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Temporary excavations during the construction of the Glendoe Hydro Scheme above Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland exposed a clay-rich fault gouge in Dalradian Supergroup psammite. The gouge coincides with the mapped trace of the subvertical Sronlairig Fault, a feature related in part to the Great Glen and Ericht–Laidon faults, which had been interpreted to result from brittle deformation during the Caledonian orogeny (c. 420–390 Ma). Exposure of this mica-rich gouge represented an exceptional opportunity to constrain the timing of the gouge-producing movement on the Sronlairig Fault using isotopic analysis to date the growth of authigenic (essentially synkinematic) clay mineralization. A series of fine-size separates was isolated prior to K–Ar analysis. Novel, capillary-encapsulated X-ray diffraction analysis was employed to ensure nearly perfect, random orientation and to facilitate the identification and quantification of mica polytypes. Coarser size fractions are composed of greater proportions of the 2M1 illite polytype. Finer size fractions show increasing proportions of the 1M illite polytype, with no evidence of 2M1 illite in the finest fractions. A series of Illite Age Analysis plots produced excellent R2 values with calculated mean ages of 296 ± 7 Ma (Late Carboniferous–Early Permian) for the oldest (2M1) illite and 145 ± 7 Ma (Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous) for the youngest (1M) illite. The Late Carboniferous–Early Permian (Faulting event 1) age may represent resetting of earlier-formed micas or authigenesis during dextral displacement of the Great Glen Fault Zone (GGFZ). Contemporaneous WNW(NW)–ESE(SE) extension was important for basin development and hydrocarbon migration in the Pentland Firth and Moray Firth regions. The Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous (Faulting event 2) age corresponds with Moray Firth Basin development and indicates that the GGFZ and related structures may have acted to partition the active extension in the Moray Firth region from relative inactivity in the Pentland Firth area at this time. These new age dates demonstrate the long-lived geological activity on the GGFZ, particularly so in post-Caledonian times where other isotopic evidence for younger tectonic overprints is lacking.
Despite established clinical associations among major depression (MD), alcohol dependence (AD), and alcohol consumption (AC), the nature of the causal relationship between them is not completely understood. We leveraged genome-wide data from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) and UK Biobank to test for the presence of shared genetic mechanisms and causal relationships among MD, AD, and AC.
Linkage disequilibrium score regression and Mendelian randomization (MR) were performed using genome-wide data from the PGC (MD: 135 458 cases and 344 901 controls; AD: 10 206 cases and 28 480 controls) and UK Biobank (AC-frequency: 438 308 individuals; AC-quantity: 307 098 individuals).
Positive genetic correlation was observed between MD and AD (rgMD−AD = + 0.47, P = 6.6 × 10−10). AC-quantity showed positive genetic correlation with both AD (rgAD−AC quantity = + 0.75, P = 1.8 × 10−14) and MD (rgMD−AC quantity = + 0.14, P = 2.9 × 10−7), while there was negative correlation of AC-frequency with MD (rgMD−AC frequency = −0.17, P = 1.5 × 10−10) and a non-significant result with AD. MR analyses confirmed the presence of pleiotropy among these four traits. However, the MD-AD results reflect a mediated-pleiotropy mechanism (i.e. causal relationship) with an effect of MD on AD (beta = 0.28, P = 1.29 × 10−6). There was no evidence for reverse causation.
This study supports a causal role for genetic liability of MD on AD based on genetic datasets including thousands of individuals. Understanding mechanisms underlying MD-AD comorbidity addresses important public health concerns and has the potential to facilitate prevention and intervention efforts.
Entamoeba histolytica is an enteric parasite that infects approximately 50 million people worldwide. Although E. histolytica is a zoonotic parasite that has the potential to infect nonhuman primates, such transmission is poorly understood. Consequently, this study examined whether E. histolytica is present among humans, chimpanzees and baboons living in the Greater Gombe Ecosystem (GGE), Tanzania. The primary aims were to determine patterns of E. histolytica infection in a system with human-nonhuman primate overlap and to test associations between infection status and potential risk factors of disease. Entamoeba spp. occurred in 60.3% of human, 65.6% of chimpanzee and 88.6% of baboon samples. Entamoeba histolytica occurred in 12.1% of human, 34.1% of chimpanzee and 10.9% of baboon samples. Human E. histolytica infection was associated with gastrointestinal symptoms. This was the first study to confirm the presence of E. histolytica in the GGE. The high sample prevalence of E. histolytica in three sympatric primates suggests that zoonotic transmission is possible and stresses the need for further phylogenetic studies. Interventions targeting better sanitation and hygiene practices for humans living in the GGE can help prevent E. histolytica infection in humans, while also protecting the endangered chimpanzees and other primates in this region.
Conservation resources are limited, yet an increasing number of species are under threat. Assessing species for their conservation needs is, therefore, a vital first step in identifying and prioritizing species for both ex situ and in situ conservation actions. Using a transparent, logical and objective method, the Conservation Needs Assessment process developed by Amphibian Ark uses current knowledge of species in the wild to determine those with the most pressing conservation needs, and provides a foundation for the development of holistic conservation action plans that combine in situ and ex situ actions as appropriate. These assessments allow us to maximize the impact of limited conservation resources by identifying which measures could best serve those species requiring help. The Conservation Needs Assessment complements the IUCN Red List assessment, and together they provide a more holistic guide to conservation priorities and actions. Conservation Needs Assessments generate national prioritized lists of species recommended for conservation action. These can subsequently be used to assist in the development of species recovery plans and national action plans, or to inform national conservation priorities better. Additional tools that will evaluate the recommendations for ex situ rescues, to determine the best candidates for conservation breeding programmes, are currently under development.
Background: Methionyl-tRNA synthetase (MARS) links methionine to its cognate tRNA required for translation. MARS mutations have been linked to adult-onset CMT2U. Methods: The proband had weakness in her first year of life, sitting at 11 months and walking at 20 months old. At 4 years old she was areflexic with distal > proximal weakness. Nerve conduction studies showed normal median and sural sensory responses with absent common peroneal, low median and tibial motor amplitudes. EMG noted denervation and quadriceps biopsy revealed neurogenic atrophy. Genetic testing for spinal muscular atrophy and sequencing of MNF2, RAB7A, LMNA, MPZ, HSPB1, NEFL, GADP1, TRPV4, HSPB8, GJB1 and PLEK8G5 were negative. She stopped walking at 9 years old and could not raise her arms above her head at 11 years old. Results: Exome sequencing identified MARS: c.1189G>A; p.Ala397Thr. To determine the functional consequences of p.A397T-MARS, yeast complementation assays were performed. Wild type or mutant MARS were cloned into yeast lacking the endogenous MARS ortholog. Wild-type MARS supported robust cellular growth, while the p.A397T-MARS insert did not support cellular growth confirming deleterious effect of this variant. Conclusions: Our patient’s phenotype was similar to children with motor-predominant GARS mutations. Functional data notes this MARS variant to be damaging and predictive of a severe, early-onset phenotype.
We compared rotavirus detection patterns before (2001–2006) and after (2008–2015) rotavirus vaccine introduction. We also compared rotavirus detection patterns in odd (2009, 2011, 2013, 2015) and even (2008, 2010, 2012, 2014) years post-vaccine separately. Results of stool rotavirus antigen testing from inpatient, outpatient and emergency department encounters from July 2000 to July 2015 at two paediatric hospital laboratories in Atlanta, Georgia were reviewed. Post-vaccine, rotavirus detection declined (30.2% vs. 13.7% (overall 54.6% decline, P <0.001)), occurred more frequently outside the rotavirus season (19.8% vs. 3.5%; P < 0.001), and was more common among older children (26 vs. 13 median months of age; P < 0.001). During odd years post-vaccine, rotavirus detection was significantly higher than even years (20.2% vs. 6.4%; P < 0.001). Rotavirus detection declined substantially and developed a biennial pattern in the post-vaccine era. The intensity and temporality of rotavirus detection in odd years post-vaccine resembled that observed pre-vaccine, although considerably reduced in magnitude.
Islands are widely considered to be model systems for studying fundamental questions in ecology and evolutionary biology. The fundamental state factors that vary among island systems – geologic history, size, isolation and age – form the basis of mature phenomenological and predictive theory. In this review, we first highlight classic lines of inquiry that exemplify the historical and continuing importance of islands. We then show how the conceptual power of islands as ‘natural laboratories’ can be improved through functional classifications of both the biological properties of, and human impact on, insular systems. We highlight how global environmental change has been accentuated on islands, expressly because of their unique insular properties. We review five categories of environmental perturbation: climate change, habitat modification, direct exploitation, invasion and disease. Using an analysis of taxonomic checklists for the arthropod biotas of three well-studied island archipelagos, we show how taxonomists are meeting the challenge of biodiversity assessment before the biodiversity disappears. Our aim is to promote discussion on the tight correlations of the environmental health of insular systems to their continued importance as singular venues for discovery in ecology and evolutionary biology, as well as to their conservation significance as hotspots of endemism.
Women know stuff. Yet, all too often, they are underrepresented in political science meetings, syllabi, and editorial boards. To counter the implicit bias that leads to women’s underrepresentation, to ensure that women’s expertise is included and shared, and to improve the visibility of women in political science, in February 2016 we launched the “Women Also Know Stuff” initiative, which features a crowd-sourced website and an active Twitter feed. In this article, we share the origins of our project, the effect we are already having on media utilization of women experts, and plans for how to expand that success within the discipline of political science. We also share our personal reflections on the project.
The radiocarbon dating of volcanic ash (tephra) deposits in New Zealand has been difficult on sites remote from the eruption, which contain either little carbon or degraded and contaminated charcoal. Although many studies of contamination removal from macroscopic charcoals from tephra sequences have been made, little attention has been paid to those containing no visible charcoal, because of the difficulty of obtaining sufficient carbon for radiometric dating. We report here experiments using accelerator mass spectrometry to establish a reliable method for dating a low-carbon aeolian and peat deposit containing a tephra horizon. Results so far demonstrate that improvements to existing chemical pretreatment methods are possible, and that dates obtained on oxidized fine-grained residues can approach the maximum age determined on good quality charred wood samples.
The usefulness of radiocarbon dates in archaeology greatly depends on both the stratigraphic relationship of the sample submitted and on the origin and homogeneity of the measured carbon. For very small samples, stratigraphic relationships can raise additional problems of movement. In chemically well-characterized materials, the best example being collagen, the carbon source can be reasonably well purified. Many samples, however, survive as a complex mixture of high molecular weight polyphenolic materials, with properties between charcoals, humic acids, and lignins. Charred bone, eg, which rarely contains useful quantities of amino acids, and charred seeds, as well as ‘charcoal,’ frequently come into this category. For such samples, the likelihood of contamination by percolating soil humics is high. It is often possible to extract chemically different fractions and to compare the dates obtained. A less exact comparison can also be made for different samples from the same context. The results suggest that ‘humic’ acid dates can be reliable in a surprisingly frequent number of situations, and that where direct comparison is possible, the reliability can be individually assessed.
The Oxford 14C accelerator has operated with beam for some 400 hours. This report describes the progress made towards achieving dates from milligram samples with the required accuracy of better than 2%. In summary, it shows how 14C is relatively easily detected, but that the overall beam optical system is, at present, rather sensitive to effects which prevent reliable maintenance of the necessary isotope ratio stability. These effects can probably be eliminated by careful attention to details of the design rather than by major modifications.
This list describes samples dated in this laboratory from January to November, 1972. Operating principles are as previously reported (Gillespie et al. 1972) using synthesized benzene for liquid scintillation counting. Ages are calculated using 0.95 NBS oxalic acid standard with reference to a.d. 1950 using Libby 5570 year half-life.
Preparations to establish a radiocarbon dating laboratory at the University of Sydney were made in 1970 in the Department of Physical Chemistry, to support Ph.D. studies and to supplement existing dating services in Australia to the archaeologic and geologic communities.
The dating of alluvial deposits is frequently hampered by a lack of good-quality charcoal or other material for radiocarbon samples. We have dated two sites in southeastern Australia using traditional radiometric methods with minimal pretreatment. Results yielded an inconsistent chronology, affected by contamination with younger humic materials. A more consistent and older chronology was achieved using AMS dating of rigorously pretreated samples of fine-grained charcoal. The results have important implications for the radiocarbon dating of many Late Quaternary stratigraphic sequences with low charcoal abundance.
Experimental procedures and methods of age calculation are as previously described (Gillespie Sc Temple, 1976), except that bc/ad ages are not reported (resolution of 9th Radiocarbon Conference, 1976).
14C dating of bone has been unreliable in comparison with more stable materials such as wood or charcoal. Attempts have been made to use various components or fractions isolated from the raw bone sample; these include dilute acid soluble, dilute acid insoluble, collagen, and gelatin, as well as alkali soluble and insoluble fractions of burned bone, and carbonate or apatite fractions of organic-poor bone. All of these fractions have yielded useful data in some cases, but no single method has proven suitable in all situations. The work reported here describes the isolation and purification of amino acids from the dilute acid insoluble fraction of bone collagen and parchment, with some preliminary experiments on amino acids from shell conchiolin.
The host plants of native Ceutorhynchus Germar (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) species are poorly known in North America, and knowledge of these is essential for biological control programmes involving this genus of weevils. We hypothesised that weevil larva emergence holes on plant specimens in herbarium collections might reveal potential plant-insect associations, and help locate populations of hosts for non-target testing. We examined 1114 plant specimens in 16 genera and 60 species of Brassicaceae and found 70 specimens among 30 species that showed evidence of feeding injury and exit holes typical of Ceutorhynchus. We used this information to locate populations of two species of Ceutorhynchus. Herbarium collections may be useful tools for developing knowledge of host plant associations for species of Ceutorhynchus.