21 research outputs found

    Brazilian Flora 2020: Leveraging the power of a collaborative scientific network

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    International audienceThe shortage of reliable primary taxonomic data limits the description of biological taxa and the understanding of biodiversity patterns and processes, complicating biogeographical, ecological, and evolutionary studies. This deficit creates a significant taxonomic impediment to biodiversity research and conservation planning. The taxonomic impediment and the biodiversity crisis are widely recognized, highlighting the urgent need for reliable taxonomic data. Over the past decade, numerous countries worldwide have devoted considerable effort to Target 1 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC), which called for the preparation of a working list of all known plant species by 2010 and an online world Flora by 2020. Brazil is a megadiverse country, home to more of the world's known plant species than any other country. Despite that, Flora Brasiliensis, concluded in 1906, was the last comprehensive treatment of the Brazilian flora. The lack of accurate estimates of the number of species of algae, fungi, and plants occurring in Brazil contributes to the prevailing taxonomic impediment and delays progress towards the GSPC targets. Over the past 12‚ÄČyears, a legion of taxonomists motivated to meet Target 1 of the GSPC, worked together to gather and integrate knowledge on the algal, plant, and fungal diversity of Brazil. Overall, a team of about 980 taxonomists joined efforts in a highly collaborative project that used cybertaxonomy to prepare an updated Flora of Brazil, showing the power of scientific collaboration to reach ambitious goals. This paper presents an overview of the Brazilian Flora 2020 and provides taxonomic and spatial updates on the algae, fungi, and plants found in one of the world's most biodiverse countries. We further identify collection gaps and summarize future goals that extend beyond 2020. Our results show that Brazil is home to 46,975 native species of algae, fungi, and plants, of which 19,669 are endemic to the country. The data compiled to date suggests that the Atlantic Rainforest might be the most diverse Brazilian domain for all plant groups except gymnosperms, which are most diverse in the Amazon. However, scientific knowledge of Brazilian diversity is still unequally distributed, with the Atlantic Rainforest and the Cerrado being the most intensively sampled and studied biomes in the country. In times of ‚Äúscientific reductionism‚ÄĚ, with botanical and mycological sciences suffering pervasive depreciation in recent decades, the first online Flora of Brazil 2020 significantly enhanced the quality and quantity of taxonomic data available for algae, fungi, and plants from Brazil. This project also made all the information freely available online, providing a firm foundation for future research and for the management, conservation, and sustainable use of the Brazilian funga and flora

    Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (4th edition)

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    In 2008, we published the first set of guidelines for standardizing research in autophagy. Since then, this topic has received increasing attention, and many scientists have entered the field. Our knowledge base and relevant new technologies have also been expanding. Thus, it is important to formulate on a regular basis updated guidelines for monitoring autophagy in different organisms. Despite numerous reviews, there continues to be confusion regarding acceptable methods to evaluate autophagy, especially in multicellular eukaryotes. Here, we present a set of guidelines for investigators to select and interpret methods to examine autophagy and related processes, and for reviewers to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of reports that are focused on these processes. These guidelines are not meant to be a dogmatic set of rules, because the appropriateness of any assay largely depends on the question being asked and the system being used. Moreover, no individual assay is perfect for every situation, calling for the use of multiple techniques to properly monitor autophagy in each experimental setting. Finally, several core components of the autophagy machinery have been implicated in distinct autophagic processes (canonical and noncanonical autophagy), implying that genetic approaches to block autophagy should rely on targeting two or more autophagy-related genes that ideally participate in distinct steps of the pathway. Along similar lines, because multiple proteins involved in autophagy also regulate other cellular pathways including apoptosis, not all of them can be used as a specific marker for bona fide autophagic responses. Here, we critically discuss current methods of assessing autophagy and the information they can, or cannot, provide. Our ultimate goal is to encourage intellectual and technical innovation in the field