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Home > Communication > Scientific newsletter > Scientific publications

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3 May 2018

Temporal development of Drosophila embryos is highly robust across a wide temperature range [BioRxiv]

Development is a precisely coordinated process in both space and time. Spatial precision has been quantified in a number of developmental systems, and, for example, such data has contributed significantly to our understanding of morphogen gradient interpretation. However, comparatively little quantitative analysis has been performed on timing and temporal coordination during development. Here, we use Drosophila to explore the temporal robustness of embryonic development within physiologically normal temperatures. We find that development is temporally very precise across a wide range of temperatures in all three Drosophila species investigated. However, we find temperature dependence in the heterochronicity.(...)

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3 May 2018

Lifting the veil: richness measurements fail to detect systematic biodiversity change over three decades [Ecology]

Keywords : functional diversity, homogenization, spatial scale, species specialization, species traits, temporal beta‐diversity

While there is widespread recognition of human involvement in biodiversity loss globally, at smaller spatial extents, the effects are less clear. One reason is that local effects are obscured by the use of summary biodiversity variables, such as species richness, that provide only limited insight into complex biodiversity change. Here, we use 30 yr of invertebrate data from a metacommunity of 10 streams in Wales, UK, combined with regional surveys, to examine temporal changes in multiple biodiversity measures at local, metacommunity, and regional scales.(...)

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27 April 2018

Urbanization drives contemporary evolution in stream fish [Global Change Biology]

Keywords : creek chub, global environmental change, human impacts, morphology, phenotypic plasticity, Rhinichthys obtusus, Semotilus atromaculatus, urban streams, western blacknose dace

Human activities reduce biodiversity but may also drive diversification by modifying selection. Urbanization alters stream hydrology by increasing peak water velocities, which should in turn alter selection on the body morphology of aquatic species. Here, we show how urbanization can generate evolutionary divergence in the body morphology of two species of stream fish, western blacknose dace (Rhinichthys obtusus) and creek chub (Semotilus atromaculatus). We predicted that fish should evolve more streamlined body shapes within urbanized streams. We found that in urban streams, dace consistently exhibited more streamlined bodies while chub consistently showed deeper bodies.

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27 April 2018

Comparison of methods that use whole genome data to estimate the heritability and genetic architecture of complex traits [Nature Genetics]

Keywords : genome-wide association studies, software

Multiple methods have been developed to estimate narrow-sense heritability, h2, using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in unrelated individuals. However, a comprehensive evaluation of these methods has not yet been performed, leading to confusion and discrepancy in the literature. We present the most thorough and realistic comparison of these methods to date. We used thousands of real whole-genome sequences to simulate phenotypes under varying genetic architectures and confounding variables, and we used array, imputed, or whole genome sequence SNPs to obtain ‘SNP-heritability’ estimates.(...)

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27 April 2018

Inferring pathogen dynamics from temporal count data: the emergence of Xylella fastidiosa in France is probably not recent [New Phytologist]

Keywords : Bayesian inference, emerging plant pathogen, infection reservoir, introduction date, mechanistic‐statistical model, multi‐host pathogen, plant–pathogen interaction, surveillance data

Unravelling the ecological structure of emerging plant pathogens persisting in multi‐host systems is challenging. In such systems, observations are often heterogeneous with respect to time, space and host species, and may lead to biases of perception. The biased perception of pathogen ecology may be exacerbated by hidden fractions of the whole host population, which may act as infection reservoirs.
We designed a mechanistic‐statistical approach to help understand the ecology of emerging pathogens by filtering out some biases of perception. This approach, based on SIR (Susceptible–Infected–Removed) models and a Bayesian framework, disentangles epidemiological and observational processes underlying temporal counting data.
We applied our approach to French surveillance data on Xylella fastidiosa, a multi‐host pathogenic bacterium recently discovered in Corsica, France.(...)

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