63 research outputs found

    Experimental Ambiguity

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    The first case of gynandromorphy in Centris pallida (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Centridini)

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    A case of gynandromorphy is reported for the first time for Centris pallida Fox, a bee species found predominantly in the deserts of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. This specimen marks only the second report of a gynandromorph within the tribe of oil-collecting bees, Centridini, and the first Centris Fabricius. The specimen exhibits mosaic gynandromorphy, with male and female characteristics randomly distributed throughout the body. Males of C. pallida are morphologically and behaviorally dimorphic (a large and a small male morph), and the male characteristics of the gynandromorph are more similar to the large male morph, which is also most similar in head width to the specimen

    Sugar Maple Poems

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    Informing policy and practice on insect pollinator declines: Tensions between conservation and animal welfare

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    Climate change, agricultural intensification, and other anthropogenic ecosystem challenges have caused declines in the diversity and abundance of insect pollinators. In response to these declines, entomologists have called for greater attention to insect pollinator conservation. Conservation primarily aims to protect groups of non-human animals—populations or species—with only secondary concern for the welfare of individual animals. While conservation and animal welfare goals are sometimes aligned, they often are not. And because animal welfare comes second, it tends to be sacrificed when in tension with conversation priorities. Consider, for example, lethal sampling to monitor many pollinator populations. Growing evidence suggests that the welfare of individual insect pollinators may be morally significant, particularly in the Hymenoptera and Diptera. Considering insect welfare in conservation practices and policies presents many challenges as, in the face of rapid, anthropogenic change, it may be impossible to avoid harming individual animals while promoting diverse populations. We suggest some practical, implementable strategies that can allow for more robust integration of animal welfare goals into insect pollinator conservation. By following these strategies, entomologists may be able to find policies and practices that promote the health of ecosystems and the individual animals within them

    Expressions 2017

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    Learning-based Calibration of Flux Crosstalk in Transmon Qubit Arrays

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    Superconducting quantum processors comprising flux-tunable data and coupler qubits are a promising platform for quantum computation. However, magnetic flux crosstalk between the flux-control lines and the constituent qubits impedes precision control of qubit frequencies, presenting a challenge to scaling this platform. In order to implement high-fidelity digital and analog quantum operations, one must characterize the flux crosstalk and compensate for it. In this work, we introduce a learning-based calibration protocol and demonstrate its experimental performance by calibrating an array of 16 flux-tunable transmon qubits. To demonstrate the extensibility of our protocol, we simulate the crosstalk matrix learning procedure for larger arrays of transmon qubits. We observe an empirically linear scaling with system size, while maintaining a median qubit frequency error below 300300 kHz

    Kynurenine Inhibits Autophagy and Promotes Senescence in Aged Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells Through the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Pathway

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    Osteoporosis is an age-related deterioration in bone health that is, at least in part, a stem cell disease. The different mechanisms and signaling pathways that change with age and contribute to the development of osteoporosis are being identified. One key upstream mechanism that appears to target a number of osteogenic pathways with age is kynurenine, a tryptophan metabolite and an endogenous Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) agonist. The AhR signaling pathway has been reported to promote aging phenotypes across species and in different tissues. We previously found that kynurenine accumulates with age in the plasma and various tissues including bone and induces bone loss and osteoporosis in mice. Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) are responsible for osteogenesis, adipogenesis, and overall bone regeneration. In the present study, we investigated the effect of kynurenine on BMSCs, with a focus on autophagy and senescence as two cellular processes that control BMSCs proliferation and differentiation capacity. We found that physiological levels of kynurenine (10 and 100 μM) disrupted autophagic flux as evidenced by the reduction of LC3B-II, and autophagolysosomal production, as well as a significant increase of p62 protein level. Additionally, Kynurenine also induced a senescent phenotype in BMSCs as shown by the increased expression of several senescence markers including senescence associated β-galactosidase in BMSCs. Additionally, western blotting reveals that levels of p21, another marker of senescence, also increased in kynurenine-treated BMSCs, while senescent-associated aggregation of nuclear H3K9me3 also showed a significant increase in response to kynurenine treatment. To validate that these effects are in fact due to AhR signaling pathway, we utilized two known AhR antagonists: CH-223191, and 3’,4’-Dimethoxyflavone to try to block AhR signaling and rescue kynurenine/AhR mediated effects. Indeed, AhR inhibition restored kynurenine-suppressed autophagy levels as shown by levels of LC3B-II, p62 and autophagolysosomal formation demonstrating a rescuing of autophagic flux. Furthermore, inhibition of AhR signaling prevented the kynurenine-induced increase in senescence associated β-galactosidase and p21 levels, as well as blocking aggregation of nuclear H3K9me3. Taken together, our results suggest that kynurenine inhibits autophagy and induces senescence in BMSCs via AhR signaling, and that this may be a novel target to prevent or reduce age-associated bone loss and osteoporosis

    The Role of Wastewater Testing for SARS-CoV-2 Surveillance

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    Wastewater testing for SARS-CoV-2 is relatively new; however, it builds on existing public health surveillance infrastructure. There is a limited but growing evidence base for its use, despite notable interpretation challenges. Wastewater testing results have helped to inform public health policy and interventions during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario and other jurisdictions. Wastewater testing for SARS-CoV-2 is useful for early detection of outbreaks and surges as well as population-wide surveillance of COVID-19 that is complementary to clinical testing. Further, it offers an efficient means of SARS-CoV-2 surveillance for specific settings such as correctional facilities, shelters, and university residences. Wastewater testing can also be used for the detection and monitoring of variants of concern (VOCs)

    Safety and Tolerability of SRX246, a Vasopressin 1a Antagonist, in Irritable Huntington\u27s Disease Patients-A Randomized Phase 2 Clinical Trial.

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    SRX246 is a vasopressin (AVP) 1a receptor antagonist that crosses the blood-brain barrier. It reduced impulsive aggression, fear, depression and anxiety in animal models, blocked the actions of intranasal AVP on aggression/fear circuits in an experimental medicine fMRI study and demonstrated excellent safety in Phase 1 multiple-ascending dose clinical trials. The present study was a 3-arm, multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, 12-week, dose escalation study of SRX246 in early symptomatic Huntington\u27s disease (HD) patients with irritability. Our goal was to determine whether SRX246 was safe and well tolerated in these HD patients given its potential use for the treatment of problematic neuropsychiatric symptoms. Participants were randomized to receive placebo or to escalate to 120 mg twice daily or 160 mg twice daily doses of SRX246. Assessments included standard safety tests, the Unified Huntington\u27s Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS), and exploratory measures of problem behaviors. The groups had comparable demographics, features of HD and baseline irritability. Eighty-two out of 106 subjects randomized completed the trial on their assigned dose of drug. One-sided exact-method confidence interval tests were used to reject the null hypothesis of inferior tolerability or safety for each dose group vs. placebo. Apathy and suicidality were not affected by SRX246. Most adverse events in the active arms were considered unlikely to be related to SRX246. The compound was safe and well tolerated in HD patients and can be moved forward as a candidate to treat irritability and aggression

    Oxamniquine resistance alleles are widespread in Old World Schistosoma mansoni and predate drug deployment

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    Do mutations required for adaptation occur de novo, or are they segregating within populations as standing genetic variation? This question is key to understanding adaptive change in nature, and has important practical consequences for the evolution of drug resistance. We provide evidence that alleles conferring resistance to oxamniquine (OXA), an antischistosomal drug, are widespread in natural parasite populations under minimal drug pressure and predate OXA deployment. OXA has been used since the 1970s to treat Schistosoma mansoni infections in the New World where S. mansoni established during the slave trade. Recessive loss-of-function mutations within a parasite sulfotransferase (SmSULT-OR) underlie resistance, and several verified resistance mutations, including a deletion (p.E142del), have been identified in the New World. Here we investigate sequence variation in SmSULT-OR in S. mansoni from the Old World, where OXA has seen minimal usage. We sequenced exomes of 204 S. mansoni parasites from West Africa, East Africa and the Middle East, and scored variants in SmSULT-OR and flanking regions. We identified 39 non-synonymous SNPs, 4 deletions, 1 duplication and 1 premature stop codon in the SmSULT-OR coding sequence, including one confirmed resistance deletion (p.E142del). We expressed recombinant proteins and used an in vitro OXA activation assay to functionally validate the OXA-resistance phenotype for four predicted OXA-resistance mutations. Three aspects of the data are of particular interest: (i) segregating OXA-resistance alleles are widespread in Old World populations (4.29–14.91% frequency), despite minimal OXA usage, (ii) two OXA-resistance mutations (p.W120R, p.N171IfsX28) are particularly common (>5%) in East African and Middle-Eastern populations, (iii) the p.E142del allele has identical flanking SNPs in both West Africa and Puerto Rico, suggesting that parasites bearing this allele colonized the New World during the slave trade and therefore predate OXA deployment. We conclude that standing variation for OXA resistance is widespread in S. mansoni
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