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Genetic evolution

Raquel Matoso Silva, Filomena Adega, Helena J Kjöllerström, Kim Labuschagne, Antoinette Kotze, Carlos Fernandes, Raquel Chaves, Maria do Mar Oom
Genets (Genetta) are a genus of African mammalian carnivorans with 14 currently recognized species, although taxonomic uncertainties remain, particularly regarding the number of species within the large-spotted genet complex. This study presents the first banded karyotype and molecular cytogenetic analysis of a genetically identified panther genet, Genetta maculata, the most common and widespread taxon of the large-spotted genet complex, with a wide distribution in sub-Saharan Africa. Sampled in Gauteng Province, South Africa, it could be assigned to the subspecies G...
October 27, 2016: Cytogenetic and Genome Research
Jesse M Engreitz, Jenna E Haines, Elizabeth M Perez, Glen Munson, Jenny Chen, Michael Kane, Patrick E McDonel, Mitchell Guttman, Eric S Lander
Mammalian genomes are pervasively transcribed to produce thousands of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). A few of these lncRNAs have been shown to recruit regulatory complexes through RNA-protein interactions to influence the expression of nearby genes, and it has been suggested that many other lncRNAs can also act as local regulators. Such local functions could explain the observation that lncRNA expression is often correlated with the expression of nearby genes. However, these correlations have been challenging to dissect and could alternatively result from processes that are not mediated by the lncRNA transcripts themselves...
October 26, 2016: Nature
Maria João Janeiro, David W Coltman, Marco Festa-Bianchet, Fanie Pelletier, Michael B Morrissey
Integral projection models (IPMs) are extremely flexible tools for ecological and evolutionary inference. IPMs track the distribution of phenotype in populations through time, using functions describing phenotype-dependent development, inheritance, survival and fecundity. For evolutionary inference, two important features of any model are the ability to (i) characterize relationships among traits (including values of the same traits across ages) within individuals, and (ii) characterize similarity between individuals and their descendants...
October 26, 2016: Journal of Evolutionary Biology
T Pamminger, W O H Hughes
The evolution of complex societies with obligate reproductive division of labour represents one of the major transitions in evolution. In such societies, functionally sterile individuals (workers) perform many of fitness-relevant behaviours including allomaternal ones, without getting any direct fitness benefits. The question of how such worker division of labour has evolved remains controversial. The reproductive groundplan hypothesis (RGPH) offers a powerful proximate explanation for this evolutionary leap...
October 26, 2016: Evolution; International Journal of Organic Evolution
Laurel Fogarty, Joe Yuichiro Wakano, Marcus W Feldman, Kenichi Aoki
The forces driving cultural accumulation in human populations, both modern and ancient, are hotly debated. Did genetic, demographic, or cognitive features of behaviorally modern humans (as opposed to, say, early modern humans or Neanderthals) allow culture to accumulate to its current, unprecedented levels of complexity? Theoretical explanations for patterns of accumulation often invoke demographic factors such as population size or density, whereas statistical analyses of variation in cultural complexity often point to the importance of environmental factors such as food stability, in determining cultural complexity...
October 25, 2016: Human Nature: An Interdisciplinary Biosocial Perspective
Arielle Salmier, Benoit de Thoisy, Brigitte Crouau-Roy, Vincent Lacoste, Anne Lavergne
BACKGROUND: Although bats are natural reservoirs of many pathogens, few studies have been conducted on the genetic variation and detection of selection in major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes. These genes are critical for resistance and susceptibility to diseases, and host-pathogen interactions are major determinants of their extensive polymorphism. Here we examined spatial patterns of diversity of the expressed MHC class II DRB gene of three sympatric Neotropical bats, Carollia perspicillata and Desmodus rotundus (Phyllostomidae), and Molossus molossus (Molossidae), all of which use the same environments (e...
October 26, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Winfried Ilg, Zofia Fleszar, Cornelia Schatton, Holger Hengel, Florian Harmuth, Peter Bauer, Dagmar Timmann, Martin Giese, Ludger Schöls, Matthis Synofzik
BACKGROUND: Movement changes in autosomal-dominant spinocerebellar ataxias are suggested to occur many years before clinical manifestation. Detecting and quantifying these changes in the preclinical phase offers a window for future treatment interventions and allows the clinician to decipher the earliest dysfunctions starting the evolution of spinocerebellar ataxia. We hypothesized that quantitative movement analysis of complex stance and gait tasks allows to (i) reveal movement changes already at early stages of the preclinical phase when clinical ataxia signs are still absent and to (ii) quantify motor progression in this phase...
October 26, 2016: Movement Disorders: Official Journal of the Movement Disorder Society
P Campagne, C Capdevielle-Dulac, R Pasquet, S J Cornell, M Kruger, J-F Silvain, B LeRü, J Van den Berg
Since transgenic crops expressing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins were first released, resistance evolution leading to failure in control of pests populations has been observed in a number of species. Field resistance of the moth Busseola fusca was acknowledged 8 years after Bt maize was introduced in South Africa. Since then, field resistance of this corn borer has been observed at several locations, raising questions about the nature, distribution and dynamics of the resistance trait. Using genetic markers, our study identified four outlier loci clearly associated with resistance...
October 26, 2016: Heredity
M K Sobczyk, J A C Smith, A J Pollard, D A Filatov
Metal hyperaccumulation is an uncommon but highly distinctive adaptation found in certain plants that can grow on metalliferous soils. Here we review what is known about evolution of metal hyperaccumulation in plants and describe a population-genetic analysis of the Alyssum serpyllifolium (Brassicaceae) species complex that includes populations of nickel-hyperaccumulating as well as non-accumulating plants growing on serpentine (S) and non-serpentine (NS) soils, respectively. To test whether the S and NS populations belong to the same or separate closely related species, we analysed genetic variation within and between four S and four NS populations from across the Iberian peninsula...
October 26, 2016: Heredity
Victoria M Pearson, S Brian Caudle, Darin R Rokyta
Understanding the structure and dynamics of microbial communities, especially those of economic concern, is of paramount importance to maintaining healthy and efficient microbial communities at agricultural sites and large industrial cultures, including bioprocessors. Wastewater treatment plants are large bioprocessors which receive water from multiple sources, becoming reservoirs for the collection of many viral families that infect a broad range of hosts. To examine this complex collection of viruses, full-length genomes of circular ssDNA viruses were isolated from a wastewater treatment facility using a combination of sucrose-gradient size selection and rolling-circle amplification and sequenced on an Illumina MiSeq...
2016: PeerJ
Daniel Zacarias, Luis Mauricio Bini, Rafael Loyola
BACKGROUND: In this paper we review the conservation genetics of African savannah elephants, aiming to understand the spatio-temporal research trends and their underlying factors. As such, we explore three questions associated to the conservation genetics and molecular ecology of these elephants: (1) what are the research trends concerning the conservation genetics of Loxodonta africana? (2) Do richer countries conduct more research on the genetics of African elephants? (3) Which attributes influence where scholars conduct their research? MATERIALS AND METHODS: We examined available peer-reviewed publications from 1993 to 2014 in complementary online databases, including the ISI/Web of Science (WoS), Scopus and Google Scholar (GS), and searched for publications in scientific journals as well as in the reference section of these publications...
2016: PeerJ
Jonathan B Shurin, Michael D Burkart, Stephen P Mayfield, Val H Smith
Modern society is fueled by fossil energy produced millions of years ago by photosynthetic organisms. Cultivating contemporary photosynthetic producers to generate energy and capture carbon from the atmosphere is one potential approach to sustaining society without disrupting the climate. Algae, photosynthetic aquatic microorganisms, are the fastest growing primary producers in the world and can therefore produce more energy with less land, water, and nutrients than terrestrial plant crops. We review recent progress and challenges in developing bioenergy technology based on algae...
2016: F1000Research
Hong Liu, Liang Shen, Xiao-Lin Zhang, Xiao-Long Li, Guo-Dong Liang, Hong-Fang Ji
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
October 26, 2016: Emerging Microbes & Infections
Iara P Calil, Elizabeth P B Fontes
BACKGROUND: Among the environmental limitations that affect plant growth, viruses cause major crop losses worldwide and represent serious threats to food security. Significant advances in the field of plant-virus interactions have led to an expansion of potential strategies for genetically engineered resistance in crops during recent years. Nevertheless, the evolution of viral virulence represents a constant challenge in agriculture that has led to a continuing interest in the molecular mechanisms of plant-virus interactions that affect disease or resistance...
October 24, 2016: Annals of Botany
Laurent Kamel, Michelle Keller-Pearson, Christophe Roux, Jean-Michel Ané
I. II. III. IV. V. References SUMMARY: Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi associate with the vast majority of land plants, providing mutual nutritional benefits and protecting hosts against biotic and abiotic stresses. Significant progress was made recently in our understanding of the genomic organization, the obligate requirements, and the sexual nature of these fungi through the release and subsequent mining of genome sequences. Genomic and genetic approaches also improved our understanding of the signal repertoire used by AM fungi and their plant hosts to recognize each other for the initiation and maintenance of this association...
October 25, 2016: New Phytologist
William B Kristan
How did a structure as complex as our own brain ever evolve? Although biologists have pondered this question since Charles Darwin, the explosion of molecular information in recent years has provided new insights into this question, particularly its first step: the evolution of neurons. Meshing information about genomes with insights from more classical anatomical, physiological, and developmental approaches has led to some remarkable insights and surprises. Because 'phylogenomics' is still a young field, however, there are arguments about which genes to include in comparisons, how much to weigh genetic versus 'classical' features, and which algorithms to use in making such comparisons...
October 24, 2016: Current Biology: CB
Wolfgang Enard
Humans are a remarkable species, especially because of the remarkable properties of their brain. Since the split from the chimpanzee lineage, the human brain has increased three-fold in size and has acquired abilities for vocal learning, language and intense cooperation. To better understand the molecular basis of these changes is of great biological and biomedical interest. However, all the about 16 million fixed genetic changes that occurred during human evolution are fully correlated with all molecular, cellular, anatomical and behavioral changes that occurred during this time...
October 24, 2016: Current Biology: CB
Irving E Wang, Thomas R Clandinin
The activity and maintenance of neurons requires substantial metabolic energy, resulting in selective pressure to decrease resource consumption by the nervous system. The wiring economy principle proposes that animals have evolved mechanisms that wire circuits efficiently by minimizing neurite length. Computational modeling of neuronal morphology, microcircuit organization, and neural networks reveals that wiring economy is a significant determinant of nervous system layout. The strategies for reducing wiring costs are shared across phyla and point to the possibility of generalizable rules that specify the development of efficient nervous systems...
October 24, 2016: Current Biology: CB
Daniel M Bear, Jean-Marc Lassance, Hopi E Hoekstra, Sandeep Robert Datta
Evolution sculpts the olfactory nervous system in response to the unique sensory challenges facing each species. In vertebrates, dramatic and diverse adaptations to the chemical environment are possible because of the hierarchical structure of the olfactory receptor (OR) gene superfamily: expansion or contraction of OR subfamilies accompanies major changes in habitat and lifestyle; independent selection on OR subfamilies can permit local adaptation or conserved chemical communication; and genetic variation in single OR genes can alter odor percepts and behaviors driven by precise chemical cues...
October 24, 2016: Current Biology: CB
Michael J Mitchell, Catherine Metzler-Guillemain, Toure Aminata, Charles Coutton, Christophe Arnoult, Pierre F Ray
Azoospermia, defined by the absence of sperm in the ejaculate, is estimated to affect up to 1% of men in the general population. Assisted reproductive technologies have revolutionized the treatment of infertility, and some azoospermic men, those with a post-meiotic defect, can conceive following the use of viable spermatoza recovered from testicular or epididymal biopsies. Although male infertility is a multifactorial disease, it is believed that genetic factors are predominant in the etiology of azoospermia and severe oligozoospermia...
October 25, 2016: Clinical Genetics
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