G. Heckel's research while affiliated with Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics and other places

Publications (344)

Article
Aim: Many species experienced population turnover and local extinction during the Late Pleistocene. In the case of megafauna, it remains challenging to disentangle climate change and the activities of Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers as the main cause. In contrast, the impact of humans on rodent populations is likely to be negligible. This study inves...
Article
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Bat-associated hantaviruses have been detected in Asia, Africa and Europe. Recently, a novel hantavirus (Brno loanvirus, BRNV) was identified in common noctule bats ( Nyctalus noctula ) in the Czech Republic, but nothing is known about its geographical range and prevalence. The objective of this study was to evaluate the distribution and host speci...
Article
Many species experienced population turnover and local extinction during the Late Pleistocene. In the case of megafauna, it remains challenging to disentangle climate change and the activities of Palaeolithic hunter‐gatherers as the main cause. In contrast, the impact of humans on rodent populations is likely to be negligible. This study investigat...
Article
Full-text available
Individuals of a population may vary along a pace-of-life syndrome from highly fecund, short-lived, bold, dispersive “fast” types at one end of the spectrum to less fecund, long-lived, shy, plastic “slow” types at the other end. Risk-taking behavior might mediate the underlying life history trade-off, but empirical evidence supporting this hypothes...
Preprint
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Aim The common vole is a temperate rodent widespread across Europe. It was also one of the most abundant small mammal species throughout the Late Pleistocene. Phylogeographic studies of its extant populations suggested the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, 26.5–19 ka ago) as one of the main drivers of the species’ population dynamics. However, analyses ba...
Article
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The population dynamics of most animal species inhabiting agro-ecosystems may be determined by landscape characteristics, with agricultural intensification and the reduction of natural habitats influencing dispersal and hence limiting gene flow. Increasing landscape complexity would thus benefit many endangered species by providing different ecolog...
Article
Full-text available
Individuals of a population may vary along a pace‐of‐life syndrome from highly fecund, short‐lived, bold, dispersive “fast” types at one end of the spectrum to less fecund, long‐lived, shy, plastic “slow” types at the other end. Risk‐taking behavior might mediate the underlying life history trade‐off, but empirical evidence supporting this hypothes...
Article
In Europe, zoonotic Leptospira spp. and orthohantaviruses are mainly associated with specific rodent hosts. These pathogens cause febrile human diseases with similar symptoms and disease progression. In Lithuania, the presence of Dobrava‐Belgrade orthohantavirus (DOBV), Tula orthohantavirus (TULV) and Leptospira spp. in rodent reservoirs is still u...
Article
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Species A rotaviruses (RVAs) are important etiological agents of severe diarrhea in young children. They are also widely distributed in mammals and birds, and increasing evidence indicates the possibility of zoonotic transmission of RVA strains between animals and humans. Moreover, reassortment of the eleven segments of the RVA genome can result in...
Article
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Morphological differentiation associated with evolutionary diversification is often explained with adaptive benefits but the processes and mechanisms maintaining cryptic diversity are still poorly understood. Using genome-wide data, we show here that the pale sand martin Riparia diluta in Central and East Asia consists of three genetically deeply d...
Article
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The natural host ranges of many viruses are restricted to very specific taxa. Little is known about the molecular barriers between species that lead to the establishment of this restriction or generally prevent virus emergence in new hosts. Here, we identify genomic polymorphisms in a natural rodent host associated with a strong genetic barrier to...
Article
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In mammals, the zona pellucida glycoprotein 3 (ZP3) is considered a primary sperm receptor of the oocyte and is hypothesized to be involved in reproductive isolation. We investigated patterns of diversity and selection in the putative sperm-binding region (pSBR) of mouse ZP3 across Cricetidae and Murinae, two hyperdiverse taxonomic groups within mu...
Conference Paper
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Text Human cases of haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome in Europe are mainly caused by Puumala orthohantavirus, Dobrava-Belgrade orthohantavirus and Seoul orthohantavirus. Only few cases were caused by Tula orthohantavirus (TULV) infection. Tatenale orthohantavirus (TATV) is a new orthohantavirus with unknown zoonotic potential, found in field v...
Article
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The development of new diagnostic methods resulted in the discovery of novel hepaciviruses in wild populations of the bank vole (Myodes glareolus, syn. Clethrionomys glareolus). The naturally infected voles demonstrate signs of hepatitis similar to those induced by hepatitis C virus (HCV) in humans. The aim of the present research was to investigat...
Article
Full-text available
Tula orthohantavirus (TULV) is a rodent-borne hantavirus with broad geographical distribution in Europe. Its major reservoir is the common vole (Microtus arvalis), but TULV has also been detected in closely related vole species. Given the large distributional range and high amplitude population dynamics of common voles, this host–pathogen complex p...
Article
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Hepatitis E is an emerging viral disease that is the leading cause of viral hepatitis in the world. The vast majority of hepatitis E cases in developed countries are caused by zoonotic genotypes 3 and 4 of hepatitis E virus (HEV) for which pig and wild boar and to lesser extent rabbits are the main reservoir. According to recent reports rabbits are...
Article
The common vole (Microtus arvalis) is a major agricultural pest in Europe and a reservoir for several zoonotic agents, such as Leptospira spp. and Tula orthohantavirus (TULV). However, little is known about the occurrence of these pathogens in voles from Spain where the species has largely expanded its distribution range in the last decades causing...
Article
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Background The ladybird beetle Cryptolaemus montrouzieri Mulsant, 1853 (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae) is used worldwide as a biological control agent. It is a predator of various mealybug pests, but it also feeds on alternative prey and can be reared on artificial diets. Relatively little is known about the underlying genetic adaptations of its feedin...
Article
Full-text available
European orthohantaviruses (Puumala orthohantavirus (PUUV); Dobrava-Belgrade orthohantavirus (DOBV), genotype Kurkino; Tula orthohantavirus (TULV)), and Leptospira spp. are small mammal-associated zoonotic pathogens that cause diseases with potentially similar symptoms in humans. We investigated the frequency of Leptospira spp. and hantavirus singl...
Article
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The striped field mouse (Apodemus agrarius) is known to carry several zoonotic pathogens, including Leptospira spp. and Dobrava-Belgrade orthohantavirus (DOBV). Since its first detection in 1996 in south-east Austria, the striped field mouse has further expanded its range in Austria. Here, we screened 35 striped field mice collected in an Austrian...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background The ladybird beetle Cryptolaemus montrouzieri Mulsant (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae) is used worldwide as a biological control agent. It is a predator of various mealybug pests, but it also feeds on alternative prey and can be reared on artificial diets. Relatively little is known about the underlying genetic adaptations of its feeding habi...
Article
Full-text available
Hantaviruses are zoonotic pathogens that can cause subclinical to lethal infections in humans. In Europe, five orthohantaviruses are present in rodents: Myodes-associated Puumala orthohantavirus (PUUV), Microtus-associated Tula orthohantavirus, Traemmersee hantavirus (TRAV)/ Tatenale hantavirus (TATV)/ Kielder hantavirus, rat-borne Seoul orthohanta...
Article
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Research on the ecology and evolution of viruses is often hampered by the limitation of sequence information to short parts of the genomes or single genomes derived from cultures. In this study, we use hybrid sequence capture enrichment in combination with high-throughput sequencing to provide efficient access to full genomes of European hantavirus...
Article
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The S segment of bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus)-associated Puumala orthohantavirus (PUUV) contains two overlapping open reading frames coding for the nucleocapsid (N) and a non-structural (NSs) protein. To identify the influence of bank vole population dynamics on PUUV S segment sequence evolution and test for spillover infections in sympatric...
Article
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Rodents host different orthohepeviruses, namely orthohepevirus C genotype HEV-C1 (rat hepatitis E virus, HEV) and the additional putative genotypes HEV-C3 and HEV-C4. Here, we screened 2,961 rodents from Central Europe by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and identified HEV RNA in 13 common voles (Microtus arvalis) and one ba...
Article
Vole-associated hantaviruses occur in the Old and New World. Tula orthohantavirus (TULV) is widely distributed throughout the European continent in its reservoir, the common vole (Microtus arvalis), but the virus was also frequently detected in field voles (Microtus agrestis) and other vole species. TULV and common voles are absent from Great Brita...
Article
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Background Speciation with gene flow is an alternative to the nascence of new taxa in strict allopatric separation. Indeed, many taxa have parapatric distributions at present. It is often unclear if these are secondary contacts, e.g. caused by past glaciation cycles or the manifestation of speciation with gene flow, which hampers our understanding...
Article
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Biological control is the main purpose of intentionally introducing non‐native invertebrate species. The evolutionary changes that occur in the populations of the introduced biological control agents may determine the agent's efficiency and the environmental safety. Here, to explore the pattern and extent of potential genomic changes in the worldwi...
Data
Maximum phylogenetic divergence (see Methods) among TULV partial S-segment sequences sampled within individual host populations. Genetic divergence was plotted against the projected geographic distance in kilometers along the axes of the Porcelain (A) and Bavaria (B) transects starting from the western-most locations. Symbol sizes are proportional...
Data
Inference of divergent natural selection between TULV clades. Clade model C implemented in the software PAML was fitted to individual TULV genome segments with data partitioned according to TULV-CEN.S and TULV-EST.S phylogenetic clades. The ratios of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitutions (ω = dN/dS) are indicated for different site classes (ω0,...
Data
Overview of TULV genome assemblies. Sample: sample name corresponding to Fig 1; sequencing: Illumina read length and pairs specification; total nr of reads: number of reads after duplicates were removed (see Methods section); percentage of reads mapped: fraction of primary aligned reads to the reference sequence; nr of reads: number of reads mapped...
Data
Bayesian phylogenetic tree of mitochondrial cytochrome b gene sequences. Novel sequences (blunt tips) from the Porcelain and Bavaria transects were assigned to the Central (red) and Eastern (yellow) evolutionary lineages in the common vole using published reference sequences (round tips). Bank vole (Myodes glareolus) sequences were used as outgroup...
Data
Results of site models implemented in the software PAML fitted to individual TULV genome segments. Nonsynonymous to synonymous substitutions ratios (ω = dN/dS) are shown for each site class for models M0–M3 (ω0–ω2). For models M7–M8, the shape parameters p and q describing the beta distribution are indicated as well as ωp for the positively selecte...
Data
Phylogenetic relationships between TULV M-segment sequences (366 nucleotides). Novel sequences (n = 54) from PT and BT (blunt tips) cluster with published sequences (round tips, S7 Table) from the TULV-CEN.S (red) and TULV-EST.S (yellow) clades. PUUV was used as outgroup; posterior probabilities for major nodes are indicated. BT, Bavaria transect;...
Data
Pairwise sequence identity between potentially reassorted TULV-EST.S genome sequences from the Porcelain (A) and Bavaria (B) transects resulting from a sliding-window analysis with the software RDP4. Pairwise identity between J, K, and L (red: J–K; blue: J–L; orange: K–L) and D, E, and F (red: D–E; blue: D–F; orange: E–F) sequences is shown on the...
Data
Phylogenetic tree based on 283 nucleotides of the TULV L genome segment. Published sequences (round tips, S7 Table) were used to assign 60 novel sequences (blunt tips) from PT and BT to the TULV-CEN.S (red) and TULV-EST.S (yellow) clusters. Note that no sequences from the TULV clade Eastern North are available for this genomic region. For major nod...
Article
Full-text available
The diversity of viruses probably exceeds biodiversity of eukaryotes, but little is known about the origin and emergence of novel virus species. Experimentation and disease outbreak investigations have allowed the characterization of rapid molecular virus adaptation. However, the processes leading to the establishment of functionally distinct virus...
Data
Genetic structure in common voles (M. arvalis) in the Porcelain (A) and Bavaria (B) transects across the hybrid zone between the Central and Eastern evolutionary lineages based on autosomal microsatellite markers. Each bar represents the individual probability of membership as determined with the software STRUCTURE to the Central (red) or Eastern (...
Data
Amino acid positions in nucleocapsid protein (S-segment), GPC (M-segment), and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (L-segment) with variants private to six TULV-CEN.S (A–C and G–I) or six TULV-EST.S (D–F and J–L) genomes (see Fig 1). The region of high amino acid diversity in the M-segment–encoded envelope glycoprotein is indicated with bold letters. Colo...
Data
Results from evolutionary analyses performed in the software HYPHY. TULV genome segments were analyzed separately using the FUBAR and MEME methods to detect amino acid positions under natural selection. Positively selected positions are indicated with the posterior probability P (for FUBAR) or a p-value (for MEME). TULV, Tula orthohantavirus. (XLSX...
Data
Results from BrS analyses performed on individual TULV genome segments. The data were partitioned according to TULV-CEN.S and TULV-EST.S phylogenetic clades with the indicated partition analyzed as FG where the BG contained the remaining taxa. The nonsynonymous to synonymous substitutions ratios (ω = dN/dS) are indicated for different site classes...
Data
Reference sequences for TULV clades in the order of appearance in the phylogenetic trees (Fig 2, S3 and S4 Figs) from top to bottom and PUUV outgroup strains. Columns indicate the genome segments, GenBank accession numbers, and TULV clade associations. PUUV, Puumala orthohantavirus; TULV, Tula orthohantavirus. (XLSX)
Article
Full-text available
Aim In this study, we conduct a quantitative meta‐analysis to investigate broad patterns of genetic variation throughout large geographical regions in order to elucidate concordant geographical patterns across species and identify common historical processes to better inform the “cryptic refugia” versus the traditional “southern refugia” hypothesis...
Preprint
Full-text available
Speciation with gene flow is an alternative to the nascence of new taxa in strict allopatric separation. Indeed, many taxa have parapatric distributions at present. It is often unclear if these are secondary contacts, e.g. caused by past glaciation cycles or the manifestation of speciation with gene flow, which hampers our understanding of how diff...
Article
A key adaptation of mammals to their environment is their ability to maintain a constant high body temperature, even at rest, under a wide range of ambient temperatures. In cold climates, this is achieved by an adaptive production of endogenous heat, known as nonshivering thermogenesis (NST), in the brown adipose tissue (BAT). This organ, unique to...
Article
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Aim The current volume of global trade has led to an unprecedented rate of biological invasions, causing severe problems to native ecosystems. The knowledge of species introduction routes and areas suitable for establishment is therefore an important step in preventing future invasions. The situation can be further exacerbated by climate change, wh...
Article
Rabbit associated genotype 3 hepatitis E virus (HEV) strains were detected in feral, pet and farm rabbits in different parts of the world since 2009 and recently also in human patients. Here we report a serological and molecular survey on 72 feral rabbits, collected along a rural-urban transect in and next to Frankfurt am Main, Central Germany. ELI...
Article
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Analyzing genetic variation through time and space is important to identify key evolutionary and ecological processes in populations. However, using contemporary genetic data to infer the dynamics of genetic diversity may be at risk of a bias, as inferences are performed from a set of extant populations, setting aside unavailable, rare, or now exti...
Article
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Hybridization with invasive species is one of the major threats to the phenotypic and genetic persistence of native organisms worldwide. Arion vulgaris (syn. lusitanicus) is a major agricultural pest slug that successfully invaded many European countries in recent decades, but its impact on closely related native species remains unclear. Here, we h...
Article
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The time scales of pathogen evolution are of major concern in the context of public and veterinary health, epidemiology and evolutionary biology. Dating the emergence of a pathogen often relies on estimates of evolutionary rates derived from nucleotide sequence data. For many viruses, this has yielded estimates of evolutionary origins only a few hu...
Article
Rat hepatitis E virus (HEV) is genetically only distantly related to hepeviruses found in other mammalian reservoirs and in humans. It was initially detected in Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) from Germany, and subsequently in rats from Vietnam, the USA, Indonesia, China, Denmark and France. Here, we report on a molecular survey of Norway rats and...
Article
Full-text available
Puumala virus (PUUV) represents one of the most important hantaviruses in Central Europe. Phylogenetic analyses of PUUV strains indicate a strong genetic structuring of this hantavirus. Recently, PUUV sequences were identified in the natural reservoir, the bank vole (Myodes glareolus), collected in the northern part of Poland. The objective of this...
Article
Full-text available
Human hantavirus disease cases, caused by Puumala virus (PUUV), are mainly recorded in western and southern areas of Germany. This bank vole reservoir survey confirmed PUUV presence in these regions but its absence in northern and eastern regions. PUUV occurrence is associated with the presence of the Western bank vole phylogroup.
Data
Serologic and molecular Puumala virus detection in bank voles from Germany and bank vole evolutionary lineage, and Puumala virus phylogenetic tree reconstructed with novel and published partial small segment sequences.
Article
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The population structure and seasonal movements of alpine birds in Europe are still largely unknown. Species living in high mountains now face acute risks of habitat loss, range contractions and local extinction due to current and projected climate change. Therefore, a better understanding of the spatial structuring and exchange among populations o...
Article
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Arion vulgaris (syn. A. lusitanicus) is the most destructive pest slug in Europe. The species has been regarded a classic case of an ongoing biological invasion with negative economic and ecological impact in many European countries, but this status has recently been contested. In this study, we assessed mitochondrial and autosomal genetic diversit...
Article
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Tula virus (TULV) is a vole-associated hantavirus with low or no pathogenicity to humans. In the present study, 686 common voles (Microtus arvalis), 249 field voles (Microtus agrestis) and 30 water voles (Arvicola spec.) were collected at 79 sites in Germany, Luxembourg and France and screened by RT-PCR and TULV-IgG ELISA. TULV-specific RNA and/or...
Article
Genetic variation in olfactory receptors may trigger mate choice, suggesting that olfaction has undergone diversifying selection in diverging populations and may contribute to premating reproductive isolation. In the present study, we analysed two olfactory receptor genes as candidate barriers of reproductive isolation between two recently divergen...
Article
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The SIB Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (www.isb-sib.ch) provides world-class bioinformatics databases, software tools, services and training to the international life science community in academia and industry. These solutions allow life scientists to turn the exponentially growing amount of data into knowledge. Here, we provide an overview of S...
Article
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The mechanistic basis of speciation and in particular the contribution of behaviour to the completion of the speciation process is often contentious. Contact zones between related taxa provide a situation where selection against hybridization might reinforce separation by behavioural mechanisms, which could ultimately fully isolate the taxa. One of...
Poster
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The fossorial water vole Arvicola scherman cantabriae is a key pest in apple orchards in Asturias (NW Spain).These orchards are immersed in a mosaic landscape with irregular topography, leading to a significant isolation among populations. A continuous removal of specimens by trapping might impose a physiological stress for remaining voles, which m...
Article
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Many viruses significantly impact human and animal health. Understanding the population dynamics of these viruses and their hosts can provide important insights for epidemiology and virus evolution. Puumala virus (PUUV) is a European hantavirus that may cause regional outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome in humans. Here, we analyzed t...
Article
Puumala virus (PUUV) is one of the predominant hantavirus species in Europe causing mild to moderate cases of haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome. Parts of Lower Saxony in north-western Germany are endemic for PUUV infections. In this study, the complete PUUV genome sequence of a bank vole-derived tissue sample from the 2007 outbreak was determi...
Article
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Seventeen polymorphic microsatellite markers were isolated and characterized in Arion vulgaris/lusitanicus, which belongs to the worst European slug pests with serious economic and ecological impact. These markers were tested on 23 individuals collected in a population in Switzerland. Numbers of alleles ranged from 2 to 14 per locus, observed and e...
Article
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Genetic adaptation to different environmental conditions is expected to lead to large differences between populations at selected loci, thus providing a signature of positive selection. Whereas balancing selection can maintain polymorphisms over long evolutionary periods and even geographic scale, thus leads to low levels of divergence between popu...
Conference Paper
Population outbreaks of common voles lead to population densities of >1,000 Individuals/ha and to damage in agriculture and forestry. Refuges like set-aside-land and field verges are potentially sources for dispersal to adjacent fields. In this study, vole population dynamics and dispersal patterns at field-refuge-boundaries were investigated. Capt...
Poster
Full-text available
The montane water vole is represented in northwestern Spain by the fossorial subspecies Arvicola scherman cantabriae. These water voles live in underground burrows formed by a complex system of galleries and are strictly herbivorous, feeding preferably on roots. Specifically, in the region of Asturias, A. scherman cantabriae has become the main cau...
Data
GenBank Accession Numbers KJ994776-KJ994778 represent the complete genome of Puumala virus isolate Mu/07/1219. ##Assembly-Data-START## Sequencing Technology :: Sanger dideoxy sequencing ##Assembly-Data-END##
Data
GenBank Accession Numbers KJ994776-KJ994778 represent the complete genome of Puumala virus isolate Mu/07/1219. ##Assembly-Data-START## Sequencing Technology :: Sanger dideoxy sequencing ##Assembly-Data-END##
Data
GenBank Accession Numbers KJ994776-KJ994778 represent the complete genome of Puumala virus isolate Mu/07/1219. ##Assembly-Data-START## Sequencing Technology :: Sanger dideoxy sequencing ##Assembly-Data-END##