Molecular Genetics & Genomic Medicine Issue 4 is Published!

MGGMMolecular Genetics & Genomic Medicine has now published its next issue. Editor-in-Chief: Max Muenke introduces his editorial highlights: “Our fourth issue includes some great papers covering the areas of next-generation DNA sequencing for HEXA carrier screening, hemiplegic migraine and the CDC Hemophilia B mutation database. Highlights include the articles, Allelic background of LEPRE1 mutations that cause recessive forms of osteogenesis imperfecta in different populations and Mutations in the interleukin receptor IL11RA cause autosomal recessive Crouzon-like craniosynostosis.”

Allelic background of LEPRE1 mutations that cause recessive forms of osteogenesis imperfecta in different populations by Melanie G. Pepin, Ulrike Schwarze, Virendra Singh, Marc Romana, Altheia Jones-LeCointe and Peter H. Byers
Summary: LEPRE1 biallelic disease-causing mutations of 44 individuals are described as well as details of background sequences on which the identified mutations occurred. Carrier frequency and LEPRE1 allelic diversity of a Tobago population is reported, confirming a carrier frequency equal to African Americans and similar background sequence variation. The presence of LEPRE1 founder mutations on 7 of the 11 alleles identified in Tobago DNA sequence is consistent with early allele migration out of Africa with founder mutations following.

Mutations in the interleukin receptor IL11RA cause autosomal recessive Crouzon-like craniosynostosis by Bernd Wollnik and colleages
Summary: Our results provide evidence for a crucial and conserved role of IL11RA during craniofacial development and suture formation. Impaired IL11RA function causes autosomal recessively inherited syndromic craniosynostosis. We propose an inhibitory effect of Il11ra within sutures, thereby preventing their premature fusion.

The journal also publishes invited commentaries. Below is the invited commentary from this issue:

From genetic counseling to “genomic counseling” by Kelly E. Ormond

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Read issue 1.5 of Physiological Reports

Physiological ReportsThe latest issue of Physiological Reports has now closed. The journal is a collaboration between The Physiological Society and the American Physiological Society, and is therefore in a unique position to serve the international physiology community through quick time to publication while upholding a quality standard of sound research that constitutes a useful contribution to the field. 

Below are the ‘editor’s choice’ articles for this issue:

purple_lock_open The spontaneous electrical activity of neurons in leech ganglia
Majid Moshtagh-Khorasani, Evan W. Miller and Vincent Torre
Summary: Using the newly developed voltage-sensitive dye VF2.1.Cl, we monitored simultaneously the spontaneous electrical activity, which is segregated in three main groups: neurons comprising Retzius cells, Anterior Pagoda, and Annulus Erector motoneurons firing almost periodically, a group of neurons firing sparsely and randomly, and a group of neurons firing bursts of spikes of varying durations. These three groups interact and influence each other only weakly.

purple_lock_open The manipulation of strain, when stress is controlled, modulates in vivo tendon mechanical properties but not systemic TGF-?1 levels
Gerard E. McMahon, Christopher I. Morse, Adrian Burden, Keith Winwood and Gladys L. Onambélé-Pearson
Summary: This study describes the manner in which tendon strain during chronic loading/unloading affects tendon dimensional and mechanical properties, as well as muscle function. We also determine the degree of association of these adaptations with a growth factor that has pleiotropic effects on muscle and tendon transforming growth factor beta (TGF-?1). We demonstrate that the impact of strain on the muscle–tendon complex (over and above the absolute stress imposed on this unit) optimizes the magnitude of improvement in both tendon and muscular functional characteristics.

purple_lock_open Effects of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibition in an animal model of experimental asthma: a matter of dose, route, and time
Michael Stephan, Hendrik Suhling, Jutta Schade, Mareike Wittlake, Tihana Tasic, Christian Klemann, Reinhard Pabst, Marie-Charlot Jurawitz, Kerstin A. Raber, Heinz G. Hoymann, Armin Braun, Thomas Glaab, Torsten Hoffmann, Andreas Schmiedl and Stephan von Hörsten
Summary: This article focuses on alteration of asthmatic allergic reaction using a CD26/DPP4 (dipeptidyl peptidase-4) inhibitor in a rat model of asthmatic inflammation. This study proves different effects on clinical signs and cellular inflammation depending on the route of drug administration (chronic via drinking water or inhaled). Aerosolization of the DPP4 inhibitor simultaneously with the allergen significantly reduced airway hyperresponsiveness and ameliorated histopathological signs compared to controls.

purple_lock_open Renal angiotensin II type 1 receptor expression and associated hypertension in rats with minimal SHR nuclear genome
Jason A. Collett, Anne K. Hart, Elaine Patterson, Julie Kretzer and Jeffrey L. Osborn
Summary: Angiotensin II (AII) and its receptors play a major role in the physiology and pathophysiology of blood pressure control. Analysis of different components of the renin–angiotensin system and their heritability was evaluated in a “conplastic” rodent model. AII type 1 receptors, but not other aspects of renin–angiotensin system (RAS) were elevated in the kidneys of hypertensive animals, suggesting a heritable influence of RAS contributing significantly to hypertension.

The jouranl recently published its 100th article. Find out more about the first 100 articles here.

You can submit your article to Physiological Reports using the online submission site. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Immunity, Inflammation and Disease Publishes Issue 1.1

LSJ-12-45832-WOAI-NW-Immunology-Cover-101x131pxWe are pleased to announce that Immunity, Inflammation and Disease has now launched with the publication of its inaugural issue. Immunity, Inflammation and Disease is a peer-reviewed, open access, interdisciplinary journal, providing rapid publication of cutting-edge research across the broad field of immunology.

The Editor-in-Chief, Marc Veldhoen has selected these papers to highlight from the issue:

purple_lock_open Relative contribution of IL-1?, IL-1? and TNF to the host response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis and attenuated M. bovis BCG by Marie-Laure Bourigault, Noria Segueni, Stéphanie Rose, Nathalie Court, Rachel Vacher, Virginie Vasseur, François Erard, Marc Le Bert, Irene Garcia, Yoichiro Iwakura, Muazzam Jacobs, Bernhard Ryffel and Valerie F. J. Quesniaux
Summary: Here, we confirm that both TNF and IL-1 pathways are required to control M. tuberculosis infection since absence of both IL-1a and IL-1ß recapitulated the dramatic defect seen in the absence of IL-1R1 or TNF. However, presence of either IL-1a or IL-1ß allows some control of acute M. tuberculosis infection. Further, although TNF is essential for the early control of infection by either virulent or attenuated mycobacteria, IL-1 pathway is dispensable for controlling less virulent infection by M. bovis BCG.

purple_lock_open Human pre-B cell receptor signal transduction: evidence for distinct roles of PI3kinase and MAP-kinase signalling pathways by Kolandaswamy Anbazhagan, Amrathlal Rabbind Singh, Piec Isabelle, Ibata Stella, Alleaume-De Martel Céline, Eliane Bissac, Brassart Bertrand, Nyga Rémy, Taylor Naomi, Fuentes Vincent, Jacques Rochette and Kaïss Lassoued
Summary: PI3K and MAPK exerted opposing effects on the pre-BCR-induced activation of the canonical NF-?B and c-Fos/AP1 pathways. In addition, pre-BCR-induced down-regulation of Rag1, Rag2, E2A and Pax5 transcripts occurred in a PI3K-dependent manner.

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We would like to invite you to submit your immunology paper to the journal. All authors retain copyright in their articles and benefit from high visibility on Wiley Online Library. All articles are fully open access on publication.

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Clinical Case Reports Publishes issue 1.1

CCR coverWe are pleased to announce that Clinical Case Reports has now launched with the publication of its inaugural issue. Clinical Case Reports is a new open access peer reviewed journal publishing case reports and clinical images across all Health Science disciplines.

Editor-in-Chief, Debra Jackson has highlighted two case reports from the issue:

Multiple bone metastases detected 10 years after mastectomy with silicone reconstruction for DCIS and contralateral augmentation by Ryutaro Mori and Yasuko Nagao
Summary: Multiple bone metastases were detected after treatment for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Contralateral invasive breast cancer was considered to be the metastatic origin.

A perioperative uncontrollable bleeding in an elderly patient with acquired hemophilia A: a case report by Andrea Cortegiani, Vincenzo Russotto, Grazia Foresta, Francesca Montalto, Maria Teresa Strano, Santi Maurizio Raineri and Antonino Giarratano
Summary: A perioperative uncontrollable bleeding referable to an acquired hemophilia A, characterized by a high factor VIII inhibitors titer and a very poor response to bypassing agents and immunosuppressive therapy.

In addition to case reports, the journal also publishes clinical images that illustrate a key clinical finding that can be presented in the form of a question. Below is the highlighted image from the first issue:

CCR RashWhat is the diagnosis for this rash? by Namrata Singh and Shireesh Saurabh
Summary: A 46-year-old female with history of Churg-Strauss syndrome was seen for a flare-up.
The rash that she presented with was because of traditional practice called “coining” and this can be confused with physical abuse especially in children and a careful history is needed.


Our aim is to directly improve global health outcomes and share clinical knowledge using case reports to convey important best practice messages. The journal publishes common as well as uncommon clinical scenarios with a particular focus on those reports which illustrate the clinical use of important guidelines and systematic reviews.

We would like to invite you to publish your case report with us.

submit your case report

CCR etocs

Ecology and Evolution Publishes Issue 3.12

ECE 3 12The latest issue of Ecology and Evolution is now live! Over 20 excellent articles free to read, download and share. The cover image has been taken from the article ‘Daphnia predation on the amphibian chytrid fungus and its impacts on disease risk in tadpoles’ by Catherine L. Searle, Joseph R. Mendelson III, Linda E. Green and Meghan A. Duffy. Below are some highlights from this issue:

purple_lock_open Functional similarity and molecular divergence of a novel reproductive transcriptome in two male-pregnant Syngnathus pipefish species by Clayton M. Small, April D. Harlin-Cognato, and Adam G. Jones
Summary: Evolutionary studies have revealed that reproductive proteins in animals and plants often evolve more rapidly than the genome-wide average. The causes of this pattern, which may include relaxed purifying selection, sexual selection, sexual conflict, pathogen resistance, reinforcement, or gene duplication, remain elusive. Investigative expansions to additional taxa and reproductive tissues have the potential to shed new light on this unresolved problem. Here, we embark on such an expansion, in a comparison of the brood-pouch transcriptome between two male-pregnant species of the pipefish genus Syngnathus.

purple_lock_open Drosophila rely on learning while foraging under semi-natural conditions by Vukašin Zrelec, et al.
Summary: Learning is predicted to affect manifold ecological and evolutionary processes, but the extent to which animals rely on learning in nature remains poorly known, especially for short-lived non-social invertebrates. This is in particular the case for Drosophila, a favourite laboratory system to study molecular mechanisms of learning. Here we tested whether Drosophila melanogaster use learned information to choose food while free-flying in a large greenhouse emulating the natural environment.

purple_lock_open Strong species-environment feedback shapes plant community assembly along environmental gradients by Jiang Jiang and Donald L. DeAngelis
Summary: An aim of community ecology is to understand the patterns of competing species assembly along environmental gradients. All species interact with their environments. However, theories of community assembly have seldom taken into account the effects of species that are able to engineer the environment. In this modeling study, we integrate the species’ engineering trait together with processes of immigration and local dispersal into a theory of community assembly.

Read other top articles in this issue >

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The British Ecological Society Celebrates Open Access Week

This post has been reposted from the Methods in Ecology and Evolution Blog

BESThis week is international Open Access Week, which aims to raise the awareness of open access publishing within the scientific and academic community, and provides an opportunity to hear about its potential benefits and the latest policies and opinions. Institutions and universities from all over the world are involved and there’s an extensive calendar of events that you can have a look at to see what’s happening in your area.

What open access options do Methods and the other BES Journals offer?

In addition to the above open access options, all of our content is made freely available 2 years after publication. We’re also pleased to be able to offer readers free access to all Application papers, which are citable descriptions of new methods and techniques in ecology and evolution.

Four Leading International Wiley Journals Become Open Access

John Wiley & Sons, Inc., today announced the transition of four journals to the Wiley Open Access publishing program, bringing the total number of Wiley’s open access titles to 28. From January 1, 2014, all newly published articles in Aging Cell, Cancer Science, Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses, and the Journal of Diabetes Investigation, will be open access and free to view, download and share.

Published in association with the Anatomical Society, Aging Cell  has an Impact Factor of 5.705 and ranks third in the field of geriatrics and gerontology.

Cancer Research is published on behalf of the Japanese Cancer Association and attracts over 1,300 submissions annually worldwide. It has attained an Impact Factor of 3.479, establishing its role as the leading oncology journal in Asia.

Launched in 2007 Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses is the official journal of the International Society for Influenza and other Respiratory Virus Diseases. It is the first journal to specialize exclusively on these important areas and has an Impact Factor of 1.471.

The Journal of Diabetes Investigation launched in 2010 and has an Impact Factor of 1.77. It is the official journal of the Asian Association for the Study of Diabetes (AASD), which represents academic societies, associations and individual researchers from across East and Southeast Asia.

“There are a number of journals published by Wiley that will move to an open access publishing model over the next year. It is significant that these four journals from some of our prestigious partner associations are making the change to open access in 2014,” said Rachel Burley, Vice President and Director of Open Access, Wiley. “We look forward to working with each of these associations to ensure that the journals continue to serve their communities by publishing world-leading research.”

All four journals are now accepting submissions, which will be published open access from January 2014 under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) License, which permits use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

As part of the Wiley Open Access program authors, their funding agencies, or their institutions can pay an Article Publication Charge (APC), to ensure that the article is made available to non-subscribers upon publication via Wiley Online Library, as well as deposited in PubMed Central (PMC) and PMC mirror sites. Authors affiliated with, or funded by, an organization that has a Wiley Open Access Account can publish without directly paying any publication charges.

Physiological Reports Publishes its 100th Article!

Physiological ReportsWe are delighted to announce that Physiological Reports has now published its first 100 articles! The journal opened for submissions in March 2013 and has received a large number of strong submissions. The journal is a collaboration between the American Physiological Society and The Physiological Society and publishes the highest quality research across basic, translational and clinical physiology and allied disciplines.

The 100th article published in Physiological Reports is:
Cellular Inhibitor of Apoptosis-2 is a critical regulator of apoptosis in airway epithelial cells treated with asthma-related inflammatory cytokines by Eugene Roscioli, Rhys Hamon, Richard E. Ruffin, Susan Lester, Peter Zalewski

The journal has published across a range of subject areas including the ones below. Click on the wordcloud to access more information about our first 100 papers, including the top read articles and the editor’s choice selection.

word cloud

Editor-in-Chief, Susan Wray says, “I have been delighted with both the quality and subject range in our first 100 published papers.  It made choosing the editor’s top picks pleasurable but very hard!  I am also thrilled with how visually attractive the articles are – all credit to the hard working production staff. Physiological Reports set out to be inclusive  and accept the best physiology irrespective of fashions and perceived impacts.  Take a look at our papers and you will see we are delivering on this. Physiological Reports is a society supported effort that is improving the publication landscape for physiologists and the teams they work with. If you do not see your research area featured, do something about it – submit a paper! You will be joining the  hundreds of other authors who have already discovered the professional service we offer to authors.”

We look forward to working with the editors, the societies and our authors on the next 100 papers and beyond!

10 easy ways to make sure your article gets read

Kris Bishop 
Marketing Manager
Reposted from Wiley Exchanges Blog.
Tags:  , , , , ,

Ways to make sure your work gets read

It’s been estimated that over 50 million scholarly articles have been published globally (Jinha, 2010) since the first journals were launched over 400 years ago and that the number of articles published increases by about 3.3% annually.  So in this expanding sea of research, how can you increase the chances that your article and your audience will connect? Here are some suggestions…

1.      Set The Stage (SEO): Think about Search Engine Optimization as you write, referring to SEO guides as needed (example of SEO guide). Once your work has been accepted for publication, ask your editor or publisher what other resources are available for authors. For example, the Wiley Author Services site provides production tracking information so you know when your article will publish, instructions on how to nominate up to 10 colleagues for free access when your article does go live online, and more. (Related Exchange: “Search Engine Optimization and Your Journal Article: Do You Want the Bad News First?”)

2.      Use Those E-Alerts: Once you have the official link to your article, you can start sending it around, so get notified the minute your article goes live online by registering beforehand for email alerts from the journal your work is going to be published in (example: Register for Wiley Table of Content Alerts). Many publishing companies offer this service and you can almost always adjust your preferences or unsubscribe at any time.

3.      Reach Out to Your Media Relations Office: Send a description and the link to your article to your communications or media relations office so they can raise awareness through your organization’s official outlets.

4.      Share It On Social Media: Share your article on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social media platforms. Engage with colleagues and professional society social media accounts, especially around annual conference time. If you are using Twitter, remember that one article does not need to equal one tweet. Summarize the key points over a series of tweets if the content warrants it. (Related Exchange: “Sharing Science: How Social Media Can Help Break Down Disciplinary Boundaries”)

5.      Wikipedia: One of the first places many people look for substantive information is Wikipedia, so try finding a Wikipedia page on a topic related to your article, log in or register, and add content and your article link as a reference. Check Wikipedia’s guide page for more info on how to use the site.

6.      Email It: Send an email with a brief note and the article link to those three or four colleagues in your organization who would be curious to see what you’ve been working on. Do you already have a half-written email about something else? Add a “P.S.” line and a link to your new article at the bottom of the next few emails you write to contacts in your field.

7.      Tell Your Librarian: Most librarians want to promote the work of their institution members through their own networks and social media outlets, so let them know you’ve got something to share.  Your librarian can be your best marketer.  (Related Exchange: “How We at NTU Libraries Engage Our User Community”)

8.      Update Your Faculty Webpage/CV: Add the article title and link to your faculty or professional webpage, especially if there is a “Recently Published Works” or CV section.

9.      Talk It Up: Don’t forget that original form of social media – the conversation. Come up with a few quick, simple phrases to message what your article is about to other people, whether they are waiting for a session at an academic conference or in line for lunch. In 60 seconds, how would you explain what your article is about to someone in a different field of study?

10.   Blog It: Post a description and link to your article on a relevant blog or listserv in a primary post or “comments” section. See below for a free publicity opportunity along these lines. (Related Exchange: “Beyond Our Monkey Metaphor Quota: An Evolutionary Conversation on Blogs, MOOCs, and Other Silly Words”)

 TRY TIP #10 RIGHT NOW: The best research has the potential to cross subject areas when communicated well, so here’s a free chance to experiment with sharing your work with a wider audience. In the “Comments” section below, post a brief description of an article you’ve published, adjusting for a non-specialized audience. Don’t forget to include a link so we can check out your work!



 Jinha, A.E., 2010. Article 50 Million: An Estimate of the Number of Scholarly Articles in Existence. Learned Publishing, July 2010, pp. 258-263.

Physiological Reports Issue 1.4 Now Published

Physiological ReportsThe latest issue of Physiological Reports has now closed. This is the fourth issue of this new open access journal and submissions continue to be strong. We have now accepted 100 articles in the journal. Authors are encouraged to continue to submit their papers across all areas of physiology to this journal using the online submission site.

Below are the ‘editor’s choice’ articles for this issue:

Unique growth pattern of human mammary epithelial cells induced by polymeric nanoparticles
Rajaa Hussien, Bertrand H. Rihn, Housam Eidi, Carole Ronzani, Olivier Joubert, Luc Ferrari, Oscar Vazquez, Daniela Kaufer and George A. Brooks

phy227-toc-0001   Summary: We describe how nanoparticles can be used to draw serum growth factors to cell surfaces.







Obese melanocortin-4 receptor-deficient rats exhibit augmented angiogenic balance and vasorelaxation during pregnancy
Frank T. Spradley, Ana C. Palei and Joey P. Granger

phy281-toc-0001 Summary: Obese normal pregnant melanocortin-4-receptor (MC4R) deficient (+/?) rats compared to lean MC4R+/+ rats have similar placental levels of angiogenic (VEGF, A) and antiangiogenic (sFlt-1, B) factors and comparable angiogenic balance (C). However, white adipose tissue from obese normal pregnant rats have greater VEGF (D), sFlt-1 (E), and angiogenic balance (F). These data indicate that white adipose tissue is an important source of angiogenic factors in normal pregnant, obese animals.


Candidate genes for limiting cholestatic intestinal injury identified by gene expression profiling
Samuel M. Alaish, Jennifer Timmons, Alexis Smith, Marguerite S. Buzza, Ebony Murphy, Aiping Zhao, Yezhou Sun, Douglas J. Turner, Terez Shea-Donahue, Toni M. Antalis, Alan Cross and Susan G. Dorsey


Summary: Following cholestasis, failure of the intestinal barrier with decreased intestinal resistance, increased bacterial translocation, and increased episodes of sepsis has been well described; however, the exact mechanisms remain poorly understood. Anecdotal clinical evidence as well as our own animal data suggests a genetic predisposition to exaggerated cholestatic injury. In this study, a microarray analysis in two strains of inbred mice demonstrated changes in intestinal gene expression not only due to cholestasis but also due to the particular murine strain, implicating novel mechanisms involving the growth hormone pathway, the acute phase response, and the innate immune response.

Evidence for centrally induced cholinergic vasodilatation in skeletal muscle during voluntary one-legged cycling and motor imagery in humans
Kei Ishii, Kanji Matsukawa, Nan Liang, Kana Endo, Mitsuhiro Idesako, Hironobu Hamada, Kazumi Ueno and Tsuyoshi Kataoka


Summary: The aim of this study was to examine using near-infrared microscopy whether sympathetic cholinergic vasodilatation mediates the increases in blood flows of both noncontracting and contracting vastus lateralis (VL) muscles during voluntary one-legged exercise. Atropine (10 µg/kg iv) blunted the increases in concentration of oxygenated-hemoglobin in the bilateral VL at the start of one-legged cycling and during mental imagery of the exercise. Thus, it is likely that central command evokes cholinergic vasodilatation equally in bilateral VL muscles during voluntary one-legged cycling and motor imagery.

Wiley Launches New Journal – Regeneration

LSJ-13-57608-WOAI-VW-REG-Cover_180x240Wiley is thrilled to announce the launch of a new open access journal solely dedicated to regeneration and repair together with a team of high profile international editors – Regeneration. Regeneration  is a peer-reviewed, open access journal dedicated to the publication of papers covering regeneration and tissue repair in animals and plants.

Against the backdrop of basic research in developmental biology, and in conjunction with the ascendancy of stem cell biology, the time is ripe to explore the next frontier: natural and assisted healing and regeneration. The goal of the editors and publishers of Regeneration is to provide the first dedicated venue for research related to repair and regeneration in its many forms, and in all relevant species.

With an aging population in the Western world, a growing need for replacing organs is irrevocable, which has put emphasis on the need of increasing and enhancing research in regeneration and repair. Funding to the field has increased in recent years in most countries to further improve and grow the research and it is our hope that Regeneration will be instrumental in communicating these vital results to the community in the future.

The journal’s Editor-in-Chief is Susan V. Bryant, Research Professor and Associate Vice Chancellor for Research in the Department of Developmental and Cell Biology, University of California, Irvine.  Susan is supported by a diverse and internationally prominent Editorial Board of established scientists who have devoted their careers to regeneration and repair.

The journal will publish articles under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) License, allowing authors to comply with Open Access Mandates. Authors are invited to submit articles via the journal’s online submission site, or ask the editorial office for more information about whether their article is suitable for this new journal.

Sign up for email content alerts to ensure you see the first articles as they publish.

Read Ecology and Evolution Issue 3.10

ECE 3 10The latest issue of Ecology and Evolution is now live! Over 30 excellent articles free to read, download and share. ‘Interior Least Tern (Sternula antillarum) breeding distribution and ecology: implications for population-level studies and the evaluation of alternative management strategies on large, regulated rivers’ by Casey A. Lott et al. Below are some highlights from this issue:

purple_lock_open Dramatic response to climate change in the Southwest: Robert Whittaker’s 1963 Arizona Mountain plant transect revisited by Richard C. Brusca, et al.
Summary: Models analyzing how Southwestern plant communities will respond to climate change predict that increases in temperature will lead to upward elevational shifts of montane species. We tested this hypothesis by reexamining Robert Whittaker’s 1963 plant transect in the Santa Catalina Mountains of southern Arizona, finding that this process is already well underway. Our survey, five decades after Whittaker’s, reveals large changes in the elevational ranges of common montane plants, while mean annual rainfall has decreased over the past 20 years, and mean annual temperatures increased 0.25°C/decade from 1949 to 2011 in the Tucson Basin. Although elevational changes in species are individualistic, significant overall upward movement of the lower elevation boundaries, and elevational range contractions, have occurred. This is the first documentation of significant upward shifts of lower elevation range boundaries in Southwestern montane plant species over decadal time, confirming that previous hypotheses are correct in their prediction that mountain communities in the Southwest will be strongly impacted by warming, and that the Southwest is already experiencing a rapid vegetation change.

purple_lock_open Did the house mouse (Mus musculus L.) shape the evolutionary trajectory of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)? by C. F. Morris, et al.
Summary: Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is one of the most successful domesticated plant species in the world. The majority of wheat carries mutations in the Puroindoline genes that result in a hard kernel phenotype. An evolutionary explanation, or selective advantage, for the spread and persistence of these hard kernel mutations has yet to be established. Here, we demonstrate that the house mouse (Mus musculus L.) exerts a pronounced feeding preference for soft over hard kernels. When allele frequencies ranged from 0.5 to 0.009, mouse predation increased the hard allele frequency as much as 10-fold. Studies involving a single hard kernel mixed with ~1000 soft kernels failed to recover the mutant kernel. Nevertheless, the study clearly demonstrates that the house mouse could have played a role in the evolution of wheat, and therefore the cultural trajectory of humankind.

purple_lock_open Quantitative genetic analysis of responses to larval food limitation in a polyphenic butterfly indicates environment- and trait-specific effects by Marjo Saastamoinen, et al.
Summary: Different components of heritability, including genetic variance (VG), are influenced by environmental conditions. Here, we assessed phenotypic responses of life-history traits to two different developmental conditions, temperature and food limitation. The former represents an environment that defines seasonal polyphenism in our study organism, the tropical butterfly Bicyclus anynana, whereas the latter represents a more unpredictable environment. We quantified heritabilities using restricted maximum likelihood (REML) procedures within an “Information Theoretical” framework in a full-sib design. Whereas development time, pupal mass, and resting metabolic rate showed no genotype-by-environment interaction for genetic variation, for thorax ratio and fat percentage the heritability increased under the cool temperature, dry season environment. Additionally, for fat percentage heritability estimates increased under food limitation. Hence, the traits most intimately related to polyphenism in B. anynana show the most environmental-specific heritabilities as well as some indication of cross-environmental genetic correlations. This may reflect a footprint of natural selection and our future research is aimed to uncover the genes and processes involved in this through studying season and condition-dependent gene expression.

Read other top articles in this issue >

Submit your paper to Ecology and Evolution here >

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Brain and Behavior Issue 3.5 is Now Online

BRB 3 5The latest issue of Brain and Behavior looks at first language writing systems’ impact on second language word reading and examines the posterior insular cortex.  The cover features an image from, “Distinction between hand dominance and hand preference in primates: a behavioral investigation of manual dexterity in nonhuman primates (macaques) and human subjects” by Pauline Chatagny, Simon Badoud, Mélanie Kaeser, Anne-Dominique Gindrat, Julie Savidan, Michela Fregosi, Véronique Moret, Christine Roulin, Eric Schmidlin, and Eric M. Rouiller

Below is another article highlight, chosen by the editorial team. 

purple_lock_open The role of rs2237781 within GRM8 in eating behavior
By Marie-Therese Gast, Anke Tönjes, Maria Keller, Annette Horstmann, Nanette Steinle, Markus Scholz, Ines Müller, Arno Villringer, Michael Stumvoll, Peter Kovacs, and Yvonne Böttcher
Abstract: The glutamate receptor, metabotropic 8 gene (GRM8) encodes a G-protein-coupled glutamate receptor and has been associated with smoking behavior and liability to alcoholism implying a role in addiction vulnerability. Data from animal studies suggest that GRM8 may be involved in the regulation of the neuropeptide Y and melanocortin pathways and might influence food intake and metabolism. This study aimed to investigate the effects of the genetic variant rs2237781 within GRM8 on human eating behavior. 

Link to the full table on contents here.

Submit your research here.

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Ecology and Evolution Publishes issue 3.9. Read the Highlights Here!

ECE 3 9The latest issue of Ecology and Evolution is now live! Over 30 excellent articles free to read, download and share. The cover image has been taken from the article ‘Different modes of evolution in males and females generate dichromatism in fairy-wrens (Maluridae)’ by Allison E. Johnson, J. J. Price, and S. Pruett-Jones. Below are some highlights from this issue:

purple_lock_open Different modes of evolution in males and females generate dichromatism in fairy-wrens (Maluridae) by Allison E. Johnson, J. Jordan Price, Stephen Pruett-Jones
Summary: Sexual dichromatism in birds is often attributed to selection for elaboration in males. However, evolutionary changes in either sex can result in plumage differences between them, and such changes can result in either gains or losses of dimorphism. We reconstructed the evolution of plumage colors in both males and females of species in Maluridae, a family comprising the fairy-wrens (Malurus, Clytomias, Sipodotus), emu-wrens (Stipiturus), and grasswrens (Amytornis). Our results show that, across species, males and females differ in their patterns of color evolution. Male plumage has diverged at relatively steady rates, whereas female coloration has changed dramatically in some lineages and little in others. Accordingly, in comparisons against evolutionary models, plumage changes in males best fit a Brownian motion (BM) model, whereas plumage changes in females fit an Ornstein Uhlenbeck (OU) multioptimum model, with different adaptive peaks corresponding to distributions in either Australia or New Guinea. Levels of dichromatism were significantly associated with latitude, with greater dichromatism in more southerly taxa. Our results suggest that current patterns of plumage diversity in fairy-wrens are a product of evolutionary changes in both sexes, driven in part by environmental differences across the distribution of the family.

purple_lock_open Tropical rain forest conservation and the twin challenges of diversity and rarity by Stephen P. Hubbell
Summary: Data from a global network of large, permanent plots in lowland tropical forests demonstrate (1) that the phenomenon of tropical tree rarity is real and (2) that almost all the species diversity in such forests is due to rare species. Theoretical and empirically based reasoning suggests that many of these rare species are not as geographically widespread as previously thought. These findings suggest that successful strategies for conserving global tree diversity in lowland tropical forests must pay much more attention to the biogeography of rarity, as well as to the impact of climate change on the distribution and abundance of rare species. Because the biogeography of many tropical tree species is poorly known, a high priority should be given to documenting the distribution and abundance of rare tropical tree species, particularly in Amazonia, the largest remaining tropical forested region in the world.

purple_lock_open Nonconsumptive effects in a multiple predator system reduce the foraging efficiency of a keystone predator by Jon M. Davenport, David R. Chalcraft
Summary: Many studies have demonstrated that the nonconsumptive effect (NCE) of predators on prey traits can alter prey demographics in ways that are just as strong as the consumptive effect (CE) of predators. Less well studied, however, is how the CE and NCE of multiple predator species can interact to influence the combined effect of multiple predators on prey mortality. We examined the extent to which the NCE of one predator altered the CE of another predator on a shared prey and evaluated whether we can better predict the combined impact of multiple predators on prey when accounting for this influence. We conducted a set of experiments with larval dragonflies, adult newts (a known keystone predator), and their tadpole prey. We quantified the CE and NCE of each predator, the extent to which NCEs from one predator alters the CE of the second predator, and the combined effect of both predators on prey mortality. We then compared the combined effect of both predators on prey mortality to four predictive models. Dragonflies caused more tadpoles to hide under leaf litter (a NCE), where newts spend less time foraging, which reduced the foraging success (CE) of newts. Newts altered tadpole behavior but not in a way that altered the foraging success of dragonflies. Our study suggests that we can better predict the combined effect of multiple predators on prey when we incorporate the influence of interactions between the CE and NCE of multiple predators into a predictive model. In our case, the threat of predation to prey by one predator reduced the foraging efficiency of a keystone predator. Consequently, the ability of a predator to fill a keystone role could be compromised by the presence of other predators.

purple_lock_open  Functional traits, the phylogeny of function, and ecosystem service vulnerability by Sandra Díaz, Andy Purvis, Johannes H. C. Cornelissen, Georgina M. Mace, Michael J. Donoghue, Robert M. Ewers, Pedro Jordano, William D. Pearse
Summary: People depend on benefits provided by ecological systems. Understanding how these ecosystem services – and the ecosystem properties underpinning them – respond to drivers of change is therefore an urgent priority. We address this challenge through developing a novel risk-assessment framework that integrates ecological and evolutionary perspectives on functional traits to determine species’ effects on ecosystems and their tolerance of environmental changes. We define Specific Effect Function (SEF) as the per-gram or per capita capacity of a species to affect an ecosystem property, and Specific Response Function (SRF) as the ability of a species to maintain or enhance its population as the environment changes. Our risk assessment is based on the idea that the security of ecosystem services depends on how effects (SEFs) and tolerances (SRFs) of organisms – which both depend on combinations of functional traits – correlate across species and how they are arranged on the species’ phylogeny. Four extreme situations are theoretically possible, from minimum concern when SEF and SRF are neither correlated nor show a phylogenetic signal, to maximum concern when they are negatively correlated (i.e., the most important species are the least tolerant) and phylogenetically patterned (lacking independent backup). We illustrate the assessment with five case studies, involving both plant and animal examples. However, the extent to which the frequency of the four plausible outcomes, or their intermediates, apply more widely in real-world ecological systems is an open question that needs empirical evidence, and suggests a research agenda at the interface of evolutionary biology and ecosystem ecology.

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Pharmacology Research & Perspectives Supports the Publication of Negative Findings

prp_cover_final.inddTwo leading pharmacology societies, the British Pharmacological Society (BPS) and the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET), have announced their support for the publication of negative findings from early clinical trials. Their jointly published journal, Pharmacology Research & Perspectives, is at the same time launching an efficient and timely means for researchers to publish negative findings in two important areas: preclinical papers that show a hypothesis to be incorrect, and papers on drugs that have failed in early clinical development that can inform whether further drug development in warranted.

Professor Phil Routledge, BPS President, comments: “It is ethically correct for pharmacologists working in academia, industry and the health services to publish negative findings. Openness not only ensures that the research community is collectively making the best possible use of resources, but also that clinical trial volunteers are not unnecessarily exposed to likely ineffective or potentially unsafe treatments when evidence may already suggest that the drug target in question is flawed.”

Both BPS and ASPET are committed to the view that new opportunities for publishing negative findings are needed, in order to avoid unnecessary duplication of research and waste of resources [1]. It has been well-documented that it is difficult for authors to find journals prepared to publish negative findings [2]. In addition, once a trial shows negative results, resources within an organization may be reallocated so there may not be the opportunity to produce and submit a scientific paper subsequently.

Dr Mike Curtis, BPS Fellow and Editor-in-Chief of Pharmacology Research & Perspectives, adds: “Historically, negative findings have tended to remain unpublished. As an author I found that journal referees often rejected papers on the grounds that the findings were negative. Now, as an Editor-in-Chief, I’m conscious that those who ignore history are condemned to repeat the mistakes of the past. When there is no record of history then it is inevitable that others will waste time and resources in unwitting replication of failed programmes.”

Dr James Barrett, Chair of ASPET’s Board of Publications Trustees, also comments: “The failure to publish preclinical and clinical findings that do not support a hypothesis or the therapeutic value of a drug because they are ‘negative’ and should remain generally unavailable may not be beneficial to progress. If such studies are based on appropriate methodology and conducted well, they can add valuable information that can provide a positive direction and momentum to both basic and clinical research. Adopting this policy places Pharmacology Research & Perspectives in a unique position to advance both preclinical and clinical research.

BPS Honorary Fellow, Professor Sir Michael Rawlins observes: “I have previously stated that I believe that all negative and positive trials should be in the public domain, so I welcome this move to ensure that negative findings related to early clinical trials can be submitted for publication.”

“The announcement from BPS and ASPET is very welcome international leadership from societies who want to ensure clinical trial information is published. The results of around half of all trials are not published – this information is kept from doctors, researchers and regulators; resources are wasted repeating research that has been done and participants in further clinical trials are misled. I hope more organisations will follow BPS and ASPET’s lead and set out what they can do to ensure more clinical trials report their results,” added Síle Lane, Sense About Science, one of the founding organisations of the AllTrials campaign.

Full information about the call for papers on target validation is available from the Pharmacology Research & Perspectives  website.

[1] Hayes A, Hunter J. Why is publication of negative clinical trial data important? Brit J Pharmacol.2010;167: 1395–7.

[2] Sterne JAC, Eggers M, Moher D. Addressing reporting biases. Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions.