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Just as scientific discoveries enable the development of new technology, novel technologies can drive scientific progress. Similar to the adoption of PCR as a mainstream laboratory technique in the 1990s, the ability to readily sequence whole genomes today has opened up new areas of biology and fundamentally changed the way people work in existing fields.
The most obvious feature of so-called ‘next generation’ sequencing (NGS) technologies (a misnomer that includes a wide array of platforms developed over the past decade) is the enormous increase in throughput of sequence data, resulting in an unprecedented reduction in cost. A single sequencing ‘run’ of a high-end platform can generate up to 5 billion reads and determine the sequence of 1500 billion bp of DNA – the equivalent of 500 human genomes – in 3 to 4 days. The US National Human Genome Research Institute has tracked the changing price of DNA sequencing they fund from about $5000 per Mb to 5 cents per Mb over the last 15 years: a 100 000-fold drop (see Fig 1). At the time of writing (2015) the sequencing equipment market is dominated by Illumina, and a relative lack of competition and the maturity of the current technology has at least temporarily slowed the fall in price. However, the development of newer sequencing platforms is expected to soon spark another era of rapidly declining prices and rising throughput.
This enormous technological progress has been a boon for many areas of biology, but the change in technology has also required researchers to change the way they do science and has led to changes in the types of questions people can ask. Traditional sequencing required massive amplification of specific, targeted DNA sequences by PCR prior to sequencing. While it is possible to sequence PCR amplicons with high-throughput sequencing technology (and PCR is used in the sequencing process), the enormous throughput and short sequencing reads typically mean that the most cost-effective way of collecting even limited amounts of data of interest is by shotgun sequencing.
This untargeted approach opens up new kinds of science. For example, it is now possible – indeed, often technically easier – to assay entire genomes rather than investigate candidate genes.
The history of molecular systematics can be caricatured as one of ever-increasing depth of sequence data, analysed by ever more complex models. In this respect, sequence data from whole genomes are the ultimate source of molecular markers that can act as characters for phylogenetic or population genetic analysis. While complete genomes in the strictest sense are only available for very few species, and fragmentary genome assemblies that capture the entire genome, but in many pieces, are also fairly restricted in scope beyond the prokaryotes, this is changing rapidly. More-or-less shallow genomic data, for example from EST sequencing projects, high-throughput transcriptome sequencing or some other kind of reduced-representation sequencing (see review by Davey et al. 2011) are now becoming widespread and of increasing utility in systematics and other areas of evolutionary biology. Studies using these kinds of data to reconstruct relationships between species have become known as ‘phylogenomics’, although the original usage of the term referred to using phylogenetic approaches to infer gene function (Eisen 1998), and the other parts of the research programme proposed under this name (Eisen and Fraser 2003) have been subsumed into the broader study of comparative and evolutionary genomics. Moreover, the term ‘phylogenomics’ has, perhaps, become over-extended, as datasets that claim this title vary in size and can be as few as 11 markers (Horvath et al. 2008) or as little as 30 kb of sequence data (Wiegmann et al. 2011), and in eukaryotic organisms, the ‘genomes’ in question are very often organelle (mitochondrial or chloroplast) genome sequences. Sequence data from whole genomes have the potential to be a rich source of molecular phylogenetic markers for any systematic question, but there are two areas in which large-scale, highly multi-locus data appear most valuable – occupying the two extremes of the range of timescales over which inference about evolutionary history is made.
Genome-scale data promise the ability to resolve ancient divergences, and in particular, fairly rapid (at least in geological terms) ancient radiations that have been difficult to reliably reconstruct with more limited molecular datasets. In this context, phylogenomic data have been applied to a wide taxonomic range of phylogenetic questions. Early usage of whole-genome data was in prokaryote systematics (e.g. Daubin et al. 2002).
We live in an age of ubiquitous genomics. Next generation sequencing (NGS) technology, both widely adopted and advancing at pace, has transformed the data landscape, opening up an enormous source of heritable characters to the comparative biologist. Its impact on systematics, like many other fields of biology, has been felt throughout its breadth: from defining species boundaries to estimating their evolutionary histories. This volume examines the broad range of ways in which NGS data are being used in systematics and in the fields that it underpins, from biodiversity prospecting to evo-devo. Experts in their fields draw on contemporary case studies to demonstrate state-of-the-art applications of NGS data. These, along with novel analyses, comprehensive reviews and lively perspectives, are combined to produce an authoritative account of contemporary issues in systematics that have been impacted by the adoption of NGS.
The present study aimed to identify themes emerging from an inclusive therapeutic recreational camp experience for children with disabilities who attended a 10-day summer camp. Concept mapping was used to analyse the experience of 42 participants. Results emerged with seven themes: Personal Growth; Nurturing Relationships; Non-judgmental Environment and Attitude; Traditional/Classic Camp Fun; Beneficial and Unique Opportunities; Learning/Thinking with Structures and Rules; and Independence and Recognition. Results suggested that children with disabilities experienced positive personal growth and learned new skills from an integrated, therapeutic camp. These children benefited from the social and psychological aspects of the camp experience, as well as the learned skillset and behaviours. Clinical implications and future research directions are also discussed.
The most senior Australian in the League of Nations secretariat, H. Duncan Hall became an established advocate of institutional internationalism as a mitigator of conflict. From 1933, however, the advent of totalitarian movements and his exposure to Freudianism through his association with Dr Robert Waelder led him to the conviction that psychoanalysis provided the key to the irrationality of the times. He endeavoured to use his League position, including his influence in Australia, to convince opinion leaders of the profound dangers of national mass psychosis to the survival of the international order. Frustrated in the League, he then sought to convey the same message in the United States. Although largely unsuccessful in his efforts, and unable to establish an academic vehicle for the study of the issue in America, he was able to help bring to Australia the first practitioners of Freudian psychoanalysis trained in Europe.
The Analysis of Opposition in Asian Political Systems raises acute problems of definition. At one end of a continuum lie those polities in which an ‘opposition’ is either inconceivable (North Korea is perhaps the best example) or inevitably in a state of war or confrontation with the regime (as is the case in Burma/Myanmar). In cases at this end of the continuum opposition cannot be democratic in the systemic sense, unless the opposition realizes its programme and becomes a democratic government. At the other end of the continuum, however, the character, standing and potential of ‘opposition’ is very much a matter of debate. In these systems a multiplicity of non-governing political parties exist, and these parties contest elections and send members to legislatures, though they often operate under rules (informal as well as formal) and conditions which tend to prevent them from gaining power. The focus of this article will be upon these systems, which are here labelled – whether parliamentary or presidential – ‘constitutional’. ‘Constitutional’ is understood as entailing the existence of an embedded and more or less regularly operating set of electoral mechanisms which plays an essential part in the selection of the government.
The significant differences in biochemical and chromosomal characteristics, and familial history observed between group of mothers who gave birth to children affected with G1-trisomy (Down's syndrome) and their age-matched controls, indicate that these three maternal variables, in addition to the well known variable of maternal age, are associated with etiology of the aneuploidy. Since attempts to find statistical correlation between these chromosomal and biochemical variables failed, it is believed that these three are unrelated, but very possible etiological factors.
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