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15 March 2017

Antibiotic exposure perturbs the gut microbiota and elevates mortality in honeybees [PLOS Biology]

Keywords : bees, honey bees, tetracyclines, antibiotics, serratia, microbiome, opportunistic pathogens Gut bacteria

Gut microbiomes play crucial roles in animal health, and shifts in the gut microbial community structure can have detrimental impacts on hosts. Studies with vertebrate models and human subjects suggest that antibiotic treatments greatly perturb the native gut community, thereby facilitating proliferation of pathogens. In fact, persistent infections following antibiotic treatment are a major medical issue. In apiculture, antibiotics are frequently used to prevent bacterial infections of larval bees, but the impact of antibiotic-induced dysbiosis (microbial imbalance) on bee health and susceptibility to disease has not been fully elucidated. Here, we evaluated the effects of antibiotic exposure on the size and composition of honeybee gut communities.(...)

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15 March 2017

Global determinants of zoogeographical boundaries [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : biogeography, macroecology

The distribution of living organisms on Earth is spatially structured. Early biogeographers identified the existence of multiple zoogeographical regions, characterized by faunas with homogeneous composition that are separated by biogeographical boundaries. Yet, no study has deciphered the factors shaping the distributions of terrestrial biogeographical boundaries at the global scale. Here, using spatial regression analyses, we show that tectonic movements, sharp changes in climatic conditions and orographic barriers determine extant biogeographical boundaries.(...)

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15 March 2017

Striving for transparent and credible research: practical guidelines for behavioral ecologists [Behavioral Ecology]

Isabel S Winney

Science is meant to be the systematic and objective study of the world but evidence suggests that scientific practices are sometimes falling short of this expectation. In this invited idea, we argue that any failure to conduct research according to a documented plan (lack of reliability) and/or any failure to ensure that reconducting the same project would provide the same finding (lack of reproducibility), will result in a low probability of independent studies reaching the same outcome (lack of replicability). After outlining the challenges facing behavioral ecology and science more broadly and incorporating advice from international organizations such as the Center for Open Science (COS), we present clear guidelines and tutorials on what we think open practices represent for behavioral ecologists.(...)

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14 March 2017

3D structures of individual mammalian genomes studied by single-cell Hi-C [Nature]

The folding of genomic DNA from the beads-on-a-string-like structure of nucleosomes into higher-order assemblies is crucially linked to nuclear processes. Here we calculate 3D structures of entire mammalian genomes using data from a new chromosome conformation capture procedure that allows us to first image and then process single cells. The technique enables genome folding to be examined at a scale of less than 100 kb, and chromosome structures to be validated.(...)

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14 March 2017

Reconstructing the genome of the most recent common ancestor of flowering plants [Nature Genetics]

Keywords : genomics, plant genetics

We describe here the reconstruction of the genome of the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of modern monocots and eudicots, accounting for 95% of extant angiosperms, with its potential repertoire of 22,899 ancestral genes conserved in present-day crops. The MRCA provides a starting point for deciphering the reticulated evolutionary plasticity between species (rapidly versus slowly evolving lineages), subgenomes (pre- versus post-duplication blocks), genomic compartments (stable versus labile loci), genes (ancestral versus species-specific genes) and functions (gained versus lost ontologies), the key mutational forces driving the success of polyploidy in crops.(...)

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