45,497 research outputs found

    Globalisation and pollinators: pollinator declines are an economic threat to global food systems

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    1. Trade in animal-pollinated crops plays an important role in global food systems: in many low-income countries, export of pollinated crops such as coffee and cocoa plays a significant role in livelihoods, while food systems in many higher income nations depend on international trade in these crops to satisfy their local demands. Losses of pollination services therefore pose a significant risk to economies beyond the area directly affected. 2. Using a simple extension of a common economic model, we explore which countries are most affected by a loss of pollination services in three case study groups of 25 countries that are vulnerable to different risks: pesticide use, natural disasters and economic debts. 3. In all three cases, large, developed economies such as the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan, are estimated to suffer the greatest economic losses, even if pollinator losses only affect smaller, less-developed economies. 4. In cases where higher income countries are affected by pollinator losses, there is a significant shift in the value of global pollinated crop production towards other large, unaffected countries. 5. Our findings highlight the need for richer countries to invest in pollinator conservation beyond their own borders to maintain resilient food systems. We provide suggestions for further economic research to better understand and identify system vulnerabilities to pollinator losses

    RNA pull-down-confocal nanoscanning (RP-CONA), a novel method for studying RNA/protein interactions in cell extracts that detected potential drugs for Parkinson’s disease targeting RNA/HuR complexes

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    MicroRNAs (miRNAs, miRs) are a class of small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression through specific base-pair targeting. The functional mature miRNAs usually undergo a two-step cleavage from primary miRNAs (pri-miRs), then precursor miRNAs (pre-miRs). The biogenesis of miRNAs is tightly controlled by different RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). The dysregulation of miRNAs is closely related to a plethora of diseases. Targeting miRNA biogenesis is becoming a promising therapeutic strategy. HuR and MSI2 are both RBPs. MiR-7 is post-transcriptionally inhibited by the HuR/MSI2 complex, through a direct interaction between HuR and the conserved terminal loop (CTL) of pri-miR-7-1. Small molecules dissociating pri-miR-7/HuR interaction may induce miR-7 production. Importantly, the miR-7 levels are negatively correlated with Parkinson’s disease (PD). PD is a common, incurable neurodegenerative disease causing serious motor deficits. A hallmark of PD is the presence of Lewy bodies in the human brain, which are inclusion bodies mainly composed of an aberrantly aggregated protein named α-synuclein (α-syn). Decreasing α-syn levels or preventing α-syn aggregation are under investigation as PD treatments. Notably, α-syn is negatively regulated by several miRNAs, including miR-7, miR-153, miR-133b and others. One hypothesis is that elevating these miRNA levels can inhibit α-syn expression and ameliorate PD pathologies. In this project, we identified miR-7 as the most effective α-syn inhibitor, among the miRNAs that are downregulated in PD, and with α-syn targeting potentials. We also observed potential post-transcriptional inhibition on miR-153 biogenesis in neuroblastoma, which may help to uncover novel therapeutic targets towards PD. To identify miR-7 inducers that benefit PD treatment by repressing α-syn expression, we developed a novel technique RNA Pull-down Confocal Nanoscaning (RP-CONA) to monitor the binding events between pri-miR-7 and HuR. By attaching FITC-pri-miR-7-1-CTL-biotin to streptavidin-coated agarose beads and incubating them in human cultured cell lysates containing overexpressed mCherry-HuR, the bound RNA and protein can be visualised as quantifiable fluorescent rings in corresponding channels in a confocal high-content image system. A pri-miR-7/HuR inhibitor can decrease the relative mCherry/FITC intensity ratio in RP-CONA. With this technique, we performed several small-scale screenings and identified that a bioflavonoid, quercetin can largely dissociate the pri-miR-7/HuR interaction. Further studies proved that quercetin was an effective miR-7 inducer as well as α-syn inhibitor in HeLa cells. To understand the mechanism of quercetin mediated α-syn inhibition, we tested the effects of quercetin treatment with miR-7-1 and HuR knockout HeLa cells. We found that HuR was essential in this pathway, while miR-7 hardly contributed to the α-syn inhibition. HuR can directly bind an AU-rich element (ARE) at the 3’ untranslated region (3’-UTR) of α-syn mRNA and promote translation. We believe quercetin mainly disrupts the ARE/HuR interaction and disables the HuR-induced α-syn expression. In conclusion, we developed and optimised RP-CONA, an on-bead, lysate-based technique detecting RNA/protein interactions, as well as identifying RNA/protein modulators. With RP-CONA, we found quercetin inducing miR-7 biogenesis, and inhibiting α-syn expression. With these beneficial effects, quercetin has great potential to be applied in the clinic of PD treatment. Finally, RP-CONA can be used in many other RNA/protein interactions studies

    Desarrollo de materiales bioactivos con potencial aplicación odontológica mediante impregnación asistida por CO2 supercrítico

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    Tesis (DCI)--FCEFN-UNC, 2021En esta tesis se estudió el proceso de incorporación de eugenol en fibras de poliamida 6 (PA6) mediante la impregnación asistida por CO2 supercrítico para desarrollar un material con propiedades antimicrobianas con una potencial aplicación odontológica. Para este propósito, se construyó un equipo de alta presión en el que se llevaron a cabo múltiples ensayos de impregnación de eugenol y de sorción de CO2 en un hilo dental comercial de PA6 en distintas condiciones de presión y temperatura (40 – 60 °C y 8 – 12 MPa). Con el fin de encontrar las mejores condiciones del proceso de impregnación, se evaluó la influencia de diferentes variables operativas (presión, temperatura, tiempo de contacto y velocidad de despresurización) sobre la cantidad de eugenol impregnada en el material. Además, se estudiaron los principales fenómenos difusivos que ocurren en el proceso de impregnación del eugenol en condiciones supercríticas. Para ello, se hicieron ensayos de cinética de sorción del CO2 y del eugenol en PA6 a diferentes condiciones de presión y temperatura y se determinó el coeficiente de difusión aparente para ambas especies en este polímero. Por otra parte, se evaluaron las propiedades finales del material impregnado, analizando las propiedades mecánicas, térmicas y morfológicas del material original, presurizado con CO2 e impregnado con eugenol. Adicionalmente se evaluó la actividad antimicrobiana del material impregnado frente a dos bacterias comunes (Escherichia coli y Staphylococcus aureus). Asimismo, se estudió la migración del compuesto activo impregnado en aire y en saliva artificial, obteniendo datos importantes para el potencial desarrollo de un producto comercial, como la estimación de la vida útil, el tipo de envase, y tipo de aplicación del producto. Finalmente, se hizo un diseño y dimensionamiento de un proceso industrial para la impregnación de eugenol en bobinas de fibras de PA6 en CO2 supercrítico, a partir de los datos de eficiencia de impregnación y parámetros difusivos del hilo impregnado con eugenol previamente obtenidos, realizando el diseño de la bobina, el equipo impregnador y los cálculos de sus principales requerimientos de masa y energía.Fil: Mosquera Ruiz, José Euliser. Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales; Argentina.Fil: Mosquera Ruiz, José Euliser. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Instituto de Investigación y Desarrollo en Ingeniería de Procesos y Química Aplicada; Argentina

    What is the importance of sperm subpopulations?

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    .The study of sperm subpopulations spans three decades. The origin, meaning, and practical significance, however, are less clear. Current technology for assessing sperm morphology (CASA-Morph) and motility (CASA-Mot) has enabled the accurate evaluation of these features, and there are many options for data classification. Subpopulations could occur as a result of the stage of development of each spermatozoon in the subpopulation. Spermatogenesis might contribute to the production of these subpopulations. Insights from evolutionary biology and recent molecular research are indicative of the diversity among male gametes that could occur from unequal sharing of transcripts and other elements through cytoplasmic bridges between spermatids. Sperm cohorts exiting the gonads would contain different RNA and protein contents, affecting the spermatozoon physiology and associations with the surrounding environmental milieu. Subsequently, these differences could affect how spermatozoa interact with the environmental milieu (maturation, mixing with seminal plasma, and interacting with the environmental milieu, or female genital tract and female gamete). The emergence of sperm subpopulations as an outcome of evolution, related to the reproductive strategies of the species, genital tract structures, and copulatory and fertilization processes. This kind of approach in determining the importance of sperm subpopulations in fertilization capacity should have a practical impact for conducting reproductive technologies, inspiring and enabling new ways for the more efficient use of spermatozoa in the medical, animal breeding, and conservation fields. This manuscript is a contribution to the Special Issue in memory of Dr. Duane GarnerS

    Advantages of Ion Mobility Coupled with HPLC/UPLC

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    Ion mobility is a new separation technique that can be coupled with high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) or ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC). Variances in cross-sectional ionic areas of different molecules create differential speeds through a gas allowing for millisecond separations. Combining ion mobility with both liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry with fragmentation, separations can be achieved on the second (HPLC), millisecond (ion mobility), and microsecond (mass spectrometry) timescales. This orthogonal separation greatly cleans up mass spectral data of co-eluting peaks from the liquid chromatography and adds to the descriptive data of each ion. With descriptive data such as retention time, cross-sectional area, m/z ratio, and mass spectral fragmentation, many options become available for analytical analysis. Options ranging from descriptive data collation into instrument libraries to sensitivity enhancement for trace analysis will be explored in this chapter along with the description of different forms of ion mobility

    Enhancing Parkinson’s Disease Prediction Using Machine Learning and Feature Selection Methods

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    Several millions of people suffer from Parkinson’s disease globally. Parkinson’s affects about 1% of people over 60 and its symptoms increase with age. The voice may be affected and patients experience abnormalities in speech that might not be noticed by listeners, but which could be analyzed using recorded speech signals. With the huge advancements of technology, the medical data has increased dramatically, and therefore, there is a need to apply data mining and machine learning methods to extract new knowledge from this data. Several classification methods were used to analyze medical data sets and diagnostic problems, such as Parkinson’s Disease (PD). In addition, to improve the performance of classification, feature selection methods have been extensively used in many fields. This paper aims to propose a comprehensive approach to enhance the prediction of PD using several machine learning methods with different feature selection methods such as filter-based and wrapper-based. The dataset includes 240 recodes with 46 acoustic features extracted from 3 voice recording replications for 80 patients. The experimental results showed improvements when wrapper-based features selection method was used with KNN classifier with accuracy of 88.33%. The best obtained results were compared with other studies and it was found that this study provides comparable and superior results

    Walking with the Earth: Intercultural Perspectives on Ethics of Ecological Caring

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    It is commonly believed that considering nature different from us, human beings (qua rational, cultural, religious and social actors), is detrimental to our engagement for the preservation of nature. An obvious example is animal rights, a deep concern for all living beings, including non-human living creatures, which is understandable only if we approach nature, without fearing it, as something which should remain outside of our true home. “Walking with the earth” aims at questioning any similar preconceptions in the wide sense, including allegoric-poetic contributions. We invited 14 authors from 4 continents to express all sorts of ways of saying why caring is so important, why togetherness, being-with each others, as a spiritual but also embodied ethics is important in a divided world

    Unraveling the effect of sex on human genetic architecture

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    Sex is arguably the most important differentiating characteristic in most mammalian species, separating populations into different groups, with varying behaviors, morphologies, and physiologies based on their complement of sex chromosomes, amongst other factors. In humans, despite males and females sharing nearly identical genomes, there are differences between the sexes in complex traits and in the risk of a wide array of diseases. Sex provides the genome with a distinct hormonal milieu, differential gene expression, and environmental pressures arising from gender societal roles. This thus poses the possibility of observing gene by sex (GxS) interactions between the sexes that may contribute to some of the phenotypic differences observed. In recent years, there has been growing evidence of GxS, with common genetic variation presenting different effects on males and females. These studies have however been limited in regards to the number of traits studied and/or statistical power. Understanding sex differences in genetic architecture is of great importance as this could lead to improved understanding of potential differences in underlying biological pathways and disease etiology between the sexes and in turn help inform personalised treatments and precision medicine. In this thesis we provide insights into both the scope and mechanism of GxS across the genome of circa 450,000 individuals of European ancestry and 530 complex traits in the UK Biobank. We found small yet widespread differences in genetic architecture across traits through the calculation of sex-specific heritability, genetic correlations, and sex-stratified genome-wide association studies (GWAS). We further investigated whether sex-agnostic (non-stratified) efforts could potentially be missing information of interest, including sex-specific trait-relevant loci and increased phenotype prediction accuracies. Finally, we studied the potential functional role of sex differences in genetic architecture through sex biased expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) and gene-level analyses. Overall, this study marks a broad examination of the genetics of sex differences. Our findings parallel previous reports, suggesting the presence of sexual genetic heterogeneity across complex traits of generally modest magnitude. Furthermore, our results suggest the need to consider sex-stratified analyses in future studies in order to shed light into possible sex-specific molecular mechanisms
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