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Estimating speciation and extinction rates is essential for understanding past and present biodiversity, but is challenging given the incompleteness of the rock and fossil records. Interest in this topic has led to a divergent suite of independent methods—paleontological estimates based on sampled stratigraphic ranges and phylogenetic estimates based on the observed branching times in a given phylogeny of living species. The fossilized birth–death (FBD) process is a model that explicitly recognizes that the branching events in a phylogenetic tree and sampled fossils were generated by the same underlying diversification process. A crucial advantage of this model is that it incorporates the possibility that some species may never be sampled. Here, we present an FBD model that estimates tree-wide diversification rates from stratigraphic range data when the underlying phylogeny of the fossil taxa may be unknown. The model can be applied when only occurrence data for taxonomically identified fossils are available, but still accounts for the incomplete phylogenetic structure of the data. We tested this new model using simulations and focused on how inferences are impacted by incomplete fossil recovery. We compared our approach with a phylogenetic model that does not incorporate incomplete species sampling and to three fossil-based alternatives for estimating diversification rates, including the widely implemented boundary-crosser and three-timer methods. The results of our simulations demonstrate that estimates under the FBD model are robust and more accurate than the alternative methods, particularly when fossil data are sparse, as the FBD model incorporates incomplete species sampling explicitly.
The spread of the Zika virus (ZIKV) in the Americas led to large outbreaks across the region and most of the Southern hemisphere. Of greatest concern were complications following acute infection during pregnancy. At the beginning of the outbreak, the risk to unborn babies and their clinical presentation was unclear. This report describes the methods and results of the UK surveillance response to assess the risk of ZIKV to children born to returning travellers. Established surveillance systems operating within the UK – the paediatric and obstetric surveillance units for rare diseases, and national laboratory monitoring – enabled rapid assessment of this emerging public health threat. A combined total of 11 women experiencing adverse pregnancy outcomes after possible ZIKV exposure were reported by the three surveillance systems; five miscarriages, two intrauterine deaths and four children with clinical presentations potentially associated with ZIKV infection. Sixteen women were diagnosed with ZIKV during pregnancy in the UK. Amongst the offspring of these women, there was unequivocal laboratory evidence of infection in only one child. In the UK, the number and risk of congenital ZIKV infection for travellers returning from ZIKV-affected countries is very small.
Vulnerability to depression can be measured in different ways. We here examine how genetic risk factors are inter-related for lifetime major depression (MD), self-report current depressive symptoms and the personality trait Neuroticism.
We obtained data from three population-based adult twin samples (Virginia n = 4672, Australia #1 n = 3598 and Australia #2 n = 1878) to which we fitted a common factor model where risk for ‘broadly defined depression’ was indexed by (i) lifetime MD assessed at personal interview, (ii) depressive symptoms, and (iii) neuroticism. We examined the proportion of genetic risk for MD deriving from the common factor v. specific to MD in each sample and then analyzed them jointly. Structural equation modeling was conducted in Mx.
The best fit models in all samples included additive genetic and unique environmental effects. The proportion of genetic effects unique to lifetime MD and not shared with the broad depression common factor in the three samples were estimated as 77, 61, and 65%, respectively. A cross-sample mega-analysis model fit well and estimated that 65% of the genetic risk for MD was unique.
A large proportion of genetic risk factors for lifetime MD was not, in the samples studied, captured by a common factor for broadly defined depression utilizing MD and self-report measures of current depressive symptoms and Neuroticism. The genetic substrate for MD may reflect neurobiological processes underlying the episodic nature of its cognitive, motor and neurovegetative manifestations, which are not well indexed by current depressive symptom and neuroticism.
Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) are sites identified as being globally important for the conservation of bird populations on the basis of an internationally agreed set of criteria. We present the first review of the development and spread of the IBA concept since it was launched by BirdLife International (then ICBP) in 1979 and examine some of the characteristics of the resulting inventory. Over 13,000 global and regional IBAs have so far been identified and documented in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems in almost all of the world’s countries and territories, making this the largest global network of sites of significance for biodiversity. IBAs have been identified using standardised, data-driven criteria that have been developed and applied at global and regional levels. These criteria capture multiple dimensions of a site’s significance for avian biodiversity and relate to populations of globally threatened species (68.6% of the 10,746 IBAs that meet global criteria), restricted-range species (25.4%), biome-restricted species (27.5%) and congregatory species (50.3%); many global IBAs (52.7%) trigger two or more of these criteria. IBAs range in size from < 1 km2 to over 300,000 km2 and have an approximately log-normal size distribution (median = 125.0 km2, mean = 1,202.6 km2). They cover approximately 6.7% of the terrestrial, 1.6% of the marine and 3.1% of the total surface area of the Earth. The launch in 2016 of the KBA Global Standard, which aims to identify, document and conserve sites that contribute to the global persistence of wider biodiversity, and whose criteria for site identification build on those developed for IBAs, is a logical evolution of the IBA concept. The role of IBAs in conservation planning, policy and practice is reviewed elsewhere. Future technical priorities for the IBA initiative include completion of the global inventory, particularly in the marine environment, keeping the dataset up to date, and improving the systematic monitoring of these sites.
BirdLife International´s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) Programme has identified, documented and mapped over 13,000 sites of international importance for birds. IBAs have been influential with governments, multilateral agreements, businesses and others in: (1) informing governments’ efforts to expand protected area networks (in particular to meet their commitments through the Convention on Biological Diversity); (2) supporting the identification of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) in the marine realm, (3) identifying Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention; (4) identifying sites of importance for species under the Convention on Migratory Species and its sister agreements; (5) identifying Special Protected Areas under the EU Birds Directive; (6) applying the environmental safeguards of international finance institutions such as the International Finance Corporation; (7) supporting the private sector to manage environmental risk in its operations; and (8) helping donor organisations like the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF) to prioritise investment in site-based conservation. The identification of IBAs (and IBAs in Danger: the most threatened of these) has also triggered conservation and management actions at site level, most notably by civil society organisations and local conservation groups. IBA data have therefore been widely used by stakeholders at different levels to help conserve a network of sites essential to maintaining the populations and habitats of birds as well as other biodiversity. The experience of IBA identification and conservation is shaping the design and implementation of the recently launched Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) Partnership and programme, as IBAs form a core part of the KBA network.
Prior research has documented shared heritable contributions to non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) and suicidal ideation (SI) as well as NSSI and suicide attempt (SA). In addition, trauma exposure has been implicated in risk for NSSI and suicide. Genetically informative studies are needed to determine common sources of liability to all three self-injurious thoughts and behaviors, and to clarify the nature of their associations with traumatic experiences.
Multivariate biometric modeling was conducted using data from 9526 twins [59% female, mean age = 31.7 years (range 24–42)] from two cohorts of the Australian Twin Registry, some of whom also participated in the Childhood Trauma Study and the Nicotine Addiction Genetics Project.
The prevalences of high-risk trauma exposure (HRT), NSSI, SI, and SA were 24.4, 5.6, 27.1, and 4.6%, respectively. All phenotypes were moderately to highly correlated. Genetic influences on self-injurious thoughts and behaviors and HRT were significant and highly correlated among men [rG = 0.59, 95% confidence interval (CI) (0.37–0.81)] and women [rG = 0.56 (0.49–0.63)]. Unique environmental influences were modestly correlated in women [rE = 0.23 (0.01–0.45)], suggesting that high-risk trauma may confer some direct risk for self-injurious thoughts and behaviors among females.
Individuals engaging in NSSI are at increased risk for suicide, and common heritable factors contribute to these associations. Preventing trauma exposure may help to mitigate risk for self-harm and suicide, either directly or indirectly via reductions in liability to psychopathology more broadly. In addition, targeting pre-existing vulnerability factors could significantly reduce risk for life-threatening behaviors among those who have experienced trauma.
The Taipan galaxy survey (hereafter simply ‘Taipan’) is a multi-object spectroscopic survey starting in 2017 that will cover 2π steradians over the southern sky (δ ≲ 10°, |b| ≳ 10°), and obtain optical spectra for about two million galaxies out to z < 0.4. Taipan will use the newly refurbished 1.2-m UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory with the new TAIPAN instrument, which includes an innovative ‘Starbugs’ positioning system capable of rapidly and simultaneously deploying up to 150 spectroscopic fibres (and up to 300 with a proposed upgrade) over the 6° diameter focal plane, and a purpose-built spectrograph operating in the range from 370 to 870 nm with resolving power R ≳ 2000. The main scientific goals of Taipan are (i) to measure the distance scale of the Universe (primarily governed by the local expansion rate, H0) to 1% precision, and the growth rate of structure to 5%; (ii) to make the most extensive map yet constructed of the total mass distribution and motions in the local Universe, using peculiar velocities based on improved Fundamental Plane distances, which will enable sensitive tests of gravitational physics; and (iii) to deliver a legacy sample of low-redshift galaxies as a unique laboratory for studying galaxy evolution as a function of dark matter halo and stellar mass and environment. The final survey, which will be completed within 5 yrs, will consist of a complete magnitude-limited sample (i ⩽ 17) of about 1.2 × 106 galaxies supplemented by an extension to higher redshifts and fainter magnitudes (i ⩽ 18.1) of a luminous red galaxy sample of about 0.8 × 106 galaxies. Observations and data processing will be carried out remotely and in a fully automated way, using a purpose-built automated ‘virtual observer’ software and an automated data reduction pipeline. The Taipan survey is deliberately designed to maximise its legacy value by complementing and enhancing current and planned surveys of the southern sky at wavelengths from the optical to the radio; it will become the primary redshift and optical spectroscopic reference catalogue for the local extragalactic Universe in the southern sky for the coming decade.
Approximately half of the variation in wellbeing measures overlaps with variation in personality traits. Studies of non-human primate pedigrees and human twins suggest that this is due to common genetic influences. We tested whether personality polygenic scores for the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) domains and for item response theory (IRT) derived extraversion and neuroticism scores predict variance in wellbeing measures. Polygenic scores were based on published genome-wide association (GWA) results in over 17,000 individuals for the NEO-FFI and in over 63,000 for the IRT extraversion and neuroticism traits. The NEO-FFI polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction in 7 cohorts, positive affect in 12 cohorts, and general wellbeing in 1 cohort (maximal N = 46,508). Meta-analysis of these results showed no significant association between NEO-FFI personality polygenic scores and the wellbeing measures. IRT extraversion and neuroticism polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction and positive affect in almost 37,000 individuals from UK Biobank. Significant positive associations (effect sizes <0.05%) were observed between the extraversion polygenic score and wellbeing measures, and a negative association was observed between the polygenic neuroticism score and life satisfaction. Furthermore, using GWA data, genetic correlations of -0.49 and -0.55 were estimated between neuroticism with life satisfaction and positive affect, respectively. The moderate genetic correlation between neuroticism and wellbeing is in line with twin research showing that genetic influences on wellbeing are also shared with other independent personality domains.
To investigate familial influences on the full range of variability in attention and activity across adolescence, we collected maternal ratings of 339 twin pairs at ages 12, 14, and 16, and estimated the transmitted and new familial influences on attention and activity as measured by the Strengths and Weaknesses of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms and Normal Behavior Scale. Familial influences were substantial for both traits across adolescence: genetic influences accounted for 54%–73% (attention) and 31%–73% (activity) of the total variance, and shared environmental influences accounted for 0%–22% of the attention variance and 13%–57% of the activity variance. The longitudinal stability of individual differences in attention and activity was largely accounted for by familial influences transmitted from previous ages. Innovations over adolescence were also partially attributable to familial influences. Studying the full range of variability in attention and activity may facilitate our understanding of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder's etiology and intervention.
Childhood maltreatment (CM) has consistently been linked with adverse outcomes including substance use disorders and adult sexual revictimization. Adult sexual victimization itself has been linked with psychopathology but has predominately been studied in women. The current investigation examines the impact of CM and co-occurring psychopathology on adult sexual victimization in men and women, replicating findings in three distinct samples.
We investigated the association between continuous CM factor scores and adult sexual victimization in the Childhood Trauma Study (CTS) sample (N = 2564). We also examined the unique relationship between childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and adult sexual victimization while adjusting for co-occurring substance dependence and psychopathology. We replicated these analyses in two additional samples: the Comorbidity and Trauma Study (CATS; N = 1981) and the Australian Twin-Family Study of Alcohol Use Disorders (OZ-ALC; N = 1537).
Analyses revealed a significant association with CM factor scores and adult sexual victimization for both men and women across all three samples. The CSA factor score was strongly associated with adult sexual victimization after adjusting for substance dependence and psychopathology; higher odds ratios were observed in men (than women) consistently across the three samples.
A continuous measure of CSA is independently associated with adult sexual trauma risk across samples in models that included commonly associated substance dependence and psychopathology as covariates. The strength of the association between this CSA measure and adult sexual victimization is higher in magnitude for men than women, pointing to the need for further investigation of sexual victimization in male community samples.
Genetic influences contribute significantly to co-morbidity between conduct disorder and substance use disorders. Estimating the extent of overlap can assist in the development of phenotypes for genomic analyses.
Multivariate quantitative genetic analyses were conducted using data from 9577 individuals, including 3982 complete twin pairs and 1613 individuals whose co-twin was not interviewed (aged 24–37 years) from two Australian twin samples. Analyses examined the genetic correlation between alcohol dependence, nicotine dependence and cannabis abuse/dependence and the extent to which the correlations were attributable to genetic influences shared with conduct disorder.
Additive genetic (a2 = 0.48–0.65) and non-shared environmental factors explained variance in substance use disorders. Familial effects on conduct disorder were due to additive genetic (a2 = 0.39) and shared environmental (c2 = 0.15) factors. All substance use disorders were influenced by shared genetic factors (rg = 0.38–0.56), with all genetic overlap between substances attributable to genetic influences shared with conduct disorder. Genes influencing individual substance use disorders were also significant, explaining 40–73% of the genetic variance per substance.
Among substance users in this sample, the well-documented clinical co-morbidity between conduct disorder and substance use disorders is primarily attributable to shared genetic liability. Interventions targeted at generally reducing deviant behaviors may address the risk posed by this shared genetic liability. However, there is also evidence for genetic and environmental influences specific to each substance. The identification of these substance-specific risk factors (as well as potential protective factors) is critical to the future development of targeted treatment protocols.
Lameness in dairy cows is an important welfare issue. As part of a welfare assessment, herd level lameness prevalence can be estimated from scoring a sample of animals, where higher levels of accuracy are associated with larger sample sizes. As the financial cost is related to the number of cows sampled, smaller samples are preferred. Sequential sampling schemes have been used for informing decision making in clinical trials. Sequential sampling involves taking samples in stages, where sampling can stop early depending on the estimated lameness prevalence. When welfare assessment is used for a pass/fail decision, a similar approach could be applied to reduce the overall sample size. The sampling schemes proposed here apply the principles of sequential sampling within a diagnostic testing framework. This study develops three sequential sampling schemes of increasing complexity to classify 80 fully assessed UK dairy farms, each with known lameness prevalence. Using the Welfare Quality herd-size-based sampling scheme, the first ‘basic’ scheme involves two sampling events. At the first sampling event half the Welfare Quality sample size is drawn, and then depending on the outcome, sampling either stops or is continued and the same number of animals is sampled again. In the second ‘cautious’ scheme, an adaptation is made to ensure that correctly classifying a farm as ‘bad’ is done with greater certainty. The third scheme is the only scheme to go beyond lameness as a binary measure and investigates the potential for increasing accuracy by incorporating the number of severely lame cows into the decision. The three schemes are evaluated with respect to accuracy and average sample size by running 100 000 simulations for each scheme, and a comparison is made with the fixed size Welfare Quality herd-size-based sampling scheme. All three schemes performed almost as well as the fixed size scheme but with much smaller average sample sizes. For the third scheme, an overall association between lameness prevalence and the proportion of lame cows that were severely lame on a farm was found. However, as this association was found to not be consistent across all farms, the sampling scheme did not prove to be as useful as expected. The preferred scheme was therefore the ‘cautious’ scheme for which a sampling protocol has also been developed.
The study objective was to determine the relative validity and reproducibility of a modified FFQ for ranking the nutrient intakes of New Zealand toddlers aged 12–24 months.
Dunedin, New Zealand.
One hundred and fifty-two participants completed a ninety-five-item FFQ twice, and five days of weighed diet recording (WDR), over one month. Validity and reproducibility were assessed for crude data and for data that were weighted for total fruit and vegetable intake (FV-adjusted).
De-attenuated correlations between FV-adjusted FFQ data and WDR data ranged from 0·45 (Zn) to 0·77 (Ca). The percentage classified to the correct WDR quartile by the FV-adjusted FFQ data ranged from 34·6 % (total fat, Zn) to 50·3 % (Fe). Average gross misclassification was 3 %. Bland–Altman statistics showed crude data had a range of 128–178 % agreement with the WDR and mean FV-adjusted intakes had 112–160 % agreement. FV-adjusted intra-class correlations, assessing reproducibility, ranged from 0·65 (vitamin C) to 0·75 (Ca).
The Eating Assessment in Toddlers (EAT) FFQ showed acceptable to good relative validity, and good reproducibility, for ranking participants’ nutrient intake and is able to identify toddlers at extremes of the nutrient intake distribution. It will be a useful tool for investigating toddlers’ nutrient intakes in studies that require a method of dietary assessment with low respondent burden.
Background: Previous studies have found that child attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with more parental marital problems. However, the reasons for this association are unclear. The association might be due to genetic or environmental confounds that contribute to both marital problems and ADHD. Method: Data were drawn from the Australian Twin Registry, including 1,296 individual twins, their spouses, and offspring. We studied adult twins who were discordant for offspring ADHD. Using a discordant twin pairs design, we examined the extent to which genetic and environmental confounds, as well as measured parental and offspring characteristics, explain the ADHD–marital problems association. Results: Offspring ADHD predicted parental divorce and marital conflict. The associations were also robust when comparing differentially exposed identical twins to control for unmeasured genetic and environmental factors, when controlling for measured maternal and paternal psychopathology, when restricting the sample based on timing of parental divorce and ADHD onset, and when controlling for other forms of offspring psychopathology. Each of these controls rules out alternative explanations for the association. Conclusion: The results of the current study converge with those of prior research in suggesting that factors directly associated with offspring ADHD increase parental marital problems.
Initiation of cannabis use typically follows alcohol use, but the reverse order does occur and is more common for African-Americans (AAs) than European-Americans (EAs). The aim of this study was to test for differences in the order of initiation of cannabis and alcohol use between AA and EA women and to determine whether order and ethnicity contribute independently to risk for rapid progression to cannabis-related problems.
Data were drawn from structured psychiatric interviews of 4102 women (mean age = 21.6 years), 3787 from an all-female twin study and 315 from a high-risk family study; 18.1% self-identified as AA, 81.9% as EA. Ethnicity and order of initiation of cannabis and alcohol use were modeled as predictors of transition time from first use to onset of cannabis use disorder symptom(s) using Cox proportional hazards regression analyses.
AA women were nearly three times as likely as EA women to initiate cannabis use before alcohol use. Using cannabis before alcohol [hazard ratio (HR) 1.44, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.08–1.93] and AA ethnicity (HR 1.59, 95% CI 1.13–2.24) were both associated with rapid progression from first use to cannabis symptom onset even after accounting for age at initiation and psychiatric risk factors.
The findings indicate that AA women are at greater risk for rapid development of cannabis-related problems than EA women and that this risk is even higher when cannabis use is initiated before alcohol use. Prevention programs should be tailored to the various patterns of cannabis use and relative contributions of risk factors to the development of cannabis-related problems in different ethnic groups.
Gays, lesbians and bisexuals (i.e. non-heterosexuals) have been found to be at much greater risk for many psychiatric symptoms and disorders, including depression. This may be due in part to prejudice and discrimination experienced by non-heterosexuals, but studies controlling for minority stress, or performed in very socially liberal countries, suggest that other mechanisms must also play a role. Here we test the viability of common cause (shared genetic or environmental etiology) explanations of elevated depression rates in non-heterosexuals.
A community-based sample of adult twins (n=9884 individuals) completed surveys investigating the genetics of psychiatric disorder, and were also asked about their sexual orientation. Large subsets of the sample were asked about adverse childhood experiences such as sexual abuse, physical abuse and risky family environment, and also about number of older brothers, paternal and maternal age, and number of close friends. Data were analyzed using the classical twin design.
Non-heterosexual males and females had higher rates of lifetime depression than their heterosexual counterparts. Genetic factors accounted for 31% and 44% of variation in sexual orientation and depression respectively. Bivariate analysis revealed that genetic factors accounted for a majority (60%) of the correlation between sexual orientation and depression. In addition, childhood sexual abuse and risky family environment were significant predictors of both sexual orientation and depression, further contributing to their correlation.
Non-heterosexual men and women had elevated rates of lifetime depression, partly due to shared etiological factors, although causality cannot be definitively resolved.
Associations between parental depression and offspring affective and disruptive disorders are well documented. Few genetically informed studies have explored the processes underlying intergenerational associations.
A semi-structured interview assessing DSM-III-R psychiatric disorders was administered to twins (n=1296) from the Australian Twin Register (ATR), their spouses (n=1046) and offspring (n=2555). We used the Children of Twins (CoT) design to delineate the extent to which intergenerational associations were consistent with a causal influence or due to genetic confounds.
In between-family analyses, parental depression was associated significantly with offspring depression [hazard ratio (HR) 1.52, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.20–1.93] and conduct disorder (CD; HR 2.27, CI 1.31–3.93). Survival analysis indicated that the intergenerational transmission of depression is consistent with a causal (environmental) inference, with a significant intergenerational association in offspring of discordant monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs (HR 1.39, CI 1.00–1.94). Logistic regression analysis suggested that the parental depression–offspring CD association was due to shared genetic liability in the parents and offspring. No intergenerational association was found when comparing the offspring of discordant MZ twins [odds ratio (OR) 1.41, CI 0.63–3.14], but offspring of discordant dizygotic (DZ) twins differed in their rates of CD (OR 2.53, CI 0.95–6.76). All findings remained after controlling for several measured covariates, including history of depression and CD in the twins' spouses.
The mechanisms underlying associations between parental depression and offspring psychopathology seem to differ depending on the outcome. The results are consistent with a causal environmental role of parental depression in offspring depression whereas common genetic factors account for the association of parental depression and offspring CD.
The few genetically informative studies to examine post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol dependence (AD), all of which are based on a male veteran sample, suggest that the co-morbidity between PTSD and AD may be attributable in part to overlapping genetic influences, but this issue has yet to be addressed in females.
Data were derived from an all-female twin sample (n=3768) ranging in age from 18 to 29 years. A trivariate genetic model that included trauma exposure as a separate phenotype was fitted to estimate genetic and environmental contributions to PTSD and the degree to which they overlap with those that contribute to AD, after accounting for potential confounding effects of heritable influences on trauma exposure.
Additive genetic influences (A) accounted for 72% of the variance in PTSD; individual-specific environmental (E) factors accounted for the remainder. An AE model also provided the best fit for AD, for which heritability was estimated to be 71%. The genetic correlation between PTSD and AD was 0.54.
The heritability estimate for PTSD in our sample is higher than estimates reported in earlier studies based almost exclusively on an all-male sample in which combat exposure was the precipitating traumatic event. However, our findings are consistent with the absence of evidence for shared environmental influences on PTSD and, most importantly, the substantial overlap in genetic influences on PTSD and AD reported in these investigations. Additional research addressing potential distinctions by gender in the relative contributions of genetic and environmental influences on PTSD is merited.