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Royal Society Open Science

Bastien Chopard, Daniel Ribeiro de Sousa, Jonas Lätt, Lampros Mountrakis, Frank Dubois, Catherine Yourassowsky, Pierre Van Antwerpen, Omer Eker, Luc Vanhamme, David Perez-Morga, Guy Courbebaisse, Eric Lorenz, Alfons G Hoekstra, Karim Zouaoui Boudjeltia
The early stages of clot formation in blood vessels involve platelet adhesion-aggregation. Although these mechanisms have been extensively studied, gaps in their understanding still persist. We have performed detailed in vitro experiments, using the well-known Impact-R device, and developed a numerical model to better describe and understand this phenomenon. Unlike previous studies, we took into account the differential role of pre-activated and non-activated platelets, as well as the three-dimensional nature of the aggregation process...
April 2017: Royal Society Open Science
Kazuhiro Takemoto, Miku Imoto
Factors determining habitat variability are poorly understood despite possible explanations based on genome and physiology. This is because previous studies only focused on primary measures such as genome size and body size. In this study, we hypothesize that specific gene functions determine habitat variability in order to explore new factors beyond primary measures. We comprehensively evaluate the relationship between gene functions and the climate envelope while statistically controlling for potentially confounding effects by using data on the habitat range, genome, body size and metabolism of various mammals...
April 2017: Royal Society Open Science
M Venkadesan, L Mahadevan
The accuracy of throwing in games and sports is governed by how errors in planning and initial conditions are propagated by the dynamics of the projectile. In the simplest setting, the projectile path is typically described by a deterministic parabolic trajectory which has the potential to amplify noisy launch conditions. By analysing how parabolic trajectories propagate errors, we show how to devise optimal strategies for a throwing task demanding accuracy. Our calculations explain observed speed-accuracy trade-offs, preferred throwing style of overarm versus underarm, and strategies for games such as dart throwing, despite having left out most biological complexities...
April 2017: Royal Society Open Science
Barbara Ercolano, Ilaria Pascucci
Discs of gas and dust around million-year-old stars are a by-product of the star formation process and provide the raw material to form planets. Hence, their evolution and dispersal directly impact what type of planets can form and affect the final architecture of planetary systems. Here, we review empirical constraints on disc evolution and dispersal with special emphasis on transition discs, a subset of discs that appear to be caught in the act of clearing out planet-forming material. Along with observations, we summarize theoretical models that build our physical understanding of how discs evolve and disperse and discuss their significance in the context of the formation and evolution of planetary systems...
April 2017: Royal Society Open Science
Molly C Bletz, R G Bina Perl, Miguel Vences
Diverse microbial assemblages inhabit amphibian skin and are known to differ among species; however, few studies have analysed these differences in systems that minimize confounding factors, such as season, location or host ecology. We used high-throughput amplicon sequencing to compare cutaneous microbiotas among two ranid frogs (Rana dalmatina, R. temporaria) and four salamandrid newts (Ichthyosaura alpestris, Lissotriton helveticus, L. vulgaris, Triturus cristatus) breeding simultaneously in two ponds near Braunschweig, Germany...
April 2017: Royal Society Open Science
Ivan Norscia, Elisabetta Palagi
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
April 2017: Royal Society Open Science
Karen L Bell, Haripriya Rangan, Manuel M Fernandes, Christian A Kull, Daniel J Murphy
Acacia s.l. farnesiana, which originates from Mesoamerica, is the most widely distributed Acacia s.l. species across the tropics. It is assumed that the plant was transferred across the Atlantic to southern Europe by Spanish explorers, and then spread across the Old World tropics through a combination of chance long-distance and human-mediated dispersal. Our study uses genetic analysis and information from historical sources to test the relative roles of chance and human-mediated dispersal in its distribution...
April 2017: Royal Society Open Science
Tatsuhiro Yamamoto, Eisuke Hasegawa
Determining the optimal choice among multiple options is necessary in various situations, and the collective rationality of groups has recently become a major topic of interest. Social insects are thought to make such optimal choices by collecting individuals' responses relating to an option's value (=a quality-graded response). However, this behaviour cannot explain the collective rationality of brains because neurons can make only 'yes/no' responses on the basis of the response threshold. Here, we elucidate the basic mechanism underlying the collective rationality of such simple units and show that an ant species uses this mechanism...
April 2017: Royal Society Open Science
Zhao-Long Hu, Xiao Han, Ying-Cheng Lai, Wen-Xu Wang
Locating sources of diffusion and spreading from minimum data is a significant problem in network science with great applied values to the society. However, a general theoretical framework dealing with optimal source localization is lacking. Combining the controllability theory for complex networks and compressive sensing, we develop a framework with high efficiency and robustness for optimal source localization in arbitrary weighted networks with arbitrary distribution of sources. We offer a minimum output analysis to quantify the source locatability through a minimal number of messenger nodes that produce sufficient measurement for fully locating the sources...
April 2017: Royal Society Open Science
Benjamin M Titus, Clayton Vondriska, Marymegan Daly
Cleaner shrimps are ecologically important members of coral reef communities, but for many species, cleaner status (i.e. dedicated, facultative and mimic), clientele and ecological role remain unverified or described. On Caribbean coral reefs, the spotted 'cleaner' shrimp Periclimenes yucatanicus forms symbioses with sea anemones that may serve as cleaning stations for reef fishes. The status of this species as a cleaner is ambiguous: only a single in situ cleaning interaction has been reported, and in the only test of its efficacy as a cleaner, it did not effectively reduce parasite loads from surgeonfish...
April 2017: Royal Society Open Science
Daniel J Becker, Matthew M Chumchal, Alexandra B Bentz, Steven G Platt, Gábor Á Czirják, Thomas R Rainwater, Sonia Altizer, Daniel G Streicker
Mercury (Hg) is a pervasive heavy metal that often enters the environment from anthropogenic sources such as gold mining and agriculture. Chronic exposure to Hg can impair immune function, reducing the ability of animals to resist or recover from infections. How Hg influences immunity and susceptibility remains unknown for bats, which appear immunologically distinct from other mammals and are reservoir hosts of many pathogens of importance to human and animal health. We here quantify total Hg (THg) in hair collected from common vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus), which feed on blood and are the main reservoir hosts of rabies virus in Latin America...
April 2017: Royal Society Open Science
Lauren C White, Jeremy J Austin
Today, the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is found only on the island of Tasmania, despite once being widespread across mainland Australia. While the devil is thought to have become extinct on the mainland approximately 3000 years ago, three specimens were collected in Victoria (south-eastern Australia) between 1912 and 1991, raising the possibility that a relict mainland population survived in the area. Alternatively, these devils may have escaped captivity or were deliberately released after being transported from Tasmania, a practice that has been strictly controlled since the onset of devil facial tumour disease in the early 1990s...
April 2017: Royal Society Open Science
Zhan Zhou, Xingzheng Lyu, Jingcheng Wu, Xiaoyue Yang, Shanshan Wu, Jie Zhou, Xun Gu, Zhixi Su, Shuqing Chen
Tumour antigens have attracted much attention because of their importance to cancer diagnosis, prognosis and targeted therapy. With the development of cancer genomics, the identification of tumour-specific neoantigens became possible, which is a crucial step for cancer immunotherapy. In this study, we developed software called the tumour-specific neoantigen detector for detecting cancer somatic mutations following the best practices of the genome analysis toolkit and predicting potential tumour-specific neoantigens, which could be either extracellular mutations of membrane proteins or mutated peptides presented by class I major histocompatibility complex molecules...
April 2017: Royal Society Open Science
Silu Wang, Marla B Sokolowski
A pleiotropic gene governs multiple traits, which might constrain the evolution of complexity due to conflicting selection on these traits. However, if the pleiotropic effect is modular, then this can facilitate synergistic responses to selection on functionally related traits, thereby leveraging the evolution of complexity. To understand the evolutionary consequence of pleiotropy, the relation among functionally different traits governed by the same gene is key. We examined a pleiotropic function of the foraging (for) gene with its rover and sitter allelic variants in fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster...
April 2017: Royal Society Open Science
Dawn M King, Adam D Scott, Sonya Bahar
Null models are crucial for understanding evolutionary processes such as speciation and adaptive radiation. We analyse an agent-based null model, considering a case without selection-neutral evolution-in which organisms are defined only by phenotype. Universal dynamics has previously been demonstrated in a related model on a neutral fitness landscape, showing that this system belongs to the directed percolation (DP) universality class. The traditional null condition of neutral fitness (where fitness is defined as the number of offspring each organism produces) is extended here to include equal probability of death among organisms...
April 2017: Royal Society Open Science
Gabriella E C Gall, Marta B Manser
Group coordination, when 'on the move' or when visibility is low, is a challenge faced by many social living animals. While some animals manage to maintain cohesion solely through visual contact, the mechanism of group cohesion through other modes of communication, a necessity when visual contact is reduced, is not yet understood. Meerkats (Suricata suricatta), a small, social carnivore, forage as a cohesive group while moving continuously. While foraging, they frequently emit 'close calls', soft close-range contact calls...
April 2017: Royal Society Open Science
Emmeli Mikkelsen, Henrik Lauridsen, Per Mose Nielsen, Haiyun Qi, Thomas Nørlinger, Maria Dahl Andersen, Niels Uldbjerg, Christoffer Laustsen, Puk Sandager, Michael Pedersen
Several parameters are important when choosing the most appropriate animal to model human obstetrics, including gestation period, number of fetuses per gestation and placental structure. The domesticated long-tailed chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera) is a well-suited and appropriate animal model of pregnancy that often will carry only one offspring and has a long gestation period of 105-115 days. Furthermore, the chinchilla placenta is of the haemomonochorial labyrinthine type and is therefore comparable to the human villous haemomonochorial placenta...
April 2017: Royal Society Open Science
G Indelicato, P Burkhard, R Twarock
We introduce here a mathematical procedure for the structural classification of a specific class of self-assembling protein nanoparticles (SAPNs) that are used as a platform for repetitive antigen display systems. These SAPNs have distinctive geometries as a consequence of the fact that their peptide building blocks are formed from two linked coiled coils that are designed to assemble into trimeric and pentameric clusters. This allows a mathematical description of particle architectures in terms of bipartite (3,5)-regular graphs...
April 2017: Royal Society Open Science
Samual T Williams, Kathryn S Williams, Bradley P Lewis, Russell A Hill
Data on the population dynamics and threats to large carnivores are vital to conservation efforts, but these are hampered by a paucity of studies. For some species, such as the leopard (Panthera pardus), there is such uncertainty in population trends that leopard trophy hunting has been banned in South Africa since 2016 while further data on leopard abundance are collected. We present one of the first assessments of leopard population dynamics, and identify the key threats to a population of leopards outside of protected areas in South Africa...
April 2017: Royal Society Open Science
B A D van Bunnik, M E J Woolhouse
Consumption of antibiotics in food animals is increasing worldwide and is approaching, if not already surpassing, the volume consumed by humans. It is often suggested that reducing the volume of antibiotics consumed by food animals could have public health benefits. Although this notion is widely regarded as intuitively obvious there is a lack of robust, quantitative evidence to either support or contradict the suggestion. As a first step towards addressing this knowledge gap, we develop a simple mathematical model for exploring the generic relationship between antibiotic consumption by food animals and levels of resistant bacterial infections in humans...
April 2017: Royal Society Open Science
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