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Xing Wu, Shaofeng Wang, Hongxing Chen, Zhiqiang Jiang, Hongwei Chen, Mi Gao, Ran Bi, Paul L Klerks, He Wang, Yongju Luo, Lingtian Xie
The Hun River is a major tributary of the Liao River in the northeast area of China and provides drinking water for 23 million local residents. This study was designed to assess the severity of metal contamination in the Hun River and the potential use of indigenous organisms (the fish Zacco platypus and the snail Radix swinhoei) as biomonitors of metal contamination. Water, sediment, and the native fish and snails were collected at four sampling sites that differed in their physicochemical characteristics and their contamination levels...
January 10, 2017: Environmental Science and Pollution Research International
Teruhito Yamashita, Nobuyuki Udagawa, Gnanasagar Janardhanan Thirukonda, Shunsuke Uehara, Hirose Yamauchi, Nobuo Suzuki, Feng Li, Yasuhiro Kobayashi, Naoyuki Takahashi
In mammalian assay systems, calcitonin peptides of non-mammalian species exhibit stronger activity than those of mammals. Recently, comparative analyses of a wide-range of species revealed that platypus and opossum, which diverged early from other mammals, possess calcitonins that are more similar in amino acid sequence to those of non-mammals than mammals. We herein determined whether platypus and opossum calcitonins exhibit similar biological activities to those of non-mammalian calcitonins using an assay of actin ring formation in mouse osteoclasts...
January 3, 2017: General and Comparative Endocrinology
Fabrice P A David, Jacques Rougemont, Bart Deplancke
GETPrime ( is a database with a web frontend providing gene- and transcript-specific, pre-computed qPCR primer pairs. The primers have been optimized for genome-wide specificity and for allowing the selective amplification of one or several splice variants of most known genes. To ease selection, primers have also been ranked according to defined criteria such as genome-wide specificity (with BLAST), amplicon size, and isoform coverage. Here, we report a major upgrade (2.0) of the database: eight new species (yeast, chicken, macaque, chimpanzee, rat, platypus, pufferfish, and Anolis carolinensis) now complement the five already included in the previous version (human, mouse, zebrafish, fly, and worm)...
January 4, 2017: Nucleic Acids Research
Enkhjargal Tsend-Ayush, Chuan He, Mark A Myers, Sof Andrikopoulos, Nicole Wong, Patrick M Sexton, Denise Wootten, Briony E Forbes, Frank Grutzner
The importance of Glucagon like peptide 1 (GLP-1) for metabolic control and insulin release sparked the evolution of genes mimicking GLP-1 action in venomous species (e.g. Exendin-4 in Heloderma suspectum (gila monster)). We discovered that platypus and echidna express a single GLP-1 peptide in both intestine and venom. Specific changes in GLP-1 of monotreme mammals result in resistance to DPP-4 cleavage which is also observed in the GLP-1 like Exendin-4 expressed in Heloderma venom. Remarkably we discovered that monotremes evolved an alternative mechanism to degrade GLP-1...
November 29, 2016: Scientific Reports
A Gonzalez, Y Vázquez-Baeza, J B Pettengill, A Ottesen, D McDonald, R Knight
Metagenomics is increasingly used not just to show patterns of microbial diversity but also as a culture-independent method to detect individual organisms of intense clinical, epidemiological, conservation, forensic, or regulatory interest. A widely reported metagenomic study of the New York subway suggested that the pathogens Yersinia pestis and Bacillus anthracis were part of the "normal subway microbiome." In their article in mSystems, Hsu and collaborators (mSystems 1(3):e00018-16, 2016,
May 2016: MSystems
Clare A Johnson, Diana S Goodwine, Ingrid Passier
We present a case of a 57-year-old man who fell while climbing a mountain in California and sustained severe facial trauma. Three firefighters and 2 emergency physicians witnessed the fall and resuscitated the patient. The patient ultimately required a surgical cricothyrotomy performed with a pocket knife and Platypus hydration pack. The physicians made a makeshift positive pressure airway device using the Platypus hydration pack. We believe this is the first case report describing an improvised cricothyrotomy performed in the wilderness using only hiking gear...
December 2016: Wilderness & Environmental Medicine
Masakazu Asahara, Masahiro Koizumi, Thomas E Macrini, Suzanne J Hand, Michael Archer
The modern platypus, Ornithorhynchus anatinus, has an eye structure similar to aquatic mammals; however, platypuses also have a "sixth sense" associated with the bill electro- and mechanoreception that they use without opening their eyes underwater. We hypothesize that Ornithorhynchus and the Miocene taxon Obdurodon have different sensory capacities, which may have resulted from differences in foraging behavior. To estimate differences in foraging, sensory systems, and anatomical divergence between these monotremes, we compared their skull morphologies...
October 2016: Science Advances
Bill Jenkins
The duck-billed platypus, or Ornithorhynchus, was the subject of an intense debate among natural historians in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Its paradoxical mixture of mammalian, avian and reptilian characteristics made it something of a taxonomic conundrum. In the early 1820s Robert Jameson (1774-1854), the professor of natural history at the University of Edinburgh and the curator of the University's natural history museum, was able to acquire three valuable specimens of this species...
October 2016: Annals of Science
Shulan Tian, Huihuang Yan, Claudia Neuhauser, Susan L Slager
BACKGROUND: Current variant discovery methods often start with the mapping of short reads to a reference genome; yet, their performance deteriorates in genomic regions where the reads are highly divergent from the reference sequence. This is particularly problematic for the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) region on chromosome 6p21.3. This region is associated with over 100 diseases, but variant calling is hindered by the extreme divergence across different haplotypes. RESULTS: We simulated reads from chromosome 6 exonic regions over a wide range of sequence divergence and coverage depth...
2016: BMC Genomics
Brett Nixon, Heath Ecroyd, Jean-Louis Dacheux, Francoise Dacheux, Valerie Labas, Steve D Johnston, Russell C Jones
As monotremes are the earliest offshoot of the mammalian lineage, the platypus and short-beaked echidna were studied as model animals to assess the origin and biological significance of adaptations considered unique to therian mammals: epididymal maturation and subsequent capacitation. We show that spermatozoa from both species assemble into bundles of approximately 100 cells during passage through the epididymis and that an epididymal protein, secreted protein, acidic, cysteine-rich (osteonectin) (SPARC), is involved in bundle formation...
August 24, 2016: Biology of Reproduction
Tamika Lunn, James Macgregor, Sarah Munks, Scott Carver
We report disease due to Dermatophilus congolensis infection in three of 13 (23%) platypuses ( Ornithorhynchus anatinus ) from a catchment in Tasmania, Australia. This pathogen has not previously been reported in platypuses. Two of the three infected platypuses had extensive scab formations, but no substantial hair loss was apparent.
October 2016: Journal of Wildlife Diseases
Hayato Masuya, Ri-Ichiroh Manabe, Moriya Ohkuma, Rikiya Endoh
The Japanese oak wilt pathogen Raffaelea quercivora and the platypodid beetle, Platypus quercivorus, cause serious mass mortality of Quercus spp. in Japan. Here, we present the first draft genome sequence of R. quercivora JCM 11526 to increase our understanding of the mechanism of pathogenicity and symbiosis with the ambrosia beetle.
2016: Genome Announcements
W Leo Smith, Jennifer H Stern, Matthew G Girard, Matthew P Davis
Venom and its associated delivery systems have evolved in numerous animal groups ranging from jellyfishes to spiders, lizards, shrews, and the male platypus. Building off new data and previously published anatomical and molecular studies, we explore the evolution of and variation within venomous fishes. We show the results of the first multi-locus, ordinal-level phylogenetic analysis of cartilaginous (Chondrichthyes) and ray-finned (Actinopterygii) fishes that hypothesizes 18 independent evolutions of this specialization...
November 2016: Integrative and Comparative Biology
João C R Cardoso, Christina A Bergqvist, Rute C Félix, Dan Larhammar
The evolution of the peptide family consisting of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and the three urocortins (UCN1-3) has been puzzling due to uneven evolutionary rates. Distinct gene duplication scenarios have been proposed in relation to the two basal rounds of vertebrate genome doubling (2R) and the teleost fish-specific genome doubling (3R). By analyses of sequences and chromosomal regions, including many neighboring gene families, we show here that the vertebrate progenitor had two peptide genes that served as the founders of separate subfamilies...
July 2016: Journal of Molecular Endocrinology
Xin Zheng, Tian-Qi Zhou, Tao Wan, Anabel Perdices, Jin-Quan Yang, Xin-Sheng Tang, Zheng-Ping Wang, Li-Qun Huang, Song Huang, Shun-Ping He
Six main mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) lineages have been described in minnow (Zacco platypus) samples obtained from northern, western and southern China. Perdices et al. (2004) predicted that further sampling of other tributaries might discover more lineages of this species. In this study, we collected 26 Zacco platypus individuals in the Huangshan area of eastern China and determined the cytochrome b (cytb) sequence variations. Combined with reported data in GenBank, we identified ten matrilines (Zacco A-J) in a total of 169 samples, with relatively high molecular divergence found among them...
March 18, 2016: Dong Wu Xue Yan Jiu, Zoological Research
T F Scheelings
OBJECTIVE: The medical records of individual monotremes admitted to the Australian Wildlife Health Centre from 2000 to 2014 were reviewed to determine the causes of morbidity and mortality. RESULTS: During this period, a total of 38 platypus (Ornithorhyncus anatanus) and 273 short-beaked echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus) were examined. Trauma was the most significant reason for monotreme admissions, accounting for 73.7% of platypus cases and 90.1% of short-beaked echidna cases...
April 2016: Australian Veterinary Journal
Woo-Keun Kim, Jinho Jung
The integration of biomarker responses ranging from the molecular to the individual level is of great interest for measuring the toxic effects of hazardous chemicals or effluent mixtures on aquatic organisms. This study evaluated the effects of wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents on the freshwater pale chub Zacco platypus by using multi-level biomarker responses at molecular [mRNA expression of catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione S-transferase (GST), and metallothionein (MT)], biochemical (enzyme activities of CAT, SOD, GST, and concentration of MT), and physiological [condition factor (CF) and liver somatic index (LSI)] levels...
June 2016: Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Yu Takano, Kazuto Nakata, Yasushige Yonezawa, Haruki Nakamura
A massively parallel program for quantum mechanical-molecular mechanical (QM/MM) molecular dynamics simulation, called Platypus (PLATform for dYnamic Protein Unified Simulation), was developed to elucidate protein functions. The speedup and the parallelization ratio of Platypus in the QM and QM/MM calculations were assessed for a bacteriochlorophyll dimer in the photosynthetic reaction center (DIMER) on the K computer, a massively parallel computer achieving 10 PetaFLOPs with 705,024 cores. Platypus exhibited the increase in speedup up to 20,000 core processors at the HF/cc-pVDZ and B3LYP/cc-pVDZ, and up to 10,000 core processors by the CASCI(16,16)/6-31G** calculations...
May 5, 2016: Journal of Computational Chemistry
Yeo Hong Yun, Dong Yeon Suh, Hun Dal Yoo, Man Hwan Oh, Seong Hwan Kim
Oak tree death caused by symbiosis of an ambrosia beetle, Platypus koryoensis, and an ophiostomatoid filamentous fungus, Raffaelea quercus-mongolicae, has been a nationwide problem in Korea since 2004. In this study, we surveyed the yeast species associated with P. koryoensis to better understand the diversity of fungal associates of the beetle pest. In 2009, a total of 195 yeast isolates were sampled from larvae and adult beetles (female and male) of P. koryoensis in Cheonan, Goyang, and Paju; 8 species were identified by based on their morphological, biochemical and molecular analyses...
December 2015: Mycobiology
Deanne J Whitworth, Andrew J Pask
Marsupials and monotremes represent evolutionarily divergent lineages from the majority of extant mammals which are eutherian, or placental, mammals. Monotremes possess multiple X and Y chromosomes that appear to have arisen independently of eutherian and marsupial sex chromosomes. Dosage compensation of X-linked genes occurs in monotremes on a gene-by-gene basis, rather than through chromosome-wide silencing, as is the case in eutherians and marsupials. Specifically, studies in the platypus have shown that for any given X-linked gene, a specific proportion of nuclei within a cell population will silence one locus, with the percentage of cells undergoing inactivation at that locus being highly gene-specific...
August 2016: Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology
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