PLoS Genetics Journal Impact Factor & Information

Publisher: Public Library of Science, Public Library of Science

Journal description

Genetics and genomics research has grown at a bewildering pace in the past 15 years. The techniques of these fields are being applied to a wealth of biological questions and experimental systems. PLoS Genetics reflects the full breadth and interdisciplinary nature of this research by publishing outstanding original contributions in all areas of biology. PLoS Genetics publishes human studies, as well as research on model organisms - from mice and flies, to plants and bacteria. Topics include (but are not limited to) gene discovery and function, population genetics, genome projects, comparative and functional genomics, medical genetics, cancer biology, evolution, gene expression, complex traits, chromosome biology, and epigenetics.

Current impact factor: 7.53

Impact Factor Rankings

2015 Impact Factor Available summer 2016
2014 Impact Factor 7.528
2013 Impact Factor 8.167
2012 Impact Factor 8.517
2011 Impact Factor 8.694
2010 Impact Factor 9.543
2009 Impact Factor 9.532
2008 Impact Factor 8.883

Impact factor over time

Impact factor

Additional details

5-year impact 8.56
Cited half-life 3.80
Immediacy index 1.37
Eigenfactor 0.20
Article influence 4.18
Website PLoS Genetics website
Other titles PLOS genetics (Online), PLOS genetics, Public Library of Science genetics
ISSN 1553-7404
OCLC 57175810
Material type Document, Periodical, Internet resource
Document type Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publisher details

Public Library of Science

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author can archive a post-print version
  • Conditions
    • Creative Commons Attribution License
    • Eligible UK authors may deposit in OpenDepot
    • Publisher's version/PDF may be used
    • All titles are open access journals
  • Classification

Publications in this journal

  • Amanda J. Lea · Jenny Tung · Xiang Zhou ·

    PLoS Genetics 11/2015; 11(11):e1005650. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005650
  • Simon K. G. Forsberg · Matthew E. Andreatta · Xin-Yuan Huang · John Danku · David E. Salt · Örjan Carlborg ·

    PLoS Genetics 11/2015; 11(11):e1005648. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005648
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Canine mast cell tumours (CMCT) are one of the most common skin tumours in dogs with a major impact on canine health. Certain breeds have a higher risk of developing mast cell tumours, suggesting that underlying predisposing germ-line genetic factors play a role in the development of this disease. The genetic risk factors are largely unknown, although somatic mutations in the oncogene C-KIT have been detected in a proportion of CMCT, making CMCT a comparative model for mastocytosis in humans where C-KIT mutations are frequent. We have performed a genome wide association study in golden retrievers from two continents and identified separate regions in the genome associated with risk of CMCT in the two populations. Sequence capture of associated regions and subsequent fine mapping in a larger cohort of dogs identified a SNP associated with development of CMCT in the GNAI2 gene (p = 2.2x10-16), introducing an alternative splice form of this gene resulting in a truncated protein. In addition, disease associated haplotypes harbouring the hyaluronidase genes HYAL1, HYAL2 and HYAL3 on cfa20 and HYAL4, SPAM1 and HYALP1 on cfa14 were identified as separate risk factors in European and US golden retrievers, respectively, suggesting that turnover of hyaluronan plays an important role in the development of CMCT.
    PLoS Genetics 11/2015; 11(11):e1005647. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005647
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Curly, described almost a century ago, is one of the most frequently used markers in Drosophila genetics. Despite this the molecular identity of Curly has remained obscure. Here we show that Curly mutations arise in the gene dual oxidase (duox), which encodes a reactive oxygen species (ROS) generating NADPH oxidase. Using Curly mutations and RNA interference (RNAi), we demonstrate that Duox autonomously stabilizes the wing on the last day of pupal development. Through genetic suppression studies, we identify a novel heme peroxidase, Curly Su (Cysu) that acts with Duox to form the wing. Ultrastructural analysis suggests that Duox and Cysu are required in the wing to bond and adhere the dorsal and ventral cuticle surfaces during its maturation. In Drosophila, Duox is best known for its role in the killing of pathogens by generating bactericidal ROS. Our work adds to a growing number of studies suggesting that Duox's primary function is more structural, helping to form extracellular and cuticle structures in conjunction with peroxidases.
    PLoS Genetics 11/2015; 11(11):e1005625. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005625
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, the switch from yeast to hypha is an important morphological process preceding the meiotic events during sexual development. Morphotype is also known to be associated with cryptococcal virulence potential. Previous studies identified the regulator Znf2 as a key decision maker for hypha formation and as an anti-virulence factor. By a forward genetic screen, we discovered that a long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) RZE1 functions upstream of ZNF2 in regulating yeast-to-hypha transition. We demonstrate that RZE1 functions primarily in cis and less effectively in trans. Interestingly, RZE1's function is restricted to its native nucleus. Accordingly, RZE1 does not appear to directly affect Znf2 translation or the subcellular localization of Znf2 protein. Transcriptome analysis indicates that the loss of RZE1 reduces the transcript level of ZNF2 and Znf2's prominent downstream targets. In addition, microscopic examination using single molecule fluorescent in situ hybridization (smFISH) indicates that the loss of RZE1 increases the ratio of ZNF2 transcripts in the nucleus versus those in the cytoplasm. Taken together, this lncRNA controls Cryptococcus yeast-to-hypha transition through regulating the key morphogenesis regulator Znf2. This is the first functional characterization of a lncRNA in a human fungal pathogen. Given the potential large number of lncRNAs in the genomes of Cryptococcus and other fungal pathogens, the findings implicate lncRNAs as an additional layer of genetic regulation during fungal development that may well contribute to the complexity in these "simple" eukaryotes.
    PLoS Genetics 11/2015; 11(11):e1005692. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005692
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Variation in the TGF-β signaling pathway is emerging as an important mechanism by which gonadal sex determination is controlled in teleosts. Here we show that amhy, a Y-specific duplicate of the anti-Müllerian hormone (amh) gene, induces male sex determination in Nile tilapia. amhy is a tandem duplicate located immediately downstream of amhΔ-y on the Y chromosome. The coding sequence of amhy was identical to the X-linked amh (amh) except a missense SNP (C/T) which changes an amino acid (Ser/Leu92) in the N-terminal region. amhy lacks 5608 bp of promoter sequence that is found in the X-linked amh homolog. The amhΔ-y contains several insertions and deletions in the promoter region, and even a 5 bp insertion in exonVI that results in a premature stop codon and thus a truncated protein product lacking the TGF-β binding domain. Both amhy and amhΔ-y expression is restricted to XY gonads from 5 days after hatching (dah) onwards. CRISPR/Cas9 knockout of amhy in XY fish resulted in male to female sex reversal, while mutation of amhΔ-y alone could not. In contrast, overexpression of Amhy in XX fish, using a fosmid transgene that carries the amhy/amhΔ-y haplotype or a vector containing amhy ORF under the control of CMV promoter, resulted in female to male sex reversal, while overexpression of AmhΔ-y alone in XX fish could not. Knockout of the anti-Müllerian hormone receptor type II (amhrII) in XY fish also resulted in 100% complete male to female sex reversal. Taken together, these results strongly suggest that the duplicated amhy with a missense SNP is the candidate sex determining gene and amhy/amhrII signal is essential for male sex determination in Nile tilapia. These findings highlight the conserved roles of TGF-β signaling pathway in fish sex determination.
    PLoS Genetics 11/2015; 11(11):e1005678. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005678
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: DNA methylation is a key epigenetic regulator in all domains of life, yet the effects of most bacterial DNA methyltransferases on cellular processes are largely undefined. Here, we used diverse techniques, including bisulfite sequencing, transcriptomics, and transposon insertion site sequencing to extensively characterize a 5-methylcytosine (5mC) methyltransferase, VchM, in the cholera pathogen, Vibrio cholerae. We have comprehensively defined VchM's DNA targets, its genetic interactions and the gene networks that it regulates. Although VchM is a relatively new component of the V. cholerae genome, it is required for optimal V. cholerae growth in vitro and during infection. Unexpectedly, the usually essential σE cell envelope stress pathway is dispensable in ∆vchM V. cholerae, likely due to its lower activation in this mutant and the capacity for VchM methylation to limit expression of some cell envelope modifying genes. Our work illuminates how an acquired DNA methyltransferase can become integrated within complex cell circuits to control critical housekeeping processes.
    PLoS Genetics 11/2015; 11(11):e1005666. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005666
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Changes in the locations and boundaries of heterochromatin are critical during development, and de novo assembly of silent chromatin in budding yeast is a well-studied model for how new sites of heterochromatin assemble. De novo assembly cannot occur in the G1 phase of the cell cycle and one to two divisions are needed for complete silent chromatin assembly and transcriptional repression. Mutation of DOT1, the histone H3 lysine 79 (K79) methyltransferase, and SET1, the histone H3 lysine 4 (K4) methyltransferase, speed de novo assembly. These observations have led to the model that regulated demethylation of histones may be a mechanism for how cells control the establishment of heterochromatin. We find that the abundance of Sir4, a protein required for the assembly of silent chromatin, decreases dramatically during a G1 arrest and therefore tested if changing the levels of Sir4 would also alter the speed of de novo establishment. Halving the level of Sir4 slows heterochromatin establishment, while increasing Sir4 speeds establishment. yku70Δ and ubp10Δ cells also speed de novo assembly, and like dot1Δ cells have defects in subtelomeric silencing, suggesting that these mutants may indirectly speed de novo establishment by liberating Sir4 from telomeres. Deleting RIF1 and RIF2, which suppresses the subtelomeric silencing defects in these mutants, rescues the advanced de novo establishment in yku70Δ and ubp10Δ cells, but not in dot1Δ cells, suggesting that YKU70 and UBP10 regulate Sir4 availability by modulating subtelomeric silencing, while DOT1 functions directly to regulate establishment. Our data support a model whereby the demethylation of histone H3 K79 and changes in Sir4 abundance and availability define two rate-limiting steps that regulate de novo assembly of heterochromatin.
    PLoS Genetics 11/2015; 11(11):e1005425. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005425
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Piwi pathway is deeply conserved amongst animals because one of its essential functions is to repress transposons. However, many Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) do not base-pair to transposons and remain mysterious in their targeting function. The sheer number of piRNA cluster (piC) loci in animal genomes and infrequent piRNA sequence conservation also present challenges in determining which piC loci are most important for development. To address this question, we determined the piRNA expression patterns of piC loci across a wide phylogenetic spectrum of animals, and reveal that most genic and intergenic piC loci evolve rapidly in their capacity to generate piRNAs, regardless of known transposon silencing function. Surprisingly, we also uncovered a distinct set of piC loci with piRNA expression conserved deeply in Eutherian mammals. We name these loci Eutherian-Conserved piRNA cluster (ECpiC) loci. Supporting the hypothesis that conservation of piRNA expression across ~100 million years of Eutherian evolution implies function, we determined that one ECpiC locus generates abundant piRNAs antisense to the STOX1 transcript, a gene clinically associated with preeclampsia. Furthermore, we confirmed reduced piRNAs in existing mouse mutations at ECpiC-Asb1 and -Cbl, which also display spermatogenic defects. The Asb1 mutant testes with strongly reduced Asb1 piRNAs also exhibit up-regulated gene expression profiles. These data indicate ECpiC loci may be specially adapted to support Eutherian reproduction.
    PLoS Genetics 11/2015; 11(11):e1005652. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005652
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The Salmonella enterica opvAB operon is a horizontally-acquired locus that undergoes phase variation under Dam methylation control. The OpvA and OpvB proteins form intertwining ribbons in the inner membrane. Synthesis of OpvA and OpvB alters lipopolysaccharide O-antigen chain length and confers resistance to bacteriophages 9NA (Siphoviridae), Det7 (Myoviridae), and P22 (Podoviridae). These phages use the O-antigen as receptor. Because opvAB undergoes phase variation, S. enterica cultures contain subpopulations of opvABOFF and opvABON cells. In the presence of a bacteriophage that uses the O-antigen as receptor, the opvABOFF subpopulation is killed and the opvABON subpopulation is selected. Acquisition of phage resistance by phase variation of O-antigen chain length requires a payoff: opvAB expression reduces Salmonella virulence. However, phase variation permits resuscitation of the opvABOFF subpopulation as soon as phage challenge ceases. Phenotypic heterogeneity generated by opvAB phase variation thus preadapts Salmonella to survive phage challenge with a fitness cost that is transient only.
    PLoS Genetics 11/2015; 11(11):e1005667. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005667

  • PLoS Genetics 11/2015; 11(11):e1005646. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005646
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The MRX complex together with Sae2 initiates resection of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) to generate single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) that triggers homologous recombination. The absence of Sae2 not only impairs DSB resection, but also causes prolonged MRX binding at the DSBs that leads to persistent Tel1- and Rad53-dependent DNA damage checkpoint activation and cell cycle arrest. Whether this enhanced checkpoint signaling contributes to the DNA damage sensitivity and/or the resection defect of sae2Δ cells is not known. By performing a genetic screen, we identify rad53 and tel1 mutant alleles that suppress both the DNA damage hypersensitivity and the resection defect of sae2Δ cells through an Sgs1-Dna2-dependent mechanism. These suppression events do not involve escaping the checkpoint-mediated cell cycle arrest. Rather, defective Rad53 or Tel1 signaling bypasses Sae2 function at DSBs by decreasing the amount of Rad9 bound at DSBs. As a consequence, reduced Rad9 association to DNA ends relieves inhibition of Sgs1-Dna2 activity, which can then compensate for the lack of Sae2 in DSB resection and DNA damage resistance. We propose that persistent Tel1 and Rad53 checkpoint signaling in cells lacking Sae2 increases the association of Rad9 at DSBs, which in turn inhibits DSB resection by limiting the activity of the Sgs1-Dna2 resection machinery.
    PLoS Genetics 11/2015; 11(11):e1005685. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005685
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The use of conventional chemical insecticides and bacterial toxins to control lepidopteran pests of global agriculture has imposed significant selection pressure leading to the rapid evolution of insecticide resistance. Transgenic crops (e.g., cotton) expressing the Bt Cry toxins are now used world wide to control these pests, including the highly polyphagous and invasive cotton bollworm Helicoverpa armigera. Since 2004, the Cry2Ab toxin has become widely used for controlling H. armigera, often used in combination with Cry1Ac to delay resistance evolution. Isolation of H. armigera and H. punctigera individuals heterozygous for Cry2Ab resistance in 2002 and 2004, respectively, allowed aspects of Cry2Ab resistance (level, fitness costs, genetic dominance, complementation tests) to be characterised in both species. However, the gene identity and genetic changes conferring this resistance were unknown, as was the detailed Cry2Ab mode of action. No cross-resistance to Cry1Ac was observed in mutant lines. Biphasic linkage analysis of a Cry2Ab-resistant H. armigera family followed by exon-primed intron-crossing (EPIC) marker mapping and candidate gene sequencing identified three independent resistance-associated INDEL mutations in an ATP-Binding Cassette (ABC) transporter gene we named HaABCA2. A deletion mutation was also identified in the H. punctigera homolog from the resistant line. All mutations truncate the ABCA2 protein. Isolation of further Cry2Ab resistance alleles in the same gene from field H. armigera populations indicates unequal resistance allele frequencies and the potential for Bt resistance evolution. Identification of the gene involved in resistance as an ABC transporter of the A subfamily adds to the body of evidence on the crucial role this gene family plays in the mode of action of the Bt Cry toxins. The structural differences between the ABCA2, and that of the C subfamily required for Cry1Ac toxicity, indicate differences in the detailed mode-of-action of the two Bt Cry toxins.
    PLoS Genetics 11/2015; 11(11):e1005534. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005534
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Co-transcriptional RNA-DNA hybrids (R loops) cause genome instability. To prevent harmful R loop accumulation, cells have evolved specific eukaryotic factors, one being the BRCA2 double-strand break repair protein. As BRCA2 also protects stalled replication forks and is the FANCD1 member of the Fanconi Anemia (FA) pathway, we investigated the FA role in R loop-dependent genome instability. Using human and murine cells defective in FANCD2 or FANCA and primary bone marrow cells from FANCD2 deficient mice, we show that the FA pathway removes R loops, and that many DNA breaks accumulated in FA cells are R loop-dependent. Importantly, FANCD2 foci in untreated and MMC-treated cells are largely R loop dependent, suggesting that the FA functions at R loop-containing sites. We conclude that co-transcriptional R loops and R loop-mediated DNA damage greatly contribute to genome instability and that one major function of the FA pathway is to protect cells from R loops.
    PLoS Genetics 11/2015; 11(11):e1005674. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005674
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Mammary gland development commences during embryogenesis with the establishment of a species typical number of mammary primordia on each flank of the embryo. It is thought that mammary cell fate can only be induced along the mammary line, a narrow region of the ventro-lateral skin running from the axilla to the groin. Ectodysplasin (Eda) is a tumor necrosis factor family ligand that regulates morphogenesis of several ectodermal appendages. We have previously shown that transgenic overexpression of Eda (K14-Eda mice) induces formation of supernumerary mammary placodes along the mammary line. Here, we investigate in more detail the role of Eda and its downstream mediator transcription factor NF-κB in mammary cell fate specification. We report that K14-Eda mice harbor accessory mammary glands also in the neck region indicating wider epidermal cell plasticity that previously appreciated. We show that even though NF-κB is not required for formation of endogenous mammary placodes, it is indispensable for the ability of Eda to induce supernumerary placodes. A genome-wide profiling of Eda-induced genes in mammary buds identified several Wnt pathway components as potential transcriptional targets of Eda. Using an ex vivo culture system, we show that suppression of canonical Wnt signalling leads to a dose-dependent inhibition of supernumerary placodes in K14-Eda tissue explants.
    PLoS Genetics 11/2015; 11(11):e1005676. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005676

  • PLoS Genetics 11/2015; 11(11):e1005707. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005707
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Species often encounter, and adapt to, many patches of similar environmental conditions across their range. Such adaptation can occur through convergent evolution if different alleles arise in different patches, or through the spread of shared alleles by migration acting to synchronize adaptation across the species. The tension between the two reflects the constraint imposed on evolution by the underlying genetic architecture versus how effectively selection and geographic isolation act to inhibit the geographic spread of locally adapted alleles. This paper studies the balance between these two routes to adaptation in a model of continuous environments with patchy selection pressures. We address the following questions: How long does it take for a novel allele to appear in a patch where it is locally adapted through mutation? Or, through migration from another, already adapted patch? Which is more likely to occur, as a function of distance between the patches? What population genetic signal is left by the spread of migrant alleles? To answer these questions we examine the family structure underlying migration-selection equilibrium surrounding an already adapted patch, treating those rare families that reach new patches as spatial branching processes. A main result is that patches further apart than a critical distance will likely evolve independent locally adapted alleles; this distance is proportional to the spatial scale of selection ([Formula: see text], where σ is the dispersal distance and sm is the selective disadvantage of these alleles between patches), and depends linearly on log(sm/μ), where μ is the mutation rate. This provides a way to understand the role of geographic separation between patches in promoting convergent adaptation and the genomic signals it leaves behind. We illustrate these ideas using the convergent evolution of cryptic coloration in the rock pocket mouse, Chaetodipus intermedius, as an empirical example.
    PLoS Genetics 11/2015; 11(11):e1005630. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005630
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Evidence is mounting that the evolution of gene expression plays a major role in adaptation and speciation. Understanding the evolution of gene regulatory regions is indeed an essential step in linking genotypes and phenotypes and in understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying evolutionary change. The common view is that expression traits (protein folding, expression timing, tissue localization and concentration) are under natural selection at the individual level. Here, we use a theoretical approach to show that, in addition, in diploid organisms, enhancer strength (i.e., the ability of enhancers to activate transcription) may increase in a runaway process due to competition for expression between homologous enhancer alleles. These alleles may be viewed as self-promoting genetic elements, as they spread without conferring a benefit at the individual level. They gain a selective advantage by getting associated to better genetic backgrounds: deleterious mutations are more efficiently purged when linked to stronger enhancers. This process, which has been entirely overlooked so far, may help understand the observed overrepresentation of cis-acting regulatory changes in between-species phenotypic differences, and sheds a new light on investigating the contribution of gene expression evolution to adaptation.
    PLoS Genetics 11/2015; 11(11):e1005665. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005665