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11 December 2017

Recovering the evolutionary history of crowned pigeons (Columbidae: Goura): implications for the biogeography and conservation of New Guinean lowland birds [Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution]

Jade Bruxaux, Maëva Gabrielli, Guillaume Besnard, Christophe Thébaud

Assessing the relative contributions of immigration and diversification into the buildup of species diversity is key to understanding the role of historical processes in driving biogeographical and diversification patterns in species-rich regions. Here, we investigated how colonization, in situ speciation, and extinction history may have generated the present-day distribution and diversity of Goura crowned pigeons (Columbidae), a group of large forest-dwelling pigeons comprising four recognized species that are all endemic to New Guinea. We used a comprehensive geographical and taxonomic sampling based mostly on historical museum samples, and shallow shotgun sequencing, to generate complete mitogenomes, nuclear ribosomal clusters and independent nuclear conserved DNA elements. We used these datasets independently to reconstruct molecular phylogenies.(...)

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8 December 2017

On the origin of modern humans: Asian perspectives [Science]

In recent years, there has been increasing focus on the paleoanthropology of Asia, particularly the migration patterns of early modern humans as they spread out of Africa. Bae et al. review the current state of the Late Pleistocene Asian human evolutionary record from archaeology, hominin paleontology, geochronology, genetics, and paleoclimatology. They evaluate single versus multiple dispersal models and southern versus the northern dispersal routes across the Asian continent. They also review behavioral and environmental variability and how these may have affected modern human dispersals and interactions with indigenous populations.

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7 December 2017

Sex differences in adult mortality rate mediated by early-life environmental conditions [Ecology Letters]

Keywords : development, environmental variation, humans, life-history, sexual dimorphism

Variation in sex differences is affected by both genetic and environmental variation, with rapid change in sex differences being more likely due to environmental change. One case of rapid change in sex differences is human lifespan, which has become increasingly female-biased in recent centuries. Long-term consequences of variation in the early-life environment may, in part, explain such variation in sex differences, but whether the early-life environment mediates sex differences in life-history traits is poorly understood in animals. Combining longitudinal data on 60 cohorts of pre-industrial Finns with environmental data, we show that the early-life environment is associated with sex differences in adult mortality and expected lifespan. Specifically, low infant survival rates and high rye yields (an important food source) in early-life are associated with female-bias in adult lifespan. These results support the hypothesis that environmental change has the potential to affect sex differences in life-history traits in natural populations of long-lived mammals.

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7 December 2017

Epigenetic considerations in aquaculture [PeerJ]

Keywords : aquaculture, fisheries and fish science, molecular biology

Epigenetics has attracted considerable attention with respect to its potential value in many areas of agricultural production, particularly under conditions where the environment can be manipulated or natural variation exists. Here we introduce key concepts and definitions of epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA methylation, histone modifications and non-coding RNA, review the current understanding of epigenetics in both fish and shellfish, and propose key areas of aquaculture where epigenetics could be applied.(...)

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6 December 2017

The functional syndrome: linking individual trait variability to ecosystem functioning [Proceedings of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences]

Allan Raffard, Julien Cote, Mathieu Buoro, Remy Lassus, Julien Cucherousset

La variabilité phénotypique est de plus en plus évaluée par la réponse fonctionnelle et les caractères d’effet, qui fournissent un cadre mécanistique pour étudier comment un organisme réagit à divers facteurs écologiques et comment ces réponses affectent le fonctionnement de l’écosystème. La covariation entre les caractères de réponse et d’effet a été mal examinée au niveau intraspécifique, ce qui a entravé les progrès dans la compréhension de la façon dont la variabilité phénotypique modifie le rôle des organismes dans les écosystèmes. En utilisant une approche multi-caractères et une surveillance longitudinale de neuf mois de l’écrevisse commune (Procambarus clarkii), nous avons démontré que la plupart des caractères de réponse et d’effet mesurés étaient partiellement stables durant l’ontogenèse des individus. Les suites de réponse et les caractéristiques de l’effet ont été associées à un syndrome de réponse et un syndrome d’effet, respectivement, qui ont été corrélés pour former un syndrome fonctionnel.(...)

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