Matching Items (20)

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The impact of self-incompatibility systems on the prevention of biparental inbreeding

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Inbreeding in hermaphroditic plants can occur through two different mechanisms: biparental inbreeding, when a plant mates with a related individual, or self-fertilization, when a plant mates with itself. To avoid

Inbreeding in hermaphroditic plants can occur through two different mechanisms: biparental inbreeding, when a plant mates with a related individual, or self-fertilization, when a plant mates with itself. To avoid inbreeding, many hermaphroditic plants have evolved self-incompatibility (SI) systems which prevent or limit self-fertilization. One particular SI system—homomorphic SI—can also reduce biparental inbreeding. Homomorphic SI is found in many angiosperm species, and it is often assumed that the additional benefit of reduced biparental inbreeding may be a factor in the success of this SI system. To test this assumption, we developed a spatially-explicit, individual-based simulation of plant populations that displayed three different types of homomorphic SI. We measured the total level of inbreeding avoidance by comparing each population to a self-compatible population (NSI), and we measured biparental inbreeding avoidance by comparing to a population of self-incompatible plants that were free to mate with any other individual (PSI). Because biparental inbreeding is more common when offspring dispersal is limited, we examined the levels of biparental inbreeding over a range of dispersal distances. We also tested whether the introduction of inbreeding depression affected the level of biparental inbreeding avoidance. We found that there was a statistically significant decrease in autozygosity in each of the homomorphic SI populations compared to the PSI population and, as expected, this was more pronounced when seed and pollen dispersal was limited. However, levels of homozygosity and inbreeding depression were not reduced. At low dispersal, homomorphic SI populations also suffered reduced female fecundity and had smaller census population sizes. Overall, our simulations showed that the homomorphic SI systems had little impact on the amount of biparental inbreeding in the population especially when compared to the overall reduction in inbreeding compared to the NSI population. With further study, this observation may have important consequences for research into the origin and evolution of homomorphic self-incompatibility systems.

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  • 2017-11-24

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Low Base-Substitution Mutation Rate in the Germline Genome of the Ciliate Tetrahymena thermophil

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Mutation is the ultimate source of all genetic variation and is, therefore, central to evolutionary change. Previous work on Paramecium tetraurelia found an unusually low germline base-substitution mutation rate in

Mutation is the ultimate source of all genetic variation and is, therefore, central to evolutionary change. Previous work on Paramecium tetraurelia found an unusually low germline base-substitution mutation rate in this ciliate. Here, we tested the generality of this result among ciliates using Tetrahymena thermophila. We sequenced the genomes of 10 lines of T. thermophila that had each undergone approximately 1,000 generations of mutation accumulation (MA). We applied an existing mutation-calling pipeline and developed a new probabilistic mutation detection approach that directly models the design of an MA experiment and accommodates the noise introduced by mismapped reads. Our probabilistic mutation-calling method provides a straightforward way of estimating the number of sites at which a mutation could have been called if one was present, providing the denominator for our mutation rate calculations. From these methods, we find that T. thermophila has a germline base-substitution mutation rate of 7.61 × 10 [superscript − 12] per-site, per cell division, which is consistent with the low base-substitution mutation rate in P. tetraurelia. Over the course of the evolution experiment, genomic exclusion lines derived from the MA lines experienced a fitness decline that cannot be accounted for by germline base-substitution mutations alone, suggesting that other genetic or epigenetic factors must be involved. Because selection can only operate to reduce mutation rates based upon the "visible" mutational load, asexual reproduction with a transcriptionally silent germline may allow ciliates to evolve extremely low germline mutation rates.

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  • 2016-09-15

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Inferring Rates and Length-Distributions of Indels Using Approximate Bayesian Computation

Description

The most common evolutionary events at the molecular level are single-base substitutions, as well as insertions and deletions (indels) of short DNA segments. A large body of research has been

The most common evolutionary events at the molecular level are single-base substitutions, as well as insertions and deletions (indels) of short DNA segments. A large body of research has been devoted to develop probabilistic substitution models and to infer their parameters using likelihood and Bayesian approaches. In contrast, relatively little has been done to model indel dynamics, probably due to the difficulty in writing explicit likelihood functions. Here, we contribute to the effort of modeling indel dynamics by presenting SpartaABC, an approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) approach to infer indel parameters from sequence data (either aligned or unaligned). SpartaABC circumvents the need to use an explicit likelihood function by extracting summary statistics from simulated sequences. First, summary statistics are extracted from the input sequence data. Second, SpartaABC samples indel parameters from a prior distribution and uses them to simulate sequences. Third, it computes summary statistics from the simulated sets of sequences. By computing a distance between the summary statistics extracted from the input and each simulation, SpartaABC can provide an approximation to the posterior distribution of indel parameters as well as point estimates. We study the performance of our methodology and show that it provides accurate estimates of indel parameters in simulations. We next demonstrate the utility of SpartaABC by studying the impact of alignment errors on the inference of positive selection. A C ++ program implementing SpartaABC is freely available in http://spartaabc.tau.ac.il.

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  • 2017-05-01

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Inferring Indel Parameters using a Simulation-based Approach

Description

In this study, we present a novel methodology to infer indel parameters from multiple sequence alignments (MSAs) based on simulations. Our algorithm searches for the set of evolutionary parameters describing

In this study, we present a novel methodology to infer indel parameters from multiple sequence alignments (MSAs) based on simulations. Our algorithm searches for the set of evolutionary parameters describing indel dynamics which best fits a given input MSA. In each step of the search, we use parametric bootstraps and the Mahalanobis distance to estimate how well a proposed set of parameters fits input data. Using simulations, we demonstrate that our methodology can accurately infer the indel parameters for a large variety of plausible settings. Moreover, using our methodology, we show that indel parameters substantially vary between three genomic data sets: Mammals, bacteria, and retroviruses. Finally, we demonstrate how our methodology can be used to simulate MSAs based on indel parameters inferred from real data sets.

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  • 2015-11-03

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Equations of the End: Teaching Mathematical Modeling Using the Zombie Apocalypse

Description

Mathematical models of infectious diseases are a valuable tool in understanding the mechanisms and patterns of disease transmission. It is, however, a difficult subject to teach, requiring both mathematical expertise

Mathematical models of infectious diseases are a valuable tool in understanding the mechanisms and patterns of disease transmission. It is, however, a difficult subject to teach, requiring both mathematical expertise and extensive subject-matter knowledge of a variety of disease systems. In this article, we explore several uses of zombie epidemics to make mathematical modeling and infectious disease epidemiology more accessible to public health professionals, students, and the general public. We further introduce a web-based simulation, White Zed (http://cartwrig.ht/apps/whitezed/), that can be deployed in classrooms to allow students to explore models before implementing them. In our experience, zombie epidemics are familiar, approachable, flexible, and an ideal way to introduce basic concepts of infectious disease epidemiology.

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  • 2016-03

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Whole Genome Sequencing of Field Isolates Reveals Extensive Genetic Diversity in Plasmodium vivax from Colombia

Description

Plasmodium vivax is the most prevalent malarial species in South America and exerts a substantial burden on the populations it affects. The control and eventual elimination of P. vivax are

Plasmodium vivax is the most prevalent malarial species in South America and exerts a substantial burden on the populations it affects. The control and eventual elimination of P. vivax are global health priorities. Genomic research contributes to this objective by improving our understanding of the biology of P. vivax and through the development of new genetic markers that can be used to monitor efforts to reduce malaria transmission. Here we analyze whole-genome data from eight field samples from a region in Cordóba, Colombia where malaria is endemic. We find considerable genetic diversity within this population, a result that contrasts with earlier studies suggesting that P. vivax had limited diversity in the Americas. We also identify a selective sweep around a substitution known to confer resistance to sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP). This is the first observation of a selective sweep for SP resistance in this species. These results indicate that P. vivax has been exposed to SP pressure even when the drug is not in use as a first line treatment for patients afflicted by this parasite. We identify multiple non-synonymous substitutions in three other genes known to be involved with drug resistance in Plasmodium species. Finally, we found extensive microsatellite polymorphisms. Using this information we developed 18 polymorphic and easy to score microsatellite loci that can be used in epidemiological investigations in South America.

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  • 2015-12-28

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The effect of the dispersal kernel on isolation-by-distance in a continuous population

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Under models of isolation-by-distance, population structure is determined by the probability of identity-by-descent between pairs of genes according to the geographic distance between them. Well established analytical results indicate that

Under models of isolation-by-distance, population structure is determined by the probability of identity-by-descent between pairs of genes according to the geographic distance between them. Well established analytical results indicate that the relationship between geographical and genetic distance depends mostly on the neighborhood size of the population which represents a standardized measure of gene flow. To test this prediction, we model local dispersal of haploid individuals on a two-dimensional landscape using seven dispersal kernels: Rayleigh, exponential, half-normal, triangular, gamma, Lomax and Pareto. When neighborhood size is held constant, the distributions produce similar patterns of isolation-by-distance, confirming predictions. Considering this, we propose that the triangular distribution is the appropriate null distribution for isolation-by-distance studies. Under the triangular distribution, dispersal is uniform over the neighborhood area which suggests that the common description of neighborhood size as a measure of an effective, local panmictic population is valid for popular families of dispersal distributions. We further show how to draw random variables from the triangular distribution efficiently and argue that it should be utilized in other studies in which computational efficiency is important.

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  • 2016-03-29

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An Analysis of the Benchmark Test lzbench for Open-Source Compressors

Description

With the rising data output and falling costs of Next Generation Sequencing technologies, research into data compression is crucial to maintaining storage efficiency and costs. High throughput sequencers such as

With the rising data output and falling costs of Next Generation Sequencing technologies, research into data compression is crucial to maintaining storage efficiency and costs. High throughput sequencers such as the HiSeqX Ten can produce up to 1.8 terabases of data per run, and such large storage demands are even more important to consider for institutions that rely on their own servers rather than large data centers (cloud storage)1. Compression algorithms aim to reduce the amount of space taken up by large genomic datasets by encoding the most frequently occurring symbols with the shortest bit codewords and by changing the order of the data to make it easier to encode. Depending on the probability distribution of the symbols in the dataset or the structure of the data, choosing the wrong algorithm could result in a compressed file larger than the original or a poorly compressed file that results in a waste of time and space2. To test efficiency among compression algorithms for each file type, 37 open-source compression algorithms were used to compress six types of genomic datasets (FASTA, VCF, BCF, GFF, GTF, and SAM) and evaluated on compression speed, decompression speed, compression ratio, and file size using the benchmark test lzbench. Compressors that outpreformed the popular bioinformatics compressor Gzip (zlib -6) were evaluated against one another by ratio and speed for each file type and across the geometric means of all file types. Compressors that exhibited fast compression and decompression speeds were also evaluated by transmission time through variable speed internet pipes in scenarios where the file was compressed only once or compressed multiple times.

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  • 2017-05

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A Review of the Human Vermiform Appendix and its Proposed Function

Description

Since its discovery in 1524, many people have characterized the vermiform appendix. Charles Darwin considered the human appendix to be a vestige and a useless structure. Others at the time

Since its discovery in 1524, many people have characterized the vermiform appendix. Charles Darwin considered the human appendix to be a vestige and a useless structure. Others at the time opposed this hypothesis. However, Darwin's hypothesis became prevalent one until recently when there became a renewed interest in the appendix because of advancements in microscopes, knowledge of the immune system, and phylogenetics. In this review, I will argue that the vermiform appendix, although still not completely understood, has important functions. First, I will give the anatomy of the appendix. I will discuss the comparative anatomy between different animals and also primates. I will address the effects of appendicitis and appendectomy. I will give background on vestigial structures and will discuss if the appendix is a vestige. Following, I will review the evolution of the appendix. Finally, I will argue that the function of the appendix is as an immune organ, including discussion of gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), development of lymphoid follicles in GALT and their comparison within different organs, Immunoglobulin A (IgA) function in the gut, biofilms as evidence that the appendix is a safe-house for beneficial bacteria, re-inoculation of the bowel, and protection against recurring infection. I will conclude with future studies that should be conducted to further our understanding of the vermiform appendix.

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  • 2018-05

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Regional Genetic Distance of Two Ephemeral Pool Crustaceans:Triops (Branchiopoda:Notostraca) and Streptocephalus (Branchiopoda: Anostraca)

Description

Triops (Branchiopoda: Notostraca) and Streptocephalus (Branchiopoda: Anostraca) are two crustaceans which cohabitate in ephemeral freshwater pools. They both lay desiccation resistant eggs that disperse passively to new hydrologically isolated environments.

Triops (Branchiopoda: Notostraca) and Streptocephalus (Branchiopoda: Anostraca) are two crustaceans which cohabitate in ephemeral freshwater pools. They both lay desiccation resistant eggs that disperse passively to new hydrologically isolated environments. The extent of genetic distance among regions and populations is of perennial interest in animals that live in such isolated habitats. Populations in six natural ephemeral pool habitats located in two different regions of the Sonoran Desert and a transition area between the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts were sampled. Sequences from Genbank were used for reference points in the determination of species as well as to further identify regional genetic distance within species. This study estimated the amount of within and between genetic distance of individuals from each region and population through the use of a neutral marker, cytochrome oxidase I (COI). We concluded that, although the method of passive dispersal may differ between the two genera, the differences do not results in different patterns of genetic distances between regions and populations. Furthermore, we only found the putative species, Triops longicaudatus "short", with enough distinct speciation. Although Triops longicaudatus "long" and Triops newberryi may be in the early stages of speciation, this study does not find enough support to conclude that they have separated.

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Date Created
  • 2016-05