ResearchPad - animal-types https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Canine hip dysplasia screening: Comparison of early evaluation to final grading in 231 dogs with Fédération Cynologique Internationale A and B]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_15741 This study aimed to verify if a significant difference exists between parameters in the early evaluation of normal and near-normal hip joints, to evaluate the influence of age and breed on the parameters, and to clarify the usefulness of a total score for differentiating between Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) grade A and B hips.MethodsA total of 231 dogs were classified according to whether they had FCI A or B hips at adulthood, with measurements obtained at 14–28 weeks of age. The total score was calculated by the summation of the following quantitative parameters: angle of subluxation (AS), angle of reduction (AR), laxity index (LI), and dorsal acetabular rim slope (DARS). Logistic regression analysis was performed to establish the probability of the study population to develop an FCI B hip based on the total score. This was repeated for the highest score in combination with the worst-rated hip and once more for breeds.ResultsNo correlation between age and the parameters was found in the cohort, or for FCI A and B. The values of all the parameters were significantly lower in the FCI A group than in the FCI B group (AR: 4.42° ± 6.0° vs 7.62° ± 7.2°; AS: 0.45° ± 1.9° vs 1.55° ± 3.8°; LI: 0.32 ± 0.1 vs 0.36 ± 0.1; DARS: 3.30° ± 1.8° vs 3.77° ± 1.9°; TS: 11.47 ± 8.3 vs 16.65 ± 10.9). Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers showed significant differences between parameters for both FCI grades. The range, where FCI A and B hips can be predicted on the basis of the total score, was different when assessed for the entire cohort, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers.Clinical significanceOur results show that even in normal and near-normal hips, the parameters significantly differed in the early evaluation. Moreover, cutoff values should be set for different breeds in the prediction of the FCI grade during early evaluation for a better breeding selection regarding canine hip dysplasia, one of the most common orthopedic diseases among large and giant breed dogs. ]]> <![CDATA[Development of plasma and whole blood taurine reference ranges and identification of dietary features associated with taurine deficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy in golden retrievers: A prospective, observational study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14758 A surge in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consumer complaints identified concerns that legume-rich, grain-free diets were associated with nutritionally-mediated dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Golden retrievers represent the most reported breed affected by this condition and previous studies documented the disease is responsive to dietary change and taurine supplementation. Although dietary findings across cases are compelling, prospective studies with control groups are lacking. The role of diet in developing taurine deficiency and echocardiographic changes consistent with DCM in healthy dogs is unknown.ObjectivesWe hypothesized that golden retrievers eating non-traditional diets are at a higher risk of having taurine deficiency and nutritionally-mediated DCM compared with those eating traditional commercial diets. We aimed to compare taurine concentrations and echocardiographic indices of systolic function between golden retrievers in each diet group and elucidate associations between diet and these variables. Additionally, we aimed to generate breed-specific reference intervals for whole blood and plasma taurine concentrations.Animals86 golden retrievers.MethodsGolden retrievers eating traditional or non-traditional diets were evaluated and diet history, taurine concentrations and echocardiographic data were collected. Dietary features, taurine concentrations and echocardiographic findings were compared between diet groups. Relative risks were calculated for the likelihood of echocardiographic abnormalities and taurine deficiency in each diet group. Breed-specific reference intervals were constructed for taurine concentrations in dogs from the traditional diet group.ResultsGolden retrievers eating non-traditional diets had significantly lower taurine concentrations and more frequent systolic dysfunction. Breed specific reference intervals are higher than previously reported across breeds.ConclusionsNon-traditional diets, which were typically grain-free and contained legumes in this study, were significantly associated with and have increased relative risk for the identification of taurine deficiency and echocardiographic abnormalities consistent with nutritionally-mediated DCM. These findings were identifiable in the absence of clinical signs and support the findings of multiple previous studies and the ongoing FDA investigation. ]]> <![CDATA[Behavioral differences at scent stations between two exploited species of desert canids]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14757 Coyotes (Canis latrans) and kit foxes (Vulpes macrotis) are desert canids that share ecological similarities, but have disparate histories with anthropogenic pressure that may influence their responses towards novel stimuli. We used remote cameras to investigate response to novel stimuli for these two species. We predicted that coyotes (heavily pressured species) would be more wary towards novel stimuli on unprotected land (canid harvest activities are permitted) than in protected areas (canid harvest activities are not permitted), whereas kit foxes (less pressured species) would exhibit no difference. We examined differences in the investigative behaviors at 660 scent stations in both protected and unprotected areas. Coyotes showed no differences between protected and unprotected land and were generally more wary than kit foxes, supporting our prediction. Kit foxes were more investigative on protected land, contrary to our expectations. Our study provides evidence that anthropogenic pressure can alter the behaviors of wildlife species.

]]>
<![CDATA[A genome-wide association study of deafness in three canine breeds]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14705 Congenital deafness in the domestic dog is usually related to the presence of white pigmentation, which is controlled primarily by the piebald locus on chromosome 20 and also by merle on chromosome 10. Pigment-associated deafness is also seen in other species, including cats, mice, sheep, alpacas, horses, cows, pigs, and humans, but the genetic factors determining why some piebald or merle dogs develop deafness while others do not have yet to be determined. Here we perform a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify regions of the canine genome significantly associated with deafness in three dog breeds carrying piebald: Dalmatian, Australian cattle dog, and English setter. We include bilaterally deaf, unilaterally deaf, and matched control dogs from the same litter, phenotyped using the brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) hearing test. Principal component analysis showed that we have different distributions of cases and controls in genetically distinct Dalmatian populations, therefore GWAS was performed separately for North American and UK samples. We identified one genome-wide significant association and 14 suggestive (chromosome-wide) associations using the GWAS design of bilaterally deaf vs. control Australian cattle dogs. However, these associations were not located on the same chromosome as the piebald locus, indicating the complexity of the genetics underlying this disease in the domestic dog. Because of this apparent complex genetic architecture, larger sample sizes may be needed to detect the genetic loci modulating risk in piebald dogs.

]]>
<![CDATA[Are pangolins the intermediate host of the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14545 Recently, a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, caused a still ongoing pandemic. Epidemiological study suggested this virus was associated with a wet market in Wuhan, China. However, the exact source of this virus is still unknown. In this study, we attempted to assemble the complete genome of a coronavirus identified from two groups of sick Malayan pangolins, which were likely to be smuggled for black market trade. The molecular and evolutionary analyses showed that this pangolin coronavirus we assembled was genetically associated with the SARS-CoV-2 but was not likely its precursor. This study suggested that pangolins are natural hosts of coronaviruses. Determining the spectrum of coronaviruses in pangolins can help understand the natural history of coronaviruses in wildlife and at the animal-human interface, and facilitate the prevention and control of coronavirus-associated emerging diseases.

]]>
<![CDATA[Serological evidence for human exposure to <i>Bacillus cereus</i> biovar <i>anthracis</i> in the villages around Taï National Park, Côte d’Ivoire]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14539 Anthrax is a zoonotic disease transmitted from animals to humans and normally caused by B. anthracis mainly in savanna regions. However, untypical bacteria named Bacillus cereus biovar anthracis (Bcbva) were detected in a variety of wild animals in the rain forest region of the Taï National Park (TNP) in Côte d’Ivoire. No anthrax infections in humans living in the region around TNP were reported until now. Therefore, we assessed exposure to the pathogen by analysis of sera from human volunteers for the presence of antibodies against the protective antigen (PA), which is produced by B. anthracis and Bcbva, and against the Bcbva-specific protein pXO2-60. We found antibodies against PA in more than 20% of sera from humans living in the TNP region, and around 10% possessed also antibodies against pXO2-60, confirming exposure to Bcbva. As only Bcbva, but not classic B. anthracis was found in TNP, we assume that the majority of humans had contact with Bcbva and that pXO2-60 is less immunogenic than PA. Although most people reported animal contacts, there was no statistically significant correlation with the presence of antibodies against Bcbva. Nevertheless, our study confirmed that Bcbva represents a danger for humans living in the affected area.

]]>
<![CDATA[Identification of separation-related problems in domestic cats: A questionnaire survey]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N096b59e8-8c6c-4ade-a9c3-2213a89d5014

Identifying and preventing the occurrence of separation-related problems (SRP) in companion animals are relevant to animal welfare and the quality of human-pet interactions. The SRP are defined as a set of behaviors and physiological signs displayed by the animal when separated from its attachment person. In cats, SRP has been insufficiently studied. Thus, the objective of this study was to develop a questionnaire for cat owners which identifies behaviors that may indicate SRP, as well as relates the occurrence of SRP to the management practices applied in the sampled cats. The associations of SRP with cats’ characteristics, as well as owner, environmental, and management traits were investigated. The questionnaire was developed based on the scientific literature about separation anxiety syndrome in dogs and a few papers in cats, and it was completed by 130 owners of 223 cats. Analysis of owners’ answers was done through categorization and acquisition of relative frequencies of each response category, followed by Fisher’s exact test, chi-square tests in contingency table and Multiple Correspondence Analysis. Among the sampled animals, 13.45% (30 / 223) met at least one of the behavioral criteria we used to define SRP. Destructive behavior was the most frequently reported behavior (66.67%, 20 / 30), followed by excessive vocalization (63.33%, 19 / 30), urination in inappropriate places (60.00%, 18 / 30), depression-apathy (53.33%, 16 / 30), aggressiveness (36.67%, 11 / 30) and agitation-anxiety (36.67%, 11 / 30) and, in lower frequency, defecation in inappropriate places (23.33%, 7 / 30). The occurrence of SRP was associated with the number of females living in the residence (P = 0.01), with not having access to toys (P = 0.04), and no other animal residing in the house (P = 0.04). Separation-related problems in domestic cats are difficult to identify due to the limited amount of knowledge regarding the issue. The questionnaire developed in this study supported identification of the main behaviors likely related to SRP in cats and could be used as a starting point for future research.

]]>
<![CDATA[Is it time to stop sweeping data cleaning under the carpet? A novel algorithm for outlier management in growth data]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N6ac4201b-e1d9-4dac-b706-1c6b88e127a6

All data are prone to error and require data cleaning prior to analysis. An important example is longitudinal growth data, for which there are no universally agreed standard methods for identifying and removing implausible values and many existing methods have limitations that restrict their usage across different domains. A decision-making algorithm that modified or deleted growth measurements based on a combination of pre-defined cut-offs and logic rules was designed. Five data cleaning methods for growth were tested with and without the addition of the algorithm and applied to five different longitudinal growth datasets: four uncleaned canine weight or height datasets and one pre-cleaned human weight dataset with randomly simulated errors. Prior to the addition of the algorithm, data cleaning based on non-linear mixed effects models was the most effective in all datasets and had on average a minimum of 26.00% higher sensitivity and 0.12% higher specificity than other methods. Data cleaning methods using the algorithm had improved data preservation and were capable of correcting simulated errors according to the gold standard; returning a value to its original state prior to error simulation. The algorithm improved the performance of all data cleaning methods and increased the average sensitivity and specificity of the non-linear mixed effects model method by 7.68% and 0.42% respectively. Using non-linear mixed effects models combined with the algorithm to clean data allows individual growth trajectories to vary from the population by using repeated longitudinal measurements, identifies consecutive errors or those within the first data entry, avoids the requirement for a minimum number of data entries, preserves data where possible by correcting errors rather than deleting them and removes duplications intelligently. This algorithm is broadly applicable to data cleaning anthropometric data in different mammalian species and could be adapted for use in a range of other domains.

]]>
<![CDATA[Methods of olfactory ensheathing cell harvesting from the olfactory mucosa in dogs]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c89778fd5eed0c4847d2ff8

Olfactory ensheathing cells are thought to support regeneration and remyelination of damaged axons when transplanted into spinal cord injuries. Following transplantation, improved locomotion has been detected in many laboratory models and in dogs with naturally-occurring spinal cord injury; safety trials in humans have also been completed. For widespread clinical implementation, it will be necessary to derive large numbers of these cells from an accessible and, preferably, autologous, source making olfactory mucosa a good candidate. Here, we compared the yield of olfactory ensheathing cells from the olfactory mucosa using 3 different techniques: rhinotomy, frontal sinus keyhole approach and rhinoscopy. From canine clinical cases with spinal cord injury, 27 biopsies were obtained by rhinotomy, 7 by a keyhole approach and 1 with rhinoscopy. Biopsy via rhinoscopy was also tested in 13 cadavers and 7 living normal dogs. After 21 days of cell culture, the proportions and populations of p75-positive (presumed to be olfactory ensheathing) cells obtained by the keyhole approach and rhinoscopy were similar (~4.5 x 106 p75-positive cells; ~70% of the total cell population), but fewer were obtained by frontal sinus rhinotomy. Cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea was observed in one dog and emphysema in 3 dogs following rhinotomy. Blepharitis occurred in one dog after the keyhole approach. All three biopsy methods appear to be safe for harvesting a suitable number of olfactory ensheathing cells from the olfactory mucosa for transplantation within the spinal cord but each technique has specific advantages and drawbacks.

]]>
<![CDATA[A polyploid admixed origin of beer yeasts derived from European and Asian wine populations]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c88240dd5eed0c48463962a

Strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae used to make beer, bread, and wine are genetically and phenotypically distinct from wild populations associated with trees. The origins of these domesticated populations are not always clear; human-associated migration and admixture with wild populations have had a strong impact on S. cerevisiae population structure. We examined the population genetic history of beer strains and found that ale strains and the S. cerevisiae portion of allotetraploid lager strains were derived from admixture between populations closely related to European grape wine strains and Asian rice wine strains. Similar to both lager and baking strains, ale strains are polyploid, providing them with a passive means of remaining isolated from other populations and providing us with a living relic of their ancestral hybridization. To reconstruct their polyploid origin, we phased the genomes of two ale strains and found ale haplotypes to both be recombinants between European and Asian alleles and to also contain novel alleles derived from extinct or as yet uncharacterized populations. We conclude that modern beer strains are the product of a historical melting pot of fermentation technology.

]]>
<![CDATA[Origins and geographic diversification of African rice (Oryza glaberrima)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897765d5eed0c4847d2be9

Rice is a staple food for the majority of the world’s population. Whereas Asian rice (Oryza sativa) has been extensively studied, the exact origins of African rice (Oryza glaberrima) are still contested. Previous studies have supported either a centric or a non-centric geographic origin of African rice domestication. Here we review the evidence for both scenarios through a critical reassessment of 206 whole genome sequences of domesticated and wild African rice. While genetic diversity analyses support a severe bottleneck caused by domestication, signatures of recent and strong positive selection do not unequivocally point to candidate domestication genes, suggesting that domestication proceeded differently than in Asian rice–either by selection on different alleles, or different modes of selection. Population structure analysis revealed five genetic clusters localising to different geographic regions. Isolation by distance was identified in the coastal populations, which could account for parallel adaptation in geographically separated demes. Although genome-wide phylogenetic relationships support an origin in the eastern cultivation range followed by diversification along the Atlantic coast, further analysis of domestication genes shows distinct haplotypes in the southwest—suggesting that at least one of several key domestication traits might have originated there. These findings shed new light on an old controversy concerning plant domestication in Africa by highlighting the divergent roots of African rice cultivation, including a separate centre of domestication activity in the Guinea Highlands. We thus suggest that the commonly accepted centric origin of African rice must be reconsidered in favour of a non-centric or polycentric view.

]]>
<![CDATA[Understanding the prevalence of bear part consumption in Cambodia: A comparison of specialised questioning techniques]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c76fdedd5eed0c484e5b0d5

The trade in bear parts for medicine and for status is a conservation challenge throughout Asia. The Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) and the sun bear (Helarctos malayanus) are endemic to this region, and populations are estimated to have declined throughout their ranges due to widespread illegal killing of bears and trade in parts, combined with loss of habitat. Previous studies have indicated that legislation alone is insufficient to prevent illegal hunting and trade, indicating instead a need to address demand for bear parts and products. We conducted mixed-method surveys in Cambodia to understand the key motivators for individuals to consume bear parts, and to understand whether specialised questioning techniques are applicable in this context. Bear part use is illegal in Cambodia and may therefore be considered a sensitive behaviour, in that individuals may be reluctant to admit to it. To counteract possible biases, four specialised questioning techniques were used in this study: randomised response technique (RRT), unmatched count technique (UCT), nominative technique (NT), and false consensus bias (FCB). All four methods serve to shield a respondent’s admittance of a sensitive behaviour from the interviewer. The results presented here show that great variability exists in anonymous methods’ efficacy in certain contexts. However, the results overall indicate that individuals in Cambodia are under-reporting their consumption of bear parts when directly asked, and that the prevalence of bear part use in Cambodia may be as high as 15% of the population, representing a significant conservation challenge.

]]>
<![CDATA[Benefits of zebra stripes: Behaviour of tabanid flies around zebras and horses]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c76fe02d5eed0c484e5b282

Averting attack by biting flies is increasingly regarded as the evolutionary driver of zebra stripes, although the precise mechanism by which stripes ameliorate attack by ectoparasites is unknown. We examined the behaviour of tabanids (horse flies) in the vicinity of captive plains zebras and uniformly coloured domestic horses living on a horse farm in Britain. Observations showed that fewer tabanids landed on zebras than on horses per unit time, although rates of tabanid circling around or briefly touching zebra and horse pelage did not differ. In an experiment in which horses sequentially wore cloth coats of different colours, those wearing a striped pattern suffered far lower rates of tabanid touching and landing on coats than the same horses wearing black or white, yet there were no differences in attack rates to their naked heads. In separate, detailed video analyses, tabanids approached zebras faster and failed to decelerate before contacting zebras, and proportionately more tabanids simply touched rather than landed on zebra pelage in comparison to horses. Taken together, these findings indicate that, up close, striped surfaces prevented flies from making a controlled landing but did not influence tabanid behaviour at a distance. To counteract flies, zebras swished their tails and ran away from fly nuisance whereas horses showed higher rates of skin twitching. As a consequence of zebras’ striping, very few tabanids successfully landed on zebras and, as a result of zebras’ changeable behaviour, few stayed a long time, or probed for blood.

]]>
<![CDATA[The continuing evolution of ownership]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c7577d5eed0c4843cfddd

The evolution in animals of a first possession convention, in which individuals retain what they are the first to acquire, has often been taken as a foundation for the evolution of human ownership institutions. However, among humans, individuals actually only seldom retain an item they have acquired from the environment, instead typically transferring what they possess to other members of the community, to those in command, or to those who hold a contractual title. This paper presents a novel game-theoretic model of the evolution of ownership institutions as rules governing resource transfers. Integrating existing findings, the model contributes a new perspective on the emergence of communal transfers among hominin large game hunters around 200,000 years ago, of command ownership among sedentary humans in the millennia prior to the transition to agriculture, and of titled property ownership around 5,500 years ago. Since today’s property institutions motivate transfers through the promise of future returns, the analysis presented here suggests that these institutions may be placed under considerable pressure should resources become significantly constrained.

]]>
<![CDATA[Mortality and morbidity in wild Taiwanese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla pentadactyla)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648d1ad5eed0c484c81ffa

Globally, pangolins are threatened by poaching and illegal trade. Taiwan presents a contrary situation, where the wild pangolin population has stabilized and even begun to increase in the last two decades. This paper illustrates the factors responsible for causing mortality and morbidity in the wild Taiwanese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla pentadactyla) based on radio-tracking data of wild pangolins and records of sick or injured pangolins admitted to a Taiwanese wildlife rehabilitation center. Despite being proficient burrowers, results from radio-tracking show that Taiwanese pangolins are highly susceptible to getting trapped in tree hollows or ground burrows. Data from Pingtung Rescue Center for Endangered Wild Animals showed that trauma (73.0%) was the major reason for morbidity in the Taiwanese pangolin with trauma from gin traps being the leading cause (77.8%), especially during the dry season, followed by tail injuries caused by dog attacks (20.4%). Despite these threats, Taiwan has had substantial success in rehabilitating and releasing injured pangolins, primarily due to the close collaboration of Taiwanese wildlife rehabilitation centers over the last twenty years.

]]>
<![CDATA[The effects of electric power lines on the breeding ecology of greater sage-grouse]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b52dbd5eed0c4842bd148

Anthropogenic infrastructure can negatively affect wildlife through direct mortality and/or displacement behaviors. Some tetranoids (grouse spp.) species are particularly vulnerable to tall anthropogenic structures because they evolved in ecosystems void of vertical structures. In western North America, electric power transmission and distribution lines (power lines) occur in sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) landscapes within the range of the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; sage-grouse). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommended using buffer zones near leks to mitigate the potential impacts of power lines on sage-grouse. However, recommended buffer distances are inconsistent across state and federal agencies because data are lacking. To address this, we evaluated the effects of power lines on sage-grouse breeding ecology within Utah, portions of southeastern Idaho, and southwestern Wyoming from 1998–2013. Overall, power lines negatively affected lek trends up to a distance of 2.7 and 2.8 km, respectively. Power lines died not affect lek persistence. Female sage-grouse avoided transmission lines during the nesting and brooding seasons at distances up to 1.1 and 0.8 km, respectively. Nest and brood success were negatively affected by transmission lines up to distances of 2.6 and 1.1 km, respectively. Distribution lines did not appear to affect sage-grouse habitat selection or reproductive fitness. Our analyses demonstrated the value of sagebrush cover in mitigating potential power line impacts. Managers can minimize the effects of new transmission power lines by placing them in existing anthropogenic corridors and/or incorporating buffers at least 2.8 km from active leks. Given the uncertainty we observed in our analyses regarding sage-grouse response to distribution lines coupled with their role in providing electric power service directly to individual consumers, we recommend that buffers for these power lines be considered on a case-by-case basis. Micrositing to avoid important habitats and habitat reclamation may reduce the potential impacts of new power line construction.

]]>
<![CDATA[How many to sample? Statistical guidelines for monitoring animal welfare outcomes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b524fd5eed0c4842bc630

There is increasing scrutiny of the animal welfare impacts of all animal use activities, including agriculture, the keeping of companion animals, racing and entertainment, research and laboratory use, and wildlife management programs. A common objective of animal welfare monitoring is to quantify the frequency of adverse animal events (e.g., injuries or mortalities). The frequency of such events can be used to provide pass/fail grades for animal use activities relative to a defined threshold and to identify areas for improvement through research. A critical question in these situations is how many animals should be sampled? There are, however, few guidelines available for data collection or analysis, and consequently sample sizes can be highly variable. To address this question, we first evaluated the effect of sample size on precision and statistical power in reporting the frequency of adverse animal welfare outcomes. We next used these findings to assess the precision of published animal welfare investigations for a range of contentious animal use activities, including livestock transport, horse racing, and wildlife harvesting and capture. Finally, we evaluated the sample sizes required for comparing observed outcomes with specified standards through hypothesis testing. Our simulations revealed that the sample sizes required for reasonable levels of precision (i.e., proportional distance to the upper confidence interval limit (δ) of ≤ 0.50) are greater than those that have been commonly used for animal welfare assessments (i.e., >300). Larger sample sizes are required for adverse events with low frequency (i.e., <5%). For comparison with a required threshold standard, even larger samples sizes are required. We present guidelines, and an online calculator, for minimum sample sizes for use in future animal welfare assessments of animal management and research programs.

]]>
<![CDATA[Railway underpass location affects migration distance in Tibetan antelope (Pantholops hodgsonii)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e8fbd5eed0c48496f58c

Wildlife crossings are designed to mitigate barrier effects of transportation infrastructure on wildlife movement. Most efforts in evaluating crossing efficiency focus on counting animal use. However, crossings placed at suboptimal locations may alter animals’ natural movement pattern and decrease population fitness, which cannot be reflected solely by counts of animal use. The long-distance migration of Tibetan antelope (Pantholops hodgsonii) is directly affected by the Qinghai-Tibet Railway (QTR). Using the Wubei wildlife underpass along the QTR, we evaluated how underpass placement affects migration routes and decreases movement efficiency. We calculated the net-squared displacement of each animal to identify migration segments (wintering, calving, and migrating) based on Argos tracking data. We used two corridor modeling methods to identify optimal routes that theoretically require less energy to travel between seasonal habitats. We calculated the distance from actual migration routes recorded by Argos to the modelled optimal routes. We found that antelopes stray farther away from the optimal routes as they approach Wubei, indicating that animals have to deviate from their optimal migration pathway to access the railway underpass. On average, antelopes prolong their migration distance by 86.19 km (SEM = 17.29 km) in order to access the underpass. Our study suggests crossing location can affect animal migrations even if structures facilitate animal crossing. To better conserve long-distance migrations, long-term studies using tracking data which evaluate optimal migration routes are needed. We suggest considering the location and structural characteristics in designing and improving wildlife crossings, which do not only facilitate utilization, but also optimize animal movement processes such as migration.

]]>
<![CDATA[Genetic and phenotypic diversity in 2000 years old maize (Zea mays L.) samples from the Tarapacá region, Atacama Desert, Chile]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b52eed5eed0c4842bd2a7

The evolution of maize (Zea mays L.) is highly controversial given the discrepancies related to the phenotypic and genetic changes suffered by the species, the incidence of human groups and the times in which these changes occurred. Also, morphological and genetic traits of crops are difficult to evaluate in the absence of fossils macro-botanical remains. In contrast in the Tarapacá region (18–21° S), Atacama Desert of Chile, prehispanic settlements (ca. 2500–400 yr BP) displayed extensive maize agriculture. The presence of archaeological macro-botanical remains of maize provided a unique opportunity to study the evolution of this crop, covering a temporal sequence of at least 2000 years. Thus, in this study, we ask how the morphological and genetic diversity of maize has varied since its introduction during prehispanic times in the Tarapacá region. To answer this, we measured and compared morphological traits of size and shape between archaeological cobs and kernels and 95 ears from landraces. To established genetic diversity eight microsatellite markers (SSR) were analyzed in archaeological and modern kernels. Genetic diversity was estimated by allelic frequency rates, the average number of alleles per locus, observed heterozygosity (Ho) and expected heterozygosity (He). Differences between populations and genetic structure were estimated by fixation index FST and STRUCTURE analysis. Our results indicate significant phenotypic differences and genetic distance between archaeological maize and landraces. This result is suggestive of an introduction of new varieties or drastic selective changes in modern times in Tarapacá. Additionally, archaeological maize shows a low genetic diversity and a progressive increase in the size of ears and kernels. These results suggest a human selection during prehispanic times and establish that prehispanic farmers played an important role in maize development. They also provide new clues for understanding the evolutionary history of maize in hyperarid conditions.

]]>
<![CDATA[Evolution of SSR diversity from wild types to U.S. advanced cultivars in the Andean and Mesoamerican domestications of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca2f4d5eed0c48441ee62

Progress in common bean breeding requires the exploitation of genetic variation among market classes, races and gene pools. The present study was conducted to determine the amount of genetic variation and the degree of relatedness among 192 selected common bean advanced cultivars using 58 simple-sequence-repeat markers (SSR) evenly distributed along the 11 linkage groups of the Phaseolus reference map. All the lines belonged to commercial seed type classes that are widely grown in the USA and include both dry bean and snap beans for the fresh and processing markets. Through population structure, principal components analyses, cluster analysis, and discriminant analysis of principal components (DAPC), Andean and Mesoamerican genotypes as well as most American commercial type classes could be distinguished. The genetic relationship among the commercial cultivars revealed by the SSR markers was generally in agreement with known pedigree data. The Mesoamerican cultivars were separated into three major groups—black, small white, and navy accessions clustered together in a distinct group, while great northern and pinto clustered in another group, showing mixed origin. The Andean cultivars were distributed in two different groups. The kidney market classes formed a single group, while the green bean accessions were distributed between the Andean and Mesoamerican groups, showing inter-gene pool genetic admixture. For a subset of 24 SSR markers, we compared and contrasted the genetic diversity of the commercial cultivars with those of wild and domesticated landrace accessions of common bean. An overall reduction in genetic diversity was observed in both gene pools, Andean and Mesoamerican, from wild to landraces to advanced cultivars. The limited diversity in the commercial cultivars suggests that an important goal of bean breeding programs should be to broaden the cultivated gene pool, particularly the genetic diversity of specific commercial classes, using the genetic variability present in common bean landraces.

]]>