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May Albee

and 3 more

Laura van Rosmalen

and 4 more

Many mammalian species use photoperiod as a predictive cue to time seasonal reproduction. In addition, metabolic effects on the reproductive axis may also influence seasonal timing, especially in female small, short-lived mammals. To get a better understanding of how annual cycling environmental cues impact reproductive function and plasticity in small, short-lived herbivores with different geographic origins, we investigated the mechanisms underlying integration of temperature in the photoperiodic-axis regulating female reproduction in a Northern vole species (tundra vole, Microtus oeconomus) and in a Southern vole species (common vole, Microtus arvalis). We show that photoperiod and temperature interact to determine appropriate physiological responses; there is species-dependent annual variation in the sensitivity to temperature for reproductive organ development. In common voles, temperature can overrule photoperiodical spring-programmed responses, with reproductive organ mass being higher at 10°C than at 21°C, whereas in autumn they are less sensitive to temperature. These findings are in line with our census data, showing an earlier onset of spring reproduction in cold springs, while reproductive offset in autumn is synchronized to photoperiod. The reproductive organs of tundra voles were relatively insensitive to temperature, whereas hypothalamic gene expression was generally upregulated at 10°C. Thus, both vole species use photoperiod, whereas only common voles use temperature as a cue to control spring reproduction, which indicates species-specific reproductive strategies. Due to global warming, spring reproduction in common voles will be delayed, perhaps resulting in shorter breeding seasons and thus declining populations, as observed throughout Europe.

Lauri van den Berg

and 8 more

Background: The national health care response to coronavirus (COVID-19) has varied between countries. The United Kingdom (UK) and the Netherlands (NL) have comparable maternity and neonatal care systems, and experienced similar numbers of COVID-19 infections, but had different organisational responses to the pandemic. Understanding why and how similarities and differences occurred in these two contexts could inform optimal care in normal circumstances, and during future crises. Aim: To compare the UK and Dutch COVID-19 maternity and neonatal care responses in three key domains: choice of birthplace, companionship, and families in vulnerable situations. Method: A multi-method study, including documentary analysis of national organisation policy and guidance on COVID-19, and interviews with national and regional stakeholders. Findings: Both countries had an infection control focus, with less emphasis on the impact of restrictions. Differences included care providers’ fear of contracting COVID-19; the extent to which personalised care was embedded in the care system before the pandemic; and how far multidisciplinary collaboration and service-user involvement were prioritised. Conclusion: We recommend that countries should 1) make a systematic plan for crisis decision-making before a serious event occurs, and that this must include authentic service-user involvement, multidisciplinary collaboration, and protection of staff wellbeing 2) integrate women’s and families’ values into the maternity and neonatal care system, ensuring equitable inclusion of the most vulnerable and 3) strengthen community provision to ensure system wide resilience to future shocks from pandemics, or other unexpected large-scale events.

Arda Ozyuksel

and 4 more

Background: Intraextracardiac Fontan procedure aimed to combine the advantages of lateral tunnel and extracardiac conduit modifications of the original technique. Herein, we present our experience in our patients with intraextracardiac fenestrated Fontan Procedure. Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed in order to evaluate intraextracardiac fenestrated Fontan patients between 2014 and 2021. Seventeen patients were operated on with a mean age and body weight of 9.1 ± 5.5 years and 28.6 ± 14.6 kg. Results: Sixteen patients (94%) were palliated as univentricular physiology with hypoplasia of one of the ventricles. One patient (6%) with well-developed two ventricles with double outlet right ventricle and complete atrioventricular septal defect had straddling of the chordae prohibiting a biventricular repair. All of the patients had cavopulmonary anastomosis prior to Fontan completion, except one case. Fenestration was performed in all cases. Postoperative mean pulmonary artery pressures and arterial oxygen saturation levels at follow up were 10 ± 2.4 mmHg and 91.3 ± 2.7 %, respectively. Mean duration of pleural drainage was 5.4 ± 2.3 days. All of the fenestrations are patent at a mean follow up period of 4.8 ± 7.7 years, except one case. Any morbidity and mortality were not encountered. Conclusions: The mid-term results of intraextracardiac fenestrated Fontan procedure are encouraging. This procedure may improve the results in a patient population who should be palliated as univentricular physiology, especially in cases with complex cardiac anatomy.

Maria Tonione

and 4 more

Alexandra Schmidt

and 6 more

Metagenomics - shotgun sequencing of all DNA fragments from a community DNA extract - is routinely used to describe the composition, structure and function of microorganism communities. Advances in DNA sequencing and the availability of genome databases increasingly allow the use of shotgun metagenomics on eukaryotic communities. Metagenomics offers major advances in the recovery of biomass relationships, in comparison to taxonomic marker gene based approaches (metabarcoding). However, little is known about the factors that influence metagenomics data from eukaryotic communities, such as differences among organism groups, properties of reference genomes and genome assemblies. We evaluated how shotgun metagenomics records composition and biomass in artificial soil invertebrate communities. We generated mock communities of controlled biomass ratios from 28 species from all major soil mesofauna groups: mites, springtails, nematodes, tardigrades and potworms. We shotgun-sequenced these communities and taxonomically assigned them with a database of over 270 soil invertebrate genomes. We recovered 90% of the species, and observed relatively high false positive detection rates. We found strong differences in reads assigned to different taxa, with some groups consistently attracting more hits than others. Biomass could be predicted from read counts after considering taxon-specific differences. Larger genomes more complete assemblies consistently attracted more reads than genomes. The GC content of the genome assemblies had no effect on the biomass-read relationships. The results show considerable differences in taxon recovery and taxon specificity of biomass recovery from metagenomic sequence data. Properties of reference genomes and genome assemblies also influence biomass recovery, and they should be considered in metagenomic studies of eukaryotes. We provide a roadmap for investigating factors which influence metagenomics-based eukaryotic community reconstructions. Understanding these factors is timely as accessibility of DNA sequencing, and momentum for reference genomes projects show a future where the taxonomic assignment of DNA from any community sample becomes a reality.

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