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    Alternative paths for genetics, then and now: Q&A with Gregory Radick about Disputed Inheritance

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    Despite the complexity of biological inheritance, most students are introduced to genetics using simplistic concepts that can be traced back to the mid-19th century work of Gregor Mendel and its subsequent ‘rediscovery’ in 1900. But what if history had played out differently? How would the practice and teaching of genetics look today? What would have been the implications for society more broadly? The possibility of alternative paths for genetics, past and present, is a theme explored in detail in Disputed Inheritance: The Battle over Mendel and the Future of Biology [1.], by Gregory Radick, professor of history and philosophy of science at the University of Leeds. In this Q&A, he answers questions from the editor of Trends in Genetics, Maria Smit

    Investigating the potential of African land snail shells (Gastropoda: Achatininae) for amino acid geochronology

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    Aragonitic calcium carbonate (CaCO3) terrestrial mollusc shells with complex shell microstructures, such as those in the African subfamily Achatininae, have the potential to be used to build amino acid geochronologies across the African continent. However, as different microstructural shell layers are likely to have different protein compositions, sampling strategies need to be developed to identify the most appropriate shell portion to target. To test possible variability in protein degradation rates between microstructural layers, sampling of a single microstructural shell layer (the ‘nacreous’ layer) was compared to sampling all three aragonitic layers ('3AL') in modern and fossil shells. Reliable isolation of the nacreous layer in all samples proved impractical, and additional complications arose due to mineral diagenesis induced by sampling with a drill. Pleistocene fossils of Lissachatina sp. and modern specimens of Achatina tavaresiana Morelet, 1866 were shown to have an intra-crystalline protein fraction. The 3AL shell portion adhered more closely to closed-system behaviour in heated modern, and fossil, samples. The intra-crystalline protein degradation (IcPD) patterns of Achatininae fossil samples were not consistent with IcPD under forced degradation experiments at high temperatures in the laboratory. However, reliable degradation trends were observed in the 3AL shell portion, demonstrating the potential of fossil achatinids for building relative amino acid geochronologies across Africa

    The Evolution of Forensic Delay Analysis: A Literature Review Investigating Changes and Progress in Project Management Approaches to Delay Measurement

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    This literature review explores the topic of forensic delay analysis (FDA), highlighting recent advances and key themes currently attracting research interest within the area. Project delays in every context can have significant financial and non-financial impacts, so it is crucial to accurately identify and assess their influence. Our analysis shows that despite the initial conceptualization of FDA methods and tools, the field remains complex and laborious, and its credibility is often contested too. The findings suggest that FDA has received insufficient research attention compared to other project management domains and has made limited progress since its inception. Furthermore, there is no consistent approach to measuring delays, despite their prevalence, severity and global persistence. Although a wide range of publications acknowledge the continuing interest in FDA, most confirm its limited applicability and inadequate standardization. The literature also highlights a lack of progress in this area of knowledge predominantly due to a lack of innovative perspectives, tools and understanding. In order to improve the credibility and reliability of FDA and delay analysis techniques (DATs), it is therefore essential to embrace and promote alternative and innovative methodologies. This paper will appeal to a wide audience, including academics and practitioners, who wish to explore the limitations of FDA and the knowledge gaps identified in the existing literature

    Understanding patient views and experiences of the IDENTIfication of PALLiative care needs (IDENTI-Pall): a qualitative interview study

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    Background: Palliative care improves quality of life for people with life-threatening illnesses. There are longstanding inequalities in access to palliative care, with many people never identified as having palliative care needs, particularly the frail elderly, those with non-malignant disease and people from ethnic minority backgrounds. Little is known about the process of identification of palliative care needs from a patient perspective. Aim: To provide new understanding into patient views and experiences of the process of identification of palliative care needs, and to explore the impact of identification on healthcare, if any, from a patient perspective. Design and Setting: Qualitative interview study with patients and family carers in a UK major city. Method: Semi-structured interviews with patients (+/- family carers) identified as being on general practice palliative care registers. An inductive thematic analysis was conducted to explore the data. Findings: 11 participants were recruited: eight patients and three family carers. Three interrelated themes were identified: (1) misconceptions about palliative care and unshared prognostic uncertainty hinder the identification of palliative care needs, (2) a compassionate, careful approach is required for identification of palliative care needs, with or without an identification tool, and (3) identification of palliative care needs is beneficial where it leads to proactive holistic care. Conclusion: A compassionate approach, sharing of prognostic uncertainty and proactive primary care are key to timely, beneficial identification of palliative care needs. Future policy should ensure that identification is an adaptable, personalised process to meet the individual needs of people with advanced serious illnesses

    Towards a Pluralistic Account of Structural Injustice

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    Gender, Age, and Identity in Roman Funerary Commemoration

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    Aminatta Forna’s Postcolonial romance: borders, foxes and natural resilience in Happiness

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    Hope and the Utopian Impulse

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    This chapter presents a framework for understanding both hope as a differentiated human experience and the relationship between hope and utopia(nism). Offering a rigorous analysis and synthesis of literature from across various disciplines (including philosophy, theology, psychology, sociology, political studies, and the health sciences), a taxonomy of modes of hoping is developed. While “hope” and “utopia” are often said to go hand in hand—utopias offering visions of hope, hope driving the utopian impulse—the chapter argues that hope is a complex category of human experience that is not always or necessarily aligned with a utopian sensibility. Put simply, different modes of hoping possess different utopian orientations. The chapter concludes with a case study of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) in order to illustrate the utility of the modes of hoping framework as an analytical tool

    Executive function and adult homelessness, true impairment or frontal lobology?

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    Homelessness is associated with multiple risk factors for neurocognitive impairment. Past research with people experiencing homelessness has described “frontal lobe” dysfunction including behavioral disorders and executive cognitive impairments. In the current study, 72 adults experiencing homelessness were assessed with a standardized assessment of executive function, and interviewed regarding neurological and psychiatric history. When compared to a control sample of 25 never-homeless participants, and controlling for level of education, there was little evidence for executive dysfunction in the sample of people experiencing homelessness. Levels of substance abuse, past head injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder were notably high. However, there were no statistically significant associations between cognitive task performance and clinical or substance abuse variables. Gambling was surprisingly infrequent, but risk-taking behavior among intravenous drug users was common. Though in neither case was it linked to executive function. Overall, there was little evidence for executive impairment in this sample of people experiencing homelessness. I suggest that past research has often used inappropriate criteria for “normal” performance, particularly comparing people experiencing homelessness to control data of relatively high education level. This has led to elements of “frontal lobology,” that is, clinical neuroscience research that tends to overly link non-typical or pathological behavior to frontal lobe impairment. When appropriate comparisons are made, controlling for education level, as in this study, associations between executive function impairments and adult homelessness may be weaker than previously reported

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