Two cases of Monkeypox virus infection without detectable cutaneous/mucosal lesionsGiulia Ciccarese1, Giorgia Brucci2,3, Antonio Di Biagio2,3, Francesco Drago4,Bruno Caccianotti5, Sergio Lo Caputo5, Gaetano Serviddio6, Teresa Santantonio51Unit of Dermatology, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Foggia, Viale Pinto 1, 71122, Foggia, Italy;2Infectious Diseases Unit, San Martino Policlinico Hospital, IRCCS for Oncology and Neurosciences, Largo R. Benzi, 10, 16132 Genoa, Italy;3Department of Health Sciences (DiSSal), University of Genova, Via Pastore, 1, 16132 Genova, Italy;4Unit of Dermatology, San Martino Policlinico Hospital, IRCCS for Oncology and Neurosciences, Largo R. Benzi, 10, 16132 Genoa, Italy;5Clinic of Infectious Diseases, Department of Clinical and Surgical Sciences, University of Foggia, Viale Pinto, 1, 71122 Foggia, Italy;6C.U.R.E. (University Centre for Liver Disease Research and Treatment), Liver Unit, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Foggia, Viale Pinto 1, 71122, Foggia, Italy.Email addresses of the co-authors:firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.orgCorresponding author : Giulia Ciccarese, MD, PhD, Unit of Dermatology, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Foggia, Viale Pinto 1, 71122, Foggia, Italy. Telephone: +390881736093. Email address: email@example.comKeywords: Monkeypox virus infection, anal pain, risky behaviors, sexually transmitted infections.Data availability statement: data available on reasonable request.Funding statement: this research did not receive founds.Conflict of interest: nonePatient consent statement: obtained.Dear Editor,in our case series of 16 human Monkeypox virus (MPX) infected patients diagnosed from 1th July until 31thAugust 2022 in the Dermatology Unit and in the Infectious Disease Unit of the San Martino Hospital, Genoa, Italy1, two patients had no detectable cutaneous/mucosal manifestations at the time of MPX diagnosis.The first patient was a 37-year-old Italian homosexual man presenting to the Infectious Disease Unit for the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) against HIV follow-up appointment. He had been complaining of anal pain without anal bleeding or secretions for 5 days and admitted risky sexual behaviors (unprotected sex with casual partners) in the previous two weeks, when he had travelled to Indonesia and France. His stable partner, a 24-year-old Italian homosexual man, complained of sore throat and reported the same risky behaviors. He had not travelled abroad in the last month.At physical examination, the patients had not visible cutaneous/mucosal lesions. They performed a complete sexually transmitted infections (STIs) screening including serology for T.pallidum infection, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B and C viruses, anal, urethral and oropharyngeal swabs for the search of DNA ofChlamydia Trachomatis , Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Mycoplasma hominis, Mycoplasma genitalium, Ureaplasma urealyticum, Ureaplasma parvum, Trichomonas vaginalis by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and, lastly, anal and oropharyngeal swabs for the search of MPX DNA by PCR, as previously described2,3. The laboratory investigations resulted all negative, except for the detection of MPX DNA at the oropharyngeal and anal swabs, that resulted positive in both sites and in both patients. The clinical presentation of these patients could be misdiagnosed with other STIs, especially with non-gonococcal proctitis and pharyngitis. Indeed, we suggest considering MPX infection in all at-risk patients presenting with traditional or atypical STIs signs/symptoms to avoid incorrect diagnosis.Unlike the patient with MPX virus infection manifesting as single cutaneous lesion that we recently described4, these two patients had not detectable cutaneous/mucosal lesions but only signs/symptoms of systemic involvement. Indeed, MPX virus traditionally causes a systemic infection: once acquired through close contact with skin/mucosal lesions, large respiratory droplets or fomites, the virus replicates at the inoculation site, then it spreads to the local lymph nodes and subsequently to the bloadstrem (initial viremia), causing the viral spread to other organs. These infection phases represent the viral incubation period, lasting 7-14 days. Signs/symptom onset correlates with a secondary MPX viremia corresponding to 1-2 days of prodromal signs/symptoms (mainly fever and lymphadenopathy) before appearance of skin/mucosal lesions5. Noteworthy, the MPX systemic spread during the acute infection represents a potential threat to the safety of blood transfusion and organ transplantation6.According to one of the largest case series describing MPX related signs and symptoms, presentation of MPX infection without skin/mucosal lesions accounts for about 5% of all cases7. We can speculate that in such cases, as in our patients and in those described by Quattri et al.8, the cutaneous/mucosal MPX viral load was so low to cause only localized, single or even undetectable lesions. Unfortunately, we were not able to quantitatively assess the MPX viral load in the swabs that resulted positive nor in the patient’s blood samples to confirm this hypothesis.In conclusion, MPX infection can represent a diagnostic challenge, especially when it occurs as a single cutaneous lesion of the genito-anal site4,8 or with acute anal or oropharyngeal pain in absence of associated cutaneous/mucosal lesions. Physicians should be aware of the possible atypical and scant manifestations of the disease and, in case of high clinical suspicion, should not exclude MPX infection even if cutaneous/mucosal lesions are undetectable.Authors’ contributions : Giulia Ciccarese, Giorgia Brucci: conceptualization, methodology, writing-original draft; Francesco Drago, Antonio Di Biagio: investigation, resources; Bruno Caccianotti, Sergio Lo Caputo, Teresa Santantonio, Gaetano Serviddio: writing review and editing, supervision.
Context: Computational materials science (CMS) focuses on in silico experiments to compute the properties of known and novel materials, where many software packages are used in the community. The NOMAD Laboratory1 offers to store the input and output files in its FAIR data repository. Since the file formats of these software packages are non-standardized, parsers are used to provide the results in a normalized format. Objective: The main goal of this article is to report experience and findings of using grammar-based fuzzing on these parsers. Method: We have constructed an input grammar for four common software packages in the CMS domain and performed an experimental evaluation on the capabilities of grammar-based fuzzing to detect failures in the NOMAD parsers. Results: With our approach, we were able to identify three unique critical bugs concerning the service availability, as well as several additional syntactic, semantic, logical, and downstream bugs in the investigated NOMAD parsers. We reported all issues to the developer team prior to publication. Conclusion: Based on the experience gained, we can recommend grammar-based fuzzing also for other research software packages to improve the trust level in the correctness of the produced results.
Introduction:Brucellosis is a zoonotic infectious disease with a wide range of manifestations including malaise, anorexia, fever, and profound muscular weakness, as described by Marston in 18601. It is caused by the Gram-negative coccobacillus, Brucella, and remains endemic in some developing countries, such as Iran. There are 6 types of brucella that 4 of which include Brucella melitensis, Brucella abortus, Brucella canis, and Brucella suis were recognized as pathogens involving humans. Brucella melitensis was described as the most common and virulent pathogen worldwide. The first case of ocular brucellosis in a human being was described by Lemaire in 1924 2, presented with bilateral optic neuritis and external ophthalmoplegia in a patient with brucella meningitis.Ocular manifestations of acute and chronic infection include anterior and posterior uveitis, panuveitis, keratitis, conjunctivitis, papillitis, cataract, maculopathies, glaucoma, and ocular muscle paresis. Modern treatments of ocular brucellosis, intraocular as well as systemic antibiotics, have improved the prognosis of the disease3. Herein, we present a patient with endogenous endophthalmitis caused by Brucella Melitensis (B.Melitensis), which is very rare and unusual.
Background: Longitudinal strain is helpful in discriminating between cardiac amyloidosis and other causes of left ventricle hypertrophy. We aimed to compare left atrial strain between light chain cardiac amyloidosis (AL-CA) and hypertensive heart disease (HHD). Methods: Echocardiography was performed at 21 consecutive AL-CA patients, 56 HHD patients and 21 controls who were enrolled in the current study between April 2018 and January 2021. Echo PAC workstation was employed to analyze LA strain of all the participants. Standard echocardiographic parameters and LA strain parameters were compared between AL-CA and HHD patients. ROC curves were employed to assess the discriminating ability of LA strain. Results: LASr and LASct were significantly lower (21.03 vs 26.17, P =0.009, and 12.11 vs 15.51, P=0.009, respectively) in AL-CA group than those in HHD group, whereas LAScd and SD-TPS were similar between the two groups (P=0.17 and P=0.27, respectively). The cutoff points of LASr and LASct for discriminating between AL-CA and HHD were 19.53% and 11.34%, respectively. Conclusions: AL-CA patients had marked reductions in LASr and LASct. LA strain had additional value in differentiating AL-CA from HHD patients.
The volume of scientific publications is ever increasing, making it difficult for scholars to publish papers that can capture the readers’ attention. An obvious way to attract readership is by making a truly significant discovery; yet another way may involve tweaking the language to overemphasize the novelty of results. Using a dataset of 52,236 paper abstracts published between 1997 and 2017 in 17 ecological journals, we found that the relative frequency of the use of novelty terms (e.g., ‘groundbreaking’, ‘new’) almost doubled over time. Conversely, we found no such pattern with the use of confirmatory terms (e.g., ‘replicated’, ‘reproducibility’). We argue that, while increasing research opportunities are triggering advances in ecology, the writing style of authors and publishing habits of journals should better reflect the inherent confirmatory nature of ecology.
Oceanic islands are among the most transformed ecosystems in the world, with many having experienced major biotic changes through the combined effects of species extinctions and introductions. We map global patterns of taxonomic and functional change in 64 oceanic island bird assemblages and investigate whether these patterns can be explained by either island characteristics (geography, climate) or anthropogenic factors (human occupation, connectivity). The Hawaiian and Mascarene islands stand out as hotspots of taxonomic and functional change, but all islands changed taxonomically and functionally, mostly gaining species but losing functional richness. Island isolation and aridity can explain some of the observed variation in levels of change, but anthropogenic factors have a stronger effect. Remote humid islands have a stronger susceptibility to assemblage turnover and should be prioritized for conservation through the protection of native species and their ecosystems, and by preventing further introductions.
Chronic Diarrhea as a Presentation of Behçet’s DiseaseMarawan Elmassry MD1*, Sayed Matar MD2, Jerapas Thongpiya MD1, Pitchaporn Yingchoncharoen MD1, Mostafa Abohelwa MD1, Sameer Islam MD31-Department of Internal Medicine, Texas Tech university Health Sciences Centre, Lubbock, TX, USA.2- Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.3- Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Texas Tech university Health Sciences Centre, Lubbock, TX, USA.*Corresponding Author: Marawan Elmassry MDTexas Tech University Health Sciences Centre at Lubbock, Texas, USA.3601 4th street, Lubbock, TX 79430.Telephone/ Fax: +1-806-773-2831E-mail: Marawan.firstname.lastname@example.orgConflict of interest: The authors have no financial conflicts to disclose.Patient’s consent: Written informed consent was obtained from the patient to publish this report in accordance with the journal’s patient consent policy.
C-Glycosides are critical, naturally occurring products and medicinal candidates, and extensive efforts have been made to explore efficient approaches for creating C-glycosidic bonds. Transition-metal-catalysis, particularly nickel-catalyzed C-glycosylation reactions constitute a promising strategy. However, achieving a stereoselective synthesis of α- and β-C-glycosides has been a long-standing challenge. To address this problem, a variety of nickel-mediated strategies have been developed. This review highlights recent developments in the nickel-catalyzed diastereoselective C-glycosylation reactions and briefly summarizes the mechanistic understandings of these methods.
Purpose: To explore the differences among erectile aids (i.e., phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors [PDE5i] and intracavernousal drugs) of the relative risk of priapism and identify age groups at risk. Methods: We queried the World Health Organization global database of individual case safety reports (VigiBase) for records of the ADR with sildenafil, tadalafil, avanafil, vardenafil, papaverine, and alprostadil. Disproportionality analyses (case/non-case approach) were performed to assess the relative risk of priapism reporting in PDE5i consumers compared to intracavernousal drug recipients. Results: From a total of 133,819 ADR events for erectogenic medications, 632 were priapism (PDE5is: n=550, 0.41%; intracavernousal drugs: n=82, 9.92%). We observed a strong signal for priapism induction for intracavernousal drugs than PDE5is (reporting odds ratio [ROR]=34.7; confidence interval [CI] 95%: 27.12 - 43.94 vs. ROR= 1.38; CI 95%: 1.24 - 1.54). For all PDE5i agents, the 12-17 years age group had the highest highest ROR (ROR=9.49, CI 95%: 3.76 - 19.93) followed by 2-11 years (ROR=4.31, CI 95%: 1.57 - 9.4). Disproportionality signals for consumers under eighteen for both all PDE5is as a whole (ROR=4.57, CI 95%: 2.48 - 7.73) and sildenafil (ROR=4.89, CI 95%: 2.51 - 8.62) were significantly stronger than individuals eighteen or older (ROR=1.06, CI 95%: 0.93 - 1.21 and ROR=1.08, CI 95%: 0.91 - 1.26, respectively). Conclusions: While the overall risk of priapism following the oral administration of PDE5is is extremely low compared with intracavernousal remedies, adolescents are at a higher risk of priapism than older men.
Gut microbial communities confer protection against natural pathogens in important pollinators from the genera Bombus and Apis. In commercial species B. terrestris and B. impatiens, the microbiota increases their resistance to the common and virulent trypanosomatid parasite Crithidia bombi. However, the mechanisms by which gut microorganisms protect the host are still unknown. Here, we test two hypotheses: microbiota protect the host 1) through stimulation of its immune response or protection of the gut epithelium and 2) by competing for resources with the parasite inside the gut. To test them, we reduced the microbiota of workers and fed part of them with microbiota supplements. We exposed them to an infectious dose of C. bombi and characterised gene expression and gut microbiota composition. We examined the expression of three antimicrobial peptide (AMP) genes and Mucin-5AC, a gene with a putative role in gut epithelium protection, using qPCR. Although a protective effect against C. bombi was observed in bumblebees with supplemented microbiota, we did not observe an effect of the microbiota on gene expression that could explain alone the protective effect observed. On the other hand, we found an increased relative abundance of Lactobacillus bacteria within the gut of infected workers and a negative correlation of this genus with Gilliamella and Snodgrassella genera. Therefore, our results point to a displacement of bumblebee endosymbionts by C. bombi that might be caused by competition for space and nutrients between the parasite and the microbiota within the gut.
IntroductionMature cystic teratoma (MCT) of the ovary, as a synonym for the ovarian dermoid cyst, is a benign germ cell tumor. The words “teratoma” and “dermoid” were first described by Leblanc in 1831. The incidence of MCT is 10–20 % of all ovarian tumors. It shows the highest incidence in reproductive age women (range 20 to 40 years) [2,3]. It is a slow growing tumor, and the estimated increasing rate is 1.8 cm per year . Long term recurrence rate is less than 5 % after fertility sparing surgery making it a good option for reproductive age group .CaseA 17-year-old girl presented with a history of palpable lump in lower abdomen since two years, gradually increasing in size. Initially she consulted a local practitioner and was told to have an ovarian cyst and advised surgery. However, the patient did not take any treatment for two years. Two months ago, she had an episode of acute abdomen. Diagnostic work-up was done at a tertiary center: ascitic tapping was negative for tuberculosis and malignancy; PET scan was suggestive of ovarian malignancy. She underwent laparotomy but the pelvic mass could not be excised due to dense adhesions with bowel and the abdomen was closed and patient referred to our institute.On examination, she had a 15x15 cm abdomino-pelvic mass, firm to hard in consistency, non-tender, with irregular margins and restricted mobility. Serum tumour markers were as follows: alpha feto-protein-2.6 ng/mL (10-20 ng/mL), beta-hCG-1.2 mIU/ml (<5.0 mIU/ml), lactate dehydrogenase- 182 U/L (140-280 U/L), CA125-16.5 U/mL (<35.0 U/mL), carcinoembryonic antigen-12.2 ng/mL (<2.5 ng/mL), CA19.9- 35 U/mL (<37.0 U/mL). Ultrasonography showed a 10x10 cm hypoechoic lesion arising from the left ovary with internal hyperechoic septae and calcifications. On CECT, a 10x7x10 cm solid-cystic lesion which was FDG-avid on PET scan was seen arising from left ovary with multiple septae and calcifications.With a clinical diagnosis of immature teratoma, she was taken for a staging laparotomy. There was a 15x15 cm irregular cystic mass arising from the left ovary which was densely adherent to anterior abdominal wall, omentum and small bowel. There was no ascites, nor were there any peritoneal deposits. On cut section, the multilocular cyst was found to contain sebaceous material, hair and well-formed bowel-like structures (Fig. 1). Left salpingo-oophorectomy and omental biopsy were done and she made an uneventful recovery.Histopathology confirmed a left ovarian mature teratoma with derivatives from all three germinal layers including skin, bone, respiratory epithelium, intestinal epithelium, nerve bundles, skeletal muscle and glial tissue. Immature elements were absent (Fig. 2, A-F).DiscussionMCT contains components originating from three germ cell layers (ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm) with varying ratios of skin, neural, teeth, cartilage, respiratory and intestinal epithelium . They include elements of ectodermal origin in 99–100%, mesodermal origin in 73–93%, and endodermal origin in 32–72% [6-8]. About 7–13 % of MCT cases include intestinal epithelium , however, there are only a few cases of ovarian MCT containing complete intestinal structures [9,10].Woodfield et al first reported almost complete development of the gastrointestinal tract in a benign cystic teratoma first containing esophagus to colon . Subsequently only four cases of MCT containing well oriented complete intestinal structure have been reported in the literature and these are described in table 1. In most of them the tumor size was less than 10 cm which in our case was also 10 cm. CEA can be an important marker for predicting presence of intestinal epithelium and to be vigilant for malignant intestinal cancers which was also raised in our case [12,13]. Well differentiated mature neuronal component showed FDG activity misleading the diagnosis as also found in our case . In view of low rate of long term recurrence, fertility sparing surgery was done in the current case as well.ConclusionOccurrence of formed bowel inside a mature cystic teratoma is very rare. Significance of this finding is that the colonic epithelium may be the origin of adenocarcinoma. In cases where the mature cystic teratoma is densely adherent to bowel and has been dissected out after adhesiolysis; the cut section of specimen showing bowel can be alarming to the surgeons.Author’s contributions: All authors contributed to the study conception and design.The first draft of the manuscript was written by SK and all authors reviewed and edited the previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscriptConsent for publication: Obtained from the patient’s fatherFunding: Not applicableAvailability of data and material: Not applicableConflicts of interest: There is no conflict of interests among the authorsKey Clinical MessageAbout 7–13 % cases of mature cystic teratoma contain intestinal epithelium but there are only a few reported cases containing complete intestinal structure. We discuss here the case of a 17 year old girl with the above finding and its management.Keywords: bowel, dermoid cyst, intestinal epithelium, mature teratoma, ovaryReferences1. Kim MJ, Kim NY, Lee DY, Yoon BK, Choi D. Clinical characteristics of ovarian teratoma: age-focused retrospective analysis of 580 cases. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2011;205(1):322. Alotaibi MO, Navarro OM. Imaging of ovarian teratomas in children: a 9-year review. Can Assoc Radiol J. 2010;61(1):23–8.3. Caspi B, Appelman Z, Rabinerson D, Zalel Y, Tulandi T, Shoham Z. The growth pattern of ovarian dermoid cysts: a prospective study in premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Fertil Steril. 1997;68(3):501–5.4. Chang CF, Lin CK. A case of recurrent, bilateral ovarian mature teratoma in a young woman. BMC Womens Health. 2014;14:57–60.5. Templeman CL, Fallat ME, Lam AM, Perlman SE Hertweck SP, O’Connor DM. Managing mature cystic teratomas of the ovary. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2000;55(12):738–45.6. Marcial-Rojas RA, Medina R. Cystic teratomas of the ovary. A clinical and pathological analysis of two hundred sixty-eight tumors. Arch Pathol. 1958;66:577–5897. Caruso PA, Marsh MR, Minkowitz S, et al. An intense clinicopathologic study of 305 teratomas of the ovary. Cancer. 1971;27:343–348.8. Blackwell WJ, Dockerty MB, Masson JC, et al. Dermoid cysts of the ovary. Their clinical and pathologic significance. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1946;51:151–172.9. Fujiwara K, Ginzan S, Silverberg SG. Mature cystic teratomas of the ovary with intestinal wall structures harboring intestinal type epithelial neoplasms. Gynecol Oncol. 1995;56:97–101.10. Tang P, Soukkary S, Kahn E. Mature cystic teratoma of the ovary associated with complete colonic wall and mucinous cystadenoma. Ann Clini Lab Sci. 2003;33(4):465–70.11. Woodfield B, Kate DA, Cantrell CJ, et al: A benign cystic teratoma with gastrointestinal tract development. Am J Clin Pathol 1985;83 :236–240.12. Takao M, Yoshino Y, Taguchi A, Uno M, Okada S, Kino N, et al. A case of mature cystic teratoma with intestinal structures harboring intestinal-type low-grade mucinous neoplasm. Int Canc Conf J. 2018; 7(2):59-6413. Makihara N, Ebina Y, Yamasaki Y, et al. Preoperative prediction of malignant transformation arising in a mature cystic teratoma of the ovary. J Minm Invasive Gynecol. 2014;30:112–116.14. Yokoyama T, Takehara K, Yamamoto Y, Okame S, Shiroyama Y, Yokoyama T, Nogawa T, Sugawara Y. The usefulness of 18F-FDG-PET/CT in discriminating benign from malignant ovarian teratomas. Int J Clin Oncol. 2015 Oct;20(5):960-6. doi: 10.1007/s10147-015-0800-0. Epub 2015 Feb 15. PMID: 25681878.15. Nelson, D.B., Hoffman, B.L., Lemeshev, Y. et al. Avoiding the bowel: a report of a mature cystic teratoma displaying fully developed intestinal tissue protruding from an ovarian tumor. Gynecol Surg 8, 223–225 (2011).Table 1: Case reports with intact intestinal segment associated with Mature cystic teratoma
Objectives: To examine the variation in patient’s health outcomes across different type, route, and strength of menopausal hormone therapy (HT). Design: Retrospective case-control study Setting: United States 2007-2020 Population: 10 million women aged 65 or more in US Medicare. Methods: Cox regression models with time-varying type, route, and strength of HT as well as patient characteristics. Main Outcome(s): all-cause mortality; 5 cancers- breast, lung, endometrial, colorectal, ovarian cancers; 6 CV conditions- ischemic heart diseases, heart failure, venous thromboembolism, stroke, atrial fibrillation, acute myocardial infarction; and dementia. Results Estrogen monotherapy (ET) exhibited a significant, 19% (HR=0.81; 95% CI 0.79-0.82), relative risk reduction on mortality. The reduction was greater with estradiol and vaginal/transdermal than conjugated estrogen and oral preparations. ET also exhibited significant risk reductions for all study cancers; breast (15%), lung (13%), endometrial (29%), colorectal (13%) and ovarian (14%). All ET preparations except low-dose slightly increased risk of ischemic heart diseases (1-4%). Both combination therapy and progestogen monotherapy exhibited significantly increased risk of breast cancer (7-14%). Oral ET exhibited moderately increased risk of stroke (6%) and dementia (2%). Conclusions: Among senior Medicare women, the effect of menopausal HT varies by type, route, and strength. The use of estradiol, vaginal/transdermal, and low/medium for menopausal care is safer than its counterparts.
Body condition is a frequently used physiological indicator of avian health and is affected by an array of environmental variables. Although a number of studies have investigated the specific effects of individual weather variables on body condition in birds, few have analyzed the effects of both temperature and precipitation within the context of an extreme weather event such as hurricanes. In this study we examined the relationship between breeding season body condition and daily maximum temperature, daily minimum temperature, and monthly total precipitation for three passerine bird species at the Welder Wildlife Refuge near Rockport, Texas. We also evaluated yearly changes in body condition over a twelve-year period for northern cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis), painted buntings (Passerina ciris), and white-eyed vireos (Vireo griseus), focusing on the extreme precipitation event of Hurricane Harvey which caused heavy localized flooding. We found that body condition declined with average daily minimum and maximum temperatures, while precipitation had varied, species-specific effects in the three species analyzed. Our results also suggest that northern cardinals experienced a notable reduction in average body condition in the two years following Hurricane Harvey. Taken together, we conclude that short-term precipitation and temperature drivers can be important correlates of body condition in songbirds and that severe weather events may reduce body condition in some bird species.
The differences in the functional diversity and species diversity of macroinvertebrates can be based to evaluate the changes in local environment. However, there are little available analysis on the effect mechanism of seasons on the functional characteristics of macroinvertebrate communities in the subtropical region. This work compared the functional feeding groups (FFG) of macroinvertebrates in wet season, normal season, and dry season of 2021 in Jingui River in Shenzhen. This work mainly was aimed to comprehend the connection between the environmental driving elements in the Jingui River and the seasonal distribution of the FFG of macroinvertebrates. The highest species diversity and abundance were found among the collector-gatherers (GC), while the largest biomass was observed among the predators. Overall, the functional diversity of the Jingui River exhibited a significantly seasonal change. In particular, the functional diversity decreased in wet season, implying a stronger disturbance. A multiple regression analysis revealed that the species diversity and stream environmental parameters might account for 12.8% - 72.9% of the functional diversity of macroinvertebrates.
Raptors are apex predators threatened globally by electrocution, collisions, and habitat fragmentation. Most species of raptors are understudied and largely unexplored. Top predators like raptors depend on the sustainability of the ecosystems in which they live and migrate. Knowing how endangered raptors are geographically dispersed, as well as the factors that may influence how they use their habitat, is critical for their protection. This research focuses on Kenya, where there are gaps in knowledge on appropriate habitats and raptor dispersal patterns. With several species of raptors endangered, it is crucial to determine their distribution patterns for management and conservation. To evaluate the size of the realized niches for five Kenyan raptor species at the risk of extinction, we applied species distribution models (SDMs) through an ensembling approach using occurrence data from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and environmental covariates. These species were: Martial eagle, Secretarybird, Bateleur, Steppe Eagle, and Southern ground hornbill. The five raptors’ distribution within and outside protected areas and the role of key environmental predictors in predicting their distribution was estimated. Our findings indicate raptor distribution in several areas in Kenya that is predominantly in the south-western region, extending into the country’s central region. Martial eagle had the largest niche range amounting to ca.49,169 km2 while the Southern ground hornbill had the smallest niche range amounting to ca.4,145 km2. Secretarybird had the highest distribution outside protected areas at 77.57% followed by the Martial eagle at 76.89%. Significant predictors of raptor species distribution in Kenya were; precipitation during the warmest quarter, precipitation during the driest month, and precipitation during the coldest quarter. Key areas for raptor conservation listed here could serve as foundation for a number of additional Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Kenya, according to the A1 Global IBA Criterion for species that are globally threatened.
The development of DNA-based methods in recent decades has opened the door to numerous new lines of research in the biological sciences. While their speed and accuracy are clearly beneficial, the sensitivity of these methods has the adverse effect of increased susceptibility to false positives resulting from contamination in field or lab. Here, we present findings from a metabarcoding study on the diet of and food availability for several insectivorous birds, in which multiple lepidopteran species not known to occur locally were discovered. After describing the pattern of occurrences of these non-local species in the samples, we discuss various potential origins of these sequences. First, we assess that the taxonomic assignments appear reliable, and local occurrences of many of the species can be plausibly ruled out. Then, we look into the possibilities of natural environmental contamination, judging it to be unlikely, albeit impossible to fully falsify. Finally, while the pattern of occurrences did not suggest lab contamination, we find overlap with material handled in the same lab, which was undoubtedly not coincidental. Even so, not all exact sequences were accounted for in these locally conducted studies, nor was it clear if these and other sequences could remain detectable years later. Although the full explanation for the observations of non-local species remains inconclusive, these findings highlight the importance of critical examination of metabarcoding results, and showcase how species-level taxonomic assignments utilizing comprehensive reference libraries may be a tool in detecting potential contamination events, and false positives in general.
The 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) melanin is one of important virulence factors for Cryptococcus neoformans, which may trigger immune responses in the host. It is worth exploring the genetic function of C. neoformans, by which we may derive more antifungal strategies. Therefore, we established two systems that were constructed quickly and easily for the knock-down/knock-out of LAC1 gene: RNA interference (RNAi) and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Cas9. The RNAi system used pSilencer 4.1-CMV neo plasmid and short hairpin RNA to realize the effective transcriptional suppression. The CRISPR-Cas9 system used the PNK003 vectors to obtain a stable albino mutant strain. The results of phenotype, qRT-PCR, Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) and spectrophotometry were used to assess the ability of melanin production. As a result, the RNAi system displayed attenuation of transcriptional suppression when the transformants continuously passed on new plates. However, the transcriptional suppression of long loop in short hairpin RNA were more powerful and lasted longer. The CRISPR-Cas9 system constructed an albino strain completely without the ability to produce melanin. Considering the weakening of transcriptional suppression, we recommend using a long loop for the RNAi system and 1st or 2nd passage of knockdown strains for the subsequent studies. Besides, the different capacities of melanin production might be useful for exploring the linear relation between melanin and immunoreaction of the host. In addition, we recommend applying the PNK003 vectors to other serotypes of C. neoformans for quick screening of possible trait-regulating genes because of its easy construction and valid knockout effect.