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In April 2019, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) released its recovery plan for the jaguar Panthera onca after several decades of discussion, litigation and controversy about the status of the species in the USA. The USFWS estimated that potential habitat, south of the Interstate-10 highway in Arizona and New Mexico, had a carrying capacity of c. six jaguars, and so focused its recovery programme on areas south of the USA–Mexico border. Here we present a systematic review of the modelling and assessment efforts over the last 25 years, with a focus on areas north of Interstate-10 in Arizona and New Mexico, outside the recovery unit considered by the USFWS. Despite differences in data inputs, methods, and analytical extent, the nine previous studies found support for potential suitable jaguar habitat in the central mountain ranges of Arizona and New Mexico. Applying slightly modified versions of the USFWS model and recalculating an Arizona-focused model over both states provided additional confirmation. Extending the area of consideration also substantially raised the carrying capacity of habitats in Arizona and New Mexico, from six to 90 or 151 adult jaguars, using the modified USFWS models. This review demonstrates the crucial ways in which choosing the extent of analysis influences the conclusions of a conservation plan. More importantly, it opens a new opportunity for jaguar conservation in North America that could help address threats from habitat losses, climate change and border infrastructure.
Can multicellular life be distinguished from single cellular life on an exoplanet? We hypothesize that abundant upright photosynthetic multicellular life (trees) will cast shadows at high sun angles that will distinguish them from single cellular life and test this using Earth as an exoplanet. We first test the concept using unmanned aerial vehicles at a replica moon-landing site near Flagstaff, Arizona and show trees have both a distinctive reflectance signature (red edge) and geometric signature (shadows at high sun angles) that can distinguish them from replica moon craters. Next, we calculate reflectance signatures for Earth at several phase angles with POLDER (Polarization and Directionality of Earth's reflectance) satellite directional reflectance measurements and then reduce Earth to a single pixel. We compare Earth to other planetary bodies (Mars, the Moon, Venus and Uranus) and hypothesize that Earth's directional reflectance will be between strongly backscattering rocky bodies with no weathering (like Mars and the Moon) and cloudy bodies with more isotropic scattering (like Venus and Uranus). Our modelling results put Earth in line with strongly backscattering Mars, while our empirical results put Earth in line with more isotropic scattering Venus. We identify potential weaknesses in both the modelled and empirical results and suggest additional steps to determine whether this technique could distinguish upright multicellular life on exoplanets.
Outbreaks of cyclosporiasis, a food-borne illness caused by the coccidian parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis have increased in the USA in recent years, with approximately 2300 laboratory-confirmed cases reported in 2018. Genotyping tools are needed to inform epidemiological investigations, yet genotyping Cyclospora has proven challenging due to its sexual reproductive cycle which produces complex infections characterized by high genetic heterogeneity. We used targeted amplicon deep sequencing and a recently described ensemble-based distance statistic that accommodates heterogeneous (mixed) genotypes and specimens with partial genotyping data, to genotype and cluster 648 C. cayetanensis samples submitted to CDC in 2018. The performance of the ensemble was assessed by comparing ensemble-identified genetic clusters to analogous clusters identified independently based on common food exposures. Using these epidemiologic clusters as a gold standard, the ensemble facilitated genetic clustering with 93.8% sensitivity and 99.7% specificity. Hence, we anticipate that this procedure will greatly complement epidemiologic investigations of cyclosporiasis.
Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE) are common causes of healthcare-associated infections and are often multidrug resistant with limited therapeutic options. Additionally, CRE can spread within and between healthcare facilities, amplifying potential harms.
To better understand the burden, risk factors, and source of acquisition of carbapenemase genes in clinical Escherichia coli and Klebsiella spp isolates from patients in Washington to guide prevention efforts.
Multicenter prospective surveillance study.
Escherichia coli and Klebsiella spp isolates meeting the Washington state CRE surveillance case definition were solicited from clinical laboratories and tested at Washington Public Health Laboratories using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the 5 most common carbapenemase genes: blaKPC, blaNDM, blaIMP, blaVIM, and blaOXA-48. Case patients positive by PCR were investigated by the public health department.
From October 2012 through December 2017, 363 carbapenem-resistant E. coli and Klebsiella spp isolates were tested. Overall, 45 of 115 carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae (39%), 1 of 8 K. oxytoca (12.5%), and 28 of 239 carbapenem-resistant E. coli (11.7%) were carbapenemase positive. Of 74 carbapenemase-positive isolates, blaKPC was most common (47%), followed by blaNDM (30%), blaOXA-48 (22%), and blaIMP (1%). Although all cases had healthcare exposure, blaKPC acquisition was associated with US health care, whereas non-blaKPC acquisition was associated with international health care or travel.
We report that blaKPC, the most prevalent carbapenemase in the United States, accounts for nearly half of carbapenemase cases in Washington state and that most KPC-cases are likely acquired through in-state health care.
Apolipoprotein E (APOE) E4 is the main genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Due to the consistent association, there is interest as to whether E4 influences the risk of other neurodegenerative diseases. Further, there is a constant search for other genetic biomarkers contributing to these phenotypes, such as microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) haplotypes. Here, participants from the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative were genotyped to investigate whether the APOE E4 allele or MAPT H1 haplotype are associated with five neurodegenerative diseases: (1) AD and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), (2) amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, (3) frontotemporal dementia (FTD), (4) Parkinson’s disease, and (5) vascular cognitive impairment.
Genotypes were defined for their respective APOE allele and MAPT haplotype calls for each participant, and logistic regression analyses were performed to identify the associations with the presentations of neurodegenerative diseases.
Our work confirmed the association of the E4 allele with a dose-dependent increased presentation of AD, and an association between the E4 allele alone and MCI; however, the other four diseases were not associated with E4. Further, the APOE E2 allele was associated with decreased presentation of both AD and MCI. No associations were identified between MAPT haplotype and the neurodegenerative disease cohorts; but following subtyping of the FTD cohort, the H1 haplotype was significantly associated with progressive supranuclear palsy.
This is the first study to concurrently analyze the association of APOE isoforms and MAPT haplotypes with five neurodegenerative diseases using consistent enrollment criteria and broad phenotypic analysis.
Stonehenge is a site that continues to yield surprises. Excavation in 2009 added a new and unexpected feature: a smaller, dismantled stone circle on the banks of the River Avon, connected to Stonehenge itself by the Avenue. This new structure has been labelled ‘Bluestonehenge’ from the evidence that it once held a circle of bluestones that were later removed to Stonehenge. Investigation of the Avenue closer to Stonehenge revealed deep periglacial fissures within it. Their alignment on Stonehenge's solstitial axis (midwinter sunset–midsummer sunrise) raises questions about the early origins of this ritual landscape.
Ethics in post-medieval responses to the Middle Ages form the main focus of this volume. The six opening essays tackle such issues as the legitimacy of reinventing medieval customs and ideas, at what point the production and enjoyment of caricaturizing the Middle Ages become inappropriate, how medievalists treat disadvantaged communities, and the tension between political action and ethics in medievalism. The eight subsequent articles then build on this foundation as they concentrate on capitalist motives for melding superficially incompatible narratives in medievalist video games, Dan Brown's use of Dante's Inferno to promote a positivist, transhumanist agenda, disjunctures from medieval literature to medievalist film in portrayals of human sacrifice, the influence of Beowulf on horror films and vice versa, portrayals of war in Beowulf films, socialism in William Morris's translation of Beowulf, bias in Charles Alfred Stothard's Monumental Effigies of Great Britain, and a medieval source for death in the Harry Potter novels. The volume as a whole invites and informs a much larger discussion on such vital issues as the ethical choices medievalists make, the implications of those choices for their makers, and the impact of those choices on the world around us. Karl Fugelso is Professor of Art History at Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland. Contributors: Mary R. Bowman, Harry Brown, Louise D'Arcens, Alison Gulley, Nickolas Haydock, Lisa Hicks, Lesley E. Jacobs, Michael R. Kightley, Phillip Lindley, Pascal J. Massie, Lauryn S. Mayer, Brent Moberley, Kevin Moberley, Daniel-Raymond Nadon, Jason Pitruzello, Nancy M. Resh, Carol L. Robinson, Christopher Roman, M.J. Toswell.