63 research outputs found

    Biomineralisation in the Palaeozoic oceans: evidence for simultaneous crystallisation of high and low magnesium calcite by phacopine trilobites

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    The chemical composition and microstructure of the calcite cuticles of eleven species of phacopine trilobites have been investigated by electron beam imaging, diffraction, and microanalysis, and results reveal that the lenses of their schizochroal eyes differed significantly in chemical composition from the rest of the cuticle in vivo. Apart from the eye lenses, most cuticles are inferred to have escaped extensive recrystallisation because their constituent crystals are sub-micrometre in size and have a preferred orientation that is consistent between species. Their current compositions of ~1.4 to 2.4 mol% MgCO3 are likely to be close to original values, although as they commonly luminesce and contain detectable manganese and iron, some diagenetic alteration has taken place. The associated lenses have a microstructure that is suitable for focusing light, yet are optically turbid owing to the presence within calcite of micropores and crystals of microdolomite, apatite, celestite and pyrite. The microdolomite indicates that lenses recrystallised from an original high-Mg calcite composition and this is supported by the presence of nanometre-scale modulated microstructures in both the calcite and dolomite. These lenses currently contain ~1 to 6 mol% MgCO3, and by comparison with the proportion of magnesium lost from echinoderm stereom in the same thin sections, may have contained ~7.5 mol% MgCO3 in vivo. In some samples, more extensive diagenetic alteration is evidenced by recrystallisation of the cuticle including lenses to coarse equant calcite or enrichment of the cuticle, but not necessarily the lenses, in magnesium accompanying replacement by a Mg–Fe phyllosilicate. The phacopine trilobites had to modify partition coefficients for magnesium considerably in order to grow lenses with contrasting compositions to the rest of their cuticles, and such a strong vital effect on biomineralisation suggests that incorporation of magnesium was essential for functioning of their calcite optical s

    Molecular genetic contributions to socioeconomic status and intelligence

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    Education, socioeconomic status, and intelligence are commonly used as predictors of health outcomes, social environment, and mortality. Education and socioeconomic status are typically viewed as environmental variables although both correlate with intelligence, which has a substantial genetic basis. Using data from 6815 unrelated subjects from the Generation Scotland study, we examined the genetic contributions to these variables and their genetic correlations. Subjects underwent genome-wide testing for common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). DNA-derived heritability estimates and genetic correlations were calculated using the ‘Genome-wide Complex Trait Analyses’ (GCTA) procedures. 21% of the variation in education, 18% of the variation in socioeconomic status, and 29% of the variation in general cognitive ability was explained by variation in common SNPs (SEs ~ 5%). The SNP-based genetic correlations of education and socioeconomic status with general intelligence were 0.95 (SE 0.13) and 0.26 (0.16), respectively. There are genetic contributions to intelligence and education with near-complete overlap between common additive SNP effects on these traits (genetic correlation ~ 1). Genetic influences on socioeconomic status are also associated with the genetic foundations of intelligence. The results are also compatible with substantial environmental contributions to socioeconomic status

    American Gut: an Open Platform for Citizen Science Microbiome Research

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    McDonald D, Hyde E, Debelius JW, et al. American Gut: an Open Platform for Citizen Science Microbiome Research. mSystems. 2018;3(3):e00031-18

    Genome-wide analysis identifies 12 loci influencing human reproductive behavior.

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    The genetic architecture of human reproductive behavior-age at first birth (AFB) and number of children ever born (NEB)-has a strong relationship with fitness, human development, infertility and risk of neuropsychiatric disorders. However, very few genetic loci have been identified, and the underlying mechanisms of AFB and NEB are poorly understood. We report a large genome-wide association study of both sexes including 251,151 individuals for AFB and 343,072 individuals for NEB. We identified 12 independent loci that are significantly associated with AFB and/or NEB in a SNP-based genome-wide association study and 4 additional loci associated in a gene-based effort. These loci harbor genes that are likely to have a role, either directly or by affecting non-local gene expression, in human reproduction and infertility, thereby increasing understanding of these complex traits

    Climate Change, Coral Reef Ecosystems, and Management Options for Marine Protected Areas

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    Marine protected areas (MPAs) provide place-based management of marine ecosystems through various degrees and types of protective actions. Habitats such as coral reefs are especially susceptible to degradation resulting from climate change, as evidenced by mass bleaching events over the past two decades. Marine ecosystems are being altered by direct effects of climate change including ocean warming, ocean acidification, rising sea level, changing circulation patterns, increasing severity of storms, and changing freshwater influxes. As impacts of climate change strengthen they may exacerbate effects of existing stressors and require new or modified management approaches; MPA networks are generally accepted as an improvement over individual MPAs to address multiple threats to the marine environment. While MPA networks are considered a potentially effective management approach for conserving marine biodiversity, they should be established in conjunction with other management strategies, such as fisheries regulations and reductions of nutrients and other forms of land-based pollution. Information about interactions between climate change and more “traditional” stressors is limited. MPA managers are faced with high levels of uncertainty about likely outcomes of management actions because climate change impacts have strong interactions with existing stressors, such as land-based sources of pollution, overfishing and destructive fishing practices, invasive species, and diseases. Management options include ameliorating existing stressors, protecting potentially resilient areas, developing networks of MPAs, and integrating climate change into MPA planning, management, and evaluation

    AN SQL interface for Common Lisp

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