Recent molecular phylogenies of African green snakes suggested the geographically widespread species Philothamnus carinatus includes at least two distinct lineages. We utilised an integrative taxonomic approach with morphological and genetic data to reconcile the taxonomic status of these cryptic lineages, including the recently described taxon P. brunneus from West Africa. We sequenced three mitochondrial (16S, cyt b and ND4) and two nuclear (c-mos and RAG1) genes from several Central African populations of P. carinatus and combined our data with other closely related species to infer a maximum likelihood phylogenetic tree with IQ-TREE. Our results are consistent with previous studies that showed P. cf. carinatus populations from Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) represent a cryptic lineage that is distinct from P. carinatus sensu stricto in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea (including Bioko Island), Gabon, eastern Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, and extreme western DRC. In our preferred tree, P. brunneus (limited to 16S molecular data) was recovered as a relatively long branch in a moderately supported clade with P. carinatus sensu stricto, whereas P. cf. carinatus populations from northern Angola, most of DRC, and East Africa (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda) were described as a new species, Philothamnus chifunderai n.sp. A possible hybrid population between south-eastern Cameroon and north-western DRC is consistent with an increasing body of evidence suggesting the Ubangi River might represent a hybrid zone area.
Interactive theorem provers are today increasingly used to certify mathematical theories. To formally prove a theorem, reasoning procedures called tactics are invoked successively on the proof states starting with the initial theorem statement, transforming them into subsequent intermediate goals, and ultimately discharging all proof obligations. In this work, we develop and experimentally evaluate approaches that predict the most likely tactics that will achieve particular desired transformations of proof states. First, we design several characterizations to efficiently capture the semantics of the proof transformations. Then we use them to create large datasets on which we train state-of-the-art random forests and language models. The trained models are evaluated experimentally, and we show that our best model is able to guess the right tactic for a given proof transformation in 74% of the cases. Finally, we use the trained methods in two applications: proof shortening and tactic suggesting. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that tactic synthesis is trained on proof transformations and assists interactive theorem proving in these ways.
Research into the family of the Counts Swéerts‐Sporck raised doubts regarding their biographical data, particularly concerning a child who died in 1817, later identified as Philipp Swéerts‐Sporck, and his siblings Joseph and Barbara. These were alleged to include a pair of dizygotic twins, but DNA could not be used to clarify their relationships. Carbon and nitrogen isotopes were therefore measured in their first permanent molars, while Philipp’s biological age was estimated based on his skeleton. Philipp died at an older age than the written sources claim; an isotopic similarity was found between Joseph and Barbara, while Philipp differed.
Background: Hydrogen is a potent antioxidant agent that can easily be administered by inhalation. The aim of the study was to evaluate whether hydrogen protects the endothelial glycocalyx layer after successful cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Methods: Fourteen anesthetized pigs underwent CPR after induced ventricular fibrillation. During CPR and return of spontaneous circulation, 2% hydrogen gas was administered to seven pigs (hydrogen group) and seven constituted a control group. Biochemistry and sublingual microcirculation were assessed at baseline, during CPR, at the 15th, 30th, 60th, 120th minute. Results: All seven subjects from the hydrogen group and six subjects in the control group were successfully resuscitated after 6-10 minutes. At baseline, there were no statistically significant differences in examined variables. After the CPR, blood pH, base excess, and lactate showed significantly smaller deterioration in the hydrogen group than in the control group. By contrast, plasma syndecan-1 and the measured variables obtained via sublingual microcirculation did not change after the CPR; and were virtually identical between the two groups. Conclusion: In pigs, hydrogen gas inhalation during CPR and post-resuscitation care was associated with less pronounced metabolic acidosis compared to controls. However, we could not find evidence of injury to the endothelium or glycocalyx in any studied groups.
The quill mite fauna of the Syringophilidae family (Acariformes: Prostigmata), which is associated with palaeognathous birds of the Tinamiformes order, remains poorly studied. Thus far, only two species of syringophilid mites have been documented on four species of tinamous. In this study, we present a description of a new species, Tinamiphilopsis temmincki sp. n., which was found on the Tataupa Tinamou (Crypturellus tataupa) in South America. This newly identified species differs from others in the genus due to the short hysteronotal setae d2 in females, unlike the long setae d2 found in females of other Tinamiphilopsis species. In addition to describing the new species, we conducted a phylogenetic analysis of the primitive syringophilid genera. The results reveal that the Tinamiphilopsis genus does not emerge as a sister group to all other syringophilids. Instead, it is deeply embedded within the radiation of quill mites associated with neognathous birds. This study provided evidence that mites belonging to the genus Tinamiphilopsis initially parasitised Neoavian birds before host switching to tinamous birds. This placement carries significant implications for our understanding of the evolution of quill mites and their relationship with their avian hosts.
Machaeridians are armoured annelids that were morphologically diverse during the Palaeozoic. The scleritome developed from fleshy protrusions at the base of each parapodium, with alternating segments giving rise to differentiated inner and outer shell plates. The elytra‐like anatomy of the shell‐bearing soft tissues and distinctive jaw apparatus support an affinity of machaeridians with aphroditacean scaleworms. While frequently found as disarticulated remains, whole scleritomes of machaeridians are rare. Only a few species are represented by multiple articulated individuals, rendering many aspects of our knowledge of scleritome construction and growth uncertain. Here we describe a collection of articulated scleritomes of the plumulitid machaeridian Plumulites tafennaensis Chauvel from the Upper Ordovician (Katian) Upper Tiouririne Formation of Morocco that includes individuals representing both adult and juvenile stages. These scleritomes shed light on the morphology of the anterior region in plumulitids and show an increase in the number of shell plates with increasing size, suggesting that unlike some derived lepidocoleids, at least some plumulitids added segments repeatedly during ontogeny. Shell plates with a distinctive umbo have previously been assigned exclusively to the anterior region, but our material shows that they are present along the scleritome, with corresponding sclerites on the opposite side of the skeleton showing normal morphologies. We suggest that these plates are abnormal and best explained as healed injuries, replacing plates that had been previously removed from the body, demonstrating the capacity for machaeridians to regenerate lost body parts, a feature that is widespread in living annelids.
Background: Over 200 different animal species are susceptible to infection by tularemia, highly infectious disease caused by Francisella tularensis. Hares (Lepus sp.) and small rodents, such as common vole (Microtus arvalis), have been acknowledged as the most significant sources of human tularemia infection in most European countries. Our objective was to verify ability of these species in predicting incidence of human tularemia in a Central European country, the Czech Republic. Materials and Methods: We used 17 years of data on densities of European hare (Lepus europaeus) and common vole, and climate variability to test effects of these factors on temporal dynamics of tularemia incidence. The data were obtained from annual reports available from online e-repositories. Results: The analysis showed that 33% of the yearly variation in human tularemia incidence was explained solely by the abundance of European hare in the Czech Republic during 2007-2022. Density of common vole and North Atlantic Oscillation index, a measure of climate variability, did not significantly explain tularemia incidence. While hare population declined severely during 1993-2022, we did not detect any clear accompanied decrease in the prevalence of tularemia in humans and hares. Conclusion: Contrary to expectations, only hares proved capable in predicting yearly dynamics in human tularemia incidence in the Czech Republic. We call for continued monitoring of infection rates in hares and advocate the use of hunter estimates of hare abundance as a cheap and effective means of predicting the risk of tularemia.
Aim Although Antarctica hosted a diverse fauna and flora in the past, its modern climate is too extreme for many lineages: their recent extinction makes it difficult to include the continent in historical biogeographical analyses. We use southern temperate stream‐inhabiting beetles as a model to explore whether Antarctica may be included in historical biogeographic reconstructions in a group absent from Antarctica today, and to test its role in shaping the current distribution of stream‐inhabiting insects. Taxon Coleoptera, Elmidae. Location Southern Hemisphere temperate regions and Antarctica. Methods We included Antarctica in historical biogeographic analyses indirectly, as a component of distance matrices specifying the relative positions of continents, or by specifying Antarctica as a stepping‐stone between remaining continents (in LEMAD). We used a newly constructed dated phylogeny of Elmidae to test the performance of these constrained analyses under different parameter settings and geographical scenarios. Results Antarctica can be implemented into historical biogeographic analyses via indirect constraints to produce biologically relevant reconstructions when long‐distance dispersal events are highly penalized, the maximum number of areas per species is low, and expected extinction rates are high (in LEMAD). Unconstrained models, including those without Antarctica, result in simpler scenarios with fewer biogeographic events and better fit to data. The origin of austral clades of Elmidae post‐date the separation of Gondwanan landmasses. Main Conclusions Antarctica can be included in historical biogeographic reconstructions under a priori assumptions that (1) it was part of the ancient biogeography of the clade, (2) the taxon has limited dispersal ability, making long‐distance dispersal highly unlikely and (3) maximum range size is limited. These assumptions may be biologically justified for many animal groups. Over‐water dispersal has been crucial in shaping the modern distribution of austral stream‐inhabiting beetles, likely facilitated by ocean currents and dispersal through Antarctica until the Oligocene.
A new member of the epidote supergroup, ferriandrosite-(Ce), ideally MnCeFe3+AlMn2+(Si2O7)(SiO4)O(OH), was found at the Július manganese ore occurrence near Betliar, Rožňava Co., Košice Region, Slovakia. It occurs as subhedral grains and polycrystalline aggregates, up to 0.3 mm in size, enclosed in pyroxmangite. Other associated minerals are spessartine, rhodochrosite, quartz, baryte and pyrosmalite-(Mn). Ferriandrosite-(Ce) is dark brown, with a light brown streak and vitreous lustre. The Mohs hardness is about 6½ to 7, tenacity is brittle without any observable cleavage or fracture. The calculated density is 4.321 g·cm-3. Ferriandrosite-(Ce) is optically biaxial (+), with weak pleochroism, high surface relief and the mean calculated refractive index is 1.832. The empirical structural formula of ferriandrosite-(Ce), based on 13 anions per formula unit, is A1(Mn2+0.63Ca0.35Ce0.02)Σ1.00A2(Ce0.53La0.27Nd0.14Pr0.05REE*0.01)Σ1.00M1(Fe3+0.41Al0.12V3+0.01Mg0.40Ti0.05)Σ0.99M2Al1.00M3(Mn2+0.75Fe2+0.22Mg0.03)Σ1.00T13Si3.00O11O4(O0.67F0.33)(OH), where REE* are minor REE. Ferriandrosite-(Ce) is monoclinic, space group P21/m, a = 8.8483(4) Å, b = 5.7307(3) Å c = 10.0314(5) Å, β = 113.3659(15)°, V = 466.95(4) Å3 and Z = 2. The crystal structure of ferriandrosite-(Ce) was refined to a final R1 = 0.0210 for 1910 reflections with Fo > 4σ(Fo) and 127 refined parameters. Structural features of ferriandrosite-(Ce) are discussed and compared with other members of the androsite-series.
Bats of Greece have been studied since the second half of the 19th century. Their distribution and ecology, however, remain poorly understood. Conservation efforts for the protection of the roosting and foraging habitats of their populations in Greece are limited. To date, 35 bat species have been recorded from Greece. Four species (Eptesicus anatolicus, Plecotus auritus, Myotis brandtii and Rousettus aegyptiacus) have a limited distribution in the country and the presence of one species (Myotis mystacinus) requires verification. The present study summarises all existing knowledge and adds several hundred new records on the distribution of bats of Greece. Additionally, it provides a summary of new insights on various aspects of their roosting ecology, foraging habitat use, altitudinal distribution, winter activity and landscape characteristics around major roosts. Finally, it discusses the current research and conservation needs of Greek bats.
Hybridization is a widespread phenomenon in the evolution of plants and exploring its role is crucial to understanding diversification processes of many taxonomic groups. Recently, more attention is focused on the role of ancient hybridization that has repeatedly been shown as triggers of evolutionary radiation, although in some cases, it can prevent further diversification. The causes, frequency, and consequences of ancient hybridization remain to be explored. Here, we present an account of several events of ancient hybridization in turmeric, the economically important plant genus Curcuma (Zingiberaceae), which harbors about 130 known species. We analyzed 1094 targeted low-copy genes and plastomes obtained by next-generation sequencing of 37 species of Curcuma, representing the known genetic diversity and spanning the geographical distribution of the genus. Using phylogenetic network analysis, we show that the entire genus Curcuma as well as its most speciose lineage arose via introgression from the genus Pyrgophyllum and one of the extinct lineages, respectively. We also document a single event of ancient hybridization, with C. vamana as a product, that represents an evolutionary dead end. We further discuss distinct circumstances of those hybridization events that deal mainly with (in)congruence in chromosome counts of the parental lineages.
An essential prerequisite to safeguard pollinator species is characterisation of the multifaceted diversity of crop pollinators and identification of the drivers of pollinator community changes across biogeographical gradients. The extent to which intensive agriculture is associated with the homogenisation of biological communities at large spatial scales remains poorly understood. In this study, we investigated diversity drivers for 644 bee species/morphospecies in 177 commercial apple orchards across 33 countries and four global biogeographical biomes. Our findings reveal significant taxonomic dissimilarity among biogeographical zones. Interestingly, despite this dissimilarity, species from different zones share similar higher-level phylogenetic groups and similar ecological and behavioural traits (i.e. functional traits), likely due to habitat filtering caused by perennial monoculture systems managed intensively for crop production. Honey bee species dominated orchard communities, while other managed/manageable and wild species were collected in lower numbers. Moreover, the presence of herbaceous, uncultivated open areas and organic management practices were associated with increased wild bee diversity. Overall, our study sheds light on the importance of large-scale analyses contributing to the emerging fields of functional and phylogenetic diversity, which can be related to ecosystem function to promote biodiversity as a key asset in agroecosystems in the face of global change pressures.
Oxysterols, oxidized derivatives of cholesterol, act in breast cancer (BC) as selective estrogen-receptor modulators and affect cholesterol homeostasis, drug transport, nuclear and cell receptors, and other signaling proteins. Using data from three highly overlapping sets of patients (N=162 in total) with early-stage estrogen-receptor-positive luminal BC-high-coverage targeted DNA sequencing (113 genes), mRNA sequencing, and full micro-RNA (miRNA) transcriptome microarrays-we describe complex oxysterol-related interaction (correlation) networks, with validation in public datasets (n=538) and 11 databases. The ESR1-CH25H-INSIG1-ABCA9 axis was the most prominent, interconnected through miR-125b-5p, miR-99a-5p, miR-100-5p, miR-143-3p, miR-199b-5p, miR-376a-3p and miR-376c-3p. Mutations in SC5D, CYP46A1, and its functionally linked gene set were associated with multiple differentially expressed oxysterol-related genes. STARD5 was upregulated in patients with positive lymph-node status. High expression of hsa-miR-19b-3p was weakly associated with poor survival. This is the first study of oxysterol-related genes in BC that combines DNA, mRNA and miRNA multi-omics with detailed clinical data. Future studies should provide links between intra-tumoral oxysterol signaling depicted here, circulating oxysterols levels, and therapy outcomes, enabling eventual clinical exploitation of present findings.
The high diversity of extant gobiids (Gobiidae: Teleostei) makes taxonomic and phylogenetic interpretation of fossil members of the clade a difficult task. To facilitate future taxonomic and systematic work on the group, we have assembled a morphological reference database encompassing skeletal characters, an otolith atlas and otolith morphometric data of 25 present-day species from the European Gobius lineage (s.l.) that represent 18 different genera and include all nine sublineages. We show that: (1) skeletal traits and morphometric otolith variables can be diagnostic for a sublineage; (2) otolith morphology allows identification at the genus and species levels; and (3) the number of anal-fin rays and details of the otolith margins can be used to discriminate closely related dwarf gobies. The skeletal and otolith characters are largely stable in the marine gobies analysed here, whereas freshwater gobies (Padogobius, Ponto-Caspian gobies) are far more variable. This might be related to the conquest by Padogobius and Ponto-Caspian gobies of freshwater and low-salinity habitats, in which environmental conditions can fluctuate widely. We anticipate that the database presented here can be used as a valuable reference tool to assess the relationships of fossil gobiids and increase our knowledge of the evolutionary history of the group as a whole.
Herein, Austrelatus gen. nov. (type species: Copelatus irregularis W.J. Macleay, 1871) is described for a distinctive lineage of predominantly Australasian species previously assigned to Copelatus Erichson, 1832. The new genus was retrieved as well supported, monophyletic clade in phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequences data using Bayesian and parsimony approaches. The main morphological diagnostic character of Austrelatus is a complex median lobe of the aedeagus, with evident dorsal and ventral sclerites usually divided in apical half into two lobes of different shape or otherwise modified. Morphological comparison of the new genus with other Copelatinae genera, especially with Copelatus and Exocelina Broun, 1886, and a generic key to the New Guinean Copelatinae are provided. New combinations are established for 31 already described species mainly from the Australian Region (all from Copelatus ): Austrelatus adelbert (Megna, Atthakor, Manaono, Hendrich & Balke, 2017), comb. nov. ; A. badeni (Sharp, 1882), comb. nov. ; A. bakewelli (J. Balfour-Browne, 1939), comb. nov. ; A. baranensis (Hájek, Shaverdo, Hendrich & Balke, 2021), comb. nov. ; A. bougainvillensis (Hájek, Shaverdo, Hendrich & Balke, 2021), comb. nov. ; A. boukali (Hendrich & Balke, 1998), comb. nov. ; A. clarki (Sharp, 1882), comb. nov. ; A. daemeli (Sharp, 1882), comb. nov. ; A. davidi (Wewalka, 2017), comb. nov. ; A. deccanensis (Sheth, Ghate & Hájek, 2018), comb. nov. ; A. fidschiensis (Zimmermann, 1928), comb. nov. ; A. gestroi (Régimbart, 1892), comb. nov. ; A. irregularis (W.J. Macleay, 1871), comb. nov. ; A. kaszabi (Guignot, 1956), comb. nov. ; A. kietensis (Hájek, Shaverdo, Hendrich & Balke, 2021), comb. nov. ; A. laevipennis (Hájek, Shaverdo, Hendrich & Balke, 2021), comb. nov. ; A. luteomaculatus (Guignot, 1956), comb. nov. ; A. maushomi (Sheth, Ghate & Hájek, 2018), comb. nov. ; A. neoguineensis (Zimmermann, 1919), comb. nov. ; A. nigrolineatus (Sharp, 1882), comb. nov. ; A. papuensis (J. Balfour-Browne, 1939), comb. nov. ; A. parallelus (Zimmermann, 1920a), comb. nov. ; A. schuhi (Hendrich & Balke, 1998), comb. nov. ; A. sibelaemontis (Hájek, Hendrich, Hawlitschek & Balke, 2010), comb. nov. ; A. strigosulus (Fairmaire, 1878), comb. nov. ; A. ternatensis (Régimbart, 1899), comb. nov. ; A. uludanuensis (Hendrich & Balke, 1995), comb. nov. ; A. urceolus (Hájek, Shaverdo, Hendrich & Balke, 2021), comb. nov. ; A. variistriatus (Hájek, Shaverdo, Hendrich & Balke, 2021), comb. nov. ; A. wallacei (J. Balfour-Browne, 1939), comb. nov. and A. xanthocephalus (Régimbart, 1899), comb. nov. Austrelatus species from New Guinea are divided into two informal species groups, the A. neoguineensis group and A. papuensis group, and A. fumato sp. nov. and A. setiphallus sp. nov. standing aside of them. The A. neoguineensis group is introduced with three previously known species and 29 new species described here based on the morphological characters and Cox1 data: Austrelatus baliem sp. nov. , A. bormensis sp. nov. , A. brazza sp. nov. , A. debulensis sp. nov. , A. fakfak sp. nov. , A. febrisauri sp. nov. , A. fojaensis sp. nov. , A. garainensis sp. nov. , A. innominatus sp. nov. , A. lembenensis sp. nov. , A. lisae sp. nov. , A. manokwariensis sp. nov. , A. mimika sp. nov. , A. mirificus sp. nov. , A. moreguinensis sp. nov. , A. nadjae sp. nov. , A. oksibilensis sp. nov. , A. pseudoneoguineensis sp. nov. , A. pseudoksibilensis sp. nov. , A. rajaampatensis sp. nov. , A. rouaffer sp. nov. , A. rugosus sp. nov. , A. sandaunensis sp. nov. , A. sarmiensis sp. nov. , A. securiformis sp. nov. , A. testegensis sp. nov. , A. toricelli sp. nov. , A. vagauensis sp. nov. , and A. wanggarensis sp. nov. Copelatus vagestriatus Zimmermann, 1919, syn. nov. is recognised as a junior subjective synonym of A. clarki (Sharp, 1882). The lectotypes of Copelatus gestroi Régimbart, 1892, C. neoguineensis Zimmermann, 1919 and C. xanthocephalus Régimbart, 1899 are designated. All species are (re)described, and their important species characters (genitalia, habitus, and colour patterns) are illustrated. Keys to all species are provided. The known distribution and habitat preferences of each species are outlined briefly. New Guinean Austrelatus occupy a variety of stagnant water habitats, either lentic sensu stricto , or standing water associated with lotic habitats (e.g., backflows, rockpools, intermittent / ephemeral stream pools).
Background COVID-19 affected people and countries disproportionately and continues to impact the health of people. The aim is to investigate protective health and socio-geographical factors for post-COVID-19 conditions in adults aged 50 years and older in Europe. Methods Using longitudinal data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, collected from June to August 2021, protective factors against post-COVID-19 condition among 1909 respondents who self-reported a positive COVID-19 test result were investigated using multiple logistic regression models. Results Male adults living outside of Czechia, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia (Visegrad group, V4), who received the COVID-19 vaccination, tertiary or higher education, had a healthy weight (body mass index, BMI 18.5–24.9 kg/m ² ) and no underlying health condition/s, showed protective effects against post-COVID-19 condition. Health inequalities associated with BMI were observed in education attainment and comorbidities, with higher BMI having lower education attainment and higher comorbidities. Health inequality was particularly evident in individuals in V4 with higher obesity prevalence and lower attainment of higher education than those living in other regions in the study. Conclusion Our study suggests that healthy weight and higher education attainment are predictors associated with a lower incidence of post-COVID-19 condition. Health inequality associated with education attainment was particularly relevant in V4. Our results highlight health inequality in which BMI was associated with comorbidities and educational attainment. To reduce obesity prevalence among older people with lower education, raising awareness about the risks of obesity and providing assistance in maintaining a healthy weight are needed.
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