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Fitness impacts of tapeworm parasitism on wild gelada monkeys at Guassa, Ethiopia. - American journal of primatology
Parasitism is expected to impact host morbidity or mortality, although the fitness costs of parasitism have rarely been quantified for wildlife hosts. Tapeworms in the genus Taenia exploit a variety of vertebrates, including livestock, humans, and geladas (Theropithecus gelada), monkeys endemic to the alpine grasslands of Ethiopia. Despite Taenia's adverse societal and economic impacts, we know little about the prevalence of disease associated with Taenia infection in wildlife or the impacts of this disease on host health, mortality and reproduction. We monitored geladas at Guassa, Ethiopia over a continuous 6Â½ year period for external evidence (cysts or coenuri) of Taenia-associated disease (coenurosis) and evaluated the impact of coenurosis on host survival and reproduction. We also identified (through genetic and histological analyses) the tapeworms causing coenurosis in wild geladas at Guassa as Taenia serialis. Nearly 1/3 of adult geladas at Guassa possessed â‰¥1 coenurus at some point in the study. Coenurosis adversely impacted gelada survival and reproduction at Guassa and this impact spanned two generations: adults with coenuri suffered higher mortality than members of their sex without coenuri and offspring of females with coenuri also suffered higher mortality. Coenurosis also negatively affected adult reproduction, lengthening interbirth intervals and reducing the likelihood that males successfully assumed reproductive control over units of females. Our study provides the first empirical evidence that coenurosis increases mortality and reduces fertility in wild nonhuman primate hosts. Our research highlights the value of longitudinal monitoring of individually recognized animals in natural populations for advancing knowledge of parasite-host evolutionary dynamics and offering clues to the etiology and control of infectious disease.Â© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Reference genome sequence of the model plant Setaria. - Nature biotechnology
We generated a high-quality reference genome sequence for foxtail millet (Setaria italica). The âˆ¼400-Mb assembly covers âˆ¼80% of the genome and >95% of the gene space. The assembly was anchored to a 992-locus genetic map and was annotated by comparison with >1.3 million expressed sequence tag reads. We produced more than 580 million RNA-Seq reads to facilitate expression analyses. We also sequenced Setaria viridis, the ancestral wild relative of S. italica, and identified regions of differential single-nucleotide polymorphism density, distribution of transposable elements, small RNA content, chromosomal rearrangement and segregation distortion. The genus Setaria includes natural and cultivated species that demonstrate a wide capacity for adaptation. The genetic basis of this adaptation was investigated by comparing five sequenced grass genomes. We also used the diploid Setaria genome to evaluate the ongoing genome assembly of a related polyploid, switchgrass (Panicum virgatum).
Sparse panicle1 is required for inflorescence development in Setaria viridis and maize. - Nature plants
Setaria viridis is a rapid-life-cycle model panicoid grass. To identify genes that may contribute to inflorescence architecture and thus have the potential to influence grain yield in related crops such as maize, we conducted an N-nitroso-N-methylurea (NMU) mutagenesis of S. viridis and screened for visible inflorescence mutant phenotypes. Of the approximately 2,700 M2 families screened, we identified four recessive sparse panicle mutants (spp1-spp4) characterized by reduced and uneven branching of the inflorescence. To identify the gene underlying the sparse panicle1 (spp1) phenotype, we performed bulked segregant analysis and deep sequencing to fine map it to an approximately 1â€…Mb interval. Within this interval, we identified disruptive mutations in two genes. Complementation tests between spp1 and spp3 revealed they were allelic, and deep sequencing of spp3 identified an independent disruptive mutation in SvAUX1 (AUXIN1), one of the two genes in the âˆ¼1â€…Mb interval and the only gene disruption shared between spp1 and spp3. SvAUX1 was found to affect both inflorescence development and root gravitropism in S. viridis. A search for orthologous mutant alleles in maize confirmed a very similar role of ZmAUX1 in maize, which highlights the utility of S. viridis in accelerating functional genomic studies in maize.
Comparative primate obstetrics: Observations of 15 diurnal births in wild gelada monkeys (Theropithecus gelada) and their implications for understanding human and nonhuman primate birth evolution. - American journal of physical anthropology
The birth process has been studied extensively in many human societies, yet little is known about this essential life history event in other primates. Here, we provide the most detailed account of behaviors surrounding birth for any wild nonhuman primate to date.Over a recent âˆ¼10-year period, we directly observed 15 diurnal births (13 live births and 2 stillbirths) among geladas (Theropithecus gelada) at Guassa, Ethiopia. During each birth, we recorded the occurrence (or absence) of 16 periparturitional events, chosen for their potential to provide comparative evolutionary insights into the factors that shaped birth behaviors in humans and other primates.We found that several events (e.g., adopting standing crouched positions, delivering infants headfirst) occurred during all births, while other events (e.g., aiding the infant from the birth canal, licking infants following delivery, placentophagy) occurred during, or immediately after, most births. Moreover, multiparas (nÂ =Â 9) were more likely than primiparas (nÂ =Â 6) to (a) give birth later in the day, (b) isolate themselves from nearby conspecifics while giving birth, (c) aid the infant from the birth canal, and (d) consume the placenta.Our results suggest that prior maternal experience may contribute to greater competence or efficiency during the birth process. Moreover, face presentations (in which infants are born with their neck extended and their face appearing first, facing the mother) appear to be the norm for geladas. Lastly, malpresentations (in which infants are born in the occiput anterior position more typical of human infants) may be associated with increased mortality in this species. We compare the birth process in geladas to those in other primates (including humans) and discuss several key implications of our study for advancing understanding of obstetrics and the mechanism of labor in humans and nonhuman primates.Â© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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