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Of all publications in the section: 57
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Article
Nye J. V., Androuschak G., Desierto D. et al. Plos One. 2012. No. 7(10).

Exposure to prenatal androgens affects both future behavior and life choices. However, there is still relatively limited evidence on its effects on academic performance. Moreover, the predicted effect of exposure to prenatal testosterone (T)–which is inversely correlated with the relative length of the second to fourth finger lengths (2D:4D)–would seem to have ambiguous effects on academic achievement since traits like aggressiveness or risk-taking are not uniformly positive for success in school. We provide the first evidence of a non-linear, quadratic, relationship between 2D:4D and academic achievement using samples from Moscow and Manila. We also find that there is a gender differentiated link between various measures of academic achievement and measured digit ratios. These effects are different depending on the field of study, choice of achievement measure, and use of the right hand or left digit ratios. The results seem to be asymmetric between Moscow and Manila where the right (left) hand generates inverted-U (U-shaped) curves in Moscow while the pattern for hands reverses in Manila. Drawing from unusually large and detailed samples of university students in two countries not studied in the digit literature, our work is the first to have a large cross country comparison that includes two groups with very different ethnic compositions.

Added: Jan 23, 2013
Article
Michalski A. I., Novoseltsev V., Новосельцева Ж. А. et al. Plos One. 2012. Vol. 7. No. 6. P. e39479-1-e39479-10.
Added: Jan 27, 2013
Article
Kulikova S., Hertz-Pannier L., Dehaene-Lambertz G. et al. Plos One. 2016. P. 1-24.

The volume fraction of water related to myelin  (fmy) is a promising MRI index for in vivo assessment of brain myelination, that can be derived from multi-component analysis of T1 and T2 relaxometry signals. However, existing quantification methods require rather long acquisition and/or post-processing times, making implementation difficult both in research studies on healthy unsedated children and in clinical examinations. The goal of this work was to propose a novel strategy for fmy quantification within acceptable acquisition andpost-processing times. Our approach is based on a 3-compartment model (myelin-related water, intra/extra-cellular water and unrestricted water), and uses calibrated values of inherent relaxation times (T1c and T2c) for each compartment c. Calibration was first performed on adult relaxometry datasets (N = 3) acquired with large numbers of inversion times (TI) and echo times (TE), using an original combination of a region contraction approach and a non-negative least-square (NNLS) algorithm. This strategy was compared with voxel-wise fitting, and showed robust estimation of T1c and T2c. The accuracy of fmy calculations depending on multiple factors was investigated using simulated data. In the testing stage, our strategy enabled fast fmy mapping, based on relaxometry datasets acquired with reduced TI and TE numbers (acquisition <6 min), and analyzed with NNLS algorithm (post-processing <5min). In adults (N = 13, mean age 22.4±1.6 years), fmy maps showed variability across white matter regions, in agreement with previous studies. In healthy infants (N = 18, aged 3 to 34 weeks), asynchronous changes in fmy values were demonstrated across bundles, confirming the well-known progression of myelination.  

Added: Oct 14, 2016
Article
Cella K., Carmona L., Ekimova I. et al. Plos One. 2016.

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Tergipedidae represents a diverse and successful group of aeolid nudibranchs, with approximately 200 species distributed throughout most marine ecosystems and spanning all biogeographical regions of the oceans. However, the systematics of this family remains poorly understood since no modern phylogenetic study has been undertaken to support any of the proposed classifications. The present study is the first molecular phylogeny of Tergipedidae based on partial sequences of two mitochondrial (COI and 16S) genes and one nuclear gene (H3). Maximum likelihood, maximum parsimony and Bayesian analysis were conducted in order to elucidate the systematics of this family. Our results do not recover the traditional Tergipedidae as monophyletic, since it belongs to a larger clade that includes the families Eubranchidae, Fionidae and Calmidae. This newly recovered clade is here referred to as Fionidae, the oldest name for this taxon. In addition, the present molecular phylogeny does not recover the traditional systematic relationships at a generic level, and therefore, systematic changes are required. We recognize the following clades within Fionidae: Calma, Cuthona, Cuthonella, Eubranchus, Fiona, Murmania, Tenellia, Tergipes, Tergiposacca gen. nov., Rubramoena gen. nov. and Abronica gen. nov. The type species of Tergiposacca, T. longicerata nov. sp. is described. The other two new genera have a previously described species as their type species. Most of these taxa, with the exceptions of Eubranchus, Tergipes and Fiona are composed of radically different constituent species from their traditional membership, but appear to be supported by morphological synapomorphies as well as molecular data. Aenigmastyletus, Catriona, Phestilla, Tenellia and Trinchesia are nested within other clades and, thus are here considered as synonyms of the larger clades. The phylogenetic position and validity of Myja, Guyvalvoria, Leostyletus and Subcuthona still need to be tested in future studies when material becomes available.

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Tergipedidae represents a diverse and successful group of aeolid nudibranchs, with approximately 200 species distributed throughout most marine ecosystems and spanning all biogeographical regions of the oceans. However, the systematics of this family remains poorly understood since no modern phylogenetic study has been undertaken to support any of the proposed classifications. The present study is the first molecular phylogeny of Tergipedidae based on partial sequences of two mitochondrial (COI and 16S) genes and one nuclear gene (H3). Maximum likelihood, maximum parsimony and Bayesian analysis were conducted in order to elucidate the systematics of this family. Our results do not recover the traditional Tergipedidae as monophyletic, since it belongs to a larger clade that includes the families Eubranchidae, Fionidae and Calmidae. This newly recovered clade is here referred to as Fionidae, the oldest name for this taxon. In addition, the present molecular phylogeny does not recover the traditional systematic relationships at a generic level, and therefore, systematic changes are required. We recognize the following clades within Fionidae: Calma, Cuthona, Cuthonella, Eubranchus, Fiona, Murmania, Tenellia, Tergipes, Tergiposacca gen. nov., Rubramoena gen. nov. and Abronica gen. nov. The type species of Tergiposacca, T. longicerata nov. sp. is described. The other two new genera have a previously described species as their type species. Most of these taxa, with the exceptions of Eubranchus, Tergipes and Fiona are composed of radically different constituent species from their traditional membership, but appear to be supported by morphological synapomorphies as well as molecular data. Aenigmastyletus, Catriona, Phestilla, Tenellia and Trinchesia are nested within other clades and, thus are here considered as synonyms of the larger clades. The phylogenetic position and validity of Myja, Guyvalvoria, Leostyletus and Subcuthona still need to be tested in future studies when material becomes available.

Tergipedidae represents a diverse and successful group of aeolids nudibranchs, with approximately 200 species distributed throughout most marine ecosystems and spanning all biogeographical regions of the oceans. However, the systematics of this family remains poorly understood since no modern phylogenetic study has been undertaken to support any of the proposed classifications. The present study is the first molecular phylogeny of Tergipedidae based on partial sequences of two mitochondrial (COI and 16S) genes and one nuclear gene (H3). Maximum likelihood, maximum parsimony and Bayesian analysis were conducted in order to elucidate the systematics of this family. Our results do not recover the traditional Tergipedidae as monophyletic, since it belongs to a larger clade that includes the families Eubranchidae, Fionidae and Calmidae. This newly recovered clade is here referred to as Fionidae, the oldest name for this taxon. In addition, the present molecular phylogeny does not recover the traditional systematic relationships at a generic level, and therefore, systematic changes are required. We recognize the following clades within Fionidae: Calma, Cuthona, Cuthonella, Eubranchus, Fiona, Murmania, Tenellia, Tergipes, Tergiposacca gen. nov., Rubramoena gen. nov. and Abronica gen. nov. The type species of Tergiposacca, T. longicerata nov. sp. is described. The other two new genera have a previously described species as their type species. Most of these taxa, with the exceptions of Eubranchus, Tergipes and Fiona are composed of radically different constituent species from their traditional membership, but appear to be supported by morphological synapomorphies as well as molecular data. Aenigmastyletus, Catriona, Phestilla, Tenellia and Trinchesia are nested within other clades and, thus are here considered as synonyms of the larger clades. The phylogenetic position and validity of Myja, Guyvalvoria, Leostyletus and Subcuthona still need to be tested in future studies when material becomes available. Tergipedidae represents a diverse and successful group of aeolid nudibranchs, with approximately 200 species distributed throughout most marine ecosystems and spanning all biogeographical regions of the oceans. However, the systematics of this family remains poorly understood since no modern phylogenetic study has been undertaken to support any of the proposed classifications. The present study is the first molecular phylogeny of Tergipedidae based on partial sequences of two mitochondrial (COI and 16S) genes and one nuclear gene (H3). Maximum likelihood, maximum parsimony and Bayesian analysis were conducted in order to elucidate the systematics of this family. Our results do not recover the traditional Tergipedidae as monophyletic, since it belongs to a larger clade that includes the families Eubranchidae, Fionidae and Calmidae. This newly recovered clade is here referred to as Fionidae, the oldest name for this taxon. In addition, the present molecular phylogeny does not recover the traditional systematic relationships at a generic level, and therefore, systematic changes are required. We recognize the following clades within Fionidae: Calma, Cuthona, Cuthonella, Eubranchus, Fiona, Murmania, Tenellia, Tergipes, Tergiposacca gen. nov., Rubramoena gen. nov. and Abronica gen. nov. The type species of Tergiposacca, T. longicerata nov. sp. is described. The other two new genera have a previously described species as their type species. Most of these taxa, with the exceptions of Eubranchus, Tergipes and Fiona are composed of radically different constituent species from their traditional membership, but appear to be supported by morphological synapomorphies as well as molecular data. Aenigmastyletus, Catriona, Phestilla, Tenellia and Trinchesia are nested within other clades and, thus are here considered as synonyms of the larger clades. The phylogenetic position and validity of Myja, Guyvalvoria, Leostyletus and Subcuthona still need to be tested in future studies when material becomes available.
Added: Nov 29, 2016
Article
Butovskaya M. Plos One. 2018. Vol. 13. No. 5. P. 1-14.

Abstract

Objectives

Previous research has documented associations of physical strength and facial morphology predominantly in men of Western societies. Faces of strong men tend to be more robust, are rounder and have a prominent jawline compared with faces of weak men. Here, we investigate whether the morphometric patterns of strength-face relationships reported for members of industrialized societies can also be found in members of an African pastoralist society, the Maasai of Northern Tanzania.

Materials and methods

Handgrip strength (HGS) measures and facial photographs were collected from a sample of 185 men and 120 women of the Maasai in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. In young-adults (20–29 years; n = 95) and mid-adults (30–50 years; n = 114), we digitized 71 somatometric landmarks and semilandmarks to capture variation in facial morphology and performed shape regressions of landmark coordinates upon HGS. Results were visualized in the form of thin-plate plate spline deformation grids and geometric morphometric morphs.

Results

Individuals with higher HGS tended to have wider faces with a lower and broader forehead, a wider distance between the medial canthi of the eyes, a wider nose, fuller lips, and a larger, squarer lower facial outline compared with weaker individuals of the same age-sex group. In mid-adult men, these associations were weaker than in the other age-sex groups.

Discussion

We conclude that the patterns of HGS relationships with face shape in the Maasai are similar to those reported from related investigations in samples of industrialized societies. We discuss differences between the present and related studies with regard to knowledge about the causes for age- and sex-related facial shape variation and physical strength associations.

Added: Jun 17, 2018
Article
Sabucedo J. M., Dono M., Grigoryev D. et al. Plos One. 2019. Vol. 14. No. 6. P. 1-17.

Current predictive models of collective action have devoted little attention to personal values, such as morals or ideology. The present research addresses this issue by incorporating a new axiological path in a novel predictive model of collective action, named AICAM. The axiological path is formed by two constructs: ideology and moral obligation. The model has been tested for real normative participation (Study 1) and intentional non-normative participation (Study 2). The sample for Study 1 included 531 randomly selected demonstrators and non-demonstrators at the time of a protest that took place in Madrid, May 2017. Study 2 comprised 607 randomly selected participants who filled out an online questionnaire. Structural equation modelling analysis was performed in order to examine the fit and predictive power of the model. Results show that the model is a good fit in both studies. It has also been observed that the new model entails a significant addition of overall effect size when compared with alternative models, including SIMCA. The present research contributes to the literature of collective action by unearthing a new, independent path towards collective action that is nonetheless compatible with previous motives. Implications for future research are discussed, mainly stressing the need to include moral and ideological motives in the study of collective action engagement.

Added: Jun 1, 2019
Article
Lajus J., Kraikovski A., Lajus D. Plos One. 2013. Vol. 8. No. 10.

The paper describes and analyzes original data, extracted from historical documents and scientific surveys, related to Russian fisheries in the southeastern part of the Gulf of Finland and its inflowing rivers during the 15- early 20th centuries. The data allow tracing key trends in fisheries development and in the abundance of major commercial species. In particular, results showed that, over time, the main fishing areas moved from the middle part of rivers downstream towards and onto the coastal sea. Changes in fishing patterns were closely interrelated with changes in the abundance of exploited fish. Anadromous species, such as Atlantic sturgeon, Atlantic salmon, brown trout, whitefish, vimba bream, smelt, lamprey, and catadromous eel were the most important commercial fish in the area because they were abundant, had high commercial value and were easily available for fishing in rivers. Due to intensive exploitation and other human-induced factors, populations of most of these species had declined notably by the early 20th century and have now lost commercial significance. The last sturgeon was caught in 1996, and todayonly smelt and lamprey support small commercial fisheries. According to historical sourcescatches of freshwater species such as roach, ide, pike, perch, ruffe and burbot regularly occurred, in some areas exceeding half of the total catch, but they were not as important as migrating fish and no clear trends in abundance are apparent. Of documented marine catch, Baltic herring appeared in the 16th century, but did not become commerciallysignificant until the 19th century. From then until now herring have been the dominant catch.

Added: Nov 18, 2013
Article
De Neys W., Novitskiy N., Geeraerts L. et al. Plos One. 2011. Vol. 6. No. e27107.

Much publicity has been given to the fact that people's economic decisions often deviate from the rational predictions of standard economic models. In the classic ultimatum game, for example, most people turn down financial gains by rejecting unequal monetary splits. The present study points to neglected individual differences in this debate. After participants played the ultimatum game we tested for individual differences in cognitive control capacity of the most and least economic responders. The key finding was that people who were higher in cognitive control, as measured by behavioral (Go/No-Go performance) and neural (No-Go N2 amplitude) markers, did tend to behave more in line with the standard models and showed increased acceptance of unequal splits. Hence, the cognitively highest scoring decision-makers were more likely to maximize their monetary payoffs and adhere to the standard economic predictions. Findings question popular claims with respect to the rejection of standard economic models and the irrationality of human economic decision-making.

Added: Jul 10, 2015
Article
Ella Y Tyuryumina, Alexey A Neznanov. Plos One. 2018. Vol. 13. No. 7. P. 1-16.

The goal of this research is to improve the accuracy of predicting the breast cancer (BC) pro- cess using the original mathematical model referred to as CoMPaS. The CoMPaS is the original mathematical model and the corresponding software built by modelling the natural history of the primary tumor (PT) and secondary distant metastases (MTS), it reflects the relations between the PT and MTS. The CoMPaS is based on an exponential growth model and consists of a system of determinate nonlinear and linear equations and corresponds to the TNM classification. It allows us to calculate the different growth periods of PT and MTS: 1) a non-visible period for PT, 2) a non-visible period for MTS, and 3) a visible period for MTS. The CoMPaS has been validated using 10-year and 15-year survival clinical data con- sidering tumor stage and PT diameter. The following are calculated by CoMPaS: 1) the number of doublings for the non-visible and visible growth periods of MTS and 2) the tumor volume doubling time (days) for the non-visible and visible growth periods of MTS. The diameters of the PT and secondary distant MTS increased simultaneously. In other words, the non-visible growth period of the secondary distant MTS shrinks, leading to a decrease of the survival of patients with breast cancer. The CoMPaS correctly describes the growth of the PT for patients at the T1aN0M0, T1bN0M0, T1cN0M0, T2N0M0 and T3N0M0 stages, who does not have MTS in the lymph nodes (N0). Additionally, the CoMPaS helps to con- sider the appearance and evolution period of secondary distant MTS (M1). The CoMPaS correctly describes the growth period of PT corresponding to BC classification (parameter T), the growth period of secondary distant MTS and the 10-15-year survival of BC patients considering the BC stage (parameter M).

Added: Jul 7, 2018
Article
Machilsen B., Novitskiy N., Vancleef K. et al. Plos One. 2011. Vol. 6. No. e25151.
Added: Jul 10, 2015
Article
Dybo A., Balanovsky O., Zhabagin M. et al. Plos One. 2015. Vol. 10. No. 4.

Y-chromosomal haplogroup G1 is a minor component of the overall gene pool of South-West and Central Asia but reaches up to 80% frequency in some populations scattered within this area. We have genotyped the G1-defining marker M285 in 27 Eurasian populations (n= 5,346), analyzed 367 M285-positive samples using 17 Y-STRs, and sequenced ~11 Mb of the Y-chromosome in 20 of these samples to an average coverage of 67X. This allowed detailed phylogenetic reconstruction. We identified five branches, all with high geographical specificity: G1-L1323 in Kazakhs, the closely related G1-GG1 in Mongols, G1-GG265 in Armenians and its distant brother clade G1-GG162 in Bashkirs, and G1-GG362 in West Indians. The haplotype diversity, which decreased from West Iran to Central Asia, allows us to hypothesize that this rare haplogroup could have been carried by the expansion of Iranic speakers northwards to the Eurasian steppe and via founder effects became a predominant genetic component of some populations, including the Argyn tribe of the Kazakhs. The remarkable agreement between genetic and genealogical trees of Argyns allowed us to calibrate the molecular clock using a historical date (1405 AD) of the most recent common genealogical ancestor. The mutation rate for Y-chromosomal sequence data obtained was 0.78×10-9 per bp per year, falling within the range of published rates. The mutation rate for Y-chromosomal STRs was 0.0022 per locus per generation, very close to the so-called genealogical rate. The "clan-based" approach to estimating the mutation rate provides a third, middle way between direct farther-to-son comparisons and using archeologically known migrations, whose dates are subject to revision and of uncertain relationship to genetic events.

Added: Nov 14, 2019
Article
Saikia N., Bora J., Jasilionis D. et al. Plos One. 2016.
Added: Jun 21, 2017
Article
Guillot M., Torgasheva L., Gavrilova N. et al. Plos One. 2013. Vol. 8. No. 10. P. 1-8.

Adult mortality has been lower in Kyrgyzstan vs. Russia among males since at least 1981 and among females since 1999. Also, Kyrgyzstan’s mortality fluctuations have had smaller amplitude. This has occurred in spite of worse macro-economic outcomes in Kyrgyzstan. To understand these surprising patterns, we analyzed cause-specific mortality in Kyrgyzstan vs. Russia for the period 1981-2010, using unpublished official data. We find that, as in Russia, fluctuations in Kyrgyzstan have been primarily due to changes in external causes and circulatory causes, and alcohol appears to play an important role. However, in contrast with Russia, mortality from these causes in Kyrgyzstan has been lower and has increased by a smaller amount. As a result, the mortality gap between the two countries is overwhelmingly attributable to external and cardio-vascular causes, and more generally, to causes that have been shown to be strongly related to alcohol consumption. These cause-specific results, together with the existence of large ethnic differentials in mortality in Kyrgyzstan, highlight the importance of cultural and religious differences, and their impact on patterns of alcohol consumption, in explaining the mortality gap between the two countries. These findings show that explanatory frameworks relying solely on macro-economic factors are not sufficient for understanding differences in mortality levels and trends among former Soviet republics.

Added: Dec 26, 2013
Article
Sakevich V. I., Denisov B. P., Jasilioniene A. Plos One. 2012. Vol. 7. No. 11.

The study showed that the growing gap in abortion rate in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine was a genuine phenomenon, not a statistical artefact. The examination of abortion and prevalence of contraception based on official statistics and three national sample surveys did not reveal any unambiguous factors that could explain differences in abortion dynamics in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. However, it is very likely that the cause of the inter-country discrepancies lies in contraceptive behavior itself, in adequacies of contraceptive knowledge and practices. Additionally, large differences in government policies, which are very important in shaping contraceptive practices of the population, were detected.

Added: Dec 9, 2012
Article
Kouyoumdjian F. G., Andreev E. M., Borschmann R. et al. Plos One. 2017. Vol. 12. No. 4. P. 1-11.

Objectives 

We aimed to explore whether mortality data are consistent with the view that aging is accelerated for people with a history of incarceration compared to the general population, using data on mortality rates and life expectancy for persons in Ontario, Canada. 

Methods 

We obtained data from the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services on all adults admitted to provincial correctional facilities in Ontario in 2000, and linked these data with death records from provincial vital statistics between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2012. We used life table methods to calculate mortality rates and life expectancies for this cohort by sex and 5-year age group. We similarly generated population comparison rates using publicly available data for the general population of Ontario in 2006 as the midpoint of the follow up period. We compared these mortality indices between the 2000 Ontario prison cohort and the general population by age group and sex. 

Results 

The difference in all-cause mortality rates between the 2000 Ontario prison cohort and the general population was greatest for younger adults, with the prison cohort experiencing rates of death that would be expected for persons at least 15 years older at ages 20 to 44 for men and ages 20 to 59 for women. Life expectancy in the 2000 Ontario prison cohort was most similar to life expectancy of persons five years older in the general population at age intervals 20 to 45 in men and 20 to 30 in women. 

Conclusions 

For most of adulthood, life expectancy and mortality rates are worse for adults with a history of incarceration than for the general population in Ontario, Canada. However, the association between mortality and incarceration status is modified by age, with the greatest relative burden of mortality experienced by younger persons with a history of incarceration and modified by sex, with worse relative mortality in women. Future research should explore the association between incarceration status and markers of aging including mortality, morbidity and physical appearance.

Added: Jun 7, 2017
Article
Keramati M., Gutkin B. Plos One. 2013. Vol. 8. No. 4.

Despite explicitly wanting to quit, long-term addicts find themselves powerless to resist drugs, despite knowing that drug-taking may be a harmful course of action. Such inconsistency between the explicit knowledge of negative consequences and the compulsive behavioral patterns represents a cognitive/behavioral conflict that is a central characteristic of addiction. Neurobiologically, differential cue-induced activity in distinct striatal subregions, as well as the dopamine connectivity spiraling from ventral striatal regions to the dorsal regions, play critical roles in compulsive drug seeking. However, the functional mechanism that integrates these neuropharmacological observations with the above-mentioned cognitive/behavioral conflict is unknown. Here we provide a formal computational explanation for the drug-induced cognitive inconsistency that is apparent in the addicts' “self-described mistake”. We show that addictive drugs gradually produce a motivational bias toward drug-seeking at low-level habitual decision processes, despite the low abstract cognitive valuation of this behavior. This pathology emerges within the hierarchical reinforcement learning framework when chronic exposure to the drug pharmacologically produces pathologicaly persistent phasic dopamine signals. Thereby the drug hijacks the dopaminergic spirals that cascade the reinforcement signals down the ventro-dorsal cortico-striatal hierarchy. Neurobiologically, our theory accounts for rapid development of drug cue-elicited dopamine efflux in the ventral striatum and a delayed response in the dorsal striatum. Our theory also shows how this response pattern depends critically on the dopamine spiraling circuitry. Behaviorally, our framework explains gradual insensitivity of drug-seeking to drug-associated punishments, the blocking phenomenon for drug outcomes, and the persistent preference for drugs over natural rewards by addicts. The model suggests testable predictions and beyond that, sets the stage for a view of addiction as a pathology of hierarchical decision-making processes. This view is complementary to the traditional interpretation of addiction as interaction between habitual and goal-directed decision systems.

Added: Mar 10, 2015
Article
Jackson J., van Egmond M., Choi V. et al. Plos One. 2019. P. 1-17.

Prejudiced attitudes and political nationalism vary widely around the world, but there has been little research on what predicts this variation. Here we examine the ecological and cultural factors underlying the worldwide distribution of prejudice. We suggest that cultures grow more prejudiced when they tighten cultural norms in response to destabilizing ecological threats. A set of seven archival analyses, surveys, and experiments (∑N = 3,986,402) find that nations, American states, and pre-industrial societies with tighter cultural norms show the most prejudice based on skin color, religion, nationality, and sexuality, and that tightness predicts why prejudice is often highest in areas of the world with histories of ecological threat. People’s support for cultural tightness also mediates the link between perceived ecological threat and intentions to vote for nationalist politicians. Results replicate when controlling for economic development, inequality, conservatism, residential mobility, and shared cultural heritage. These findings offer a cultural evolutionary perspective on prejudice, with implications for immigration, intercultural conflict, and radicalization

Added: Sep 23, 2019
Article
Kertesz-Farkas A., Juhász J., Szabó D. et al. Plos One. 2014. Vol. 9. No. 4.

Multispecies bacterial communities such as the microbiota of the gastrointestinal tract can be remarkably stable and resilient even though they consist of cells and species that compete for resources and also produce a large number of antimicrobial agents. Computational modeling suggests that horizontal transfer of resistance genes may greatly contribute to the formation of stable and diverse communities capable of protecting themselves with a battery of antimicrobial agents while preserving a varied metabolic repertoire of the constituent species. In other words horizontal transfer of resistance genes makes a community compatible in terms of exoproducts and capable to maintain a varied and mature metagenome. The same property may allow microbiota to protect a host organism, or if used as a microbial therapy, to purge pathogens and restore a protective environment.

Added: Nov 18, 2015
Article
Hennig-Schmidt H., Lönnqvist J., Walkowitz G. Plos One. 2015. Vol. 10. No. 5. P. e0124622 .
Added: Oct 4, 2018
Article
Bondarenko V., Gelfand M. S. Plos One. 2016. Vol. 11. No. 9. P. 1-16.

A typical eukaryotic gene is comprised of alternating stretches of regions, exons and introns, retained in and spliced out a mature mRNA, respectively. Although the length of introns may vary substantially among organisms, a large fraction of genes contains short introns in many species. Notably, some Ciliates (Paramecium and Nyctotherus) possess only ultra-short introns, around 25 bp long. In Paramecium, ultra-short introns with length divisible by three (3n) are under strong evolutionary pressure and have a high frequency of in-frame stop codons, which, in the case of intron retention, cause premature termination of mRNA translation and consequent degradation of the mis-spliced mRNA by the nonsense-mediated decay mechanism. Here, we analyzed introns in five genera of Ciliates, Paramecium, Tetrahymena, Ichthyophthirius, Oxytricha, and Stylonychia. Introns can be classified into two length classes in Tetrahymena and Ichthyophthirius (with means 48 bp, 69 bp, and 55 bp, 64 bp, respectively), but, surprisingly, comprise three distinct length classes in Oxytricha and Stylonychia (with means 33-35 bp, 47-51 bp, and 78-80 bp). In most ranges of the intron lengths, 3n introns are underrepresented and have a high frequency of in-frame stop codons in all studied species. Introns of Paramecium, Tetrahymena, and Ichthyophthirius are preferentially located at the 5' and 3' ends of genes, whereas introns of Oxytricha and Stylonychia are strongly skewed towards the 5' end. Analysis of evolutionary conservation shows that, in each studied genome, a significant fraction of intron positions is conserved between the orthologs, but intron lengths are not correlated between the species. In summary, our study provides a detailed characterization of introns in several genera of Ciliates and highlights some of their distinctive properties, which, together, indicate that splicing spellchecking is a universal and evolutionarily conserved process in the biogenesis of short introns in various representatives of Ciliates.

Added: Mar 13, 2017
Article
Kosonogov V., De Zorzi L., Honore J. et al. Plos One. 2017. Vol. 12. P. 1-15.

Functional infrared thermal imaging (fITI) is considered a promising method to measure emotional autonomic responses through facial cutaneous thermal variations. However, the facial thermal response to emotions still needs to be investigated within the framework of the dimensional approach to emotions. The main aim of this study was to assess how the facial thermal variations index the emotional arousal and valence dimensions of visual stimuli. Twenty-four participants were presented with three groups of standardized emotional pictures (unpleasant, neutral and pleasant) from the International Affective Picture System. Facial temperature was recorded at the nose tip, an important region of interest for facial thermal variations, and compared to electrodermal responses, a robust index of emotional arousal. Both types of responses were also compared to subjective ratings of pictures. An emotional arousal effect was found on the amplitude and latency of thermal responses and on the amplitude and frequency of electrodermal responses. The participants showed greater thermal and dermal responses to emotional than to neutral pictures with no difference between pleasant and unpleasant ones. Thermal responses correlated and the dermal ones tended to correlate with subjective ratings. Finally, in the emotional conditions compared to the neutral one, the frequency of simultaneous thermal and dermal responses increased while both thermal or dermal isolated responses decreased. Overall, this study brings convergent arguments to consider fITI as a promising method reflecting the arousal dimension of emotional stimulation and, consequently, as a credible alternative to the classical recording of electrodermal activity. The present research provides an original way to unveil autonomic implication in emotional processes and opens new perspectives to measure them in touchless conditions.

Added: Oct 1, 2019