ResearchPad - insects https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[A model for the assessment of bluetongue virus serotype 1 persistence in Spain]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_11225 Bluetongue virus (BTV) is an arbovirus of ruminants that has been circulating in Europe continuously for more than two decades and has become endemic in some countries such as Spain. Spain is ideal for BTV epidemiological studies since BTV outbreaks from different sources and serotypes have occurred continuously there since 2000; BTV-1 has been reported there from 2007 to 2017. Here we develop a model for BTV-1 endemic scenario to estimate the risk of an area becoming endemic, as well as to identify the most influential factors for BTV-1 persistence. We created abundance maps at 1-km2 spatial resolution for the main vectors in Spain, Culicoides imicola and Obsoletus and Pulicaris complexes, by combining environmental satellite data with occurrence models and a random forest machine learning algorithm. The endemic model included vector abundance and host-related variables (farm density). The three most relevant variables in the endemic model were the abundance of C. imicola and Obsoletus complex and density of goat farms (AUC 0.86); this model suggests that BTV-1 is more likely to become endemic in central and southwestern regions of Spain. It only requires host- and vector-related variables to identify areas at greater risk of becoming endemic for bluetongue. Our results highlight the importance of suitable Culicoides spp. prediction maps for bluetongue epidemiological studies and decision-making about control and eradication measures.

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<![CDATA[Juvenile hormone suppresses aggregation behavior through influencing antennal gene expression in locusts]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7742 A behavioral change from shy solitarious individuals to highly social gregarious individuals is critical to the formation of disastrous swarms of locusts. However, the underlying molecular mechanism of behavioral plasticity regulated by hormones is still largely unknown. Here, we investigated the effect of juvenile hormone (JH) on the behavioral transition in fourth-instar gregarious and solitarious locusts. We found that JH induced the behavioral shift of the gregarious locust from attraction to repulsion to the volatiles of gregarious locusts. The solitarious locust significantly decreased repulsion behavior after deprivation of JH by precocene or knockdown of JHAMT, a key enzyme to synthesize JH. JH application on gregarious locusts caused significant expression alteration of genes, especially the olfactory genes TO and CSP in the antennae. We further demonstrated that the JH signaling pathway suppressed aggregation behavior in gregarious locusts by increasing TO1 expression and decreasing CSP3 expression at the same time. Our results suggested that internal physiological factors can directly modulate periphery olfactory system to produce behavioral plasticity.

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<![CDATA[Using genomics to understand inter- and intra- outbreak diversity of <i>Pasteurella multocida</i> isolates associated with fowl cholera in meat chickens]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N223fe369-48eb-46de-bb92-0a45a338f1fc Fowl cholera, caused by Pasteurella multocida, continues to be a challenge in meat-chicken-breeder operations and has emerged as a problem for free-range meat chickens. Here, using whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and phylogenomic analysis, we investigate isolate relatedness during outbreaks of fowl cholera on a free-range meat chicken farm over a 5-year period. Our genomic analysis revealed that while all outbreak isolates were sequence type (ST) 20, they could be separated into two distinct clades (clade 1 and clade 2) consistent with difference in their lipopolysaccharide (LPS) type. The isolates from the earlier outbreaks (clade 1) were carrying LPS type L3 while those from the more recent outbreaks (clade 2) were LPS type L1. Additionally, WGS data indicated high inter- and intra-chicken genetic diversity during a single outbreak. Furthermore, we demonstrate that while a killed autogenous vaccine carrying LPS type L3 had been successful in protecting against challenge from L3 isolates it might have driven the emergence of the closely related clade 2, against which the vaccine was ineffective. The genomic results also revealed a 14 bp deletion in the galactosyltransferase gene gatG in LPS type L3 isolates, which would result in producing a semi-truncated LPS in those isolates. In conclusion, our study clearly demonstrates the advantages of genomic analysis over the conventional PCR-based approaches in providing clear insights in terms of linkage of isolate within and between outbreaks. More importantly, it provides more detailed information than the multiplex PCR on the possible structure of outer LPS, which is very important in the case of strain selection for killed autogenous vaccines.

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<![CDATA[Impact of confinement in vehicle trunks on decomposition and entomological colonization of carcasses]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nffbdbe54-85a9-48b9-9e05-57433aec6303

In order to investigate the impact of confinement in a car trunk on decomposition and insect colonization of carcasses, three freshly killed pig (Sus scrofa domesticus Erxleben) carcasses were placed individually in the trunks of older model cars and deployed in a forested area in the southwestern region of British Columbia, Canada, together with three freshly killed carcasses which were exposed in insect-accessible protective cages in the same forest. Decomposition rate and insect colonization of all carcasses were examined twice a week for four weeks. The exposed carcasses were colonized immediately by Calliphora latifrons Hough and Calliphora vomitoria (L.) followed by Lucilia illustris (Meigen), Phormia regina (Meigen) and Protophormia terraenovae (R.-D.) (Diptera: Calliphoridae). There was a delay of three to six days before the confined carcasses were colonized, first by P. regina, followed by Pr. terraenovae. These species represented the vast majority of blow fly species on the confined carcasses. Despite the delay in colonization, decomposition progressed much more rapidly in two of the confined carcasses in comparison with the exposed carcasses due to the greatly increased temperatures inside the vehicles, with the complete skeletonization of two of the confined carcasses ocurring between nine and 13 days after death. One confined carcass was an anomaly, attracting much fewer insects, supporting fewer larval calliphorids and decomposing much more slowly than other carcasses, despite similarly increased temperatures. It was later discovered that the vehicle in which this carcass was confined had a solid metal fire wall between the passenger area and the trunk, which served to reduce insect access and release of odors. These data may be extremely valuable when analyzing cadavers found inside vehicle trunks.

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<![CDATA[Effects of sea-level rise on physiological ecology of populations of a ground-dwelling ant]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N7f89605c-5421-4b76-a019-ba0e7ddd5b34

Introduction

Sea-level rise is a consequence of climate change that can impact the ecological and physiological changes of coastal, ground-dwelling species. Sea-level rise has a potential to inundate birds, rodents, spiders, and insects that live on the ground in coastal areas. Yet, there is still much to be learned concerning the specifics of these impacts. The red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta (Buren) excavates soil for its home and is capable of surviving flooding. Because of their ground-dwelling life history and rapid reproduction, fire ants make an ideal model for discovery and prediction of changes that may be due to sea-level rise. There are up to 500,000 individuals in a colony, and these invasive ants naturally have a painful sting. However, observations suggest that colonies of fire ants that dwell in tidally-influenced areas are more aggressive with more frequent stings and more venom injected per sting (behavioral and physiological changes) than those located inland. This may be an adaption to sea-level rise. Therefore, the objective of this study is to elucidate differences in inland and coastal defensiveness via micro-dissection and comparison of head width, head length, stinger length, and venom sac volume. But first because fire ants’ ability to raft on brackish tidal water is unknown, it had to be determined if fire ants could indeed raft in brackish water and examine the behavior differences between those flooded with freshwater vs. saltwater.

Methods

To test the coastal-aggression hypothesis, inland colonies and coastal colonies, which experience relatively greater amounts of flooding, specifically regular tidal and windblown water and oscillations (i.e. El Nińo Southern Oscillation) from the Gulf of Mexico, were collected. To mimic sea-level rise, the colonies were flooded in salinities that correspond to both their collection site and conditions found in a variety of locales and situations (such as storm surge from a tropical storm). Individual ants were immediately taken from each colony for dissection before flooding, 1-hour into flooding, and 24-hours into flooding.

Results and discussion

Fire ants use their venom to defend themselves and to communicate alarm or aggression. Dissections and measurement of heads, venom sacs, and stingers revealed both coastal and inland colonies experience an increase in venom sac volume after 24 hours; in fact coastal colonies increased their venom volume by 75% after 24 h of flooding Whether this venom sac enlargement is due to diffusion of water or venom sac production is unknown. These ground-dwelling ants exhibit physiological and behavioral adaptations to ongoing sea-level rise possibly indicating that they are responding to increased flooding. Fire ants will raft on high-salinity water; and sea-level rise may cause stings by flooded ants to be more severe because of increased venom volume.

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<![CDATA[Evidence for both sequential mutations and recombination in the evolution of kdr alleles in Aedes aegypti]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N8479e8f6-b6ad-4aa7-91b1-bf6bde90184a

Background

Aedes aegypti is a globally distributed vector of human diseases including dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya, and Zika. Pyrethroid insecticides are the primary means of controlling adult A. aegypti populations to suppress arbovirus outbreaks, but resistance to pyrethroid insecticides has become a global problem. Mutations in the voltage-sensitive sodium channel (Vssc) gene are a major mechanism of pyrethroid resistance in A. aegypti. Vssc resistance alleles in A. aegypti commonly have more than one mutation. However, our understanding of the evolutionary dynamics of how alleles with multiple mutations arose is poorly understood.

Methodology/Principal findings

We examined the geographic distribution and association between the common Vssc mutations (V410L, S989P, V1016G/I and F1534C) in A. aegypti by analyzing the relevant Vssc fragments in 25 collections, mainly from Asia and the Americas. Our results showed all 11 Asian populations had two types of resistance alleles: 1534C and 989P+1016G. The 1534C allele was more common with frequencies ranging from 0.31 to 0.88, while the 989P+1016G frequency ranged from 0.13 to 0.50. Four distinct alleles (410L, 1534C, 410L+1534C and 410L+1016I+1534C) were detected in populations from the Americas. The most common was 410L+1016I+1534C with frequencies ranging from 0.50 to 1.00, followed by 1534C with frequencies ranging from 0.13 to 0.50. Our phylogenetic analysis of Vssc supported multiple independent origins of the F1534C mutation. Our results indicated the 410L+1534C allele may have arisen by addition of the V410L mutation to the 1534C allele, or by a crossover event. The 410L+1016I+1534C allele was the result of one or two mutational steps from a 1534C background.

Conclusions/Significance

Our data corroborated previous geographic distributions of resistance mutations and provided evidence for both recombination and sequential accumulation of mutations contributing to the molecular evolution of resistance alleles in A. aegypti.

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<![CDATA[Sugar, amino acid and inorganic ion profiling of the honeydew from different hemipteran species feeding on Abies alba and Picea abies]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Neb889307-c28f-4dcd-8ba6-6ff5a5f28e34

Several hemipteran species feed on the phloem sap of plants and produce large amounts of honeydew that is collected by bees to produce honeydew honey. Therefore, it is important to know whether it is predominantly the hemipteran species or the host plant to influence the honeydew composition. This is particularly relevant for those botanical and zoological species from which the majority of honeydew honey originates. To investigate this issue, honeydew from two Cinara species located on Abies alba as well as from two Cinara and two Physokermes species located on Picea abies were collected. Phloem exudates of the host plants were also analyzed. Honeydew of all species contained different proportions of hexoses, sucrose, melezitose, erlose, and further di- and trisaccharides, whereas the phloem exudates of the host trees contained no trisaccharides. Moreover, the proportions of sugars differed significantly between hemipteran species feeding on the same tree species. Sucrose hydrolysis and oligosaccharide formation was shown in whole-body homogenates of aphids. The type of the produced oligosaccharides in the aphid-extracts correlated with the oligosaccharide composition in the honeydew of the different aphid species. The total contents of amino acids and inorganic ions in the honeydew were much lower than the sugar content. Glutamine and glutamate were predominant amino acids in the honeydew of all six hemipteran species and also in the phloem exudates of both tree species. Potassium was the dominant inorganic ion in all honeydew samples and also in the phloem exudate. Statistical analyses reveal that the sugar composition of honeydew is determined more by the hemipteran species than by the host plant. Consequently, it can be assumed that the sugar composition of honeydew honey is also more influenced by the hemipteran species than by the host tree.

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<![CDATA[A mathematical model for assessing the effectiveness of controlling relapse in Plasmodium vivax malaria endemic in the Republic of Korea]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nf3d8dda1-10e2-4286-9776-07d534017a03

Malaria has persisted as an endemic near the Demilitarized Zone in the Republic of Korea since the re-emergence of Plasmodium vivax malaria in 1993. The number of patients affected by malaria has increased recently despite many controls tools, one of the reasons behind which is the relapse of malaria via liver hypnozoites. Tafenoquine, a new drug approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 2018, is expected to reduce the rate of relapse of malaria hypnozoites and thereby decrease the prevalence of malaria among the population. In this work, we have developed a new transmission model for Plasmodium vivax that takes into account a more realistic intrinsic distribution from existing literature to quantify the current values of relapse parameters and to evaluate the effectiveness of the anti-relapse therapy. The model is especially suitable for estimating parameters near the Demilitarized Zone in Korea, in which the disease follows a distinguishable seasonality. Results were shown that radical cure could significantly reduce the prevalence level of malaria. However, eradication would still take a long time (over 10 years) even if the high-level treatment were to persist. In addition, considering that the vector’s behavior is manipulated by the malaria parasite, relapse repression through vector control at the current level may result in a negative effect in containing the disease. We conclude that the use of effective drugs should be considered together with the increased level of the vector control to reduce malaria prevalence.

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<![CDATA[Increasing sika deer population density may change resource use by larval dung beetles]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N8cd3ee58-c057-4e17-9e0d-6a1ba00b0cfd

Because animal feces contain organic matter and plant seeds, dung beetles (Scarabaeinae) are important for the circulation of materials and secondary seed dispersal through burying feces. Dung beetles are usually generalists and use the feces of various mammals. Additionally, the larval stages have access to feces from only one mammal species leaving them susceptible to changes in animal fauna and variations in animal populations. Here, we explain the effects of resource availability changes associated with sika deer (Cervus nippon) overabundance on dung beetle larvae feeding habits in Japan. δ15N values were notably higher in raccoon dog and badger dung than in that of other mammals. A dung beetle breeding experiment revealed that the δ15N values of dung beetle exoskeletons that had fed on deer feces during their larval stage were significantly lower than those of beetles that had fed on raccoon dog feces. The δ15N values of the adult exoskeleton were significantly lower in a deer high-density area than in a low-density area in large dung beetles only. It is possible that the high-quality feces, such as those of omnivores, preferred by the large beetles decrease in availability with an increase in deer dung; large beetles may therefore be unable to obtain sufficient high-quality feces and resort to using large amounts of low-quality deer feces. Small dung beetles may use the easily obtained feces that is in high abundance and they may also use deer feces more frequently with increases in deer density. These findings suggest that a larval resource shift associated with deer overabundance may affect ecosystem functions such as soil nutrient cycling and seed dispersal.

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<![CDATA[Prediction model for dengue fever based on interactive effects between multiple meteorological factors in Guangdong, China (2008–2016)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nfe4e2064-ca0a-4d6d-a8b7-4f75eb296e9a

Introduction

In order to improve the prediction accuracy of dengue fever incidence, we constructed a prediction model with interactive effects between meteorological factors, based on weekly dengue fever cases in Guangdong, China from 2008 to 2016.

Methods

Dengue fever data were derived from statistical data from the China National Notifiable Infectious Disease Reporting Information System. Daily meteorological data were obtained from the China Integrated Meteorological Information Sharing System. The minimum temperature for transmission was identified using data fitting and the Ross-Macdonald model. Correlations and interactive effects were examined using Spearman’s rank correlation and multivariate analysis of variance. A probit regression model to describe the incidence of dengue fever from 2008 to 2016 and forecast the 2017 incidence was constructed, based on key meteorological factors, interactive effects, mosquito-vector factors, and other important factors.

Results

We found the minimum temperature suitable for dengue transmission was ≥18°C, and as 97.91% of cases occurred when the minimum temperature was above 18 °C, the data were used for model training and construction. Epidemics of dengue are related to mean temperature, maximum/minimum and mean atmospheric pressure, and mean relative humidity. Moreover, interactions occur between mean temperature, minimum atmospheric pressure, and mean relative humidity. Our weekly probit regression prediction model is 0.72. Prediction of dengue cases for the first 41 weeks of 2017 exhibited goodness of fit of 0.60.

Conclusion

Our model was accurate and timely, with consideration of interactive effects between meteorological factors.

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<![CDATA[Drosophila melanogaster tPlus3a and tPlus3b ensure full male fertility by regulating transcription of Y-chromosomal, seminal fluid, and heat shock genes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8accf0d5eed0c48499037d

Spermatogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster is characterized by a specific transcriptional program during the spermatocyte stage. Transcription of thousands of genes is regulated by the interaction of several proteins or complexes, including a tTAF-containing TFIID variant, tMAC, Mediator, and chromatin interactors, e.g., bromodomain proteins. We addressed how distinct subsets of target genes are selected. We characterized the highly similar proteins tPlus3a and tPlus3b, which contain a Plus3 domain and are enriched in the testis, mainly in spermatocytes. In tPlus3a and tplus3b deletion mutants generated using the CRISPR/Cas9 system, fertility was severely reduced and sperm showed defects during individualization. tPlus3a and tPlus3b heterodimerized with the bromodomain protein tBRD-1. To elucidate the role of the tPlus3a and tPlus3b proteins in transcriptional regulation, we determined the transcriptomes of tplus3a-tplus3b and tbrd-1 deletion mutants using next-generation sequencing (RNA-seq) and compared them to that of the wild-type. tPlus3a and tPlus3b positively or negatively regulated the expression of nearly 400 genes; tBRD-1 regulated 1,500 genes. Nearly 200 genes were regulated by both tPlus3a and tPlus3b and tBRD-1. tPlus3a and tPlus3b activated the Y-chromosomal genes kl-3 and kl-5, which indicates that tPlus3a and tPlus3b proteins are required for the function of distinct classes of genes. tPlus3a and tPlus3b and tBRD-1 repress genes relevant for seminal fluid and heat shock. We hypothesize that tPlus3a and tPlus3b proteins are required to specify the general transcriptional program in spermatocytes.

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<![CDATA[Individual-based network model for Rift Valley fever in Kabale District, Uganda]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8823c9d5eed0c484638ffb

Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a zoonotic disease, that causes significant morbidity and mortality among ungulate livestock and humans in endemic regions. In East Africa, the causative agent of the disease is Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) which is primarily transmitted by multiple mosquito species in Aedes and Mansonia genera during both epizootic and enzootic periods in a complex transmission cycle largely driven by environmental and climatic factors. However, recent RVFV activity in Uganda demonstrated the capability of the virus to spread into new regions through livestock movements, and underscored the need to develop effective mitigation strategies to reduce transmission and prevent spread among cattle populations. We simulated RVFV transmission among cows in 22 different locations of the Kabale District in Uganda using real world livestock data in a network-based model. This model considered livestock as a spatially explicit factor in different locations subjected to specific vector and environmental factors, and was configured to investigate and quantitatively evaluate the relative impacts of mosquito control, livestock movement, and diversity in cattle populations on the spread of the RVF epizootic. We concluded that cattle movement should be restricted for periods of high mosquito abundance to control epizootic spreading among locations during an RVF outbreak. Importantly, simulation results also showed that cattle populations with heterogeneous genetic diversity as crossbreeds were less susceptible to infection compared to homogenous cattle populations.

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<![CDATA[Induced aneuploidy in neural stem cells triggers a delayed stress response and impairs adult life span in flies]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c79a3e7d5eed0c4841d1c08

Studying aneuploidy during organism development has strong limitations because chronic mitotic perturbations used to generate aneuploidy usually result in lethality. We developed a genetic tool to induce aneuploidy in an acute and time-controlled manner during Drosophila development. This is achieved by reversible depletion of cohesin, a key molecule controlling mitotic fidelity. Larvae challenged with aneuploidy hatch into adults with severe motor defects shortening their life span. Neural stem cells, despite being aneuploid, display a delayed stress response and continue proliferating, resulting in the rapid appearance of chromosomal instability, a complex array of karyotypes, and cellular abnormalities. Notably, when other brain-cell lineages are forced to self-renew, aneuploidy-associated stress response is significantly delayed. Protecting only the developing brain from induced aneuploidy is sufficient to rescue motor defects and adult life span, suggesting that neural tissue is the most ill-equipped to deal with developmental aneuploidy.

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<![CDATA[Behavior and abundance of Anopheles darlingi in communities living in the Colombian Amazon riverside]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8acc3ed5eed0c48498f2cc

In the past few years, relative frequencies of malaria parasite species in communities living in the Colombian Amazon riverside have changed, being Plasmodium vivax (61.4%) and Plasmodium malariae (43.8%) the most frequent. Given this epidemiological scenario, it is important to determine the species of anophelines involved in these parasites’ transmission. This study was carried out in June 2016 in two indigenous communities living close to the tributaries of the Amazon River using protected human bait. The results of this study showed a total abundance of 1,085 mosquitos, of which 99.2% corresponded to Anopheles darlingi. Additionally, only two anopheline species were found, showing low diversity in the study areas. Molecular confirmation of some individuals was then followed by evolutionary analysis by using the COI gene. Nested PCR was used for identifying the three Plasmodium species circulating in the study areas. Of the two species collected in this study, 21.0% of the An. darlingi mosquitoes were infected with P. malariae, 21.9% with P. vivax and 10.3% with Plasmodium falciparum. It exhibited exophilic and exophagic behavior in both study areas, having marked differences regarding its abundance in each community (Tipisca first sampling 49.4%, Tipisca second sampling 39.6% and Doce de Octubre 10.9%). Interestingly, An. mattogrossensis infected by P. vivax was found for the first time in Colombia (in 50% of the four females collected). Analysis of An. darlingi COI gene diversity indicated a single population maintaining a high gene flow between the study areas. The An. darlingi behavior pattern found in both communities represents a risk factor for the region’s inhabitants living/working near these sites. This highlights the need for vector control efforts such as the use of personal repellents and insecticides for use on cattle, which must be made available in order to reduce this Anopheline’s abundance.

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<![CDATA[Potential role of weather, soil and plant microbial communities in rapid decline of apple trees]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c89776ed5eed0c4847d2c8c

An unusual decline and collapse of young established trees known as “rapid apple decline” (RAD) has become a major concern for apple growers, particularly in the northeastern United States. This decline is characterized by stunted growth, pale yellow to reddish leaves, and tree collapse within weeks after onset of symptoms. We studied declining apple trees to identify potential involvement of abiotic and biotic stresses. We used 16S and ITS to profile bacterial and fungal communities in the soil, rhizosphere, roots, and shoots and tested for the presence of six viruses in scions and rootstocks of symptomatic and asymptomatic trees. The viruses detected were not associated with RAD symptoms. Bacterial and fungal populations were highly variable in plant tissue, soil and rhizosphere samples, with bacteroidetes, firmicutes, proteobacteria, acidobacteria, and actinobacteria the predominant bacterial classes in various samples. ‘Alphaproteobacteria-rickettsiales’, a bacterial class usually reduced in water-limiting soils, had significantly low abundance in root samples of symptomatic trees. Basidiomycota and Ascomycota fungal classes were the most common fungal classes observed, but neither showed differential enrichment between symptomatic and asymptomatic trees. Analyzing weather data showed an extremely cold winter followed by drought in 2015–2016, which likely weakened the trees to make them more susceptible to varied stresses. In addition, similar physical and nutritional soil composition from symptomatic and asymptomatic trees rules out the role of nutritional stress in RAD. Necrotic lesions and wood decay symptoms dispersing from bark or vascular cambium towards the heartwood were observed primarily below the graft union of declining apple trees, suggesting that the rootstock is the originating point of RAD. We speculate that differences in abiotic factors such as moisture levels in declining roots in combination with extreme weather profiles might cause RAD but cannot clearly rule out the involvement of other factors.

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<![CDATA[Comparison of infinitesimal and finite locus models for long-term breeding simulations with direct and maternal effects at the example of honeybees]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897737d5eed0c4847d272e

Stochastic simulation studies of animal breeding have mostly relied on either the infinitesimal genetic model or finite polygenic models. In this study, we investigated the long-term effects of the chosen model on honeybee breeding schemes. We implemented the infinitesimal model, as well as finite locus models, with 200 and 400 gene loci and simulated populations of 300 and 1000 colonies per year over the course of 100 years. The selection was of a directly and maternally influenced trait with maternal heritability of hm2=0.42, direct heritability of hd2=0.27, and a negative correlation between the effects of rmd = − 0.18. Another set of simulations was run with parameters hm2=0.53, hd2=0.34, and rmd = − 0.53. All models showed similar behavior for the first 20 years. Throughout the study, we observed a higher genetic gain in the direct than in the maternal effects and a smaller gain with a stronger negative covariance. In the long-term, however, only the infinitesimal model predicted sustainable linear genetic progress, while the finite locus models showed sublinear behavior and, after 100 years, only reached between 58% and 62% of the mean breeding values in the infinitesimal model. While the infinitesimal model suggested a reduction of genetic variance by 33% to 49% after 100 years, the finite locus models saw a more drastic loss of 76% to 92%. When designing sustainable breeding strategies, one should, therefore, not blindly trust the infinitesimal model as the predictions may be overly optimistic. Instead, the more conservative choice of the finite locus model should be favored.

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<![CDATA[A survey on Mycobacterium ulcerans in Mosquitoes and March flies captured from endemic areas of Northern Queensland, Australia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c784fb8d5eed0c4840073ed

Mycobacterium ulcerans is the causative agent of Buruli ulcer (BU). This nontuberculous mycobacterial infection has been reported in 34 countries worldwide. In Australia, the majority of cases of BU have been recorded in coastal Victoria and the Mossman-Daintree areas of north Queensland. Mosquitoes have been postulated as a vector of M. ulcerans in Victoria, however the specific mode of transmission of this disease is still far from being well understood. In the current study, we trapped and analysed 16,900 (allocated to 845 pools) mosquitoes and 296 March flies from the endemic areas of north Queensland to examine for the presence of M. ulcerans DNA by polymerase chain reaction. Seven of 845 pools of mosquitoes were positive on screening using the IS2404 PCR target (maximum likelihood estimate 0.4/1,000). M. ulcerans DNA was detected from one pool of mosquitoes from which all three PCR targets: IS2404, IS2606 and the ketoreductase B domain of mycolactone polyketide synthase gene were detected. None of the March fly samples were positive for the presence of M. ulcerans DNA.

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<![CDATA[Prevalence of infection by the microsporidian Nosema spp. in native bumblebees (Bombus spp.) in northern Thailand]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8accecd5eed0c48499033b

Bumblebees (tribe Bombini, genus Bombus Latreille) play a pivotal role as pollinators in mountain regions for both native plants and for agricultural systems. In our survey of northern Thailand, four species of bumblebees (Bombus (Megabombus) montivagus Smith, B. (Alpigenobombus) breviceps Smith, B. (Orientalibombus) haemorrhoidalis Smith and B. (Melanobombus) eximius Smith), were present in 11 localities in 4 provinces (Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, Chiang Rai and Nan). We collected and screened 280 foraging worker bumblebees for microsporidia (Nosema spp.) and trypanosomes (Crithidia spp.). Our study is the first to demonstrate the parasite infection in bumblebees in northern Thailand. We found N. ceranae in B. montivagus (5.35%), B. haemorrhoidalis (4.76%), and B. breviceps (14.28%) and N. bombi in B. montivagus (14.28%), B. haemorrhoidalis (11.64%), and B. breviceps (28.257%).

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<![CDATA[Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of Dengue virus outbreaks in two regions of China, 2014 – 2015]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8823dcd5eed0c4846391a6

Dengue virus (DENV), a single-stranded RNA virus and Flaviviridae family member, is transmitted by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. DENV causes dengue fever, which may progress to severe dengue. Hospital-based surveillance was performed in two Chinese regions, Guangzhou and Xishuangbanna, during the dengue epidemics in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Acute-phase serum was obtained from 133 patients with suspected dengue infections during the peak season for dengue cases. Viremia levels, virus sero-positivity, serotype distribution, infection type, clinical manifestations and virus phylogenetics were investigated. Of the 112 DENV-confirmed cases, 92(82.14%) were IgM antibody-positive for DENV, and 69(51.88%) were positive for DENV RNA. From these cases, 47(41.96%) were classified as primary infections, 39(34.82%) as secondary infections and 26 (23.21%) as undetermined infections. The viremia levels were negatively correlated with IgM presence, but had no relationship with the infection type. DENV-1 genotype V dominated in Guangzhou, whereas the DENV-2 Cosmopolitan genotype dominated in Xishuangbanna, where fewer DENV-1 genotype I cases occurred. DENV-2 is associated with severe dengue illness with more serious clinical issues. The strains isolated during 2014–2015 are closely related to the isolates obtained from other Chinese regions and to those isolated recently in Southeast Asian countries. Our results indicate that DENV is no longer an imported virus and is now endemic in China. An extensive seroepidemiological study of DENV and the implementation of vector control measures against it are now warranted in China.

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<![CDATA[Brain expansion promoted by polycomb-mediated anterior enhancement of a neural stem cell proliferation program]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c7ee7d4d5eed0c4848f4f0c

During central nervous system (CNS) development, genetic programs establish neural stem cells and drive both stem and daughter cell proliferation. However, the prominent anterior expansion of the CNS implies anterior–posterior (A–P) modulation of these programs. In Drosophila, a set of neural stem cell factors acts along the entire A–P axis to establish neural stem cells. Brain expansion results from enhanced stem and daughter cell proliferation, promoted by a Polycomb Group (PcG)->Homeobox (Hox) homeotic network. But how does PcG->Hox modulate neural-stem-cell–factor activity along the A–P axis? We find that the PcG->Hox network creates an A–P expression gradient of neural stem cell factors, thereby driving a gradient of proliferation. PcG mutants can be rescued by misexpression of the neural stem cell factors or by mutation of one single Hox gene. Hence, brain expansion results from anterior enhancement of core neural-stem-cell–factor expression, mediated by PcG repression of brain Hox expression.

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