Matching Items (136)
- All Subjects: Biology
- Genre: Masters Thesis
- Member of: ASU Electronic Theses and Dissertations
- Member of: Theses and Dissertations
The advent of advanced reproductive technologies has sparked a number of ethical concerns regarding the practices of reproductive tourism and commercial gestational surrogacy. In the past few decades, reproductive tourism has become a global industry in which individuals or couples travel, usually across borders, to gain access to reproductive services. This marketable field has expanded commercial gestational surrogacy--defined by a contractual relationship between an intending couple and gestational surrogate in which the surrogate has no genetic tie to fetus--to take on transnational complexities. India has experienced extreme growth due to a preferable combination of western educated doctors and extremely low medical costs. However, a slew of ethical issues have been brought to the forefront: the big ones manifesting as concern for reduction of a woman's worth to her reproductive capabilities along with concern for exploitation of third world women. This project will be based exclusively on literature review and serves primarily as a call for cultural competency and understanding the circumstances that gestational surrogates are faced with before implementing policy regulating commercial gestational surrogacy. The paper argues that issues of exploitation and commodification hinge on constructions of motherhood. It is critical to define and understand definitions of motherhood and how these definitions affect a woman's approach to reproduction within the cultural context of a gestational surrogate. This paper follows the case study of the Akanksha Infertility Clinic in northern India, a surrogacy clinic housing around 50 Indian surrogates. The findings of the project invokes the critical significance of narrative ethics, which help Indian surrogates construct the practice of surrogacy so that it fits into cultural comprehensions of Indian motherhood--in which motherhood is selfless, significant, and shared.
Studies have demonstrated that anthocyanins can function as antioxidants, reduce inflammation, and improve dyslipidemia. Tart cherries are anthocyanin-rich, making them particularly attractive as a functional food to improve cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. There have been few published studies to date examining the impact of tart cherries on biomarkers of dyslipidemia and inflammation, particularly in overweight and obese individuals at high risk for these conditions. This study evaluated the effect of consuming 100% tart cherry juice daily on blood lipids including total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), calculated very low density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-C), triglycerides (TG), high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and the CVD risk ratios, as well as the inflammatory biomarkers interleukin 6 (IL-6), interleukin 10 (IL-10), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), C-reactive protein (CRP), monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1), and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) following a 4-week period. Based on the high anthocyanin content of tart cherries, it was hypothesized that the lipid and inflammatory profiles would be significantly improved following the intervention. A total of 26 men and women completed this 4-week randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Participants were randomized to drink either 8 ounces of placebo beverage or tart cherry juice daily for 4 weeks. Following a 4-week washout period, the alternate beverage was consumed. Ultimately, this investigation demonstrated no statistically significant alterations in any of the lipid or inflammatory biomarkers when analyzed across time and between interventions (p > 0.05). As expected, glucose and insulin parameters remained stable over the duration of the study, as well as self-reported physical activity level, total calorie consumption, and macronutrient intake. However, trans-fat was reported to be significantly higher during the cherry arm of the study as compared to the placebo arm (p < 0.05), potentially confounding other results. Although the results of this study were equivocal, it is feasible that a higher dose, longer treatment duration, or more susceptible target population may be required to elicit significant effects. Consequently, further investigation is necessary to clarify this research.
African Swine Fever (ASF), endemic in many African countries, is now spreading to other continents. Though ASF is capable of incurring serious economic losses in affected countries, no vaccine exists to provide immunity to animals. Disease control relies largely on rapid diagnosis and the implementation of movement restrictions and strict eradication programs. Developing a scalable, accurate and low cost diagnostic for ASF will be of great help for the current situation. CIM's 10K random peptide microarray is a new high-throughput platform that allows systematic investigations of immune responses associated with disease and shows promise as a diagnostic tool. In this study, this new technology was applied to characterize the immune responses of ASF virus (ASFV) infections and immunizations. Six sets of sera from ASFV antigen immunized pigs, 6 sera from infected pigs and 20 sera samples from unexposed pigs were tested and analyzed statistically. Results show that both ASFV antigen immunized pigs and ASFV viral infected pigs can be distinguished from unexposed pigs. Since it appears that immune responses to other viral infections are also distinguishable on this platform, it holds the potential of being useful in developing a new ASF diagnostic. The ability of this platform to identify specific ASFV antibody epitopes was also explored. A subtle motif was found to be shared among a set of peptides displaying the highest reactivity for an antigen specific antibody. However, this motif does not seem to match with any antibody epitopes predicted by a linear antibody epitope prediction.
Rhodoferax antarcticus strain ANT.BR, a purple nonsulfur bacterium isolated from a microbial mat in Ross Island, Antarctica, is the first described anoxygenic phototrophic bacterium that is adapted to cold habitats and is the first beta-proteobacterium to undergo complete genome sequencing. R. antarcticus has unique absorption spectra and there are no obvious intracytoplasmic membranes in cells grown phototrophically, even under low light intensity. Analysis of the finished genome sequence reveals a single chromosome (3,809,266 bp) and a large plasmid (198,615 bp) that together harbor 4,262 putative genes. The genome contains two types of Rubiscos, Form IAq and Form II, which are known to exhibit quite different kinetic properties in other bacteria. The presence of multiple Rubisco forms could give R. antarcticus high metabolic flexibility in diverse environments. Annotation of the complete genome sequence along with previous experimental results predict the presence of structural genes for three types of light-harvesting (LH) complexes, LH I (B875), LH II (B800/850), and LH III (B800/820). There is evidence that expression of genes for the LH II complex might be inhibited when R. antarcticus is under low temperature and/or low light intensity. These interesting condition-dependent light-harvesting apparatuses and the control of their expression are very valuable for the further understanding of photosynthesis in cold environments. Finally, R. antarcticus exhibits a highly motile lifestyle. The genome content and organization of all putative polar flagella genes are characterized and discussed.
One hypothesis for the small size of insects relative to vertebrates, and the existence of giant fossil insects, is that atmospheric oxygen levels have constrained body sizes because oxygen delivery would be unable to match the needs of metabolically active tissues in larger insects. This study tested whether oxygen delivery becomes more challenging for larger insects by measuring the oxygen-sensitivity of flight metabolic rates and behavior during hovering for 11 different species of dragonflies that range in mass by an order of magnitude. Animals were flown in 7 different oxygen concentrations ranging from 30% to 2.5% to assess the sensitivity of their behavior and flight metabolic rates to oxygen. I also assessed the oxygen-sensitivity of flight in low-density air (nitrogen replaced with helium), to increase the metabolic demands of hovering flight. Lowered atmosphere densities did induce higher metabolic rates. Flight behaviors but not flight metabolic rates were highly oxygen-sensitive. A significant interaction between oxygen and mass was found for total flight time, with larger dragonflies varying flight time more in response to atmospheric oxygen. This study provides some support for the hypothesis that larger insects are more challenged in oxygen delivery, as predicted by the oxygen limitation hypothesis for insect gigantism in the Paleozoic.
Gene-centric theories of evolution by natural selection have been popularized and remain generally accepted in both scientific and public paradigms. While gene-centrism is certainly parsimonious, its explanations fall short of describing two patterns of evolutionary and social phenomena: the evolution of sex and the evolution of social altruism. I review and analyze current theories on the evolution of sex. I then introduce the conflict presented to gene-centric evolution by social phenomena such as altruism and caste sterility in eusocial insects. I review gene-centric models of inclusive fitness and kin selection proposed by Hamilton and Maynard Smith. Based their assumptions, that relatedness should be equal between sterile workers and reproductives, I present several empirical examples that conflict with their models. Following that, I introduce a unique system of genetic caste determination (GCD) observed in hybrid populations of two sister-species of seed harvester ants, Pogonomyrmex rugosus and Pogonomyrmex barbatus. I review the evidence for GCD in those species, followed by a critique of the current gene-centric models used to explain it. In chapter two I present my own theoretical model that is both simple and extricable in nature to explain the origin, evolution, and maintenance of GCD in Pogonomyrmex. Furthermore, I use that model to fill in the gaps left behind by the contributing authors of the other GCD models. As both populations in my study system formed from inter-specific hybridization, I review modern discussions of heterosis (also called hybrid vigor) and use those to help explain the ecological competitiveness of GCD. I empirically address the inbreeding depression the lineages of GCD must overcome in order to remain ecologically stable, demonstrating that as a result of their unique system of caste determination, GCD lineages have elevated recombination frequencies. I summarize and conclude with an argument for why GCD evolved under selective mechanisms which cannot be considered gene-centric, providing evidence that natural selection can effectively operate on non-heritable genotypes appearing in groups and other social contexts.
Many studies over the past two decades examined the link between climate patterns and discharge, but few have attempted to study the effects of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) on localized and watershed specific processes such as nutrient loading in the Southwestern United States. The Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) is used to describe the state of the ENSO, with positive (negative) values referring to an El Niño condition (La Niña condition). This study examined the connection between the MEI and precipitation, discharge, and total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) concentrations in the Upper Salt River Watershed in Arizona. Unrestricted regression models (UMs) and restricted regression models (RMs) were used to investigate the relationship between the discharges in Tonto Creek and the Salt River as functions of the magnitude of the MEI, precipitation, and season (winter/summer). The results suggest that in addition to precipitation, the MEI/season relationship is an important factor for predicting discharge. Additionally, high discharge events were associated with high magnitude ENSO events, both El Niño and La Niña. An UM including discharge and season, and a RM (restricting the seasonal factor to zero), were applied to TN and TP concentrations in the Salt River. Discharge and seasonality were significant factors describing the variability in TN in the Salt River while discharge alone was the significant factor describing TP. TN and TP in Roosevelt Lake were evaluated as functions of both discharge and MEI. Some significant correlations were found but internal nutrient cycling as well as seasonal stratification of the water column of the lake likely masks the true relationships. Based on these results, the MEI is a useful predictor of discharge, as well as nutrient loading in the Salt River Watershed through the Salt River and Tonto Creek. A predictive model investigating the effect of ENSO on nutrient loading through discharge can illustrate the effects of large scale climate patterns on smaller systems.
The spread of invasive species may be greatly affected by human responses to prior species spread, but models and estimation methods seldom explicitly consider human responses. I investigate the effects of management responses on estimates of invasive species spread rates. To do this, I create an agent-based simulation model of an insect invasion across a county-level citrus landscape. My model provides an approximation of a complex spatial environment while allowing the "truth" to be known. The modeled environment consists of citrus orchards with insect pests dispersing among them. Insects move across the simulation environment infesting orchards, while orchard managers respond by administering insecticide according to analyst-selected behavior profiles and management responses may depend on prior invasion states. Dispersal data is generated in each simulation and used to calculate spread rate via a set of estimators selected for their predominance in the empirical literature. Spread rate is a mechanistic, emergent phenomenon measured at the population level caused by a suite of latent biological, environmental, and anthropogenic. I test the effectiveness of orchard behavior profiles on invasion suppression and evaluate the robustness of the estimators given orchard responses. I find that allowing growers to use future expectations of spread in management decisions leads to reduced spread rates. Acting in a preventative manner by applying insecticide before insects are actually present, orchards are able to lower spread rates more than by reactive behavior alone. Spread rates are highly sensitive to spatial configuration. Spatial configuration is hardly a random process, consisting of many latent factors often not accounted for in spread rate estimation. Not considering these factors may lead to an omitted variables bias and skew estimation results. The ability of spread rate estimators to predict future spread varies considerably between estimators, and with spatial configuration, invader biological parameters, and orchard behavior profile. The model suggests that understanding the latent factors inherent to dispersal is important for selecting phenomenological models of spread and interpreting estimation results. This indicates a need for caution when evaluating spread. Although standard practice, current empirical estimators may both over- and underestimate spread rate in the simulation.
The southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) is listed as an endangered species throughout its range in the southwestern United States. Little is known about its sub-population spatial structure and how this impacts its population viability. In conjunction with being listed as endangered, a recovery plan was produced by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, with recovery units (sub-populations) roughly based on major river drainages. In the interest of examining this configuration of sub-populations and their impact on the measured population viability, I applied a multivariate auto-regressive state-space model to a spatially extensive time series of abundance data for the southwestern willow flycatcher over the period spanning 1995-2010 estimating critical growth parameters, correlation in environmental stochasticity or "synchronicity" between sub-populations (recovery units) and extinction risk of the sub-populations and the whole. The model estimates two parameters, the mean and variance of annual growth rate. Of the models I tested, I found the strongest support for a population model in which three of the recovery units were grouped (the Lower Colorado, Gila Basin, and Rio Grande recovery units) while keeping all others separate. This configuration has 6.6 times more support for the observed data than a configuration assigning each recovery unit to a separate sub-population, which is how they are circumscribed in the recovery plan. Given the best model, the mean growth rate is -0.0234 (CI95 -0.0939, 0.0412) with a variance of 0.0597 (CI95 0.0115, 0.1134). This growth rate is not significantly different from zero and this is reflected in the low potential for quasi-extinction. The cumulative probability of the population experiencing at least an 80% decline from current levels within 15 years for some sub-populations were much higher (range: 0.129-0.396 for an 80% decline). These results suggest that the rangewide population has a low risk of extinction in the next 15 years and that the formal recovery units specified by the original recovery plan do not correspond to proper sub-population units as defined by population synchrony.
Single cell analysis has become increasingly important in understanding disease onset, progression, treatment and prognosis, especially when applied to cancer where cellular responses are highly heterogeneous. Through the advent of single cell computerized tomography (Cell-CT), researchers and clinicians now have the ability to obtain high resolution three-dimensional (3D) reconstructions of single cells. Yet to date, no live-cell compatible version of the technology exists. In this thesis, a microfluidic chip with the ability to rotate live single cells in hydrodynamic microvortices about an axis parallel to the optical focal plane has been demonstrated. The chip utilizes a novel 3D microchamber design arranged beneath a main channel creating flow detachment into the chamber, producing recirculating flow conditions. Single cells are flowed through the main channel, held in the center of the microvortex by an optical trap, and rotated by the forces induced by the recirculating fluid flow. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) was employed to optimize the geometry of the microchamber. Two methods for the fabrication of the 3D microchamber were devised: anisotropic etching of silicon and backside diffuser photolithography (BDPL). First, the optimization of the silicon etching conditions was demonstrated through design of experiment (DOE). In addition, a non-conventional method of soft-lithography was demonstrated which incorporates the use of two positive molds, one of the main channel and the other of the microchambers, compressed together during replication to produce a single ultra-thin (<200 µm) negative used for device assembly. Second, methods for using thick negative photoresists such as SU-8 with BDPL have been developed which include a new simple and effective method for promoting the adhesion of SU-8 to glass. An assembly method that bonds two individual ultra-thin (<100 µm) replications of the channel and the microfeatures has also been demonstrated. Finally, a pressure driven pumping system with nanoliter per minute flow rate regulation, sub-second response times, and < 3% flow variability has been designed and characterized. The fabrication and assembly of this device is inexpensive and utilizes simple variants of conventional microfluidic fabrication techniques, making it easily accessible to the single cell analysis community.