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22 Jan 2021 at 01:36
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Bibliography on: Corvids (crows, jays, etc)


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RJR: Recommended Bibliography 22 Jan 2021 at 01:36 Created: 

Corvids (crows, jays, etc)

Wikipedia: Corvidae (crows, jays, etc) is a cosmopolitan family of oscine passerine birds that contains the crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies, choughs, and nutcrackers. In common English, they are known as the crow family, or, more technically, corvids. Over 120 species are described. The genus Corvus, including the jackdaws, crows, rooks, and ravens, makes up over a third of the entire family. Corvids display remarkable intelligence for animals of their size and are among the most intelligent birds thus far studied. Specifically, members of the family have demonstrated self-awareness in mirror tests (European magpies) and tool-making ability (crows, rooks), skills which until recently were thought to be possessed only by humans and a few other higher mammals. Their total brain-to-body mass ratio is equal to that of great apes and cetaceans, and only slightly lower than in humans. They are medium to large in size, with strong feet and bills, rictal bristles, and a single moult each year (most passerines moult twice). Corvids are found worldwide except for the tip of South America and the polar ice caps. The majority of the species are found in tropical South and Central America, southern Asia and Eurasia, with fewer than 10 species each in Africa and Australasia. The genus Corvus has re-entered Australia in relatively recent geological prehistory, with five species and one subspecies there. Several species of raven have reached oceanic islands, and some of these species are now highly threatened with extinction or have already gone extinct.

Created with PubMed® Query: (corvus[TIAB] OR corvid[TIAB] OR OR corvids[TIAB] OR corvidae[TIAB] OR crow[TIAB] OR crows[TIAB] OR raven[TIAB] OR ravens[TIAB] OR jay[TIAB] OR jays[TIAB] OR magpie[TIAB] OR magpies[TIAB] OR jackdaw[TIAB] OR jackdaws[TIAB]) NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2021-01-21

Kersten Y, Friedrich-Müller B, A Nieder (2021)

A histological study of the song system of the carrion crow (Corvus corone).

The Journal of comparative neurology [Epub ahead of print].

The song system of songbirds (oscines) is one of the best studied neuroethological model systems. So far, it has been treated as a relatively constrained sensorimotor system. Some songbirds, however, are also known for their capability to cognitively control their audio-vocal system. Yet, the neuroanatomy of the corvid song system has never been explored systematically. We aim to close this scientific gap by presenting a stereotactic investigation of the extended song system of the carrion crow (Corvus corone), an oscine songbird of the corvid family that has become an interesting model system for cognitive neuroscience. In order to identify and delineate the song nuclei, the ascending auditory nuclei, and the descending vocal-motor nuclei, four stains were applied. In addition to the classical Nissl-, myelin-, and a combination of Nissl-and-myelin staining, staining for tyrosine hydroxylase was used to reveal the distribution of catecholaminergic neurons (dopaminergic, noradrenergic, and adrenergic) in the song system. We show that the crow brain contains the important song-related nuclei, including auditory input and motor output structures, and map them throughout the brain. Fiber-stained sections reveal putative connection patterns between the crow's song nuclei comparable to other songbirds. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2021-01-21

Liu R, Chen R, Liu J, et al (2018)

Complete mitochondrial genome of Urocissa erythroryncha (Passeriformes: Corvidae).

Mitochondrial DNA. Part B, Resources, 3(2):691-692 pii:1481782.

The complete mitochondrial genome of Urocissa erythroryncha is 16930 bp in length. It was predicted to contain 13 PCGs, 22 tRNA genes, and 2 rRNA genes, and a putative control region. All of the PCGs initiated with ATG, except for MT-COX1 which began with GTG and MT-ND3 began with ATA, while stopped by three types of stop codons. Phylogenetic analysis showed that Urocissa erythroryncha and the other species of Corvidae were monophyletic group in this study. And the monophyly of the genus Pyrrhocorax was strongly supported. Moreover, our results also support a sister-group relationship between Corvidae and Muscicapidae.

RevDate: 2021-01-21

Hsieh HI, Hou HY, Chang RX, et al (2018)

Complete mitochondrial genome sequence for the Taiwan Blue Magpie Urocissa caerulea (Passeriformes: Corvidae).

Mitochondrial DNA. Part B, Resources, 3(2):665-667 pii:1481778.

Taiwan Blue Magpie (Urocissa caerulea) is endemic to Taiwan and listed as threatened species protected by law. In this study, we first determined and described the complete mitochondrial genome of Taiwan Blue Magpie. The circle genome is 16,928 bp in length, and contains 13 protein coding, 22 tRNA, two rRNA genes, and one non-coding control region (CR). The overall base composition of the mitochondrial DNA is 30.99% for A, 24.69% for T, 30.07% for C, and 14.25% for G. The percentage of G + C content is 44.32%. This work provides fundamental molecular data which will be useful for evolution and phylogeny studies on Corvidae in the future.

RevDate: 2021-01-21

Sarker S, Helbig K, SR Raidal (2017)

The first complete mitochondrial genome sequence of an Australian raven (Corvus coronoides).

Mitochondrial DNA. Part B, Resources, 2(2):473-474 pii:1361365.

Here, we report the complete mitochondrial genome of an Australian raven (Corvus coronoides). The mitogenome of C. coronoides was characterised as a circular molecule of 16,925 bp in length encoding a typically conserved structure similar to those of other Corvidae. It consisted of 13 protein-coding genes (PCGs), two rRNA genes, and 22 tRNA genes, with all protein-coding sequences commencing with methionine. The lengths of 12S ribosomal RNA and 16S ribosomal RNA were 980 bp and 1600 bp, respectively, and were located between tRNA-Phe and tRNA-Leu. The overall base composition of the mitogenome of C. coronoides was slightly higher AT (56.0%) content than GC (44.0%). A phylogenetic tree using available complete mitogenome sequences of the family Corvidae revealed a close evolutionary relationship of C. coronoides with the now extinct Chatham raven (C. moriorum), a large songbird that was native to the Chatham Islands east of New Zealand.

RevDate: 2021-01-21

Eo SH, J An (2016)

Mitochondrial genome sequence of black paradise flycatcher (Aves: Monarchidae) and its phylogenetic position.

Mitochondrial DNA. Part B, Resources, 1(1):454-455 pii:1181996.

We generated the complete mitochondrial genome of the black paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone atrocaudata; Family: Monarchidae), an ecologically important insectivorous bird in Asian forest ecosystems. The mitogenome was 16,984 bp in length and consisted of 13 protein-coding genes, 22 tRNAs, two rRNAs and a control region. Gene composition and arrangement in the mitogenome were similar to those of related families Corvidae and Laniidae available in GenBank. However, tRNAAla was located between COXII and ATP8 genes in the mitogenome of T. atrocaudata while tRNALys , was in the same location in the mitogenomes of Corvidae and Laniidae. The phylogenetic tree based on the mitogenomes of T. atrocaudata and the related families supported that Monarchidae was the sister taxa to the clade of Laniidae and Corvidae. The mitogenome of T. atrocaudata will be a valuable genetic resource for phylogenetic analyses and implication of conservation and management of the species.

RevDate: 2021-01-21

Yang MX, Wang QX, Xiao H, et al (2016)

Sequencing complete mitochondrial genome of Lanius sphenocercus sphenocercus (Passeriformes: Laniidae) using Illunima HiSeq 2500.

Mitochondrial DNA. Part B, Resources, 1(1):306-307 pii:1167640.

Using an Illumina platform, we sequenced the complete mitochondrial genome of Lanius sphenocercus sphenocercus to an average coverage of 1669.5×. We performed a de novo assembly using SOAPdenovo2 and obtained the total mitogenome with 16,833 bp in length. Most PCGs begin with the typical ATG start codon with the exception of COI gene, which use GTG as the initiation codon. Stop codons AGG, TAG, TAA, and AGA are present in the PCGs; exceptions are COII, COIII and ND4, which possess incomplete termination codons (T). But, the function of COII with incomplete stop codon T should be further investigated. The phylogeny revealed that genetic distance of Laniidae and Corvidae was closer than other species. Compared to other three shrike species, L. s. sphenocercus occupy a separate status in the genus Lanius.

RevDate: 2021-01-21

Peng LF, Yang DC, CH Lu (2016)

Complete mitochondrial genome of oriental magpie-robin Copsychus saularis (Aves: Muscicapidae).

Mitochondrial DNA. Part B, Resources, 1(1):21-22 pii:1137802.

The total length of mitogenome of Copsychus saularis is 16 827 bp and contains 13 protein-coding genes, 22 tRNA genes, two rRNA genes and one D-loop. The phylogenetic tree of C. saularis and 13 other species belonging to Passeriformes was built.

RevDate: 2021-01-20

Worrell SL, Kirschner ML, Shatz RS, et al (2021)

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Survivorship with a Focus on the Low-grade and Benign Brain Tumor Populations.

Current oncology reports, 23(2):19.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: "Brain tumor is a bump in the road." Sheryl Crow a famous singer was quoted talking about her meningioma, a benign brain tumor that caused her to forget her lyrics. In this review, we focus on low-grade gliomas in adults and benign brain tumors, such as meningiomas, vestibular schwannomas, and pituitary tumors, since these individuals survive a long time and morbidity is a major issue.

RECENT FINDINGS: As per the NCI dictionary definition, cancer survivorship focuses on the health and well-being of a person with cancer from the time of diagnosis until the end of life. This includes the physical, mental, emotional, social, and financial effects of cancer that begin at diagnosis and continue through treatment and beyond. The survivorship experience also includes issues related to follow-up care (including regular health and wellness checkups), late effects of treatment, cancer recurrence, second cancers, and quality of life. Family members, friends, and caregivers are also considered part of the survivorship experience (NCI Dictionary: https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms).

RevDate: 2021-01-19

Prinja S, Singh MP, Rajsekar K, et al (2021)

Translating Research to Policy: Setting Provider Payment Rates for Strategic Purchasing under India's National Publicly Financed Health Insurance Scheme.

Applied health economics and health policy [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: In 2018, the Government of India launched Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri-Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY), a large tax-funded health insurance scheme. In this paper, we present findings of the Costing of Health Services in India (CHSI) study, describe the process of use of cost evidence for price-setting under AB PM-JAY, and estimate its fiscal impact.

METHODS: Reference costs were generated from the first phase of CHSI study, which sampled 11 tertiary public hospitals from 11 Indian states. Cost for Health Benefit Packages (HBPs) was estimated using mixed (top-down and bottom-up) micro-costing methods. The process adopted for price-setting under AB PM-JAY was observed. The cost of each HBP was compared with AB PM-JAY prices before and after the revision, and the budgetary impact of this revision in prices was estimated.

FINDINGS: Following the CHSI study evidence and price consultations, 61% of AB PM-JAY HBP prices were increased while 18% saw a decline in the prices. In absolute terms, the mean increase in HBP price was ₹14,000 (₹450-₹1,65,000) and a mean decline of ₹6,356 (₹200-₹74,500) was observed. Nearly 42% of the total HBPs, in 2018, had a price that was less than 50% of the true cost, which declined to 20% in 2019. The evidence-informed revision of HBP prices is estimated to have a minimal fiscal impact (0.7%) on the AB PM-JAY claims pay-out.

INTERPRETATION: Evidence-informed price-setting helped to reduce wide disparities in cost and price, as well as aligning incentives towards broader health system goals. Such strategic purchasing and price-setting requires the creation of systems of generating evidence on the cost of health services. Further research is recommended to develop a cost-function to study changes in cost with variations in time, region, prices, skill-mix and other factors.

RevDate: 2021-01-19

Meng D, Zhang Z, Li Z, et al (2020)

Complete mitochondrial genome of the spotted nutcracker Nucifraga caryocatactes (Passeriformes: Corvidae) from Shan'xi Province, China.

Mitochondrial DNA. Part B, Resources, 5(3):2456-2457.

We determined the whole mtDNA genome of the Spotted Nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes) in Tianlong Mountain, Shan'xi Province, China. The complete mitochondrial genome is 16,914 bp in length and consists of 13 protein-coding genes (PCGS), 22 tRNA genes, 2 rRNA genes, and 1 control region (D-loops). The nucleotide composition is 25.08% A, 25.08% T, 24.75% G, and 25.08% C. The result of phylogenetic analysis showed that there was close genetic relationship between N. caryocatactes and N. columbiana. It is expected that the complete mitochondrial genome presented here will contribute to the analysis of species distribution.

RevDate: 2021-01-15

Donzuso G, Monastero R, Cicero CE, et al (2021)

Neuroanatomical changes in early Parkinson's disease with mild cognitive impairment: a VBM study; the Parkinson's Disease Cognitive Impairment Study (PaCoS).

Neurological sciences : official journal of the Italian Neurological Society and of the Italian Society of Clinical Neurophysiology [Epub ahead of print].

INTRODUCTION: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is common in Parkinson's disease (PD), but the underlying pathological mechanism has not been fully understood. Voxel-based morphometry could be used to evaluate regional atrophy and its relationship with cognitive performances in early PD-MCI.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: One hundred and six patients with PD were recruited from a larger cohort of patients, the Parkinson's Disease Cognitive Impairment Study (PaCoS). Subject underwent a T1-3D MRI and a complete clinical and neuropsychological evaluation. Patients were divided into PD with normal cognition (PD-NC) and PD-MCI according to the MDS level II criteria-modified for PD-MCI. A subgroup of early patients with short disease duration (≤ 2 years) was also identified. VBM analysis between PD-NC and PD-MCI and between early PD-NC and PD-MCI was performed using two-sample t tests with whole-brain statistical threshold of p < 0.001 uncorrected in the entire PD group and p < 0.05 FWE inside ROIs, in the early PD.

RESULTS: Forty patients were diagnosed with MCI and 66 were PD-NC. PD-MCI patients showed significant gray matter (GM) reduction in several brain regions, including frontal gyrus, precuneus, angular gyrus, temporal lobe, and cerebellum. Early PD-MCI showed reduction in GM density in superior frontal gyrus and cerebellum. Moreover, correlation analysis between neuropsychological performances and GM volume of early PD-MCI patients showed associations between performances of Raven and superior frontal gyrus volume, Stroop time and inferior frontal gyrus volume, accuracy of Barrage and volume of precuneus.

CONCLUSION: The detection of frontal and cerebellar atrophy, even at an early stage, could be used as an early marker of PD-related cognitive impairment.

RevDate: 2021-01-15

Martin C, Simonds VW, Young SL, et al (2021)

Our Relationship to Water and Experience of Water Insecurity among Apsáalooke (Crow Indian) People, Montana.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(2): pii:ijerph18020582.

Affordable access to safe drinking water is essential to community health, yet there is limited understanding of water insecurity among Native Americans. Therefore, the focus of this paper is to describe Apsáalooke (Crow Indian) tribal members' experiences with water insecurity. For Apsáalooke people, local rivers and springs are still vitally important for traditional cultural activities. We interviewed 30 Native American adults living on the Crow Reservation in Southeastern Montana. Participants answered six open-ended interview questions about their water access, costs of obtaining water and changes in their domestic and traditional water uses. Participants emphasized how the use of water has changed over time and described the complex challenges associated with addressing water insecurity in their community, including the importance of considering the spiritual and cultural impacts of water insecurity on health. Water insecurity is a growing global problem and more attention and efforts are needed to find appropriate and affordable solutions.

RevDate: 2021-01-14

Rial-Berriel C, Acosta-Dacal A, Cabrera Pérez MÁ, et al (2020)

Intensive livestock farming as a major determinant of the exposure to anticoagulant rodenticides in raptors of the Canary Islands (Spain).

The Science of the total environment, 768:144386 pii:S0048-9697(20)37917-1 [Epub ahead of print].

The Canary Islands (Spain) is a biodiversity hotspot, with more than 4500 registered endemic species. However, it is subject to high anthropogenic pressure that threatens its wildlife in various ways. In the context of forensic toxicological surveys, the presence of anticoagulant rodenticides (AR) has been investigated in the liver of 831 animal carcasses with georeferenced data from 2011 to May 2020. The high concentrations of toxic pesticides in carcasses and in baits found close to the corpses indicated that all the reptiles and most of the mammals tested positive for AR were intentionally poisoned, although mainly by other substances. The frequency of detection of AR in non-raptor birds (n = 343) was only 4.1%, being the Canary raven the most frequently affected species (7/97, 7.2%). On the contrary, in raptors (n = 308) the detection frequency was almost 60%, with an average of more than 2 ARs per animal. The highest concentrations were found in the common kestrel. We present for the first-time results of AR contamination in two species of raptors that are very rare in Europe, Eleonora's falcon (n = 4) and Barbary falcon (n = 13). The temporal trend of positive cases remains stable, but since the entry into force of the restriction to the concentration of the active ingredient in baits (<30 ppm), a decrease in the concentrations of these compounds in the raptors' liver has been detected. Conversely, we registered an increase in the number of ARs per animal. From the study of the geographic information system (GIS) it can be deduced that intensive livestock farms are an important determinant in the exposure of raptors to ARs. Those birds that have their territory near intensive production farms have higher levels of exposure than those of birds that live far from such facilities.

RevDate: 2021-01-14

Tornick J, B Gibson (2021)

Clark's nutcrackers (Nucifraga columbiana) use a visual barrier for cache protection.

Journal of comparative psychology (Washington, D.C. : 1983) pii:2021-07054-001 [Epub ahead of print].

Previous work with corvids such as scrub jays (Aphelocoma californica) and ravens (Corvus corax) suggests that many social corvids alter their caching behavior when observed by conspecifics to protect their caches. We examined whether the Clark's nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana), an asocial corvid, can utilize a barrier to conceal its caching activities from a conspecific observer. Nutcrackers were allowed to cache nuts in a visible or concealed location in either the presence or absence of an observer. Nutcrackers were also given experience of having their caches pilfered. The nutcrackers cached significantly more nuts in the concealed compared to a visible location when observed. Importantly, nutcrackers also recovered a larger percentage of their nuts 24 hr later from a visible cache location but when the observer was no longer present. The results extend recent work suggesting that relatively nonsocial corvids, similar to their more social relatives, also engage in multiple forms of cache protection. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

RevDate: 2021-01-14

Schuster RK, G Wibbelt (2021)

Redescription of Serratospiculum seurati Bain & Mawson, 1981 (Nematoda; Diplotriaenidae) from Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus Tunstall, 1771).

Parasitology research [Epub ahead of print].

Air sac nematodes from birds are known for more than 200 years now and Filaria attenuata was the first described species from falcons, owl and corvid birds. The superficial description and the loss of the original material made F. attenuata a species inquirenda. Seurat (1915) redescribed the species with material from lanner falcon and pallid harrier from Algeria and based on this description Bain and Mawson, Rec S Aust Mus 18:265-28, (1981) created a new species, Serratospiculum seurati, by adding some, slightly divergent, measurements. The current paper is based on light and scanning electron microscopy of five male and 10 female S. seurati specimens from a Peregrine falcon that acquired the infection in Pakistan. The length of the slender male and female nematodes varied between 42-70 and 165-221 mm, respectively, spicules of unequal shape and length measured 292-325 and 638-785 μm. S. seurati was also found in Saker, Barbary and crossbreed falcons.

RevDate: 2021-01-13

Amodio P, Brea J, Farrar BG, et al (2021)

Testing two competing hypotheses for Eurasian jays' caching for the future.

Scientific reports, 11(1):835.

Previous research reported that corvids preferentially cache food in a location where no food will be available or cache more of a specific food in a location where this food will not be available. Here, we consider possible explanations for these prospective caching behaviours and directly compare two competing hypotheses. The Compensatory Caching Hypothesis suggests that birds learn to cache more of a particular food in places where that food was less frequently available in the past. In contrast, the Future Planning Hypothesis suggests that birds recall the 'what-when-where' features of specific past events to predict the future availability of food. We designed a protocol in which the two hypotheses predict different caching patterns across different caching locations such that the two explanations can be disambiguated. We formalised the hypotheses in a Bayesian model comparison and tested this protocol in two experiments with one of the previously tested species, namely Eurasian jays. Consistently across the two experiments, the observed caching pattern did not support either hypothesis; rather it was best explained by a uniform distribution of caches over the different caching locations. Future research is needed to gain more insight into the cognitive mechanism underpinning corvids' caching for the future.

RevDate: 2021-01-13

Zhang Y, Yu C, Chen L, et al (2021)

Performance of Azure-winged magpies in Aesop's fable paradigm.

Scientific reports, 11(1):804.

In this study, the improved Aesop's fable paradigm-a series of experiments originally used to test whether some animals understand the causality associated with water replacement-was used to explore the cognitive ability of Azure-winged magpies (Cyanopica cyanus). Experimental results on causal cue tasks showed that the Azure-winged magpies prefer water-filled tubes over sand-filled tubes, heavy objects over light objects, and solid objects over hollow objects. However, they failed to notice the diameter and water level of the tubes. They also failed to pass the counterintuitive U-shaped tube task in arbitrary cue tasks. Our results demonstrated that Azure-winged magpies have a certain cognitive ability but not an understanding of causality, a characteristic comparable to that of other corvids. Moreover, Azure-winged magpies exhibited the ability of training transfer and analogical problem solving from the perspective of cognitive psychology. We believe that object-bias has little effect on Azure-winged magpies in this study. We can conclude that the Azure-winged magpies partially completed the tasks by trial-and-error learning.

RevDate: 2021-01-11

Mazzia F, M De Armond (2021)

Causality dilemma: creating a twenty-first century university archive.

Journal of the Medical Library Association : JMLA, 109(1):137-140.

For its fifteenth anniversary, the Jay Sexter Library at Touro University Nevada (TUN) sought ways to capture its institutional history by founding an archive. Among many challenges, the library struggled to convince the administration of the importance of an archive. To generate interest in TUN's history, a task force comprising library, executive administration, and advancement staff hosted and recorded a panel event with some of the university's original faculty, staff, and administration. By having this event, new TUN employees were able to experience the shared knowledge of TUN's early days, and the library was able to create and preserve its own institutional history.

RevDate: 2021-01-11

Sehanovic A, Smajlovic D, Tupkovic E, et al (2020)

Cognitive Disorders in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis.

Materia socio-medica, 32(3):191-195.

Introduction: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, inflammatory, (auto) immune disease of the central nervous system (CNS). Cognitive disorders are found in over 50% of patients.

Aim: The aim of the study was to determine the distribution of cognitive disorders in people with MS.

Methods: The prospective study included 135 respondents with MS and 50 healthy respondents. The respondents were divided into three groups: the first group consisted of 85 respondents where the disease lasted longer than one year, the second group consisted of 50 respondents with newly diagnosed MS, the third group consisted of 50 healthy respondents. Clinical assessment instruments were: Extended Disability Score in Multiple Sclerosis Patients, Mini Mental Status, Battery of Tests to Assess Cognitive Functions: Wechsler Intelligence Scale, Revised Beta Test, Raven Colored Progressive Matrices, Wechsler Memory Scale, Rey Audio Verbal Learning Test -Osterriecht's complex character test, verbal fluency test.

Results: Cognitive disorders were present in 40-60% of respondents with MS. Visuospatial, visuoconstructive and visuoperceptive functions are worse in the first group. Mnestic functions (learning process, short-term and long-term memory, recollection, verbal-logical memory) were most affected in both groups of respondents, ranging from 30-60%. Poorer cognitive domains are in the first groups of respondents. Immediate working process memory (current learning), memory, attention, short-term and logical memory is worse in the examinees of the first group. At the beginning of the disease, 16% had verbal fluency difficulties, and as the disease progresses, the difficulties become more pronounced.

Conclusion: Cognitive disorders are heterogeneous, they can be noticed in the early stages of the disease. They refer to impairments of working memory, executive functions and attention, while global intellectual efficiency is later reduced.

RevDate: 2021-01-09

Wenig K, Boucherie PH, T Bugnyar (2021)

Early evidence for emotional play contagion in juvenile ravens.

Animal cognition [Epub ahead of print].

Perceiving, evaluating and reacting towards conspecifics' emotional states are important challenges of social group living. Emotional contagion describes an alignment of emotional states between individuals and is widely believed to be based on behavioral synchronization, i.e., behavioral contagion. As basic empathy-like processes, the occurrence of both forms of contagion seems to underlie early ontogenetic trajectories in humans and non-human species. In the present study, we assessed play as a context for studying the development of emotional contagion and its interlink with behavioral contagion in ten juvenile common ravens. Ravens are exceptional players that engage in all three forms of play: object, locomotion and social play. To assess potential ontogenetic patterns of both behavioral and emotional contagion, we tested juvenile ravens at two different periods of early development, at three- and six-month post-hatching. We elicited object play in one or several ravens (demonstrators) in a standardized experimental environment, using a playground setup. At both test ages, we found evidence for emotional contagion as observer ravens showed an increase of locomotion and social play after we provided the demonstrator(s) with the playground setup, but no significant changes in the amount of object play. Hence, observers did not copy motor patterns from demonstrator(s) but engaged in other forms of play. Our findings speak for a transfer of a general mood state in the context of play in ravens as young as 3 months and against behavioral mimicry as a precondition for emotional contagion.

RevDate: 2021-01-09

Gallego-Abenza M, Blum CR, T Bugnyar (2021)

Who is crying wolf? Seasonal effect on antipredator response to age-specific alarm calls in common ravens, Corvus corax.

Learning & behavior [Epub ahead of print].

Communication about threats including those posed by the presence of predators occurs mainly through acoustic signals called alarm calls. The comprehension of these calls by receivers and their rapid antipredator response are crucial in terms of survival. However, to avoid overreaction, individuals should evaluate whether or not an antipredator response is needed by paying attention to who is calling. For instance, we could expect adults to be more experienced with predator encounters than juveniles and thus elicit stronger antipredator responses in others when alarming. Similarly, we could expect a stronger response to alarm calls when more than one individual is calling. To test these assumptions, we applied a playback experiment to wild ravens, in which we manipulated the age class (adult or juvenile) and the number (one or two) of the callers. Our results revealed a seasonal effect of age class but no effect of number of callers. Specifically, the ravens responded with stronger antipredator behaviour (vigilance posture) towards alarm calls from adults as compared to juveniles in summer and autumn, but not in spring. We discuss alternative interpretations for this unexpected seasonal pattern and argue for more studies on call-based communication in birds to understand what type of information is relevant under which conditions.

RevDate: 2021-01-07
CmpDate: 2021-01-07

Kumar RK, Reddy KS, Reddy NV, et al (2020)

Relationship between dental fluorosis and I.Q of school going children aged 10-12 years in and around Nalgonda district-A cross-sectional study.

Journal of the Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, 38(4):332-337.

Background: The fluoride ion toxicity has been associated with both dental fluorosis and neurotoxicity; dental fluorosis has tended to be considered with respect to tooth appearance and function rather than as a marker for neurotoxicity.

Aims and Objectives: This study assessed the intelligence quotient (IQ) of school-going children aged 10-12 years in villages of Nalgonda district with different fluoride levels.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among the permanent residents of Nalgonda district of Telangana state, India. A total of 480 government schoolchildren aged 10-12 years were selected by stratified random sampling from three different areas with different levels of naturally occurring fluoride in drinking water. Intelligence levels were assessed by conducting the Ravens standard progressive matrices test (1991 edition).

Statistical Analysis: The data were subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA), Student's t-test, and Krustal-Wallis ANOVA. A logistic regression model was performed (SPSS version; 21(IBM corporation, Chicago,IL, USA)).

Results: The mean IQ levels were more in the villages with low fluoride concentration in drinking water (15.26) compared to villages with medium fluoride content (12.91) and high fluoride content (9.1). A significant statistical association was found (P < 0.001).

Conclusion: The overall IQ levels in children exposed to high fluoride level significantly lower than the low fluoride areas. Thus, children intelligence can be affected by high water fluoride levels.

RevDate: 2021-01-04

Gao LF, Zhang W, Zhang HY, et al (2020)

Parental dependence on the nest's spatial cues in offspring recognition decreases with nestling growth in the azure-winged magpie.

Current zoology, 66(6):643-648.

In altricial birds, to address which cues are used by parents to recognize their offspring, and when they switch between cues during reproduction, it has not been well determined. In this study, we address this question in a Tibetan population of the azure-winged magpie Cyanopica cyanus, by examining the dependence of parents on a nest's spatial position in offspring recognition. During the egg and nestling phases, azure-winged magpie nests were translocated to new positions across various distances from their original site, and parental responses to the translocated nests were investigated. Our findings show that a nest's spatial position is not connected with the survival of its young, but might be used as a cue in parental offspring recognition. When nests are translocated to a new position within a certain distance, parents could recognize their nests and returned to resume their parenting behaviors. Parental dependence on the nest's spatial position in offspring recognition is higher during the egg phase than during the nestling phase, and it decreases with the growth of nestlings. After nestlings reach a certain age, the nest' s spatial position was no longer used by parents as the single cue for offspring recognition. These findings suggest that azure-winged magpies switch their cues in offspring recognition during the different stages of reproduction. After parent-offspring communication has been established, the offspring's phenotypic traits may become a more reliable cue than the nest's spatial position in offspring recognition.

RevDate: 2021-01-01

Sarker S, Athukorala A, SR Raidal (2020)

Molecular characterisation of a novel pathogenic avipoxvirus from an Australian passerine bird, mudlark (Grallina cyanoleuca).

Virology, 554:66-74 pii:S0042-6822(20)30249-X [Epub ahead of print].

Avipoxviruses have been recognised as significant pathogens in the conservation of numerous bird species. However, the vast majority of the avipoxviruses that infect wild birds remain uncharacterised. Here, we characterise a novel avipoxvirus, mudlarkpox virus (MLPV) isolated from an Australian passerine bird, mudlark (Grallina cyanoleuca). In this study, tissues with histopathologically confirmed lesions consistent with avian pox were used for transmission electron microscopy, and showed characteristic ovoid to brick-shaped virions, indicative of infectious particles. The MLPV genome was >342.7 Kbp in length and contained six predicted novel genes and a further six genes were missing compared to shearwaterpox virus-2 (SWPV-2). Subsequent phylogenetic analyses of the MLPV genome positioned the virus within a distinct subclade also containing recently characterised avipoxvirus genomes from shearwater, canary and magpie bird species, and demonstrated a high degree of sequence similarity with SWPV-2 (94.92%).

RevDate: 2020-12-30

Lizzio VA, Smith DG, Guo EW, et al (2020)

The Effect of the Crow Hop on Elbow Stress During an Interval Throwing Program.

The American journal of sports medicine [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Postoperative rehabilitation protocols after ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction typically involve a structured interval throwing program. In an effort to minimize torque placed on the UCL, athletes are often instructed to throw with a crow hop, even at short throwing distances. However, the effect of the crow hop on medial elbow stress is unknown.

PURPOSE/HYPOTHESIS: The purpose was to determine whether elbow stress differs with and without a crow hop across the throwing distances of a typical interval throwing program. We hypothesized that crow hop throws would generate lower torque on the elbow than standing throws at each distance of the interval throwing program.

STUDY DESIGN: Controlled laboratory study.

METHODS: Healthy high school and collegiate pitchers and position players were recruited from the surrounding area. Each player was outfitted with a wearable athletic sleeve and device that recorded elbow torque (Newton-meters), arm slot (degrees), arm speed (revolutions per minute), and shoulder rotation (degrees). Ball velocity (miles per hour) was measured using a radar gun. Players were instructed to perform 3 crow hop throws and 3 standing throws at distances of 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, 150, and 180 feet. A repeated measures analysis of variance was used to compare ball velocity, elbow torque, arm slot, arm speed, and shoulder rotation between crow hop and standing throws at each throwing distance.

RESULTS: Twenty athletes participated in this study (average age, 17.8 years; range, 15-25 years). The average medial elbow torque increased at each distance for both crow hop and standing throws at distances of 30, 45, 60, and 90 feet (P < .05), after which there were no significant increases in elbow torque (P > .05). The average torque was higher for crow hop throws than standing throws at distances of 30 feet (13.9 N·m vs 12.0 N·m; P = .002), 45 feet (21.8 N·m vs 19.3 N·m; P = .005), and 60 feet (28.0 N·m vs 24.5 N·m; P = .02).

CONCLUSION: Crow hop throws generated greater medial elbow torque than standing throws at distances up to 60 feet; however, there were no differences in elbow torque at distances greater than 60 feet between the 2 throw types. For both crow hop and standing throws, elbow stress increased at each distance interval up to 90 feet before plateauing at distances greater than 90 feet. The crow hop throwing technique does not reduce medial elbow stress during a simulated interval throwing program, and it may actually increase torque at shorter throwing distances.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The results of our study indicate that it would be prudent for players to initially perform standing throws at shorter distances and only later be allowed to employ a natural crow hop at greater distances to minimize torque placed on the medial elbow during UCL rehabilitation protocols.

RevDate: 2020-12-29

Blakey ML (2020)

Understanding racism in physical (biological) anthropology.

American journal of physical anthropology [Epub ahead of print].

The mainstream of American physical anthropology began as racist and eugenical science that defended slavery, restricted "non-Nordic" immigration, and justified Jim Crow segregation. After World War II, the field became more anti-racial than anti-racist. It has continued as a study of natural influences on human variation and thus continues to evade the social histories of inequitable biological variation. Also reflecting its occupancy of white space, biological anthropology continues to deny its own racist history and marginalizes the contributions of Blacks. Critical disciplinary history and a shift toward biocultural studies might begin an anti-racist human biology.

RevDate: 2020-12-31

Kryukov AP, Spiridonova LN, Tyunin AP, et al (2020)

Complete mitochondrial genomes of five subspecies of the Eurasian magpie Pica pica, obtained with Oxford Nanopore MinION, and their interpretation regarding intraspecific taxonomy.

Mitochondrial DNA. Part B, Resources, 5(3):3810-3811.

The complete mitochondrial (mt) genomes of five subspecies of the Eurasian (Common) magpie Pica pica were determined for the first time. Lengths of the circular genomes comprise 13 protein-coding genes, two rRNA genes (for 12S rRNA and 16S rRNA), 22 tRNA genes, and the non-coding control region (CR). Gene content and lengths of the genomes (16,936-16,945 bp) are similar to typical vertebrate mt genomes. The subspecies studied differs by several single substitutions and indels, especially in the CR. The phylogenetic tree based on complete mt genomes shows a deep divergence of the two groups of subspecies which supports the proposed division into two distinct species: P. pica and P. serica.

RevDate: 2020-12-31

Zhao C, Dou H, Du P, et al (2020)

The complete mitochondrial genome of Daurian jackdaw (Corvus dauuricus).

Mitochondrial DNA. Part B, Resources, 5(1):400-401.

In this study, the complete mitochondrial genome of Daurian jackdaw (Corvus dauuricus, Pallas, 1776) was sequenced and deposited to GeneBank for the first time using muscle tissue. This mitochondrial genome is a circular molecule of 16921 bp in length and sequence analysis showed it contains 2 rRNA genes, 22 tRNA genes, 13 protein-coding genes and D_loop. The phylogenetic analysis basis of 12 protein-coding genes except for ND6 gene of 13 species shows that most of the genus of Corvus were grouped into two clades, and C. dauuricus was basal to all other Corvus.

RevDate: 2020-12-31

Iqbal F, Ayub Q, Song BK, et al (2019)

Sequence and phylogeny of the complete mitochondrial genome of the Himalayan jungle crow (Corvidae: Corvus macrorhynchos intermedius) from Pakistan.

Mitochondrial DNA. Part B, Resources, 5(1):348-350.

Corvus macrorhynchos formerly referred to as the jungle crow or the large-billed crow is a polytypic species with unresolved taxonomy, comprising various subspecies widespread across South, Southeast, and East Asia. In this study, we report the complete mitogenome of one of these subspecies, Corvus macrorhynchos intermedius (Himalaya crow), from Pakistan. The mitochondrial genome is circular, 16,927 bp and contains typical animal mitochondrial genes (13 protein-coding genes, 2 ribosomal RNA, and 22 transfer RNA) and one non-coding region (D-loop) with a nucleotide content of A (30.6%), T (24.8%), G (14.8%), and C (29.8%). Phylogenetic analysis using the whole mitochondrial genome showed that C. m. intermedius and only reported subspecies Corvus macrorhynchos culminatus (Indian Jungle crow) are genetically distinct and it supports the recognition of the latter as a separate biospecies.

RevDate: 2020-12-31

Huang T, Zhou L, Z Xu (2019)

The characteristic of corvus pectoralis's complete mitochondrial genome and phylogeny analysis.

Mitochondrial DNA. Part B, Resources, 4(2):3513-3514.

The Collared Crow (Corvus pectoralis), in the order Passeriformes, it widely distributed in large areas encompassing China and northern Vietnam. It is a vulnerable bird that is of international concern. In this study, we first sequenced and described the complete mitochondrial genome and phylogeny of C. pectoralis. The results showed that the whole genome of C. pectoralis was 16,857 bp long and contains 13 PCGs, 2 ribosomal RNA genes, 23 transfer RNA genes, and 1 loop region. The overall base composition of the mitochondrial DNA was 31.13% for A, 29.52% for C, 24.46% for T, and 14.89% for G, with a GC content of 44.41%. The phylogenetic tree showed that C. pectoralis was clustered with C. brachyrhynchos and then together with other two crows in family Passeriformes. This information will be useful in the current understanding of the phylogeny and evolution of Passeriformes.

RevDate: 2020-12-31

Liu DW, Cheng-He S, Yi-Ling F, et al (2019)

Complete mitochondrial genome of Grey Treepie, Dendrocitta formosae (Aves: Corvidae).

Mitochondrial DNA. Part B, Resources, 4(2):2326-2327.

We report the complete mitochondrial genome of Dendrocitta formosae. The genome is a closed circular molecule of 16,875 bp, with all genes exhibiting typical avian gene arrangement. The overall base composition of this species' mitogenome is 24.33% T, 30.49% C, 30.17% A, and 15.01% G. The A + T content is 54.50%. Phylogenetic analysis of the complete mitogenome of 12 species conducted using the neighbour-joining method and kimura 2-parameter model suggested that the mitogenome of D. formosae was the closest to that of Pyrrhocorax graculus and P. pyrrhocorax. The results could aid future studies on Dendrocitta and Pyrrhocorax molecular evolution and phylogeny.

RevDate: 2020-12-31

Jiang JQ (2019)

Characterization of the complete mitochondrial genome of Corvus corone orientalis.

Mitochondrial DNA. Part B, Resources, 4(2):2102-2103.

In this study, the complete mitochondrial genome of Corvus corone orientalis was assembled through next-generation sequencing data. This circular mitochondrial genome of C. corone orientalis is 16,947 bp in length and has a base composition of A (30.8%), T (24.7%), C (29.9%), and G (14.5%), demonstrating a bias of higher AT content (55.5%) than GC content (44.5%). The mitochondrial genome contains a typically conserved structure among bird mitogenomes, encoding 13 protein-coding genes (PCGs), 22 transfer RNA genes (tRNA), two ribosomal RNA genes (12S rRNA and 16S rRNA), and a control region (D-loop region). Except ND6, all other PCGs were located on the H-strand. ATP8 gene and ATP6 gene were overlapped by 8 bp. The whole mt genome of C. corone orientalis and other Corvoidea mitogenomes (24 species, in total) were used for phylogenetic analysis. The result indicated C. corone orientalis has the closest relationship with Corvus cornix cornix (NC_024698) and clustered within clade of genus Corvus.

RevDate: 2020-12-29

Kumar RR, HK Tsang (2021)

High-extinction CROW filters for scalable quantum photonics.

Optics letters, 46(1):134-137.

We report an integrated tunable-bandwidth optical filter with a passband to stop-band ratio of over 96 dB using a single silicon chip with an ultra-compact footprint. The integrated filter is used in filtering out the pump photons in non-degenerate spontaneous four-wave mixing (SFWM), which is used for producing correlated photon pairs at different wavelengths. SFWM occurs in a long silicon waveguide, and two cascaded second-order coupled-resonator optical waveguide (CROW) filters were used to spectrally remove the pump photons. The tunable bandwidth of the filter is useful to adjust the coherence time of the quantum correlated photons and may find applications in large-scale integrated quantum photonic circuits.

RevDate: 2021-01-01

Zhao L, Yu C, Lv J, et al (2020)

Fluoride exposure, dopamine relative gene polymorphism and intelligence: A cross-sectional study in China.

Ecotoxicology and environmental safety, 209:111826 pii:S0147-6513(20)31662-6 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Excessive fluoride exposure is related to adverse health outcomes, but whether dopamine (DA) relative genes are involved in the health effect of low-moderate fluoride exposure on children's intelligence remain unclear.

OBJECTIVES: We conducted a cross-sectional study to explore the role of DA relative genes in the health effect of low-moderate fluoride exposure in drinking water.

METHODS: We recruited 567 resident children, aged 6-11 years old, randomly from endemic and non-endemic fluorosis areas in Tianjin, China. Spot urine samples were tested for urinary fluoride concentration, combined Raven`s test was used for intelligence quotient test. Fasting venous blood were collected to analyze ANKK1 Taq1A (rs1800497), COMT Val158Met (rs4680), DAT1 40 bp VNTR and MAOA uVNTR. Multivariable linear regression models were used to assess associations between fluoride exposure and IQ scores. We applied multiplicative and additive models to appraise single gene-environment interaction. Generalized multifactor dimensionality reduction (GMDR) was used to evaluate high-dimensional interactions of gene-gene and gene-environment.

RESULTS: In adjusted model, fluoride exposure was inversely associated with IQ scores (β = -5.957, 95% CI: -9.712, -2.202). The mean IQ scores of children with high-activity MAOA genotype was significantly lower than IQ scores of those with low-activity (P = 0.006) or female heterozygote (P = 0.016) genotype. We detected effect modification by four DA relative genes (ANKK1, COMT, DAT1 and MAOA) on the association between UF and IQ scores. We also found a high-dimensional gene-environment interaction among UF, ANKK1, COMT and MAOA on the effect of IQ (testing balanced accuracy = 0.5302, CV consistency: 10/10, P = 0.0107).

CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests DA relative genes may modify the association between fluoride and intelligence, and a potential interaction among fluoride exposure and DA relative genes on IQ.

RevDate: 2020-12-21

Sutton AO, Strickland D, Freeman NE, et al (2020)

Climate-driven carry-over effects negatively influence population growth rate in a food-caching boreal passerine.

Global change biology [Epub ahead of print].

Understanding how events throughout the annual cycle are linked is important for predicting variation in individual fitness, but whether and how carry-over effects scale up to influence population dynamics is poorly understood. Using 38 years of demographic data from Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, and a full annual cycle integrated population model, we examined the influence of environmental conditions and density on the population growth rate of Canada jays (Perisoreus canadensis), a resident boreal passerine that relies on perishable cached food for over-winter survival and late-winter breeding. Our results demonstrate that fall environmental variables, most notably the number of freeze-thaw events, carried over to influence late-winter fecundity, which, in turn, was the main vital rate driving population growth. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that warmer and more variable fall conditions accelerate the degradation of perishable stored food that is relied upon for successful reproduction. Future warming during the fall and winter may compromise the viability of cached food that requires consistent subzero temperatures for effective preservation, potentially exacerbating climate-driven carry-over effects that impact long-term population dynamics.

RevDate: 2020-12-30

Zhao L, Higuchi T, Kanamori M, et al (2020)

Identification of timing of scallop morphological deformity and mortality from shell oxygen isotope records.

Marine environmental research, 163:105149 pii:S0141-1136(20)30043-X [Epub ahead of print].

The Yesso scallop, Patinopecten yessoensis (Jay), is one of the most important bivalve species in the Japanese and Chinese mariculture industry. In recent years, however, high incidences of scallop shell deformity and mortality have occurred with increasing frequency, but timing of onset and underlying causes are often unclear. Here, we proposed a promising δ18Oshell-based method for constraining the onset of shell deformity and mortality of P. yessoensis. Following six months of intermediate suspension culture in Funka Bay, Northern Japan, shells from healthy, deformed and dead scallops were randomly sampled. High-resolution seawater temperature time-series computed from healthy scallop shell δ18O profiles were precisely and temporally aligned to the instrumental temperature curve, thus allowing δ18Oshell-derived temperature time-series from deformed and dead scallops to be contextualized and allowing timing of scallop deformity and death to be retrieved. Irrespective of scallop shell length, onsets of deformity were anchored in February, and since then deformed scallops grew slowly in comparison to healthy individuals. Without exception, however, dead scallops had already ceased their shell building and died before February, indicating different underlying causes of scallop deformity and mortality. Perhaps most promisingly, considering that shells do not have any isotopic turn-over and once formed, temperature information is locked in. Thus, this approach holds great promise for identifying time anchor points (onsets of deformity and death) in archived scallops collected over different time scales, especially during massive mortality events.

RevDate: 2020-12-29

Kaplan G (2020)

Of Great Apes and Magpies: Initiations into Animal Behaviour.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 10(12):.

This paper presents three case studies of exceptional human encounters with animals. These particular examples were selected because they enabled analysis of the underlying reasons that led the human participants to respond in new ways to their animal counterparts. The question asked here is whether sudden insights into the needs and abilities of an animal arises purely from an anthropocentric position as empathy because of genetic closeness (e.g., chimpanzees) or is something else and whether new insights can be applied to other phylogenetic orders not close to us, e.g., birds, and change research questions and implicit prejudices and stereotypes. Particularly in avian species, phylogenetically distant from humans, the prejudices (anthroprocentric position) and the belief in human uniqueness (human exceptionalism) might be greater than in the reactions to primates. Interestingly, in studies of great apes, contradictory opinions and controversies about cognitive abilities, especially when compared with humans, tend to be pronounced. Species appropriateness in test designs are desirable present and future goals but here it is suggested how different experiences can also lead to different questions that explode the myth of human uniqueness and then arrive at entirely different and new results in cognitive and affective abilities of the species under investigation.

RevDate: 2020-12-31

Aastrup C, A Hegemann (2020)

Jackdaw nestlings rapidly increase innate immune function during the nestling phase but no evidence for a trade-off with growth.

Developmental and comparative immunology, 117:103967 pii:S0145-305X(20)30521-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Although animals are born with a protective immune system, even the innate immune system is under development from birth to adulthood and this development may be affected by sex and growth. However, most knowledge comes from captive animals or long-lived slow growing species. Moreover, little is known about how innate immune function, the important first line of defence, develops during early life in fast-growing animals such as free-living passerines. We studied development of innate baseline immune function in nestlings of free-living jackdaws Corvus monedula. We measured four immune parameters (hemolysis, hemagglutination, bacterial-killing capacity, haptoglobin concentration) and structural body size (body mass, wing length, tarsus length) at day 12 and day 29 post-hatching. We found that three out of four immune parameters (hemolysis, hemagglutination, bacterial-killing capacity) substantially increased with nestling age and had roughly reached adult levels shortly prior to fledging. We found little differences in immune development between males and females despite them differing in structural development. We also found no evidence that the nestlings traded off immune development with growth. That nestlings rapidly increase innate baseline immune function during early life and similarly in males and females indicates the importance of a well-functioning immune system already during the nestling phase.

RevDate: 2020-12-15
CmpDate: 2020-12-15

Mori A, R Bertani (2020)

Revision and cladistic analysis of Psalistops Simon, 1889, Trichopelma Simon, 1888 and Cyrtogrammomma Pocock, 1895 (Araneae: Theraphosidae) based on a cladistic analysis of relationships of Theraphosidae, Barychelidae and Paratropididae.

Zootaxa, 4873(1):zootaxa.4873.1.1 pii:zootaxa.4873.1.1.

The genera Psalistops Simon, 1889, Trichopelma, Simon, 1888 and Cyrtogrammomma Pocock, 1895 are revised and included in cladistics analyses including almost all species of these genera. In order to test previous morphological hypotheses on the relationships of Barychelidae, Paratropididae and Theraphosidae and because of the controversial taxonomic position of Psalistops and Trichopelma, a set of terminal taxa representing all subfamilies of Paratropididae (Paratropidinae, Glabropelmatinae), Barychelidae (Barychelinae, Sasoninae, Trichopelmatinae) and most theraphosid subfamilies were included, as well as a diplurid, a nemesiid, and a pycnothelid, the later used to root the cladogram. The matrix with 66 terminal taxa, 2 continuous and 93 discrete characters was analysed with TNT 1.5. We found that Trichopelmatinae is not a monophyletic group, and Psalistops is transferred to Theraphosidae, as well as the barychelid genus Cyrtogrammomma and the paratropidid genus Melloina Brignoli. Cyrtogrammomma was retrieved as the sister group of Trichopelma, and Melloina as the sister group of Holothele Karsch. Psalistops was retrieved as the sister group of Reichlingia Rudloff, and the clade with these two genera is the most basal in Theraphosidae. Barychelidae was found to be monophyletic and the sister group of Theraphosidae. Paratropididae was retrieved as the sister group of Barychelidae + Theraphosidae. The relationship and possible synapomorphies of the three families are herein discussed. This is the first time since Raven (1985) that representatives of all barychelid (Barychelinae, Sasoninae, Trichopelmatinae), paratropidid (Paratropidinae, Glabropelmatinae) and most theraphosid subfamilies have been included in a morphological cladistic analysis. Psalistops comprises two species, P. melanopygius Simon, 1889 (type species) and P. colombianus sp. nov. Psalistops montigena Simon, 1889, P. tigrinus Simon, 1889 and P. zonatus Simon, 1889 are synonymized with P. melanopygius Simon, 1889. Psalistops fulvus Bryant, 1948, P. hispaniolensis Wunderlich, 1988 (fossil), P. maculosus Bryant, 1948, P. venadensis Valerio, 1986 and P. steini (Simon, 1889) are transferred to Trichopelma. Psalistops gasci Maréchal, 1996 is transferred to Hapalopus Ausserer (Theraphosidae); P. opifex (Simon, 1889) and P. solitarius (Simon, 1889) are transferred to Schismatothele Karsch, 1879 (Theraphosidae). Schismatothele solitarius (Simon, 1889) n. comb. is synonymized with Schismatothele lineata Karsch, 1879, n. syn. Psalistops nigrifemuratus Mello-Leitão, 1939 is probably a nemesiid or pycnothelid, and herein considered as nomen dubium in Pycnothelidae. Trichopelma comprises 22 species: Trichopelma nitidum Simon, 1888 (type species), T. coenobita (Simon, 1889), T. steini (Simon, 1889), T. affine (Simon, 1892), T. cubanum (Simon, 1903), T. maculatum (Banks, 1906), T. zebra (Petrunkevitch, 1925), T. banksia Özdikmen Demir, 2012, T. insulanum (Petrunkevitch, 1926), T. fulvus (Bryant, 1948) n. comb., T. laselva Valerio, 1986, T. venadensis (Valerio, 1986) n. comb., T. huffi sp. nov., T. gabrieli sp. nov., T. tostoi sp. nov., T. goloboffi sp. nov., T. juventud sp. nov., T. laurae sp. nov., T.bimini sp. nov., T. loui sp. nov., T. platnicki sp. nov., and T. hispaniolensis Wunderlich, 1988 n. comb. (fossil). Trichopelma maculosus (Bryant, 1948) n. comb. is synonymized with P. fulvus Bryant, 1948; T. corozalis (Petrunkevitch, 1929) is synonymized with T. insulanum (Petrunkevitch, 1926). Trichopelma astutum Simon, 1889 is transferred to Euthycaelus Simon, 1889, and T. maddeni Esposito Agnarsson, 2014 to Holothele Karsch, 1879 (Theraphosidae). Trichopelma flavicomum Simon, 1891 is transferred to Neodiplothele (Barychelidae, Sasoninae). The species T. illetabile Simon, 1888, T. spinosum (Franganillo, 1926), T. scopulatum (Fischel, 1927) and T. eucubanum Özdikmen Demir, 2012 are considered as nomina dubia. Cyrtogrammomma comprises two species: C. monticola Pocock, 1895 (type species) and C. raveni sp. nov.

RevDate: 2020-12-28

Dussex N, Kutschera VE, Wiberg RAW, et al (2020)

A genome-wide investigation of adaptive signatures in protein-coding genes related to tool behaviour in New Caledonian and Hawaiian crows.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Very few animals habitually manufacture and use tools. It has been suggested that advanced tool behaviour co-evolves with a suite of behavioural, morphological and life history traits. In fact, there are indications for such an adaptive complex in tool-using crows (genus Corvus species). Here, we sequenced the genomes of two habitually tool-using and ten non-tool-using crow species to search for genomic signatures associated with a tool-using lifestyle. Using comparative genomic and population genetic approaches, we screened for signals of selection in protein-coding genes in the tool-using New Caledonian and Hawaiian crows. While we detected signals of recent selection in New Caledonian crows near genes associated with bill morphology, our data indicate that genetic changes in these two lineages are surprisingly subtle, with little evidence at present for convergence. We explore the biological explanations for these findings, such as the relative roles of gene regulation and protein-coding changes, as well as the possibility that statistical power to detect selection in recently diverged lineages may have been insufficient. Our study contributes to a growing body of literature aiming to decipher the genetic basis of recently evolved complex behaviour.

RevDate: 2020-12-12

Gomo G, Rød-Eriksen L, Andreassen HP, et al (2020)

Scavenger community structure along an environmental gradient from boreal forest to alpine tundra in Scandinavia.

Ecology and evolution, 10(23):12860-12869.

Scavengers can have strong impacts on food webs, and awareness of their role in ecosystems has increased during the last decades. In our study, we used baited camera traps to quantify the structure of the winter scavenger community in central Scandinavia across a forest-alpine continuum and assess how climatic conditions affected spatial patterns of species occurrences at baits. Canonical correspondence analysis revealed that the main habitat type (forest or alpine tundra) and snow depth was main determinants of the community structure. According to a joint species distribution model within the HMSC framework, species richness tended to be higher in forest than in alpine tundra habitat, but was only weakly associated with temperature and snow depth. However, we observed stronger and more diverse impacts of these covariates on individual species. Occurrence at baits by habitat generalists (red fox, golden eagle, and common raven) typically increased at low temperatures and high snow depth, probably due to increased energetic demands and lower abundance of natural prey in harsh winter conditions. On the contrary, occurrence at baits by forest specialists (e.g., Eurasian jay) tended to decrease in deep snow, which is possibly a consequence of reduced bait detectability and accessibility. In general, the influence of environmental covariates on species richness and occurrence at baits was lower in alpine tundra than in forests, and habitat generalists dominated the scavenger communities in both forest and alpine tundra. Following forecasted climate change, altered environmental conditions are likely to cause range expansion of boreal species and range contraction of typical alpine species such as the arctic fox. Our results suggest that altered snow conditions will possibly be a main driver of changes in species community structure.

RevDate: 2020-12-21

Pika S, Sima MJ, Blum CR, et al (2020)

Ravens parallel great apes in physical and social cognitive skills.

Scientific reports, 10(1):20617.

Human children show unique cognitive skills for dealing with the social world but their cognitive performance is paralleled by great apes in many tasks dealing with the physical world. Recent studies suggested that members of a songbird family-corvids-also evolved complex cognitive skills but a detailed understanding of the full scope of their cognition was, until now, not existent. Furthermore, relatively little is known about their cognitive development. Here, we conducted the first systematic, quantitative large-scale assessment of physical and social cognitive performance of common ravens with a special focus on development. To do so, we fine-tuned one of the most comprehensive experimental test-batteries, the Primate Cognition Test Battery (PCTB), to raven features enabling also a direct, quantitative comparison with the cognitive performance of two great ape species. Full-blown cognitive skills were already present at the age of four months with subadult ravens' cognitive performance appearing very similar to that of adult apes in tasks of physical (quantities, and causality) and social cognition (social learning, communication, and theory of mind). These unprecedented findings strengthen recent assessments of ravens' general intelligence, and aid to the growing evidence that the lack of a specific cortical architecture does not hinder advanced cognitive skills. Difficulties in certain cognitive scales further emphasize the quest to develop comparative test batteries that tap into true species rather than human specific cognitive skills, and suggest that socialization of test individuals may play a crucial role. We conclude to pay more attention to the impact of personality on cognitive output, and a currently neglected topic in Animal Cognition-the linkage between ontogeny and cognitive performance.

RevDate: 2020-12-29

Bohacz J, Możejko M, I Kitowski (2020)

Arthroderma tuberculatum and Arthroderma multifidum Isolated from Soils in Rook (Corvus frugilegus) Colonies as Producers of Keratinolytic Enzymes and Mineral Forms of N and S.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(24):.

Keratinolytic fungi representing the genus Arthroderma that were isolated from the soils of a rook (Corvus frugilegus) colony were used as biological agents for the disposal of waste feathers. The aim of this study was to assess the abilities of Arthroderma tuberculatum and Arthroderma multifidum fungi with a varied inflow of keratin matter to biodegrade waste feathers. The evaluation was based on the determination of feather mass loss, the activity of keratinolytic enzymes, and the content of mineral N and S forms. It was found that the activity of protease released by the fungi contributed to an increase in the level of soluble proteins and peptides and the concentration of ammonium ions, as well as alkalization of the culture medium. Keratinase activity was significantly correlated with sulfate release, especially in A. tuberculatum cultures. The strains of A. tuberculatum fungi isolated from the soil with the highest supply of organic matter, i.e., strains III, IV, and V, had the lowest enzymatic activity, compared to the A. multifidum strains, but they released mineral nitrogen and sulfur forms that are highly important for fertilization, as well as nutritionally important peptides and amino acids. A. tuberculatum strains can be used for the management of waste feathers that can be applied in agricultural practice.

RevDate: 2020-12-28

Bauer N, Bertram C, Schultes A, et al (2020)

Quantification of an efficiency-sovereignty trade-off in climate policy.

Nature, 588(7837):261-266.

The Paris Agreement calls for a cooperative response with the aim of limiting global warming to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels while reaffirming the principles of equity and common, but differentiated responsibilities and capabilities1. Although the goal is clear, the approach required to achieve it is not. Cap-and-trade policies using uniform carbon prices could produce cost-effective reductions of global carbon emissions, but tend to impose relatively high mitigation costs on developing and emerging economies. Huge international financial transfers are required to complement cap-and-trade to achieve equal sharing of effort, defined as an equal distribution of mitigation costs as a share of income2,3, and therefore the cap-and-trade policy is often perceived as infringing on national sovereignty2-7. Here we show that a strategy of international financial transfers guided by moderate deviations from uniform carbon pricing could achieve the goal without straining either the economies or sovereignty of nations. We use the integrated assessment model REMIND-MAgPIE to analyse alternative policies: financial transfers in uniform carbon pricing systems, differentiated carbon pricing in the absence of financial transfers, or a hybrid combining financial transfers and differentiated carbon prices. Under uniform carbon prices, a present value of international financial transfers of 4.4 trillion US dollars over the next 80 years to 2100 would be required to equalize effort. By contrast, achieving equal effort without financial transfers requires carbon prices in advanced countries to exceed those in developing countries by a factor of more than 100, leading to efficiency losses of 2.6 trillion US dollars. Hybrid solutions reveal a strongly nonlinear trade-off between cost efficiency and sovereignty: moderate deviations from uniform carbon prices strongly reduce financial transfers at relatively small efficiency losses and moderate financial transfers substantially reduce inefficiencies by narrowing the carbon price spread. We also identify risks and adverse consequences of carbon price differentiation due to market distortions that can undermine environmental sustainability targets8,9. Quantifying the advantages and risks of carbon price differentiation provides insight into climate and sector-specific policy mixes.

RevDate: 2020-12-30

Valaparla VL, Nehra R, Mehta UM, et al (2020)

Social cognitive deficits in schizophrenia and their neurocognitive correlates across the different phases of illness.

Asian journal of psychiatry, 55:102501 pii:S1876-2018(20)30614-6 [Epub ahead of print].

AIM: This study aimed to assess the relationship between neurocognition (NC) and social cognition (SC) in patients with schizophrenia during the symptomatic phase and the phase of clinical remission.

METHODOLOGY: Thirty-two patients were assessed on Color trail test (CTT), Hopkins verbal learning test (HVLT), Controlled oral word association (COWA) test, Wisconsin card sorting test (WCST), Ravens standard progressive matrices (SPM) and Social cognition rating tool in Indian setting (SOCRATIS) during symptomatic and remission phases of illness at least 3 months apart.

RESULTS: Compared to baseline assessment, even after controlling for PANSS scores except for social perception index all other domains of SC showed significant improvement at the time of remission. Although there was significant improvement in a few subtests of verbal learning, IQ and number of correct responses of COWA, colour trail test, no significant difference was seen in performance on WCST. Although second order theory of mind task had some association with IQ at the baseline assessment, no association was seen between SC and NC in the remission phase.

CONCLUSIONS: To conclude, present study suggests that impairments in all the domains of SC (except for social perception index) and NC (except for WCST) improve in the remission phase.

RevDate: 2020-12-08

Duan Z (2020)

[The exploration of Hujia Pasture wooden slip medicine prescription].

Zhonghua yi shi za zhi (Beijing, China : 1980), 50(5):307-310.

Some features in the medical prescriptions of western Han dynasty on the wooden slips unearthed in Hujia Pasture were interpreted, and the words were annotated and translated. The study found that this recipe with male magpie excrement treatment epileptic disease is the first moxibustion combined with drugs to treat epilepsy. This is the earliest recorded treatment. The drug is still administered to lactate children by applying it to the mother's nipple and making the child to suck, and it is the earliest recorded of its kind.

RevDate: 2020-12-10

Lu C (2020)

Channels' Confirmation and Predictions' Confirmation: From the Medical Test to the Raven Paradox.

Entropy (Basel, Switzerland), 22(4):.

After long arguments between positivism and falsificationism, the verification of universal hypotheses was replaced with the confirmation of uncertain major premises. Unfortunately, Hemple proposed the Raven Paradox. Then, Carnap used the increment of logical probability as the confirmation measure. So far, many confirmation measures have been proposed. Measure F proposed by Kemeny and Oppenheim among them possesses symmetries and asymmetries proposed by Elles and Fitelson, monotonicity proposed by Greco et al., and normalizing property suggested by many researchers. Based on the semantic information theory, a measure b* similar to F is derived from the medical test. Like the likelihood ratio, measures b* and F can only indicate the quality of channels or the testing means instead of the quality of probability predictions. Furthermore, it is still not easy to use b*, F, or another measure to clarify the Raven Paradox. For this reason, measure c* similar to the correct rate is derived. Measure c* supports the Nicod Criterion and undermines the Equivalence Condition, and hence, can be used to eliminate the Raven Paradox. An example indicates that measures F and b* are helpful for diagnosing the infection of Novel Coronavirus, whereas most popular confirmation measures are not. Another example reveals that all popular confirmation measures cannot be used to explain that a black raven can confirm "Ravens are black" more strongly than a piece of chalk. Measures F, b*, and c* indicate that the existence of fewer counterexamples is more important than more positive examples' existence, and hence, are compatible with Popper's falsification thought.

RevDate: 2020-12-12

Chen Z, Erickson DL, J Meng (2020)

Benchmarking Long-Read Assemblers for Genomic Analyses of Bacterial Pathogens Using Oxford Nanopore Sequencing.

International journal of molecular sciences, 21(23):.

Oxford Nanopore sequencing can be used to achieve complete bacterial genomes. However, the error rates of Oxford Nanopore long reads are greater compared to Illumina short reads. Long-read assemblers using a variety of assembly algorithms have been developed to overcome this deficiency, which have not been benchmarked for genomic analyses of bacterial pathogens using Oxford Nanopore long reads. In this study, long-read assemblers, namely Canu, Flye, Miniasm/Racon, Raven, Redbean, and Shasta, were thus benchmarked using Oxford Nanopore long reads of bacterial pathogens. Ten species were tested for mediocre- and low-quality simulated reads, and 10 species were tested for real reads. Raven was the most robust assembler, obtaining complete and accurate genomes. All Miniasm/Racon and Raven assemblies of mediocre-quality reads provided accurate antimicrobial resistance (AMR) profiles, while the Raven assembly of Klebsiella variicola with low-quality reads was the only assembly with an accurate AMR profile among all assemblers and species. All assemblers functioned well for predicting virulence genes using mediocre-quality and real reads, whereas only the Raven assemblies of low-quality reads had accurate numbers of virulence genes. Regarding multilocus sequence typing (MLST), Miniasm/Racon was the most effective assembler for mediocre-quality reads, while only the Raven assemblies of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and K. variicola with low-quality reads showed positive MLST results. Miniasm/Racon and Raven were the best performers for MLST using real reads. The Miniasm/Racon and Raven assemblies showed accurate phylogenetic inference. For the pan-genome analyses, Raven was the strongest assembler for simulated reads, whereas Miniasm/Racon and Raven performed the best for real reads. Overall, the most robust and accurate assembler was Raven, closely followed by Miniasm/Racon.

RevDate: 2020-12-03

Vernouillet A, Casidsid HJM, DM Kelly (2020)

Conspecific presence, but not pilferage, influences pinyon jays' (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus) caching behavior.

Learning & behavior pii:10.3758/s13420-020-00450-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Caching species store food when plentiful to ensure availability when resources are scarce. These stores may be at risk of pilferage by others present at the time of caching. Cachers may reduce the risk of loss by using information from the social environment to engage in behaviors to secure the resource-cache protection strategies. Here, we examined whether pinyon jays, a highly social corvid, use information from the social environment to modify their caching behavior. Pinyon jays were provided with pine seeds to cache in two visually distinct trays. The cacher could be observed by a non-pilfering conspecific, a pilfering conspecific, or an inanimate heterospecific located in an adjoining cage compartment, or the cacher could be alone. After caching, the pilfered tray was placed in the adjoining compartment where caches were either pilfered (pilfering conspecific and inanimate heterospecific conditions) or remained intact (non-pilfering conspecific and alone conditions). The safe tray was placed in a visible, but inaccessible, location. Overall, pinyon jays reduced the number of pine seeds cached in the pilfered tray when observed, compared with caching alone. However, their caching behavior did not differ between the pilfering conspecific and the non-pilfering conspecific conditions. These results suggest that either pinyon jays were unable to discriminate between the pilfering and non-pilfering conspecifics, or they generalized their experience of risk from the pilfering conspecific to the non-pilfering conspecific. Thus, we report evidence that pinyon jays use cache protection strategies to secure their resources when observed, but respond similarly when observed by pilfering and non-pilfering conspecifics.

RevDate: 2020-12-03

Reha-Krantz LJ, MF Goodman (2020)

John W. (Jan) Drake: A Biochemical View of a Geneticist Par Excellence.

Genetics, 216(4):827-836.

John W. Drake died 02-02-2020, a mathematical palindrome, which he would have enjoyed, given his love of "word play and logic," as stated in his obituary and echoed by his family, friends, students, and colleagues. Many aspects of Jan's career have been reviewed previously, including his early years as a Caltech graduate student, and when he was editor-in-chief, with the devoted assistance of his wife Pam, of this journal for 15 impactful years. During his editorship, he raised the profile of GENETICS as the flagship journal of the Genetics Society of America and inspired and contributed to the creation of the Perspectives column, coedited by Jim Crow and William Dove. At the same time, Jan was building from scratch the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics on the newly established Research Triangle Park campus of the National Institute of Environmental Health Science, which he headed for 30 years. This commentary offers a unique perspective on Jan's legacy; we showcase Jan's 1969 benchmark discovery of antimutagenic T4 DNA polymerases and the research by three generations (and counting) of scientists whose research stems from that groundbreaking discovery. This is followed by a brief discussion of Jan's passion: his overriding interest in analyzing mutation rates across species. Several anecdotal stories are included to bring alive one of Jan's favorite phrases, "to think like a geneticist." We feature Jan's genetical approach to mutation studies, along with the biochemistry of DNA polymerase function, our area of expertise. But in the end, we acknowledge, as Jan did, that genetics, also known as in vivo biochemistry, prevails.

RevDate: 2020-11-27

Adawaren EO, Du Plessis M, Suleman E, et al (2020)

The complete mitochondrial genome of Gyps coprotheres (Aves, Accipitridae, Accipitriformes): phylogenetic analysis of mitogenome among raptors.

PeerJ, 8:e10034.

Three species of Old World vultures on the Asian peninsula are slowly recovering from the lethal consequences of diclofenac. At present the reason for species sensitivity to diclofenac is unknown. Furthermore, it has since been demonstrated that other Old World vultures like the Cape (Gyps coprotheres; CGV) and griffon (G. fulvus) vultures are also susceptible to diclofenac toxicity. Oddly, the New World Turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) and pied crow (Corvus albus) are not susceptible to diclofenac toxicity. As a result of the latter, we postulate an evolutionary link to toxicity. As a first step in understanding the susceptibility to diclofenac toxicity, we use the CGV as a model species for phylogenetic evaluations, by comparing the relatedness of various raptor species known to be susceptible, non-susceptible and suspected by their relationship to the Cape vulture mitogenome. This was achieved by next generation sequencing and assembly. The Cape vulture mitogenome had a genome size of 16,908 bp. The mitogenome phylogenetic analysis indicated a close evolutionary relationship between Old World vultures and other members of the Accipitridae as indicated by bootstrap value of 100% on the phylogenetic trees. Based on this, we postulate that the other species could also be sensitive to the toxic effects of diclofenac. This warrants further investigations.

RevDate: 2020-12-28

O'Connor PM, Turner AH, Groenke JR, et al (2020)

Late Cretaceous bird from Madagascar reveals unique development of beaks.

Nature, 588(7837):272-276.

Mesozoic birds display considerable diversity in size, flight adaptations and feather organization1-4, but exhibit relatively conserved patterns of beak shape and development5-7. Although Neornithine (that is, crown group) birds also exhibit constraint on facial development8,9, they have comparatively diverse beak morphologies associated with a range of feeding and behavioural ecologies, in contrast to Mesozoic birds. Here we describe a crow-sized stem bird, Falcatakely forsterae gen. et sp. nov., from the Late Cretaceous epoch of Madagascar that possesses a long and deep rostrum, an expression of beak morphology that was previously unknown among Mesozoic birds and is superficially similar to that of a variety of crown-group birds (for example, toucans). The rostrum of Falcatakely is composed of an expansive edentulous maxilla and a small tooth-bearing premaxilla. Morphometric analyses of individual bony elements and three-dimensional rostrum shape reveal the development of a neornithine-like facial anatomy despite the retention of a maxilla-premaxilla organization that is similar to that of nonavialan theropods. The patterning and increased height of the rostrum in Falcatakely reveals a degree of developmental lability and increased morphological disparity that was previously unknown in early branching avialans. Expression of this phenotype (and presumed ecology) in a stem bird underscores that consolidation to the neornithine-like, premaxilla-dominated rostrum was not an evolutionary prerequisite for beak enlargement.

RevDate: 2020-11-24

Wagener L, A Nieder (2020)

Categorical Auditory Working Memory in Crows.

iScience, 23(11):101737.

The ability to group sensory data into behaviorally meaningful classes and to maintain these perceptual categories active in working memory is key to intelligent behavior. Here, we show that carrion crows, highly vocal and cognitively advanced corvid songbirds, possess categorical auditory working memory. The crows were trained in a delayed match-to-category task that required them to flexibly match remembered sounds based on the upward or downward shift of the sounds' frequency modulation. After training, the crows instantaneously classified novel sounds into the correct auditory categories. The crows showed sharp category boundaries as a function of the relative frequency interval of the modulation. In addition, the crows generalized frequency-modulated sounds within a category and correctly classified novel sounds kept in working memory irrespective of other acoustic features of the sound. This suggests that crows can form and actively memorize auditory perceptual categories in the service of cognitive control of their goal-directed behaviors.

RevDate: 2020-12-22

Starr KE (2020)

Ferenczi's Influence on Contemporary Psychoanalytic Traditions: Lines of Development - Evolution of Theory and Practice over the Decades, edited by Aleksandar Dimitrijević, Gabriele Cassullo, and Jay Frankel, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, 2018, 308pp.

American journal of psychoanalysis, 80(4):476-480.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Mughal R, Hill CM, Joyce A, et al (2020)

Sleep and Cognition in Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

Brain sciences, 10(11):.

Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) experience significantly higher rates of sleep disturbances than their typically developing peers. However, little is known about the association between sleep and the cognitive phenotype in these clinical populations. Structural damage affecting cortical and subcortical connectivity occurs as a result of prenatal alcohol exposure in children with FASD, whilst it is believed an abundance of short-range connectivity explains the phenotypic manifestations of childhood ASD. These underlying neural structural and connectivity differences manifest as cognitive patterns, with some shared and some unique characteristics between FASD and ASD. This is the first study to examine sleep and its association with cognition in individuals with FASD, and to compare sleep in individuals with FASD and ASD. We assessed children aged 6-12 years with a diagnosis of FASD (n = 29), ASD (n = 21), and Typically Developing (TD) children (n = 46) using actigraphy (CamNTech Actiwatch 8), digit span tests of working memory (Weschler Intelligence Scale), tests of nonverbal mental age (MA; Ravens Standard Progressive Matrices), receptive vocabulary (British Picture Vocabulary Scale), and a choice reaction time (CRT) task. Children with FASD and ASD presented with significantly shorter total sleep duration, lower sleep efficiency, and more nocturnal wakings than their TD peers. Sleep was significantly associated with scores on the cognitive tests in all three groups. Our findings support the growing body of work asserting that sleep is significant to cognitive functioning in these neurodevelopmental conditions; however, more research is needed to determine cause and effect.

RevDate: 2020-11-17

Snow NP, Wishart JD, Foster JA, et al (2020)

Efficacy and Risks from a Modified Sodium Nitrite Toxic Bait for Wild Pigs.

Pest management science [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Wild pigs (Sus scrofa) are a destructive invasive species throughout many regions of the world. In 2018, a field evaluation of an early prototype of a sodium nitrite (SN) toxic bait in the USA revealed wild pigs dropped large amounts of the toxic bait outside the pig-specific bait stations while feeding, and subsequent hazards for non-target animals. We modified the SN-toxic bait formulation, the design of the bait station, and the baiting strategy to reduce dropped bait. We tested the modifications in Queensland, AU (Dec 2018), Alabama, USA (Aug 2019), and Texas, USA (Mar 2020) under differing climatic and seasonal conditions for one night.

RESULTS: Cumulatively we found 161 carcasses of all age classes of wild pigs using systematic transects. Remote camera indices indicated high lethality for wild pigs, achieving population reductions of 76.3-90.4%. Wild pigs dropped only small particles of SN-toxic bait (average = 55.5 g per bait site), which represented a 19-fold decrease from the previous trial. Despite this reduction, we found three Australian ravens (Corvus coronoides) in Queensland, two Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) in Alabama, and 35 granivorous-passerine birds (mostly dark-eyed juncos [Junco hyemalis]) in Texas dead from consuming the dropped bait. We did not detect any population-level effects for those species.

CONCLUSION: Our modifications were effective at reducing populations of wild pigs, but the deaths of non-target species require further steps to minimize these hazards. Next steps will include evaluating various deterrent devices for birds the morning after SN-toxic bait has been offered. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2020-11-17

Nesbitt SJ, Zawiskie JM, RM Dawley (2020)

The osteology and phylogenetic position of the loricatan (Archosauria: Pseudosuchia) Heptasuchus clarki, from the ?Mid-Upper Triassic, southeastern Big Horn Mountains, Central Wyoming (USA).

PeerJ, 8:e10101.

Loricatan pseudosuchians (known as "rauisuchians") typically consist of poorly understood fragmentary remains known worldwide from the Middle Triassic to the end of the Triassic Period. Renewed interest and the discovery of more complete specimens recently revolutionized our understanding of the relationships of archosaurs, the origin of Crocodylomorpha, and the paleobiology of these animals. However, there are still few loricatans known from the Middle to early portion of the Late Triassic and the forms that occur during this time are largely known from southern Pangea or Europe. Heptasuchus clarki was the first formally recognized North American "rauisuchian" and was collected from a poorly sampled and disparately fossiliferous sequence of Triassic strata in North America. Exposed along the trend of the Casper Arch flanking the southeastern Big Horn Mountains, the type locality of Heptasuchus clarki occurs within a sequence of red beds above the Alcova Limestone and Crow Mountain formations within the Chugwater Group. The age of the type locality is poorly constrained to the Middle-early Late Triassic and is likely similar to or just older than that of the Popo Agie Formation assemblage from the western portion of Wyoming. The holotype consists of associated cranial elements found in situ, and the referred specimens consist of crania and postcrania. Thus, about 30% of the osteology of the taxon is preserved. All of the pseudosuchian elements collected at the locality appear to belong to Heptasuchus clarki and the taxon is not a chimera as previously hypothesized. Heptasuchus clarki is distinct from all other archosaurs by the presence of large, posteriorly directed flanges on the parabasisphenoid and a distinct, orbit-overhanging postfrontal. Our phylogenetic hypothesis posits a sister-taxon relationship between Heptasuchus clarki and the Ladinian-aged Batrachotomus kupferzellensis from current-day Germany within Loricata. These two taxa share a number of apomorphies from across the skull and their phylogenetic position further supports 'rauisuchian' paraphyly. A minimum of three individuals of Heptasuchus are present at the type locality suggesting that a group of individuals died together, similar to other aggregations of loricatans (e.g., Heptasuchus, Batrachotomus, Decuriasuchus, Postosuchus).

RevDate: 2020-11-17

Blum CR, Fitch WT, T Bugnyar (2020)

Rapid Learning and Long-Term Memory for Dangerous Humans in Ravens (Corvus corax).

Frontiers in psychology, 11:581794.

Like many predatory species, humans have pronounced individual differences in their interactions with potential prey: some humans pose a lethal threat while others may provide valuable resources. Recognizing individual humans would thus allow prey species to maximize potential rewards while ensuring survival. Previous studies on corvids showed they can recognize and remember individual humans. For instance, wild American crows produced alarm calls toward specifically masked humans up to 2.7 years after those humans had caught and ringed them while wearing that mask. However, individual behavior of the crows or the impact of social features on their responses, was hardly examined. Here, we studied predator learning and social effects on responses, using a similar method, in captive common ravens (Corvus corax). We investigated learning and the impact of key social components on individual reactions to artificial predators. Human experimenters wore two types of masks while walking past two raven aviaries. In four training trials, the "dangerous" mask was presented while carrying a dead raven, whereas the "neutral" mask was presented empty-handed. Between every training trial and in all following trials, we presented both masks without dead ravens. We assessed the subjects' (i) learning speed, (ii) selective long-term response, and (iii) potential effects of social dynamics on individual alarm calling frequency. Ravens learned quickly (often based on the first trial), and some individuals distinguished the dangerous from the neutral mask for the next 4 years. Despite having received the same amount and quality of exposure to the dangerous mask, we found pronounced individual differences in alarm calling that were fairly consistent across test trials in socially stable situations: dominance, but not sex explained individual differences in alarm responses, indicating the potential use of alarm calls as "status symbols." These findings fit to those in wild bird populations and dominant individuals signaling their quality. Changes in the individuals' participation and intensity of alarm calling coincided with changes in group composition and pair formation, further supporting the role of social context on ravens' alarm calling.

RevDate: 2020-11-13

Drysdale M, Ratelle M, Skinner K, et al (2020)

Human biomonitoring results of contaminant and nutrient biomarkers in Old Crow, Yukon, Canada.

The Science of the total environment pii:S0048-9697(20)36870-4 [Epub ahead of print].

Several large-scale human biomonitoring projects have been conducted in Canada, including the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) and the First Nations Biomonitoring Initiative (FNBI). However, neither of these studies included participants living in the Yukon. To address this data gap, a human biomonitoring project was implemented in Old Crow, a fly-in Gwich'in community in the northern Yukon. The results of this project provide baseline levels of contaminant and nutrient biomarkers from Old Crow in 2019. Samples of hair, blood, and/or urine were collected from approximately 44% of community residents (77 of 175 adults). These samples were analyzed for contaminants (including heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants (POPs)), and nutrients (including trace elements and omega-3 fatty acids). Levels of these analytes were compared to health-based guidance values, when available, and results from other human biomonitoring projects in Canada. Levels of lead (GM 0.64 μg/g creatinine in urine/24 μg/L blood), cadmium (GM 0.32 μg/g creatinine in urine/0.85 μg/L blood), and mercury (GM < LOD in urine/0.76 μg/L blood/0.31 μg/g hair) were below select health-based guidance values for more than 95% of participants. However, compared to the general Canadian population, elevated levels of some contaminants, including lead (approximately 2× higher), cobalt (approximately 1.5× higher), manganese (approximately 1.3× higher), and hexachlorobenzene (approximately 1.5× higher) were observed. In contrast, levels of other POPs, including insecticides such as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), its metabolite, dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were similar to, or lower than, those reported in the general Canadian population. This study can be used along with future biomonitoring programs to evaluate the effectiveness of international initiatives designed to reduce the contaminant burden in the Arctic, including the Stockholm Convention and the Minamata Convention. Regionally, this project complements environmental monitoring being conducted in the region, informing local and regional traditional food consumption advisories.

RevDate: 2020-12-15

Shahhosseini N, Frederick C, Racine T, et al (2021)

Modeling host-feeding preference and molecular systematics of mosquitoes in different ecological niches in Canada.

Acta tropica, 213:105734.

Several mosquito-borne viruses (mobovirus) cause infections in Canada. Ecological data on mosquito species and host range in Canada remains elusive. The main aim of the current study is to determine the host range and molecular systematics of mosquito species in Canada. Mosquitoes were collected using BG-Sentinel traps and aspirators at 10 trapping sites in Canada during 2018 and 2019. Mosquitoes collected were identified via morphology and molecular techniques. Mosquito sequences were aligned by MUSCLE algorithm and evolutionary systematics were drawn using MEGA and SDT software. Moreover, the source of blood meals was identified using a DNA barcoding technique. A total of 5,708 female mosquitoes over 34 different taxa were collected. DNA barcodes and evolutionary tree analysis confirmed the identification of mosquito species in Canada. Of the total collected samples, 201 specimens were blood-fed female mosquitoes in 20 different taxa. Four mosquito species represented about half (51.47%) of all collected blood-fed specimens: Aede cinereus (39 specimens, 19.11%), Aedes triseriatus (23, 11.27%), Culex pipiens (22, 10.78%), and Anopheles punctipennis (21, 10.29%). The most common blood meal sources were humans (49 mosquito specimens, 24% of all blood-fed mosquito specimen), pigs (44, 21.5%), American red squirrels (28, 13.7%), white-tailed deers (28, 13.7%), and American crows (16, 7.8%). Here, we present the first analysis of the host-feeding preference of different mosquito species in Canada via molecular techniques. Our results on mosquito distribution and behavior will aid in the development of effective mitigation and control strategies to prevent or reduce human/animal health issues in regards to moboviruses.

RevDate: 2020-11-07

Heasley LR, Sampaio NMV, JL Argueso (2020)

Systemic and rapid restructuring of the genome: a new perspective on punctuated equilibrium.

Current genetics pii:10.1007/s00294-020-01119-2 [Epub ahead of print].

The rates and patterns by which cells acquire mutations profoundly shape their evolutionary trajectories and phenotypic potential. Conventional models maintain that mutations are acquired independently of one another over many successive generations. Yet, recent evidence suggests that cells can also experience mutagenic processes that drive rapid genome evolution. One such process manifests as punctuated bursts of genomic instability, in which multiple new mutations are acquired simultaneously during transient episodes of genomic instability. This mutational mode is reminiscent of the theory of punctuated equilibrium, proposed by Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge in 1972 to explain the burst-like appearance of new species in the fossil record. In this review, we survey the dominant and emerging theories of eukaryotic genome evolution with a particular focus on the growing body of work that substantiates the existence and importance of punctuated bursts of genomic instability. In addition, we summarize and discuss two recent studies from our own group, the results of which indicate that punctuated bursts systemic genomic instability (SGI) can rapidly reconfigure the structure of the diploid genome of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

RevDate: 2020-11-29

Armenteros JA, Caro J, SÁnchez-GarcÍa C, et al (2020)

Do non-target species visit feeders and water troughs targeting small game? A study from farmland Spain using camera-trapping.

Integrative zoology [Epub ahead of print].

Provision of food and water is a widespread tool implemented around the world for the benefit of game and other wildlife, but factors affecting the use of food and water by non-target species are poorly known. We evaluated visits to feeders and water troughs by non-game species using camera-traps in two separate areas of Spain. Feeders and water troughs were either "protected" (when surrounded by more than 50% of shrubs/forest) or "open" (in the opposite case). A total of 18 948 photos from 5344 camera-trapping days depicted animals, and 75 species were identified. Feeders and water troughs were visited by target species (partridges and lagomorphs, 55.3% of visits) and non-target species (44.7% of visits). Among the latter, corvids were the most common (46.1% of visits), followed by rodents (26.8%), other birds (23.6%, mainly passerines), columbids (1.9%), and other species at minor percentages. The highest proportion of visiting days to feeders and water troughs was from corvids (0.173) followed by other-birds (0.109) and rodents (0.083); the lowest proportion was recorded for columbids (0.016). Use intensity and visit frequency of water troughs tripled that recorded in feeders, and visits to open feeders/troughs were approximately twice those to protected ones. In summary: feeders and water troughs targeting small game species are also used regularly by non-target ones; they should be set close to cover to optimize their use by non-target species that are not competitors of target species (though corvids may visit them); water availability should be prioritized where drought periods are expected.

RevDate: 2020-12-29

Boeckle M, Schiestl M, Frohnwieser A, et al (2020)

New Caledonian crows plan for specific future tool use.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 287(1938):20201490.

The ability to plan for future events is one of the defining features of human intelligence. Whether non-human animals can plan for specific future situations remains contentious: despite a sustained research effort over the last two decades, there is still no consensus on this question. Here, we show that New Caledonian crows can use tools to plan for specific future events. Crows learned a temporal sequence where they were (a) shown a baited apparatus, (b) 5 min later given a choice of five objects and (c) 10 min later given access to the apparatus. At test, these crows were presented with one of two tool-apparatus combinations. For each combination, the crows chose the right tool for the right future task, while ignoring previously useful tools and a low-value food item. This study establishes that planning for specific future tool use can evolve via convergent evolution, given that corvids and humans shared a common ancestor over 300 million years ago, and offers a route to mapping the planning capacities of animals.

RevDate: 2020-12-17

Kutilova I, Valcek A, Papagiannitsis CC, et al (2020)

Carbapenemase-Producing Gram-Negative Bacteria from American Crows in the United States.

Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy, 65(1):.

Wild corvids were examined for the presence of carbapenemase-producing Gram-negative bacteria in the United States. A total of 13 isolates were detected among 590 fecal samples of American crow; 11 Providencia rettgeri isolates harboring blaIMP-27 on the chromosome as a class 2 integron gene cassette within the Tn7 transposon, 1 Klebsiella pneumoniae ST258 isolate carrying blaKPC-2 on a pKpQIL-like plasmid as a part of Tn4401a, and 1 Enterobacter bugandensis isolate with blaIMI-1 located within EcloIMEX-2.

RevDate: 2020-12-07

Islam A, Islam S, Hossain ME, et al (2020)

Serological Evidence of West Nile Virus in Wild Birds in Bangladesh.

Veterinary sciences, 7(4):.

West Nile Virus (WNV) is a vector-borne zoonotic disease maintained in a sylvatic cycle involving mosquito vectors and birds. To detect WNV and other flavivirus infections in wild resident and migratory birds, we tested 184 samples from 19 identified species within nine families collected during 2012-2016 from four districts in Bangladesh. We tested serum samples for the immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody against WNV using competitive Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (c-ELISA), whereas tracheal and cloacal swabs were subjected to consensus Polymerase Chain Reaction (c-PCR) for the detection of the flavivirus RNA. Overall, we detected 11.9% (n = 22; 95% CI: 0.07-0.16) samples were seropositive, including 15.9% in the migratory wild birds and 10.7% in the resident wild birds. The migratory wild Tufted duck showed 28.5% seropositivity, whereas the resident wild house crows showed 12.5% seropositivity. None of the swab samples was positive for flavivirus RNA infection (0%, n = 184; 95% CI: 0-0.019). These study findings recommend continued surveillance for early detection and to better understand the epidemiology of WNV and other flavivirus circulation in both birds and mosquitoes in Bangladesh.

RevDate: 2020-12-23
CmpDate: 2020-12-23

Prakas P, Butkauskas D, E Juozaitytė-Ngugu (2020)

Molecular and morphological description of Sarcocystis kutkienae sp. nov. from the common raven (Corvus corax).

Parasitology research, 119(12):4205-4210.

Until now, two Sarcocystis species, S. cornixi and S. corvusi, were known to employ members of the family Corvidae as intermediate hosts. Between 2013 and 2019, having examined leg muscles of 23 common ravens in Lithuania, sarcocysts were detected in 18 birds (78.3%). Using light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and molecular analysis (three genetic loci, 18S rDNA, 28S rDNA, and ITS1), sarcocysts found in the common raven were described as a new species S. kutkienae. Under a light microscope, the observed sarcocysts were ribbon-shaped (1500-8147 × 53-79 μm) and had a wavy striated cyst wall that reached up to 1.5 μm. Lancet-shaped bradyzoites were 7.7 × 2.2 μm (6.1-9.0 × 1.2-3.0 μm) in size. Ultrastructurally, the sarcocyst wall was 1.5-1.8 μm in thickness and had conical-like protrusions with minute invaginations of a parasitophorous vacuolar membrane. The cyst wall was type 1e-like. Limited genetic variability was observed between the 18S rDNA and 28S rDNA sequences of S. kutkienae and other Sarcocystis spp. using birds as intermediate hosts. In contrast, S. kutkienae could be clearly identified by comparing sequences. At this locus, sequences of S. kutkienae shared the highest similarity (89.5-89.7%) with those of S. cornixi. Phylogenetic analysis showed that S. kutkienae was most closely related to Sarcocystis spp. that employs birds as intermediate and definitive hosts. The issue relating to which species might serve as definitive hosts of S. kutkienae in Lithuania is addressed.

RevDate: 2020-10-30

Cabrera-Álvarez MJ, NS Clayton (2020)

Neural Processes Underlying Tool Use in Humans, Macaques, and Corvids.

Frontiers in psychology, 11:560669.

It was thought that tool use in animals is an adaptive specialization. Recent studies, however, have shown that some non-tool-users, such as rooks and jays, can use and manufacture tools in laboratory settings. Despite the abundant evidence of tool use in corvids, little is known about the neural mechanisms underlying tool use in this family of birds. This review summarizes the current knowledge on the neural processes underlying tool use in humans, macaques and corvids. We suggest a possible neural network for tool use in macaques and hope this might inspire research to discover a similar brain network in corvids. We hope to establish a framework to elucidate the neural mechanisms that supported the convergent evolution of tool use in birds and mammals.

RevDate: 2020-12-15

De Allegri M, Srivastava S, Strupat C, et al (2020)

Mixed and Multi-Methods Protocol to Evaluate Implementation Processes and Early Effects of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana Scheme in Seven Indian States.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(21):.

In September 2018, India launched Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY), a nationally implemented government-funded health insurance scheme to improve access to quality inpatient care, increase financial protection, and reduce unmet need for the most vulnerable population groups. This protocol describes the methodology adopted to evaluate implementation processes and early effects of PM-JAY in seven Indian states. The study adopts a mixed and multi-methods concurrent triangulation design including three components: 1. demand-side household study, including a structured survey and qualitative elements, to quantify and understand PM-JAY reach and its effect on insurance awareness, health service utilization, and financial protection; 2. supply-side hospital-based survey encompassing both quantitative and qualitative elements to assess the effect of PM-JAY on quality of service delivery and to explore healthcare providers' experiences with scheme implementation; and 3. process documentation to examine implementation processes in selected states transitioning from either no or prior health insurance to PM-JAY. Descriptive statistics and quasi-experimental methods will be used to analyze quantitative data, while thematic analysis will be used to analyze qualitative data. The study design presented represents the first effort to jointly evaluate implementation processes and early effects of the largest government-funded health insurance scheme ever launched in India.

RevDate: 2020-11-28

Shriner SA, JJ Root (2020)

A Review of Avian Influenza A Virus Associations in Synanthropic Birds.

Viruses, 12(11):.

Avian influenza A viruses (IAV) have received significant attention due to the threat they pose to human, livestock, and wildlife health. In this review, we focus on what is known about IAV dynamics in less common avian species that may play a role in trafficking IAVs to poultry operations. Specifically, we focus on synanthropic bird species. Synanthropic species, otherwise known as peridomestic, are species that are ecologically associated with humans and anthropogenically modified landscapes, such as agricultural and urban areas. Aquatic birds such as waterfowl and shorebirds are the species most commonly associated with avian IAVs, and are generally considered the reservoir or maintenance hosts in the natural ecology of these viruses. Waterfowl and shorebirds are occasionally associated with poultry facilities, but are uncommon or absent in many areas, especially large commercial operations. In these cases, spillover hosts that share resources with both maintenance hosts and target hosts such as poultry may play an important role in introducing wild bird viruses onto farms. Consequently, our focus here is on what is known about IAV dynamics in synanthropic hosts that are commonly found on both farms and in nearby habitats, such as fields, lakes, wetlands, or riparian areas occupied by waterfowl or shorebirds.

RevDate: 2020-10-28

Laumer IB, Jelbert SA, Taylor AH, et al (2020)

Object manufacture based on a memorized template: Goffin's cockatoos attend to different model features.

Animal cognition pii:10.1007/s10071-020-01435-7 [Epub ahead of print].

Although several nonhuman animals have the ability to recognize and match templates in computerized tasks, we know little about their ability to recall and then physically manufacture specific features of mental templates. Across three experiments, Goffin cockatoos (Cacatua goffiniana), a species that can use tools in captivity, were exposed to two pre-made template objects, varying in either colour, size (long or short) or shape (I or L-shaped), where only one template was rewarded. Birds were then given the opportunity to manufacture versions of these objects themselves. We found that all birds carved paper strips from the same colour material as the rewarded template, and half were also able to match the size of a template (long and short). This occurred despite the template being absent at test and birds being rewarded at random. However, we found no evidence that cockatoos could carve L-shaped pieces after learning that L-shaped templates were rewarded, though their manufactured strips were wider than in previous tests. Overall, our results show that Goffin cockatoos possess the ability to physically adjust at least the size dimension of manufactured objects relative to a mental template. This ability has previously only been shown in New Caledonian crows, where template matching was suggested as a potential mechanism allowing for the cumulative cultural transmission of tool designs. Our results show that within avian tool users, the ability to recreate a physical template from memory does not seem to be restricted to species that have cumulative tool cultures.

RevDate: 2020-10-28

Prabhakar SK, Rajaguru H, SH Kim (2020)

An Amalgamated Approach to Bilevel Feature Selection Techniques Utilizing Soft Computing Methods for Classifying Colon Cancer.

BioMed research international, 2020:8427574.

One of the deadliest diseases which affects the large intestine is colon cancer. Older adults are typically affected by colon cancer though it can happen at any age. It generally starts as small benign growth of cells that forms on the inside of the colon, and later, it develops into cancer. Due to the propagation of somatic alterations that affects the gene expression, colon cancer is caused. A standardized format for assessing the expression levels of thousands of genes is provided by the DNA microarray technology. The tumors of various anatomical regions can be distinguished by the patterns of gene expression in microarray technology. As the microarray data is too huge to process due to the curse of dimensionality problem, an amalgamated approach of utilizing bilevel feature selection techniques is proposed in this paper. In the first level, the genes or the features are dimensionally reduced with the help of Multivariate Minimum Redundancy-Maximum Relevance (MRMR) technique. Then, in the second level, six optimization techniques are utilized in this work for selecting the best genes or features before proceeding to classification process. The optimization techniques considered in this work are Invasive Weed Optimization (IWO), Teaching Learning-Based Optimization (TLBO), League Championship Optimization (LCO), Beetle Antennae Search Optimization (BASO), Crow Search Optimization (CSO), and Fruit Fly Optimization (FFO). Finally, it is classified with five suitable classifiers, and the best results show when IWO is utilized with MRMR, and then classified with Quadratic Discriminant Analysis (QDA), a classification accuracy of 99.16% is obtained.

RevDate: 2020-10-30

Blazkova B, Pastorkova A, Solansky I, et al (2020)

The Impact of Cesarean and Vaginal Delivery on Results of Psychological Cognitive Test in 5 Year Old Children.

Medicina (Kaunas, Lithuania), 56(10):.

Background and objectives: The impact of cesarean and vaginal delivery on cognitive development was analyzed in 5 year old children. Materials and Methods: Two cohorts of 5 year old children born in the years 2013 and 2014 in Karvina (Northern Moravia) and Ceske Budejovice (Southern Bohemia) were studied for their cognitive development related to vaginal (n = 117) and cesarean types of delivery (n = 51). The Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test (BG test) and the Raven Colored Progressive Matrices (RCPM test) were used as psychological tests. Results: In the comparison of vaginal delivery vs. cesarean section, the children delivered by cesarean section scored lower and, therefore, achieved poorer performance in cognitive tests compared to those born by vaginal delivery, as shown in the RCPM (p < 0.001) and in the BG test (p < 0.001). When mothers' education level was considered, the children whose mothers achieved a university degree scored higher in both the RCPM test (p < 0.001) and the BG test (p < 0.01) compared to the children of mothers with lower secondary education. When comparing mothers with a university degree to those with higher secondary education, there was a significant correlation between level of education and score achieved in the RCPM test (p < 0.001), but not in the BG test. Conclusions: According to our findings, the mode of delivery seems to have a significant influence on performance in psychological cognitive tests in 5 year old children in favor of those who were born by vaginal delivery. Since cesarean-born children scored notably below vaginally born children, it appears possible that cesarean delivery may have a convincingly adverse effect on children's further cognitive development.

RevDate: 2020-10-23

Devarapalli R, Bhattacharyya B, Sinha NK, et al (2020)

Amended GWO approach based multi-machine power system stability enhancement.

ISA transactions pii:S0019-0578(20)30390-6 [Epub ahead of print].

The conception of electromechanical oscillations initiates in the power network when there is an installation of the generator in parallel with the existent one. Further, the interconnection of multiple areas, extension in transmission, capricious load characteristics, etc. causes low-frequency oscillations in the consolidated power network. This paper proposes variants of a booming population-based grey wolf optimization (GWO) algorithm in the tuning of power system stabilizer parameters of a multi-machine system in damping low-frequency oscillations. The parameters have been tuned by framing an objective function considering the improving damping ratios for the system states with lesser damping ratios and shifting the system eigenvalues towards the left-hand side of s-plane for the improved settling characteristics for the oscillations in the system. The requisites of stabilizer strategy are mapped with the hallmarks of prevalent algorithms and designed hybrid versions of GWO for the enhancement of the multi-machine power system stability. Four variants of GWO technique are nominated based on the competent stabilizer performance namely, modified grey wolf optimization (MGWO), hybrid MGWO particle swarm optimization (MGWOPSO), hybrid MGWO sine cosine algorithm (MGWOSCA) and hybrid MGWO crow search algorithm (MGWOCSA) for the designed multi-machine power network. The proposed methods have been realized with the statistical analysis on the 23 benchmark functions. Nonparametric statistical tests, namely, Feidman test, Anova test and Quade tests, have been performed on the test system, further analysed in detail. A detailed comparative analysis under the self-clearing fault is presented to illustrate the suitability of the proposed techniques. For the analysis purpose, the location of system eigenvalues has been observed along with their oscillating frequencies and corresponding damping ratios. Further, the damping nature offered with considered system uncertainty for the system states also presented with the PSS parameters obtained by the proposed algorithms.

RevDate: 2020-10-25

Schvartz G, Farnoushi Y, Berkowitz A, et al (2020)

Molecular characterization of the re-emerging West Nile virus in avian species and equids in Israel, 2018, and pathological description of the disease.

Parasites & vectors, 13(1):528.

BACKGROUND: In this report we describe the molecular and pathological characteristics of West Nile virus (WNV) infection that occurred during the summer and fall of 2018 in avian species and equines. WNV is reported in Israel since the 1950s, with occasional outbreaks leading to significant morbidity and mortality in birds, high infection in horses and humans, and sporadic fatalities in humans.

METHODS: Animal and avian carcasses in a suitable condition were examined by post-mortem analysis. Tissue samples were examined for WNV by RT-qPCR and the viral load was quantified. Samples with sufficient material quality were further analyzed by Endpoint PCR and sequencing, which was used for phylogenetic analysis. Tissue samples from positive animals were used for culturing the virus in Vero and C6/36 cells.

RESULTS: WNV RNA was detected in one yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis), two long-eared owls (Asio otus), two domesticated geese (Anser anser), one pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), four hooded crows (Corvus cornix), three horses and one donkey. Pathological and histopathological findings were characteristic of viral infection. Molecular analysis and viral load quantification showed varying degrees of infection, ranging between 70-1.4 × 106 target copies per sample. Phylogenetic analysis of a 906-bp genomic segment showed that all samples belonged to Lineage 1 clade 1a, with the following partition: five samples from 2018 and one sample detected in 2016 were of Cluster 2 Eastern European, two of Cluster 2 Mediterranean and four of Cluster 4. Four of the positive samples was successfully propagated in C6/36 and Vero cell lines for further work.

CONCLUSIONS: WNV is constantly circulating in wild and domesticated birds and animals in Israel, necessitating constant surveillance in birds and equines. At least three WNV strains were circulating in the suspected birds and animals examined. Quantitative analysis showed that the viral load varies significantly between different organs and tissues of the infected animals.

RevDate: 2020-10-22

Basso W, Alvarez Rojas CA, Buob D, et al (2020)

Sarcocystis infection in red deer (Cervus elaphus) with eosinophilic myositis/fasciitis in Switzerland and involvement of red foxes (Vulpesvulpes) and hunting dogs in the transmission.

International journal for parasitology. Parasites and wildlife, 13:130-141.

Red deer (Cervus elaphus) carcasses showing grey-greenish discolouration have been increasingly observed in the canton of Grisons, Switzerland. We investigated whether Sarcocystis infections were associated with this pathology, and whether wild and domestic canids were involved in their transmission. Meat from affected red deer (n = 26), faeces and intestines from red foxes (Vulpesvulpes) (n = 126), and faeces from hunting dogs (n = 12) from the region, were analysed. Eosinophilic myositis and/or fasciitis were diagnosed in 69% of the deer, and sarcocysts were observed in 89% of the animals. Molecular typing targeting a ~700bp variable region of the 18S rRNA gene revealed Sarcocystis hjorti in 73%, S. venatoria/S. iberica in 54%, S. linearis/S. taeniata in 12%, S. pilosa in 8% and S. ovalis in 4% of the deer samples. No inflammatory changes were observed in red deer carcasses with normal appearance (n = 8); however, sarcocysts were observed in one sample, and S. hjorti, S. venatoria/S. iberica or S. silva DNA was detected in five samples. Sarcocystis oocysts/sporocysts were observed in 11/106 faecal and 6/20 intestinal fox samples, and in 2/12 canine samples. Sarcocystis tenella (n = 8), S. hjorti (n = 2), S. gracilis (n = 2), and S. miescheriana (n = 1) were identified in foxes, and S. gracilis (n = 2), S. capreolicanis (n = 1) and S. linearis/S. taeniata (n = 1) in dogs. This study provides first molecular evidence of S. pilosa and S. silva infection in red deer and S. linearis/S. taeniata in dogs and represents the first record of S. ovalis transmitted by corvids in Central Europe. Although Sarcocystis species infecting red deer are not regarded as zoonotic, the affected carcasses can be declared as unfit for human consumption due to the extensive pathological changes.

RevDate: 2020-11-03

Sen K, Shepherd V, Berglund T, et al (2020)

American Crows as Carriers of Extra Intestinal Pathogenic E. coli and Avian Pathogenic-Like E. coli and Their Potential Impact on a Constructed Wetland.

Microorganisms, 8(10):.

The study examines whether crows are carriers of extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC) and avian pathogenic E. coli (APEC)-like strains, and if wetland roost areas contribute to their spread. A total of 10 crow feces (n = 71) and 15 water E. coli isolates (n = 134) from a wetland area could be characterized as potentially ExPEC based on the presence of ≥2 of the five cardinal genes iutA, kpsMT2, papEF, pap A/C, papG, sfa/foc, and afa/dra, while six fecal and 14 water isolates could be characterized as potentially APEC-like based on the presence of plasmid associated genes: iutA, episomal iss, ompT, hlyF and iroN. A total of 32 fecal and 27 water isolates tested carried plasmids based on incompatibility typing. Plasmids from 34 of 38 isolates tested could be transferred to another E. coli strain by conjugation with the antibiotic resistance (AR) profile being transferred, indicating their potential to be transferred to indigenous and non-pathogenic strains in the wetland. APEC-like plasmids could be transferred in six of eight isolates tested. Pathogenic E. coli of importance to the medical community and poultry industry may be detected in high levels in surface water due to corvid activity. Regardless of their role in health or disease, water in wetlands and streams can serve as a media for the dissemination of AR and virulence traits of bacteria, with corvids acting as potential vectors for farther dissemination.

RevDate: 2020-11-13

Horn L, Bugnyar T, Griesser M, et al (2020)

Sex-specific effects of cooperative breeding and colonial nesting on prosociality in corvids.

eLife, 9:.

The investigation of prosocial behavior is of particular interest from an evolutionary perspective. Comparisons of prosociality across non-human animal species have, however, so far largely focused on primates, and their interpretation is hampered by the diversity of paradigms and procedures used. Here, we present the first systematic comparison of prosocial behavior across multiple species in a taxonomic group outside the primate order, namely the bird family Corvidae. We measured prosociality in eight corvid species, which vary in the expression of cooperative breeding and colonial nesting. We show that cooperative breeding is positively associated with prosocial behavior across species. Also, colonial nesting is associated with a stronger propensity for prosocial behavior, but only in males. The combined results of our study strongly suggest that both cooperative breeding and colonial nesting, which may both rely on heightened social tolerance at the nest, are likely evolutionary pathways to prosocial behavior in corvids.

RevDate: 2020-10-20

Rindermann H, A Laura Ackermann (2020)

Piagetian Tasks and Psychometric Intelligence: Different or Similar Constructs?.

Psychological reports [Epub ahead of print].

Research on cognitive ability is done in different paradigms. In the Piagetian paradigm, cognitive ability focuses on cognitive development along qualitative stages. Interactive real scenarios, "Piagetian tasks", are constructed for measurement. According to age, tasks differing in complexity are applied in individual measurements. In the psychometric paradigm, the investigation of cognitive ability focuses on individual differences. Intelligence is seen as a quantitative construct with gradual differences between persons and ages. Paper-and-pencil tests with items differing in difficulty are used for IQ measurement of single persons or school classes. However, do those tasks measure two distinct cognitive abilities? Solving tasks in both approaches requires basic (speed, working memory) and complex cognitive abilities (reasoning, understanding). Regarding empirical relationships, we used three Austrian samples (in kindergarten four to six years old N = 40, in primary school six to eight years old N = 40, and nine to ten years old N = 41). They were tested with psychometric tests (Raven CPM or SPM) and Piagetian tasks. In addition, mental speed (ZVT) was measured in the two school samples. The average observed correlation between IQ and Piagetian tasks was r = .51. In factor analyses, the tests loaded on a common factor of general intelligence. Further analyses revealed that mental speed is correlated more strongly with psychometric (r = .50) than with Piagetian tasks (r = .39), while Piagetian tasks are more related to parental education indicators (speed: r = .11, Raven: r = .20, Piaget: r = .25).

RevDate: 2020-10-15

Lifshit HB, Bustan N, S Shnitzer-Meirovich (2020)

Intelligence trajectories in adolescents and adults with down syndrome: Cognitively stimulating leisure activities mitigate health and ADL problems.

Journal of applied research in intellectual disabilities : JARID [Epub ahead of print].

GOALS: This study examined: (a) crystallized/fluid intelligence trajectories of adolescents and adults with Down syndrome; and (b) the contribution of endogenous (health, activities of daily living-ADL) and exogenous (cognitively stimulating leisure activities) factors on adults' intelligence with age.

METHOD: Four cohorts (N = 80) with Down syndrome participated: adolescents (ages 16-21) and adults (ages 30-45, 46-60 and 61+). All completed Vocabulary and Similarities (crystallized) and Block Design and Raven (fluid) intelligence tests (WAIS-IIIHEB , Wechsler, 2001).

RESULTS: The 30-45 cohort significantly outperformed the 16-21 cohort. Except for Vocabulary, which remained stable, onset of decline was at 40-50. Age-related declining health and ADL correlated with participants' lower fluid intelligence, but cognitive leisure activities mitigated this influence.

CONCLUSIONS: Intelligence development into adulthood supported the continuous trajectory and compensation age theory, rather than accelerated or stable trajectories. Not only endogenous factors but also exogenous factors determined intelligence levels in adults with Down syndrome, supporting cognitive activity theory.

RevDate: 2020-10-21
CmpDate: 2020-10-21

Rix MG, Wilson JD, MS Harvey (2020)

The open-holed trapdoor spiders (Mygalomorphae: Anamidae: Namea) of Australia's D'Aguilar Range: revealing an unexpected subtropical hotspot of rainforest diversity.

Zootaxa, 4861(1):zootaxa.4861.1.5 pii:zootaxa.4861.1.5.

The D'Aguilar Range of subtropical south-eastern Queensland (Australia), harbours an upland rainforest biota characterised by high levels of endemic diversity. Following recent phylogenetic and biogeographic research into the open-holed trapdoor spiders of the genus Namea Raven, 1984 (family Anamidae), remarkable levels of sympatry for a single genus of mygalomorph spiders were recorded from the D'Aguilar Range. It is now known that eight different species in the genus can be found in the D'Aguilar uplands, with five apparently endemic to rainforest habitats. In this paper we present a phylogenetic and taxonomic synopsis of the remarkable anamid fauna of the D'Aguilar Range: a key to the eight species is provided, and four new species of Namea are described (N. gloriosa sp. nov., N. gowardae sp. nov., N. nebo sp. nov. and N. nigritarsus sp. nov.). In shining a spotlight on the mygalomorph spiders of this region, we highlight the D'Aguilar Range as a hotspot of subtropical rainforest diversity, and an area of considerable conservation value.

RevDate: 2020-10-22
CmpDate: 2020-10-22

James HF (2020)

The Irvingtonian Avifauna of Cumberland Bone Cave, Maryland.

Zootaxa, 4772(1):zootaxa.4772.1.4 pii:zootaxa.4772.1.4.

The early and mid-Pleistocene avian communities of North America are best known from the Rocky Mountain region and peninsular Florida. In the Appalachian Mountain region, only a small number of avian bones from mid-latitude cave deposits have been attributed to this time period. Here, I enlarge this record by reporting on bird bones from Cumberland Bone Cave in western Maryland, a well-known locality for large and small Irvingtonian mammals and other vertebrates. The taxa identified encompass ground birds, waterfowl, a hawk, two eagles, a vulture, an owl, a jay, a flycatcher, a junco or sparrow, and a finch. No purely boreal elements are confirmed as part of the avian assemblage, and all of the extant species that are positively or tentatively identified in the assemblage still occur in the region today. An immature bone referred to the Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus (Bechstein)) represents an Irvingtonian breeding record for the species in Maryland. This record occurs at the northern limit of the current breeding range for the genus. Extinct species in the assemblage include the Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius (Linnaeus)), a large screech owl (Megascops guildayi (Brodkorb Mourer-Chauviré 1984)), and the large goose, Branta dickeyi Miller 1924. It can be argued that none of these represent the extinction of a phyletic lineage during the Irvingtonian. Based on the broad habitat preferences of modern counterparts of the birds in the assemblage, we can expect that Irvingtonian habitats near the site included mixed forest with mast-producing hardwoods and both early and later successional stages represented. There must have been fluvial, wetland, or lacustrine habitat suitable for waterbirds nearby, and probably also open woodland or grassy savannah areas, suitable for vulture foraging, turkey nesting, and booming by Ruffed Grouse.

RevDate: 2020-10-16

Muñoz-Ramírez CP, Barnes DKA, Cárdenas L, et al (2020)

Gene flow in the Antarctic bivalve Aequiyoldia eightsii (Jay, 1839) suggests a role for the Antarctic Peninsula Coastal Current in larval dispersal.

Royal Society open science, 7(9):200603.

The Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) dominates the open-ocean circulation of the Southern Ocean, and both isolates and connects the Southern Ocean biodiversity. However, the impact on biological processes of other Southern Ocean currents is less clear. Adjacent to the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP), the ACC flows offshore in a northeastward direction, whereas the Antarctic Peninsula Coastal Current (APCC) follows a complex circulation pattern along the coast, with topographically influenced deflections depending on the area. Using genomic data, we estimated genetic structure and migration rates between populations of the benthic bivalve Aequiyoldia eightsii from the shallows of southern South America and the WAP to test the role of the ACC and the APCC in its dispersal. We found strong genetic structure across the ACC (between southern South America and Antarctica) and moderate structure between populations of the WAP. Migration rates along the WAP were consistent with the APCC being important for species dispersal. Along with supporting current knowledge about ocean circulation models at the WAP, migration from the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula to the Bellingshausen Sea highlights the complexities of Southern Ocean circulation. This study provides novel biological evidence of a role of the APCC as a driver of species dispersal and highlights the power of genomic data for aiding in the understanding of the influence of complex oceanographic processes in shaping the population structure of marine species.

RevDate: 2020-10-13
CmpDate: 2020-10-13

Fernando WBPS, Perera SPPM, Vithanarachchi RM, et al (2020)

Heavy metal accumulation in two synanthropic avian species in Sri Lanka.

Environmental monitoring and assessment, 192(11):688 pii:10.1007/s10661-020-08654-y.

We assessed the levels of Pb, Cd, and Mn in contour feathers of the feral pigeon (Columba livia) and house crow (Corvus splendens) obtained from five urban/suburban locations across Sri Lanka, using the AAS following wet digestion. Our key objectives were to compare accumulation levels in the two avian species with different foraging habits and living in common locations, and to establish baseline information on the presence of these metals in multiple locations in Sri Lanka with varying levels of urbanization. Owing to reservations that have been expressed by previous workers regarding the use of feathers for assessing heavy metal pollution, we first tested the efficacy of contour feathers by using our data for comparing the coefficients of variation in metal levels within and between locations. This showed that in over 95% of the cases, variations within locations were lower than between locations, indicating that freshly shed contour feathers that were used in the present study were reliable indicators of the status of bioaccumulation of the heavy metals in the environment. In interspecific comparisons, other than in the two suburban locations, Pb was present at much higher levels in the house crow than in the feral pigeon, whereas accumulation patterns with respect to Cd and Mn were inconsistent, suggesting that granivores may not, in all situations, accumulate lower levels than scavengers in the same environment. Owing to such interspecific variations in the patterns of accumulation of different heavy metals, the selection of a single species for assessing levels of pollution from heavy metals may not be prudent. Pb and Cd levels in both species were strongly and positively associated with human population density. The levels of Pb and Cd were highest in Colombo (commercial capital). In Colombo and Kalutara, the recorded levels in the house crow exceeded the thresholds that have the potential to inflict adverse impacts on avian species.

RevDate: 2020-10-07

Flanagan AM, Masuda B, Grueber CE, et al (2020)

Moving from trends to benchmarks by using regression tree analysis to find inbreeding thresholds in a critically endangered bird.

Conservation biology : the journal of the Society for Conservation Biology [Epub ahead of print].

Understanding how inbreeding impacts endangered species in conservation breeding programs is essential for their recovery. The 'Alalā (Hawaiian crow, Corvus hawaiiensis) is one of the world's most endangered birds. It went extinct in the wild in 2002, and, as of June 2020, ∼ 90% of the population remains under human care for conservation breeding. Using pedigree inbreeding coefficients (F), we evaluated the effects of inbreeding on 'Alalā offspring survival and reproductive success. In addition, we used regression tree analysis to identify the level of inbreeding, or "inbreeding threshold", that explains a substantial decrease in 'Alalā offspring survival to recruitment. Similar to a previous study of inbreeding depression in 'Alalā, we confirmed that inbreeding has a negative impact on offspring survival but that parental (vs. artificial) egg incubation improves offspring survival to recruitment. By expanding the analysis, we also determined that F does not substantially impact offspring reproductive success, assuming offspring that survive to adulthood breed with distantly related mates. Our novel application of regression tree analysis determined that offspring with inbreeding levels exceeding F = 0.098 were 69% less likely to survive to recruitment than more outbred offspring, providing a specific threshold value for ongoing population management. Our results emphasize the importance of assessing inbreeding depression across all life-history stages, confirm the importance of prioritizing parental over artificial egg incubation in avian conservation breeding programs, and demonstrate the utility of regression tree analysis as a tool for identifying inbreeding thresholds, if present, in any pedigree-managed population. Article impact statement: Regression tree analysis is a useful tool for identifying inbreeding thresholds for genetic management of populations in human care. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2020-11-30

Themelin M, Ribic CA, Melillo-Sweeting K, et al (2020)

A new approach to the study of relationship quality in dolphins: Framework and preliminary results.

Behavioural processes, 181:104260.

Proximity and synchronous behaviours from surface observations have been used to measure association patterns within and between dolphin dyads. To facilitate an investigation of relationship quality in dolphins, we applied a method used for primates and ravens that examined three main components to describe relationships: value, security, and compatibility. Using pilot data from long-term research of two study populations for this preliminary assessment, these three components were extracted from PCA of eight behavioural variables with more than 80 % variance accounted for in both study groups. Only pair swim position differed between groups. Although value, security, and compatibility are abstract terms, each is based on behaviours identified as important in dolphin social life, at least for these two populations. Examining relationship quality in dolphins with a method used to illustrate dyadic differences for primates and ravens allows for a quantitative, comparative assessment of sociality across disparate taxa. Although these species are diverse in their anatomies and in their social habitats (e.g., aquatic, terrestrial, aerial), they may well share the basic societal building blocks in the factors affecting how relationships are formed. We discuss how an examination of these behavioural variables facilitates understanding relationship quality in dolphins, as well as how dolphin relationships fit into the context of social animals' society.

RevDate: 2020-10-03

Carrera-Játiva PD, Morgan ER, Barrows M, et al (2020)

Free-ranging avifauna as a source of generalist parasites for captive birds in zoological settings: An overview of parasite records and potential for cross-transmission.

Journal of advanced veterinary and animal research, 7(3):482-500.

Captive birds in zoological settings often harbor parasites, but little information is available about the potential for free-ranging avifauna to act as a source of infection. This review summarizes the gastrointestinal parasites found in zoo birds globally and in seven common free-ranging avian species [mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian blackbird (Turdus merula), common starling (Sturnus vulgaris), Eurasian jackdaw (Corvus monedula), house sparrow (Passer domesticus), European robin (Erithacus rubecula), and rock dove (Columba livia)] to identify the overlap and discuss the potential for cross-species transmission. Over 70 references were assessed, and papers spanned over 90 years from 1925 to 2019. A total of 60 studies from 1987 to 2019 met the eligibility criteria. All examined free-ranging avifauna harbored parasite species that were also reported in zoo birds, except for the European jackdaw. Parasites reported in captive and free-ranging birds include nematodes (Capillaria caudinflata, Dispharynx nasuta, Ornithostrongylus quadriradiatus, Strongyloides avium, Syngamus trachea, and Tetrameres fissispina), cestodes (Dicranotaenia coronula, Diorchis stefanskii, Fimbriaria fasciolaris, and Raillietina cesticillus, Sobolevicanthus gracilis), trematode (Echinostoma revolutum), and protozoa (Cryptosporidium baileyi). Although no study effectively proved cross-transmission either experimentally or by genetic analysis, these parasites demonstrate low host specificity and a high potential for parasite sharing. There is potential for parasite sharing whenever determinants such as host specificity, life cycle, and husbandry are favorable. More research should be carried out to describe parasites in both captive and free-ranging birds in zoological settings and the likelihood of cross-infection. Such information would contribute to evidence-based control measures, enhancing effective husbandry and preventive medicine protocols.

RevDate: 2020-10-03

Shpurov IY, Vlasova RM, Rumshiskaya AD, et al (2020)

Neural Correlates of Group Versus Individual Problem Solving Revealed by fMRI.

Frontiers in human neuroscience, 14:290.

Group problem solving is a prototypical complex collective intellectual activity. Psychological research provides compelling evidence that problem solving in groups is both qualitatively and quantitatively different from doing so alone. However, the question of whether individual and collective problem solving involve the same neural substrate has not yet been addressed, mainly due to methodological limitations. In the current study, functional magnetic resonance imaging was performed to compare brain activation when participants solved Raven-like matrix problems in a small group and individually. In the group condition, the participant in the scanner was able to discuss the problem with other team members using a special communication device. In the individual condition, the participant was required to think aloud while solving the problem in the silent presence of the other team members. Greater activation was found in several brain regions during group problem solving, including the medial prefrontal cortex; lateral parietal, cingulate, precuneus and retrosplenial cortices; frontal and temporal poles. These areas have been identified as potential components of the so-called "social brain" on the basis of research using offline judgments of material related to socializing. Therefore, this study demonstrated the actual involvement of these regions in real-time social interactions, such as group problem solving. However, further connectivity analysis revealed that the social brain components are co-activated, but do not increase their coupling during cooperation as would be suggested for a holistic network. We suggest that the social mode of the brain may be described instead as a re-configuration of connectivity between basic networks, and we found decreased connectivity between the language and salience networks in the group compared to the individual condition. A control experiment showed that the findings from the main experiment cannot be entirely accounted for by discourse comprehension. Thus, the study demonstrates affordances provided by the presented new technique for neuroimaging the "group mind," implementing the single-brain version of the second-person neuroscience approach.

RevDate: 2020-12-14
CmpDate: 2020-12-14

Lin Y, Zhang X, Huang Q, et al (2020)

The Prevalence of Dyslexia in Primary School Children and Their Chinese Literacy Assessment in Shantou, China.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(19):.

The epidemiological studies of Chinese developmental dyslexia (DD) in China are still limited. In addition, literacy assessment has seldom been performed for children with dyslexia, due to lack of uniform assessment tools. This study was aimed at investigating the prevalence rate of children with dyslexia, and to evaluate their Chinese reading ability. A total of 2955 students aged 7-12 years were enrolled by randomized cluster sampling. The study was divided into three stages. In stage I, all participating students were asked to finish the Combined Raven Test (CRT) and Chinese Vocabulary Test and Assessment Scale. In stage II, the Chinese teachers and parents of the children with suspected dyslexia were interviewed by psychiatrists, and finished the Dyslexia Checklist for Chinese Children (DCCC). In stage III, these children were evaluated by child psychiatrists for the diagnosis with or without dyslexia, according to the fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), and their Chinese literacy was further evaluated by using the Chinese Reading Ability Test (CRAT). The prevalence rate of children with dyslexia was 5.4% in Shantou city, 8.4% in boys and 2.3% in girls, with a gender ratio of 3.7:1.0. Children with dyslexia scored lower in all the five subscales of the CRAT tests. including phonological awareness, morphological awareness, rapid automatized naming, orthographic awareness, and reading ability than the control group (all p < 0.001). This study suggested that the prevalence rate of Chinese dyslexia in Shantou city is roughly equivalent to that previously reported in China. Children with dyslexia have a relatively lower Chinese reading ability in all assessments.

RevDate: 2020-10-02

Wick RR, KE Holt (2019)

Benchmarking of long-read assemblers for prokaryote whole genome sequencing.

F1000Research, 8:2138.

Background: Data sets from long-read sequencing platforms (Oxford Nanopore Technologies and Pacific Biosciences) allow for most prokaryote genomes to be completely assembled - one contig per chromosome or plasmid. However, the high per-read error rate of long-read sequencing necessitates different approaches to assembly than those used for short-read sequencing. Multiple assembly tools (assemblers) exist, which use a variety of algorithms for long-read assembly. Methods: We used 500 simulated read sets and 120 real read sets to assess the performance of eight long-read assemblers (Canu, Flye, Miniasm/Minipolish, NECAT, NextDenovo/NextPolish, Raven, Redbean and Shasta) across a wide variety of genomes and read parameters. Assemblies were assessed on their structural accuracy/completeness, sequence identity, contig circularisation and computational resources used. Results: Canu v2.0 produced reliable assemblies and was good with plasmids, but it performed poorly with circularisation and had the longest runtimes of all assemblers tested. Flye v2.8 was also reliable and made the smallest sequence errors, though it used the most RAM. Miniasm/Minipolish v0.3/v0.1.3 was the most likely to produce clean contig circularisation. NECAT v20200119 was reliable and good at circularisation but tended to make larger sequence errors. NextDenovo/NextPolish v2.3.0/v1.2.4 was reliable with chromosome assembly but bad with plasmid assembly. Raven v1.1.10 was the most reliable for chromosome assembly, though it did not perform well on small plasmids and had circularisation issues. Redbean v2.5 and Shasta v0.5.1 were computationally efficient but more likely to produce incomplete assemblies. Conclusions: Of the assemblers tested, Flye, Miniasm/Minipolish and Raven performed best overall. However, no single tool performed well on all metrics, highlighting the need for continued development on long-read assembly algorithms.

RevDate: 2020-11-02

Massen JJM, Haley SM, T Bugnyar (2020)

Azure-winged magpies' decisions to share food are contingent on the presence or absence of food for the recipient.

Scientific reports, 10(1):16147.

Helping others is a key feature of human behavior. However, recent studies render this feature not uniquely human, and describe discoveries of prosocial behavior in non-human primates, other social mammals, and most recently in some bird species. Nevertheless, the cognitive underpinnings of this prosociality; i.e., whether animals take others' need for help into account, often remain obscured. In this study, we take a first step in investigating prosociality in azure-winged magpies by presenting them with the opportunity to share highly desired food with their conspecifics i) in a situation in which these conspecifics had no such food, ii) in a situation in which they too had access to that highly desired food, and iii) in an open, base-line, situation where all had equal access to the same food and could move around freely. We find that azure-winged magpies regularly share high-value food items, preferably with, but not restricted to, members of the opposite sex. Most notably, we find that these birds, and specifically the females, seem to differentiate between whether others have food or do not have food, and subsequently cater to that lack. Begging calls by those without food seem to function as cues that elicit the food-sharing, but the response to that begging is condition-dependent. Moreover, analyses on a restricted dataset that excluded those events in which there was begging showed exactly the same patterns, raising the possibility that the azure-winged magpies might truly notice when others have access to fewer resources (even in the absence of vocal cues). This sharing behavior could indicate a high level of social awareness and prosociality that should be further investigated. Further studies are needed to establish the order of intentionality at play in this system, and whether azure-winged magpies might be able to attribute desire states to their conspecifics.

RevDate: 2020-10-19

Kumar M, Murugkar HV, Nagarajan S, et al (2020)

Experimental infection and pathology of two highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 viruses isolated from crow and chicken in house crows (Corvus splendens).

Acta virologica, 64(3):325-330.

We investigated the experimental infection of two highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 viruses isolated from crow (A/crow/Assam/142119/2008) and chicken (A/chicken/Sikkim/151466/2009) in house crows (Corvus splendens). Both viruses caused infection in crows, where four out of six and three out of six crows succumbed to H5N1 infection within 11 days post challenge by crow and chicken viruses, respectively. The major clinical signs in crows were wing paralysis, circling and torticollis. The virus shedding detected from swabs was not persistent in both crow nor chicken viruses. Both viruses were isolated more frequently from oral swabs than from cloacal swabs. Both virus strains were isolated from brain, lungs, heart, liver, pancreas, spleen, large intestines of crows that succumbed to H5N1 infection. The surviving birds seroconverted in response to H5N1 virus infection. Microscopically, both viruses caused coagulative necrosis in pancreas and kidneys. Brain showed gliosis and neuronal degeneration. This experimental study highlights that crows could be infected with H5N1 viruses from different hosts with minor differences in pathogenicity. Therefore, it is imperative to carry out surveillance of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus in synanthropic birds along with biosecurity measures to mitigate the H5N1 spread in poultry population. Keywords: chicken virus; crow virus; highly pathogenic avian influenza; house crows.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Goguta L, Lungeanu D, Negru R, et al (2020)

Selective Laser Sintering versus Selective Laser Melting and Computer Aided Design - Computer Aided Manufacturing in Double Crowns Retention.

Journal of prosthodontic research [Epub ahead of print].

PURPOSE: This in vitro study aimed at ascertaining the retention forces for telescopic crowns fabricated with Selective Laser Manufacturing (SLM) and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) additive technologies, and Computer Aided Design - Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAD-CAM) subtractive technology, by using suitable materials for each.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Full-factorial design was employed for experimental testing, considering the following three factors: (a) inner crown material ‒ technology (zirconia ‒ CAD-CAM; metal-alloy ‒ SLS; metal-alloy ‒ SLM); (b) tooth type (canine or molar); (c) wet vs. dry conditions (i.e. either with or without artificial saliva). The roughness of the inner crowns was analyzed through atomic force microscopy. Three-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was applied for statistical analysis, followed by Tukey's post-hoc comparisons between the crown types.

RESULTS: The retention force mean values were between 3.8 N (dry, SLM) and 14.8 N (artificial saliva, SLS), with statistically significant (p<0.001) differences between the three types of inner crowns and interaction with the tooth type. No significant interaction was found between crown or tooth types and the wet vs. dry testing conditions. The zirconia crowns' retention force was significantly (p<0.001) higher compared to similar SLM crowns, with 95% CI (3.62; 5.55) N for the differences. Zirconia was sig nificantly (p<0.001) less retentive compared to similar SLS crow ns, with 95% CI (-5.99; -4.06) N for the differences. The roughness decrease and subsequent loss of retention force was the largest in zirconia.

CONCLUSIONS: The SLS inner crowns showed the best retention, followed by zirconia and SLM inner crows.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Martínez-de la Puente J, Soriguer R, Senar JC, et al (2020)

Mosquitoes in an Urban Zoo: Identification of Blood Meals, Flight Distances of Engorged Females, and Avian Malaria Infections.

Frontiers in veterinary science, 7:460.

Zoological gardens are home to a large number of vertebrate species and as such are suitable sites for both mosquito breeding and maintenance. They are excellent places for entomological studies of mosquito phenology, diversity, and blood-feeding patterns, as well as for xenomonitoring. During 2016, we sampled mosquitoes in Barcelona Zoo and used molecular methods to determine their blood-feeding patterns and the prevalence and diversity of avian malaria parasites. We also estimated the flight distance of engorged mosquitoes in the area. Overall, 1,384 adult Culex pipiens s.l., Culiseta longiareolata, and Aedes albopictus were captured. Birds dominated the diet of Cx. pipiens s.l. (n = 87) and Cs. longiareolata (n = 6), while humans were the only blood-meal source of Ae. albopictus (n = 3). Mosquitoes had a mean flight distance of 95.67 m after feeding on blood (range 38.71-168.51 m). Blood parasites were detected in the abdomen of 13 engorged Cx. pipiens s.l., eight of which had fed on magpies. Four Plasmodium lineages and a single lineage of the malaria-like parasite Haemoproteus were identified. These results suggest that Cx. pipiens s.l. is involved in the local transmission of avian Plasmodium, which potentially affects the circulation of parasites between and within wildlife and enclosed animals. Vigilance regarding possible mosquito breeding sites in this zoo is thus recommended.

RevDate: 2020-12-14
CmpDate: 2020-12-04

Nieder A, Wagener L, P Rinnert (2020)

A neural correlate of sensory consciousness in a corvid bird.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 369(6511):1626-1629.

Subjective experiences that can be consciously accessed and reported are associated with the cerebral cortex. Whether sensory consciousness can also arise from differently organized brains that lack a layered cerebral cortex, such as the bird brain, remains unknown. We show that single-neuron responses in the pallial endbrain of crows performing a visual detection task correlate with the birds' perception about stimulus presence or absence and argue that this is an empirical marker of avian consciousness. Neuronal activity follows a temporal two-stage process in which the first activity component mainly reflects physical stimulus intensity, whereas the later component predicts the crows' perceptual reports. These results suggest that the neural foundations that allow sensory consciousness arose either before the emergence of mammals or independently in at least the avian lineage and do not necessarily require a cerebral cortex.

RevDate: 2020-11-09

Sutton AO, Strickland D, Freeman NE, et al (2020)

Environmental conditions modulate compensatory effects of site dependence in a food-caching passerine.

Ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Although density regulates the abundance of most wild animal populations by influencing vital rates, such as fecundity and survival, the mechanisms responsible for generating negative density dependence are unclear for many species. Site dependence occurs when there is preferential filling of high-quality territories, which results in higher per capita vital rates at low densities because a larger proportion of occupied territories are of high quality. Using 41 yr of territory occupancy and demographic data, we investigated whether site dependence was a mechanism acting to influence fecundity and, by extension, regulate a population of Canada Jays in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. As predicted by site dependence, the proportion of occupied territories that were of high quality was negatively correlated with population density and periods of vacancy were shorter for high-quality territories than for low-quality territories. We also found evidence that per capita fecundity was positively related to the proportion of occupied territories that were of high quality, but only when environmental conditions, which influence the entire population, were otherwise poor for breeding. Our results suggest that site dependence likely plays a role in regulating this population but that environmental conditions can modulate the strength of density dependence.

RevDate: 2020-11-24

Naggar RFE, Rohaim MA, M Munir (2020)

Potential reverse spillover of infectious bursal disease virus at the interface of commercial poultry and wild birds.

Virus genes, 56(6):705-711.

Recently, multiple spillover events between domesticated poultry and wild birds have been reported for several avian viruses. This phenomenon highlights the importance of the livestock-wildlife interface in the possible emergence of novel viruses. The aim of the current study was to investigate the potential spillover and epidemiological links of infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) between wild birds and domestic poultry. To this end, twenty-eight cloacal swabs were collected from four species of free-living Egyptian wild birds (i.e. mallard duck, bean goose, white-fronted goose and black-billed magpie). Genetic and phylogenetic analysis of three positive isolates revealed that the IBDV/USC-1/2019 strain clustered with previously reported very virulent IBDV (vvIBDV) Egyptian isolates. Interestingly, two other wild bird-origin isolates (i.e. IBDV/USC-2/2019 and IBDV/USC-3/2019) grouped with a vaccine strain that is being used in commercial poultry. In conclusion, our results revealed the molecular detection of vaccine and vvIBDV-like strains in Egyptian wild birds and highlighted the potential role of wild birds in IBDV epidemiology in disease-endemic regions.

RevDate: 2020-10-04

Hunt GR (2020)

New Caledonian crows' basic tool procurement is guided by heuristics, not matching or tracking probe site characteristics.

Animal cognition pii:10.1007/s10071-020-01427-7 [Epub ahead of print].

Contrasting findings made it unclear what cognitive processes New Caledonian crows use to procure suitable tools to solve tool tasks. Most previous studies suggested that their tool procurement is achieved by either trial and error or a simple heuristic. The latter provides a fast and cognitively efficient method for stable, routinized behaviour based on past experience with little or no deliberate decision-making. However, early papers by Chappell and Kacelnik reported that two New Caledonian crows procured tools after closely assessing the tool characteristics required for the task, thus using deliberate decision-making, or a 'customized strategy'. Here, I tested eight New Caledonian crows to determine their default behaviour in basic tool procurement tasks as a check on whether or not they use customized strategies. I used two rigorous experiments closely based on Chappell and Kacelnik's experiments. The crows did not use a customized strategy in either experiment, but their behaviour was clearly consistent with tool procurement predominantly guided by a familiarity heuristic. I discuss potential methodological issues that may have led to different conclusions in Chappell and Kacelnik's studies. Heuristic-guided, routinized behaviour in tool procurement has potential implications for understanding how standardization occurs in the early evolution of complex tool manufacture, both in New Caledonian crows and early humans.

RevDate: 2020-12-11

Bakkour S, Deng X, Bacchetti P, et al (2020)

Replicate Aptima Assay for Quantifying Residual Plasma Viremia in Individuals on Antiretroviral Therapy.

Journal of clinical microbiology, 58(12):.

Detection of residual plasma viremia in antiretroviral therapy (ART)-suppressed HIV-infected individuals is critical for characterizing the latent reservoir and evaluating the impact of cure interventions. Ultracentrifugation-based single-copy assays are sensitive but labor intensive. Fully automated replicate testing using a standard clinical viral load assay was evaluated as a high-throughput alternative for the quantification of low-level viremia. Four plasma samples from blood donors with acute HIV-1 infection and one viral culture supernatant were serially diluted into 25-ml samples to nominal viral loads ranging from 39 to <0.5 copies (cp)/ml. Each dilution was tested with 45 replicates (reps) using 0.5 ml/rep with the Aptima HIV-1 Quant assay. The nominal and estimated viral loads based on the single-hit Poisson model were compared, and a hybrid Poisson digital model for calibrated viral load estimation was derived. Testing performed using 45 reps on longitudinal plasma samples from 50 ART-suppressed individuals in the Reservoir Assay Validation and Evaluation Network (RAVEN) study cohort (range of 1 to 19 years of continuous ART suppression) showed a median viral load of 0.54 cp/ml (interquartile range [IQR], 0.22 to 1.46 cp/ml) and a 14% (95% confidence interval [CI], 9% to 19%) decline in viral load for each additional year in duration suppressed. Within the RAVEN cohort, the expected false-negative rate for detection at lower rep numbers using 9 and 18 reps was 26% and 14%, respectively. Residual plasma viremia levels positively correlated with cell-associated HIV RNA and DNA. The performance characteristics of the replicate Aptima assay support its use for quantifying residual plasma viremia to study the latent HIV reservoir and cure interventions.

RevDate: 2020-09-18

DeLecce T, Fink B, Shackelford T, et al (2020)

No Evidence for a Relationship between Intelligence and Ejaculate Quality.

Evolutionary psychology : an international journal of evolutionary approaches to psychology and behavior, 18(3):1474704920960450.

Genetic quality may be expressed through many traits simultaneously, and this would suggest a phenotype-wide fitness factor. In humans, intelligence has been positively associated with several potential indicators of genetic quality, including ejaculate quality. We conducted a conceptual replication of one such study by investigating the relationship between intelligence (assessed by the Raven Advanced Progressive Matrices Test-Short Form) and ejaculate quality (indexed by sperm count, sperm concentration, and sperm motility) in a sample of 41 men (ages ranging 18 to 33 years; M = 23.33; SD = 3.60). By self-report, participants had not had a vasectomy, and had never sought infertility treatment. We controlled for several covariates known to affect ejaculate quality (e.g., abstinence duration before providing an ejaculate) and found no statistically significant relationship between intelligence and ejaculate quality; our findings, therefore, do not match those of Arden, Gottfredson, Miller et al. or those of previous studies. We discuss limitations of this study and the general research area and highlight the need for future research in this area, especially the need for larger data sets to address questions around phenotypic quality and ejaculate quality.

RevDate: 2020-12-14
CmpDate: 2020-12-11

Sultana N, Hossain SMZ, Mohammed ME, et al (2020)

Experimental study and parameters optimization of microalgae based heavy metals removal process using a hybrid response surface methodology-crow search algorithm.

Scientific reports, 10(1):15068.

This study investigates the use of microalgae as a biosorbent to eliminate heavy metals ions from wastewater. The Chlorella kessleri microalgae species was employed to biosorb heavy metals from synthetic wastewater specimens. FTIR, and SEM/XRD analyses were utilized to characterize the microalgal biomass (the adsorbent). The experiments were conducted with several process parameters, including initial solution pH, temperature, and microalgae biomass dose. In order to secure the best experimental conditions, the optimum parameters were estimated using an integrated response surface methodology (RSM), desirability function (DF), and crow search algorithm (CSA) modeling approach. A maximum lead(II) removal efficiency of 99.54% was identified by the RSM-DF platform with the following optimal set of parameters: pH of 6.34, temperature of 27.71 °C, and biomass dosage of 1.5 g L-1. The hybrid RSM-CSA approach provided a globally optimal solution that was similar to the results obtained by the RSM-DF approach. The consistency of the model-predicted optimum conditions was confirmed by conducting experiments under those conditions. It was found that the experimental removal efficiency (97.1%) under optimum conditions was very close (less than a 5% error) to the model-predicted value. The lead(II) biosorption process was better demonstrated by the pseudo-second order kinetic model. Finally, simultaneous removal of metals from wastewater samples containing a mixture of multiple heavy metals was investigated. The removal efficiency of each heavy metal was found to be in the following order: Pb(II) > Co(II) > Cu(II) > Cd(II) > Cr(II).


RJR Experience and Expertise


Robbins holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in the life sciences. He served as a tenured faculty member in the Zoology and Biological Science departments at Michigan State University. He is currently exploring the intersection between genomics, microbial ecology, and biodiversity — an area that promises to transform our understanding of the biosphere.


Robbins has extensive experience in college-level education: At MSU he taught introductory biology, genetics, and population genetics. At JHU, he was an instructor for a special course on biological database design. At FHCRC, he team-taught a graduate-level course on the history of genetics. At Bellevue College he taught medical informatics.


Robbins has been involved in science administration at both the federal and the institutional levels. At NSF he was a program officer for database activities in the life sciences, at DOE he was a program officer for information infrastructure in the human genome project. At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, he served as a vice president for fifteen years.


Robbins has been involved with information technology since writing his first Fortran program as a college student. At NSF he was the first program officer for database activities in the life sciences. At JHU he held an appointment in the CS department and served as director of the informatics core for the Genome Data Base. At the FHCRC he was VP for Information Technology.


While still at Michigan State, Robbins started his first publishing venture, founding a small company that addressed the short-run publishing needs of instructors in very large undergraduate classes. For more than 20 years, Robbins has been operating The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project, a web site dedicated to the digital publishing of critical works in science, especially classical genetics.


Robbins is well-known for his speaking abilities and is often called upon to provide keynote or plenary addresses at international meetings. For example, in July, 2012, he gave a well-received keynote address at the Global Biodiversity Informatics Congress, sponsored by GBIF and held in Copenhagen. The slides from that talk can be seen HERE.


Robbins is a skilled meeting facilitator. He prefers a participatory approach, with part of the meeting involving dynamic breakout groups, created by the participants in real time: (1) individuals propose breakout groups; (2) everyone signs up for one (or more) groups; (3) the groups with the most interested parties then meet, with reports from each group presented and discussed in a subsequent plenary session.


Robbins has been engaged with photography and design since the 1960s, when he worked for a professional photography laboratory. He now prefers digital photography and tools for their precision and reproducibility. He designed his first web site more than 20 years ago and he personally designed and implemented this web site. He engages in graphic design as a hobby.

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This is a must read book for anyone with an interest in invasion biology. The full title of the book lays out the author's premise — The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature's Salvation. Not only is species movement not bad for ecosystems, it is the way that ecosystems respond to perturbation — it is the way ecosystems heal. Even if you are one of those who is absolutely convinced that invasive species are actually "a blight, pollution, an epidemic, or a cancer on nature", you should read this book to clarify your own thinking. True scientific understanding never comes from just interacting with those with whom you already agree. R. Robbins

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Collection of publications by R J Robbins

Reprints and preprints of publications, slide presentations, instructional materials, and data compilations written or prepared by Robert Robbins. Most papers deal with computational biology, genome informatics, using information technology to support biomedical research, and related matters.

Research Gate page for R J Robbins

ResearchGate is a social networking site for scientists and researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators. According to a study by Nature and an article in Times Higher Education , it is the largest academic social network in terms of active users.

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