modern Biodiversity? by Thorsten Stoeck et al in PLoS One

The impact of climate on biodiversity is indisputable. Climate changes over geological time must have significantly influenced the evolution of biodiversity, ultimately leading to its present pattern. Here we consider the paleoclimate data record, inferring that present-day hot and cold environments should contain, respectively, the largest and the smallest diversity of ancestral lineages of microbial eukaryotes.

The findings are quite interesting


This pattern is consistent with natural selection sweeps on aerobic non-psychrophilic microbial eukaryotes repeatedly caused by low temperatures and global anoxia of snowball Earth conditions. It implies that cold refuges persisted through the periods of greenhouse conditions, which agrees with some, although not all, current views on the extent of the past global cooling and warming events. We therefore identify cold environments as promising targets for microbial discovery.

In other words, it seems like cold climates have the greates bio-diversity, probably due to the fact that these environments have stayed fairly unchanged through time.

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