438 research outputs found

    An Action-Based Approach to Presence: Foundations and Methods

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    This chapter presents an action-based approach to presence. It starts by briefly describing the theoretical and empirical foundations of this approach, formalized into three key notions of place/space, action and mediation. In the light of these notions, some common assumptions about presence are then questioned: assuming a neat distinction between virtual and real environments, taking for granted the contours of the mediated environment and considering presence as a purely personal state. Some possible research topics opened up by adopting action as a unit of analysis are illustrated. Finally, a case study on driving as a form of mediated presence is discussed, to provocatively illustrate the flexibility of this approach as a unified framework for presence in digital and physical environment

    A Comparison of Phylogenetic Network Methods Using Computer Simulation

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    Background: We present a series of simulation studies that explore the relative performance of several phylogenetic network approaches (statistical parsimony, split decomposition, union of maximum parsimony trees, neighbor-net, simulated history recombination upper bound, median-joining, reduced median joining and minimum spanning network) compared to standard tree approaches, (neighbor-joining and maximum parsimony) in the presence and absence of recombination. Principal Findings: In the absence of recombination, all methods recovered the correct topology and branch lengths nearly all of the time when the substitution rate was low, except for minimum spanning networks, which did considerably worse. At a higher substitution rate, maximum parsimony and union of maximum parsimony trees were the most accurate. With recombination, the ability to infer the correct topology was halved for all methods and no method could accurately estimate branch lengths. Conclusions: Our results highlight the need for more accurate phylogenetic network methods and the importance of detecting and accounting for recombination in phylogenetic studies. Furthermore, we provide useful information for choosing a network algorithm and a framework in which to evaluate improvements to existing methods and nove

    Resurrection of an ancestral 5S rRNA

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>In addition to providing phylogenetic relationships, tree making procedures such as parsimony and maximum likelihood can make specific predictions of actual historical sequences. Resurrection of such sequences can be used to understand early events in evolution. In the case of RNA, the nature of parsimony is such that when applied to multiple RNA sequences it typically predicts ancestral sequences that satisfy the base pairing constraints associated with secondary structure. The case for such sequences being actual ancestors is greatly improved, if they can be shown to be biologically functional.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>A unique common ancestral sequence of 28 <it>Vibrio </it>5S ribosomal RNA sequences predicted by parsimony was resurrected and found to be functional in the context of the <it>E. coli </it>cellular environment. The functionality of various point variants and intermediates that were constructed as part of the resurrection were examined in detail. When separately introduced the changes at single stranded positions and individual double variants at base-paired positions were also viable. An additional double variant was examined at a different base-paired position and it was also valid.</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>The results show that at least in the case of the 5S rRNAs considered here, ancestors predicted by parsimony are likely to be realistic when the prediction is not overly influenced by single outliers. It is especially noteworthy that the phenotype of the predicted ancestors could be anticipated as a cumulative consequence of the phenotypes of the individual variants that comprised them. Thus, point mutation data is potentially useful in evaluating the reasonableness of ancestral sequences predicted by parsimony or other methods. The results also suggest that in the absence of significant tertiary structure constraints double variants that preserve pairing in stem regions will typically be accepted. Overall, the results suggest that it will be feasible to resurrect additional meaningful 5S rRNA ancestors as well as ancestral sequences of many different types of RNA.</p

    Distinct Origin of the Y and St Genome in Elymus Species: Evidence from the Analysis of a Large Sample of St Genome Species Using Two Nuclear Genes

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    Previous cytological and single copy nuclear genes data suggested the St and Y genome in the StY-genomic Elymus species originated from different donors: the St from a diploid species in Pseudoroegneria and the Y from an unknown diploid species, which are now extinct or undiscovered. However, ITS data suggested that the Y and St genome shared the same progenitor although rather few St genome species were studied. In a recent analysis of many samples of St genome species Pseudoroegneria spicata (Pursh) À. Löve suggested that one accession of P. spicata species was the most likely donor of the Y genome. The present study tested whether intraspecific variation during sampling could affect the outcome of analyses to determining the origin of Y genome in allotetraploid StY species. We also explored the evolutionary dynamics of these species.Two single copy nuclear genes, the second largest subunit of RNA polymerase II (RPB2) and the translation elongation factor G (EF-G) sequences from 58 accessions of Pseudoroegneria and Elymus species, together with those from Hordeum (H), Agropyron (P), Australopyrum (W), Lophopyrum (E(e)), Thinopyrum (E(a)), Thinopyrum (E(b)), and Dasypyrum (V) were analyzed using maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood and Bayesian methods. Sequence comparisons among all these genomes revealed that the St and Y genomes are relatively dissimilar. Extensive sequence variations have been detected not only between the sequences from St and Y genome, but also among the sequences from diploid St genome species. Phylogenetic analyses separated the Y sequences from the St sequences.Our results confirmed that St and Y genome in Elymus species have originated from different donors, and demonstrated that intraspecific variation does not affect the identification of genome origin in polyploids. Moreover, sequence data showed evidence to support the suggestion of the genome convergent evolution in allopolyploid StY genome species

    First Large-Scale DNA Barcoding Assessment of Reptiles in the Biodiversity Hotspot of Madagascar, Based on Newly Designed COI Primers

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    BACKGROUND: DNA barcoding of non-avian reptiles based on the cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene is still in a very early stage, mainly due to technical problems. Using a newly developed set of reptile-specific primers for COI we present the first comprehensive study targeting the entire reptile fauna of the fourth-largest island in the world, the biodiversity hotspot of Madagascar. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Representatives of the majority of Madagascan non-avian reptile species (including Squamata and Testudines) were sampled and successfully DNA barcoded. The new primer pair achieved a constantly high success rate (72.7-100%) for most squamates. More than 250 species of reptiles (out of the 393 described ones; representing around 64% of the known diversity of species) were barcoded. The average interspecific genetic distance within families ranged from a low of 13.4% in the Boidae to a high of 29.8% in the Gekkonidae. Using the average genetic divergence between sister species as a threshold, 41-48 new candidate (undescribed) species were identified. Simulations were used to evaluate the performance of DNA barcoding as a function of completeness of taxon sampling and fragment length. Compared with available multi-gene phylogenies, DNA barcoding correctly assigned most samples to species, genus and family with high confidence and the analysis of fewer taxa resulted in an increased number of well supported lineages. Shorter marker-lengths generally decreased the number of well supported nodes, but even mini-barcodes of 100 bp correctly assigned many samples to genus and family. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The new protocols might help to promote DNA barcoding of reptiles and the established library of reference DNA barcodes will facilitate the molecular identification of Madagascan reptiles. Our results might be useful to easily recognize undescribed diversity (i.e. novel taxa), to resolve taxonomic problems, and to monitor the international pet trade without specialized expert knowledge

    Molecular epidemiology of camel trypanosomiasis based on ITS1 rDNA and RoTat 1.2 VSG gene in the Sudan

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Internal transcribed spacer one (ITS1) of the ribosomal DNA is known to be a suitable target for PCR-based detection of trypanosomes. The analysis of this region provides a multi-species-specific diagnosis by a single PCR. Using ITS1 primer-based PCR, a cross sectional study was carried out in the period from September to November 2009 on samples collected from 687 camels from geographically distinct zones in the Sudan to detect all possible African trypanosomes, which can infect camels.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>The results showed that all PCR-positive camels were infected with a single parasite species; <it>Trypanosoma evansi</it>. The highest prevalence, 57.1% (117/205), was observed in the Butana plains of mid-Eastern Sudan and the lowest, 6.0% (4/67), was in the Umshadeeda eastern part of White Nile State. In another experiment, the RoTat 1.2 gene encoding the variable surface glycoprotein (VSG) of <it>T. evansi </it>was analyzed for its presence or absence by a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using <it>T. evansi </it>species-specific primers. The study showed that the RoTat 1.2 VSG gene was absent in thirteen out of thirty <it>T. evansi</it>-positive samples.</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>It is concluded that camel trypanosomiasis in Sudan is apparently caused by a single parasite species <it>T. evansi </it>and there were no other typanosomes species detected. In addition, the disease is highly prevalent in the country, which strengthens the need to change control policies and institute measures that help prevent the spread of the parasite. To our knowledge, this is the first molecular diagnosis report, which gives a picture of camel trypanosomiasis covering large geographical areas in Sudan.</p

    Refining transcriptional regulatory networks using network evolutionary models and gene histories

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Computational inference of transcriptional regulatory networks remains a challenging problem, in part due to the lack of strong network models. In this paper we present evolutionary approaches to improve the inference of regulatory networks for a family of organisms by developing an evolutionary model for these networks and taking advantage of established phylogenetic relationships among these organisms. In previous work, we used a simple evolutionary model and provided extensive simulation results showing that phylogenetic information, combined with such a model, could be used to gain significant improvements on the performance of current inference algorithms.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>In this paper, we extend the evolutionary model so as to take into account gene duplications and losses, which are viewed as major drivers in the evolution of regulatory networks. We show how to adapt our evolutionary approach to this new model and provide detailed simulation results, which show significant improvement on the reference network inference algorithms. Different evolutionary histories for gene duplications and losses are studied, showing that our adapted approach is feasible under a broad range of conditions. We also provide results on biological data (<it>cis</it>-regulatory modules for 12 species of <it>Drosophila</it>), confirming our simulation results.</p

    Taxonomic Reliability of DNA Sequences in Public Sequence Databases: A Fungal Perspective

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    BACKGROUND: DNA sequences are increasingly seen as one of the primary information sources for species identification in many organism groups. Such approaches, popularly known as barcoding, are underpinned by the assumption that the reference databases used for comparison are sufficiently complete and feature correctly and informatively annotated entries. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The present study uses a large set of fungal DNA sequences from the inclusive International Nucleotide Sequence Database to show that the taxon sampling of fungi is far from complete, that about 20% of the entries may be incorrectly identified to species level, and that the majority of entries lack descriptive and up-to-date annotations. CONCLUSIONS: The problems with taxonomic reliability and insufficient annotations in public DNA repositories form a tangible obstacle to sequence-based species identification, and it is manifest that the greatest challenges to biological barcoding will be of taxonomical, rather than technical, nature
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