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natural history - Top 30 Publications

Ultraconserved elements (UCEs) resolve the phylogeny of Australasian smurf-weevils.

Weevils (Curculionoidea) comprise one of the most diverse groups of organisms on earth. There is hardly a vascular plant or plant part without its own species of weevil feeding on it and weevil species diversity is greater than the number of fishes, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals combined. Here, we employ ultraconserved elements (UCEs) designed for beetles and a novel partitioning strategy of loci to help resolve phylogenetic relationships within the radiation of Australasian smurf-weevils (Eupholini). Despite being emblematic of the New Guinea fauna, no previous phylogenetic studies have been conducted on the Eupholini. In addition to a comprehensive collection of fresh specimens, we supplement our taxon sampling with museum specimens, and this study is the first target enrichment phylogenomic dataset incorporating beetle specimens from museum collections. We use both concatenated and species tree analyses to examine the relationships and taxonomy of this group. For species tree analyses we present a novel partitioning strategy to better model the molecular evolutionary process in UCEs. We found that the current taxonomy is problematic, largely grouping species on the basis of similar color patterns. Finally, our results show that most loci required multiple partitions for nucleotide rate substitution, suggesting that single partitions may not be the optimal partitioning strategy to accommodate rate heterogeneity for UCE loci.

Devario in Bangladesh: Species diversity, sibling species, and introgression within danionin cyprinids (Teleostei: Cyprinidae: Danioninae).

Four species of Devario are recorded from Bangladesh: D. aequipinnatus, D. anomalus, D. coxi, new species, and D. devario. Devario aequipinnatus has a wide distribution in northern India and Bangladesh. Devario coxi, from southeastern Bangladesh near Cox's Bazar, differs from D. aequipinnatus in mtDNA (COI, p-distance 1.8%), colouration, proportional measurements, and meristics. The minor morphological differences and low frequency of overlapping meristics suggest relatively recent separation of D. coxi from other D. aequipinnatus. Devario anomalus occurs only in southeastern Bangladesh and is here reported from localities in addition to the type locality. It differs from the similar D. xyrops in adjacent Myanmar by slender body shape and by 2.3% p-distance in the COI gene. Specimens of D. anomalus from the Sangu River were found to have the mitochondrial genome of D. aequipinnatus from Bangladesh, but agree with other D. anomalus in the nuclear RAG1 gene. Devario devario has a wide distribution on the Indian Peninsula and border regions; in Bangladesh it is restricted in distribution to the Ganga, Brahmaputra, and Meghna drainages. Reports of D. assamensis and D. malabaricus from Bangladesh are misidentifications. Perilampus ostreographus M'Clelland, 1839, is tentatively synonymized with D. aequipinnatus. Phylogenetic analysis of 14 species of striped devarios based on the COI gene results in a polytomy with four unresolved clades. Devario deruptotalea from the Chindwin basin is the sister group of D. aequipinnatus+D. coxi. Devario devario is the sistergroup of D. xyrops+D. anomalus.

Species-specific signatures of the microbiome from Camponotus and Colobopsis ants across developmental stages.

Symbiotic relationships between hosts and bacteria are common in nature, and these may be responsible for the evolutionary success of various groups of animals. Among ants, these associations have been well studied in some genera of the Camponotini, but several questions remain regarding the generality of the previous findings across all the members of this ant tribe and if bacterial communities change across development in these hosts. This study is the first to characterize the bacterial community associated with a colony of the recently recognized genus Colobopsis and three colonies of Camponotus (two distinct species) and show how different the composition of the bacterial community is when compared across the different genera. Our data reveal that Colobopsis (species: Co. riehlii) and Camponotus (species: Ca. floridanus and Ca. planatus) have distinct microbiota, and we were able to verify that the identity of the species contributes more to the bacterial diversity. We also demonstrated that there were no significant differences between colonies of the same species (Camponotus planatus), and between stages of development from different colonies. We did find that some developmental stages have distinct bacteria, confirming that each stage of development could have a specific microbiota. Our results show species are one of the factors that shape the bacterial community in these Camponotini ants. Additional studies of the intra-colonial microbiome of other hosts and across development may reveal additional clues about the function and importance of bacteria in colony recognition, individual and colony health, and nutritional upgrading.

Early Pleistocene archaeological occurrences at the Feiliang site, and the archaeology of human origins in the Nihewan Basin, North China.

The Early Pleistocene archaeological evidence from the fluvio-lacustrine sequence of the Nihewan Basin (North China) offers an excellent opportunity to explore early human evolution and behavior in a temperate setting in East Asia, following the earliest 'Out of Africa'. Here we present the first comprehensive study of the Feiliang (FL) site, with emphasis on the archaeological sequence, site integrity, and stone artifact assemblages. Magnetostratigraphic dating results show that early humans occupied the site ca. 1.2 Ma. Archaeological deposits were buried rapidly in primary context within shallow lake margin deposits, with only minor post-depositional disturbance from relatively low energy hydraulic forces. The FL lithic assemblage is characterized by a core and flake, Oldowan-like or Mode 1 technology, with a low degree of standardization, expedient knapping techniques, and casually retouched flakes. The bone assemblage suggests that hominin occupation of the FL site was in an open habitat of temperate grassland with areas of steppe and water. The main features of the FL assemblage are discussed in the context of the early Pleistocene archaeology of Nihewan, for which an assessment of current and future research is also presented.

Bat Biology, Genomes, and the Bat1K Project: To Generate Chromosome-Level Genomes for all Living Bat Species.

Bats are unique among mammals, possessing some of the rarest mammalian adaptations, including true self-powered flight, laryngeal echolocation, exceptional longevity, unique immunity, contracted genomes, and vocal learning. They provide key ecosystem services, pollinating tropical plants, dispersing seeds, and controlling insect pest populations, thus driving healthy ecosystems. They account for more than 20% of all living mammalian diversity, and their crown-group evolutionary history dates back to the Eocene. Despite their great numbers and diversity, many species are threatened and endangered. Here we announce Bat1K, an initiative to sequence the genomes of all living bat species (n∼1,300) to chromosome-level assembly. The Bat1K genome consortium unites bat biologists (>132 members as of writing), computational scientists, conservation organizations, genome technologists, and any interested individuals committed to a better understanding of the genetic and evolutionary mechanisms that underlie the unique adaptations of bats. Our aim is to catalog the unique genetic diversity present in all living bats to better understand the molecular basis of their unique adaptations; uncover their evolutionary history; link genotype with phenotype; and ultimately better understand, promote, and conserve bats. Here we review the unique adaptations of bats and highlight how chromosome-level genome assemblies can uncover the molecular basis of these traits. We present a novel sequencing and assembly strategy and review the striking societal and scientific benefits that will result from the Bat1K initiative. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Animal Biosciences Volume 6 is February 15, 2018. Please see for revised estimates.

Host preference and network properties in biotrophic plant-fungal associations.

Analytical methods can offer insights into the structure of biological networks, but mechanisms that determine the structure of these networks remain unclear. We conducted a synthesis based on 111 previously published datasets to assess a range of ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that may influence the plant-associated fungal interaction networks. We calculated the relative host effect on fungal community composition and compared nestedness and modularity among different mycorrhizal types and endophytic fungal guilds. We also assessed how plant-fungal network structure was related to host phylogeny, environmental and sampling properties. Orchid mycorrhizal fungal communities responded most strongly to host identity, but the effect of host was similar among all other fungal guilds. Community nestedness, which did not differ among fungal guilds, declined significantly with increasing mean annual precipitation on a global scale. Orchid and ericoid mycorrhizal fungal communities were more modular than ectomycorrhizal and root endophytic communities, with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in an intermediate position. Network properties among a broad suite of plant-associated fungi were largely comparable and generally unrelated to phylogenetic distance among hosts. Instead, network metrics were predominantly affected by sampling and matrix properties, indicating the importance of study design in properly inferring ecological patterns.

Acquisition, Persistence, and Clearance of Human Papillomavirus Infection among Male Virgins Residing in Brazil, Mexico, and the United States.

Little is known about the natural history of HPV infection in male virgins. This study estimated incidence and clearance of genital HPV, and factors associated with HPV, among men who deny ever engaging in penetrative sex at baseline.

Isolated Cutaneous Granuloma Caused by Candida glabrata: A Rare Case Report and Literature Review.

The incidence of candidiasis due to non-albicans Candida species (especially Candida glabrata) has significantly increased in recent decades. Candida glabrata often invades immunocompromised hosts and causes systemic or mucosal infections, whereas cutaneous infections are rarely reported. We present a rare case of cutaneous infection caused by C. glabrata and review all similar cases available in the PubMed database. A patient was admitted to the hospital with a 2-month history of a plaque on the face. Histopathological examination displayed typical infectious granulomas in the deep dermis, and the pathogen was finally confirmed as C. glabrata using a series of microbial examinations (fungal culture, biochemical test, and PCR-directed sequencing). The patient was completely cured after 4 months of treatment with oral itraconazole combined with topical terbinafine. We reviewed similar reports of cutaneous infection caused by C. glabrata. All the data suggested that an accurate diagnosis of cutaneous candidiasis depends mainly on histological and fungal examinations, especially molecular biological assays. Antifungal agents based on microbial susceptibility tests are the first-line treatment choice for C. glabrata infection, but the prognosis might be more dependent on the basic condition of the host.

Birth date promotes a tortoise or hare tactic for body mass development of a long-lived male ungulate.

Maternal and early-life influences may affect life-long individual phenotype, potentially influencing reproductive success. However, some individuals may compensate for a poor start to life, which may improve longevity and reproductive success later in life. We developed four models to assess whether maternal characteristics (age, body mass and previous year cumulative lactation demand) and/or birth date influenced a long-lived mammal's phenotype to maturity. We used a directional separation analysis to assess the relative influence of each maternal characteristic and birth date on captive male white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) body mass and antler size. We found that birth date was the only characteristic that persistently influenced male body mass. Depending on when offspring were born, they used alternative tactics to increase their body mass. Birth date positively influenced body mass at 1, 2 and 3 years of age-indicating males displayed faster growth and compensated for late birth (hare tactic). However, early-, heavy-born males were heavy juveniles, and juvenile body mass positively influenced mature body mass (slow but steady growth; tortoise tactic). Our findings provide a first evidence that a long-lived ungulate can display alternative tactics to achieve heavy body mass; individuals are either born early and heavy and are heavy throughout life (tortoise), or light, late-born individuals compensate for a poor start in life by growing at a faster rate to equal or surpass the body mass of early-born individuals (hare). Either tactic may be viable if it influences reproductive success as body mass positively influences access to mates in ungulates.

A Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Patients With Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy: Recommendations for Patients With Mild, Moderate, and Severe Disease and Nonmyelopathic Patients With Evidence of Cord Compression.

Guideline development.

The Natural History of Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy and the Rate of Hospitalization Following Spinal Cord Injury: An Updated Systematic Review.

Systematic review (update).

History of Tree Growth Declines Recorded in Old Trees at Two Sacred Sites in Northern China.

Old forests are an important component in sacred sites, yet they are at risk of growth decline from ongoing global warming and increased human activities. Growth decline, characterized by chronic loss of tree vigor, is not a recent phenomenon. Knowledge of past occurrence of declines is useful for preparing conservation plans because it helps understand if present day forests are outside the natural range of variation in tree health. We report a dendroecological study of growth decline events in the past two centuries at two sacred sites, Hengshan and Wutaishan, in Shanxi province of northern China. Tree rings collected at both sites show distinct periods of declining growth evident as narrow rings. These occurred in the 1830s in both sites, in the 1920s in Wutaishan and in the 2000s in Hengshan. By comparing the pattern of grow declines at the two sites, we hypothesize that resistance of tree growth to external disturbances is forest size dependent, and increased human activity might be a factor additional to climatic droughts in causing the recent strong growth decline at Hengshan Park. Despite these past declines, the forests at both sites have high resilience to disturbances as evidenced by the ability of trees to recover their growth rates to levels comparable to the pre-decline period. Managers should consider reducing fragmentation and restoring natural habitat of old forests, especially in areas on dry sites.

From Mice to Mole-Rats: Species-Specific Modulation of Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis.

Rodent populations living in their natural environments have very diverse ecological and life history profiles that may differ substantially from that of conventional laboratory rodents. Free-living rodents show species-specific neurogenesis that are dependent on their unique biology and ecology. This perspective aims to illustrate the benefit of studying wild rodent species in conjunction with laboratory rodents. African mole-rats are discussed in terms of habitat complexity, social structures, and longevity. African mole-rats are a group of subterranean rodents, endemic to Africa, that show major differences in both intrinsic and extrinsic traits compared to the classical rodent models. Mole-rats exhibit a spectrum of sociality within a single family, ranging from solitary to eusocial. This continuum of sociality provides a platform for comparative testing of hypotheses. Indeed, species differences are apparent both in learning ability and hippocampal neurogenesis. In addition, social mole-rat species display a reproductive division of labor that also results in differential hippocampal neurogenesis, independent of age, offering further scope for comparison. In conclusion, it is evident that neurogenesis studies on conventional laboratory rodents are not necessarily representative, specifically because of a lack of diversity in life histories, uniform habitats, and low genetic variability. The observed level of adult neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus is the result of an intricate balance between many contributing factors, which appear to be specific to distinct groups of animals. The ultimate understanding of the functional and adaptive role of adult neurogenesis will involve research on both laboratory animals and natural rodent populations.

Intrauterine Insemination: Fundamentals Revisited.

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is an assisted conception technique that involves the deposition of a processed semen sample in the upper uterine cavity, overcoming natural barriers to sperm ascent in the female reproductive tract. It is a cost-effective, noninvasive first-line therapy for selected patients with functionally normal tubes, and infertility due to a cervical factor, anovulation, moderate male factor, unexplained factors, immunological factor, and ejaculatory disorders with clinical pregnancy rates per cycle ranging from 10 to 20%. It, however, has limited use in patients with endometriosis, severe male factor infertility, tubal factor infertility, and advanced maternal age ≥ 35 years. IUI may be performed with or without ovarian stimulation. Controlled ovarian stimulation, particularly with low-dose gonadotropins, with IUI offers significant benefit in terms of pregnancy outcomes compared with natural cycle or timed intercourse, while reducing associated COH complications such as multiple pregnancies and ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. Important prognostic indicators of success with IUI include age of patient, duration of infertility, stimulation protocol, infertility etiology, number of cycles, timing of insemination, number of preovulatory follicles on the day of hCG, processed total motile sperm > 10 million, and insemination count > 1 × 106 with > 4% normal spermatozoa. Alternative insemination techniques, such as Fallopian tube sperm perfusion, intracervical insemination, and intratubal insemination, provide no additional benefit compared to IUI. A complete couple workup that includes patient history, physical examination, and clinical and laboratory investigations is mandatory to justify the choice in favor of IUI and guide alternative patient management, while individualizing the treatment protocol according to the patient characteristics with a strict cancelation policy to limit multi-follicular development may help optimize IUI pregnancy outcomes.

Angiography versus Hemodynamics to Predict the Natural History of Coronary Stenoses: A FAME 2-Substudy.

Background -Among patients with documented stable coronary artery disease (CAD) and in whom no revascularization was performed, we compared the respective values of angiographic diameter stenosis (DS) and of fractional flow reserve (FFR) in predicting natural history. Methods -The present analysis included the 607 patients from the Fractional flow reserve versus angiography in multivessel evaluation 2 (FAME 2) trial in whom no revascularization was performed. FFR varied from 0.20 to 1.00 (average 0.74 ± 0.16) and DS (by QCA) varied from 8% to 98% (average 53 ± 15). The primary end point, defined as VOCE (Vessel oriented clinical endpoint) at 2 years, was a composite of prospectively adjudicated cardiac death, vessel-related myocardial infarction, vessel-related urgent and not urgent revascularization. The stenoses were divided into 4 groups according to FFR and %DS values: Positive Concordance (PC: FFR≤0.80; DS≥50%); Negative Concordance (NC: FFR>0.80; DS<50%); Positive Mismatch (PM: FFR≤0.80; DS<50%); Negative Mismatch (NM: FFR>0.80; DS≥50%). Results -The rate of VOCE was highest in the PC group (Log Rank: X(2)=80.96; p=0.001), and lowest in the NC group. The rate of VOCE was higher in the PM group than in the NM group (H.R. 0.38, 95% C.I. 0.21 - 0.67; p=0.001). There was no significant difference in VOCE between the PC and the PM (both groups with FFR≤0.80, H.R. 0.77, 95% C.I. 0.57 - 1.09; p=0.149) and no significant difference in rate of VOCE between the NM and NC (both groups with FFR>0.80, H.R. 1.89, 95% C.I. 0.96 - 3.74; p=0.067). Conclusions -In patients with stable coronary disease, physiology (FFR) is a more important determinant of the natural history of coronary stenoses than anatomy (DS). Clinical Trial Registration -URL: Unique Identifier: NCT01132495.

The coastal environment affects lead and sodium uptake by the moss Hypnum cupressiforme used as an air pollution biomonitor.

Several studies suggest that potential competition exists between marine cations and heavy metals for binding sites on the cell wall of mosses. This competition would impact the heavy metal concentration measured in mosses by biomonitoring programs, which may underestimate air pollution by heavy metals in a coastal environment. In the present study, we aim to identify possible mechanisms affecting lead uptake by mosses in a coastal environment, specifically, the competition between lead (Pb(2+)) and sodium (Na(+)) for binding sites in Hypnum cupressiforme (Hc). We also compared the response of continental and coastal Hc populations to Pb(2+) exposure by immersing the moss samples in artificial solutions that comprised six experimental treatments and subsequently locating and quantifying Pb(2+) and Na(+) using the sequential elution technique and X-ray microanalyses with a scanning electron microscope. We demonstrated that high concentrations of Pb(2+) prevented Na(+) from binding to the cell wall. We also examined the effect of the salt acclimation of Hc on Pb(2+) and Na(+) accumulation. Coastal Hc populations accumulated more Na and less Pb than continental Hc populations in all treatments. Moreover, our results showed treatment effects on the intra/extracellular distribution of Na(+), as well as site. This feedback on the influence of salt stress tolerance on Pb(2+) uptake by mosses requires further study and can be investigated for other heavy metals, leading to a better use of mosses as biomonitoring tools.

Microbial-caddisfly bioherm association from the Lower Cretaceous Shinekhudag Formation, Mongolia: Earliest record of plant armoring in fossil caddisfly cases.

Caddisfly larvae construct underwater protective cases using surrounding materials, thus providing information on environmental conditions in both modern and ancient systems. Microbial bioherms associated with caddisfly cases are found in the Berriassian-Hauterivian (~140-130 Ma) Shinekhudag Formation of Mongolia, and yield new insights into aspects of lacustrine paleoecosystems and paleoenvironments. This formation contains the earliest record of plant-armored caddisfly cases and a rare occurrence of microbial-caddisfly association from the Mesozoic. The bioherms are investigated within the context of stratigraphic correlations, depositional environment interpretations, and basin-evolution models of the sedimentary fill. The bioherms form 0.5-2.0 m diameter mound-shaped bodies and are concentrated within a single, oil shale-bound stratigraphic interval. Each bioherm is composed of up to 40% caddisfly cases along with stromatolites of millimeter-scale, micritic laminations. Petrographic analyses reveal these bioherms are composed of non-systematic associations of columnar and oncoidal microbialites, constructed around colonies of caddisfly cases. The cases are straight to curved, slightly tapered, and tube-shaped, with a progressively increasing length and width trend (7-21 mm by 1.5-2.5 mm). Despite these variations, the case architectures reveal similar construction materials; the particles used for cases are dominated by plant fragments, ostracod valves, carbonate rocks, and rare mica and feldspar grains. Allochems within the bioherms include ooids, ostracods, plant fragments, rare gastropods, feldspar grains bound in micritic matrices, and are consolidated by carbonate dominated cements. The combination of microbial-caddisfly association, plant fragment case particles, and ooids/oncoids are indicative of a shallow, littoral lake setting. Stratigraphic juxtaposition of nearshore bioherms and the bounding distal oil-shale facies suggests that the bioherms developed in an underfilled lake basin, resulting from an abrupt and short-lived lake desiccation event. Lake chemistry is believed to have been relatively alkaline, saline to hypersaline, and rich in Ca, Mg, and HCO3 ions. Through analyzing bioherm characteristics, caddisfly case architecture, carbonate microfacies, and stratigraphic variability, we infer larger-scale processes that controlled basin development during their formation.

De novo food allergy in pediatric liver transplantation recipients.

Food allergy (FA) prevalence is increasing in pediatric liver transplantation (LT). However, the clinical course is still limited.

Summary of the first inaugural joint meeting of the International Consortium for scoliosis genetics and the International Consortium for vertebral anomalies and scoliosis, March 16-18, 2017, Dallas, Texas.

Scoliosis represents the most common musculoskeletal disorder in children and affects approximately 3% of the world population. Scoliosis is separated into two major phenotypic classifications: congenital and idiopathic. Idiopathic scoliosis is defined as a curvature of the spine of 10° or greater visualized on plane radiograph and does not have associated vertebral malformations (VM). "Congenital" scoliosis (CS) due to malformations in vertebrae is frequently associated with other birth defects. Recently, significant advances have been made in understanding the genetic basis of both conditions. There is evidence that both conditions are etiologically related. A 2-day conference entitled "Genomic Approaches to Understanding and Treating Scoliosis" was held at Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, Texas, to synergize research in this field. This first combined, multidisciplinary conference featured international scoliosis researchers in basic and clinical sciences. A major outcome of the conference advancing scoliosis research was the proposal and subsequent vote in favor of merging the International Consortium for Vertebral Anomalies and Scoliosis (ICVAS) and International Consortium for Scoliosis Genetics (ICSG) into a single entity called International Consortium for Spinal Genetics, Development, and Disease (ICSGDD). The ICSGDD is proposed to meet annually as a forum to synergize multidisciplinary spine deformity research.

Residues of Diclofenac in Tissues of Vultures in India: A Post-ban Scenario.

Populations of three resident Gyps species (Indian white-backed vulture Gyps bengalensis, Indian vulture Gyps indicus, and Slender-billed vulture Gyps tenuirostris) in India have decreased by more than 90% since mid 1990s, and they continue to decline. Experimental studies showed the mortality of vultures to be due to renal failure caused by diclofenac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. India, Pakistan, and Nepal banned the veterinary usage of diclofenac in 2006 to prevent further decline in vulture population. This study was performed to know the current status of the impact of diclofenac on vultures in India. Between 2011 and 2014, 44 vultures comprising two species, namely Indian white-backed vulture (32) and Himalayan griffon Gyps himalayensis (12) were collected dead from Gujarat, Assam, and Tamil Nadu on an opportunistic basis. Kidney and liver tissues and gut content were analysed for diclofenac. Of the 32 dead white-backed vultures analysed, 68.75% of them had diclofenac ranging from 62.28 to 272.20 ng/g. Fourteen white-backed vultures had diclofenac in kidney in toxic range (70-908 ng/g). Of 12 Himalayan griffon studied, 75% of them had diclofenac in the range of 139.69 to 411.73 ng/g. Himalayan griffon had significantly higher levels of diclofenac in tissues than Indian white-backed vultures. It is possible that 14 of 29 white-backed vultures and 9 of 12 Himalayan griffon included in this study died due to diclofenac poisoning. Studies have indicated that diclofenac can continue to kill vultures even after its ban in India for veterinary use.

Response to "An exceptionally preserved 110 million years old praying mantis provides new insights into the predatory behaviour of early mantodeans".

Hörnig, Haug & Haug (2017) published a description of a new specimen of Santanmantis axelrodi MB.I.2068, an extinct species of praying mantis from the Crato Formation of Brazil. According to Hörnig, Haug & Haug (2017), the discovery of this new specimen brought with it implications for praying mantis character evolution and predatory behavior; it is with these lines of reasoning that we find fault. More specifically, we point to four flawed assumptions in their study that led to their unsubstantiated conclusion that S. axelrodi employed their mesothoracic legs in prey capture.

A Nearly Lethal Screw: An Unusual Cause of Recurrent Bradycardia and Asystole Episodes after Fixation of the Cervical Spine.

We present a case of a 51-year-old man who was injured in a bicycle accident. His main injury was an unstable fracture of the cervical and thoracic vertebral column. Several hours after his arrival to the hospital the patient underwent open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF) of the cervical and thoracic spine. The patient was hospitalized in our critical care unit for 99 days. During this time patient had several episodes of severe bradycardia and asystole; some were short with spontaneous return to sinus and some required pharmacological treatment and even Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Initially, these episodes were attributed to the high cervical spine injury, but, later on, CT scan suggested that a fixation screw abutted on the esophagus and activated the vagus nerve by direct pressure. After repositioning of the cervical fixation, the bradycardia and asystole episodes were no longer observed and the patient was released to a rehabilitation ward. This case is presented in order to alert practitioners to the possibility that, after operative fixation of cervical spine injuries, recurrent episodes of bradyarrhythmia can be caused by incorrect placement of the fixation screws and might be confused with the natural history of the high cervical cord injury.

A new disjunct Dendrothrix (Euphorbiaceae, tribe Hippomaneae): a Guiana Shield element in sub-Andean cordilleras of Ecuador and Peru.

Dendrothrix condorensis K.Wurdack, sp. nov. from the sub-Andean cordilleras of Ecuador and Peru is described and illustrated. The new species is geographically widely separated from its likely closest relative, D. yutajensis, which is endemic to the Guiana Shield region of southern Venezuela and adjacent Brazil, and notably differs in leaf morphology. Vegetative (i.e., epidermal micropapillae, trichomes) and reproductive (i.e., cymule glands, flowers, pollen) micromorphological features were examined with SEM. Rare tristaminate flowers were documented among the typical bistaminate ones. Seeds and diagnostic features among the four species of Dendrothrix are compared.

Novel mutation of FKBP10 in a pediatric patient with osteogenesis imperfecta type XI identified by clinical exome sequencing.

Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is a hereditary disease characterized by bone fragility caused by mutations in the proteins that support the formation of the extracellular matrix in the bone. The diagnosis of OI begins with clinical suspicion, from phenotypic findings at birth, low-impact fractures during childhood or family history that may lead to it. However, the variability in the semiology of the disease does not allow establishing an early diagnosis in all cases, and unfortunately, specific clinical data provided by the literature only report 28 patients with OI type XI. This information is limited and heterogeneous, and therefore, detailed information on the natural history of this disease is not yet available. This paper reports the case of a male patient who, despite undergoing multidisciplinary management, did not have a diagnosis for a long period of time, and could only be given one with the use of whole-exome sequencing. The use of the next-generation sequencing in patients with ultrarare genetic diseases, including skeletal dysplasias, should be justified when clear clinical criteria and an improvement in the quality of life of the patients and their families are intended while reducing economic and time costs. Thus, this case report corresponds to the 29th patient affected with OI type XI, and the 18th mutation in FKBP10, causative of this pathology.

The International Rare Diseases Research Consortium: Policies and Guidelines to maximize impact.

The International Rare Diseases Research Consortium (IRDiRC) has agreed on IRDiRC Policies and Guidelines, following extensive deliberations and discussions in 2012 and 2013, as a first step towards improving coordination of research efforts worldwide. The 25 funding members and 3 patient umbrella organizations (as of early 2013) of IRDiRC, a consortium of research funders that focuses on improving diagnosis and therapy for rare disease patients, agreed in Dublin, Ireland in April 2013 on the Policies and Guidelines that emphasize collaboration in rare disease research, the involvement of patients and their representatives in all relevant aspects of research, as well as the sharing of data and resources. The Policies and Guidelines provide guidance on ontologies, diagnostics, biomarkers, patient registries, biobanks, natural history, therapeutics, models, publication, intellectual property, and communication. Most IRDiRC members-currently nearly 50 strong-have since incorporated its policies in their funding calls and some have chosen to exceed the requirements laid out, for instance in relation to data sharing. The IRDiRC Policies and Guidelines are the first, detailed agreement of major public and private funding organizations worldwide to govern rare disease research, and may serve as a template for other areas of international research collaboration. While it is too early to assess their full impact on research productivity and patient benefit, the IRDiRC Policies and Guidelines have already contributed significantly to improving transparency and collaboration in rare disease research.

Caval Valve Implantation.

Recently, transcatheter therapy has expanded the treatment options for patients with heart valve disease. With the growing understanding of tricuspid regurgitation and its natural history, it becomes increasingly obvious that this patient population is a heterogeneous cohort presenting for treatment in different stages of a continuous disease process. It is still unclear which interventional approach will result in functional and clinical success and in which subtype of patient population. This article reviews the pathophysiologic background and current evidence for caval valve implantation and examines the potential role of this approach for the treatment of severe tricuspid regurgitation.

Long-term persistence of human papillomavirus in the skin of the glans penis of elderly men above 80 years of age.

Investigations of human papillomavirus (HPV) in the glans penis are scarce, especially with regard to its natural history. To elucidate HPV prevalence among Japanese men attending urological clinics, 798 adult participants were recruited consecutively and stratified into groups by age based on 10-year intervals. The overall HPV prevalence among the participants was 24.8%, with 15.5% positive for high-risk HPV and 9.3% infected with other HPVs. The HPV positivity rate was sustained in those over 80 years of age at nearly the same level as those in the younger age groups. We also determined the age at last sexual intercourse of 15 HPV-positive participants in the 80+ years age group. In addition, six participants positive for HPV were re-examined for HPV and all showed nearly the same HPV types as those identified in their first examinations. The difference between the age at the first test and the age of last intercourse was 8.3 ± 6.2 years. Except for the elderly group who reported sexual intercourse within the previous year, the duration was 10.0 ± 5.1 years. Our data suggest an HPV persistence of at least eight years. Further investigation is necessary to elucidate the long-term persistence of HPV infection in the glans penis.

DNA barcoding techniques used to identify the shared ichthyofauna between the Pantanal floodplain and Upper Parana River.

The biological invasion process is widely debated topic, as the population depletion of some species and the extinction of others are related to this process. To accelerate the identification of species and to detect non-native forms, new tools are being developed, such as those based on genetic markers. This study aimed to use Barcode DNA methodology to identify fish species that had translocated between the Parana and Paraguay River Basins. Based on a database of two studies that were conducted in these regions, 289 sequences of Cytochrome Oxidase C subunit 1 (COI) were used for General Mixed Youle Coalecent (GMYC) analysis, including 29 morphospecies that were sampled in both river basins. As a result, we observed that while some morphospecies have low variation, demonstrating a recent occupation of the basins, other morphospecies probably represent species complexes. A third of the morphospecies had well-defined lineages but not enough to be treated as different Molecular Operational Taxonomic Units (MOTUs). These results demonstrate that human interventions possibly participated in the distribution of some lineages. However, biogeographical historical processes are also important for the morphospecies distribution. The data suggest that the number of species that are present in these two basins is underestimated and that human actions can irreversibly affect the natural history of the species in these regions.

Toward ecologically realistic predictions of species distributions: a cross-time example from tropical montane cloud forests.

There is an urgent need for more ecologically realistic models for better predicting the effects of climate change on species' potential geographic distributions. Here we build ecological niche models using MAXENT and test whether selecting predictor variables based on biological knowledge and selecting ecologically realistic response curves can improve cross-time distributional predictions. We also evaluate how the method chosen for extrapolation into nonanalog conditions affects the prediction. We do so by estimating the potential distribution of a montane shrew (Mammalia, Soricidae, Cryptotis mexicanus) at present and the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Because it is tightly associated with cloud forests (with climatically determined upper and lower limits) whose distributional shifts are well characterized, this species provides clear expectations of plausible vs. implausible results. Response curves for the MAXENT model made using variables selected via biological justification were ecologically more realistic compared with those of the model made using many potential predictors. This strategy also led to a much more plausible geographic predictions for upper and lower elevational limits of the species both for the present and during the LGM. By inspecting the modeled response curves, we also determined the most appropriate way to extrapolate into nonanalog environments, a previously overlooked factor in studies involving model transfer. This study provides intuitive context for recommendations that should promote more realistic ecological niche models for transfer across space and time. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Unruptured versus Ruptured AVMs: Outcome analysis from a multicentric consecutive series of 545 surgically treated cases.

Recent literature strongly challenged indications to perform preventive surgery in unruptured AVM. claiming that invasive AVM treatment is associated with a significant risk of complications and thus conservative management may be a preferable alternative in many patients. On the other hand, the recent improvement of surgical instrumentation and treatment strategies (both surgical and interventional) yielded much better outcomes than those achieved only a decade ago. Therefore, even among the specialists, a wide variety of opinions, concerning the treatment of unruptured AVM, can be found. This multicenter retrospective study analyzes a consecutive series of 545 surgically treated AVMs in ten different hospitals in Italy. Patients with AVMs treated after hemorrhage had an unfavorable (mRS >1) outcome in more than one third (37.69%) of the cases. Conversely, with proper indications, unruptured AVMs treated preventively have a good outcome in 93.8% of cases, rising to 95.7%, with no death, if only S&M grade 1 to 3 are considered. (p < 0.05) Outcomes on discharge will significantly (p < 0.05) improve at six months with the disappearance of many of initial neurological deficits that reveal to be transient. In unruptured low-risk AVMs (S&M grades 1-3), over time, the risk of surgery-associated neurological deficits becomes lower than that linked to spontaneous hemorrhage with a crossover point at 6.5 years. Since the average bleeding age is below 45 years, preventive surgery can be advocated to safeguard the patient and overcome the risks associated with the natural history of AVMs.