949 research outputs found

    A complex pattern of post‐divergence expansion, contraction, introgression and asynchronous responses to Pleistocene climate changes in two Dipelta sister species from western China

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    The well-known vicariance and dispersal models dominate in understanding the allopatric pattern for related species and presume the simultaneous occurrence of speciation and biogeographic events. However, the formation of allopatry may postdate the species divergence. We examined this hypothesis using DNA sequence data from 3 chloroplast fragments and 5 nuclear loci of Dipelta floribunda and D. yunnanensis, two shrub species with the circum Sichuan Basin distribution, combining the climatic niche modeling approach. The best-fit model supported by the approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) analysis indicated that, D. floribunda and D. yunnanensis diverged during the mid-Pleistocene period, consistent with the largest glacial period in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP). The historically inter-specific gene flow was identified but seemed to have ceased after the last interglacial period (LIG), when the range of D. floribunda moved northward from the south of the Sichuan Basin. Further, populations of D. floribunda had expanded obviously in the north of the Sichuan Basin after the last glacial maximum (LGM). Relatively, the range of D. yunnanensis expanded before the LGM, reduced during the post-LGM especially in the north of the Sichuan Basin, reflecting the asynchronous responses of related species to the contemporary climate changes. Our results suggested that complex topography should be considered in understanding the distributional patterns even for closely related species and their demographic responses

    Finding Your Mate at a Cocktail Party: Frequency Separation Promotes Auditory Stream Segregation of Concurrent Voices in Multi-Species Frog Choruses

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    Vocal communication in crowded social environments is a difficult problem for both humans and nonhuman animals. Yet many important social behaviors require listeners to detect, recognize, and discriminate among signals in a complex acoustic milieu comprising the overlapping signals of multiple individuals, often of multiple species. Humans exploit a relatively small number of acoustic cues to segregate overlapping voices (as well as other mixtures of concurrent sounds, like polyphonic music). By comparison, we know little about how nonhuman animals are adapted to solve similar communication problems. One important cue enabling source segregation in human speech communication is that of frequency separation between concurrent voices: differences in frequency promote perceptual segregation of overlapping voices into separate “auditory streams” that can be followed through time. In this study, we show that frequency separation (ΔF) also enables frogs to segregate concurrent vocalizations, such as those routinely encountered in mixed-species breeding choruses. We presented female gray treefrogs (Hyla chrysoscelis) with a pulsed target signal (simulating an attractive conspecific call) in the presence of a continuous stream of distractor pulses (simulating an overlapping, unattractive heterospecific call). When the ΔF between target and distractor was small (e.g., ≤3 semitones), females exhibited low levels of responsiveness, indicating a failure to recognize the target as an attractive signal when the distractor had a similar frequency. Subjects became increasingly more responsive to the target, as indicated by shorter latencies for phonotaxis, as the ΔF between target and distractor increased (e.g., ΔF = 6–12 semitones). These results support the conclusion that gray treefrogs, like humans, can exploit frequency separation as a perceptual cue to segregate concurrent voices in noisy social environments. The ability of these frogs to segregate concurrent voices based on frequency separation may involve ancient hearing mechanisms for source segregation shared with humans and other vertebrates

    High genetic diversity at the extreme range edge: nucleotide variation at nuclear loci in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) in Scotland

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    Nucleotide polymorphism at 12 nuclear loci was studied in Scots pine populations across an environmental gradient in Scotland, to evaluate the impacts of demographic history and selection on genetic diversity. At eight loci, diversity patterns were compared between Scottish and continental European populations. At these loci, a similar level of diversity (θsil=~0.01) was found in Scottish vs mainland European populations, contrary to expectations for recent colonization, however, less rapid decay of linkage disequilibrium was observed in the former (ρ=0.0086±0.0009, ρ=0.0245±0.0022, respectively). Scottish populations also showed a deficit of rare nucleotide variants (multi-locus Tajima's D=0.316 vs D=−0.379) and differed significantly from mainland populations in allelic frequency and/or haplotype structure at several loci. Within Scotland, western populations showed slightly reduced nucleotide diversity (πtot=0.0068) compared with those from the south and east (0.0079 and 0.0083, respectively) and about three times higher recombination to diversity ratio (ρ/θ=0.71 vs 0.15 and 0.18, respectively). By comparison with results from coalescent simulations, the observed allelic frequency spectrum in the western populations was compatible with a relatively recent bottleneck (0.00175 × 4Ne generations) that reduced the population to about 2% of the present size. However, heterogeneity in the allelic frequency distribution among geographical regions in Scotland suggests that subsequent admixture of populations with different demographic histories may also have played a role

    Strong signature of natural selection within an FHIT intron implicated in prostate cancer risk

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    Previously, a candidate gene linkage approach on brother pairs affected with prostate cancer identified a locus of prostate cancer susceptibility at D3S1234 within the fragile histidine triad gene (FHIT), a tumor suppressor that induces apoptosis. Subsequent association tests on 16 SNPs spanning approximately 381 kb surrounding D3S1234 in Americans of European descent revealed significant evidence of association for a single SNP within intron 5 of FHIT. In the current study, resequencing and genotyping within a 28.5 kb region surrounding this SNP further delineated the association with prostate cancer risk to a 15 kb region. Multiple SNPs in sequences under evolutionary constraint within intron 5 of FHIT defined several related haplotypes with an increased risk of prostate cancer in European-Americans. Strong associations were detected for a risk haplotype defined by SNPs 138543, 142413, and 152494 in all cases (Pearson's χ2 = 12.34, df 1, P = 0.00045) and for the homozygous risk haplotype defined by SNPs 144716, 142413, and 148444 in cases that shared 2 alleles identical by descent with their affected brothers (Pearson's χ2 = 11.50, df 1, P = 0.00070). In addition to highly conserved sequences encompassing SNPs 148444 and 152413, population studies revealed strong signatures of natural selection for a 1 kb window covering the SNP 144716 in two human populations, the European American (π = 0.0072, Tajima's D= 3.31, 14 SNPs) and the Japanese (π = 0.0049, Fay & Wu's H = 8.05, 14 SNPs), as well as in chimpanzees (Fay & Wu's H = 8.62, 12 SNPs). These results strongly support the involvement of the FHIT intronic region in an increased risk of prostate cancer. © 2008 Ding et al

    Insertion of heterometals into the NifEN-associated iron–molybdenum cofactor precursor

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    The cofactors of Mo-, V-, Fe-dependent nitrogenases are believed to be highly homologous in structure despite the different types of heterometals (Mo, V, and Fe) they contain. Previously, a precursor form of the FeMo cofactor (FeMoco) was captured on NifEN, a scaffold protein for FeMoco biosynthesis. This all-Fe precursor closely resembles the Fe/S core structure of the FeMoco and, therefore, could reasonably serve as a precursor for all nitrogenase cofactors. Here, we report the heterologous incorporation of V and Fe into the NifEN-associated FeMoco precursor. EPR and activity analyses indicate that V and Fe can be inserted at much reduced efficiencies compared with Mo, and incorporation of both V and Fe is enhanced in the presence of homocitrate. Further, native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis experiments suggest that NifEN undergoes a significant conformational rearrangement upon metal insertion, which allows the subsequent NifEN–MoFe protein interactions and the transfer of the cofactor between the two proteins. The combined outcome of these in vitro studies leads to the proposal of a selective mechanism that is utilized in vivo to maintain the specificity of heterometals in nitrogenase cofactors, which is likely accomplished through the redox regulation of metal mobilization by different Fe proteins (encoded by nifH, vnfH, and anfH, respectively), as well as the differential interactions between these Fe proteins and their respective scaffold proteins (NifEN and VnfEN) in the Mo-, V-, and Fe-dependent nitrogenase systems

    Incipient Balancing Selection through Adaptive Loss of Aquaporins in Natural Saccharomyces cerevisiae Populations

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    A major goal in evolutionary biology is to understand how adaptive evolution has influenced natural variation, but identifying loci subject to positive selection has been a challenge. Here we present the adaptive loss of a pair of paralogous genes in specific Saccharomyces cerevisiae subpopulations. We mapped natural variation in freeze-thaw tolerance to two water transporters, AQY1 and AQY2, previously implicated in freeze-thaw survival. However, whereas freeze-thaw–tolerant strains harbor functional aquaporin genes, the set of sensitive strains lost aquaporin function at least 6 independent times. Several genomic signatures at AQY1 and/or AQY2 reveal low variation surrounding these loci within strains of the same haplotype, but high variation between strain groups. This is consistent with recent adaptive loss of aquaporins in subgroups of strains, leading to incipient balancing selection. We show that, although aquaporins are critical for surviving freeze-thaw stress, loss of both genes provides a major fitness advantage on high-sugar substrates common to many strains' natural niche. Strikingly, strains with non-functional alleles have also lost the ancestral requirement for aquaporins during spore formation. Thus, the antagonistic effect of aquaporin function—providing an advantage in freeze-thaw tolerance but a fitness defect for growth in high-sugar environments—contributes to the maintenance of both functional and nonfunctional alleles in S. cerevisiae. This work also shows that gene loss through multiple missense and nonsense mutations, hallmarks of pseudogenization presumed to emerge after loss of constraint, can arise through positive selection

    A Catalog of Neutral and Deleterious Polymorphism in Yeast

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    The abundance and identity of functional variation segregating in natural populations is paramount to dissecting the molecular basis of quantitative traits as well as human genetic diseases. Genome sequencing of multiple organisms of the same species provides an efficient means of cataloging rearrangements, insertion, or deletion polymorphisms (InDels) and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). While inbreeding depression and heterosis imply that a substantial amount of polymorphism is deleterious, distinguishing deleterious from neutral polymorphism remains a significant challenge. To identify deleterious and neutral DNA sequence variation within Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we sequenced the genome of a vineyard and oak tree strain and compared them to a reference genome. Among these three strains, 6% of the genome is variable, mostly attributable to variation in genome content that results from large InDels. Out of the 88,000 polymorphisms identified, 93% are SNPs and a small but significant fraction can be attributed to recent interspecific introgression and ectopic gene conversion. In comparison to the reference genome, there is substantial evidence for functional variation in gene content and structure that results from large InDels, frame-shifts, and polymorphic start and stop codons. Comparison of polymorphism to divergence reveals scant evidence for positive selection but an abundance of evidence for deleterious SNPs. We estimate that 12% of coding and 7% of noncoding SNPs are deleterious. Based on divergence among 11 yeast species, we identified 1,666 nonsynonymous SNPs that disrupt conserved amino acids and 1,863 noncoding SNPs that disrupt conserved noncoding motifs. The deleterious coding SNPs include those known to affect quantitative traits, and a subset of the deleterious noncoding SNPs occurs in the promoters of genes that show allele-specific expression, implying that some cis-regulatory SNPs are deleterious. Our results show that the genome sequences of both closely and distantly related species provide a means of identifying deleterious polymorphisms that disrupt functionally conserved coding and noncoding sequences

    Composite likelihood estimation of demographic parameters

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    which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Background: Most existing likelihood-based methods for fitting historical demographic models to DNA sequence polymorphism data to do not scale feasibly up to the level of whole-genome data sets. Computational economies can be achieved by incorporating two forms of pseudo-likelihood: composite and approximate likelihood methods. Composite likelihood enables scaling up to large data sets because it takes the product of marginal likelihoods as an estimator of the likelihood of the complete data set. This approach is especially useful when a large number of genomic regions constitutes the data set. Additionally, approximate likelihood methods can reduce the dimensionality of the data by summarizing the information in the original data by either a sufficient statistic, or a set of statistics. Both composite and approximate likelihood methods hold promise for analyzing large data sets or for use in situations where the underlying demographic model is complex and has many parameters. This paper considers a simple demographic model of allopatric divergence between two populations, in which one of the population is hypothesized to have experienced a founder event, or population bottleneck. A large resequencing data set from human populations is summarized by the joint frequency spectrum, which is a matrix of the genomic frequency spectrum of derived base frequencies in two populations. A Bayesia

    Reactions to treatment debriefing among the participants of a placebo controlled trial

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    BACKGROUND: A significant proportion of trial participants respond to placebos for a variety of conditions. Despite the common conduct of these trials and the strong emphasis placed on informed consent, very little is known about informing participants about their individual treatment allocation at trial closure. This study aims to address this gap in the literature by exploring treatment beliefs and reactions to feedback about treatment allocation in the participants of a placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial (RCT). METHODS: Survey of trial participants using a semi-structured questionnaire including close and open-ended questions administered as telephone interviews and postal questionnaires. Trial participants were enrolled in a double-blind placebo-controlled RCT evaluating the effectiveness of corticosteroid for heel pain (ISRCTN36539116). The trial had closed and participants remained blind to treatment allocation. We assessed treatment expectations, the percentage of participants who wanted to be informed about their treatment allocation, their ability to guess and reactions to debriefing. RESULTS: Forty-six (73%) contactable participants responded to our survey. Forty-two were eligible (four participants with bilateral disease were excluded as they had received both treatments). Most (79%) participants did not have any expectations prior to receiving treatment, but many 'hoped' that something would help. Reasons for not having high expectations included the experimental nature of their care and possibility that they may get a placebo. Participants were hopeful because their pain was so severe and because they trusted the staff and services. Most (83%) wanted to be informed about their treatment allocation and study results. Over half (55%) said they could not guess which treatment they had been randomized to, and many of those who attempted a guess were incorrect. Reactions to treatment debriefing were generally positive, including in placebo responders. CONCLUSION: Our study suggests that most trial participants want to be informed about their treatment allocation and trial results. Further research is required to develop measure of hope and expectancy and to rigorously evaluate the effects of debriefing prospectively

    The African Cichlid Fish Astatotilapia burtoni Uses Acoustic Communication for Reproduction: Sound Production, Hearing, and Behavioral Significance

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    Sexual reproduction in all animals depends on effective communication between signalers and receivers. Many fish species, especially the African cichlids, are well known for their bright coloration and the importance of visual signaling during courtship and mate choice, but little is known about what role acoustic communication plays during mating and how it contributes to sexual selection in this phenotypically diverse group of vertebrates. Here we examined acoustic communication during reproduction in the social cichlid fish, Astatotilapia burtoni. We characterized the sounds and associated behaviors produced by dominant males during courtship, tested for differences in hearing ability associated with female reproductive state and male social status, and then tested the hypothesis that female mate preference is influenced by male sound production. We show that dominant males produce intentional courtship sounds in close proximity to females, and that sounds are spectrally similar to their hearing abilities. Females were 2–5-fold more sensitive to low frequency sounds in the spectral range of male courtship sounds when they were sexually-receptive compared to during the mouthbrooding parental phase. Hearing thresholds were also negatively correlated with circulating sex-steroid levels in females but positively correlated in males, suggesting a potential role for steroids in reproductive-state auditory plasticity. Behavioral experiments showed that receptive females preferred to affiliate with males that were associated with playback of courtship sounds compared to noise controls, indicating that acoustic information is likely important for female mate choice. These data show for the first time in a Tanganyikan cichlid that acoustic communication is important during reproduction as part of a multimodal signaling repertoire, and that perception of auditory information changes depending on the animal's internal physiological state. Our results highlight the importance of examining non-visual sensory modalities as potential substrates for sexual selection contributing to the incredible phenotypic diversity of African cichlid fishes
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