Highlights of the BMC-series: November 2012

After a couple of years of careful nurturing, November marks the month that the BMC-series brought home the bacon with the publication of a collection of articles on the swine genome. As well as publishing a variety of research highlights from across biology and medicine, several BMC-series journals now also officially consider submissions that have previously been reviewed in the community peer-review project Peerage of Science.

Pig genome: Sequencing swine

A collection of articles across several BMC-series journals and Gigascience accompany the publication of the swine genome sequence, including a review of the role of the pig as a large animal biomedical model, the first detailed gene expression atlas of the domestic pig, and a new genetic diagnostic assay able to distinguish between British traditional pig breeds in pork products.

Exercise science: Making a mark on muscle mechanisms

Josef Finsterer reviews recent advances in the role of biomarkers of peripheral muscle fatigue for studying mechanisms of exhaustion during exercise. The article in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders outlines how these markers can be used to detect abnormal fatigue or defective metabolic pathways, and suggests that future applications should look to measuring them under more specific, standardised conditions.

Plant biology: Biochemistry of the black dahlia

A new study intriguingly titled  “Le Rouge et le Noir” reveals that the distinctive coloration of the few black-flowered cultivars of the popular dahlia plant is the result of a dramatic increase in the accumulation of metabolites known as anthocyanins, at the expense of related chemicals called flavones. Find out more about these fascinating plants in further coverage by Science and Scientific American.

Nephrology: Prioritizing renal transplants

Who should be prioritized for renal transplantation?” asks Michael D Clark and colleagues in BMC Nephrology. Their analysis of differences in kidney transplant allocation preferences between various United Kingdom stakeholders highlights the need to consider all opinions when re-evaluating future renal transplant allocation policies, and is broadly supportive of the 2006 shift in UK transplant policy which emphasized prioritizing the young and long waiters.

Read more about recent changes to the Editorial structure of BMC Nephrology on our blog: BMC Nephrology transplants to section editor model

Healthcare in the developing world: maternal mortality and the sisterhood method

Estimation of maternal mortality in developing countries is difficult without patients completing vital registration. By interviewing residents of rural villages in Ethiopia about their sisters’ survival, a new study in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth by Yaliso Yaya and Bernt Lindtjørn revealed a high maternal mortality rate and suggests that the sisterhood method is effective for assessing this mortality rate in developing countries.

Image of the Month

Giraffe displacement behavior_Table S3_Seeber et al 2012 BMC Research Notes 5, 650

Table S3. Giraffe displacement behaviour. From “Behavioural inventory of the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis)” Seeber et al 2012 BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:650.


Pediatrics: Earache incidence in Italy

Analysis of the total incidence of acute otitis media in Italy indicates that it represents a considerable burden for the Italian primary care paediatricians system. The study by Paola Marchisio and colleagues in BMC Pediatrics highlights the need for educational programmes concerning its diagnosis, as well as further studies to monitor incidence in relation to the introduction of wider pneumococcal conjugate vaccines.

Behavioral ecology: Ultrasonic family ties for mouse lemurs

Analysis of the ultrasonic advertisement calls of grey mouse lemurs reveals distinct signatures among paternally related individuals, which may have evolved as a method of inbreeding avoidance by allowing females to recognize the calls of their fathers. Find out more about how this little lemur could serve as a model for studying early developments in human evolution, by reading these articles in the press: Grey-mouse lemurs serve as model for the early primates from which humans evolved and Lemur Love: How Daughters Avoid Mating With Dad


You can keep up to date with all the latest developments across all aspects of biology and medicine published by the BMC-series by following our blog, twitter feed @BMC-series, or individual journal homepages in your research area. We look forward to bringing you further exciting updates over the next month!


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