471 research outputs found

    Comprehensive Determination of 28 PFAS Compounds in Oyster Tissue: A QuEChERS Sample Preparation Coupled with UPLC-MS/MS

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    Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are known to bioaccumulate in aquatic organisms, such as shellfish, and have been linked to adverse human health outcomes. Increasing attention has been focused on method development for the detection of PFAS in various media; however, these methods are typically tedious, require high solvent volumes, and are time consuming. The present method used a Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged, and Safe (QuEChERS) extraction approach and analysis by ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS) to detect 28 PFAS in Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) tissue. This method was validated using limit of detection, limit of quantitation, and precision and accuracy studies. Limits of detection ranged from 0.2 to 5.8 ng g−1, limits of quantitation ranged from 0.66 to 19.2 ng g−1, and recoveries spanned 52.1–105.9% at the 100 ng mL−1 analyte level. Analysis of 12 unknown oyster composite samples revealed the detection of PFHxA, PFPeS, PFOA, PFHpA and PFOS and at least two compounds were detected in each oyster sample. This validated method proved to be an efficient and environmentally friendly sample preparation method for PFAS analysis in complex tissue media, such as oysters.</p

    The Species at Risk Act (2002) and transboundary species listings along the US-Canada border

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    This paper is a collaborative interdisciplinary examination of the scientific, political, and cultural determinants of the conservation status of mammal species that occur in both Canada and the USA. We read Canada’s Species at Risk Act as a document of bio-cultural nationalism circumscribed by the weak federalism and Crown–Indigenous relations of the nation’s constitution. We also provide a numerical comparison of at-risk species listings either side of the US–Canada border and examples of provincial/state listings in comparison with those at a federal level. We find 17 mammal species listed as at-risk in Canada as distinct from the USA, and only 6 transboundary species that have comparable levels of protection in both countries, and we consider several explanations for this asymmetry. We evaluate the concept of ‘jurisdictional rarity’, in which species are endangered only because a geopolitical boundary isolates a small population. The paper begins and ends with reflections on interdisciplinary collaboration, and our findings highlight the importance of considering and explicitly acknowledging political influences on science and conservation-decision making, including in the context of at-risk-species protection

    Using brain cell-type-specific protein interactomes to interpret neurodevelopmental genetic signals in schizophrenia

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    Summary: Genetics have nominated many schizophrenia risk genes and identified convergent signals between schizophrenia and neurodevelopmental disorders. However, functional interpretation of the nominated genes in the relevant brain cell types is often lacking. We executed interaction proteomics for six schizophrenia risk genes that have also been implicated in neurodevelopment in human induced cortical neurons. The resulting protein network is enriched for common variant risk of schizophrenia in Europeans and East Asians, is down-regulated in layer 5/6 cortical neurons of individuals affected by schizophrenia, and can complement fine-mapping and eQTL data to prioritize additional genes in GWAS loci. A sub-network centered on HCN1 is enriched for common variant risk and contains proteins (HCN4 and AKAP11) enriched for rare protein-truncating mutations in individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Our findings showcase brain cell-type-specific interactomes as an organizing framework to facilitate interpretation of genetic and transcriptomic data in schizophrenia and its related disorders

    Investigation of hospital discharge cases and SARS-CoV-2 introduction into Lothian care homes

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    Background The first epidemic wave of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) in Scotland resulted in high case numbers and mortality in care homes. In Lothian, over one-third of care homes reported an outbreak, while there was limited testing of hospital patients discharged to care homes. Aim To investigate patients discharged from hospitals as a source of SARS-CoV-2 introduction into care homes during the first epidemic wave. Methods A clinical review was performed for all patients discharges from hospitals to care homes from 1st March 2020 to 31st May 2020. Episodes were ruled out based on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) test history, clinical assessment at discharge, whole-genome sequencing (WGS) data and an infectious period of 14 days. Clinical samples were processed for WGS, and consensus genomes generated were used for analysis using Cluster Investigation and Virus Epidemiological Tool software. Patient timelines were obtained using electronic hospital records. Findings In total, 787 patients discharged from hospitals to care homes were identified. Of these, 776 (99%) were ruled out for subsequent introduction of SARS-CoV-2 into care homes. However, for 10 episodes, the results were inconclusive as there was low genomic diversity in consensus genomes or no sequencing data were available. Only one discharge episode had a genomic, time and location link to positive cases during hospital admission, leading to 10 positive cases in their care home. Conclusion The majority of patients discharged from hospitals were ruled out for introduction of SARS-CoV-2 into care homes, highlighting the importance of screening all new admissions when faced with a novel emerging virus and no available vaccine

    The impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns on wildlife-vehicle collisions in the UK

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    Wildlife–vehicle collisions (WVCs) cause millions of vertebrate mortalities globally, threatening population viability and influencing wildlife behaviour and survival. Traffic volume and speed can influence wildlife mortality on roads, but roadkill risk is species specific and depends on ecological traits. The COVID-19 pandemic, and associated UK-wide lockdowns, offered a unique opportunity to investigate how reducing traffic volume alters WVC. These periods of reduced human mobility have been coined the ‘anthropause’. We used the anthropause to identify which ecological traits may render species vulnerable to WVC. We did this by comparing the relative change in WVC of species with differing traits before and during the anthropause. We used Generalised Additive Model predictions to assess which of the 19 species most frequently observed as WVC in the UK exhibited changes in road mortality during two lockdown periods, March–May 2020 and December 2020–March 2021, relative to the same time periods in previous years (2014–2019). Compositional data analysis was used to identify ecological traits associated with changes in the relative number of observations during lockdown periods compared to previous years. WVC were, across all species, 80% lower during the anthropause than predicted. Compositional data analysis revealed proportionally fewer reports of nocturnal mammals, urban visitors, mammals with greater brain mass and birds with a longer flight initiation distance. Species that have several of these traits, and correspondingly significantly lower than predicted WVC during lockdowns, included badgers Meles meles, foxes Vulpes vulpes, and pheasants, Phasianus colchicus; we posit they stand to benefit most from reduced traffic, and, of the species studied here, have highest mortality under ‘normal’ traffic levels. This study identifies traits and species that may have experienced a temporary reprieve during the anthropause, and highlights the impacts of traffic-induced mortality on species numbers and ultimately on trait frequency in a road-dominated landscape. By taking advantage of reductions in traffic offered by the anthropause, we can understand how vehicles influence wildlife survival and behaviour and may be exerting a selective force for certain species and traits

    Prediction and projection of heatwaves

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    Heatwaves constitute a major threat to human health and ecosystems. Projected increases in heatwave frequency and severity thus lead to the need for prediction to enhance preparedness and minimize adverse impacts. In this Review, we document current capabilities for heatwave prediction at daily to decadal timescales and outline projected changes under anthropogenic warming. Various local and remote drivers and feedbacks influence heatwave development. On daily timescales, extratropical atmospheric blocking and global land–atmosphere coupling are most pertinent, and on subseasonal to seasonal timescales, soil moisture and ocean surface anomalies contribute. Knowledge of these drivers allows heatwaves to be skilfully predicted at daily to weekly lead times. Predictions are challenging beyond timescales of a few weeks, but tendencies for above-average temperatures can be estimated. Further into the future, heatwaves are anticipated to become more frequent, persistent and intense in nearly all inhabited regions, with trends amplified by soil drying in some areas, especially the mid-latitudes. There is also an increased occurrence of humid heatwaves, especially in southern Asia. A better understanding of the relevant drivers and their model representation, including atmospheric dynamics, atmospheric and soil moisture, and surface cover should be prioritized to improve heatwave prediction and projection.ISSN:2662-138

    Robust and prototypical immune responses toward COVID-19 vaccine in First Nations peoples are impacted by comorbidities

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    High-risk groups, including Indigenous people, are at risk of severe COVID-19. Here we found that Australian First Nations peoples elicit effective immune responses to COVID-19 BNT162b2 vaccination, including neutralizing antibodies, receptor-binding domain (RBD) antibodies, SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific B cells, and CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. In First Nations participants, RBD IgG antibody titers were correlated with body mass index and negatively correlated with age. Reduced RBD antibodies, spike-specific B cells and follicular helper T cells were found in vaccinated participants with chronic conditions (diabetes, renal disease) and were strongly associated with altered glycosylation of IgG and increased interleukin-18 levels in the plasma. These immune perturbations were also found in non-Indigenous people with comorbidities, indicating that they were related to comorbidities rather than ethnicity. However, our study is of a great importance to First Nations peoples who have disproportionate rates of chronic comorbidities and provides evidence of robust immune responses after COVID-19 vaccination in Indigenous people