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Lukáš Kratochvíl, Lukáš Kubička, Martin Vohralík, Zuzana Starostová
Body size is a fundamental trait correlated with nearly every aspect of animal life. It is influenced by numerous genetic and non-genetic factors. Despite its central importance, proximate mechanisms of intra- and interspecific variability in body size are still not well understood even in such a largely studied group as reptiles. For our study, we concentrated on the gecko species Paroedura picta. We investigated whether differences in sexual size dimorphism and in final and asymptotic snout-vent length (induced by a range of incubation and rearing temperatures) are correlated with differences in the number of presacral vertebrae...
April 18, 2018: Journal of Experimental Zoology. Part A, Ecological and Integrative Physiology
Yuichiro Hara, Miki Takeuchi, Yuka Kageyama, Kaori Tatsumi, Masahiko Hibi, Hiroshi Kiyonari, Shigehiro Kuraku
BACKGROUND: Conventionally, comparison among amniotes - birds, mammals, and reptiles - has often been approached through analyses of mammals and, for comparison, birds. However, birds are morphologically and physiologically derived and, moreover, some parts of their genomes are recognized as difficult to sequence and/or assemble and are thus missing in genome assemblies. Therefore, sequencing the genomes of reptiles would aid comparative studies on amniotes by providing more comprehensive coverage to help understand the molecular mechanisms underpinning evolutionary changes...
April 16, 2018: BMC Biology
Nico J Schoemaker
The use of a gonadotrophin-releasing hormone agonist slow-release implant (GnRH A-SRI) has become increasingly popular as an alternative for surgical contraception in many species. Although these implants have proven to be very effective in some species (eg, ferrets, rats, chicken, psittacines, and iguanas), they have been found less effective in other species (eg, male guinea pigs and rabbits, veiled chameleons, slider turtles, and leopard geckos). This review provides an overview of the available literature on the effects of GnRH A-SRIs in companion exotic animals...
May 2018: Veterinary Clinics of North America. Exotic Animal Practice
Bice Avallone, Monica Tizzano, Raimondo Cerciello, Maria Buglione, Domenico Fulgione
The epidermis of Tarentola mauritanica in the skin regions of back, flank and belly has been described using light and electron microscopy. This animal model was useful to give an insight of the functional pattern involved in pigmentation, cryptism and photosensitivity. Skin from back and flanks, in electron microscopy, shows a high concentration of chromatophores, among those melanophores, xanthophores and iridophores have been reported. Interestingly, in the flank-back transition region electron microscopy reveals the presence of nerve endings...
April 2018: Tissue & Cell
Erin L Koen, Corneile Minnaar, Carrie L Roever, Justin G Boyles
Over the last century the temporal and spatial distribution of light on Earth has been drastically altered by human activity. Despite mounting evidence of detrimental effects of light pollution on organisms and their trophic interactions, the extent to which light pollution threatens biodiversity on a global scale remains unclear. We assessed the spatial extent and magnitude of light encroachment by measuring change in the extent of light using satellite imagery from 1992 to 2012 relative to species richness for terrestrial and freshwater mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians...
March 25, 2018: Global Change Biology
Panayiota Kotsakiozi, Daniel Jablonski, Çetin Ilgaz, Yusuf Kumlutaş, Aziz Avcı, Shai Meiri, Yuval Itescu, Oleg Kukushkin, Václav Gvoždík, Giovanni Scillitani, Stephen Roussos, David Jandzik, Panagiotis Kasapidis, Petros Lymberakis, Nikos Poulakakis
The Kotschy's Gecko, Mediodactylus kotschyi, is a small gecko native to southeastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. It displays great morphological variation with a large number of morphologically recognized subspecies. However, it has been suggested that it constitutes a species complex of several yet unrecognized species. In this study, we used multilocus sequence data (three mitochondrial and three nuclear gene fragments) to estimate the phylogenetic relationships of 129 populations covering a substantial part of the distribution range of the species...
March 16, 2018: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Oliver J S Tallowin, Karin Tamar, Shai Meiri, Allen Allison, Fred Kraus, Stephen J Richards, Paul M Oliver
Regions with complex geological histories present a major challenge for scientists studying the processes that have shaped their biotas. The history of the vast and biologically rich tropical island of New Guinea is particularly complex and poorly resolved. Competing geological models propose New Guinea emerged as a substantial landmass either during the Mid-Miocene or as recently as the Pliocene. Likewise, the estimated timing for the uplift of the high Central Cordillera, spanning the length of the island, differs across models...
March 15, 2018: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Nikita Woodhead, Kelly M Hare, Alison Cree
The existence of sex differences in digit-length ratio (especially between the second and fourth digits, 2D:4D) is well established for humans from fetal life onwards, and has been linked with later performance. In rodents, the ratio is affected prenatally by exposure to androgens and estrogens, with some research suggesting an influence from sex of the neighbouring intrauterine fetus. However, the ubiquity and ontogenetic development of sexual dimorphism in digit ratios is not well established among wild amniotes...
March 15, 2018: Anatomical Record: Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology
Robbie Weterings, Chanin Umponstira, Hannah L Buckley
The epidemiology of vector-borne diseases is governed by a structured array of correlative and causative factors, including landscape (for example, rural versus urban), abiotic (for example, weather), and biotic (for example, food web) factors. Studies of mosquito-borne diseases rarely address these multiple factors at large spatial scales, which limits insights into how human alterations of landscapes and food webs alter mosquito abundance. We used structural equation modeling to identify the relative magnitude and direction of landscape, abiotic, and food web factors on Aedes larvae and adults across 70 sites in northern Thailand...
February 2018: Science Advances
Weijian Sun, Bin He, Beng Yang, Wendi Hu, Shaobing Cheng, Heng Xiao, Zhengjie Yang, Xiaoyu Wen, Lin Zhou, Haiyang Xie, Xian Shen, Jian Wu, Shusen Zheng
The genome-wide clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) screen is a powerful tool used to identify therapeutic targets that can be harnessed for cancer treatment. This study aimed to assess the efficacy of genome-wide CRISPR screening to identify druggable genes associated with sorafenib-treated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). A genome-scale CRISPR knockout (GeCKO v2) library containing 123,411 single guide RNAs (sgRNAs) was used to identify loss-of-function mutations conferring sorafenib resistance upon HCC cells...
February 21, 2018: Laboratory Investigation; a Journal of Technical Methods and Pathology
Skye F Cameron, Rebecca Wheatley, Robbie S Wilson
Studies of sexual selection primarily focus on morphological traits such as body size and secondary trait dimorphism, with less attention been given to the functional differences between the sexes and even more so their thermal performance capacities. Each sex may benefit from possessing different thermal performance capacities that would allow them to maximise their fitness relative to their different reproductive roles; especially when performances are closely related to reproductive success. Here, we examine sexual divergence in thermal sensitivities of performance across three populations of the Asian house gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus) over an extensive latitudinal cline...
February 19, 2018: Journal of Comparative Physiology. B, Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology
Ophélie Cojean, Claire Vergneau-Grosset, Isabelle Masseau
Captive leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius) often present to the exotic clinic for gastrointestinal impactions, follicular stasis, or dystocia. To our knowledge, normal ultrasonographic anatomy of these lizards has not been described. The objectives of this prospective, anatomic, analytical study were to develop ultrasound techniques for this species and to describe the normal sonographic anatomy of the head, coelomic cavity, and tail. Eleven, healthy, female leopard geckos were included. A linear array 13-18 MHz transducer was used...
February 19, 2018: Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound
Louise K Barnett, Ben L Phillips, Allen C G Heath, Andrew Coates, Conrad J Hoskin
Host-parasite dynamics can play a fundamental role in both the establishment success of invasive species and their impact on native wildlife. The net impact of parasites depends on their capacity to switch effectively between native and invasive hosts. Here we explore host-switching, spatial patterns and simple fitness measures in a slow-expanding invasion: the invasion of Asian house geckos (Hemidactylus frenatus) from urban areas into bushland in Northeast Australia. In bushland close to urban edges, H. frenatus co-occurs with, and at many sites now greatly out-numbers, native geckos...
February 14, 2018: Parasitology
Noeline Subramaniam, James J Petrik, Matthew K Vickaryous
The skin is a bilayered organ that serves as a key barrier between an organism and its environment. In addition to protecting against microbial invasion, physical trauma and environmental damage, skin participates in maintaining homeostasis. Skin is also capable of spontaneous self-repair following injury. These functions are mediated by numerous pleiotrophic growth factors, including members of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), fibroblast growth factor (FGF), and transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) families...
February 8, 2018: Journal of Anatomy
Tereza Schořálková, Lukáš Kratochvíl, Lukáš Kubička
The nature and hormonal control of cues used for recognition of sex and reproductive status of conspecifics remain largely unstudied in reptiles. It has been proposed that production of a female attractiveness pheromone controlled by female ovarian hormones (and which is suppressed by male gonadal androgens) is necessary to elicit courtship in males. In the case of leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius), it has been suggested that an individual is recognized as a male and attacked unless it produces female-specific stimuli in its skin and that females are attacked, not courted, while shedding...
March 12, 2018: Hormones and Behavior
Tal Cohen, Chon U Chan, L Mahadevan
Thin adhesive pads used to attach objects to each other often fail catastrophically. Here we consider the nature of failure of such a pad under loading parallel to the adhesive substrate. To determine the modes of failure of the pad and to understand what limits its load bearing capacity, we conduct experiments with finite pads composed of a soft adhesive layer with a stiff backing and load them parallel to the surface of adhesion. We find that two different peeling mechanisms emerge as a function of the slenderness of the adhesive pad: an interfacial peeling mechanism that starts close to the pulling end for very long pads, and an unstable curling mechanism that starts at the opposite end for relatively short pads...
February 5, 2018: Soft Matter
Kenkoh S Endoh, Toshihiro Kawakatsu, Florian Müller-Plathe
The mechanical properties of gecko setae and spatulae are investigated with a coarse-grained model having two bead types. The two-bead model is based on both experimental information for the internal structure of setae and the chemical amino-acid composition. Since the seta is composed of a stiff fibril region and a soft matrix region, we model each of regions separately. Our model is parameterized in a bottom-up way, and successfully predicts essential mechanical properties without optimization against the macroscopic properties of keratin...
February 1, 2018: Journal of Physical Chemistry. B
K Tomo Wiggans, David Sanchez-Migallon Guzman, Christopher M Reilly, Claire Vergneau-Grosset, Philip H Kass, Steven R Hollingsworth
OBJECTIVE To describe diagnosis, treatment, and outcome of and risk factors for ophthalmic disease in leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius) evaluated at a veterinary teaching hospital. DESIGN Retrospective case series. ANIMALS 112 of 144 (78%) leopard geckos that were evaluated at a veterinary teaching hospital in January 1985 through October 2013 and for which sufficient medical record information was available. PROCEDURES Information from medical records was used to identify leopard geckos with ophthalmic disease, characterize cases, and determine risk factors for the presence of ophthalmic disease...
February 1, 2018: Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Theresa M Grieco, Joy M Richman
We performed a test of how function impacts a genetically programmed process that continues into postnatal life. Using the dentition of the polyphyodont gecko as our model, tooth shedding was recorded longitudinally across the jaw. We compared two time periods: one in which teeth were patterned symmetrically in ovo and a later period when teeth were initiated post-hatching. By pairing shedding events on the right and left sides, we found the patterns of tooth loss are symmetrical and stable between periods, with only subtle deviations...
March 2018: Evolution & Development
H Suzuki, T Yamamoto
Immunohistochemical techniques were employed to investigate the distribution of amylin-like immunoreactive cells in the pancreas of gecko Homopholis fasciata. Four types of endocrine cells were distinguished: insulin immunoreactive (B cells), pancreatic polypeptide immunoreactive (PP cells), glucagon and pancreatic polypeptide immunoreactive (A/PP cells) and somatostatin immunoreactive cells (D cells). Pancreatic islets contained B, A/PP and D cells, whereas extrainsular regions contained B, D and PP cells...
April 2018: Anatomia, Histologia, Embryologia
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