20 research outputs found

    Leveraging base-pair mammalian constraint to understand genetic variation and human disease

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    Thousands of genomic regions have been associated with heritable human diseases, but attempts to elucidate biological mechanisms are impeded by an inability to discern which genomic positions are functionally important. Evolutionary constraint is a powerful predictor of function, agnostic to cell type or disease mechanism. Single-base phyloP scores from 240 mammals identified 3.3% of the human genome as significantly constrained and likely functional. We compared phyloP scores to genome annotation, association studies, copy-number variation, clinical genetics findings, and cancer data. Constrained positions are enriched for variants that explain common disease heritability more than other functional annotations. Our results improve variant annotation but also highlight that the regulatory landscape of the human genome still needs to be further explored and linked to disease

    Site selection for European native oyster (Ostrea edulis) habitat restoration projects: An expert-derived consensus

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    International audienceThe European native oyster (Ostrea edulis) is a threatened keystone species which historically created extensive, physically complex, biogenic habitats throughout European seas.Overfishing and direct habitat destruction, subsequently compounded by pollution, invasive species, disease, predation and climate change have resulted in the functional extinction of native oyster habitat across much of its former range.Although oyster reef habitat remains imperilled, active restoration efforts are rapidly gaining momentum. Identifying appropriate sites for habitat restoration is an essential first step in long-term project success.In this study, a three-round Delphi process was conducted to determine the most important factors to consider in site selection for European native oyster habitat restoration projects.Consensus was reached on a total of 65 factors as being important to consider in site selection for European native oyster habitat restoration projects. In addition to the abiotic factors typically included in habitat suitability models, socio-economic and logistical factors were found to be important. Determining the temporal and spatial variability of threats to native oyster habitat restoration and understanding the biotic factors present at a proposed restoration site also influence the potential for project scale-up and longevity.This list guides site selection by identifying: a shortlist of measurable factors which should be considered; the relevant data to collect; topics for discussion in participatory mapping processes; information of interest from the existing body of local ecological knowledge; and factors underpinning supportive and facilitating regulatory frameworks

    m(6)A mRNA Methylation in the Mammalian Brain: Distribution, Function and Implications for Brain Functions

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    RNA is abundantly modified by a range of covalent modifications, collectively termed the epitranscriptome. Of these modifications, N-6-methyladenosine (m(6)A) is the most prevalent internal chemical tag in eukaryotic mRNA. Being cotranscriptionally deposited, it regulates almost all aspects of mRNA's lifetime including maturation into mRNA, stability, distribution and protein translation. While m(6)A is likely present in all developing and adult mammalian tissues, here we highlight its distribution and reported functions in the mammalian brain. Additionally, we describe its potential to act as an encoding mechanism for activity- and experience-dependent adaptation and memory-formation. Such alterations may be positive when adjusting to outer challenges or negative when involved in maladaptive processes of the brain such as in the development of psychopathologies. Consequently, studying this layer of gene expression control in the brain, alongside posttranslational regulation of proteins and epigenetics may inform us as to the molecular mechanisms underlying normal and pathological behaviors. Unfortunately, measuring m(6)A levels, patterns and especially dynamics still poses a major technological challenge especially in such a complicated organ as the brain

    Translating torts : a justice framework for transnational corporate harm

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    Defence date: 26 September 2015Examining Board: Professor Martin Scheinin, EUI (EUI Supervisor); Professor Stefan Grundmann, EUI; Professor Nicola M. C. P. JÀgers, Tilburg University; Professor Olivier De Schutter, Université catholique de Louvain.The struggle of defining transnational business actors and articulating their interaction with regulatory structures is a familiar one in many fields of study. Although the company is a creature of law, its legal personality is rarely congruent with the economic reality, and the extent to which it is bound by legal rules varies enormously. This thesis re-examines that struggle from a legal perspective. It surveys legal regulation of business actors at the domestic, international and transnational levels, and highlights the challenges globalization presents to the existing models, traditional and emerging alike. The picture which emerges is unsettling: by its very nature, transnational business destabilizes the equilibrium of the traditional legal structures. Legal rules developed based on the axiom of each legal person as a distinct legal unit, bound to the legal system in which it resides, struggle to meet their compensatory and regulatory aims when confronted with the diversification of modern business structures and the loss of single State control. Likewise, continuing development of international and transnational regulation risks perpetuating such problems by artificially restricting which areas of law apply in particular transnational spaces. Based on those observations, it is argued that a restatement of the law as it applies to transnational business is required. First, without denying the utility of specific legal definitions of the company or corporation in specific circumstances, it is proposed that transnational business be reconceptualized as a field, or vector, for normative conflict rather than as a monolithic entity. This recognizes the need and utility of specialized systems of regulation in particular spaces, while allowing for interaction with other rules which have a bearing on a given situation in concreto. Second, through an analysis of the interaction of law and global justice, it provides for a cosmopolitan re-centring of legal obligations between business actors and victims of corporate harm beyond a single nation-state. Third, this allows for the tentative sketching of a redefined, transnational conflict-of-norms framework to co-ordinate the competing justice aims in question while maintaining legal equilibrium on the transnational plane

    Towards social environmental justice ?

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    The original handle to Cadmus, the EUI research repository : http://hdl.handle.net/1814/20018This Working Paper is the result of a workshop held at the European University Institute in November 2010. At the heart of it lies a reflection on the potentialities of a new legal concept : social environmental justice. Building on the longstanding tradition of social justice and the more recent trend of environmental (or ecological) justice, our aim was to discuss how these two different dimensions of 'justice' overlap and could be reconciled in an all-encompassing notion. Moreover, we discussed the need for such a new concept in the light of the contemporary challenges of climate change and economic globalisation and focused especially on the concept's added value compared to the already existing notion of sustainable development. In addition to that, we explored the practical value of social environmental justice especially in the context of legal practice. This publication is a mirror of the different normative approaches (more social, more environmental, more holistic) one can adopt in dealing with problems such as climate change and globalization. Finally, it suggests different legal paths (Human rights, Private International Law, European Law) that could be taken in order to address these issues. Table of Contents : Social environmental justice : from the concept to reality / Antoine Duval and Marie-Ange Moreau -- Social environmental justice : the need for a new concept / Marie-Ange Moreau -- Sustainable development without social justice? / Dominic Roux and Marie-Claude Desjardins -- Sustainable development... without 'ecological' justice? / Sophie Lavallée -- Realising social environmental justice : human rights, sustainable development and possible ways forwards / Emmanuela Orlando -- Corporations and social environmental justice : the role of private international law / Claire Staath and Benedict Wray -- International human rights in an environmental horizon / Francesco Francion

    Materiality, symbol, and complexity in the anthropology of money

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    The invitation to review anthropological studies of money offers an opportunity not only to revisit the history of anthropologists' investigations into money's objects, meanings, and uses but also to reflect on the intersections of such work with recent psychological research. In this review essay, we survey the primary findings of the anthropology of money and the central challenges anthropological work has posed to assumptions about money's power to abstract, commensurate, dissolve social ties, and erase difference. We summarize anthropologists' historical concern with cultural difference and recent work on money's materialities, meanings, and complex uses. We emphasize the pragmatics of money-from earmarking practices and the use of multiple moneys to the politics of liquidity and fungibility. In the final section of the paper, we find inspiration in recent psychological studies of money to indicate new trajectories for inquiry. Specifically, we point to three potentially fruitful areas for research: money use as a tool and infrastructure; the politics of revealing and concealing money; and money's origins and futures as a memory device. We end with a brief reflection on ongoing monetary experiments and innovations

    Towards social environmental justice ?

    No full text
    The original handle to Cadmus, the EUI research repository : http://hdl.handle.net/1814/20018This Working Paper is the result of a workshop held at the European University Institute in November 2010. At the heart of it lies a reflection on the potentialities of a new legal concept : social environmental justice. Building on the longstanding tradition of social justice and the more recent trend of environmental (or ecological) justice, our aim was to discuss how these two different dimensions of 'justice' overlap and could be reconciled in an all-encompassing notion. Moreover, we discussed the need for such a new concept in the light of the contemporary challenges of climate change and economic globalisation and focused especially on the concept's added value compared to the already existing notion of sustainable development. In addition to that, we explored the practical value of social environmental justice especially in the context of legal practice. This publication is a mirror of the different normative approaches (more social, more environmental, more holistic) one can adopt in dealing with problems such as climate change and globalization. Finally, it suggests different legal paths (Human rights, Private International Law, European Law) that could be taken in order to address these issues. Table of Contents : Social environmental justice : from the concept to reality / Antoine Duval and Marie-Ange Moreau -- Social environmental justice : the need for a new concept / Marie-Ange Moreau -- Sustainable development without social justice? / Dominic Roux and Marie-Claude Desjardins -- Sustainable development... without 'ecological' justice? / Sophie Lavallée -- Realising social environmental justice : human rights, sustainable development and possible ways forwards / Emmanuela Orlando -- Corporations and social environmental justice : the role of private international law / Claire Staath and Benedict Wray -- International human rights in an environmental horizon / Francesco Francion

    False Extraterritoriality? Municipal and multinational jurisdiction over transnational corporations

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    This article analyses the tricky question of territoriality in respect of transnational corporations, arguing that there is a need to move away from the confines of traditional legal categories in cases where corporate actors are concerned. Nowhere are the problems arising from the separation between domestic and international regulation, and between private and public, thrown into such stark relief as in the case of conflict zones. With that in mind, we examine jurisdiction in public and private international law and criminal law against the backdrop of two well-known case studies: the involvement of corporations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the actions of Royal Dutch Shell in Nigeria. We ask whether domestic regulation or universal jurisdiction offer satisfactory solutions in cases such as these, and put forth an alternative solution based on functional economic, not territorial, criteria that better mirror the joint interest and involvement of states, companies and other actors in the operations of transnational corporations (‘TNCs’) across the globe. Thus, we argue, why not regulate based upon principle of ‘benefit-and-burden’ which would allow any interested state to assert jurisdiction in appropriate circumstances and avoid the impasse between oft en non-existent host-state regulation and home-state apathy. This is something we can already observe beginning in the criminal field, and given the intermingling of different legal norms where TNCs are concerned, is something that not only could, but should be clarified and extended

    Editorial

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