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Sample records for jararaca serpentes viperidae

  1. Body Size Evolution in Insular Speckled Rattlesnakes (Viperidae: Crotalus mitchellii)

    E-print Network

    Pires da Silva, Andre

    Body Size Evolution in Insular Speckled Rattlesnakes (Viperidae: Crotalus mitchellii) Jesse M. Meik University, Bloomington, Indiana, United States of America Abstract Background: Speckled rattlesnakes and mainland speckled rattlesnakes, and the relationship between body size and various island physical

  2. The Evolutionary Implications of Hemipenial Morphology of Rattlesnake Crotalus durissus terrificus (Laurent, 1768) (Serpentes: Viperidae: Crotalinae)

    PubMed Central

    Porto, Marcovan; de Oliveira, Marco Antonio; Pissinatti, Lorenzo; Rodrigues, Renata Lopes; Rojas-Moscoso, Julio Alejandro; Cogo, José Carlos; Metze, Konradin; Antunes, Edson; Nahoum, César; Mónica, Fabíola Z.; De Nucci, Gilberto

    2013-01-01

    Most amniotes vertebrates have an intromittent organ to deliver semen. The reptile Sphenodon and most birds lost the ancestral penis and developed a cloaca-cloaca mating. Known as hemipenises, the copulatory organ of Squamata shows unique features between the amniotes intromittent organ. They are the only paired intromittent organs across amniotes and are fully inverted and encapsulated in the tail when not in use. The histology and ultrastructure of the hemipenes of Crotalus durissus rattlesnake is described as the evolutionary implications of the main features discussed. The organization of hemipenis of Crotalus durissus terrificus in two concentric corpora cavernosa is similar to other Squamata but differ markedly from the organization of the penis found in crocodilians, testudinata, birds and mammals. Based on the available data, the penis of the ancestral amniotes was made of connective tissue and the incorporation of smooth muscle in the framework of the sinusoids occurred independently in mammals and Crotalus durissus. The propulsor action of the muscle retractor penis basalis was confirmed and therefore the named should be changed to musculus hemipenis propulsor.The retractor penis magnus found in Squamata has no homology to the retractor penis of mammals, although both are responsible for the retraction of the copulatory organ. PMID:23840551

  3. REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY OF AGKISTRODON PISCIVORUS LACE PE` DE (SQUAMATA, SERPENTES, VIPERIDAE, CROTALINAE)

    E-print Network

    Sever, David M.

    , Springfield, OH 45501, USA ABSTRACT: Aspects of the reproductive biology of male and female Agkistrodon of the male and female urogenital cycles to the reproductive life history of A. piscivorus. New anatomical and electron microscopy levels. Morphology of all distinct regions of the male and female urogenital systems

  4. Bothrops jararaca envenomation: Pathogenesis of hemostatic disturbances and intravascular hemolysis.

    PubMed

    Senise, Luana V; Yamashita, Karine M; Santoro, Marcelo L

    2015-11-01

    To attain fully functional biological activity, vitamin-K dependent coagulation factors (VKDCF) are ?-carboxylated prior to secretion from liver. Warfarin impairs the ?-carboxylation, and consequently their physiological function. Bothrops jararaca snake venom (BjV) contains several activators of blood coagulation, especially procoagulant enzymes (prothrombin and factor X activators) and thrombin-like enzymes. In order to clarify the relative contribution of prothrombin and factor X activators to the hemostatic disturbances occurring during experimental B. jararaca envenomation, warfarin was used to deplete VKDCF, prior to BjV administration. Male Wistar rats were pretreated with saline (Sal) or warfarin (War) and inoculated subsequently with BjV or saline, thus forming four groups: Sal?+?Sal (negative control), Sal?+?BjV (positive control), War?+?Sal (warfarinization control), and War?+?BjV. Three hours after inoculation, prothrombin and factor X levels fell 40% and 50%, respectively; levels of both factors decreased more than 97% in the War?+?Sal and War?+?BjV groups. Platelet counts dropped 93% and 76% in Sal?+?BjV and War?+?BjV, respectively, and plasma fibrinogen levels decreased 86% exclusively in Sal?+?BjV. After 6 and 24?h, platelet counts and fibrinogen levels increased progressively. A dramatic augmentation in plasma hemoglobin levels and the presence of schizocytes and microcytes in the Sal?+?BjV group indicated the development of intravascular hemolysis, which was prevented by warfarin pretreatment. Our findings show that intravascular thrombin generation has the foremost role in the pathogenesis of coagulopathy and intravascular hemolysis, but not in the development of thrombocytopenia, in B. jararaca envenomation in rats; in addition, fibrinogenases (metalloproteinases) may contribute to coagulopathy more than thrombin-like enzymes. PMID:26080462

  5. Interaction of Bothrops jararaca venom metalloproteinases with protein inhibitors.

    PubMed

    Asega, Amanda F; Oliveira, Ana K; Menezes, Milene C; Neves-Ferreira, Ana Gisele C; Serrano, Solange M T

    2014-03-01

    Snake venom metalloproteinases (SVMPs) play important roles in the local and systemic hemorrhage observed upon envenomation. In a previous study on the structural elements important for the activities of HF3 (highly hemorrhagic, P-III-SVMP), bothropasin (hemorrhagic, P-III-SVMP) and BJ-PI (non-hemorrhagic, P-I-SVMP), from Bothrops jararaca, it was demonstrated that they differ in their proteolysis profile of plasma and extracellular matrix proteins. In this study, we evaluated the ability of proteins DM43 and ?2-macroglobulin to interfere with the proteolytic activity of these SVMPs on fibrinogen and collagen VI and with their ability to induce hemorrhage. DM43 inhibited the proteolytic activity of bothropasin and BJ-PI but not that of HF3, and was not cleaved the three proteinases. On the other hand, ?2-macroglobulin did not inhibit any of the proteinases and was rather cleaved by them. In agreement with these findings, binding analysis showed interaction of bothropasin and BJ-PI but not HF3 to DM43 while none of the proteinases bound to ?2-macroglobulin. Moreover, DM43 promoted partial inhibition of the hemorrhagic activity of bothropasin but not that of HF3. Our results demonstrate that metalloproteinases of B. jararaca venom showing different domain composition, glycosylation level and hemorrhagic potency show variable susceptibilities to protein inhibitors. PMID:24433992

  6. Agathos Daimon and the Asklepian serpent.

    PubMed

    Pearn, John

    2011-06-01

    Much conjecture abounds about the origin of the Asklepian serpent of healing, this latter the universal metonym for curative medicine. Iconographic evidence of Asklepios with his staff-entwined serpent exists from Hippocratic times. Many theories exist about the origin of this reptilian symbol of curative medicine. Speculation has ranged from the skin-shed serpent emergent in new and robust health to putative associations with earlier Egyptian and Babylonian anguine (snake) symbols of life-determining power. Other scholars have drawn attention to the Palaeolithic, Neolithic and later Bronze-Age associations with serpent veneration in the context of rain and fertility religious invocations in India; and in many other cultures. In the South Pacific, in Australia and in Central and South America, serpents were regarded as spirits of the earth, often chthonian spirits who possessed life-giving powers. In Chaldean and Arabic etymology, the words for "serpent" and "life" have a synergy. In Classical Greece, the Agathos Daimon was literally the "noble spirit", a personal companion spirit ensuing health and good fortune. The Agathos Daimon was portrayed in iconography as a serpent, or as a fit and comely youth. This paper conjectures that the serpentine Agathos Daimon was one origin of the Asklepian symbol of medicine, portrayed as the serpent associated of the Homeric Asklepios. In later Roman times, the Agathos Daimon was transliterated to the agathodaemon, a protective companion spirit both of individuals and of the homes in which they lived. This benign resident spirit featured prominently in Roman art and was a common feature as a protective household spirit in first century homes at both Pompeii and Herculaneum. The agathodaemon motif also featured on Roman coins, such as bronze diobols of Antoninus Plus (138 - 161 A.D.) from Alexandrian mints in Egypt. In the twenty-first century, the serpentine Agathos Daimon is honoured not only as the symbol of medicine; but is daily acknowledged in toasts to "Good Health". PMID:22043596

  7. Postprandial thermogenesis in Bothrops moojeni (Serpentes: Viperidae) Stuginski DR (1), Fernandes W (1), Tattersall GJ (2), Abe AS (3)

    E-print Network

    Tattersall, Glenn

    metabolic rates during digestion. This great increase in metabolic rate (specific dynamic action ­ SDA) may of the thermogenic response. Such increase in temperature appears to be connected with the huge increase in metabolic-292 INTRODUCTION It is well known that the maintenance of body temperature among endotherms is associated

  8. Pharmacological profile of rat pleurisy induced by Bothrops jararaca venom.

    PubMed

    Búrigo, A C; Calixto, J B; Medeiros, Y S

    1996-01-01

    Bothrops jararaca venom (30 micrograms/site) triggered a marked inflammatory reaction in the pleural cavity that was long-lasting and reproducible. In the first 1 h after pleurisy induction, a significant decrease of total and differential cell count was observed in comparison with control values, despite the gradual enhancement of fluid leakage. A significant increase of cell migration was observed after 3 h of pleurisy induction, due to mononuclear and neutrophil cells that peaked 8 h later and this was followed by a gradual decrease, remaining elevated up to 24 h. In parallel with cell influx, a significant increase of fluid leakage that peaked between 1 and 8 h was observed, being completely abolished after 12 h following pleurisy induction. This inflammatory response was not associated in parallel with significant changes in circulating leucocyte cells and it was significantly inhibited by compound 48/80, cyproheptadine, pyrilamine, dexamethasone, indomethacin and phenidone. Preheating of the venom (100 degrees C) caused a significant decrease of both leakage of fluid and cell migration in the pleural cavity 8 h after pleurisy induction. Previous exposure to the venom (30 micrograms/site, 5 days before) produced a significant decrease of both cell migration and fluid leakage 4 h after triggering pleurisy with the same dose of the venom. Otherwise, prior daily treatment with the venom (10 micrograms/site, 4 days) resulted only in marked fluid leakage reduction 1 h after treating the animals with BJV (30 micrograms/site). These results show that the venom elicits pro-inflammatory effects in the rat pleural cavity which involve the participation of several mediators, including histamine, 5-hydroxytryptamine and products of arachidonic pathways. PMID:8722506

  9. Kallikrein-kinin system in the plasma of the snake Bothrops jararaca.

    PubMed Central

    Abdalla, F. M.; Hiraichi, E.; Picarelli, Z. P.; Prezoto, B. C.

    1989-01-01

    1. Bothrops jararaca venom (BJV) caused a fall in the carotid artery blood pressure of the anaesthetized snake. This effect was tachyphylactic and was potentiated by captopril, a kininase II inhibitor; it was partially antagonized by promethazine plus cimetidine and was not affected by atropine. 2. Similar hypotensive effects were obtained by administration of trypsin or a partially purified BJV kininogenase to the snake. 3. Incubation of Bothrops jararaca plasma (BJP) with trypsin released a substance (or substances) that produced hypotension in the snake but not in the rat; this hypotensive effect was also potentiated by captopril. 4. The trypsinised plasma contracted Bothrops jararaca isolated uterus, a pharmacological preparation weakly sensitive to bradykinin. Trypsinised plasma was inactive on pigeon oviduct and rat uterus and displayed a weak action on the guinea-pig ileum. Similar effects were observed with incubates of a fraction of BJP, containing globulins, with a partially purified BJV kininogenase. 5. Like mammalian kinins, the substance(s) was(were) dialysable, thermostable in acid but not in alkaline pH, and inactivated by chymotrypsin but not by trypsin. Its(their) inactivation by BJP or BJP kininase II was inhibited by captopril. 6. These findings strongly suggest that, besides releasing histamine, BJV or trypsin release a kininlike substance (or substances) from the snake plasma. 7. Since BJV and other kininogenases active on mammalian plasma were shown to be unable to release kinins from BJP, in experiments conducted on pharmacological preparations suitable for the assay of mammalian kinins, these data also suggest that the snake Bothrops jararaca, like birds, may have developed its own kallikrein-kinin system. PMID:2804549

  10. Renal Sexual Segment of the Cottonmouth Snake, Agkistrodon piscivorous (Reptilia, Squamata, Viperidae)

    E-print Network

    Sever, David M.

    Renal Sexual Segment of the Cottonmouth Snake, Agkistrodon piscivorous (Reptilia, Squamata of the Cottonmouth snake, Agkistrodon piscivorous, is described using light and electron microscopy. This study is the first to describe the ultrastructure of the RSS of a viper (Viperidae) and only the fourth on a snake

  11. A Dream of Serpents Taking Down the Gang That Sold College Degrees, Hijacked an

    E-print Network

    Gollin, George

    A Dream of Serpents Taking Down the Gang That Sold College Degrees, Hijacked an Embassy, and Bought, be a bystander. --Yehuda Bauer © 2012 George Gollin #12;2 George Gollin A Dream of Serpents Taking Down the Gang

  12. SERPent: Scripted E-merlin Rfi-mitigation PipelinE for iNTerferometry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peck, Luke W.; Fenech, Danielle M.

    2013-12-01

    SERPent is an automated reduction and RFI-mitigation procedure that uses the SumThreshold methodology. It was originally developed for the LOFAR pipeline. SERPent is written in Parseltongue, enabling interaction with the Astronomical Image Processing Software (AIPS) program. Moreover, SERPent is a simple "out of the box" Python script, which is easy to set up and is free of compilers.

  13. Bothrops Jararaca Venom: Insights into the Ontogenetic Variation from Pharmacological and Proteomic Approaches

    PubMed Central

    Zelanis, A.; Tashima, A.K.; Furtado, M.F.; Ho, P.L.; Pinto, A.F.; Sherman, N.E.; Fox, J.W.; Serrano, S.M.

    2010-01-01

    RP-100 Previous studies have demonstrated that the pharmacological activities displayed by the venom of the snake Bothrops jararaca undergo a significant ontogenetic shift. Variation in the venom proteome is a well-documented phenomenon, however, variation in the venom peptidome is poorly understood. We report a comparative proteomic and peptidomic analysis of venoms from newborn and adult specimens of B. jararaca and correlate it with the evaluation of important venom features. We demonstrate that newborn and adult venoms have similar hemorrhagic activities, while the adult venom has a slightly higher lethal activity upon mice; however, the newborn venom is extremely more potent to kill chicks. The coagulant activity of newborn venom upon human plasma is ten times higher than that of adult venom. These differences were clearly reflected in their different profiles of 2D-PAGE and spot identification, gelatin zimography, immunostaining using specific antibodies, glycosylation pattern, and concanavalin A-binding proteins. The venom comparison by isobaric tag peptide labeling (iTRAQ) revealed clear differences in toxin levels. Metalloproteinases, serine proteinases and growth factors are among the proteins with higher expression in adult venom. Furthermore, we report the analysis of the peptide fraction of newborn and adult venoms by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry and LC/MS/MS which revealed different contents of peptides, while the bradykinin potentiating peptides (BPPs) showed rather similar profiles, and were detected in the venoms showing their canonical sequences and also novel sequences corresponding to BPPs processed from their precursor protein at sites so far not described. As a result of these studies, we demonstrate a clear relationship between the ontogenetic shift in diet and animal size, and the venom proteome/peptidome in B. jararaca species.

  14. In vitro effects of Crotalus durissus terrificus and Bothrops jararaca venoms on Giardia duodenalis trophozoites.

    PubMed

    Shinohara, Lina; de Freitas, Stella Fellipe; da Silva, Reinaldo José; Guimarães, Semíramis

    2006-03-01

    Considering the snake venoms' pharmacological properties and chemotherapeutic potential as well as the need for new alternatives for Giardia infection treatment, the present study was carried out aiming to evaluate the in vitro effects of crude Crotalus durissus terrificus and Bothrops jararaca venoms on the growth and adherence of Giardia duodenalis trophozoites. Trophozoites (10(6)) were exposed to serial twofold dilutions of C. durissus terrificus and B. jararaca venoms that ranged from 3.125 to 200 microg/ml and from 5 to 320 microg/ml, respectively. The two venoms inhibited the growth of trophozoites, and the level of inhibition varied according to the assayed concentrations and incubation times. The highest reduction of parasite growth was observed with increasing concentrations of the venoms. No effect on parasite adherence was observed. Light microscope observations revealed changes of the pear-shape aspect of the cell and reduction of flagellar beating frequency in the great part of the trophozoites. This is the first attempt to evaluate the in vitro effects of snake venoms on Giardia trophozoites. The findings stress the need for more investigations and prompt us to perform further studies to identify active principles with antigiardial effect. PMID:16378220

  15. Comparative Analysis of Viperidae Venoms Antibacterial Profile: a Short Communication for Proteomics

    PubMed Central

    Ferreira, Bruno L.; Santos, Dilvani O.; dos Santos, André Luis; Rodrigues, Carlos R.; de Freitas, Cícero C.; Cabral, Lúcio M.; Castro, Helena C.

    2011-01-01

    Bacterial infections involving multidrug-resistant strains are one of the ten leading causes of death and an important health problem in need for new antibacterial sources and agents. Herein, we tested and compared four snake venoms (Agkistrodon rhodostoma, Bothrops jararaca, B. atrox and Lachesis muta) against 10 Gram-positive and Gram-negative drug-resistant clinical bacteria strains to identify them as new sources of potential antibacterial molecules. Our data revealed that, as efficient as some antibiotics currently on the market (minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) = 1–32 ?g mL?1), A. rhodostoma and B. atrox venoms were active against Staphylococcus epidermidis and Enterococcus faecalis (MIC = 4.5 ?g mL?1), while B. jararaca inhibited S. aureus growth (MIC = 13 ?g ml?1). As genomic and proteomic technologies are improving and developing rapidly, our results suggested that A. rhodostoma, B. atrox and B. jararaca venoms and glands are feasible sources for searching antimicrobial prototypes for future design new antibiotics against drug-resistant clinical bacteria. They also point to an additional perspective to fully identify the pharmacological potential of these venoms by using different techniques. PMID:18955360

  16. Phylogeography of the false smooth snakes, Macroprotodon (Serpentes, Colubridae): mitochondrial

    E-print Network

    Carranza, Salvador

    Phylogeography of the false smooth snakes, Macroprotodon (Serpentes, Colubridae): mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). A definitive understanding of the evolution of M. cucullatus will not be possible until Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Keywords: Mitochondrial DNA; Cytochrome b; 12S rRNA; 16S rRNA; Evolution

  17. Google Explores the 10th Mermaids and Sea Serpents

    E-print Network

    Sandwell, David T.

    Google Explores the 10th Planet Mermaids and Sea Serpents NASA has spent tens of billions of Planet Earth and Planet Ocean is highlighted by the computer program and image repository Google Earth altimeter data may be used to predict bathymetry at a scale of 6-9 km. The ability to use Google Earth below

  18. Programmed cell death in Trypanosoma cruzi induced by Bothrops jararaca venom.

    PubMed

    Deolindo, Poliana; Teixeira-Ferreira, André S; Melo, Edésio J T; Arnholdt, Andrea Cristina Veto; Souza, Wanderley de; Alves, Elias W; DaMatta, Renato A

    2005-02-01

    Cells die through a programmed process or accidental death, know as apoptosis or necrosis, respectively. Bothrops jararaca is a snake whose venom inhibits the growth of Trypanosoma cruzi epimastigote forms causing mitochondrion swelling and cell death. The aim of the present work was to determine the type of death induced in epimastigotes of T. cruzi by this venom. Parasite growth was inhibited after venom treatment, and 50% growth inhibition was obtained with 10 microg/ml. Ultrastructural observations confirmed mitochondrion swelling and kinetoplast disorganization. Furthermore, cytoplasmic condensation, loss of mitochondrion membrane potential, time-dependent increase in phosphatidylserine exposure at the outer leaflet plasma membrane followed by permeabilization, activation of caspase like protein and DNA fragmentation were observed in epimastigotes throughout a 24 h period of venom treatment. Taken together, these results indicate that the stress induced in epimastigote by this venom, triggers a programmed cell death process, similar to metazoan apoptosis, which leads to parasite death. PMID:15867960

  19. Using SERPENT Monte Carlo and Burnup code to model Traveling Wave Reactors (TWR)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gulik, Volodymyr; Pavlovych, Volodymyr; Tkaczyk, Alan Henry

    2014-06-01

    This paper is mainly devoted to the proof-of-principle implementation of the SERPENT code for the simulation of traveling wave reactors. The investigation of SERPENT 1.1.19 code for multiprocessor tasks with long burnup steps was performed. The investigation of SERPENT 2 code for multiprocessor tasks with long burnup steps was performed. Methods to remove the influence of the ignition zone were considered, and neutronics simulations with various fragmentations of the burnup zone were performed.

  20. Generation of SFR few-group constants using the Monte Carlo code Serpent

    SciTech Connect

    Fridman, E.; Rachamin, R.; Shwageraus, E.

    2013-07-01

    In this study, the Serpent Monte Carlo code was used as a tool for preparation of homogenized few-group cross sections for the nodal diffusion analysis of Sodium cooled Fast Reactor (SFR) cores. Few-group constants for two reference SFR cores were generated by Serpent and then employed by nodal diffusion code DYN3D in 2D full core calculations. The DYN3D results were verified against the references full core Serpent Monte Carlo solutions. A good agreement between the reference Monte Carlo and nodal diffusion results was observed demonstrating the feasibility of using Serpent for generation of few-group constants for the deterministic SFR analysis. (authors)

  1. Ancient scientific basis of the "great serpent" from historical evidence

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stothers, Richard B.

    2004-01-01

    Zoological data and a growing mythology contributed to ancient Western knowledge about large serpents. Yet little modern attention has been paid to the sources, transmission, and receipt in the early Middle Ages of the ancients' information concerning "dragons" and "sea serpents." Real animals--primarily pythons and whales--lie behind the ancient stories. Other animals, conflations of different animals, simple misunderstandings, and willful exaggerations are found to account for the fanciful embellishments, but primitive myths played no significant role in this process during classical times. The expedition of Alexander the Great into India (327-325 B.C.) and the Bagradas River incident in North Africa (256 B.C.) had enormous repercussions on the development of serpent lore. Credible evidence is found for the presence of ancient populations of pythons living along the North African coast west of Egypt and along the coast of the Arabian Sea between the Indus River and the Strait of Hormuz--places where they no longer exist today. The maximum sizes of ancient pythons may have been greater than those of today's specimens.

  2. Bothrops jararaca Venom Metalloproteinases Are Essential for Coagulopathy and Increase Plasma Tissue Factor Levels during Envenomation

    PubMed Central

    Yamashita, Karine M.; Alves, André F.; Barbaro, Katia C.; Santoro, Marcelo L.

    2014-01-01

    Background/Aims Bleeding tendency, coagulopathy and platelet disorders are recurrent manifestations in snakebites occurring worldwide. We reasoned that by damaging tissues and/or activating cells at the site of the bite and systemically, snake venom toxins might release or decrypt tissue factor (TF), resulting in activation of blood coagulation and aggravation of the bleeding tendency. Thus, we addressed (a) whether TF and protein disulfide isomerase (PDI), an oxireductase involved in TF encryption/decryption, were altered in experimental snake envenomation; (b) the involvement and significance of snake venom metalloproteinases (SVMP) and serine proteinases (SVSP) to hemostatic disturbances. Methods/Principal Findings Crude Bothrops jararaca venom (BjV) was preincubated with Na2-EDTA or AEBSF, which are inhibitors of SVMP and SVSP, respectively, and injected subcutaneously or intravenously into rats to analyze the contribution of local lesion to the development of hemostatic disturbances. Samples of blood, lung and skin were collected and analyzed at 3 and 6 h. Platelet counts were markedly diminished in rats, and neither Na2-EDTA nor AEBSF could effectively abrogate this fall. However, Na2-EDTA markedly reduced plasma fibrinogen consumption and hemorrhage at the site of BjV inoculation. Na2-EDTA also abolished the marked elevation in TF levels in plasma at 3 and 6 h, by both administration routes. Moreover, increased TF activity was also noticed in lung and skin tissue samples at 6 h. However, factor VII levels did not decrease over time. PDI expression in skin was normal at 3 h, and downregulated at 6 h in all groups treated with BjV. Conclusions SVMP induce coagulopathy, hemorrhage and increased TF levels in plasma, but neither SVMP nor SVSP are directly involved in thrombocytopenia. High levels of TF in plasma and TF decryption occur during snake envenomation, like true disseminated intravascular coagulation syndrome, and might be implicated in engendering bleeding manifestations in severely-envenomed patients. PMID:24831016

  3. A prothrombin activator from Bothrops erythromelas (jararaca-da-seca) snake venom: characterization and molecular cloning.

    PubMed Central

    Silva, Márcia B; Schattner, Mirta; Ramos, Celso R R; Junqueira-de-Azevedo, Inácio L M; Guarnieri, Míriam C; Lazzari, María A; Sampaio, Claudio A M; Pozner, Roberto G; Ventura, Janaina S; Ho, Paulo L; Chudzinski-Tavassi, Ana M

    2003-01-01

    A novel prothrombin activator enzyme, which we have named 'berythractivase', was isolated from Bothrops erythromelas (jararaca-da-seca) snake venom. Berythractivase was purified by a single cation-exchange-chromatography step on a Resource S (Amersham Biosciences) column. The overall purification (31-fold) indicates that berythractivase comprises about 5% of the crude venom. It is a single-chain protein with a molecular mass of 78 kDa. SDS/PAGE of prothrombin after activation by berythractivase showed fragment patterns similar to those generated by group A prothrombin activators, which convert prothrombin into meizothrombin, independent of the prothrombinase complex. Chelating agents, such as EDTA and o -phenanthroline, rapidly inhibited the enzymic activity of berythractivase, like a typical metalloproteinase. Human fibrinogen A alpha-chain was slowly digested only after longer incubation with berythractivase, and no effect on the beta- or gamma-chains was observed. Berythractivase was also capable of triggering endothelial proinflammatory and procoagulant cell responses. von Willebrand factor was released, and the surface expression of both intracellular adhesion molecule-1 and E-selectin was up-regulated by berythractivase in cultured human umbilical-vein endothelial cells. The complete berythractivase cDNA was cloned from a B. erythromelas venom-gland cDNA library. The cDNA sequence possesses 2330 bp and encodes a preproprotein with significant sequence similarity to many other mature metalloproteinases reported from snake venoms. Berythractivase contains metalloproteinase, desintegrin-like and cysteine-rich domains. However, berythractivase did not elicit any haemorrhagic response. These results show that, although the primary structure of berythractivase is related to that of snake-venom haemorrhagic metalloproteinases and functionally similar to group A prothrombin activators, it is a prothrombin activator devoid of haemorrhagic activity. This is a feature not observed for most of the snake venom metalloproteinases, including the group A prothrombin activators. PMID:12225292

  4. SERPent: Automated reduction and RFI-mitigation software for e-MERLIN

    E-print Network

    Peck, Luke

    2014-01-01

    The Scripted E-merlin Rfi-mitigation PipelinE for iNTerferometry (SERPent) is an automated reduction and RFI-mitigation procedure utilising the SumThreshold methodology (Offringa et al. 2010b), originally developed for the LOFAR pipeline. SERPent is written in the Parseltongue language enabling interaction with the Astronomical Image Processing Software (AIPS) program. Moreover, SERPent is a simple "out of the box" Python script, which is easy to set up and is free of compilers. In addition to the flagging of RFI affected visibilities, the script also flags antenna zero-amplitude dropouts and Lovell telescope phase calibrator stationary scans inherent to the e-MERLIN system. Both the flagging and computational performances of SERPent are presented here, for e-MERLIN commissioning datasets for both L-band (1.3 - 1.8 GHz) and C-band (4 - 8 GHz) observations. RFI typically amounts to TB) make traditional astronomer interactions unfeasible.

  5. The Serpent Monte Carlo Code: Status, Development and Applications in 2013

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leppänen, Jaakko; Pusa, Maria; Viitanen, Tuomas; Valtavirta, Ville; Kaltiaisenaho, Toni

    2014-06-01

    The Serpent Monte Carlo reactor physics burnup calculation code has been developed at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland since 2004, and is currently used in 100 universities and research organizations around the world. This paper presents the brief history of the project, together with the currently available methods and capabilities and plans for future work. Typical user applications are introduced in the form of a summary review on Serpent-related publications over the past few years.

  6. Comparison of SERPENT and CASMO-5M for pressurized water reactors models

    SciTech Connect

    Hursin, M.; Vasiliev, A.; Ferroukhi, H.; Pautz, A.

    2013-07-01

    The objective of this work is to perform a preliminary assessment of the capability of SERPENT to generate cross sections for a PWR Beginning-of-Life (BOL) isothermal mini-core by comparing a SERPENT/PARCS solution with the results obtained using a CASMO-5M/PARCS approach. The PARCS code is used instead of the usual SIMULATE-3 to analyze the Swiss Reactors, because interfaces with PARCS already exist to obtain neutronic data from SERPENT. For the PWR configurations, the differences between CASMO-5M and SERPENT solutions are within 200 pcm at the assembly level and thus rather small when considering the deterministic transport method (energy/angular/space discretization) in CASMO-5M versus the stochastic treatment of SERPENT, the statistical uncertainties in the Monte-Carlo approach as well as the eventual differences in nuclear data used by both codes. At the 2D mini-core level, no major difference is observed when comparing PARCS run with CASMO-5M versus SERPENT cross sections. For the generation of kinetic parameters, non trivial differences are observed due both to the methods and the data used. For the relatively limited number of configurations considered, it is hard to make any definitive statement on the benefits of using Monte Carlo codes in terms of nuclear data generation. (authors)

  7. Aqueous Leaf Extract of Jatropha gossypiifolia L. (Euphorbiaceae) Inhibits Enzymatic and Biological Actions of Bothrops jararaca Snake Venom

    PubMed Central

    Félix-Silva, Juliana; Souza, Thiago; Menezes, Yamara A. S.; Cabral, Bárbara; Câmara, Rafael B. G.; Silva-Junior, Arnóbio A.; Rocha, Hugo A. O.; Rebecchi, Ivanise M. M.; Zucolotto, Silvana M.; Fernandes-Pedrosa, Matheus F.

    2014-01-01

    Snakebites are a serious public health problem due their high morbi-mortality. The main available specific treatment is the antivenom serum therapy, which has some disadvantages, such as poor neutralization of local effects, risk of immunological reactions, high cost and difficult access in some regions. In this context, the search for alternative therapies is relevant. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the antiophidic properties of Jatropha gossypiifolia, a medicinal plant used in folk medicine to treat snakebites. The aqueous leaf extract of the plant was prepared by decoction and phytochemical analysis revealed the presence of sugars, alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, terpenes and/or steroids and proteins. The extract was able to inhibit enzymatic and biologic activities induced by Bothrops jararaca snake venom in vitro and in vivo. The blood incoagulability was efficiently inhibited by the extract by oral route. The hemorrhagic and edematogenic local effects were also inhibited, the former by up to 56% and the latter by 100%, in animals treated with extract by oral and intraperitoneal routes, respectively. The inhibition of myotoxic action of B. jararaca reached almost 100%. According to enzymatic tests performed, it is possible to suggest that the antiophidic activity may be due an inhibitory action upon snake venom metalloproteinases (SVMPs) and/or serine proteinases (SVSPs), including fibrinogenolytic enzymes, clotting factors activators and thrombin like enzymes (SVTLEs), as well upon catalytically inactive phospholipases A2 (Lys49 PLA2). Anti-inflammatory activity, at least partially, could also be related to the inhibition of local effects. Additionally, protein precipitating and antioxidant activities may also be important features contributing to the activity presented. In conclusion, the results demonstrate the potential antiophidic activity of J. gossypiifolia extract, including its significant action upon local effects, suggesting that it may be used as a new source of bioactive molecules against bothropic venom. PMID:25126759

  8. Lachesis muta (Viperidae) cDNAs Reveal Diverging Pit Viper Molecules and Scaffolds Typical of Cobra (Elapidae) Venoms: Implications for Snake Toxin Repertoire Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Junqueira-de-Azevedo, Inácio L. M.; Ching, Ana T. C.; Carvalho, Eneas; Faria, Fernanda; Nishiyama, Milton Y.; Ho, Paulo L.; Diniz, Marcelo R. V.

    2006-01-01

    Efforts to describe toxins from the two major families of venomous snakes (Viperidae and Elapidae) usually reveal proteins belonging to few structural types, particular of each family. Here we carried on an effort to determine uncommon cDNAs that represent possible new toxins from Lachesis muta (Viperidae). In addition to nine classes of typical toxins, atypical molecules never observed in the hundreds of Viperidae snakes studied so far are highly expressed: a diverging C-type lectin that is related to Viperidae toxins but appears to be independently originated; an ohanin-like toxin, which would be the third member of the most recently described class of Elapidae toxins, related to human butyrophilin and B30.2 proteins; and a 3FTx-like toxin, a new member of the widely studied three-finger family of proteins, which includes major Elapidae neurotoxins and CD59 antigen. The presence of these common and uncommon molecules suggests that the repertoire of toxins could be more conserved between families than has been considered, and their features indicate a dynamic process of venom evolution through molecular mechanisms, such as multiple recruitments of important scaffolds and domain exchange between paralogs, always keeping a minimalist nature in most toxin structures in opposition to their nontoxin counterparts. PMID:16582429

  9. Mconnus et mystrieux, les serpents marins sont sans aucun doute les reptiles actuels les plus marins,

    E-print Network

    33 Méconnus et mystérieux, les serpents marins sont sans aucun doute les reptiles actuels les plus moins de cinq millions d'années d'évolution. Ces reptiles sont particulièrement diversifiés dans des particulière des formes amphibies plus faciles à étudier. Des reptiles adaptés à la vie marine Parmi plus de 8

  10. Type specimens of Crotalus scutulatus (Chordata: Reptilia: Squamata: Viperidae) re-examined, with new evidence after more than a century of confusion

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cardwell, Michael D.; Gotte, Steve W.; McDiarmid, Roy W.; Gilmore, Ned; Poindexter, James A.

    2013-01-01

    The original description of Crotalus scutulatus (Chordata: Reptilia: Squamata: Viperidae) was published in 1861 by Robert Kennicott, who did not identify a type specimen or a type locality. We review the history of specimens purported to be the type(s) and various designations of type locality. We provide evidence that ANSP 7069 (formerly one of two specimens of USNM 5027) is the holotype and that the appropriate type locality is Fort Buchanan, near present-day Sonoita, in Santa Cruz County, Arizona.

  11. SERPent: Automated reduction and RFI-mitigation software for e-MERLIN

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peck, Luke W.; Fenech, Danielle M.

    2013-08-01

    The Scripted E-merlin Rfi-mitigation PipelinE for iNTerferometry (SERPent) is an automated reduction and RFI-mitigation procedure utilising the SumThreshold methodology (Offringa et al., 2010a), originally developed for the LOFAR pipeline. SERPent is written in the Parseltongue language enabling interaction with the Astronomical Image Processing Software (AIPS) program. Moreover, SERPent is a simple 'out of the box' Python script, which is easy to set up and is free of compilers. In addition to the flagging of RFI affected visibilities, the script also flags antenna zero-amplitude dropouts and Lovell telescope phase calibrator stationary scans inherent to the e-MERLIN system. Both the flagging and computational performances of SERPent are presented here, for e-MERLIN commissioning datasets for both L-band (1.3-1.8 GHz) and C-band (4-8 GHz) observations. RFI typically amounts to <20%-25% for the more problematic L-band observations and <5% for the generally RFI quieter C-band. The level of RFI detection and flagging is more accurate and delicate than visual manual flagging, with the output immediately ready for AIPS calibration. SERPent is fully parallelised and has been tested on a range of computing systems. The current flagging rate is at 110 GB day-1 on a 'high-end' computer (16 CPUs, 100 GB memory) which amounts to ˜6.9 GB CPU-1 day-1, with an expected increase in performance when e-MERLIN has completed its commissioning. The refining of automated reduction and calibration procedures is essential for the e-MERLIN legacy projects and future interferometers such as the SKA and the associated pathfinders (MeerKAT and ASKAP), where the vast data sizes (>TB) make traditional astronomer interactions unfeasible.

  12. Quantitative and qualitative morphologic, cytochemical and ultrastructural characteristics of blood cells in the Crested Serpent eagle and Shikra.

    PubMed

    Salakij, Chaleow; Kasorndorkbua, Chaiyan; Salakij, Jarernsak; Suwannasaeng, Pimsuda; Jakthong, Pattarapong

    2015-08-01

    The Crested Serpent eagle (Spilornis cheela) is a bird of prey found in the tropical rain forest in Thailand. The Shikra (Accipiter badius) is a sparrow hawk and common resident in Thailand. Blood samples from 9 Crested Serpent eagles and 12 Shikras were obtained from September 2010 to November 2014. They were clinically healthy and negative for blood parasites detectable by light microscopy and molecular techniques (partial cytochrome b gene for avian malaria and partial 18S rRNA gene for trypanosome). Cytochemical staining (Sudan black B, peroxidase, ?-naphthyl acetate esterase, and ?-glucuronidase) and transmission electron microscopy were performed. Hematological results were reported as the mean ± standard deviation and median. Heterophils were the most prevalent leukocytes in the Crested Serpent eagle, but in the Shikra, lymphocytes were the most prevalent leukocytes. In the Shikra, some vacuoles were observed in the cytoplasm of the eosinophils. All blood cells in both types of raptors stained positively for ?-glucuronidase but negatively for peroxidase. The ultrastructure of heterophils showed more clearly differentiate long rod granules in Crested Serpent eagle and spindle-shaped granules in Shikra. The ultrastructure of the eosinophils in the Crested Serpent eagle revealed varied electron-dense, round-shaped granules with round, different electron-dense areas in the centers of some granules, which differed from the structure reported for other raptors. These quantitative results may be useful for clinical evaluations of Crested Serpent eagles and Shikras that are undergoing rehabilitation for release. PMID:26563029

  13. Venom-related transcripts from Bothrops jararaca tissues provide novel molecular insights into the production and evolution of snake venom.

    PubMed

    Junqueira-de-Azevedo, Inácio L M; Bastos, Carolina Mancini Val; Ho, Paulo Lee; Luna, Milene Schmidt; Yamanouye, Norma; Casewell, Nicholas R

    2015-03-01

    Attempts to reconstruct the evolutionary history of snake toxins in the context of their co-option to the venom gland rarely account for nonvenom snake genes that are paralogous to toxins, and which therefore represent important connectors to ancestral genes. In order to reevaluate this process, we conducted a comparative transcriptomic survey on body tissues from a venomous snake. A nonredundant set of 33,000 unigenes (assembled transcripts of reference genes) was independently assembled from six organs of the medically important viperid snake Bothrops jararaca, providing a reference list of 82 full-length toxins from the venom gland and specific products from other tissues, such as pancreatic digestive enzymes. Unigenes were then screened for nontoxin transcripts paralogous to toxins revealing 1) low level coexpression of approximately 20% of toxin genes (e.g., bradykinin-potentiating peptide, C-type lectin, snake venom metalloproteinase, snake venom nerve growth factor) in body tissues, 2) the identity of the closest paralogs to toxin genes in eight classes of toxins, 3) the location and level of paralog expression, indicating that, in general, co-expression occurs in a higher number of tissues and at lower levels than observed for toxin genes, and 4) strong evidence of a toxin gene reverting back to selective expression in a body tissue. In addition, our differential gene expression analyses identify specific cellular processes that make the venom gland a highly specialized secretory tissue. Our results demonstrate that the evolution and production of venom in snakes is a complex process that can only be understood in the context of comparative data from other snake tissues, including the identification of genes paralogous to venom toxins. PMID:25502939

  14. Venom-Related Transcripts from Bothrops jararaca Tissues Provide Novel Molecular Insights into the Production and Evolution of Snake Venom

    PubMed Central

    Junqueira-de-Azevedo, Inácio L.M.; Bastos, Carolina Mancini Val; Ho, Paulo Lee; Luna, Milene Schmidt; Yamanouye, Norma; Casewell, Nicholas R.

    2015-01-01

    Attempts to reconstruct the evolutionary history of snake toxins in the context of their co-option to the venom gland rarely account for nonvenom snake genes that are paralogous to toxins, and which therefore represent important connectors to ancestral genes. In order to reevaluate this process, we conducted a comparative transcriptomic survey on body tissues from a venomous snake. A nonredundant set of 33,000 unigenes (assembled transcripts of reference genes) was independently assembled from six organs of the medically important viperid snake Bothrops jararaca, providing a reference list of 82 full-length toxins from the venom gland and specific products from other tissues, such as pancreatic digestive enzymes. Unigenes were then screened for nontoxin transcripts paralogous to toxins revealing 1) low level coexpression of approximately 20% of toxin genes (e.g., bradykinin-potentiating peptide, C-type lectin, snake venom metalloproteinase, snake venom nerve growth factor) in body tissues, 2) the identity of the closest paralogs to toxin genes in eight classes of toxins, 3) the location and level of paralog expression, indicating that, in general, co-expression occurs in a higher number of tissues and at lower levels than observed for toxin genes, and 4) strong evidence of a toxin gene reverting back to selective expression in a body tissue. In addition, our differential gene expression analyses identify specific cellular processes that make the venom gland a highly specialized secretory tissue. Our results demonstrate that the evolution and production of venom in snakes is a complex process that can only be understood in the context of comparative data from other snake tissues, including the identification of genes paralogous to venom toxins. PMID:25502939

  15. Validation of the Serpent 2 code on TRIGA Mark II benchmark experiments.

    PubMed

    ?ali?, Dušan; Žerovnik, Gašper; Trkov, Andrej; Snoj, Luka

    2016-01-01

    The main aim of this paper is the development and validation of a 3D computational model of TRIGA research reactor using Serpent 2 code. The calculated parameters were compared to the experimental results and to calculations performed with the MCNP code. The results show that the calculated normalized reaction rates and flux distribution within the core are in good agreement with MCNP and experiment, while in the reflector the flux distribution differ up to 3% from the measurements. PMID:26516989

  16. A collision history-based approach to Sensitivity/Perturbation calculations in the continuous energy Monte Carlo code SERPENT

    SciTech Connect

    Giuseppe Palmiotti

    2015-05-01

    In this work, the implementation of a collision history-based approach to sensitivity/perturbation calculations in the Monte Carlo code SERPENT is discussed. The proposed methods allow the calculation of the eects of nuclear data perturbation on several response functions: the eective multiplication factor, reaction rate ratios and bilinear ratios (e.g., eective kinetics parameters). SERPENT results are compared to ERANOS and TSUNAMI Generalized Perturbation Theory calculations for two fast metallic systems and for a PWR pin-cell benchmark. New methods for the calculation of sensitivities to angular scattering distributions are also presented, which adopts fully continuous (in energy and angle) Monte Carlo estimators.

  17. [Sequencing and analysis of the complete mitochondrial genome of the King Cobra, Ophiophagus hannah (Serpents: Elapidae)].

    PubMed

    Chen, Nian; Lai, Xiao-Ping

    2010-07-01

    We obtained the complete mitochondrial genome of King Cobra(GenBank accession number: EU_921899) by Ex Taq-PCR, TA-cloning and primer-walking methods. This genome is very similar to other vertebrate, which is 17 267 bp in length and encodes 38 genes (including 13 protein-coding, 2 ribosomal RNA and 23 transfer RNA genes) and two long non-coding regions. The duplication of tRNA-Ile gene forms a new mitochondrial gene rearrangement model. Eight tRNA genes and one protein genes were transcribed from L strand, and the other genes were transcribed genes from H strand. Genes on the H strand show a fairly similar content of Adenosine and Thymine respectively, whereas those on the L strand have higher proportion of A than T. Combined rDNA sequence data (12S+16S rRNA) were used to reconstruct the phylogeny of 21 snake species for which complete mitochondrial genome sequences were available in the public databases. This large data set and an appropriate range of outgroup taxa demonstrated that Elapidae is more closely related to colubridae than viperidae, which supports the traditional viewpoints. PMID:20650853

  18. The Anti-Inflammatory Effects of the Methanolic Extract and Fractions from Davilla elliptica St. Hil. (Dilleniaceae) on Bothrops jararaca Envenomation

    PubMed Central

    Nishijima, Catarine Massucato; Delella, Flavia Karina; Rodrigues, Clenilson Martins; Rinaldo, Daniel; Lopes-Ferreira, Monica Valdyrce dos Anjos; da Rocha, Lucia Regina Machado; Vilegas, Wagner; Felisbino, Sergio Luis; Hiruma-Lima, Clélia Akiko

    2015-01-01

    Inflammation and haemorrhage are the main characteristics of tissue injury in botropic envenomation. Although some studies have shown that anti-venom prevents systemic reactions, it is not efficient in preventing tissue injury at the site of the bite. Therefore, this work was undertaken to investigate the anti-inflammatory effects of the methanolic extract and fractions from D. elliptica and to evaluate the role of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in this process. Effects of the extract and fractions from D. elliptica were evaluated using a carrageenan-induced paw oedema model in rats, and leukocyte rolling was visualized by intravital. The quantification of MMPs activities (MMP-2 and MMP-9) extracted from the dermis of mice treated with extract and fractions alone or incubated with venom was determined by zymographic analyses. Our results show that intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of fractions significantly reduced paw oedema after the carrageenan challenge. Treatment with the tannins fraction also resulted in considerable inhibition of the rolling of leukocytes and this fraction was able to decrease the activation of MMP-9. These results confirmed the anti-inflammatory activity of the methanolic extract and tannins fraction of D. elliptica and showed that the dermonecrosis properties of B. jararaca venom might be mediated through the inhibition of MMP-9 activity. PMID:26042466

  19. Identification and molecular characterization of five putative toxins from the venom gland of the snake Philodryas chamissonis (Serpentes: Dipsadidae).

    PubMed

    Urra, Félix A; Pulgar, Rodrigo; Gutiérrez, Ricardo; Hodar, Christian; Cambiazo, Verónica; Labra, Antonieta

    2015-12-15

    Philodryas chamissonis is a rear-fanged snake endemic to Chile. Its bite produces mild to moderate symptoms with proteolytic and anti-coagulant effects. Presently, the composition of the venom, as well as, the biochemical and structural characteristics of its toxins, remains unknown. In this study, we cloned and reported the first full-length sequences of five toxin-encoding genes from the venom gland of this species: Type III snake venom metalloprotease (SVMP), snake venom serine protease (SVSP), Cysteine-rich secretory protein (CRISP), ? and ? subunits of C-type lectin-like protein (CLP) and C-type natriuretic peptide (NP). These genes are highly expressed in the venom gland and their sequences exhibited a putative signal peptide, suggesting that these are components of the venom. These putative toxins had different evolutionary relationships with those reported for some front-fanged snakes, being SVMP, SVSP and CRISP of P. chamissonis closely related to the toxins present in Elapidae species, while NP was more related to those of Viperidae species. In addition, analyses suggest that the ? and ? subunits of CLP of P. chamissonis might have a ?-subunit scaffold in common with Viperidae species, whose highly variable C-terminal region might have allowed the diversification in ? and ? subunits. Our results provide the first molecular description of the toxins possibly implicated in the envenomation of prey and humans by the bite of P. chamissonis. PMID:26410112

  20. 2006 has been a year of consolidation for the SERPENT project, allowing us to cement existing relationships and develop new links

    E-print Network

    Newcastle upon Tyne, University of

    #12;1 Foreword 2006 has been a year of consolidation for the SERPENT project, allowing us to cement existing relationships and develop new links whilst reacting to internal growth and change. We have worked in 2006 in the form of a three year funding award from the Australian Research Council. The new Linkage

  1. A Place of Transformation: Lessons from the Cosmic Serpent Informal Science Education Professional Development Project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peticolas, L.; Maryboy, N.; Begay, D.; Stein, J.; Valdez, S.; Paglierani, R.

    2012-08-01

    A cultural disconnect exists between Western scientists and educators and Native communities in terms of scientific worldviews and Indigenous ways of knowing. This cultural disconnect manifests itself in the lack of participation of Native Americans in Western science and a lack of appreciation by Western scientists of Native science. Our NSF-Funded project "Cosmic Serpent: Bridging Native and Western Learning in Museum Settings" set out to provide a way for informal science education practitioners and tribal museum practitioners to learn about these two worldviews in such a way as to inform their educational practice around these concepts. We began with a pilot workshop in year one of this four-year project. We then provided two week-long professional development workshops in three regions within the Western U.S., and culminated with a final conference for all participants. In total, the workshops served 162 participants, including 115 practitioners from 19 tribal museums and 41 science, natural history, and cultural museums; 23 tribal community members; and 24 "bridge people" with knowledge of both Indigenous and Western science. For this article, we focus on the professional and personal transformations around culture, knowledge, science, and worldviews that occurred as a part of this project. We evaluated the collaborative aspects of this grant between the Indigenous Education Institute; the Center for Science Education at the University of California, Berkeley; the Institute for Learning Innovation; Native Pathways; Association for Science and Technology Centers; and the National Museum of the American Indian. Using evaluation results, as well as our personal reflections, we share our learnings from a place of transformation. We provide lessons we learned with this project, which we hope others will find relevant to their own science education work.

  2. Molecular cloning and characterization of satellite DNA sequences from constitutive heterochromatin of the habu snake (Protobothrops flavoviridis, Viperidae) and the Burmese python (Python bivittatus, Pythonidae).

    PubMed

    Matsubara, Kazumi; Uno, Yoshinobu; Srikulnath, Kornsorn; Seki, Risako; Nishida, Chizuko; Matsuda, Yoichi

    2015-12-01

    Highly repetitive DNA sequences of the centromeric heterochromatin provide valuable molecular cytogenetic markers for the investigation of genomic compartmentalization in the macrochromosomes and microchromosomes of sauropsids. Here, the relationship between centromeric heterochromatin and karyotype evolution was examined using cloned repetitive DNA sequences from two snake species, the habu snake (Protobothrops flavoviridis, Crotalinae, Viperidae) and Burmese python (Python bivittatus, Pythonidae). Three satellite DNA (stDNA) families were isolated from the heterochromatin of these snakes: 168-bp PFL-MspI from P. flavoviridis and 196-bp PBI-DdeI and 174-bp PBI-MspI from P. bivittatus. The PFL-MspI and PBI-DdeI sequences were localized to the centromeric regions of most chromosomes in the respective species, suggesting that the two sequences were the major components of the centromeric heterochromatin in these organisms. The PBI-MspI sequence was localized to the pericentromeric region of four chromosome pairs. The PFL-MspI and the PBI-DdeI sequences were conserved only in the genome of closely related species, Gloydius blomhoffii (Crotalinae) and Python molurus, respectively, although their locations on the chromosomes were slightly different. In contrast, the PBI-MspI sequence was also in the genomes of P. molurus and Boa constrictor (Boidae), and additionally localized to the centromeric regions of eight chromosome pairs in B. constrictor, suggesting that this sequence originated in the genome of a common ancestor of Pythonidae and Boidae, approximately 86 million years ago. The three stDNA sequences showed no genomic compartmentalization between the macrochromosomes and microchromosomes, suggesting that homogenization of the centromeric and/or pericentromeric stDNA sequences occurred in the macrochromosomes and microchromosomes of these snakes. PMID:26205503

  3. Discovery of microscopic evidence for shock metamorphism at the Serpent Mound structure, south-central Ohio: Confirmation of an origin by impact

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carlton, R.W.; Koeberl, C.; Baranoski, M.T.; SchuMacHer, G.A.

    1998-01-01

    The origin of the Serpent Mound structure in south-central Ohio has been disputed for many years. Clearly, more evidence was needed to resolve the confusion concerning the origin of the Serpent Mound feature either by endogenic processes or by hypervelocity impact. A petrographic study of 21 samples taken from a core 903 m long drilled in the central uplift of the structure provides evidence of shock metamorphism in the form of multiple sets of planar deformation features in quartz grains, as well as the presence of clasts of altered impact-melt rock. Crystallographic orientations of the planar deformation features show maxima at the shock-characteristic planes of {101??3} and {101??2} and additional maxima at {101??1}, {213??1}, and {516??1}. Geochemical analyses of impact breccias show minor enrichments in the abundances of the siderophile elements Cr, Co, Ni, and Ir, indicating the presence of a minor meteoritic component.

  4. Anesthesia with Isoflurane and Sevoflurane in the Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela hoya): Minimum Anesthetic Concentration, Physiological Effects, Hematocrit, Plasma Chemistry and Behavioral Effects

    PubMed Central

    CHAN, Fang-Tse; CHANG, Geng-Ruei; WANG, Hsien-Chi; HSU, Tien-Huan

    2013-01-01

    ABSTRACT The initial goal of this study was to determine the minimum anesthetic concentration (MAC) for isoflurane (ISO) and sevoflurane (SEVO) for the crested serpent eagle. Next, we compared the anesthetic effects of each on the physiological effects, hematocrit, plasma chemistry values and behavior in spontaneously breathing captive adult crested serpent eagles. Sixteen eagles were randomly allocated to two groups for anesthesia with ISO (n=8) or SEVO (n=8). First, we measured the MAC values of ISO and SEVO, and four weeks later, we investigated the effect of each on the physiological effects, hematocrit (HCT) and plasma chemistry values. The MAC values of ISO and SEVO for crested serpent eagles were 1.46 ± 0.30 and 2.03 ± 0.32%, respectively. The results revealed no significant differences between the two anesthetics in induction time, while time of extubation to recovery was significantly shorter with SEVO. A time-related increase in end-tidal CO2 and decreases in body temperature and respiratory rates were observed during anesthesia with each anesthetic. There were no significant differences between the effect of the two anesthetics on heart rate, hematocrit, plasma chemistry values or respiration, although each caused minor respiration depression. We concluded that SEVO is a more effective inhalant agent than ISO for use in eagles, showing the most rapidest induction and recovery from anesthesia. PMID:23955396

  5. Multiple regulatory safeguards confine the expression of the GATA factor Serpent to the hemocyte primordium within the Drosophila mesoderm.

    PubMed

    Spahn, Philipp; Huelsmann, Sven; Rehorn, Klaus-Peter; Mischke, Stefanie; Mayer, Melanie; Casali, Andreu; Reuter, Rolf

    2014-02-01

    serpent (srp) encodes a GATA-factor that controls various aspects of embryogenesis in Drosophila, such as fatbody development, gut differentiation and hematopoiesis. During hematopoiesis, srp expression is required in the embryonic head mesoderm and the larval lymph gland, the two known hematopoietic tissues of Drosophila, to obtain mature hemocytes. srp expression in the hemocyte primordium is known to depend on snail and buttonhead, but the regulatory complexity that defines the primordium has not been addressed yet. Here, we find that srp is sufficient to transform trunk mesoderm into hemocytes. We identify two disjoint cis-regulatory modules that direct the early expression in the hemocyte primordium and the late expression in mature hemocytes and lymph gland, respectively. During embryonic hematopoiesis, a combination of snail, buttonhead, empty spiracles and even-skipped confines the mesodermal srp expression to the head region. This restriction to the head mesoderm is crucial as ectopic srp in mesodermal precursors interferes with the development of mesodermal derivates and promotes hemocytes and fatbody development. Thus, several genes work in a combined fashion to restrain early srp expression to the head mesoderm in order to prevent expansion of the hemocyte primordium. PMID:24360907

  6. The Descent of the Serpent: Using a Successful Ancient Solar Observatories Webcast from Chichen Itza to Highlight Space Weather Research

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hawkins, I.; Higdon, R.; Cline, T.

    2006-12-01

    Over the past seven years, NASA's Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum has sponsored and coordinated education and public outreach events to highlight NASA's heliophysics research and discoveries. Our strategy involves using celestial events, such as total solar eclipses and the Transit of Venus, as well as Sun-Earth Day during the March Equinox, to engage K-12 schools and the general public in space science activities, demonstrations, and interactions with space scientists. In collaboration with partners that include the Exploratorium and other museums, Ideum, NASA TV, NASA heliophysics missions, and others, we produce webcasts, other multi-media, and print resources for use by school and informal educators nation-wide and internationally. We provide training and professional development to K-12 educators, museum personnel, amateur astronomers, Girl Scout leaders, etc., so they can implement their own outreach programs taking advantage of our resources. A coordinated approach promotes multiple programs occurring each year under a common theme. As part of an Ancient Observatories theme in 2005, we have successfully featured solar alignments with ancient structures made by indigenous cultures that mark the equinoxes and/or solstices in cultural and historical parks in the Americas. In partnership with the Exploratorium, we produced broadcast-quality and webcast programming during the March equinox that shared heliophysics within a broad cultural context with formal and informal education audiences internationally. The program: "Descent of the Serpent" featured the light and shadow effect at sunset that takes place during the spring equinox at the Pyramid of El Castillo, in Chichén Itzá (México). This program made unique and authentic cultural connections to the knowledge of solar astronomy of the Maya, the living Mayan culture of today, and the importance of the Sun across the ages. We involved Sun-Earth Connection scientists, their missions, and research programs from México and the US to share NASA solar research with diverse audiences in the US and across the world, and to share how our dynamic Sun impacts the Earth and other planets in the solar system. During our presentation, we will highlight the strategies we used to successfully engage Hispanics of native heritage in heliophysics from all over the world.

  7. The Plumed Serpent and the Red Atlantis.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Willard, William

    1988-01-01

    Examines work of author D.H. Lawrence and John Collier, later Bureau of Indian Affairs Commissioner, during 1920s when they stayed as Mabel Dodge Luhan's guests in Taos, New Mexico. Examines their perceptions of Pueblo Indian culture, federal-Indian relationship, and Indian influences on Lawrence's and Collier's work. (TES)

  8. Taxonomic revision of Drymoluber Amaral, 1930 (Serpentes: Colubridae).

    PubMed

    Costa, Henrique Caldeira; Moura, Mário Ribeiro; Feio, Renato Neves

    2013-01-01

    The present study is a taxonomic revision of the genus Drymoluber Amaral, 1930, using meristic and morphometric characters, aspects of external hemipenial morphology and body coloration. Sexual dimorphism occurs in D. dichrous and D. brazili but was not detected in D. apurimacensis. Morphological variation within D. dichrous is related to geographic distance between populations. Furthermore, variation in the number of ventrals and subcaudals in D. dichrous and D. brazili follows latitudinal and longitudinal clinal patterns. Drymoluber dichrous is diagnosed by the presence of 15-15-15 smooth dorsal scale rows with two apical pits, and 157-180 ventrals and 86-110 subcaudals; it occurs along the eastern versant of the Andes, in the Amazon forest, on the Guiana Shield, in the Atlantic forest, and its transitional areas with the Caatinga and Cerrado. Drymoluber brazili has 17-17-15 smooth dorsal scale rows with two apical pits, 182-202 ventrals and 109-127 subcaudals, and ranges throughout the Caatinga, Cerrado, Atlantic forest and transitional areas between these last two domains. Drymoluber apurimacensis has 13-13-13 smooth dorsal scale rows without apical pits, 158-182 ventrals and 84-93 subcaudals, and occurs in the Apurimac Valley, south of the Apurimac and Pampas rivers in Peru. PMID:26106780

  9. The complete mitochondrial genome of Elaphe bimaculata (Reptilia, Serpentes, Colubridae).

    PubMed

    Yan, Long; Geng, Zhang-Zhen; Yan, Peng; Wu, Xiao-Bing

    2016-03-01

    The Chinese leopard snake (Elaphe bimaculata) is an endemic species to China. The complete nucleotide sequence of the mitochondrial (mt) genome of E. bimaculata is determined in this study. The circle genome was 17,183?bp in length and consisted of 13 protein-coding genes, 22 transfer RNA genes, 2 ribosomal RNA genes and 2 duplicate control regions. Several peculiar features were observed in mitogenome of E. bimaculata, such as the translocation of tRNA(Leu(UUR)) gene and an incomplete copy for tRNA(Pro). PMID:25090378

  10. Sexual activity and plasma levels of sex steroids in the aspic viper Vipera aspis L. (Reptilia, Viperidae).

    PubMed

    Saint Girons, H; Bradshaw, S D; Bradshaw, F J

    1993-09-01

    Reproductive behavior and associated sexual activity was studied in individual male and female Vipera aspis over a 3-year period in western France in an attempt to correlate mating behavior with blood levels of gonadal sex steroids. Males had higher average levels of both testosterone (T) and 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) than females. Levels of progesterone (P) did not differ significantly between the two sexes but estradiol-17 beta (E2) concentrations were significantly higher in females during the season of mating. Spring mating behavior and copulation in males was associated with significantly increased levels of T and DHT, compared with postmating males; and a similar, but not significant trend, was evident with autumnal mating. The only statistically significant hormonal difference detected in males showing no sexual activity in autumn, was an elevated level of E2 at 0.52 +/- 0.20 ng/ml compared with 0.09 +/- 0.03 ng/ml in spring-breeding males (P = 0.05). Estrus in females is associated with increased levels of all four steroids but significant only for E2 and DHT. Levels of P were significantly reduced in females displaying seasonal anestrous in the spring immediately following reproduction. Females not displaying estrus in either spring or autumn had significantly lower plasma DHT and E2. Although mating behavior in males is associated statistically with elevated levels of T and DHT, a tight correlation is not obvious at the individual level, suggesting that increased concentrations of androgens are a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for mating. The data from V. aspis suggest that, as in a number of other reptilian species, high circulating levels of androgens function to "condition" or "organize" sexual behavior in males which may be displayed at some later time, well after actual levels have fallen, thus engendering the impression that reproductive behavior may be temporally dissociated from essential hormonal stimuli. PMID:8224772

  11. A relict lineage and new species of green palm-pitviper (Squamata, Viperidae, Bothriechis) from the Chortís Highlands of Mesoamerica

    PubMed Central

    Townsend, Josiah H.; Medina-Flores, Melissa; Wilson, Larry David; Jadin, Robert C.; Austin, James D.

    2013-01-01

    Abstract A new species of palm-pitviper of the genus Bothriechis is described from Refugio de Vida Silvestre Texíguat in northern Honduras. The new species differs from congeners by having 19 dorsal scale rows at midbody, a bright green dorsal coloration in adults, the prelacunal scale fused to the second supralabial, and in representing a northern lineage that is sister to Bothriechis lateralis, which is distributed in Costa Rica and western Panama and is isolated from the new taxon by the Nicaraguan Depression. This represents the 15th endemic species occurring in Refugio de Vida Silvestre Texíguat, one of the richest herpetofaunal sites in Honduras, itself being the country with the highest degree of herpetofaunal endemism in Central America. We name this new species in honor of a Honduran conservationist slain in fighting against illegal logging, highlighting the sacrifices of rural activists in battling these issues and the critical importance of conservation in these areas. PMID:23794885

  12. Horizontal transfer of non-LTR retrotransposons in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Kordis, D; Gubensek, F

    1999-01-01

    Since their discovery in family Bovidae (bovids), Bov-B LINEs, believed to be order-specific SINEs, have been found in all ruminants and recently also in Viperidae snakes. The distribution and the evolutionary relationships of Bov-B LINEs provide an indication of their origin and evolutionary dynamics in different species. The evolutionary origin of Bov-B LINE elements has been shown unequivocally to be in Squamata (squamates). The horizontal transfer of Bov-B LINE elements in vertebrates has been confirmed by their discontinuous phylogenetic distribution in Squamata (Serpentes and two lizard infra-orders) as well as in Ruminantia, by the high level of nucleotide identity, and by their phylogenetic relationships. The direction of horizontal transfer from Squamata to the ancestor of Ruminantia is evident from the genetic distances and discontinuous phylogenetic distribution of Bov-B LINE elements. The ancestral snake lineage (Boidae) has been recognized as a possible donor of Bov-B LINE elements to Ruminantia. The timing of horizontal transfer has been estimated from the distribution of Bov-B LINE elements in Ruminantia and the fossil data of Ruminantia to be 40-50 mya. The phylogenetic relationships of Bov-B LINE elements from the various Squamata species agrees with that of the species phylogeny, suggesting that Bov-B LINE elements have been stably maintained by vertical transmission since the origin of Squamata in the Mesozoic era. PMID:10952205

  13. Unusual horizontal transfer of a long interspersed nuclear element between distant vertebrate classes.

    PubMed

    Kordis, D; Gubensek, F

    1998-09-01

    We have shown previously by Southern blot analysis that Bov-B long interspersed nuclear elements (LINEs) are present in different Viperidae snake species. To address the question as to whether Bov-B LINEs really have been transmitted horizontally between vertebrate classes, the analysis has been extended to a larger number of vertebrate, invertebrate, and plant species. In this paper, the evolutionary origin of Bov-B LINEs is shown unequivocally to be in Squamata. The previously proposed horizontal transfer of Bov-B LINEs in vertebrates has been confirmed by their discontinuous phylogenetic distribution in Squamata (Serpentes and two lizard infra-orders) as well as in Ruminantia, by the high level of nucleotide identity, and by their phylogenetic relationships. The horizontal transfer of Bov-B LINEs from Squamata to the ancestor of Ruminantia is evident from the genetic distances and discontinuous phylogenetic distribution. The ancestor of Colubroidea snakes is a possible donor of Bov-B LINEs to Ruminantia. The timing of horizontal transfer has been estimated from the distribution of Bov-B LINEs in Ruminantia and the fossil data of Ruminantia to be 40-50 My ago. The phylogenetic relationships of Bov-B LINEs from the various Squamata species agrees with that of the species phylogeny, suggesting that Bov-B LINEs have been maintained stably by vertical transmission since the origin of Squamata in the Mesozoic era. PMID:9724768

  14. Molecular evolution of Bov-B LINEs in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Kordis, D; Gubensek, F

    1999-09-30

    Since their discovery in family Bovidae (bovids), Bov-B LINEs, believed to be order-specific SINEs, have been found in all ruminants and recently also in Viperidae snakes. The distribution and the evolutionary relationships of Bov-B LINEs provide an indication of their origin and evolutionary dynamics in different species. The evolutionary origin of Bov-B LINE elements has been shown unequivocally to be in Squamata (squamates). The horizontal transfer of Bov-B LINE elements in vertebrates has been confirmed by their discontinuous phylogenetic distribution in Squamata (Serpentes and two lizard infra-orders) as well as in Ruminantia, by the high level of nucleotide identity, and by their phylogenetic relationships. The direction of horizontal transfer from Squamata to the ancestor of Ruminantia is evident from the genetic distances and discontinuous phylogenetic distribution of Bov-B LINE elements. The ancestor of Colubroidea snakes has been recognized as a possible donor of Bov-B LINE elements to Ruminantia. The timing of horizontal transfer has been estimated from the distribution of Bov-B LINE elements in Ruminantia and the fossil data of Ruminantia to be 40-50 My ago. The phylogenetic relationships of Bov-B LINE elements from the various Squamata species agrees with that of the species phylogeny, suggesting that Bov-B LINE elements have been stably maintained by vertical transmission since the origin of Squamata in the Mesozoic era. PMID:10570995

  15. Taxonomic revision of Chironius flavolineatus (Jan, 1863) with description of a new species (Serpentes: Colubridae).

    PubMed

    Hamdan, Breno; Fernandes, Daniel S

    2015-01-01

    We conducted a taxonomic review of Chironius flavolineatus on the basis of continuous and discrete morphological characters. We recognize a new species which is distinguished from all currently recognized congeners by the following unique combination of characters: first third of body black or dark gray; vertebral stripe yellowish or creamish white distinct from dorsals of nape and extending throughout almost whole body length; head dorsum tan to brown, distinct from background color of first third of body; posterior temporal scales ranging one to four; cloacal shield frequently divided; two to four rows of keeled dorsal scales at midbody; venter ground color gradually darkening towards cloaca; region of medial constriction of hemipenis slightly covered with spinules separating calyces of apex from spines below region of constriction; in lateral view, sulcus spermaticus positioned on convex face of hemipenis; ascending process of premaxilla oblique anteroposteriorly to longitudinal axis of skull; optic fenestrae not exceeding frontoparietal suture; posterior border of supratemporal exceeding braincase; dorsoventral axis of quadrate oblique mesolaterally, moving away from longitudinal axis of skull. Furthermore, we provide data on morphological variation, distribution, and an emended diagnosis for C. flavolineatus. PMID:26623847

  16. Collaborative Research: SERPENT: Serpentinite, Extension, and Regional Porosity Experiment across the Nicaraguan Trench

    E-print Network

    Key, Kerry

    and the volumes of water that are being carried into the subduction system through this route. We propose a large survey will combine controlled-source electromagnetics (CSEM) with broadband and long period morphology and arc volcanics to our primary survey area, will provide an important contrast to the area off

  17. The Development of the Skull of the Egyptian Cobra Naja h. haje (Squamata: Serpentes: Elapidae)

    PubMed Central

    Khannoon, Eraqi R.; Evans, Susan E.

    2015-01-01

    Background The study of craniofacial development is important in understanding the ontogenetic processes behind morphological diversity. A complete morphological description of the embryonic skull development of the Egyptian cobra, Naja h. haje, is lacking and there has been little comparative discussion of skull development either among elapid snakes or between them and other snakes. Methodology/Principal Findings We present a description of skull development through a full sequence of developmental stages of the Egyptian cobra, and compare it to other snakes. Associated soft tissues of the head are noted where relevant. The first visible ossification centres are in the supratemporal, prearticular and surangular, with slight ossification visible in parts of the maxilla, prefrontal, and dentary. Epiotic centres of ossification are present in the supraoccipital, and the body of the supraoccipital forms from the tectum posterior not the tectum synoticum. The venom glands are visible as distinct bodies as early at stage 5 and enlarge later to extend from the otic capsule to the maxilla level with the anterior margin of the eye. The gland becomes more prominent shortly before hatching, concomitant with the development of the fangs. The tongue shows incipient forking at stage 5, and becomes fully bifid at stage 6. Conclusions/Significance We present the first detailed staging series of cranial development for the Egyptian cobra, Naja h. haje. This is one of the first studies since the classical works of G. de Beer and W. Parker that provides a detailed description of cranial development in an advanced snake species. It allows us to correct errors and misinterpretations in previous accounts which were based on a small sample of specimens of uncertain age. Our results highlight potentially significant variation in supraoccipital formation among squamates and the need for further research in this area. PMID:25860015

  18. Complex evolution in the Neotropics: The origin and diversification of the widespread genus Leptodeira (Serpentes: Colubridae)

    E-print Network

    Parkinson, Christopher L.

    Complex evolution in the Neotropics: The origin and diversification of the widespread genus Biogeography Cat-eyed snake Dipsadinae Divergence time Imantodes Mexican transition zone Miocene Phylogeography observed. The snake genus Leptodeira provides an excellent opportunity to investigate such processes

  19. A new species of death adder (Acanthophis: Serpentes: Elapidae) from north-western Australia.

    PubMed

    Maddock, Simon T; Ellis, Ryan J; Doughty, Paul; Smith, Lawrence A; Wüster, Wolfgang

    2015-01-01

    Australian death adders (genus Acanthophis) are highly venomous snakes with conservative morphology and sit-and-wait predatory habits, with only moderate taxonomic diversity that nevertheless remains incompletely understood. Analyses of mitochondrial and nuclear gene sequences and morphological characteristics of death adders in northern Australia reveal the existence of a new species from the Kimberley region of Western Australia and the Northern Territory, which we describe as Acanthophis cryptamydros sp. nov. Although populations from the Kimberley were previously considered conspecific with Northern Territory death adders of the A. rugosus complex, our mtDNA analysis indicates that its closest relatives are desert death adders, A. pyrrhus. We found that A. cryptamydros sp. nov. is distinct in both mtDNA and nDNA analysis, and possesses multiple morphological characteristics that allow it to be distinguished from all other Acanthophis species. This study further supports the Kimberley region as an area with high endemic biodiversity. PMID:26623813

  20. Serpents in the Garden: English Professors in Contemporary Film and Television

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Carens, Timothy L.

    2010-01-01

    In an article on "Smart People" (2008), a film in which Dennis Quaid plays an English professor who becomes romantically involved with a former student, Jeffery J. Williams notes that a "common complaint among academics is that films don't depict them correctly, and in some ways Quaid was accoutered by central casting, beginning the movie in a…

  1. Phylogenetic position, origin and biogeography of Palearctic and Socotran blind-snakes (Serpentes: Typhlopidae).

    PubMed

    Kornilios, P; Giokas, S; Lymberakis, P; Sindaco, R

    2013-07-01

    The majority of the family Typhlopidae occurs in the Neotropic, Australasian, Indo-Malayan and Afrotropic ecoregions. They show a restricted distribution in the western Palearctic, where they include few native species, i.e. Rhinotyphlops simoni, R. episcopus and Typhlops vermicularis. A unique species among typhlopids is T. socotranus, found in Socotra, one of the most endemic-rich archipelagoes. In this study we determine the phylogenetic position of the above mentioned species and discuss their systematics, origin and biogeography. For this purpose we use three protein-coding nuclear markers (AMEL-amelogenin, BDNF-brain-derived neurotrophic factor and NT3-neurotrophin 3) to construct a time-calibrated phylogeny of the family Typhlopidae. Our results show that T. socotranus is a sister-species to T. vermicularis, while R. simoni and R. episcopus are sister-species to each other and are found within the African clade of the family, although they are geographically distributed in west Asia. Additionally we discuss several hypotheses on their origin, as well as the occurence of typhlopids in Eurasia. PMID:23523862

  2. Molecular systematics and undescribed diversity of Madagascan scolecophidian snakes (Squamata: Serpentes).

    PubMed

    Nagy, Zoltán T; Marion, Angela B; Glaw, Frank; Miralles, Aurélien; Nopper, Joachim; Vences, Miguel; Hedges, S Blair

    2015-01-01

    We provide an updated molecular phylogenetic analysis of global diversity of typhlopid and xenotyphlopid blindsnakes, adding a set of Madagascan samples and sequences of an additional mitochondrial gene to an existing supermatrix of nuclear and mitochondrial gene segments. Our data suggest monophyly of Madagascan typhlopids, exclusive of introduced Indotyphlops braminus. The Madagascar-endemic typhlopid clade includes two species previously assigned to the genus Lemuriatyphlops (in the subfamily Asiatyphlopinae), which were not each others closest relatives. This contradicts a previous study that described Lemuriatyphlops based on a sequence of the cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 gene from a single species and found this species not forming a clade with the other Malagasy species included. Based on our novel phylogenetic assessment we include all species in this endemic typhlopid clade in the genus Madatyphlops and in the subfamily Madatyphlopinae and consider Lemuriatyphlops as junior synonym. Within Madatyphlops, we identify several candidate species. For some of these (those in the M. arenarius complex), our preliminary data suggest sympatric occurrence and morphological differentiation, thus the existence of undescribed species. We also comment on the genus-level classification of several non-Madagascan typhlopids. We suggest that African species included in Madatyphlops (Afrotyphlops calabresii, A. cuneirostris, A. platyrhynchus, and Rhinotyphlops leucocephalus) should not be included in this genus. We furthermore argue that recent claims of Sundatyphlops, Antillotyphlops, and Cubatyphlops being "undiagnosable" or "not monophyletic" were based on errors in tree reconstruction and failure to notice diagnostic characters, and thus regard these three genera as valid. PMID:26624649

  3. Morphological variation and affinities of the poorly known snake Atractus caxiuana (Serpentes: Dipsadidae) .

    PubMed

    Passos, Paulo; Ramos, Luciana O; Pinna, Pedro H; Prudente, Ana L C

    2013-01-01

    Atractus caxiuana was recently described based on three specimens (two males and one female) from the Floresta Nacional de Caxiuanã, municipality of Melgaço, state of Pará, in the eastern portion of the Brazilian Amazon. Apart from the type series, no additional samples are known for the species. In this study, we report new specimens of A. caxiuana, providing new morphological data (meristic, morphometric, pholidosis, colour pattern, and hemipenis) and localities. We relate the variability displayed by the characters analyzed to sexual dimorphism, geographic variation, and ontogeny. Additionally, we provide detailed comparisons with A. collaris and putative sister species, and propose a new species group to accommodate this distinct and possible monophyletic assemblage.  PMID:25113336

  4. Ultrastructure and wear patterns of the ventral epidermis of four snake species (Squamata, Serpentes).

    PubMed

    Klein, Marie-Christin G; Gorb, Stanislav N

    2014-10-01

    Snakes are limbless tetrapods highly specialized for sliding locomotion. This locomotion leads to the skin being exposed to friction loads, especially on the ventral body side, which leads to wear. It is presumed that snakes therefore have specific optimizations for minimizing abrasion. Scales from snakes with habitat, locomotor and/or behavior specializations have specific gradients in material properties that may be due to different epidermal architecture. To approach this issue we examined the skin of Lampropeltis getula californiae (terrestrial), Epicrates cenchria cenchria (generalist), Morelia viridis (arboreal), and Gongylophis colubrinus (burrowing) with a focus on (i) the ultrastructure of the ventral epidermis and (ii) the qualitative abrasion pattern of the ventral scales. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy revealed variations in the structure, thickness, layering, and material composition of the epidermis between the species. Furthermore, SEM and white light interferometer images of the scale surface showed that the abrasion patterns differed, even when the snakes were reared on the same substrate. These data support the idea that (i) a specific gradient in material properties may be due to a variation in epidermis architecture (thickness/ultrastructure) and (ii) this variation may be an optimization of material properties for specific ways of life. PMID:25169958

  5. A new species of Chironius Fitzinger, 1826 from the state of Bahia, Northeastern Brazil (Serpentes: Colubridae).

    PubMed

    Fernandes, Daniel Silva; Hamdan, Breno

    2014-01-01

    We describe a new species of Chironius Fitzinger, 1826 from the highlands of Chapada Diamantina, state of Bahia, Brazil. The new species is distinguished from all currently recognized congeners by a unique combination of states of characters on coloration, scale counts, scale ornamentation, and hemipenis. The new species closely resembles Chironius flavolineatus (Jan, 1863) in color pattern, but differs from the later taxon by the presence of two to four posterior temporal scales; cloacal shield entire; six to ten rows of keeled dorsal scales at midbody; ventral scales with posterior dark edges forming conspicuous transverse bars along almost the entire venter; conspicuous dark longitudinal stripes (in "zigzag") in the midventral portion of subcaudals; region of medial constriction of hemipenis slightly covered with spinules separating calyces of apex from spines below region of constriction; and sulcus spermaticus situated on convex face of hemipenis in lateral view. The new species is apparently restricted to Chapada Diamantina, corroborating the biological importance of this region from a conservational perspective. PMID:25543653

  6. The Serpent in the Garden State: Juvenile Delinquency in 1920s New Jersey

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ferry, Thomas M.

    2010-01-01

    School administrators, educators, psychologists, social workers, the juvenile courts, institutional reformers, and others shape the manner in which children are labeled, portrayed, and treated. However, the agendas, motivations, political language, and influence of these "helping professionals" in "treating" and "reforming" juvenile delinquents…

  7. The Serpent Strikes: Simulation in a Large First-Year Course.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Schrag, Philip G.

    1989-01-01

    A year-long simulation of a single case supplements a traditional civil procedure course at Georgetown University. Experience with the approach suggests that design features can reduce the burdens on the instructor without reducing course effectiveness, making the approach feasible even with larger classes. (MSE)

  8. Post-ovipositional development of the monocled cobra, Naja kaouthia (Serpentes: Elapidae)

    E-print Network

    Jackson, Kate

    Jackson Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA Received April 4, 2002, 1968). * Corresponding author: Kate Jackson, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, 26@oeb.harvard.edu Zoology 105 (2002): 203­214 © by Urban & Fischer Verlag http://www.urbanfischer.de/journals/zoology #12

  9. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Feeding Envenomation by Arrhyton exiguum (Serpentes: Colubridae)

    E-print Network

    Leal, Manuel S.

    Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Feeding Envenomation by Arrhyton exiguum and Reptiles Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1564918 . Accessed: 24/05/2012 12:55 Your use of the JSTOR contact support@jstor.org. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles is collaborating with JSTOR

  10. Monsters of the sea serpent: parasites of an oarfish, Regalecus russellii.

    PubMed

    Kuris, Armand M; Jaramillo, Alejandra G; McLaughlin, John P; Weinstein, Sara B; Garcia-Vedrenne, Ana E; Poinar, George O; Pickering, Maria; Steinauer, Michelle L; Espinoza, Magaly; Ashford, Jacob E; Dunn, Gabriela L P

    2015-02-01

    Examination of a small portion of the viscera of an oarfish ( Regalecus russellii ) recovered from Santa Catalina Island, southern California, revealed numerous tetraphyllidean tapeworm plerocercoids, Clistobothrium cf. montaukensis; 2 juvenile nematodes, Contracaecum sp.; and a fragment of an adult acanthocephalan, family Arhythmacanthidae. This suggests that the fish was relatively heavily parasitized. The presence of larval and juvenile worms suggests that oarfish are preyed upon by deep-swimming predators such as the shortfin mako shark, Isurus oxyrinchus , known to be a definitive host for the adult tapeworm, and also by diving mammals such as sperm whales, Physeter catodon L., hosts of Contracaecum spp. nematodes. PMID:25220829

  11. Valid or not? Yunnan mountain snake Plagiopholis unipostocularis (Serpentes: Colubridae: Pseudoxenodontinae).

    PubMed

    Zhong, Guang Hui; Chen, Wen De; Liu, Qin; Zhu, Fei; Peng, Pei Hao; Guo, Peng

    2015-01-01

    Plagiopholis unipostocularis Zhao, Jiang & Huang, 1978 is a small snake endemic to Yunnan, southern China. Its validity is still controversial and unresolved. Based on extensive sampling in Yunnan, we conducted morphological comparison and molecular phylogenetics on the unidentified specimens of Plagiopholis from Yunnan. Based on a combination of morphological comparison and molecular phylogeny, the newly collected specimens could be identified as P. blakewayi. While some specimens exhibit one or more diagnostics of P. unipostocularis, and some characteristics are intermediate between that of Plagiopholis unipostocularis and P. blakewayi. Thus morphological continuities between two species uncovered P. unipostocularis is a synonymy of P. blakewayi, and the diagnostics of this species was revised accordingly. PMID:26624106

  12. Can we prevent doctors being complicit in torture? Breaking the serpent's egg.

    PubMed

    O'Connor, Mike

    2009-12-01

    A significant minority of the tortured prisoners who survive report that a doctor was present during their torture. Yet few medical practitioners are ever criminally prosecuted or even disciplined by their regulatory bodies. Can such gross violations of the Hippocratic Code be so easily ignored or are these doctors carefully shielded from detection and prosecution by a grateful state? Mostly doctors act to vet prisoners for their capacity to withstand the torture or resuscitate them to allow torture and interrogation to continue. However, on occasion, the "healers" may be the actual torturers as happened in Russian psychoprisons in the latter part of the 20th century. This article argues that the de facto immunity which complicit doctors currently appear to enjoy must be stripped away and replaced by effective processes to detect and then prosecute criminal behaviour. This will require widespread reporting of cases and action by international bodies, including non-government organisations. Prevention is clearly preferable and this will require improvements in undergraduate and graduate medical education about international humanitarian and human rights law. There is evidence that many medical faculties pay scant attention to this education and their students graduate with serious flaws in their understanding and attitudes towards human rights. Education should target "doctors at risk" in prisons, armed forces and the police. It should address professional behaviour which tolerates or even protects cultures of abuse. A code of professional conduct would assist "doctors at risk" to resist overtures for them to become complicit in torture, Medical Practice Acts should include statements on respecting human rights when defining good professional conduct. Doctors who become complicit in torture betray their profession. Swift action should be taken to stop such abuses and perpetrators should receive strong disciplinary action from regulatory bodies. PMID:20169802

  13. Taxonomic status and morphological variation of Hydrodynastes bicinctus (Hermann, 1804) (Serpentes: Dipsadidae).

    PubMed

    Murta-Fonseca, Roberta A; Franco, Francisco L; Fernandes, Daniel Silva

    2016-01-01

    Hydrodynastes bicinctus was described with no type material or locality and it has two subspecies currently recognized that are not taxonomically well defined. We tested the validity of the two subspecies through meristic, morphometric, and color pattern characters. Two apparently distinct color patterns of H. bicinctus were noticed, one from the Cerrado open formations and the other from the Amazon rainforest. These aforementioned patterns, however, exhibited a high degree of geographic overlap and many specimens showed a blended pattern. Based on these results we propose synonymizing H. bicinctus schultzi with the nominal taxon. Furthermore, we designate a neotype for the species, present data on geographic distribution, and provide morphological descriptions of the hemipenis, cephalic glands, and skull. PMID:26623921

  14. FIRST REPORT OF SNAKES (SERPENTES) FROM THE LATE MIDDLE EOCENE PONDAUNG FORMATION, MYANMAR

    E-print Network

    Holroyd, Patricia A.

    (e.g., Rage, 1984; Szyndlar, 1984; Holman, 2000), despite hypoth- eses predicting the region as the origin of extant clades (e.g., Underwood and Stimson, 1990; Rage et al., 1992). The South Asian record colubrid verte- brae from the late Eocene Krabi Basin of Thailand (Rage et al., 1992) and a single vertebra

  15. Annual cycles in plasma testosterone and thyroxine in the male aspic viper Vipera aspis L., (Reptilia, Viperidae), in relation to the sexual cycle and hibernation.

    PubMed

    Naulleau, G; Fleury, F; Boissin, J

    1987-02-01

    Blood samples were taken monthly from males of Vipera aspis kept in outdoor terraria. Plasma testosterone was estimated by radioimmunoassay and plasma thyroxine by the technique of isotopic competition, between October 1979 and September 1985. Plasma testosterone showed an annual bimodal profile. The highest peak was observed from February 15 to the end of March. 2 to 5 weeks after the first emergence from hibernation. Values then decreased greatly, to reach a minimum level when the vernal spermiogenesis was at its maximum. The secondary peak of plasma testosterone was lower and less well marked. It occurred at the end of summer, during the strongest spermiogenesis, and preceded the autumnal facultative mating period. Plasma thyroxine was at a maximum concentration from February to March after which levels decreased markedly. The seasonal profile of plasma thyroxine was clearly marked during the period of hibernation. From September to October, 2 months before the beginning of hibernation, thyroxine levels began to decrease, and they reached a minimum in November-December. Endocrine reactivation of the thyroid appeared at the end of hibernation. However, in contrast to the plasma testosterone, endocrine activity of the thyroid began 2 to 3 weeks before the end of hibernation. Mechanisms of reactivation for testicular and thyroidal endocrine structures are discussed. PMID:3817449

  16. Universite du Littoral-C^ote d'Opale P^ole Lamartine Licence SESA 3 CG

    E-print Network

    Smouch, Laurent

    a des serpents, des scorpions et des souris ; ­ chaque matin, chaque serpent mange une souris, ­ chaque midi, chaque scorpion pique un serpent et ­ chaque soir, chaque souris mange un scorpion. Au bout d le nombre de serpents, yn le nombre de scorpions et zn le nombre de souris `a l'aube du n-i`eme jour

  17. www.serpentproject.com issue 11: june 2007

    E-print Network

    Newcastle upon Tyne, University of

    SERPENT www.serpentproject.com issue 11: june 2007 North Sea SERPENT offshore Gulf SERPENT SERPENT? Share them with us! Email lkm@noc.soton.ac.uk Construction of the North Sea Buzzard platform was completed in 2006 and first oil was produced in January this year. The platform is operated by Nexen

  18. The unexpected discovery of blind snakes (Serpentes: Typhlopidae) in Micronesia: two new species of Ramphotyphlops from the Caroline Islands

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wynn, Addison H.; Reynolds, Robert P.; Buden, Donald W.; Falanruw, Marjorie; Lynch, Brian

    2012-01-01

    Two new blind snakes in the genus Ramphotyphlops are described from Ulithi (R. hatmaliyeb sp. nov.) and Ant Atoll (R. adocetus sp. nov.) in the Caroline Islands, the first blind snake species known from Micronesia east of Palau (excluding Ramphotyphlops braminus). Both species are unusual in being known only from small, low-lying atolls. They can be distinguished from other Ramphotyphlops by the combination of 22 scale rows over the length of the body; a wedge-shaped snout, without a keratinized keel; and a broad, pyriform (R. adocetus) or ovate (R. hatmaliyeb) rostral scale.

  19. The unexpected discovery of blind snakes (Serpentes: Typhlopidae) in Micronesia: Two new species of Ramphotyphlops from the Caroline Islands

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wynn, A.H.; Reynolds, R.P.; Buden, D.W.; Falanruw, M.; Lynch, B.

    2012-01-01

    Two new blind snakes in the genus Ramphotyphlops are described from Ulithi (R. hatmaliyeb sp. nov.) and Ant Atoll (R. adocetus sp. nov.) in the Caroline Islands, the first blind snake species known from Micronesia east of Palau (excluding Ramphotyphlops braminus). Both species are unusual in being known only from small, low-lying atolls. They can be distinguished from other Ramphotyphlops by the combination of 22 scale rows over the length of the body; a wedge-shaped snout, without a keratinized keel; and a broad, pyriform (R. adocetus) or ovate (R. hatmaliyeb) rostral scale.

  20. ["Lingue di seripi", "serpents' tongues" and "glossopetrae". Highlights from the history of popular "cult" medicine in early modern times].

    PubMed

    Freller, T

    1997-01-01

    In the 16th, 17th and 18th century "Glossopetrae", popularly known as "Lingue di Serpi", found on the Mediterranean island of Malta, were extensively used for medical purposes as antidotes. These fossil teeth, including specimens of the "Carcharodon Megalodon" (an extinct variant of the great white shark), were ground to powder or used as amulet pendants and "credence" and exported to pharmacies and shops in various cities of Europe. In antiquity, authors like Plinius or Solinus, excluding any religious connotations, had regarded "Glossopetrae" as objects "fallen from heaven on dark moonless nights". However, from the beginning of the 16th century the miraculous antidotic power of the specimens found at Malta was very strongly connected with the Pauline cult there. This cult owed ist origin to the excerpt of the shipwreck of the Apostle of the Gentiles on this island, as recorded in the New Testament. As in so many cases found in medieval and early modern medicine and pharmacy, the renown, collection, distribution and use of the antidote "Glossopetrae" or "Lingue di Serpi" was never limited to its real chemical and pharmaceutical properties. In the period of enlightenment and secular thinking mythic medicine as "Glossopetrae" had lost ist "magical" power. Consequently, with beginning of the late 18th century also the Maltese "Glossopetrae" featured in literature merely as exotic objects of curiosity or symbols of an age bound to medical superstition. PMID:9333999

  1. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Effects of Prey Type on the Feeding Behavior of Alsophis portoricensis (Serpentes

    E-print Network

    Leal, Manuel S.

    Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Effects of Prey Type on the Feeding Behavior: Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1564932@jstor.org. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve

  2. Body size as a primary determinant of ecomorphological diversification and the evolution of mimicry in the lampropeltinine snakes (Serpentes: Colubridae).

    PubMed

    Pyron, R Alexander; Burbrink, F T

    2009-10-01

    Evolutionary correlations between functionally related character suites are expected as a consequence of coadaptation due to physiological relationships between traits. However, significant correlations may also exist between putatively unrelated characters due to shared relationships between those traits and underlying variables, such as body size. Although such patterns are often dismissed as simple body size scaling, this presumption may overlook important evolutionary patterns of diversification. If body size is the primary determinant of potential diversity in multiple unrelated characters, the observed differentiation of species may be governed by variability in body size, and any biotic or abiotic constraints on the diversification thereof. Here, we demonstrate that traits related to both predatory specialization (gape and diet preference) and predatory avoidance (the development of Batesian mimicry) are phylogenetically correlated in the North American snake tribe Lampropeltini. This is apparently due to shared relationships between those traits and adult body size, suggesting that size is the primary determinant of ecomorphological differentiation in the lampropeltinines. Diversification in body size is apparently not linked to climatic or environmental factors, and may have been driven by interspecific interactions such as competition. Additionally, we find the presence of a 'key zone' for the development of both rattle- and coral snake mimicry; only small snakes feeding primarily on ectothermic prey develop mimetic colour patterns, in or near the range of venomous model species. PMID:19702841

  3. Redescription of Phalotris labiomaculatus (Serpentes, Dipsadidae, Elapomorphini), with notes on the taxonomic boundaries within the nasutus group.

    PubMed

    Hamdan, Breno; Da Silva, Nelson Jorge; Silva, Helder Lucio Rodrigues; Cintra, Carlos Eduardo D; De Lema, Thales

    2013-01-01

    Phalotris labiomaculatus Lema, 2002 was described based on a single specimen from Porto Franco, south of the Brazilian state of Maranhão, being rediscovered three years later in Mateiros, a municipality in the north of the state of Tocantins, attesting to its occurrence in the cerrado of both banks of the Tocantins River. The discovery of 28 new specimens from other localities during field expeditions (2009-2011) allowed a redescription of the species, adding new data on meristic and morpho-qualitative traits. These results enable a better diagnosis of intraspecific, ontogenetic and sexual variation, consolidating its taxonomic relationships with other species belonging to the nasutus group. The distribution map of P. labiomaculatus, as well as an identification key to the species of the natusus group, are provided. The type-locality is fixed to the municipality of Porto Franco, state of Maranhão. PMID:26185842

  4. A new species of cat snake (Reptilia: Serpentes: Colubridae: Boiga) from dry forests of eastern Peninsular India.

    PubMed

    Vogel, Gernot; Ganesh, S R

    2013-01-01

    A new species of cat snake, related to Boiga beddomei (Wall, 1909), is described from the dry forests of eastern Peninsular India. It occupies a large geographic range from Berhampore (type locality), near the River Mahanadi in the northeast to Kaigal near the southern Eastern Ghats in the southwest. The new species is diagnosed by having the following combination of characters: 19 dorsal scale rows at midbody, a high number of ventral scales for the genus Boiga (248-259), a yellowish-green dorsal colouration with numerous faint black bands, an uniform, unpatterned yellow-coloured venter and a relatively short tail (0.180-0.200 of the total length). PMID:26046190

  5. Three new endemic species of Epictia Gray, 1845 (Serpentes: Leptotyphlopidae) from the dry forest of northwestern Peru.

    PubMed

    Koch, Claudia; Venegas, Pablo J; Böhme, Wolfgang

    2015-01-01

    Three new blind snake species of the genus Epictia are described based on material collected in the Peruvian Regions Amazonas, Cajamarca and La Libertad. All three species are well differentiated from all congeners based on characteristics of their morphology and coloration. They share 10 scale rows around the middle of the tail and possess two supralabials with the anterior one in broad contact with the supraocular. Epictia septemlineata sp. nov. has 16 subcaudal scales, 257 mid-dorsal scale rows, a yellowish-white rostral, and a black terminal spine. Epictia vanwallachi sp. nov. exhibits 16 subcaudals, 188 mid-dorsal scale rows, a grayish-brown rostral, and a yellow terminal spine. Epictia antoniogarciai sp. nov. features 14-18 subcaudals, 195-208 mid-dorsal scale rows, a bright yellow or yellowish-white rostral, and the terminal spine and terminal portion of the tail yellow. All three species were collected in the interandean dry forest valleys of the Marañón River and its tributaries. This region is an area of endemism and warrants further attention from systematic and conservation biologists. PMID:26249433

  6. Phylogeography across a continent: the evolutionary and demographic history of the North American racer (Serpentes: Colubridae: Coluber constrictor).

    PubMed

    Burbrink, Frank T; Fontanella, Frank; Alexander Pyron, R; Guiher, Timothy J; Jimenez, Cynthia

    2008-04-01

    Most phylogeographic studies examine organisms that do not have transcontinental distributions and therefore the genetic and temporal effects of barriers across an entire continent cannot be assessed with respect to a single species. We examined the phylogeographic structure, lineage age, and historical demography using sequences from the mtDNA cytochrome b gene of the widespread North American racer (Coluber constrictor), one of the few abundant transcontinental snakes that occurs throughout many diverse biomes. Our results indicate that this complex is comprised of six lineages differing greatly in geographic extent, with the largest (a central US clade) being approximately 26 times greater than the smallest (a lineage restricted to the Florida Panhandle and nearby portions of adjacent States). Most of the six lineages appear to be separated at previously identified genetic barriers for several vertebrates with similar ranges. Lineage diversification in this species began in the late Miocene, separating populations in the Florida Peninsula from the remainder of the US. Diversification of lineages continued throughout the Pliocene and early Pleistocene. Four of the six lineages occur east of the Mississippi River, with only two distinctly young ( approximately 1.5 mya) lineages found west of the Mississippi River (one occurs west of Continental Divide). All methods of demographic inference, including the mismatch distribution, Fu and Li's D and Tajima's D , and Bayesian skyline plots revealed population expansion occurring in the mid-to-late Pleistocene for every lineage, regardless of size or proximity to formerly glaciated areas. Population expansion for lineages found east of the Mississippi River occurred earlier and was much greater than those found west of the River. PMID:18093846

  7. The Eagle, the Jaguar, and the Serpent. Indian Art of the Americas; North America: Alaska, Canada, the United States.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Covarrubias, Miguel

    The origins of Native Americans are traced through art forms in this history of American art. The basic time periods for this history are determined and defined as the formative horizon, the classic horizon, and the historical horizon. Art forms used throughout these time periods are described in terms of technique and aesthetics. The arts and…

  8. Annotated checklist of the recent and extinct pythons (Serpentes, Pythonidae), with notes on nomenclature, taxonomy, and distribution

    PubMed Central

    Schleip, Wulf D.; O’Shea, Mark

    2010-01-01

    Abstract McDiarmid et al. (1999) published the first part of their planned taxonomic catalog of the snakes of the world. Since then, several new python taxa have been described in both the scientific literature and non-peer-reviewed publications. This checklist evaluates the nomenclatural status of the names and discusses the taxonomic status of the new taxa, and aims to continue the work of McDiarmid et al. (1999) for the family Pythonidae, covering the period 1999 to 2010. Numerous new taxa are listed, and where appropriate recent synonymies are included and annotations are made. A checklist and a taxonomic identification key of valid taxa are provided. PMID:21594030

  9. A perspective on natural products research and ethnopharmacology in Mexico: the eagle and the serpent on the prickly pear cactus.

    PubMed

    Heinrich, Michael; Frei Haller, Barbara; Leonti, Marco

    2014-03-28

    Mexico's extraordinarily rich cultural and floristic diversity has fascinated explorers and researchers ever since the "New World" was discovered for and by Europeans. For many decades, natural product research has been a very active field of research in Mexico, and there also are some ongoing ethnopharmacological research efforts. This review provides an overview and critical appraisal on some key developments in these fields and examples of medicinal plants used by indigenous communities that have become of great local importance in Mexican popular medicine. In this review, the focus is on plants with effects on the CNS, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, inflammatory processes, and gastrointestinal disorders. While some of the major food plants consumed worldwide originate from southern North America, only very few medicinal plants have become of major global importance. Opuntia species are now used increasingly to manage diabetes and metabolic syndrome and represent an example of a novel medicinal product/supplement. Undoubtedly, narcotic and mind-altering drugs both have received the widest scientific interest and have attracted considerable popular attention. The history of use of the indigenous Mexican Materia Medica in the context of research on local and popular resources specifically with regard to the diverse challenges in the context of studying the world's biodiversity and the development of comparative and semiquantitative ethnobotanical research methods is discussed herein. Natural product and ethnopharmacological research in Mexico seems to have been influenced by the political and societal developments originating from the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and subsequent conventions, which have not yet had the desired effect of giving value to these local resources, as they might deserve. Their equitable and sustainable implementation remains a challenge. Natural product research and ethnopharmacology will play a key role in developing an adequate evidence base for such products derived from local and traditional knowledge in Mexico. PMID:24559070

  10. A new species of slender coralsnake from Colombia, and its clinal an ontogenetic variation (Serpentes, Elapidae: Leptomicrurus).

    PubMed

    Lamar, William W

    2003-01-01

    Leptomicrurus renjifoi is described from tropical semi-deciduous forest of the eastern Colombian Ilanos. It is one of the smallest species in the genus, is most similar to L. scutiventris, and it may be distinguished from known congeners by a combination of color, pattern, and scale characters. Evidence for the recognition of Leptomicrurus is convincing, although its members were recently thought to comprise a closely related assemblage within Micrurus. A supposedly aberrant specimen of L. scutiventris may indicate clinal or ontogenetic variation in pattern. PMID:15162789

  11. Isis, 2004, 95:220238 2004 by The History of Science Society. All rights reserved.

    E-print Network

    -1753/2004/9502-0002$10.00 220 Ancient Scientific Basis of the "Great Serpent" from Historical Evidence By Richard B. Stothers. For interlibrary loan assistance, I thank Zoe Wai and Josefina Mora. Special thanks for their expert advice go serpents. #12;RICHARD B. STOTHERS 221 Figure 1. Sea serpent. Greek islands, chalcedony gem (fifth century B

  12. "So it really does exist-the sea-Serpent we've never believed in!" Ferenczi's influence on Freud revisited.

    PubMed

    Bonomi, Carlo

    2013-12-01

    In the last phase of his work, Ferenczi created a new language for trauma, based on the fragmentation of mental life. In the paper on "The principles of relaxation and neocatharsis," Ferenczi reformulated the goal of analysis by proposing that "no analysis can be regarded … as complete unless we have succeed in penetrating the traumatic material", where the "traumatic material" was not to be sought in the neurotic reactions and adaptive solutions of the ego but in more primitive reactions, such as the psychotic turning away from reality, splitting, and fragmentation. This was exactly the material that Freud assimilated in the essay "A disturbance of memory on the Acropolis", after the death of Ferenczi. Freud visited Athens in 1904, and the walk up to the Parthenon represented the successful coronation of his self-analysis. Actually, the hallucination turned out to be so uncanny that he never again visited Athens. In a letter to Fliess, written shortly before the meeting in Nuremberg, on January 24, 1897, Freud reported on a case history turning on a "scene about the circumcision of a girl," who later was convincingly identified by Schur as Emma Eckstein. Did Freud have the germinal idea that Emma Eckstein's hallucination of the penis contained the wish to overcome her trauma and the hope to have a restored genital? Is this the holy visitation, which haunted him on the Acropolis? Why did he give up the profound insight that the dreams of gigantic snakes had a traumatic origin? PMID:24309686

  13. Geographic genetic structure in two laticaudine sea kraits, Laticauda laticaudata and Laticauda semifasciata (Serpentes: Elapidae), in the Ryukyu-Taiwan region as inferred from mitochondrial cytochrome b sequences.

    PubMed

    Tandavanitj, Nontivich; Ota, Hidetoshi; Cheng, Yuan-Cheng; Toda, Mamoru

    2013-08-01

    The Ryukyu-Taiwan region is an island arch with intervening waters of varying distances and depths. This study examines the geographic genetic structure of two sympatric sea kraits, Laticauda laticaudata and L. semifasciata, in the region, to infer factors affecting the extent of dispersal and other biogeographical traits of these amphibious reptiles. Sequence analyses of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene revealed four and 16 haplotypes for L. laticaudata (136 individuals) and L. semifasciata (177 individuals), respectively. For both species, population pairwise F ST analyses revealed significant genetic differentiations among islands and island groups, which are separated by deep straits, suggesting that deep waters serve as obstacles for dispersal in both species. Significant genetic differentiation was detected even among islands of the same basin in L. laticaudata, but not in L. semifasciata, and the isolation by distance analyses revealed no significant correlation between geographic and genetic distances in the former species. These results further suggest that L. laticaudata has stronger site fidelity or degree of philopatry than L. semifasciata. Based on the geographic genetic patterns, the historical biogeography of the two species in the Ryukyu-Taiwan region is also discussed. PMID:23915156

  14. Genetic divergence and diversity in the Mona and Virgin Islands Boas, Chilabothrus monensis (Epicrates monensis) (Serpentes: Boidae), West Indian snakes of special conservation concern.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Robles, Javier A; Jezkova, Tereza; Fujita, Matthew K; Tolson, Peter J; García, Miguel A

    2015-07-01

    Habitat fragmentation reduces the extent and connectivity of suitable habitats, and can lead to changes in population genetic structure. Limited gene flow among isolated demes can result in increased genetic divergence among populations, and decreased genetic diversity within demes. We assessed patterns of genetic variation in the Caribbean boa Chilabothrus monensis (Epicrates monensis) using two mitochondrial and seven nuclear markers, and relying on the largest number of specimens of these snakes examined to date. Two disjunct subspecies of C. monensis are recognized: the threatened C. m. monensis, endemic to Mona Island, and the rare and endangered C. m. granti, which occurs on various islands of the Puerto Rican Bank. Mitochondrial and nuclear markers revealed unambiguous genetic differences between the taxa, and coalescent species delimitation methods indicated that these snakes likely are different evolutionary lineages, which we recognize at the species level, C. monensis and C. granti. All examined loci in C. monensis (sensu stricto) are monomorphic, which may indicate a recent bottleneck event. Each population of C. granti exclusively contains private mtDNA haplotypes, but five of the seven nuclear genes assayed are monomorphic, and nucleotide diversity is low in the two remaining markers. The faster pace of evolution of mtDNA possibly reflects the present-day isolation of populations of C. granti, whereas the slower substitution rate of nuDNA may instead mirror the relatively recent episodes of connectivity among the populations facilitated by the lower sea level during the Pleistocene. The small degree of overall genetic variation in C. granti suggests that demes of this snake could be managed as a single unit, a practice that would significantly increase their effective population size. PMID:25837733

  15. Comment on Spracklandus Hoser, 2009 (Reptilia, Serpentes, ELAPIDAE): request for confirmation of the availability of the generic name and for the nomenclatural

    E-print Network

    Keogh, Scott

    National d'Histoire Naturelle, 25 rue Cuvier, 75005 Paris, France (e-mail: bour@mnhn.fr) 65Bulletin Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 72(1) March 2015 #12;Arthur Georges Institute for Applied Ecology

  16. Phylogenetic relationships within Bothrops neuwiedi group (Serpentes, Squamata): geographically highly-structured lineages, evidence of introgressive hybridization and Neogene/Quaternary diversification.

    PubMed

    Machado, Taís; Silva, Vinícius X; Silva, Maria José de J

    2014-02-01

    Eight current species of snakes of the Bothrops neuwiedi group are widespread in South American open biomes from northeastern Brazil to southeastern Argentina. In this paper, 140 samples from 93 different localities were used to investigate species boundaries and to provide a hypothesis of phylogenetic relationships among the members of this group based on 1122bp of cyt b and ND4 from mitochondrial DNA and also investigate the patterns and processes occurring in the evolutionary history of the group. Combined data recovered the B. neuwiedi group as a highly supported monophyletic group in maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood and Bayesian analyses, as well as four major clades (Northeast I, Northeast II, East-West, West-South) highly-structured geographically. Monophyly was recovered only for B. pubescens. By contrast, B. diporus, B. lutzi, B. erythromelas, B. mattogrossensis, B. neuwiedi, B. marmoratus, and B. pauloensis, as currently defined on the basis of morphology, were polyphyletic. Sympatry, phenotypic intergrades and shared mtDNA haplotypes, mainly between B. marmoratus and B. pauloensis suggest recent introgressive hybridization and the possible occurrence of a narrow hybrid zone in Central Brazil. Our data suggest at least three candidate species: B. neuwiedi from Espinhaço Range, B. mattogrossensis (TM173) from Serra da Borda (MT) and B. diporus (PT3404) from Castro Barros, Argentina. Divergence estimates highlight the importance of Neogene events in the origin of B. neuwiedi group, and the origin of species and diversification of populations of the Neotropical fauna from open biomes during the Quaternary climate fluctuations. Data reported here represent a remarkable increase of the B. neuwiedi group sampling size, since representatives of all the current recognized species from a wide geographic range are included in this study, providing basic information for understanding the evolution and conservation of Neotropical biodiversity. PMID:24140980

  17. 2007 was an extremely busy year for the SERPENT project. We continued to carry out a high number of offshore missions, with

    E-print Network

    Newcastle upon Tyne, University of

    the reach of deep-sea research the more power we have to try to ensure we protect these vital and unique for food with a nearby soft coral, from the order Alcyonacida. #12;2 Contents 1 Foreword 2 Contents 3 Research Dr David Bone, Universidad Simón Bolívar, Venezuela (USB) Dr David Booth, University of Technology

  18. Optimization of geometry, material and economic parameters of a two-zone subcritical reactor for transmutation of nuclear waste with SERPENT Monte Carlo code

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gulik, Volodymyr; Tkaczyk, Alan Henry

    2014-06-01

    An optimization study of a subcritical two-zone homogeneous reactor was carried out, taking into consideration geometry, material, and economic parameters. The advantage of a two-zone subcritical system over a single-zone system is demonstrated. The study investigated the optimal volume ratio for the inner and outer zones of the subcritical reactor, in terms of the neutron-physical parameters as well as fuel cost. Optimal geometrical parameters of the system are suggested for different material compositions.

  19. Supplementary Information N. Vidal, J.-C. Rage, A. Couloux, and S.B. Hedges. Snakes (Serpentes). Pp. 390397 in The Timetree of Life, S. B.

    E-print Network

    Hedges, Blair

    ' -CAT-CAT-TGG-GAG-CCA-RAG-AAT-GA-3' (Vidal and Hedges, 2005) for the R35 gene; F2, 5'-ATC-GAG-CCC-ACC-GTC-ATG-TTT-CTC-TAC-GAC-3' (Mortlock et al., 2000), F35, 5' -GTC-ATG-TTY-CTY-TAC-GAC-AAC-AG-3' (Vidal and Hedges, 2005), F54) for the HOXA13 gene; LJUN, 5'- CAG-TTC-YTS-TGC-CCC-AAG-AA-3' (Vidal and Hedges, 2005), HJUN, 5'-GAC

  20. Antigenic relationship among antihemorrhagic factors from snake and opossum plasmas.

    PubMed

    Moura-da-Silva, A M; Tanizaki, M M

    1989-01-01

    Immunological relationships among antihemorrhagic factors (AHF) present in the plasma of different snakes and a mammal (opossum) were studied. Antibodies were prepared against purified Bothrops jararaca and Didelphis marsupialis aurita (opossum) AHF. The antigen-antibody reaction was determined by direct ELISA and by the competition of homologous antigen-antibody reaction with a heterologous competitor antigen. Plasmas from several snakes and from opossum were used as antigens. Anti-AHF (B. jararaca) reacted only with snake plasmas. Antibody against opossum AHF was detectable only when the homologous antigen was used. Differences in the reactivity of snake plasmas with antibodies against B. jararaca were demonstrable only when a competition assay was used: B. alternatus showed a reaction pattern similar to that of B. jararaca while Crotalus durissus terrificus and the nonvenomous snake, Wanglerophis merremii, presented reduced reactivity. PMID:2620182

  1. A regular look at the marine environment under, on and around offshore installations worldwide Issue 3: December

    E-print Network

    Newcastle upon Tyne, University of

    onboard the M.V. Boa Deep C. This was a very exciting opportunity for SERPENT to explore the deep waters-sea creatures. The survey was carried using the high specification ROVs that are built into the Boa Deep C urchin Benthothuria ­ Sea cucumber Boa Deep C A visiting seal The past few months has seen SERPENT really

  2. RICIS Software Engineering 90 Symposium: Aerospace Applications and Research Directions Proceedings

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1990-01-01

    Papers presented at RICIS Software Engineering Symposium are compiled. The following subject areas are covered: synthesis - integrating product and process; Serpent - a user interface management system; prototyping distributed simulation networks; and software reuse.

  3. ROV PACK: INFORMATION AND GUIDELINES www.serpentproject.com

    E-print Network

    Newcastle upon Tyne, University of

    your help! We have an increasing network of highly skilled and extremely dedicated ROV teams who on the SERPENT website so that people all around the world can share in the weird and wonderful creatures you

  4. Parsing All of C by Taming the Preprocessor

    E-print Network

    Grimm, Robert

    · Automated refactoring · Apple's Xcode, Eclipse CDT 12 #12;13 Genesis (1969-1973) #12;The Serpent Said 14 #12 · The Configuration-Preserving Preprocessor · The Configuration-Preserving Parser · Our Tool and Evaluation

  5. Writer's Eye 2014 Self-Guided Tour

    E-print Network

    Acton, Scott

    Banggala Australian, Gun-nartpa, c. 1925­2001 Rainbow Serpents, 1988 Maningrida, Northern Territory Natural Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York/Viscopy, Australia 1. In indigenous Australian culture, "Dreaming

  6. IRCFREPTILES&HIBIANS19(4):243253DEC2012 Globally,amphibiansareoneofthefastestdisappearing

    E-print Network

    Griffis-Kyle, Kerry

    ...................... Joshua M. Kapfer 190 The Shared History of Treeboas (Corallus grenadensis) and Humans on Grenada: On the Road to Understanding the Ecology and Conservation of the Midwest's Giant Serpent

  7. IRCFREPTILES&HIBIANS21(2):7172JUN2014 Communal Nesting in the Cuban Twig Anole

    E-print Network

    Johnson, Michele A.

    's Giant Serpent...................... Joshua M. Kapfer 190 The Shared History of Treeboas (Corallus grenadensis) and Humans on Grenada: A Hypothetical Excursion ................................. 245 NATURAL HISTORY RESEARCH REPORTS: Summaries of Published Reports on Natural History

  8. Hognose SnakHognose SnakHognose SnakHognose SnakHognose Snakeseseseses Eastern Hognose SnakEastern Hognose SnakEastern Hognose SnakEastern Hognose SnakEastern Hognose Snakeeeee (Heterodon platyrhinos) Southern Hognose SnakSouthern Hognose SnakSouthern Hog

    E-print Network

    Georgia, University of

    in particular has been the inspiration for many of the anecdotes. The strange tales of these serpents have these animals are worried about. Southern hognose snakes can no longer be found in several states where

  9. Comment on Spracklandus Hoser, 2009 (Reptilia, Serpentes, ELAPIDAE): request for confirmation of availability of the generic name and for the nomenclatural validation of the journal in which it was published (Case 3601; BZN 70:234–237; 71:30–38; 133-135,181-182 ,252-253)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rhodin, Anders G.J.; Kaiser, Hinrich; van Dijk, Peter Paul; Wüster, Wolfgang; O’Shea, Mark; Archer, Michael; Auliya, Mark; Boitani, Luigi; Bour, Roger; Clausnitzer, Viola; Contreras-MacBeath, Topiltzin; Crother, Brian I.; Daza, Juan M.; Driscoll, Carlos A.; Flores-Villela, Oscar; Frazier, Jack; Fritz, Uwe; Gardner, Alfred L.; Gascon, Claude; Georges, Arthur; Glaw, Frank; Grazziotin, Felipe G.; Groves, Colin P.; Haszprunar, Gerhard; Havaš, Peter; Hero, Jean-Marc; Hoffmann, Michael; Hoogmoed, Marinus S.; Horne, Brian D.; Iverson, John B.; Jäch, Manfred; Jenkins, Christopher L.; Jenkins, Richard K.B.; Kiester, A. Ross; Keogh, J. Scott; Lacher, Thomas E., Jr.; Lovich, Jeffrey E.; Luiselli, Luca; Mahler, D. Luke; Mallon, David P.; Mast, Roderic; McDiarmid, Roy W.; Measey, John; Mittermeier, Russell A.; Molur, Sanjay; Mosbrugger, Volker; Murphy, Robert W.; Naish, Darren; Niekisch, Manfred; Ota, Hidetoshi; Parham, James F.; Parr, Michael J.; Pilcher, Nicolas J.; Pine, Ronald H.; Rylands, Anthony B.; Sanderson, James G.; Savage, Jay M.; Schleip, Wulf; Scrocchi, Gustavo J.; Shaffer, H. Bradley; Smith, Eric N.; Sprackland, Robert; Stuart, Simon N.; Vetter, Holger; Vitt, Laurie J.; Waller, Tomás; Webb, Grahame; Wilson, Edward O.; Zaher, Hussam; Thomson, Scott

    2015-01-01

    In Case 3601 Raymond Hoser has asked the Commission to validate for the purposes of nomenclature the name Spracklandus Hoser, 2009, and ‘the journal in which it was published,’ issue 7 of the Australasian Journal of Herpetology (AJH). We note that the entire run of AJH has been written, edited, and published solely by Hoser. Although his requests to the Commission were presented as narrow and, in his words, ‘routine matters,’ we are convinced that they represent an important tipping-point with broad implications of major concern for zoological taxonomy and nomenclature as a whole and, by extension, the greater scientific community. Since Hoser’s actions and works have failed to follow scientific best practices (e.g. Turtle Taxonomy Working Group, 2007, 2014; Kaiser et al., 2013; Kaiser, 2014) and both the Commission’s general Recommendations and Code of Ethics in Appendix A, the global herpetological community has widely rejected his taxonomic decisions and resultant nomenclature. This has unfortunately caused a confusing dual nomenclature to develop in the herpetological community, with most boycotting or ignoring Hoser’s 700+ new names coined in the AJH, while he and a few personal followers actively promote their usage. We believe that suppression of the name Spracklandus, and all issues of AJH, is the only effective way to bring this contentious and confusing issue to resolution. The plenary power available under Article 81.1 of the Code exist specifically to allow the Commission to make rulings in individual cases that disturb stability and cause confusion, whether the works are Code-compliant or not. We maintain that it is in the interest of nomenclatural stability, not only for herpetology, but for all of zoological taxonomy, that the plenary power be invoked to declare the works in AJH unavailable, regardless of any narrow interpretation of their technical Code-compliance. We present our arguments for rejection of the validity of AJH in the following commentary. In view of the wide-reaching implications of this case for all of zoology, and reflecting the deep and broad-based community concern over these issues, our contributing authors include 70 global scientific leaders and accomplished amateurs from a wide variety of zoological disciplines.

  10. Inhibition of the myotoxic and hemorrhagic activities of crotalid venoms by Eclipta prostrata (Asteraceae) extracts and constituents.

    PubMed

    Melo, P A; do Nascimento, M C; Mors, W B; Suarez-Kurtz, G

    1994-05-01

    The antimyotoxic and antihemorrhagic effects of Eclipta prostrata (EP) and three of its constituents (wedelolactone, WE; stigmaterol, ST; and sitosterol, SI) were investigated. The myotoxicity of crotalid venoms (Bothrops jararaca, Bothrops jararacussu and Lachesis muta), purified myotoxins (bothropstoxin, BthTX; bothropasin; and crotoxin), and polylysine was quantified in vitro by the release rate of creatine kinase (CK) from rat or mouse extensor digitorum muscles, and in vivo by the plasma CK activity in mice. The in vitro myotoxicity of the crotalid venoms and myotoxins was neutralized by simultaneous exposure of the muscles to an aqueous extract of EP or to WE. ST and SI were less effective than WE, but interacted synergistically with it. Both the EP extract and WE failed to neutralize the in vitro myotoxic effects of polylysine. The in vivo myotoxicity of venoms and myotoxins was neutralized by their preincubation with the EP extract or WE. Intravenous administration of the plant extract or WE attenuated the increase in plasma CK activity induced by subsequent intramuscular injections of the crotalid venoms or the myotoxins. EP and WE inhibited the hemorrhagic effect of B. jararaca venom, as well as the phospholipase A2 activity of crotoxin and the proteolytic activity of B. jararaca venom. The data provide direct evidence for antimyotoxic and antihemorrhagic effects of EP and WE against the crotalid venoms responsible for most cases of envenomation by snakebites in Brazil. These effects are interpreted as consequences of antiproteolytic and antiphospholipase A2 activities of EP and its constituents. PMID:8079371

  11. BULLETIN OF THE UNITED STATRS FISH COMMISSION. 325 . 111-MONSTER SEA-HEEPENTS.

    E-print Network

    BULLETIN OF THE UNITED STATRS FISH COMMISSION. 325 . 111-MONSTER SEA-HEEPENTS. B y RICIIARD A. PROCTOR. [From Knowledge, April 3, 1885.1 I have always been a believer in the sea-serpent of Uaptnin Mc to me then, and it seems to me still, that the sea-captain had much tho best of the discussion with tho

  12. In Brief . . . No sooner it seems than we get the Christmas and New Year celebrations over, it's suddenly time for the next edition of

    E-print Network

    Newcastle upon Tyne, University of

    it's debut on Saturday 15 March at the Oceans and earth Day at the National Oceanography Centre (NOCS and Earth Day at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton. Oceans and Earth Day was one of 3 at the SERPENT Deep Seas Simulator in action at the Oceans and Earth Day event at the National Oceanography

  13. Richard B. King Department of

    E-print Network

    King, Richard B.

    . Natural history B. Evolution C. Conservation status II. The Round Goby Invasion A. Introduction & spread B regulation #12;·non-venomous live- bearing natricine snake · active April ­ October · courtship May ­ June = natural laboratories of evolutionary biology · renowned for abundance of snakes: "Les Isles aux Serpentes

  14. BULLETIN OF THE UNITISD STATES FISH COMMISSION. 55 Gurnard. ............................. Trigla lrumu.

    E-print Network

    like a serpent, dark brown in color (some said inottled), with white under the head and neck. The head the allimal as almost 80 feet in leligt 11, with a Iiandsome horse-like head, with two unicorn-shaped hox.11 as cxccediiig 50 feet in length. Ooloiicl Perkins noticed an qq)carancc?iii thefroiitof tlie head like a sin

  15. Copeia, 1992(3), pp. 820-825 A New Species of Tropidophisfrom Cuba

    E-print Network

    Hedges, Blair

    Copeia, 1992(3), pp. 820-825 A New Species of Tropidophisfrom Cuba (Serpentes:Tropidophiidae) S Cuba. It is a very dark brown species with a gracile habitus. In some aspects of scalation, and most of the West Indian species (10) are native to Cuba. In habits, these are predominantly ground

  16. Herpetologica, 48(2), 1992, 168-177 ?3 1992 by The Herpetologists' League, Inc.

    E-print Network

    Hedges, Blair

    Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, Capitolio Nacional, La Habana, Cuba ABSTRACT: Two new species of Arrhyton are described from Cuba. Arrhyton supernum occurs in extreme eastern Cuba (Guantanamo Prov to Cuba. Key words: Reptilia; Squamata; Serpentes; Colubridae; Caribbean; West Indies; Cuba FROM

  17. Become an Aesculapian Today If you are interested in joining this society,

    E-print Network

    Wu, Shin-Tson

    -kah-LAY-pee-uhs] is an ancient Greek symbol associated with healing the sick. It consists of the familiar serpent entwined around a staff. Aesculapius, the son of Apollo, was a practitioner of medicine in ancient Greek mythology. He the practice and profession of medicine. The Dean's Aesculapian Society is a special group of people who

  18. England Banggala Australian, Gun-nartpa, c. 1925-2001

    E-print Network

    Acton, Scott

    England Banggala Australian, Gun-nartpa, c. 1925-2001 Rainbow Serpents, 1988 Maningrida, Northern.0014.002 © 2014 Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York/Viscopy, Australia Stanley William Hayter English, active Omborrin Ngarinyin, Kimberley, Western Australia, born c. 1935 Wandjina (The Ulumara-Amanguladji- Morlyi

  19. Contemporary Native Art

    E-print Network

    Levine, Stuart

    1987-01-01

    to travelling around—without a car; Ted FIGURE SIX: Finished with the traditional ground-dung firing technique, this black- on-black pot with turquoise heishi rim (1984) from San lldefonso Pueblo shows the avanyu (water serpent) design estab­ lished by Maria...

  20. Animal Symbols in the Art of the Hodensaunee.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hill, Richard

    1987-01-01

    Explains the significance of the main animal symbols incorporated into the social, cultural, artistic, and spiritual fabric of the Hodenosaunee (the People of the Longhouse) also known as the Six Nations Iroquois: the eagle, turtle, bear, wolf, hawk, heron, snipe, eel, deer, beaver, moose, snake, and serpent. (NEC)

  1. Software engineering activities at SEI (Software Engineering Institute)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chittister, Clyde

    1990-01-01

    Prototyping was shown to ease system specification and implementation, especially in the area of user interfaces. Other prototyping approaches do not allow for the evolution of the prototype into a production system or support maintenance after the system is fielded. A set of goals is presented for a modern user interface environment and Serpent, a prototype implementation that achieves these goals, is described.

  2. The Daily Echo Saturday, March 4, 2006 Page 19 ReviewThe SATURDAY NEWS REVIEW SECTION STORIES BEHIND THE NEWS plus PUZZLES & FIND THE BALL

    E-print Network

    Newcastle upon Tyne, University of

    and several new species, such as types of squid, sea cucumber and small crus- taceans, identified. The idea underneath the sea are sur- facing with increasing regularity. And, just like creatures it is bringing-buster on a North Sea oil vessel has fast captured the imagination of the nation's documentary makers. SERPENT

  3. A regular look at the marine environment under, on and around offshore installations worldwide Issue 2: July

    E-print Network

    Newcastle upon Tyne, University of

    ..... Deep Fish and Eel from 2000m Swimming Sea Cucumber Feeding Sea Cucumber Shrimp attracted to bait at 600 existing at water temperatures below 0oC. Some of the strangest species are the giant sea spiders that live of the fascinating area. Colossendeis sp, Sea Spider Lycodes ­ Eel pout New SERPENT partner Kongsberg Maritime

  4. Venomous Terrestrial Animals of Texas 

    E-print Network

    Jackman, John A.

    2004-08-13

    snakes are reported each year in Texas. However, many bites and stings go unreported. John A. Jackman Professor and Extension Entomologist The Texas A&M University System Identification ? These large, husky bees are about 3 /4 inch long, but the size... Diamondback Rattlesnake Crotalus atrox (Baird and Girard) [Squamata: Viperidae] 23 Identification ?Adults are usually 2 1 /2 to 3 feet long. ? Color varies from yellow to olive-green, or greenish gray to black. ? On the snake?s back are 20 to 41 brown to red...

  5. Effect of suramin on myotoxicity of some crotalid snake venoms.

    PubMed

    Arruda, E Z; Silva, N M V; Moraes, R A M; Melo, P A

    2002-06-01

    We investigated the protective effect of suramin, an enzyme inhibitor and an uncoupler of G protein from receptors, on the myotoxic activity in mice of different crotalid snake venoms (A.c. laticinctus, C.v. viridis, C.d. terrificus, B. jararacussu, B. moojeni, B. alternatus, B. jararaca, L. muta). Myotoxicity was evaluated in vivo by injecting im the venoms (0.5 or 1.0 mg/kg) dissolved in physiological saline solution (0.1 ml) and measuring plasma creatine kinase (CK) activity. Two experimental approaches were used in mice (N = 5 for each group). In protocol A, 1 mg of each venom was incubated with 1.0 mg suramin (15 min, 37 degrees C, in vitro), and then injected im into the mice at a dose of 1.0 mg/kg (in vivo). In protocol B, venoms, 1.0 mg/kg, were injected im 15 min prior to suramin (1.0 mg/kg, iv). Before and 2 h after the im injection blood was collected by orbital puncture. Plasma was separated and stored at 4 degrees C for determination of CK activity using a diagnostic kit from Sigma. Preincubation of some venoms (C.v. viridis, A.c. laticinctus, C.d. terrificus and B. jararacussu) with suramin reduced (37-76%) the increase in plasma CK, except for B. alternatus, B. jararaca or L. muta venoms. Injection of suramin after the venom partially protected (34-51%) against the myotoxicity of B. jararacussu, A.c. laticinctus and C.d. terrificus venom, and did not protect against C.v. viridis, L. muta, B. moojeni, B. alternatus or B. jararaca venoms. These results show that suramin has an antimyotoxic effect against some, but not all the North and South American crotalid snake venoms studied here. PMID:12045838

  6. Caryospora bigenetica (Apicomplexa: Eimeriidae) in South America: new hosts and distribution records.

    PubMed

    Viana, Lúcio André; Mecchi, Kamilla Costa; do Nascimento, Leonardo França; Herrera, Heitor Miraglia; Santa-Rita, Paula Helena; Miglionico, Marcos Tobias de Santana; Esteves, Rhaiza Gama; Gimenez, Anibal Rafael Melgarejo; Paiva, Fernando

    2015-01-01

    The coccidian Caryospora bigenetica was first described in the snake Crotalus horridus (Viperidae) from United States of America. This study represents the first record of the occurrence of C. bigenetica in snakes in South America. Feces were sampled between November 2013 and May 2014 from 256 wild snakes maintained in scientific breeding facilities in the states of Mato Grosso do Sul (MS; n = 214) and Rio de Janeiro (RJ; n = 42), Brazil. Caryospora bigenetica was found in 14 (5.6%) snakes, all belonging to the family Viperidae. Ten Bothrops moojeni and two Crotalus durissus from MS were infected. The coccidian was also found in one C. durissus and in one Bothrops jararacussu from the state of RJ. The oocysts were spherical with a double wall, the exterior lightly mammillated, striations apparent in transverse view, 13.0 µm (12 - 14); polar granule fixed in the internal wall. Sporocysts oval or pyriform, 10.0 × 8.0 µm (9 - 11 × 8 - 9); Stieda body discoid; sub-Stieda body present; sporocyst residuum present, formed by a group of spheroid bodies between sporozoites. This study increases the number of viperid hosts of C. bigenetica and expands the geographical distribution to South America. PMID:25909262

  7. Ability of a synthetic coumestan to antagonize Bothrops snake venom activities.

    PubMed

    Melo, Paulo A; Pinheiro, Diogo A; Ricardo, Hilmar Dias; Fernandes, Fabrício F A; Tomaz, Marcelo A; El-Kik, Camila Z; Strauch, Marcelo A; da Fonseca, Tatiane F; Sifuentes, Daniel N; Calil-Elias, Sabrina; Buarque, Camilla D; Brito, Flávia V; Costa, Paulo R R; Da Silva, Alcides J M

    2010-01-01

    We investigated a synthetic coumestan named LQB93 and similar compounds abilities to antagonize activities of Bothrops jararacussu and Bothrops jararaca crude venoms in different protocols. The antimyotoxic activity was evaluated in vitro by the rate of release of creatine kinase (CK) from isolated mouse extensor digitorum longus muscle (EDL) induced by B. jararacussu (25 g/ml). For in vivo studies, B. jararacussu venom (1.0 mg/kg) was preincubated with LQB93 (0.1-30 mg/kg), during 30 min, for later injection in mouse tight and evaluation of the antimyotoxic and anti-edematogenic effects. LQB93 antagonized in vitro, the increase of CK release from the EDL muscle (IC(50)=0.0291 M). It also showed in vivo, antimyotoxic and anti-edematogenic effects that were dose-dependent with ID50 of 0.17 mg/kg and 0.14 mg/kg, respectively. The hemorrhage induced by B. jararaca (1.0 mg/kg) venom in the mouse skin, was abolished by LQB93 (10.0 mg/kg) preincubated with venom. Like wedelolactone, LQB93 protected rat isolated heart on a Langendorff preparation, from the cardiotoxicity of B. jararacussu venom. LQB93 inhibit the effects of Bothrops venoms like wedelolactone, a natural compound isolated from the plant Eclipta prostrata. PMID:19883675

  8. Evaluation of three Brazilian antivenom ability to antagonize myonecrosis and hemorrhage induced by Bothrops snake venoms in a mouse model.

    PubMed

    da Silva, Noelson M V; Arruda, Emerson Z; Murakami, Yugo L B; Moraes, Raphael A M; El-Kik, Camila Z; Tomaz, Marcelo A; Fernandes, Fabrício F A; Oliveira, Clayton Z; Soares, Andreimar M; Giglio, Jose R; Melo, Paulo A

    2007-08-01

    Despite preventing death after snakebites, there is little evidence that polyvalent antivenoms (PAVs) protect against myotoxicity and local damages. We evaluated antibothropic Brazilian PAVs from three manufacturers against the myotoxicity and hemorrhagic activity of Bothrops jararacussu and B. jararaca venoms, respectively, by using two protocols: preincubation of PAVs with venom, and i.v. pretreatment with PAVs, prior to the venom inoculation. In this investigation, we used doses of PAVs ranging from 0.4 to 4.0mL/mg of venom equivalent up to 10 times the amount recommended by the producers for the clinical practice in Brazil. In our preincubation protocol in vivo, PAVs antagonized myotoxicity of B. jararacussu venom by 40-95%, while our pretreatment protocol antagonized myotoxic activity by 0-60%. Preincubation of antivenoms with B. jararaca venom antagonized its hemorrhagic activity by 70-95%, while pretreatment antagonized hemorrhagic activity by 10-50%. Although all PAVs demonstrated partial antagonism against both venoms, the magnitude of these effects varied greatly among the manufactures. The results suggest that the current clinical doses of these PAVs may have negligible antimyotoxic effect. PMID:17466354

  9. Spallation Source Modelling for an ADS Using the MCNPX and GEANT4 Packages for Sensitivity Analysis of Reactivity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Antolin, M. Q.; Marinho, F.; Palma, D. A. P.; Martinez, A. S.

    2014-04-01

    A simulation for the time evolution of the MYRRHA conceptual reactor was developed. The SERPENT code was used to simulate the nuclear fuel depletion and the spallation source which drives the system was simulated using both MCNPX and GEANT4 packages. The obtained results for the neutron energy spectrum from the spallation are coherent with each other and were used as input for the SERPENT code which simulated a constant power operation regime. The obtained results show that the criticality of the system is not sensitive to the spallation models employed and only relative small deviations with respect to the inverse kinetic model coming from the point kinetic equations proposed by Gandini were observed.

  10. CCFE is the fusion research arm of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority TENDL-2011 processing and

    E-print Network

    : ­ For TRIPOLI-4.8 with NJOY-99.364 and CALENDF-2010 ­ For MCNP5 1.60 with NJOY-99.364 ­ For MCNPX 2.7.0 with NJOY-99.364 ­ For SERPENT-1 or -2 with NJOY-99.364 ­ ... · From TENDL-2011s20, neutron induced data #12 because of: ­ November 2010 CSWEG ENDF-6 format extension ­ NJOY-99 extensions: mf8, reconr basic, acer

  11. Computation of a Canadian SCWR unit cell with deterministic and Monte Carlo codes

    SciTech Connect

    Harrisson, G.; Marleau, G.

    2012-07-01

    The Canadian SCWR has the potential to achieve the goals that the generation IV nuclear reactors must meet. As part of the optimization process for this design concept, lattice cell calculations are routinely performed using deterministic codes. In this study, the first step (self-shielding treatment) of the computation scheme developed with the deterministic code DRAGON for the Canadian SCWR has been validated. Some options available in the module responsible for the resonance self-shielding calculation in DRAGON 3.06 and different microscopic cross section libraries based on the ENDF/B-VII.0 evaluated nuclear data file have been tested and compared to a reference calculation performed with the Monte Carlo code SERPENT under the same conditions. Compared to SERPENT, DRAGON underestimates the infinite multiplication factor in all cases. In general, the original Stammler model with the Livolant-Jeanpierre approximations are the most appropriate self-shielding options to use in this case of study. In addition, the 89 groups WIMS-AECL library for slight enriched uranium and the 172 groups WLUP library for a mixture of plutonium and thorium give the most consistent results with those of SERPENT. (authors)

  12. Current challenges for confronting the public health problem of snakebite envenoming in Central America

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Snakebite envenoming is a serious public health problem in Central America, where approximately 5,500 cases occur every year. Panama has the highest incidence and El Salvador the lowest. The majority, and most severe, cases are inflicted by the pit viper Bothrops asper (family Viperidae), locally known as ‘terciopelo’, ‘barba amarilla’ or ‘equis’. About 1% of the bites are caused by coral snakes of the genus Micrurus (family Elapidae). Despite significant and successful efforts in Central America regarding snakebite envenomings in the areas of research, antivenom manufacture and quality control, training of health professionals in the diagnosis and clinical management of bites, and prevention of snakebites, much remains to be done in order to further reduce the impact of this medical condition. This essay presents seven challenges for improving the confrontation of snakebite envenoming in Central America. Overcoming these challenges demands a coordinated partnership of highly diverse stakeholders though inter-sectorial and inter-programmatic interventions. PMID:24602234

  13. Wide distribution of cysteine-rich secretory proteins in snake venoms: isolation and cloning of novel snake venom cysteine-rich secretory proteins.

    PubMed

    Yamazaki, Yasuo; Hyodo, Fumiko; Morita, Takashi

    2003-04-01

    Cysteine-rich secretory proteins (CRISPs) are found in epididymis and granules of mammals, and they are thought to function in sperm maturation and in the immune system. Recently, we isolated and obtained clones for novel snake venom proteins that are classified as CRISP family proteins. To elucidate the distribution of snake venom CRISP family proteins, we evaluated a wide range of venoms for immuno-cross-reactivity. Then we isolated, characterized, and cloned genes for three novel CRISP family proteins (piscivorin, ophanin, and catrin) from the venom of eastern cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus piscivorus), king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), and western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox). Our results show the wide distribution of snake venom CRISP family proteins among Viperidae and Elapidae from different continents, indicating that CRISP family proteins compose a new group of snake venom proteins. PMID:12646276

  14. Antitumoral Potential of Tunisian Snake Venoms Secreted Phospholipases A2

    PubMed Central

    Zouari-Kessentini, Raoudha; Srairi-Abid, Najet; Bazaa, Amine; El Ayeb, Mohamed; Luis, Jose; Marrakchi, Naziha

    2013-01-01

    Phospholipases type A2 (PLA2s) are the most abundant proteins found in Viperidae snake venom. They are quite fascinating from both a biological and structural point of view. Despite similarity in their structures and common catalytic properties, they exhibit a wide spectrum of pharmacological activities. Besides being hydrolases, secreted phospholipases A2 (sPLA2) are an important group of toxins, whose action at the molecular level is still a matter of debate. These proteins can display toxic effects by different mechanisms. In addition to neurotoxicity, myotoxicity, hemolytic activity, antibacterial, anticoagulant, and antiplatelet effects, some venom PLA2s show antitumor and antiangiogenic activities by mechanisms independent of their enzymatic activity. This paper aims to discuss original finding against anti-tumor and anti-angiogenic activities of sPLA2 isolated from Tunisian vipers: Cerastes cerastes and Macrovipera lebetina, representing new tools to target specific integrins, mainly, ?5?1 and ?v integrins. PMID:23509718

  15. Inhibition of Lung Tumor Colonization and Cell Migration with the Disintegrin Crotatroxin 2 Isolated from the Venom of Crotalus atrox

    PubMed Central

    Galán, Jacob A.; Sánchez, Elda E.; Rodríguez-Acosta, Alexis; Soto, Julio G.; Bashir, Sajid; McLane, Mary Ann; Paquette-Straub, Carrie; Pérez, John C.

    2009-01-01

    Disintegrins are low molecular weight proteins (4-15 kDa) with an RGD binding region at their binding loop. Disintegrin and disintegrin-like proteins are found in the venom of four families of snakes: Atractaspididae, Elapidae, Viperidae and Colubridae. This report describes the biological activity of a disintegrin, crotatroxin 2, isolated by a three-step chromatography procedure from the venom of the Western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox). The intact molecular mass for crotatroxin 2 was 7.384 kDa and 71 amino acids. Crotatroxin 2 inhibited human whole blood platelet aggregation with an IC50 of 17.5 nM, inhibited cell (66.3p) migration by 63%, and inhibited experimental lung tumor colonization in BALB/c mice at 1000 ?g/kg. Our data suggest that while crotatroxin 2 inhibits platelet aggregation, cancer cell migration, and lung tumor colonization it is done via different integrins. PMID:18387648

  16. Snake venom galactoside-binding lectins: a structural and functional overview.

    PubMed

    Sartim, Marco A; Sampaio, Suely V

    2015-01-01

    Snake venom galactoside-binding lectins (SVgalLs) comprise a class of toxins capable of recognizing and interacting with terminal galactoside residues of glycans. In the past 35 years, since the first report on the purification of thrombolectin from Bothrops atrox snake venom, several SVgalLs from Viperidae and Elapidae snake families have been described, as has progressive improvement in the investigation of structural/functional aspects of these lectins. Moreover, the advances of techniques applied in protein-carbohydrate recognition have provided important approaches in order to screen for possible biological targets. The present review describes the efforts over the past 35 years to elucidate SVgalLs, highlighting their structure and carbohydrate recognition function involved in envenomation pathophysiology and potential biomedical applications. PMID:26413085

  17. Venomous bites and stings in the tropical world.

    PubMed

    Warrell, D A

    Snakes of the families Viperidae and Elapidae are responsible for the high incidence of morbidity and mortality after snake bites in countries of West Africa, the Indian subcontinent, South-East Asia, New Guinea and Latin America. Envenoming can cause local effects, notably tissue necrosis; and systemic effects, including paralysis, haemostatic disturbances, shock, increased capillary permeability, myocardial damage, rhabdomyolysis and acute renal failure. Specific hyperimmune serum (antivenom) is the mainstay of medical treatment for severe envenoming. Ancillary treatments such as assisted ventilation, repletion of circulating volume, renal dialysis and surgical debridement of necrotic tissues are needed in some cases. Scorpion stings are a common medical problem in middle and southern America, North Africa and the Middle East. Vasodilator drugs are important to counter the effects of massive catecholamine release. Bites by spiders and stings by hymenoptera and marine animals are responsible for deaths and morbidity in some tropical countries. PMID:8264466

  18. Preliminary Analysis of the Transient Reactor Test Facility (TREAT) with PROTEUS

    SciTech Connect

    Connaway, H. M.; Lee, C. H.

    2015-11-30

    The neutron transport code PROTEUS has been used to perform preliminary simulations of the Transient Reactor Test Facility (TREAT). TREAT is an experimental reactor designed for the testing of nuclear fuels and other materials under transient conditions. It operated from 1959 to 1994, when it was placed on non-operational standby. The restart of TREAT to support the U.S. Department of Energy’s resumption of transient testing is currently underway. Both single assembly and assembly-homogenized full core models have been evaluated. Simulations were performed using a historic set of WIMS-ANL-generated cross-sections as well as a new set of Serpent-generated cross-sections. To support this work, further analyses were also performed using additional codes in order to investigate particular aspects of TREAT modeling. DIF3D and the Monte-Carlo codes MCNP and Serpent were utilized in these studies. MCNP and Serpent were used to evaluate the effect of geometry homogenization on the simulation results and to support code-to-code comparisons. New meshes for the PROTEUS simulations were created using the CUBIT toolkit, with additional meshes generated via conversion of selected DIF3D models to support code-to-code verifications. All current analyses have focused on code-to-code verifications, with additional verification and validation studies planned. The analysis of TREAT with PROTEUS-SN is an ongoing project. This report documents the studies that have been performed thus far, and highlights key challenges to address in future work.

  19. Geobotanical techniques for discriminating serpentine rock types in Western United States

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mouat, D.; Elvidge, C.; Lyon, R.

    1982-01-01

    The effectiveness of airborne multispectral imagery for identifying vegetation indicative of serpentine soils, which usually contain deposits of Ni, Cr, and Co, was examined with ground truth data. Analyses were carried out in SW Oregon, the Jasper Ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains, and the Sierra Nevada foothills. Airborne studies were performed with 10-channel scanner, a IR scanner, and with false color composites, while ground studies classified the vegetation and mineral contents of the soil. The airborne studies were successfully used to discern serpentine soils from nonultramafic rock types, although difficulties were encountered in separating serpentine from nonserpentinized peridotite. A lack of deciduous trees on serpentized land was noted.

  20. Spectroscopy of Moses Rock Kimberlite Diatreme

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pieters, C. M.; Mustard, J. F.

    1985-01-01

    Three types of remote sensing data (Airborne Imaging Spectroscopy (AIS), NS001, Zeiss IR-photographs) were obtained for the Moses Rock kimberlite dike in southern Utah. The goal is to identify and characterize the mantle derived mafic component in such volcanic features. The Zeiss and NS001 images provide information on the regional setting and allow units of the dike to be distinguished from surrounding material. A potential unmapped satellite dike was identified. The AIS data provide characterizing information of the surface composition of the dike. Serpentized olivine-bearing soils are (tentatively) identified from the AIS spectra for a few areas within the dike.

  1. A review of "1604-2004: Supernovae as Cosmological Lighthouses." by Massimo Turatto, Stefano Benetti, Luca Zampieri, William Shea, eds. 

    E-print Network

    Giostra, Alessandro

    2006-01-01

    focuses on the relevance of the New Star in ?Kepler?s Observations of the Supernova of 1604" (21-29). She touches on the event?s appearance in the zone of the celestial vault where the conjunction of Mars and Jupiter was occurring. This led astrologers... to causally link the New Star to that planetary meeting. Kepler, however, opposed most of the theories supported by judicial astrologers and their way of investigation. His De Stella Nova in Pede Serpentarii (The New Star on the Foot of the Serpent Bearer...

  2. Virgil’s Culex

    E-print Network

    Dixon, Daisy

    1900-05-29

    serpent was hastening to him from the swamp, a gnat flew up and implanted his sting on the temples of the siiepherd, But he immediately crushed and killed the gnat and built a t®iab for it and composed these two lines- "Parve Culex peoudum custos tibi... by the east, nor Mt. Athos, nor the chains of the Pontic Sea, nor Hellespont, trampled with horses feet when Greece trembled at the coming ef the Persians. But my muse, under Phoebus guidance, delights to play a gentle song, more fitted to her strength...

  3. Spatial and spectral effects in subcritical system pulsed experiments

    SciTech Connect

    Dulla, S.; Nervo, M.; Ravetto, P.; Carta, M.

    2013-07-01

    Accurate neutronic models are needed for the interpretation of pulsed experiments in subcritical systems. In this work, the extent of spatial and spectral effects in the pulse propagation phenomena is investigated and the analysis is applied to the GUINEVERE experiment. The multigroup cross section data is generated by the Monte Carlo SERPENT code and the neutronic evolution following the source pulse is simulated by a kinetic diffusion code. The results presented show that important spatial and spectral aspects need to be properly accounted for and that a detailed energy approach may be needed to adequately capture the physical features of the system to the pulse injection. (authors)

  4. Astronomy at Teotihuacan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Iwaniszewski, Stanis?aw

    Located 37 km from Mexico City, during the first part of the first millennium AD, Teotihuacan was one of the world's largest and most populated cities. The city controlled the obsidian mines and developed far-reaching economic and political interactions, especially with the Classic Maya dynasties, Monte Albán in the Valley of Oaxaca and the Mexican Gulf Coast. Teotihuacan-made pottery and jewelry along with talud-tablero architectural style and the cult of the Feathered Serpent and Rain gods was spread throughout Mesoamerica.

  5. Improved Neutronics Treatment of Burnable Poisons for the Prismatic HTR

    SciTech Connect

    Y. Wang; A. A. Bingham; J. Ortensi; C. J. Permann

    2012-10-01

    In prismatic block High Temperature Reactors (HTR), highly absorbing material such a burnable poison (BP) cause local flux depressions and large gradients in the flux across the blocks which can be a challenge to capture accurately with traditional homogenization methods. The purpose of this paper is to quantify the error associated with spatial homogenization, spectral condensation and discretization and to highlight what is needed for improved neutronics treatments of burnable poisons for the prismatic HTR. A new triangular based mesh is designed to separate the BP regions from the fuel assembly. A set of packages including Serpent (Monte Carlo), Xuthos (1storder Sn), Pronghorn (diffusion), INSTANT (Pn) and RattleSnake (2ndorder Sn) is used for this study. The results from the deterministic calculations show that the cross sections generated directly in Serpent are not sufficient to accurately reproduce the reference Monte Carlo solution in all cases. The BP treatment produces good results, but this is mainly due to error cancellation. However, the Super Cell (SC) approach yields cross sections that are consistent with cross sections prepared on an “exact” full core calculation. In addition, very good agreement exists between the various deterministic transport and diffusion codes in both eigenvalue and power distributions. Future research will focus on improving the cross sections and quantifying the error cancellation.

  6. Ophidascaris wangi sp. n. and O. najae (Gedoelst, 1916) (Ascaridida: Ascaridoidea) from snakes in China.

    PubMed

    Li, Liang; Guo, Yan-Ning; Li, Jian; Zhang, Lu-Ping

    2014-12-01

    Ophidascaris wangi sp. n. collected from the king rat snake Elaphe carinata (Günther) (Serpentes: Colubridae) in China is described using both light and scanning electron microscopy. The new species differs from its congeners in the presence of narrow lateral alae originating a short distance posterior to the base of the ventrolateral lips, its relatively long oesophagus (3.57-4.54 mm long, representing 6.6-7.6% of body length), its short spicules (1.89-2.14 mm long, representing 3.9-4.3% of body length), the number and arrangement of caudal papillae (49-57 pairs in total, arranged as follows: 43-51 pairs precloacal, 2 pairs joined paracloacal and 4 pairs postcloacal), the presence of a particular papilliform medioventral, postcloacal ornamentation and the morphology of the eggs and tip of the female tail. In addition, Ophidascaris najae (Gedoelst, 1916), collected from the king cobra Ophiophagus hannah Cantor (Serpentes: Elapidae) in China, is also redescribed. The morphology of the cervical papillae, labial denticles and phasmids of the female is described for the first time. PMID:25651700

  7. Molecular evolution of HoxA13 and the multiple origins of limbless morphologies in amphibians and reptiles

    PubMed Central

    Singarete, Marina E.; Grizante, Mariana B.; Milograna, Sarah R.; Nery, Mariana F.; Kin, Koryu; Wagner, Günter P.; Kohlsdorf, Tiana

    2015-01-01

    Developmental processes and their results, morphological characters, are inherited through transmission of genes regulating development. While there is ample evidence that cis-regulatory elements tend to be modular, with sequence segments dedicated to different roles, the situation for proteins is less clear, being particularly complex for transcription factors with multiple functions. Some motifs mediating protein-protein interactions may be exclusive to particular developmental roles, but it is also possible that motifs are mostly shared among different processes. Here we focus on HoxA13, a protein essential for limb development. We asked whether the HoxA13 amino acid sequence evolved similarly in three limbless clades: Gymnophiona, Amphisbaenia and Serpentes. We explored variation in ? (dN/dS) using a maximum-likelihood framework and HoxA13sequences from 47 species. Comparisons of evolutionary models provided low ? global values and no evidence that HoxA13 experienced relaxed selection in limbless clades. Branch-site models failed to detect evidence for positive selection acting on any site along branches of Amphisbaena and Gymnophiona, while three sites were identified in Serpentes. Examination of alignments did not reveal consistent sequence differences between limbed and limbless species. We conclude that HoxA13 has no modules exclusive to limb development, which may be explained by its involvement in multiple developmental processes. PMID:26500429

  8. Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) Efforts and Observations at the Rocknest Eolian Sand Shadow in Curiosity's Gale Crater Field Site

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Edgett, K. S.; Yingst, R. A.; Minitti, M. E.; Goetz, W.; Kah, L. C.; Kennedy, M. R.; Lipkaman, L. J.; Jensen, E. H.; Anderson, R. C.; Beegle, L. W.; Carsten, J. L.; Cooper, B.; Deen, R. G.; Dromart, G.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Gupta, S.; Hamilton, V. E.; Hardgrove, C. J.; Harker, D. E.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Herrera, P. N.; Hurowitz, J. A.; Jandura, L.; Ming, D. W.

    2013-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission is focused on assessing the past or present habitability of Mars, through interrogation of environment and environmental records at the Curiosity rover field site in Gale crater. The MSL team has two methods available to collect, process and deliver samples to onboard analytical laboratories, the Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument (CheMin) and the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite. One approach obtains samples by drilling into a rock, the other uses a scoop to collect loose regolith fines. Scooping was planned to be first method performed on Mars because materials could be readily scooped multiple times and used to remove any remaining, minute terrestrial contaminants from the sample processing system, the Collection and Handling for In-Situ Martian Rock Analysis (CHIMRA). Because of this cleaning effort, the ideal first material to be scooped would consist of fine to very fine sand, like the interior of the Serpent Dune studied by the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Spirit team in 2004 [1]. The MSL team selected a linear eolian deposit in the lee of a group of cobbles they named Rocknest (Fig. 1) as likely to be similar to Serpent Dune. Following the definitions in Chapter 13 of Bagnold [2], the deposit is termed a sand shadow. The scooping campaign occurred over approximately 6 weeks in October and November 2012. To support these activities, the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) acquired images for engineering support/assessment and scientific inquiry.

  9. Chromatin supraorganization, DNA fragmentation, and cell death in snake erythrocytes.

    PubMed

    Miyamoto, Maristela; Vidal, Benedicto C; Mello, Maria Luiza S

    2005-02-01

    In nucleate erythrocytes of several vertebrate groups, the frequency and intensity of DNA fragmentation associated with programmed cell death vary considerably. Although hemoglobin efficiency may be related to erythrocyte life span, and hemoglobin types and erythrocyte life spans are assumed to vary in reptiles, no data on DNA fragmentation and chromatin organization as related to cell death exist for snakes. In the present study, chromatin supraorganization, DNA fragmentation, and cell death were investigated in four snake species (Crotalus durissus terrificus, Bothrops jararaca, Bothrops alternatus, and Bothrops neuwiedii), which differ in their geographical distribution and habitats, by using image analysis of Feulgen hydrolysis kinetics, the TUNEL assay, single-cell gel electrophoresis, and transmission electron microscopy. Relatively few circulating erythrocytes were found to be simultaneously committed to cell death, although there was some variation among the snake species. Conspicuous nuclear and cytoplasmic organelles suggestive of metabolic activity were seen ultrastructurally in most snake erythrocytes. The DNA of the snake erythrocyte chromatin was much more resistant to Feulgen acid hydrolysis (DNA depurination and breakdown) than that of young adult bullfrog erythrocytes, which had a high frequency and intensity of DNA fragmentation. Of the species studied, B. neuwiedii and C. d. terrificus showed the greatest resistance to Feulgen acid hydrolysis and to the DNA fragmentation, revealed by the TUNEL assay. Although B. neuwiedii also showed the lowest frequency of cells with more damaged DNA in the single-cell gel electrophoresis assay, C. d. terrificus had the highest frequency of damaged cells, possibly because of the abundance of alkaline-sensitive DNA sites. The results for DNA fragmentation and cell death in erythrocytes of B. jararaca and B. alternatus generally differed from those for C. d. terrificus and B. neuwiedii and may reflect differences in the biology of these species selected under different geographical habitats. The differences in erythrocyte cell biology reported here may be related to hemoglobin variants selected in the mentioned snake species and that would lead the cells to different resistances to unfavorable environmental conditions. PMID:15746963

  10. Epithelium specific ETS transcription factor, ESE-3, of Protobothrops flavoviridis snake venom gland transactivates the promoters of venom phospholipase A2 isozyme genes.

    PubMed

    Nakamura, Hitomi; Murakami, Tatsuo; Hattori, Shosaku; Sakaki, Yoshiyuki; Ohkuri, Takatoshi; Chijiwa, Takahito; Ohno, Motonori; Oda-Ueda, Naoko

    2014-12-15

    Protobothrops flavoviridis (habu) (Crotalinae, Viperidae) is a Japanese venomous snake, and its venom contains the enzymes with a variety of physiological activities. The phospholipases A2 (PLA2s) are the major components and exert various toxic effects. They are expressed abundantly in the venom gland. It is thought that the venom gland-specific transcription factors play a key role for activation of PLA2 genes specifically expressed in the venom gland. Thus, the full-length cDNA library for P. flavoviridis venom gland after milking of the venom was made to explore the transcription factors therein. As a result, three cDNAs encoding epithelium-specific ETS transcription factors (ESE)-1, -2, and -3 were obtained. Among them, ESE-3 was specifically expressed in the venom gland and activated the proximal promoters of venom PLA2 genes, which are possibly regarded as the representatives of the venom gland-specific protein genes in P. flavoviridis. Interestingly, the binding specificity of ESE-3 to the ETS binding motif located near TATA box is well correlated with transcriptional activities for the venom PLA2 genes. This is the first report that venom gland-specific transcription factor could actually activate the promoters of the venom protein genes. PMID:25449102

  11. Scales microstructure of snakes from the Egyptian area.

    PubMed

    Allam, Ahmed A; Abo-Eleneen, Rasha E

    2012-11-01

    The morphology of many organisms seems to be related to the environments in which they live. Many snakes are so similar in their morphological patterns that it becomes quite difficult to distinguish any adaptive divergence that may have occurred. Many authors have suggested that the microstructure of the reptile's scales has important functional value. Herein, we investigate variations on the micromorphology of the external surface of dorsal scales on the head, the mid-body region (trunk), and the tail of Rhomphotyphlops braminus (Typhlopidae), Eryx jaculus (Boidae), Psammophis sibilans (Colubridae), Naja haje (Elapidae) and Echis carinatus (Viperidae). The specimens were metallized and analyzed by scanning electron microscopy. All species displayed unique dorsal scale surface microstructures of the investigated regions. The microstructural pattern of the scales of head, trunk, and tail differs in different species of these snakes. In conclusion, we detected ecomorphologic relationships between extant dorsal scale microstructures and snake microhabitat, enabling us to hypothesize that environmental pressures have significant influences not only on these animals' macrostructure, but also on its microstructure as well. PMID:23106563

  12. Purification and cloning of cysteine-rich proteins from Trimeresurus jerdonii and Naja atra venoms.

    PubMed

    Jin, Yang; Lu, Qiumin; Zhou, Xingding; Zhu, Shaowen; Li, Rui; Wang, Wanyu; Xiong, Yuliang

    2003-10-01

    Three 26 kDa proteins, named as TJ-CRVP, NA-CRVP1 and NA-CRVP2, were isolated from the venoms of Trimeresurus jerdonii and Naja atra, respectively. The N-terminal sequences of TJ-CRVP and NA-CRVPs were determined. These components were devoid of the enzymatic activities tested, such as phospholipase A(2), arginine esterase, proteolysis, L-amino acid oxidase, 5'nucleotidase, acetylcholinesterase. Furthermore, these three components did not have the following biological activities: coagulant and anticoagulant activities, lethal activity, myotoxicity, hemorrhagic activity, platelet aggregation and platelet aggregation-inhibiting activities. These proteins are named as cysteine-rich venom protein (CRVP) because their sequences showed high level of similarity with mammalian cysteine-rich secretory protein (CRISP) family. Recently, some CRISP-like proteins were also isolated from several different snake venoms, including Agkistrodon blomhoffi, Trimeresurus flavoviridis, Lanticauda semifascita and king cobra. We presumed that CRVP might be a common component in snake venoms. Of particular interest, phylogenetic analysis and sequence alignment showed that NA-CRVP1 and ophanin, both from elapid snakes, share higher similarity with CRVPs from Viperidae snakes. PMID:14529736

  13. NMR structure of bitistatin – a missing piece in the evolutionary pathway of snake venom disintegrins.

    PubMed

    Carbajo, Rodrigo J; Sanz, Libia; Perez, Alicia; Calvete, Juan J

    2015-01-01

    Extant disintegrins, as found in the venoms of Viperidae and Crotalidae snakes (vipers and rattlesnakes, represent a family of polypeptides that block the function of ?1 and ?3 integrin receptors, both potently and with a high degree of selectivity. This toxin family owes its origin to the neofunctionalization of the extracellular region of an ADAM (a disintegrin and metalloprotease) molecule recruited into the snake venom gland proteome in the Jurassic. The evolutionary structural diversification of the disintegrin scaffold, from the ancestral long disintegrins to the more recently evolved medium-sized, dimeric and short disintegrins, involved the stepwise loss of pairs of class-specific disulfide linkages and the processing of the N-terminal region. NMR and crystal structures of medium-sized, dimeric and short disintegrins have been solved. However, the structure of a long disintegrin remained unknown. The present study reports the NMR solution structures of two disulfide bond conformers of the long disintegrin bitistatin from the African puff adder Bitis arietans. The findings provide insight into how a structural domain of the extracellular region of an ADAM molecule, recruited into and selectively expressed in the snake venom gland proteome as a PIII metalloprotease in the Jurassic, has subsequently been tranformed into a family of integrin receptor antagonists. PMID:25363287

  14. Evolutionary stability of sex chromosomes in snakes.

    PubMed

    Rovatsos, Michail; Vuki?, Jasna; Lymberakis, Petros; Kratochvíl, Lukáš

    2015-12-22

    Amniote vertebrates possess various mechanisms of sex determination, but their variability is not equally distributed. The large evolutionary stability of sex chromosomes in viviparous mammals and birds was believed to be connected with their endothermy. However, some ectotherm lineages seem to be comparably conserved in sex determination, but previously there was a lack of molecular evidence to confirm this. Here, we document a stability of sex chromosomes in advanced snakes based on the testing of Z-specificity of genes using quantitative PCR (qPCR) across 37 snake species (our qPCR technique is suitable for molecular sexing in potentially all advanced snakes). We discovered that at least part of sex chromosomes is homologous across all families of caenophidian snakes (Acrochordidae, Xenodermatidae, Pareatidae, Viperidae, Homalopsidae, Colubridae, Elapidae and Lamprophiidae). The emergence of differentiated sex chromosomes can be dated back to about 60 Ma and preceded the extensive diversification of advanced snakes, the group with more than 3000 species. The Z-specific genes of caenophidian snakes are (pseudo)autosomal in the members of the snake families Pythonidae, Xenopeltidae, Boidae, Erycidae and Sanziniidae, as well as in outgroups with differentiated sex chromosomes such as monitor lizards, iguanas and chameleons. Along with iguanas, advanced snakes are therefore another example of ectothermic amniotes with a long-term stability of sex chromosomes comparable with endotherms. PMID:26702042

  15. Ophidian Spectaculitis and Spectacular Dysecdysis: A Histologic Description.

    PubMed

    Da Silva, M O; Bertelsen, M F; Heegaard, S; Garner, M M

    2015-11-01

    The histologic features of abnormal spectacles in 60 snakes from the 5 families of Boidae, Colubridae, Elapidae, Pythonidae, and Viperidae are described in a retrospective study conducted on specimens submitted to a private diagnostic service during a period of 15 years. Fifty-two snakes had inflammatory reactions in the spectacle. The stroma and outer epithelium of the spectacle were the layers most often involved in inflammatory disease. Lesions of the outer epithelium included edema, hyperkeratosis, and granulocyte infiltration occasionally with bacterial colonies and fungal elements. The stroma had infectious agents and inflammatory reactions in vessels and between the collagen fibrils. The inner epithelium had varying degrees of hyperplasia and hypertrophy, but no infectious agents were seen. Infectious agents in these cases included mites, bacterial disease, fungal disease, or a combination of bacterial and fungal disease. Special stains identified the bacteria most commonly involved to be Gram-positive cocci. Thirteen snakes had dysecdysis of the spectacle. Of these, 5 displayed a concurrent inflammatory reaction of the spectacle, while the remaining 8 snakes had extra keratin layers on a spectacle with an otherwise normal appearance. These keratin layers were attached to serocellular crusts located on the inner surface of the periocular scales. The cause for dyskeratotic lesions of the spectacle was not always apparent, and concurrent acariasis, other forms of dermatitis, trauma, suboptimal husbandry, and visceral disease were considered possible contributing factors. It was notable that only 4% of the submitted cases were found to have spectaculitis and/or spectacular dysecdysis. PMID:26077780

  16. Pathophysiological effects of Cerastes cerastes and Vipera lebetina venoms: Immunoneutralization using anti-native and anti-(60)Co irradiated venoms.

    PubMed

    Boumaiza, Sabrina; Oussedik-Oumehdi, Habiba; Laraba-Djebari, Fatima

    2016-01-01

    Cerastes cerastes and Vipera lebetina are the most medically important vipers in Algeria. Their bite induces several pathological effects on victims of accidental envenomation. In this study we analyzed the pathogenesis induced after an experimental envenomation. Indeed, we determined, in vitro, venom enzymatic activities and we analyzed, in vivo, pathological effects induced on liver, heart, lung and skin. In addition we investigated the neutralizing potency of four experimental antivenoms elicited against native and irradiated venoms. Results revealed that V. lebetina and Cerastes cerastes venoms presented strong hemorrhagic, oedematic and necrotic activities. Histopathological study showed that both venoms induced deep damage in tissue structures leading to organ dysfunction. They also increased cellular peroxidases activities, indicating an inflammatory process that is known to amplify tissue damage. Western-blot analysis evidenced that anti-irradiated venoms recognized most components of native venoms. Antivenoms were effective in neutralizing all tested activities, with an increased protective effect obtained with anti-irradiated venoms. Anti-irradiated venoms reduced cellular peroxidases activities indicating a reduction of the inflammatory response. These results may improve our understanding of Algerian Viperidae bite pathogenesis and would encourage further studies planning to provide more proofs on the effectiveness of anti-irradiated venoms administration in the treatment of envenomation. PMID:26678662

  17. Phospholipase A2 enhances the endothelial cell detachment effect of a snake venom metalloproteinase in the absence of catalysis.

    PubMed

    Bustillo, Soledad; García-Denegri, María Emilia; Gay, Carolina; Van de Velde, Andrea C; Acosta, Ofelia; Angulo, Yamileth; Lomonte, Bruno; Gutiérrez, José María; Leiva, Laura

    2015-10-01

    Microvessel disruption leading to hemorrhage stands among the most dangerous consequences of envenomings by snakes of the family Viperidae. A PIII metalloproteinase (SVMP), balteragin, purified from the venom of the snake Bothrops alternatus, displays a potent hemorrhagic effect, and a moderate myotoxicity in vivo. Previous studies described the ability of this SVMP to induce the detachment of C2C12 myoblasts in culture, without causing cytolysis. Surprisingly, a purified acidic phospholipase A2 (PLA2) from the same venom was found to increase this detaching activity of the SVMP on myoblasts. Since endothelial cells are a natural target of SVMPs in vivo, the possibility that this synergistic effect is also observed on this cell type was explored in the present work. In addition, a first approach of the mechanism of action of this effect was studied. Results clearly confirm that the acidic PLA2, despite lacking toxicity towards endothelial cells, significantly enhances the detaching effect of the SVMP even at a concentration as low as 1 ?g/mL. Inhibition of enzymatic activity of the PLA2 by chemical modification with p-bromophenacyl bromide did not affect the synergistic activity, suggesting that this effect is not dependent on phospholipase enzymatic activity and may instead be the consequence of an interaction of the PLA2 with endothelial cell plasma membrane. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a synergistic action of a non toxic PLA2 in enhancing the detachment of endothelial cells induced by a metalloproteinase. PMID:26279213

  18. BbMP-1, a new metalloproteinase isolated from Bothrops brazili snake venom with in vitro antiplasmodial properties.

    PubMed

    Kayano, Anderson M; Simões-Silva, Rodrigo; Medeiros, Patrícia S M; Maltarollo, Vinícius G; Honorio, Kathia M; Oliveira, Eliandre; Albericio, Fernando; da Silva, Saulo L; Aguiar, Anna Caroline C; Krettli, Antoniana U; Fernandes, Carla F C; Zuliani, Juliana P; Calderon, Leonardo A; Stábeli, Rodrigo G; Soares, Andreimar M

    2015-11-01

    This study describes the biochemical and functional characterization of a new metalloproteinase named BbMP-1, isolated from Bothrops brazili venom. BbMP-1 was homogeneous on SDS-PAGE, presented molecular mass of 22,933Da and pI 6.4. The primary structure was partially elucidated with high identity with others metalloproteinases from Viperidae venoms. The enzymatic activity on azocasein was evaluated in different experimental conditions (pH, temperature). A significant reduction in enzyme activity after exposure to chelators of divalent cations (EDTA), reducing agents (DTT), pH less than 5.0 or temperatures higher than 45 °C was observed. BbMP-1 showed activity on fibrinogen degrading A? chain quickly and to a lesser extent the B? chain. Also demostrated to be weakly hemorrhagic, presenting however, significant myotoxic and edematogenic activity. The in vitro activity of BbMP-1 against Plasmodium falciparum showed an IC50 of 3.2 ± 2.0 ?g/mL. This study may help to understand the pathophysiological effects induced by this group of toxin and their participation in the symptoms observed in cases of snake envenomation. Moreover, this result is representative for this group of proteins and shows the biotechnological potential of BbMP-1 by the demonstration of its antiplasmodial activity. PMID:26363289

  19. Interaction of toxic venoms with the complement system

    PubMed Central

    Birdsey, Vanessa; Lindorfer, Jean; Gewurz, H.

    1971-01-01

    Thirty-nine venoms from various vertebrate and invertebrate species were tested for their ability to consume haemolytic complement (C) activity upon incubation in fresh guinea-pig serum. Nineteen had `anti-complementary' activity, and these were provisionally sorted into the following groups: Pattern I—exemplified by the Naja haje (Egyptian cobra) and six other Elapidae species (all cobras), which induced selective consumption of C3—C9, and led to formation of a stable C3—C9-consuming intermediate; Pattern II—exemplified by the Agkistrodon rhodostoma (Malayan pit viper), Bitis arietans (puff adder), Bothrops jararaca (South American pit viper), Bothrops atrox (Fer de Lance) and three other species, which induced marked consumption of C4 and C2, as well as C3—C9, but did not form a stable C3—C9-consuming intermediate; and individual animals, e.g. the Lachesis muta (bushmaster), which induced other patterns (III—VI) of complement component consumption. Active fractions of representative venoms were partially purified by ion exchange and gel filtration chromatography and their interactions with the complement system characterized further. It is anticipated that these enzymes, with a capacity to activate the complement system in unique ways, will prove to be of further experimental usefulness. PMID:4398349

  20. Determination of Toxic Activities in Bothrops spp. Snake Venoms Using Animal-Free Approaches: Correlation Between In Vitro Versus In Vivo Assays.

    PubMed

    de Souza, Letícia Lopes; Stransky, Stephanie; Guerra-Duarte, Clara; Flor-Sá, Ana; Schneider, Francisco Santos; Kalapothakis, Evanguedes; Chávez-Olórtegui, Carlos

    2015-10-01

    The main purpose of this study is to investigate the in vitro toxic effects of 5 Bothrops spp. snake venoms, which are part of the antigenic mixture used for the production of Brazilian antivenom, and evaluate their correlation with the in vivo toxic activities of Bothrops spp. venoms. The correlation analysis could be helpful for the replacement of living animals experimentation for in vitro bioassay. Cytotoxicity, L-amino acid oxidase (LAAO), proteolitic (serine and metalloproteinase), hyaluronidase (Hyal), and phospholipase A2 (PLA2) activities were estimated and the correlation coefficient was determined for each activity in relation to lethality, edema, hemorrhage and necrosis induced in live animals by B. jararaca, B. alternatus, B. jararacussu, B. neuwiedi, and B. moojeni venoms. The lethal activity in mice was highly related to Hyal activity (r = 0.94, p < .05), edema related to PLA2 activity (r = 0.94, p < .05), whereas the necrotizing activity showed high correlation with LAAO activity (r = 0.83, p < .05). A very significant correlation between in vitro cytotoxicity and LAAO activities was also observed (r = 0.97, p < .05). PMID:26160116

  1. Origins of the ancient constellations: I. The Mesopotamian traditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rogers, J. H.

    1998-02-01

    In the sky-map of ancient Babylon, constellations had two different roles, and thus developed into two overlapping traditions. One set of constellations represented the gods and their symbols; the other set represented rustic activities and provided a farming calendar. Many constellations were shared by the two traditions, but in some regions of sky there were alternative divine and rustic figures. These figures developed in stages from ~3200 BC to ~500 BC. Of the divine set, the most important (although the last to be finalised) were the twelve zodiacal signs, plus several associated animals (the serpent, crow, eagle, and fish), which were all transmitted to the classical Greek sky-map that we still use today. Conversely, the rustic constellations of workers and tools and animals were not transmitted to the West. However, a few of them may have survived in Bedouin Arab sky-maps of the first millennium AD.

  2. A new Pleistocene vertebrate fauna from Austin, Texas 

    E-print Network

    Young, Ker Shun

    2011-08-04

    of fish centrum (b7s215). Scale bar equals 1mm. CT-cotyle. Class REPTILIA Laurenti, 1768 Order SQUAMATA Oppel, 1811 Suborder SERPENTES Linnaeus, 1758 Family cf. COLUBRIDAE Oppel, 1811 Figure 4.A ? D Dorsal Ventral 11 Material ? b1s1... Oppel, 1811 Genus COLUBER Linnaeus, 1758 or MASTICOPHIS Baird & Girard, 1853 15 Figure 5.A ? D Material ? b1s44, b1s46, b1s52, b1s53, b1s54, b1s55, b1s56, b1s57, b1s58, b1s59, b1s61, b1s62, b1s63, b1s66, b1s67, b1s68, b1s70, b1s71, b1s72, b1...

  3. Abundance and distribution of ultramafic microbreccia in Moses Rock dike - Quantitative application of mapping spectroscopy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mustard, John F.; Pieters, Carle M.

    1987-01-01

    Data from the Airborne Imaging Spectrometer were used to map the distribution and abundance of the serpentized ultramafic microbreccia (SUM) component in the Moses Rock dike, which is a Tertiary diatreme located on the Colorado Plateau in Utah. The geologic setting and composition of Moses Rock dike are discussed together with its texture and the relationship to the bedrock of surface materials. These observations along with laboratory spectroscopic data are used to interpret surface mineralogy of the dike and the surrounding regions from the imaging spectometer data. The spatial distribution and the abundance of the primary surface components were calculated using a nonlinear model for the mixing of spectra from multicomponent surfaces. The derived SUM distribution and abundance data support McGetchin's (1968) model for the emplacement of Moses Rock dike as a fluidized system.

  4. Alteration of Al-rich inclusions inside amoeboid olivine aggregates in the Allende meteorite

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hashimoto, Akihiko; Grossman, Lawrence

    1987-01-01

    The primary phases of Al-rich inclusions in amoeboid olivine aggregates have undergone alteration reactions with the solar nebular gas. The simplest interpretation of the present observations is that melilite was the first primary phase to disappear with falling temperature, and was replaced by grossular + anorthite + feldspathoids, followed by fassaite; spinel was the last phase to be altered. Thermodynamic calculations suggest that Na-rich phlogopite could have formed at about 470 K and chlorite at about 328 K at a water fugacity of 0.000001, which is that of a gas of solar composition in this temperature range. The olivine around Al-rich inclusions is not serpentized, indicating the cessation of gas-solid equilibrium above 274 K.

  5. Spectroscopy of Moses Rock dike using remote sensing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mustard, J. F.; Pieters, C. M.

    1985-01-01

    Zeiss IR-photographs, NS0001 (TM simulator) and airborne imaging spectrometer (AIS) data were obtained for the Moses Rock kimberlite dike in southern Utah to identify and characterize the distinctive mafic mineralogy of the dike as well as the surrounding sedimentary rocks. The Zeiss and NS001 images provide information on the regional setting and allow units of the dike to be distinguished from the sediments. The AIS data are narrow images obtained in 128 near-infrared channels and provide characterizing information on the surface composition through. Three distinct spectroscopic units were found which have been tentatively identified as serpentized olivine-bearing soils found in the dike and two types of gypsum bearing soils found in the surrounding sedimentary soils.

  6. [On gods, snakes and staffs--the emblem of the medical profession].

    PubMed

    Rabinerson, David; Salzer, Liat; Gabbay-Benziv, Rinnat

    2014-10-01

    The commonly accepted emblems of the Medical Profession are the staff of the Greek god of medicine--Asklepios (or Asclepius], on which one serpent is entwined. Later, around the 16th century C.E., the wand of the herald of the Greek Gods, e.g., Hermes, on which two snakes are entwined and facing each other, became popular as the emblem of the medical profession. We elaborate on the history of the evolution of these emblems as symbols of medicine, including earlier influences from the times of the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians, which were followed by Judeo-Christian traditions and concepts. The relevance of the use of the wand of Hermes as an emblem of our profession is further discussed. PMID:25518083

  7. On the Asclepian spirit and the future of psychoanalysis.

    PubMed

    Whitehead, Clay C

    2002-01-01

    The dynamics of the Asclepian myth are analyzed, and generic dynamics of the healing imperative are illustrated. The story teaches much about the early theories and practice of ancient medicine, and originated the healing symbol of the staff and serpent which appears on the emblem of the American Academy. The multi-modal therapeutic approach used at the Asclepia was often climaxed by dream incubation as a centerpiece of the treatment. Dreams from modern physicians in analysis will be introduced to show that while our practice has changed in external trappings, the underlying dynamics of ancient and modern healers reflect a common humanity. Modern therapists have reacquired the use of dreams and invented a new set of explanatory myths. Consideration of future developments leads to linking the "psychosomatic model" of antiquity with the psychopharmacological interventions which are now common-place in psychodynamic psychotherapy. The Asclepian emphasis on spirituality is also finding increasing recognition among psychoanalysts and other scientists. PMID:12064034

  8. Numerous Sinusoidal and Other EMF Phenomena, At Present and Former Native American Sites, May Be Superimposing Themselves onto Regional Power Grids.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cadran, Lawrence R.; Mc Leod, Roger D.; Mc Leod, David M.

    2003-10-01

    Periodic electromagnetic field signals (EMF), sometimes noticeable as faint blue-light or other phenomena, frequently are also detected at sites associated with Native Americans. We first noticed this sort of information in the vicinity of Wendell, MA about fourteen years ago. Similar and other signals are apparent at Americas Stonehenge, AS, in North Salem, NH. Connecticut provided our first evidence of superposition of two such waves at the Gungywamp site north of Groton, CT. A Maine location first showed orthogonally oriented trajectories in neighborhoods formerly frequented by Molocket and Metallak and their relatives near Rumford and Rangeley, ME. Florida exhibits similar signals in the vicinity of Hollywood and at Miamis Tequesta instrument, as does a separate site in CT. Powerful thunderstorms in the vicinity of a stone serpent effigy in Ohio cause EMF pulsations. Such signals are possibly superimposing themselves onto power-grids, where frequency changes and system instabilities may occur, according to the elementary physics involved.

  9. Environmental Aspects of Sites Like America's Stonehenge, (AS), Florida's Miami Tequesta Site, and Lowell's A.D. 1069

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ochs, Michael Ann; Mc Leod, Roger D.

    2002-04-01

    Subtle ``instrumentation" is often unnoticed. Stone-chamber transponder-receivers are principle and secondary wave detectors, part of the ``technologic" arsenal of men like Passaconaway/Metacomen of colonial-era Massachusetts, or the earthquake-predicting Shawnee Tecumseh of the Ohio Valley region, during 1811-1813. An Ohio stone-effigy ``serpent" is a thunderstorm precursor signal indicator. The Hopi require similar ``equipment," when duping gullible ``rain-dance" patrons. Tornado/waterspout activity is documented right in the Tequesta site at the river in Miami, Florida, which generates detectable signals. Columbus could have used similar ``secret sacred science" previously learned from American Indians, and thereby successfully predicted an anomalous hurricane on a subsequent trip. These, and the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pelee, seem to be a mythic equivalent of electromagnetically generated signals, i.e., a metaphor for ``environmental applied physics" we detect at A.S.

  10. Shocked lithologies at the Wanapitei impact structure, Ontario, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grieve, R. A. F.; Ber, T. J.

    1994-09-01

    The approx. 7.5 diameter Wanapitei impact structure (46 deg 45 min N; 80 deg 45 min W) lies entirely within Lake Wanapitei in central Ontario, Canada. Impact lithologies are known only from glacial float at the southern end of the lake. Over 50% of the impact lithologies recovered from this float can be classified as suevite, less than 20% as highly shocked and partially melted arkosic metasediments of the target rock Mississagi Formation or, possibly, the Serpent Formation and less than 20% as glassy impact melt rocks. An additional less than 5% of the samples have similarities to the suevite but have up to 50% glass clasts and are tentatively interpreted as fall-back material. The glassy impact melt rocks fall into two textural and mineralogical types: a perlitically fractured, colorless glass matrix variant, with microlites of hypersthene with up to 11.5% Al2O3 and a 'felted' matrix variant, with evidence of flow prior to the crystallization of tabular orthopyroxene. These melt glasses show chemical inhomogeneities on a microscopic scale, with areas of essentially SiO2, even when appearing optically homogeneous. They are similar in bulk composition for major elements, but the felted matrix variant is approx. 5x more enriched in Ni, Co and Cr, the interelement ratios of which are indicative of an admixture of a chondritic projectile. Mixing models suggest that the glassy impact melt rocks can be made from the target rocks in the proportions: approx. 55% Gowganda wacke, approx. 42% Serpent arkose and approx. 3% Nipissing intrusives. Geologic reconstructions suggest that this is a reasonable mixture of potential target rocks at the time of impact.

  11. A Complex-Geometry Validation Experiment for Advanced Neutron Transport Codes

    SciTech Connect

    David W. Nigg; Anthony W. LaPorta; Joseph W. Nielsen; James Parry; Mark D. DeHart; Samuel E. Bays; William F. Skerjanc

    2013-11-01

    The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has initiated a focused effort to upgrade legacy computational reactor physics software tools and protocols used for support of core fuel management and experiment management in the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) and its companion critical facility (ATRC) at the INL.. This will be accomplished through the introduction of modern high-fidelity computational software and protocols, with appropriate new Verification and Validation (V&V) protocols, over the next 12-18 months. Stochastic and deterministic transport theory based reactor physics codes and nuclear data packages that support this effort include MCNP5[1], SCALE/KENO6[2], HELIOS[3], SCALE/NEWT[2], and ATTILA[4]. Furthermore, a capability for sensitivity analysis and uncertainty quantification based on the TSUNAMI[5] system has also been implemented. Finally, we are also evaluating the Serpent[6] and MC21[7] codes, as additional verification tools in the near term as well as for possible applications to full three-dimensional Monte Carlo based fuel management modeling in the longer term. On the experimental side, several new benchmark-quality code validation measurements based on neutron activation spectrometry have been conducted using the ATRC. Results for the first four experiments, focused on neutron spectrum measurements within the Northwest Large In-Pile Tube (NW LIPT) and in the core fuel elements surrounding the NW LIPT and the diametrically opposite Southeast IPT have been reported [8,9]. A fifth, very recent, experiment focused on detailed measurements of the element-to-element core power distribution is summarized here and examples of the use of the measured data for validation of corresponding MCNP5, HELIOS, NEWT, and Serpent computational models using modern least-square adjustment methods are provided.

  12. Isolation and characterization of two disintegrins inhibiting ADP-induced human platelet aggregation from the venom of Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus (Mohave Rattlesnake)

    SciTech Connect

    Sanchez, Elda E.; Galan, Jacob A.; Russell, William K.; Soto, Julio G.; Russell, David H.; Perez, John C. . E-mail: kfjcp00@tamuk.edu

    2006-04-01

    Disintegrins and disintegrin-like proteins are molecules found in the venom of four snake families (Atractaspididae, Elapidae, Viperidae, and Colubridae). The disintegrins are nonenzymatic proteins that inhibit cell-cell interactions, cell-matrix interactions, and signal transduction, and may have potential in the treatment of strokes, heart attacks, cancers, and osteoporosis. Prior to 1983, the venom of Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus (Mohave Rattlesnake) was known to be only neurotoxic; however, now there is evidence that these snakes can contain venom with: (1) neurotoxins; (2) hemorrhagins; and (3) both neurotoxins and hemorrhagins. In this study, two disintegrins, mojastin 1 and mojastin 2, from the venom of a Mohave rattlesnake collected in central Arizona (Pinal County), were isolated and characterized. The disintegrins in these venoms were identified by mass-analyzed laser desorption ionization/time-of-flight/time-of-flight (MALDI/TOF/TOF) mass spectrometry as having masses of 7.436 and 7.636 kDa. Their amino acid sequences are similar to crotratroxin, a disintegrin isolated from the venom of the western diamondback rattlesnake (C. atrox). The amino acid sequence of mojastin 1 was identical to the amino acid sequence of a disintegrin isolated from the venom of the Timber rattlesnake (C. horridus). The disintegrins from the Mohave rattlesnake venom were able to inhibit ADP-induced platelet aggregation in whole human blood both having IC{sub 5}s of 13.8 nM, but were not effective in inhibiting the binding of human urinary bladder carcinoma cells (T24) to fibronectin.

  13. Molecular evolution of vertebrate neurotrophins: co-option of the highly conserved nerve growth factor gene into the advanced snake venom arsenalf.

    PubMed

    Sunagar, Kartik; Fry, Bryan Grieg; Jackson, Timothy N W; Casewell, Nicholas R; Undheim, Eivind A B; Vidal, Nicolas; Ali, Syed A; King, Glenn F; Vasudevan, Karthikeyan; Vasconcelos, Vitor; Antunes, Agostinho

    2013-01-01

    Neurotrophins are a diverse class of structurally related proteins, essential for neuronal development, survival, plasticity and regeneration. They are characterized by major family members, such as the nerve growth factors (NGF), brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF) and neurotrophin-3 (NT-3), which have been demonstrated here to lack coding sequence variations and follow the regime of negative selection, highlighting their extremely important conserved role in vertebrate homeostasis. However, in stark contrast, venom NGF secreted as part of the chemical arsenal of the venomous advanced snake family Elapidae (and to a lesser extent Viperidae) have characteristics consistent with the typical accelerated molecular evolution of venom components. This includes a rapid rate of diversification under the significant influence of positive-selection, with the majority of positively-selected sites found in the secreted ?-polypeptide chain (74%) and on the molecular surface of the protein (92%), while the core structural and functional residues remain highly constrained. Such focal mutagenesis generates active residues on the toxin molecular surface, which are capable of interacting with novel biological targets in prey to induce a myriad of pharmacological effects. We propose that caenophidian NGFs could participate in prey-envenoming by causing a massive release of chemical mediators from mast cells to mount inflammatory reactions and increase vascular permeability, thereby aiding the spread of other toxins and/or by acting as proapoptotic factors. Despite their presence in reptilian venom having been known for over 60 years, this is the first evidence that venom-secreted NGF follows the molecular evolutionary pattern of other venom components, and thus likely participates in prey-envenomation. PMID:24312363

  14. Oxygenation properties and isoform diversity of snake hemoglobins.

    PubMed

    Storz, Jay F; Natarajan, Chandrasekhar; Moriyama, Hideaki; Hoffmann, Federico G; Wang, Tobias; Fago, Angela; Malte, Hans; Overgaard, Johannes; Weber, Roy E

    2015-11-01

    Available data suggest that snake hemoglobins (Hbs) are characterized by a combination of unusual structural and functional properties relative to the Hbs of other amniote vertebrates, including oxygenation-linked tetramer-dimer dissociation. However, standardized comparative data are lacking for snake Hbs, and the Hb isoform composition of snake red blood cells has not been systematically characterized. Here we present the results of an integrated analysis of snake Hbs and the underlying ?- and ?-type globin genes to characterize 1) Hb isoform composition of definitive erythrocytes, and 2) the oxygenation properties of isolated isoforms as well as composite hemolysates. We used species from three families as subjects for experimental studies of Hb function: South American rattlesnake, Crotalus durissus (Viperidae); Indian python, Python molurus (Pythonidae); and yellow-bellied sea snake, Pelamis platura (Elapidae). We analyzed allosteric properties of snake Hbs in terms of the Monod-Wyman-Changeux model and Adair four-step thermodynamic model. Hbs from each of the three species exhibited high intrinsic O2 affinities, low cooperativities, small Bohr factors in the absence of phosphates, and high sensitivities to ATP. Oxygenation properties of the snake Hbs could be explained entirely by allosteric transitions in the quaternary structure of intact tetramers, suggesting that ligation-dependent dissociation of Hb tetramers into ??-dimers is not a universal feature of snake Hbs. Surprisingly, the major Hb isoform of the South American rattlesnake is homologous to the minor HbD of other amniotes and, contrary to the pattern of Hb isoform differentiation in birds and turtles, exhibits a lower O2 affinity than the HbA isoform. PMID:26354849

  15. Molecular Evolution of Vertebrate Neurotrophins: Co-Option of the Highly Conserved Nerve Growth Factor Gene into the Advanced Snake Venom Arsenalf

    PubMed Central

    Sunagar, Kartik; Fry, Bryan Grieg; Jackson, Timothy N. W.; Casewell, Nicholas R.; Undheim, Eivind A. B.; Vidal, Nicolas; Ali, Syed A.; King, Glenn F.; Vasudevan, Karthikeyan; Vasconcelos, Vitor; Antunes, Agostinho

    2013-01-01

    Neurotrophins are a diverse class of structurally related proteins, essential for neuronal development, survival, plasticity and regeneration. They are characterized by major family members, such as the nerve growth factors (NGF), brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF) and neurotrophin-3 (NT-3), which have been demonstrated here to lack coding sequence variations and follow the regime of negative selection, highlighting their extremely important conserved role in vertebrate homeostasis. However, in stark contrast, venom NGF secreted as part of the chemical arsenal of the venomous advanced snake family Elapidae (and to a lesser extent Viperidae) have characteristics consistent with the typical accelerated molecular evolution of venom components. This includes a rapid rate of diversification under the significant influence of positive-selection, with the majority of positively-selected sites found in the secreted ?-polypeptide chain (74%) and on the molecular surface of the protein (92%), while the core structural and functional residues remain highly constrained. Such focal mutagenesis generates active residues on the toxin molecular surface, which are capable of interacting with novel biological targets in prey to induce a myriad of pharmacological effects. We propose that caenophidian NGFs could participate in prey-envenoming by causing a massive release of chemical mediators from mast cells to mount inflammatory reactions and increase vascular permeability, thereby aiding the spread of other toxins and/or by acting as proapoptotic factors. Despite their presence in reptilian venom having been known for over 60 years, this is the first evidence that venom-secreted NGF follows the molecular evolutionary pattern of other venom components, and thus likely participates in prey-envenomation. PMID:24312363

  16. Clinical toxinology--where are we now?

    PubMed

    White, Julian; Warrell, David; Eddleston, Michael; Currie, Bart J; Whyte, Ian M; Isbister, Geoffrey K

    2003-01-01

    Clinical toxinology encompasses a broad range of medical conditions resulting from envenomation by venomous terrestrial and marine organisms, and also poisoning from ingestion of animal and plant toxins. Toxin-related disease is an important cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, particularly in the tropical and subtropical continents. Snake bite is the single most important toxin-related disease, causing substantial mortality in many parts of Africa, Asia, and the Americas. The most important snake families are Viperidae and Elapidae, causing a range of clinical effects including local necrosis, neurotoxicity, coagulopathy and hemorrhage, myotoxicity and renal toxicity. These effects vary according to geography and group of snake. Arachnid envenomation results mainly in morbidity, particularly scorpion stings which can cause severe systemic envenomation. Spider bite is far less of a problem, and the majority of medically important cases can be attributed to widow spiders (Latrodectus spp.) and recluse spiders (Loxosceles spp.). Marine-related envenomations are common, but severe effects are less so. Plant and mushroom poisoning occur in most parts of the world, but the types and methods of poisoning vary considerably between continents. Management of toxin-related disease is often difficult, and in many cases meticulous supportive care is all that is available. The mainstay of treatment is the use of antivenoms for many envenomations and poisoning, although these do not exist for all dangerous organisms. Unfortunately antivenoms are not an economically viable product, so development and manufacture of these agents have been limited. This is now further worsened by a current shortage of antivenom. There is a need for improvement in the preventionand management of toxin-related disease. This will require well-designed studies to define the extent of the problem, initiatives to improve the prevention and management of these conditions, and development of new, and continuation of current, antivenom supplies. PMID:12807310

  17. Biochemical characterization of a factor X activator protein purified from Walterinnesia aegyptia venom.

    PubMed

    Khan, Sami U; Al-Saleh, Saad S

    2015-10-01

    Factor X of blood coagulation cascade can be activated by both intrinsic and extrinsic activating complex, trypsin and some kind of snake venom. A factor X activator protein is reported in Elapidae snake venom. The aim of this study was to evaluate biochemical properties of factor X activator protein because of its prospective application in biochemical research and therapeutics. Crude venom was fractionated on a HPLC system Gold 126/1667 using a combination of Protein PAK 125 and Protein PAK 60 Columns. Molecular weight was determined using SDS-PAGE. Walterinnesia aegyptia venom was fractionated into several protein peaks, but procoagulant and factor X activation activity coexisted into peak no.6. It appeared as single band on native PAGE and molecular weight was 60,000 ± 3. Purified up to 37-fold over crude venom. It shortened recalcification time, effect was dose-dependent and strictly Ca(2++)-dependent. Factor X activator seems to be able to activate factor X specifically because it showed no activation activity on human prothrombin, plasminogen, or protein C. It did not hydrolyze factor Xa substrate S-2222, thrombin substrate S-2238, plasmin substrate S-2251 or S-2302 and kalikrein substrate S-2266. It did not hydrolyze synthetic ester benzoyl arginine ethyl ester. Procoagulant activity was completely inhibited by irreversible serine protease inhibitors phenylmethylsulphonyl fluoride and N-p-tosylphenylalanine chloromethyl ketone. This study illustrates that factor X activator from W. aegyptia is though different in many aspects from factor X activators of Viperidae and Crotalidae venoms, but shows several properties identical to factor X activators from Elapidae venoms. PMID:26407136

  18. The interaction of the antitoxin DM43 with a snake venom metalloproteinase analyzed by mass spectrometry and surface plasmon resonance.

    PubMed

    Brand, Guilherme D; Salbo, Rune; Jørgensen, Thomas J D; Bloch, Carlos; Boeri Erba, Elisabetta; Robinson, Carol V; Tanjoni, Isabelle; Moura-da-Silva, Ana M; Roepstorff, Peter; Domont, Gilberto B; Perales, Jonas; Valente, Richard H; Neves-Ferreira, Ana G C

    2012-05-01

    DM43 is a circulating dimeric antitoxin isolated from Didelphis aurita, a South American marsupial naturally immune to snake envenomation. This endogenous inhibitor binds non-covalently to jararhagin, the main hemorrhagic metalloproteinase from Bothrops jararaca snake venom, and efficiently neutralizes its toxicity. The aim of this study was to apply mass spectrometry (MS) and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) to improve the molecular characterization of this heterocomplex. The stoichiometry of the interaction was confirmed by nanoelectrospray ionization-quadrupole-time-of-flight MS; from native solution conditions, the complex showed a molecular mass of ~94 kDa, indicating that one molecule of jararhagin (50 kDa) interacts with one monomer of DM43 (43 kDa). Although readily observed in solution, the dimeric structure of the inhibitor was barely preserved in the gas phase. This result suggests that, in contrast to the toxin-antitoxin complex, hydrophobic interactions are the primary driving force for the inhibitor dimerization. For the real-time interaction analysis, the toxin was captured on a sensor chip derivatized with the anti-jararhagin monoclonal antibody MAJar 2. The sensorgrams obtained after successive injections of DM43 in a concentration series were globally fitted to a simple bimolecular interaction, yielding the following kinetic rates for the DM43/jararhagin interaction: k(a) = 3.54 ± 0.03 × 10(4) M(-1) s(-1) and k(d) = 1.16 ± 0.07 × 10(-5) s(-1), resulting in an equilibrium dissociation constant (K(D) ) of 0.33 ± 0.06 nM. Taken together, MS and SPR results show that DM43 binds to its target toxin with high affinity and constitute the first accurate quantitative study on the extent of the interaction between a natural inhibitor and a metalloproteinase toxin, with unequivocal implications for the use of this kind of molecule as template for the rational development of novel antivenom therapies. PMID:22549991

  19. Crotalid snake venom subproteomes unraveled by the antiophidic protein DM43.

    PubMed

    Rocha, Surza L G; Neves-Ferreira, Ana G C; Trugilho, Monique R O; Chapeaurouge, Alex; León, Ileana R; Valente, Richard H; Domont, Gilberto B; Perales, Jonas

    2009-05-01

    Snake venoms are mixtures of proteins and peptides with different biological activities, many of which are very toxic. Several animals, including the opossum Didelphis aurita, are resistant to snake venoms due to the presence of neutralizing factors in their blood. An antihemorrhagic protein named DM43 was isolated from opossum serum. It inhibits snake venom metalloproteinases through noncovalent complex formation with these enzymes. In this study, we have used DM43 and proteomic techniques to explore snake venom subproteomes. Four crotalid venoms were chromatographed through an affinity column containing immobilized DM43. Bound fractions were analyzed by one- and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, followed by identification by MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometry. With this approach, we could easily visualize and compare the metalloproteinase compositions of Bothrops atrox, Bothrops jararaca, Bothrops insularis, and Crotalus atrox snake venoms. The important contribution of proteolytic processing to the complexity of this particular subproteome was demonstrated. Fractions not bound to DM43 column were similarly analyzed and were composed mainly of serine proteinases, C-type lectins, C-type lectin-like proteins, l-amino acid oxidases, nerve growth factor, cysteine-rich secretory protein, a few metalloproteinases (and their fragments), and some unidentified spots. Although very few toxin families were represented in the crotalid venoms analyzed, the number of protein spots detected was in the hundreds, indicating an important protein variability in these natural secretions. DM43 affinity chromatography and associated proteomic techniques proved to be useful tools to separate and identify proteins from snake venoms, contributing to a better comprehension of venom heterogeneity. PMID:19267469

  20. The complete mitochondrial genome of a gecko and the phylogeneticposition of the Middle Eastern teratoscincus keyserlingii

    SciTech Connect

    Macey, J. Robert; Fong, Jonathan J.; Kuehl, Jennifer V.; Shafiei,Soheila; Ananjeva, Natalia B.; Papenfuss, Theodore J.; Boore, Jeffrey L.

    2005-04-22

    Sqamate reptiles are traditionally divided into six groups: Iguania, Anguimorpha, Scincomorpha, Gekkota (these four are lizards), Serpentes (snakes), and Amphisbaenia (the so-called worm lizards). Currently there are complete mitochondrial genomes from two representatives of the Iguania (Janke et al., 2001; Kumazawa, 2004), three from the Anguimorpha (Kumazawa, 2004; Kumazawa and Endo, 2004), two from the Scincomorpha (Kumazawa and Nishida, 1999; Kumazawa, 2004), two from Serpentes (Kumazawa et al., 1998; Kumazawa, 2004) and 12 from Amphisbaenia (Macey et al., 2004). The only traditional group of Squamata from which a complete mitochondrial genome has not been sequenced is the Gekkota. Here we report the complete mitochondrial genome of Teratoscincus keyserlingii, a Middle Eastern representative of the Gekkota. The gekkonid lizard genus Teratoscincus is distributed throughout the deserts of central and southwest Asia as shown in figure 1, with five species currently recognized (Macey et al. 1997a, 1999b). Included in this figure are the positions of mountain ranges discussed in the text; see also figure 1 in Macey et al. (1999b). Two species, T. bedriagai and T. microlepis, are restricted to Southwest Asia south of the Kopet Dagh and Hindu Kush in Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (Anderson, 1999). Two species are found in the deserts of western China and Mongolia, with T. przewalskii occurring in the Taklimakan and lowland Gobi deserts, and T. roborowskii restricted to the Turpan Depression. The fifth species, T. scincus, is sometimes considered to be restricted to the Caspian Basin in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzistan, Tadjikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Alternatively, Teratoscincus populations in Southwest Asia, primarily on the Iranian Plateau, situated directly north of the Arabian Plate, are sometimes considered to be a subspecies of T. scincus or, otherwise, to constitute a sixth species, T. keyserlingii. Macey et al. (1999b) assessed the phylogenetic relationships of four Teratoscincus species with mitochondrial DNA sequences from a {approx}1800 base-pair segment spanning from nad1 to cox1. Phylogenetic analysis places T. microlepis in a basal position to a clade containing T. scincus, T. przewalskii and T. roborowskii, with the later two as sister taxa. This phylogenetic arrangement suggests that tectonic plate movements in Southwest Asia and western China due to the Indian and Arabian collisions caused speciation among Teratoscincus species. No molecular phylogenetic study has included the putative species T. keyserlingii.

  1. Marine electromagnetic experiment across the Nicaragua Trench: Imaging water-rich faults and melt-rich asthenosphere

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Naif, Samer Nasri

    Electromagnetic (EM) methods have been widely applied in exploration geophysics and to study tectonics for several decades. Electrical resistivity, or its reciprocal conductivity, is a physical quantity that varies by several orders of magnitude. Bulk resistivity is highly dependent on the presence of fluids and ore bodies. While EM is primarily used to map the geoelectrical structures of terrestrial environments, advances over the last two decades in instrument technology and computing software have not only made marine EM experiments viable but also routine and reliable. In this dissertation, I explore the utility of the marine magnetotelluric and controlled-source electromagnetic techniques for probing subduction zone processes. In the Spring of 2010, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Marine EM group ventured on the R/V Melville to conduct the Serpentinite, Extension and Regional Porosity Experiment across the Nicaragua Trench (SERPENT). Over the course of 28 days, 54 sites of broadband marine magnetotelluric (MT) and 800 km of marine controlled-source electromagnetic (CSEM) data were collected, culminating in the first CSEM survey and the largest marine EM dataset at a subduction zone to date. In this dissertation, I perform regularized two-dimensional inversions on the marine MT and CSEM data from SERPENT to model the electrical resistivity structure of the crust and upper mantle. The MT data revealed an unexpected conductive channel at a depth interval of 45-70 km. I apply measurements from laboratory studies and find that only partial melt can account for the electrical signature of the conductor. I conclude that the anomalous channel is a sheared partial melt layer at the lithosphere- asthenosphere boundary that decouples the lithosphere from the deeper mantle. The CSEM data image sub-vertical conductive channels that correlate with outer rise fault scarps, providing the first observation to confirm bending faults behave as fluid pathways. I use Archie's law to infer porosity and find that the crust subducts significantly more pore water than previously thought. The CSEM data also image the complete subduction of the incoming sediments along the megathrust plate interface, providing the first large-scale estimates of porosity at the megathrust. At 20 km into the forearc, a conductive anomaly extends from the plate interface into the overlying crust beneath a high concentration of active seafloor seeps, possibly imaging both the origin and migratory pathway of fluids escaping along the margin seafloor. The location of the anomaly correlates with a section of the seafloor that exhibits steepened bathymetric slope, suggesting a sediment underplating mechanism as its cause.

  2. Snake mitochondrial genomes: phylogenetic relationships and implications of extended taxon sampling for interpretations of mitogenomic evolution

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Snake mitochondrial genomes are of great interest in understanding mitogenomic evolution because of gene duplications and rearrangements and the fast evolutionary rate of their genes compared to other vertebrates. Mitochondrial gene sequences have also played an important role in attempts to resolve the contentious phylogenetic relationships of especially the early divergences among alethinophidian snakes. Two recent innovative studies found dramatic gene- and branch-specific relative acceleration in snake protein-coding gene evolution, particularly along internal branches leading to Serpentes and Alethinophidia. It has been hypothesized that some of these rate shifts are temporally (and possibly causally) associated with control region duplication and/or major changes in ecology and anatomy. Results The near-complete mitochondrial (mt) genomes of three henophidian snakes were sequenced: Anilius scytale, Rhinophis philippinus, and Charina trivirgata. All three genomes share a duplicated control region and translocated tRNALEU, derived features found in all alethinophidian snakes studied to date. The new sequence data were aligned with mt genome data for 21 other species of snakes and used in phylogenetic analyses. Phylogenetic results agreed with many other studies in recovering several robust clades, including Colubroidea, Caenophidia, and Cylindrophiidae+Uropeltidae. Nodes within Henophidia that have been difficult to resolve robustly in previous analyses remained uncompellingly resolved here. Comparisons of relative rates of evolution of rRNA vs. protein-coding genes were conducted by estimating branch lengths across the tree. Our expanded sampling revealed dramatic acceleration along the branch leading to Typhlopidae, particularly long rRNA terminal branches within Scolecophidia, and that most of the dramatic acceleration in protein-coding gene rate along Serpentes and Alethinophidia branches occurred before Anilius diverged from other alethinophidians. Conclusions Mitochondrial gene sequence data alone may not be able to robustly resolve basal divergences among alethinophidian snakes. Taxon sampling plays an important role in identifying mitogenomic evolutionary events within snakes, and in testing hypotheses explaining their origin. Dramatic rate shifts in mitogenomic evolution occur within Scolecophidia as well as Alethinophidia, thus falsifying the hypothesis that these shifts in snakes are associated exclusively with evolution of a non-burrowing lifestyle, macrostomatan feeding ecology and/or duplication of the control region, both restricted to alethinophidians among living snakes. PMID:20055998

  3. Origins of the ancient constellations: II. The Mediterranean traditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rogers, J. H.

    1998-04-01

    The classical map of the sky, with the 48 Greek constellations, was derived from at least two different pre-Greek traditions. One tradition comprised the 12 signs of the zodiac, with several associated animal constellations, all of which developed over ~3200-500 BC in Mesopotamia in a religious or ritual tradition. These were taken over by the Greeks around 500 BC. However the other Babylonian constellations, their farming-calendar tradition, were not adopted. The other tradition was not Mesopotamian; it comprised large constellations which appear to date from ~2800 BC, probably from the Mediterranean region, devised for the navigators of ships. They include huge bears and serpents which marked the celestial pole and equator at that time, and probably the four anonymous giants which we know as Hercules, Ophiuchus, Bootes, and Auriga, as well as some of the large southern 'marine' constellations. The origins of some other constellations, including the Perseus tableau and various animals, are unknown; they may have been new creations of the Greeks. The Greeks assembled the classical sky-map from these different sources between 540-370 BC, but many of the familiar legends were only applied to the constellations later.

  4. Neutronics and Fuel Performance Evaluation of Accident Tolerant Fuel under Normal Operation Conditions

    SciTech Connect

    Xu Wu; Piyush Sabharwall; Jason Hales

    2014-07-01

    This report details the analysis of neutronics and fuel performance analysis for enhanced accident tolerance fuel, with Monte Carlo reactor physics code Serpent and INL’s fuel performance code BISON, respectively. The purpose is to evaluate two of the most promising candidate materials, FeCrAl and Silicon Carbide (SiC), as the fuel cladding under normal operating conditions. Substantial neutron penalty is identified when FeCrAl is used as monolithic cladding for current oxide fuel. From the reactor physics standpoint, application of the FeCrAl alloy as coating layer on surface of zircaloy cladding is possible without increasing fuel enrichment. Meanwhile, SiC brings extra reactivity and the neutron penalty is of no concern. Application of either FeCrAl or SiC could be favorable from the fuel performance standpoint. Detailed comparison between monolithic cladding and hybrid cladding (cladding + coating) is discussed. Hybrid cladding is more practical based on the economics evaluation during the transition from current UO2/zircaloy to Accident Tolerant Fuel (ATF) system. However, a few issues remain to be resolved, such as the creep behavior of FeCrAl, coating spallation, inter diffusion with zirconium, etc. For SiC, its high thermal conductivity, excellent creep resistance, low thermal neutron absorption cross section, irradiation stability (minimal swelling) make it an excellent candidate materials for future nuclear fuel/cladding system.

  5. Lethal envenomation: medicolegal aspects of snakebites and religious snake handlers in Kentucky: a report of three cases with comment on medical, legal, and public policy ramifications.

    PubMed

    Hunsaker, Donna M; Hunsaker, John C; Clayton, Tara; Spiller, Henry A

    2005-11-01

    Ritualistic serpent qua snake handling, which rests upon inveterate religious conviction arising out of literal interpretation of selected passages of the New Testament, is a rare ceremony practiced by a distinct minority of Christians predominantly in rural Appalachian regions of the United States commonly referred to as the Bible belt. The fervent, frenzied pursuit by anointed "sign-followers" of intimate contact with a variety of poisonous snakes, however, puts the handler together with sect members or bystanders at risk for lethal envenomation, particularly when prompt medical attention is held by the congregation of faith to contravene God's will. The authors report three separate cases of death due to envenomation by snakebite during a church service and the handler's faith-based refusal to seek treatment. Postmortem examination of each yielded similar physical findings attributable to various toxic sequelae of the complex venoms. A review of the injurious constituents of these chemical toxins also includes a discussion of complex pathophysiological mechanisms causing death. In addition, the authors review the history of representative legislative and judicial responses to the sensationally mortal phenomenon, all of which ineluctably grapple with fundamental Constitutional issues devolving from such controversial religious practices. We underscore the view that a thoroughly documented medicolegal investigation and autopsy are indispensable to both inform matters of public health and thereby contribute to the formulation of sound public policy. PMID:16302722

  6. Genome-Wide Transcription Analysis of Clinal Genetic Variation in Drosophila

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Ying; Lee, Siu F.; Blanc, Eric; Reuter, Caroline; Wertheim, Bregje; Martinez-Diaz, Pedro; Hoffmann, Ary A.; Partridge, Linda

    2012-01-01

    Clinal variation in quantitative traits is widespread, but its genetic basis awaits identification. Drosophila melanogaster shows adaptive, clinal variation in traits such as body size along latitudinal gradients on multiple continents. To investigate genome wide transcription differentiation between North and South that might contribute to the clinal phenotypic variation, we compared RNA expression patterns during development of D. melanogaster from tropical northern and temperate southern populations using whole genome tiling arrays. We found that genes that were differentially expressed between the cline ends were generally associated with metabolism and growth, and experimental alteration of expression of a sample of them generally resulted in altered body size in the predicted direction, sometimes significantly so. We further identified the serpent (srp) transcription factor binding sites to be enriched near genes up-regulated in expression in the south. Analysis of clinal populations revealed a significant cline in the expression level of srp. Experimental over-expression of srp increased body size, as predicted from its clinal expression pattern, suggesting that it may be involved in regulating adaptive clinal variation in Drosophila. This study identified a handful of genes that contributed to clinal phenotypic variation through altered gene expression level, yet misexpression of individual gene led to modest body size change. PMID:22514645

  7. Adaptive evolution of the venom-targeted vWF protein in opossums that eat pitvipers.

    PubMed

    Jansa, Sharon A; Voss, Robert S

    2011-01-01

    The rapid evolution of venom toxin genes is often explained as the result of a biochemical arms race between venomous animals and their prey. However, it is not clear that an arms race analogy is appropriate in this context because there is no published evidence for rapid evolution in genes that might confer toxin resistance among routinely envenomed species. Here we report such evidence from an unusual predator-prey relationship between opossums (Marsupialia: Didelphidae) and pitvipers (Serpentes: Crotalinae). In particular, we found high ratios of replacement to silent substitutions in the gene encoding von Willebrand Factor (vWF), a venom-targeted hemostatic blood protein, in a clade of opossums known to eat pitvipers and to be resistant to their hemorrhagic venom. Observed amino-acid substitutions in venom-resistant opossums include changes in net charge and hydrophobicity that are hypothesized to weaken the bond between vWF and one of its toxic snake-venom ligands, the C-type lectin-like protein botrocetin. Our results provide the first example of rapid adaptive evolution in any venom-targeted molecule, and they support the notion that an evolutionary arms race might be driving the rapid evolution of snake venoms. However, in the arms race implied by our results, venomous snakes are prey, and their venom has a correspondingly defensive function in addition to its usual trophic role. PMID:21731638

  8. Propagation of nuclear data uncertainties for ELECTRA burn-up calculations

    E-print Network

    ostrand, H; Duan, J; Gustavsson, C; Koning, A; Pomp, S; Rochman, D; Osterlund, M

    2013-01-01

    The European Lead-Cooled Training Reactor (ELECTRA) has been proposed as a training reactor for fast systems within the Swedish nuclear program. It is a low-power fast reactor cooled by pure liquid lead. In this work, we propagate the uncertainties in Pu-239 transport data to uncertainties in the fuel inventory of ELECTRA during the reactor life using the Total Monte Carlo approach (TMC). Within the TENDL project the nuclear models input parameters were randomized within their uncertainties and 740 Pu-239 nuclear data libraries were generated. These libraries are used as inputs to reactor codes, in our case SERPENT, to perform uncertainty analysis of nuclear reactor inventory during burn-up. The uncertainty in the inventory determines uncertainties in: the long-term radio-toxicity, the decay heat, the evolution of reactivity parameters, gas pressure and volatile fission product content. In this work, a methodology called fast TMC is utilized, which reduces the overall calculation time. The uncertainty in the ...

  9. Art exhibit focuses on African astronomy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    2012-07-01

    Connections between Africans and astronomy are the focus of a new exhibition in the National Museum of African Art in Washington, D. C. “African Cosmos: Stellar Arts,” which includes artwork, cultural items, and scientific displays from ancient to contemporary times, is the first major exhibit “that brings together arts and science focused on Africa's contribution to keen observations of the heavens over time,” curator Christine Mullen Kreamer said at a 20 June news briefing. Among the exhibit's nearly 100 objects are an ancient Egyptian mummy board that includes a representation of the sky goddess Nut, sculptures by the Dogon people of Mali depicting figures in relation to the cosmos, a video that uses data from two square degrees of the Hubble Space Telescope Cosmic Evolution Survey, and a nearly floor-to-ceiling “Rainbow Serpent” constructed of plastic containers by Benin artist Hazoume. An untitled acrylic painting (Figure 1) by South African Gavin Jantjes evokes a myth of the Khoi San people of southern Africa, as it portrays a girl throwing evening fire embers into the night sky, where they remained as the Milky Way.

  10. Propagation of nuclear data uncertainties for ELECTRA burn-up calculations

    E-print Network

    H. Sjöstrand; E. Alhassan; J. Duan; C. Gustavsson; A. Koning; S. Pomp; D. Rochman; M. Österlund

    2013-04-08

    The European Lead-Cooled Training Reactor (ELECTRA) has been proposed as a training reactor for fast systems within the Swedish nuclear program. It is a low-power fast reactor cooled by pure liquid lead. In this work, we propagate the uncertainties in Pu-239 transport data to uncertainties in the fuel inventory of ELECTRA during the reactor life using the Total Monte Carlo approach (TMC). Within the TENDL project the nuclear models input parameters were randomized within their uncertainties and 740 Pu-239 nuclear data libraries were generated. These libraries are used as inputs to reactor codes, in our case SERPENT, to perform uncertainty analysis of nuclear reactor inventory during burn-up. The uncertainty in the inventory determines uncertainties in: the long-term radio-toxicity, the decay heat, the evolution of reactivity parameters, gas pressure and volatile fission product content. In this work, a methodology called fast TMC is utilized, which reduces the overall calculation time. The uncertainty in the long-term radiotoxicity, decay heat, gas pressure and volatile fission products were found to be insignificant. However, the uncertainty of some minor actinides were observed to be rather large and therefore their impact on multiple recycling should be investigated further. It was also found that, criticality benchmarks can be used to reduce inventory uncertainties due to nuclear data. Further studies are needed to include fission yield uncertainties, more isotopes, and a larger set of benchmarks.

  11. Development and evolution of an Alpine sulphuric acid cave: Kraushoehle (Austria)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Waele, J.; Plan, L.; Audra, Ph.; Rossi, A.; Spötl, Ch.; Polyak, V.; McIntosh, W.

    2009-04-01

    The number of known active and fossil hypogene cave systems is increasing rapidly thanks to recent advances in our understanding of this type of karst. Many cave systems previously thought to be of epigene origin have undergone more or less important phases of hypogene development. Epigene overprinting tends to obliterate hypogene features rendering identification of caves of multiphase speleogenesis a challenge. Among hypogene caves the sulphuric acid ones are the most interesting for a number of reasons: they host important bacterial and arthropod communities, they have peculiar and typical morphologies, and contain a variety of mineralisations. Sulphuric acid caves have been described from the Americas (Lechuguilla and Carlsbad in New Mexico, Cueva de Villa Luz in Mexico, Kane caves in Wyoming), but examples are also known in Europe (Movile cave in Romania, Frasassi and Monte Cucco in Italy). Until recently, the Serpents cave (Aix-les-Bains, northern Prealps) was the only sulphuric acid cave described in the international literature from the Alpine belt. Kraush

  12. EVOLUTION. A four-legged snake from the Early Cretaceous of Gondwana.

    PubMed

    Martill, David M; Tischlinger, Helmut; Longrich, Nicholas R

    2015-07-24

    Snakes are a remarkably diverse and successful group today, but their evolutionary origins are obscure. The discovery of snakes with two legs has shed light on the transition from lizards to snakes, but no snake has been described with four limbs, and the ecology of early snakes is poorly known. We describe a four-limbed snake from the Early Cretaceous (Aptian) Crato Formation of Brazil. The snake has a serpentiform body plan with an elongate trunk, short tail, and large ventral scales suggesting characteristic serpentine locomotion, yet retains small prehensile limbs. Skull and body proportions as well as reduced neural spines indicate fossorial adaptation, suggesting that snakes evolved from burrowing rather than marine ancestors. Hooked teeth, an intramandibular joint, a flexible spine capable of constricting prey, and the presence of vertebrate remains in the guts indicate that this species preyed on vertebrates and that snakes made the transition to carnivory early in their history. The structure of the limbs suggests that they were adapted for grasping, either to seize prey or as claspers during mating. Together with a diverse fauna of basal snakes from the Cretaceous of South America, Africa, and India, this snake suggests that crown Serpentes originated in Gondwana. PMID:26206932

  13. Mitochondrial introgression via ancient hybridization, and systematics of the Australian endemic pygopodid gecko genus Delma.

    PubMed

    Brennan, Ian G; Bauer, Aaron M; Jackman, Todd R

    2016-01-01

    Of the more than 1500 species of geckos found across six continents, few remain as unfamiliar as the pygopodids - Family Pygopodidae (Gray, 1845). These gekkotans are limited to Australia (44 species) and New Guinea (2 species), but have diverged extensively into the most ecologically diverse limbless radiation save Serpentes. Current phylogenetic understanding of the family has relied almost exclusively on two works, which have produced and synthesized an immense amount of morphological, geographical, and molecular data. However, current interspecific relationships within the largest genus Delma Gray 1831 are based chiefly upon data from two mitochondrial loci (16s, ND2). Here, we reevaluate the interspecific relationships within the genus Delma using two mitochondrial and four nuclear loci (RAG1, MXRA5, MOS, DYNLL1), and identify points of strong conflict between nuclear and mitochondrial genomic data. We address mito-nuclear discordance, and remedy this conflict by recognizing several points of mitochondrial introgression as the result of ancient hybridization events. Owing to the legacy value and intraspecific informativeness, we suggest the continued use of ND2 as a phylogenetic marker. Results identify strong support for species groups, but relationships among these clades, and the placement of several enigmatic taxa remain uncertain. We suggest a more careful review of Delma australis and the 'northwest Australia' clade. Accurately assessing and addressing species richness and relationships within this endemic Australian Gekkotan genus is relevant for understanding patterns of squamate speciation across the region. PMID:26505536

  14. Adaptive Evolution of the Venom-Targeted vWF Protein in Opossums that Eat Pitvipers

    PubMed Central

    Jansa, Sharon A.; Voss, Robert S.

    2011-01-01

    The rapid evolution of venom toxin genes is often explained as the result of a biochemical arms race between venomous animals and their prey. However, it is not clear that an arms race analogy is appropriate in this context because there is no published evidence for rapid evolution in genes that might confer toxin resistance among routinely envenomed species. Here we report such evidence from an unusual predator-prey relationship between opossums (Marsupialia: Didelphidae) and pitvipers (Serpentes: Crotalinae). In particular, we found high ratios of replacement to silent substitutions in the gene encoding von Willebrand Factor (vWF), a venom-targeted hemostatic blood protein, in a clade of opossums known to eat pitvipers and to be resistant to their hemorrhagic venom. Observed amino-acid substitutions in venom-resistant opossums include changes in net charge and hydrophobicity that are hypothesized to weaken the bond between vWF and one of its toxic snake-venom ligands, the C-type lectin-like protein botrocetin. Our results provide the first example of rapid adaptive evolution in any venom-targeted molecule, and they support the notion that an evolutionary arms race might be driving the rapid evolution of snake venoms. However, in the arms race implied by our results, venomous snakes are prey, and their venom has a correspondingly defensive function in addition to its usual trophic role. PMID:21731638

  15. Specific GATA factors act as conserved inducers of an endodermal-EMT.

    PubMed

    Campbell, Kyra; Whissell, Gavin; Franch-Marro, Xavier; Batlle, Eduard; Casanova, Jordi

    2011-12-13

    The epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) converts cells from static epithelial to migratory mesenchymal states (Hay, 1995). Here, we demonstrate that EMT in the Drosophila endoderm is dependent on the GATA-factor Serpent (Srp), and that Srp acts as a potent trigger for this transition when activated ectopically. We show that Srp affects endodermal-EMT through a downregulation of junctional dE-Cadherin (dE-Cad) protein, without a block in its transcription. Moreover, the relocalization of dE-Cad is achieved through the direct repression of crumbs (crb) by Srp. Finally, we show that hGATA-6, an ortholog of Srp, induces a similar transition in mammalian cells. Similar to Srp, hGATA-6 acts through the downregulation of junctional E-Cad, without blocking its transcription, and induces the repression of a Crumbs ortholog, crb2. Together, these results identify a set of GATA factors as a conserved alternative trigger to repress epithelial characteristics and confer migratory capabilities on epithelial cells in development and pathogenesis. PMID:22172671

  16. Combining Total Monte Carlo and Benchmarks for Nuclear Data Uncertainty Propagation on a Lead Fast Reactor's Safety Parameters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alhassan, E.; Sjöstrand, H.; Duan, J.; Gustavsson, C.; Koning, A. J.; Pomp, S.; Rochman, D.; Österlund, M.

    2014-04-01

    Analyses are carried out to assess the impact of nuclear data uncertainties on keff for the European Lead Cooled Training Reactor (ELECTRA) using the Total Monte Carlo method. A large number of 239Pu random ENDF-formatted libraries generated using the TALYS based system were processed into ACE format with NJOY-99.336 code and used as input into the Serpent Monte Carlo neutron transport code to obtain distribution in keff. The mean of the keff distribution obtained was compared with the major nuclear data libraries, JEFF-3.1.1, ENDF/B-VII.1 and JENDL-4.0. A method is proposed for the selection of benchmarks for specific applications using the Total Monte Carlo approach. Finally, an accept/reject criterion was investigated based on ?2 values obtained using the 239Pu Jezebel criticality benchmark. It was observed that nuclear data uncertainties in keff were reduced considerably from 748 to 443 pcm by applying a more rigid acceptance criteria for accepting random files.

  17. Long-range RNA pairings contribute to mutually exclusive splicing.

    PubMed

    Yue, Yuan; Yang, Yun; Dai, Lanzhi; Cao, Guozheng; Chen, Ran; Hong, Weiling; Liu, Baoping; Shi, Yang; Meng, Yijun; Shi, Feng; Xiao, Mu; Jin, Yongfeng

    2016-01-01

    Mutually exclusive splicing is an important means of increasing the protein repertoire, by which the Down's syndrome cell adhesion molecule (Dscam) gene potentially generates 38,016 different isoforms in Drosophila melanogaster. However, the regulatory mechanisms remain obscure due to the complexity of the Dscam exon cluster. Here, we reveal a molecular model for the regulation of the mutually exclusive splicing of the serpent pre-mRNA based on competition between upstream and downstream RNA pairings. Such dual RNA pairings confer fine tuning of the inclusion of alternative exons. Moreover, we demonstrate that the splicing outcome of alternative exons is mediated in relative pairing strength-correlated mode. Combined comparative genomics analysis and experimental evidence revealed similar bidirectional structural architectures in exon clusters 4 and 9 of the Dscam gene. Our findings provide a novel mechanistic framework for the regulation of mutually exclusive splicing and may offer potentially applicable insights into long-range RNA-RNA interactions in gene regulatory networks. PMID:26554032

  18. Nova Scotia: ``Feu Follet" At Cheticamp, and Also the Phenomena At L'Sitkuk of the Mi'Kmaw, May Be Electromagnetic In Nature.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ochs, Michael Ann; McLeod, Roger D.

    2001-11-01

    There is a strong tradition that ``feu follet" exists at the cemetery associated with the Acadian French at Cheticamp. It is described as a blue light, and may actually be the equivalent of an ascending, positively charged stream of ions in the atmosphere, just like the blue-light column that is often a precursor of a storm's lightning-strike. Similar phenomena are at America's Stonehenge, at a stone serpent effigy site in Ohio, and just north of the Lakes Memphremagog and Magog of Vermont and Canada. At the Bear River L'sitkuk Reservation area, which seems to us to have been a most unsuitable site, was deliberately chosen by the Mi'kmaw for their living area. Was this because certain properties of the electromagnetic field (EMF) are evident to them there, which also seem to be reflected in their legends? We hope to establish that these disparate cultures and their separate worldviews can be confirmed by the presence of particular EMF signatures. *This paper does not represent the views of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

  19. Changes in deep-water epibenthic megafaunal assemblages in relation to seabed slope on the Nigerian margin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jones, Daniel O. B.; Mrabure, Charles O.; Gates, Andrew R.

    2013-08-01

    Local-scale habitat heterogeneity associated with changes in slope is a ubiquitous feature of bathyal continental margins. The response of deep-sea species to high habitat heterogeneity is poorly known and slope can be used as a proxy for many important ecological variables, such as current flow, sedimentation and substratum type. This study determines how slope angle effects megafaunal species density and diversity at the Usan field, offshore Nigeria, between 740 and 760 m depth. This deep-water area is increasingly exploited for hydrocarbons, yet lacking in baseline biological information. Replicated remotely operated vehicle video transect surveys were carried out using industry infrastructure (through the SERPENT Project) at a representative range of slopes (1°, 3°, 11° and 29°). Twenty-four species of benthic megafaunal invertebrate were found, numerically dominated by the echinoid Phormosoma placenta, and nine species of fish were observed. Megafaunal invertebrate deposit feeder density decreased significantly with increasing slope (density range 0.503-0.081 individuals m-2). Densities of megafaunal suspension feeders were very low except at the highest slope site (mean density 0.17 m-2). Overall species richness was greater on steeper slopes, although the richness of deposit feeders was not affected. Reduced labile organic matter in sediments on steeper slopes likely reduced deposit feeder densities, but increased current flow at higher slopes allowed both increased richness and density of suspension feeders.

  20. Do Cross-circle Designs, the Mayan World Tree, Chitto Tustenuggee's, and Miami's Tequesta, Sites have Analogs in Brazil as they have in Peru, Europe, and Africa?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ataide, Jade; Mc Leod, Roger; Mc Leod, David

    2007-04-01

    Florida's Miami Tequesta site conveys information about potential tornadoes, hurricanes, and even earthquakes. It is visually analogous to cross-circle designs, like other equivalent sites we have located, as in Maine, New Hampshire, in Medicine Wheels, and elsewhere. We focus on the detectable effects of time-and-place dependent electromagnetic signals. Non-technologic societies, and individuals, still find and use them, even today, especially in places like Cuzco, Peru. Modes of detection involve senses, such as sensitive, observant eyesight, and electromagnetically induced nerve signals interpreted as tinnitus, as traditionally indicated by ``Kokopelli's'' flute-playing, ``pins and needles,'' or even odor sensations. Recorded events show that youthful children are sometimes involved, as by Pacal's Classic-Mayan-era son, who became Kan Balum, Serpent Jaguar. Our intent is to check whether similar signals can be technologically identified in Brazil and New England. Site information investigated by us seems to be driven by the electromagnetic field. Enigmatic Brazilian locations should be technologically investigated with site correlations to other possible analogs, such as Florida's Chitto Tustenuggee site at Miramar. To cite this abstract, use the following reference: http://meetings.aps.org/link/BAPS.2007.NES07.C2.6

  1. Large Cretaceous sphenodontian from Patagonia provides insight into lepidosaur evolution in Gondwana.

    PubMed

    Apesteguía, Sebastián; Novas, Fernando E

    2003-10-01

    Sphenodontian reptiles successfully radiated during Triassic and Jurassic times, but were driven almost to extinction during the Cretaceous period. The sparse Early Cretaceous record of sphenodontians has been interpreted as reflecting the decline of the group in favour of lizards, their suspected ecological successors. However, recent discoveries in Late Cretaceous beds in Patagonia partially modify this interpretation. Numerous skeletons of a new sphenodontian, Priosphenodon avelasi gen. et sp. nov., were collected from a single locality in the Cenomanian-Turonian Candeleros Formation, where it is more abundant than any other tetrapod group recorded in the quarry (for example, Crocodyliformes, Serpentes, Dinosauria and Mammalia). Adult specimens of Priosphenodon reached one metre in length, larger than any previously known terrestrial sphenodontian. Here we propose, using available evidence, that sphenodontians were not a minor component of the Cretaceous terrestrial ecosystems of South America, and that their ecological replacement by squamates was delayed until the early Tertiary. The new discovery helps to bridge the considerable gap in the fossil record (around 120 million years) that separates the Early Cretaceous sphenodontians from their living relatives (Sphenodon). PMID:14534584

  2. Carbon Isotope Systematics in Mineral-Catalyzed Hydrothermal Organic Synthesis Processes at High Temperature and Pressures

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fu, Qi; Socki, R. A.; Niles, Paul B.

    2011-01-01

    Observation of methane in the Martian atmosphere has been reported by different detection techniques. Reduction of CO2 and/or CO during serpentization by mineral surface catalyzed Fischer-Tropsch Type (FTT) synthesis may be one possible process responsible for methane generation on Mars. With the evidence a recent study has discovered for serpentinization in deeply buried carbon rich sediments, and more showing extensive water-rock interaction in Martian history, it seems likely that abiotic methane generation via serpentinization reactions may have been common on Mars. Experiments involving mineral-catalyzed hydrothermal organic synthesis processes were conducted at 750 C and 5.5 Kbars. Alkanes, alcohols and carboxylic acids were identified as organic compounds. No "isotopic reversal" of delta C-13 values was observed for alkanes or carboxylic acids, suggesting a different reaction pathway than polymerization. Alcohols were proposed as intermediaries formed on mineral surfaces at experimental conditions. Carbon isotope data were used in this study to unravel the reaction pathways of abiotic formation of organic compounds in hydrothermal systems at high temperatures and pressures. They are instrumental in constraining the origin and evolution history of organic compounds on Mars and other planets.

  3. Carbon Isotope Measurements of Experimentally-Derived Hydrothermal Mineral-Catalyzed Organic Products by Pyrolysis-Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Socki, Richard A.; Fu, Qi; Niles, Paul B.

    2011-01-01

    We report results of experiments to measure the C isotope composition of mineral catalyzed organic compounds derived from high temperature and high pressure synthesis. These experiments make use of an innovative pyrolysis technique designed to extract and measure C isotopes. To date, our experiments have focused on the pyrolysis and C isotope ratio measurements of low-molecular weight intermediary hydrocarbons (organic acids and alcohols) and serve as a proof of concept for making C and H isotope measurements on more complicated mixtures of solid-phase hydrocarbons and intermediary products produced during high temperature and high pressure synthesis on mineral-catalyzed surfaces. The impetus for this work stems from recently reported observations of methane detected within the Martian atmosphere [1-4], coupled with evidence showing extensive water-rock interaction during Martian history [5-7]. Methane production on Mars could be the result of synthesis by mineral surface-catalyzed reduction of CO2 and/or CO by Fischer-Tropsch Type (FTT) reactions during serpentization reactions [8,9]. Others have conducted experimental studies to show that FTT reactions are plausible mechanisms for low-molecular weight hydrocarbon formation in hydrothermal systems at mid-ocean ridges [10-12]. Further, recent experiments by Fu et al. [13] focus on examining detailed C isotope measurements of hydrocarbons produced by surface-catalyzed mineral reactions. Work described in this paper details the experimental techniques used to measure intermediary organic reaction products (alcohols and organic acids).

  4. The story of the condom

    PubMed Central

    Khan, Fahd; Mukhtar, Saheel; Dickinson, Ian K.; Sriprasad, Seshadri

    2013-01-01

    Condoms have been a subject of curiosity throughout history. The idea of safer sex has been explored in ancient and modern history, and has been used to prevent venereal diseases. We conducted a historical and medical review of condoms using primary and secondary sources as well as using the RSM library and the internet. These resources show that the first use of a condom was that of King Minos of Crete. Pasiphae, his wife, employed a goat's bladder in the vagina so that King Minos would not be able to harm her as his semen was said to contain “scorpions and serpents” that killed his mistresses. To Egyptians, condom-like glans caps were dyed in different colours to distinguish between different classes of people and to protect themselves against bilharzia. The Ancient Romans used the bladders of animals to protect the woman; they were worn not to prevent pregnancy but to prevent contraction of venereal diseases. Charles Goodyear, the inventor, utilized vulcanization, the process of transforming rubber into malleable structures, to produce latex condoms. The greater use of condoms all over the world in the 20th and 21st centuries has been related to HIV. This account of the use of condoms demonstrates how a primitive idea turned into an object that is used globally with a forecast estimated at 18 billion condoms to be used in 2015 alone. PMID:23671357

  5. The story of the condom.

    PubMed

    Khan, Fahd; Mukhtar, Saheel; Dickinson, Ian K; Sriprasad, Seshadri

    2013-01-01

    Condoms have been a subject of curiosity throughout history. The idea of safer sex has been explored in ancient and modern history, and has been used to prevent venereal diseases. We conducted a historical and medical review of condoms using primary and secondary sources as well as using the RSM library and the internet. These resources show that the first use of a condom was that of King Minos of Crete. Pasiphae, his wife, employed a goat's bladder in the vagina so that King Minos would not be able to harm her as his semen was said to contain "scorpions and serpents" that killed his mistresses. To Egyptians, condom-like glans caps were dyed in different colours to distinguish between different classes of people and to protect themselves against bilharzia. The Ancient Romans used the bladders of animals to protect the woman; they were worn not to prevent pregnancy but to prevent contraction of venereal diseases. Charles Goodyear, the inventor, utilized vulcanization, the process of transforming rubber into malleable structures, to produce latex condoms. The greater use of condoms all over the world in the 20(th) and 21(st) centuries has been related to HIV. This account of the use of condoms demonstrates how a primitive idea turned into an object that is used globally with a forecast estimated at 18 billion condoms to be used in 2015 alone. PMID:23671357

  6. Spirit Digs In

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover Spirit acquired this navigation camera image on the 72nd martian day, or sol, of its mission (March 15, 2004), after digging its wheel into the drift dubbed 'Serpent.' Creating the commands that would generate this 'scar' was not an easy task for rover controllers. Essentially, they had to choreograph an intricate dance for Spirit, maneuvering it up the side of the dune, shimmying its left front wheel a number of times to create the scuff, and then reversing to attain proper positioning for miniature thermal emission spectrometer observations. Before the task was finished, Spirit moved forward to put the scuff within proper reach of the rover's arm.

    This scar allows the rover's instruments to see below the drift surface, to determine the composition of the materials. Initial results indicate that the drift material is similar to the basaltic sands that have been seen throughout Spirit's journey to the large crater dubbed 'Bonneville.' The material does not seem to be the same as that inside the crater.

    Scientists are now looking to answer two questions: Why is the dark sand in the crater not the same as the dark sand in the drift? And why are there two different dark soil-type deposits in such a small place?

  7. The Right Scuff

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit acquired this image on the 72nd martian day, or sol, of its mission (March 15, 2004) with the left eye of its front hazard-identification camera after digging its wheel into the drift dubbed 'Serpent.' Creating the commands that would generate this scar was not an easy task for rover controllers. Essentially, they had to choreograph an intricate dance for Spirit, maneuvering it up the side of the dune, shimmying its left front wheel a number of times to create the scuff, and then reversing to attain proper positioning for miniature thermal emission spectrometer observations. Before the task was finished, Spirit moved forward to put the scuff within proper reach of the rover's arm.

    This scar allows the rover's instruments to see below the drift surface, to determine the composition of its materials. Initial results indicate that the drift material is similar to the basaltic sands that have been seen throughout Spirit's journey to the large crater dubbed 'Bonneville.' The material does not seem to be the same as that inside the crater.

    Two questions raised by these results are: Why is the dark sand in the crater not the same as the dark sand in the drift? And why are there two different dark soil-type deposits in such a small place?

  8. The crucial role of the MyD88 adaptor protein in the inflammatory response induced by Bothrops atrox venom.

    PubMed

    Moreira, Vanessa; Teixeira, Catarina; Borges da Silva, Henrique; D'Império Lima, Maria Regina; Dos-Santos, Maria Cristina

    2013-06-01

    Most snake accidents in North Brazil are attributed to Bothrops atrox, a snake species of the Viperidae family whose venom simultaneously induces local and systemic effects in the victims. The former are clinically more important than the latter, as they cause severe tissue lesions associated with strong inflammatory responses. Although several studies have shown that inflammatory mediators are produced in response to B. atrox venom (BaV), there is little information concerning the molecular pathways involved in innate immune system signaling. Myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88) is an adaptor molecule responsible for transmitting intracellular signals from most toll-like receptors (TLRs) after they interact with pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) or other stimuli such as endogenous damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). The MyD88-dependent pathway leads to activation of transcription factors, which in turn induce synthesis of inflammatory mediators such as eicosanoids, cytokines and chemokines. The aim of this study was to investigate the involvement of MyD88 on the acute inflammatory response induced by BaV. Wild-type (WT) C57BL/6 mice and MyD88 knockout (MyD88(-/-)) mice were intraperitoneally injected with BaV. Compared to WT mice, MyD88(-/-) animals showed an impaired inflammatory response to BaV, with lower influx of polymorphonuclear and mononuclear cells to the peritoneal cavity. Furthermore, peritoneal leukocytes from BaV-injected MyD88(-/-) mice did not induce COX-2 or LTB4 protein expression and released low concentrations of PGE2. These mice also failed to produce Th1 and Th17 cytokines and CCL-2, but IL-10 levels were similar to those of BaV-injected WT mice. Our results indicate that MyD88 signaling is required for activation of the inflammatory response elicited by BaV, raising the possibility of developing new therapeutic targets to treat Bothrops sp. poisoning. PMID:23474268

  9. Diversity, natural history, and geographic distribution of snakes in the Caatinga, Northeastern Brazil.

    PubMed

    Guedes, Thaís B; Nogueira, Cristiano; Marques, Otavio A V

    2014-01-01

    The present study is a synthesis on snake diversity and distribution in the Caatinga region of northeastern Brazil, providing an updated species list and data on natural history and geographic distribution. Our study is based on the careful revision of 7,102 voucher specimens, housed in 17 herpetological collections, complemented by data on taxonomic literature. We recorded a total of 112 snake species in the Caatinga, belonging to nine families: Anomalepididae, Leptotyphlopidae, Typhlopidae, Aniliidae, Boidae, Viperidae, Elapidae, Colubridae, and Dipsadidae. Our list includes at least 13 never recorded species for this region, as well as distribution records for all species known from the Caatinga (including expansion and new records of distribution). The snake assemblage of the Caatinga is complex, sharing species with other continental open areas (38.4%), forested areas (27.7%), and both open and forested areas (32.1%). The richest areas were isolated plateaus, followed by contact areas, semi-arid caatinga, and sandy dunes of the São Franscisco River. We identified 22 Caatinga endemic species with the sandy dunes of São Franscico River showing the highest endemism level (12 species, with six endemic species restricted to the area) followed by semi-arid caatinga, and isolated plateaus (eight endemic species each, and six and three endemic species with restricted distribution to each area, respectively). Most species show relatively restricted ranges in parts of the Caatinga. The snake assemblage in Caatinga includes mainly terrestrial species (38.4%), followed by fossorial/cryptozoic (26.8%), arboreal/semi-arboreal (26.8%), and aquatic/semi-aquatic (7.1%) species. Vertebrates are the most important dietary item (80.4%), with 56.6% of species being generalist consumers of this kind of prey; 24.4% are frog-eaters, 7.8% prey on caecilians/amphisbaenians, 6.7% lizard-eaters, 3.3% mammal-eaters, and 1.1% are fish-eaters. Only 18.7% of the snakes eat invertebrate prey, as arthropods, annelids, and mollusks. In relation to time of activity, 35.7% of snakes are both diurnal and nocturnal, 33.0% are strictly nocturnal, and 30.4% are diurnal. The data provided herein increase the list of Caatinga snake species from 50 to 112, and includes detailed maps and information on geographic distribution. The Caatinga snake assemblage shows high richness and endemism levels, and our results highlight the usefulness of basic natural history data and revision of voucher specimens as baseline information for biogeographic studies and conservation strategies.  PMID:25283535

  10. A new structurally atypical bradykinin-potentiating peptide isolated from Crotalus durissus cascavella venom (South American rattlesnake).

    PubMed

    Lopes, Denise M; Junior, Norberto E G; Costa, Paula P C; Martins, Patrícia L; Santos, Cláudia F; Carvalho, Ellaine D F; Carvalho, Maria D F; Pimenta, Daniel C; Cardi, Bruno A; Fonteles, Manassés C; Nascimento, Nilberto R F; Carvalho, Krishnamurti M

    2014-11-01

    Venom glands of some snakes synthesize bradykinin-potentiating peptides (BPP's) which increase bradykinin-induced hypotensive effect and decrease angiotensin I vasopressor effect by angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibition. The present study shows a new BPP (BPP-Cdc) isolated from Crotalus durissus cascavella venom: Pro-Asn-Leu-Pro-Asn-Tyr-Leu-Gly-Ile-Pro-Pro. Although BPP-Cdc presents the classical sequence IPP in the C-terminus, it has a completely atypical N-terminal sequence, which shows very low homology with all other BPPs isolated to date. The pharmacological effects of BPP-Cdc were compared to BBP9a from Bothrops jararaca and captopril. BPP-Cdc (1 ?M) significantly increased BK-induced contractions (BK; 1 ?M) on the guinea pig ileum by 267.8% and decreased angiotensin I-induced contractions (AngI; 10 nM) by 62.4% and these effects were not significantly different from those of BPP9a (1 ?M) or captopril (200 nM). Experiments with 4-week hypertensive 2K-1C rats show that the vasopressor effect of AngI (10 ng) was decreased by 50 ?g BPP-Cdc (69.7%), and this result was similar to that obtained with 50 ?g BPP9a (69.8%). However, the action duration of BPP-Cdc (60 min) was 2 times greater than that of BPP-9a (30 min). On the other hand, the hypotensive effect of BK (250 ng) was significantly increased by 176.6% after BPP-Cdc (50 ?g) administration, value 2.5 times greater than that obtained with BPP9a administered at the same doses (71.4%). In addition, the duration of the action of BPP-Cdc (120 min) was also at least 4 times greater than that of BPP-9a (30 min). Taken together, these results suggest that BPP-Cdc presents more selective action on arterial blood system than BPP9a. Besides the inhibition of ACE, it may present other mechanisms of action yet to be elucidated. PMID:25091347

  11. Peptidomics of Three Bothrops Snake Venoms: Insights Into the Molecular Diversification of Proteomes and Peptidomes*

    PubMed Central

    Tashima, Alexandre K.; Zelanis, André; Kitano, Eduardo S.; Ianzer, Danielle; Melo, Robson L.; Rioli, Vanessa; Sant'anna, Sávio S.; Schenberg, Ana C. G.; Camargo, Antônio C. M.; Serrano, Solange M. T.

    2012-01-01

    Snake venom proteomes/peptidomes are highly complex and maintenance of their integrity within the gland lumen is crucial for the expression of toxin activities. There has been considerable progress in the field of venom proteomics, however, peptidomics does not progress as fast, because of the lack of comprehensive venom sequence databases for analysis of MS data. Therefore, in many cases venom peptides have to be sequenced manually by MS/MS analysis or Edman degradation. This is critical for rare snake species, as is the case of Bothrops cotiara (BC) and B. fonsecai (BF), which are regarded as near threatened with extinction. In this study we conducted a comprehensive analysis of the venom peptidomes of BC, BF, and B. jararaca (BJ) using a combination of solid-phase extraction and reversed-phase HPLC to fractionate the peptides, followed by nano-liquid chromatography-tandem MS (LC-MS/MS) or direct infusion electrospray ionization-(ESI)-MS/MS or MALDI-MS/MS analyses. We detected marked differences in the venom peptidomes and identified peptides ranging from 7 to 39 residues in length by de novo sequencing. Forty-four unique sequences were manually identified, out of which 30 are new peptides, including 17 bradykinin-potentiating peptides, three poly-histidine-poly-glycine peptides and interestingly, 10 l-amino acid oxidase fragments. Some of the new bradykinin-potentiating peptides display significant bradykinin potentiating activity. Automated database search revealed fragments from several toxins in the peptidomes, mainly from l-amino acid oxidase, and allowed the determination of the peptide bond specificity of proteinases and amino acid occurrences for the P4-P4? sites. We also demonstrate that the venom lyophilization/resolubilization process greatly increases the complexity of the peptidome because of the imbalance caused to the venom proteome and the consequent activity of proteinases on venom components. The use of proteinase inhibitors clearly showed different outcomes in the peptidome characterization and suggested that degradomic-peptidomic analysis of snake venoms is highly sensitive to the conditions of sampling procedures. PMID:22869554

  12. Peptidomics of three Bothrops snake venoms: insights into the molecular diversification of proteomes and peptidomes.

    PubMed

    Tashima, Alexandre K; Zelanis, André; Kitano, Eduardo S; Ianzer, Danielle; Melo, Robson L; Rioli, Vanessa; Sant'anna, Sávio S; Schenberg, Ana C G; Camargo, Antônio C M; Serrano, Solange M T

    2012-11-01

    Snake venom proteomes/peptidomes are highly complex and maintenance of their integrity within the gland lumen is crucial for the expression of toxin activities. There has been considerable progress in the field of venom proteomics, however, peptidomics does not progress as fast, because of the lack of comprehensive venom sequence databases for analysis of MS data. Therefore, in many cases venom peptides have to be sequenced manually by MS/MS analysis or Edman degradation. This is critical for rare snake species, as is the case of Bothrops cotiara (BC) and B. fonsecai (BF), which are regarded as near threatened with extinction. In this study we conducted a comprehensive analysis of the venom peptidomes of BC, BF, and B. jararaca (BJ) using a combination of solid-phase extraction and reversed-phase HPLC to fractionate the peptides, followed by nano-liquid chromatography-tandem MS (LC-MS/MS) or direct infusion electrospray ionization-(ESI)-MS/MS or MALDI-MS/MS analyses. We detected marked differences in the venom peptidomes and identified peptides ranging from 7 to 39 residues in length by de novo sequencing. Forty-four unique sequences were manually identified, out of which 30 are new peptides, including 17 bradykinin-potentiating peptides, three poly-histidine-poly-glycine peptides and interestingly, 10 L-amino acid oxidase fragments. Some of the new bradykinin-potentiating peptides display significant bradykinin potentiating activity. Automated database search revealed fragments from several toxins in the peptidomes, mainly from l-amino acid oxidase, and allowed the determination of the peptide bond specificity of proteinases and amino acid occurrences for the P4-P4' sites. We also demonstrate that the venom lyophilization/resolubilization process greatly increases the complexity of the peptidome because of the imbalance caused to the venom proteome and the consequent activity of proteinases on venom components. The use of proteinase inhibitors clearly showed different outcomes in the peptidome characterization and suggested that degradomic-peptidomic analysis of snake venoms is highly sensitive to the conditions of sampling procedures. PMID:22869554

  13. Occurrence of sulfated fucose branches in fucosylated chondroitin sulfate are essential for the polysaccharide effect preventing muscle damage induced by toxins and crude venom from Bothrops jararacussu snake.

    PubMed

    Monteiro-Machado, Marcos; Tomaz, Marcelo A; Fonseca, Roberto J C; Strauch, Marcelo A; Cons, Bruno L; Borges, Paula A; Patrão-Neto, Fernando C; Tavares-Henriques, Matheus S; Teixeira-Cruz, Jhonatha M; Calil-Elias, Sabrina; Cintra, Adélia C O; Martinez, Ana Maria B; Mourão, Paulo A S; Melo, Paulo A

    2015-05-01

    Snake envenoming is an important public health problem around the world, particularly in tropics. Beyond deaths, morbidity induced by snake venoms, such as myotoxicity, is of pivotal consequence to population. Bothrops jararacussu is the main venomous snake in southeast region of Brazil, and particularly presents strong myotoxic effect. The only available therapy, antibothropic antivenom, poorly affects venom-induced myotoxicity. The aim of this study is to assess the ability of fucosylated chondroitin sulfate (fucCS), a glycosaminoglycan with anticoagulant and antithrombotic properties, and its derivatives to inhibit toxic activities of B. jararacussu crude venom and its isolated toxins, named bothropstoxins (BthTX-I and BthTX-II). The in vitro myotoxic activities induced by crude venom, by BthTX-I alone and by toxins together were abolished by fucCS. Carboxyl reduction (fucCS-CR) kept this ability whereas defucosilation (defucCS) abrogates myoprotection. We observed the same pattern in the response of these polysaccharides in antagonizing the increase in plasma creatine kinase (CK) levels, the reduction of skeletal muscle CK content and the rise of myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity induced by crude venom and isolated toxins. FucCS inhibited edematogenic activity and partially prevented the reduction of total leukocytes in blood when pre-incubated with crude venom. Furthermore, the venom procoagulant effect was completely antagonized by increasing concentrations of fucCS, although this polyanion could stop neither the tail bleeding nor the skin hemorrhage induced by Bothrops jararaca venom. The B. jararacussu phospholipase, hyaluronidase, proteolytic and collagenase activities were inhibited in vitro. The results suggest that fucCS could be able to interact with both toxins, and it is able to inhibit BthTX-II phospholipase activity. Light microscopy of extensor digitorum longus muscle (EDL) muscle showed myoprotection by fucCS, once necrotic areas, edema and inflammatory cells were all decreased as compared to venom injection alone. Altogether, data show that fucCS was able to inhibit myotoxicity and inflammation induced by B. jararacussu venom and its phospholipase toxins, BthTX-I and BthTX-II. Thus, fucosylated chondroitin sulfate is a new polyanion with potential to be used as an adjuvant in the treatment of snakebites in the future. PMID:25702961

  14. Insights into cardiovascular effects of proline-rich oligopeptide (Bj-PRO-10c) revealed by structure-activity analyses: dissociation of antihypertensive and bradycardic effects.

    PubMed

    Paschoal, Juliana F B; Yamaguchi, Juliana; Miranda, José R R; Carretero, Gustavo; Melo, Robson L; Santos, Robson A S; Xavier, Carlos H; Schreier, Shirley; Camargo, Antonio C M; Ianzer, Danielle

    2014-02-01

    We have previously reported that the proline-rich decapeptide from Bothrops jararaca (Bj-PRO-10c) causes potent and sustained antihypertensive and bradycardic effects in SHR. These activities are independent of ACE inhibition. In the present study, we used the Ala-scan approach to evaluate the importance of each amino acid within the sequence of Bj-PRO-10c (Pyr(1)-Asn(2)-Trp(3)-Pro(4)-His(5)-Pro(6)-Gln(7)-Ile(8)-Pro(9)-Pro(10)). The antihypertensive and bradycardic effects of the analogues Bj-PRO-10c Ala(3), Bj-PRO-10c Ala(7), Bj-PRO-10c Ala(8) were similar to those of Bj-PRO-10c, whereas the analogues Bj-PRO-10c Ala(2), Bj-PRO-10c Ala(4), Bj-PRO-10c Ala(5), Bj-PRO-10c Ala(9), and Bj-PRO-10c Ala(10) kept the antihypertensive activity and lost bradycardic activity considerably. In contrast, Bj-PRO-10c Ala(1) and Bj-PRO-10c Ala(6) were unable to provoke any cardiovascular activity. In summary, we demonstrated that (1) the Pyr(1) and Pro(6) residues are essential for both, the antihypertensive and bradycardic effects of Bj-PRO-10c; (2) Ala-scan approach allowed dissociating blood pressure reduction and bradycardic effects. Conformational properties of the peptides were examined by means of circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy. The different Ala-scan analogues caused either an increase or decrease in the type II polyproline helix content compared to Bj-PRO-10c. The complete loss of activity of the Pro(6) ? Ala(6) mutant is probably due to the fact that in the parent peptide the His(5)-Pro(6) bond can exist in the cis configuration, which could correspond to the conformation of this bond in the bound state. Current data support the Bj-PRO-10c as a promising leader prototype to develop new agents to treat cardiovascular diseases and its co-morbidities. PMID:24337901

  15. PepExplorer: A Similarity-driven Tool for Analyzing de Novo Sequencing Results *

    PubMed Central

    Leprevost, Felipe V.; Valente, Richard H.; Lima, Diogo B.; Perales, Jonas; Melani, Rafael; Yates, John R.; Barbosa, Valmir C.; Junqueira, Magno; Carvalho, Paulo C.

    2014-01-01

    Peptide spectrum matching is the current gold standard for protein identification via mass-spectrometry-based proteomics. Peptide spectrum matching compares experimental mass spectra against theoretical spectra generated from a protein sequence database to perform identification, but protein sequences not present in a database cannot be identified unless their sequences are in part conserved. The alternative approach, de novo sequencing, can make it possible to infer a peptide sequence directly from a mass spectrum, but interpreting long lists of peptide sequences resulting from large-scale experiments is not trivial. With this as motivation, PepExplorer was developed to use rigorous pattern recognition to assemble a list of homologue proteins using de novo sequencing data coupled to sequence alignment to allow biological interpretation of the data. PepExplorer can read the output of various widely adopted de novo sequencing tools and converge to a list of proteins with a global false-discovery rate. To this end, it employs a radial basis function neural network that considers precursor charge states, de novo sequencing scores, peptide lengths, and alignment scores to select similar protein candidates, from a target-decoy database, usually obtained from phylogenetically related species. Alignments are performed using a modified Smith–Waterman algorithm tailored for the task at hand. We verified the effectiveness of our approach using a reference set of identifications generated by ProLuCID when searching for Pyrococcus furiosus mass spectra on the corresponding NCBI RefSeq database. We then modified the sequence database by swapping amino acids until ProLuCID was no longer capable of identifying any proteins. By searching the mass spectra using PepExplorer on the modified database, we were able to recover most of the identifications at a 1% false-discovery rate. Finally, we employed PepExplorer to disclose a comprehensive proteomic assessment of the Bothrops jararaca plasma, a known biological source of natural inhibitors of snake toxins. PepExplorer is integrated into the PatternLab for Proteomics environment, which makes available various tools for downstream data analysis, including resources for quantitative and differential proteomics. PMID:24878498

  16. Advanced Test Reactor Core Modeling Update Project Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2012

    SciTech Connect

    David W. Nigg, Principal Investigator; Kevin A. Steuhm, Project Manager

    2012-09-01

    Legacy computational reactor physics software tools and protocols currently used for support of Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) core fuel management and safety assurance, and to some extent, experiment management, are inconsistent with the state of modern nuclear engineering practice, and are difficult, if not impossible, to properly verify and validate (V&V) according to modern standards. Furthermore, the legacy staff knowledge required for application of these tools and protocols from the 1960s and 1970s is rapidly being lost due to staff turnover and retirements. In late 2009, the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) initiated a focused effort, the ATR Core Modeling Update Project, to address this situation through the introduction of modern high-fidelity computational software and protocols. This aggressive computational and experimental campaign will have a broad strategic impact on the operation of the ATR, both in terms of improved computational efficiency and accuracy for support of ongoing DOE programs as well as in terms of national and international recognition of the ATR National Scientific User Facility (NSUF). The ATR Core Modeling Update Project, targeted for full implementation in phase with the next anticipated ATR Core Internals Changeout (CIC) in the 2014-2015 time frame, began during the last quarter of Fiscal Year 2009, and has just completed its third full year. Key accomplishments so far have encompassed both computational as well as experimental work. A new suite of stochastic and deterministic transport theory based reactor physics codes and their supporting nuclear data libraries (HELIOS, KENO6/SCALE, NEWT/SCALE, ATTILA, and an extended implementation of MCNP5) has been installed at the INL under various licensing arrangements. Corresponding models of the ATR and ATRC are now operational with all five codes, demonstrating the basic feasibility of the new code packages for their intended purpose. Of particular importance, a set of as-run core depletion HELIOS calculations for all ATR cycles since August 2009, Cycle 145A through Cycle 151B, was successfully completed during 2012. This major effort supported a decision late in the year to proceed with the phased incorporation of the HELIOS methodology into the ATR Core Safety Analysis Package (CSAP) preparation process, in parallel with the established PDQ-based methodology, beginning late in Fiscal Year 2012. Acquisition of the advanced SERPENT (VTT-Finland) and MC21 (DOE-NR) Monte Carlo stochastic neutronics simulation codes was also initiated during the year and some initial applications of SERPENT to ATRC experiment analysis were demonstrated. These two new codes will offer significant additional capability, including the possibility of full-3D Monte Carlo fuel management support capabilities for the ATR at some point in the future. Finally, a capability for rigorous sensitivity analysis and uncertainty quantification based on the TSUNAMI system has been implemented and initial computational results have been obtained. This capability will have many applications as a tool for understanding the margins of uncertainty in the new models as well as for validation experiment design and interpretation.

  17. High conversion Th-U{sup 233} fuel assembly for current generation of PWRs

    SciTech Connect

    Baldova, D.; Fridman, E.

    2012-07-01

    This paper presents a preliminary design of a high conversion Th-U{sup 233} fuel assembly applicable for current generation of Pressurized Water Reactor (PWRs). The considered fuel assembly has a typical 17 x 17 PWR lattice. However in order to increase the conversion of Th{sup 232} to U{sup 233}, the assembly was subdivided into the two regions called seed and blanket. The central seed region has a higher than blanket U{sup 233} content and acts as a neutron source for the peripheral blanket region. The latest acts as a U{sup 233} breeder. While the seed fuel pins have a standard dimensions the blanket fuel radius was increased in order to reduce the moderation and to facilitate the resonance neutron absorption in blanket Th{sup 232}. The U{sup 233} content in the seed and blanket regions was optimized to achieve maximal initial to discharged fissile inventory ratio (FIR) taking into account the target fuel cycle length of 12 months with 3-batch reloading scheme. In this study the neutronic calculations were performed on the fuel assembly level using Helios deterministic lattice transport code. The fuel cycle length and the core k{sub eff} were estimated by applying the Non Linear Reactivity Model. The applicability of the HELIOS code for the analysis of the Th-based high conversion designs was confirmed with the help of continuous-energy Monte-Carlo code SERPENT. The results of optimization studies show that for the heterogeneous seed and blanket (SB) fuel assembly the FIR of about 0.95 can be achieved. (authors)

  18. CURRENT BUILDUP IN EMERGING SERPENTINE FLUX TUBES

    SciTech Connect

    Pariat, E.; Masson, S.; Aulanier, G.

    2009-08-20

    The increase of magnetic flux in the solar atmosphere during active-region formation involves the transport of the magnetic field from the solar convection zone through the lowest layers of the solar atmosphere, through which the plasma {beta} changes from >1 to <1 with altitude. The crossing of this magnetic transition zone requires the magnetic field to adopt a serpentine shape also known as the sea-serpent topology. In the frame of the resistive flux-emergence model, the rising of the magnetic flux is believed to be dynamically driven by a succession of magnetic reconnections which are commonly observed in emerging flux regions as Ellerman bombs. Using a data-driven, three-dimensional (3D) magnetohydrodynamic numerical simulation of flux emergence occurring in active region 10191 on 2002 November 16-17, we study the development of 3D electric current sheets. We show that these currents buildup along the 3D serpentine magnetic-field structure as a result of photospheric diverging horizontal line-tied motions that emulate the observed photospheric evolution. We observe that reconnection can not only develop following a pinching evolution of the serpentine field line, as usually assumed in two-dimensional geometry, but can also result from 3D shearing deformation of the magnetic structure. In addition, we report for the first time on the observation in the UV domain with the Transition Region and Coronal Explorer (TRACE) of extremely transient loop-like features, appearing within the emerging flux domain, which link several Ellermam bombs with one another. We argue that these loop transients can be explained as a consequence of the currents that build up along the serpentine magnetic field.

  19. Optimizing the implementation of the target motion sampling temperature treatment technique - How fast can it get?

    SciTech Connect

    Tuomas, V.; Jaakko, L.

    2013-07-01

    This article discusses the optimization of the target motion sampling (TMS) temperature treatment method, previously implemented in the Monte Carlo reactor physics code Serpent 2. The TMS method was introduced in [1] and first practical results were presented at the PHYSOR 2012 conference [2]. The method is a stochastic method for taking the effect of thermal motion into account on-the-fly in a Monte Carlo neutron transport calculation. It is based on sampling the target velocities at collision sites and then utilizing the 0 K cross sections at target-at-rest frame for reaction sampling. The fact that the total cross section becomes a distributed quantity is handled using rejection sampling techniques. The original implementation of the TMS requires 2.0 times more CPU time in a PWR pin-cell case than a conventional Monte Carlo calculation relying on pre-broadened effective cross sections. In a HTGR case examined in this paper the overhead factor is as high as 3.6. By first changing from a multi-group to a continuous-energy implementation and then fine-tuning a parameter affecting the conservativity of the majorant cross section, it is possible to decrease the overhead factors to 1.4 and 2.3, respectively. Preliminary calculations are also made using a new and yet incomplete optimization method in which the temperature of the basis cross section is increased above 0 K. It seems that with the new approach it may be possible to decrease the factors even as low as 1.06 and 1.33, respectively, but its functionality has not yet been proven. Therefore, these performance measures should be considered preliminary. (authors)

  20. Transmutation Analysis of Enriched Uranium and Deep Burn High Temperature Reactors

    SciTech Connect

    Michael A. Pope

    2012-07-01

    High temperature reactors (HTRs) have been under consideration for production of electricity, process heat, and for destruction of transuranics for decades. As part of the transmutation analysis efforts within the Fuel Cycle Research and Development (FCR&D) campaign, a need was identified for detailed discharge isotopics from HTRs for use in the VISION code. A conventional HTR using enriched uranium in UCO fuel was modeled having discharge burnup of 120 GWd/MTiHM. Also, a deep burn HTR (DB-HTR) was modeled burning transuranic (TRU)-only TRU-O2 fuel to a discharge burnup of 648 GWd/MTiHM. For each of these cases, unit cell depletion calculations were performed with SCALE/TRITON. Unit cells were used to perform this analysis using SCALE 6.1. Because of the long mean free paths (and migration lengths) of neutrons in HTRs, using a unit cell to represent a whole core can be non-trivial. The sizes of these cells were first set by using Serpent calculations to match a spectral index between unit cell and whole core domains. In the case of the DB-HTR, the unit cell which was arrived at in this way conserved the ratio of fuel to moderator found in a single block of fuel. In the conventional HTR case, a larger moderator-to-fuel ratio than that of a single block was needed to simulate the whole core spectrum. Discharge isotopics (for 500 nuclides) and one-group cross-sections (for 1022 nuclides) were delivered to the transmutation analysis team. This report provides documentation for these calculations. In addition to the discharge isotopics, one-group cross-sections were provided for the full list of 1022 nuclides tracked in the transmutation library.

  1. Depletion Analysis of Modular High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor Loaded with LEU/Thorium Fuel

    SciTech Connect

    Sonat Sen; Gilles Youinou

    2013-02-01

    Thorium based fuel has been considered as an option to uranium-based fuel, based on considerations of resource utilization (Thorium is more widely available when compared to Uranium). The fertile isotope of Thorium (Th-232) can be converted to fissile isotope U-233 by neutron capture during the operation of a suitable nuclear reactor such as High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor (HTGR). However, the fertile Thorium needs a fissile supporter to start and maintain the conversion process such as U-235 or Pu-239. This report presents the results of a study that analyzed the thorium utilization in a prismatic HTGR, namely Modular High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor (MHTGR) that was designed by General Atomics (GA). The collected for the modeling of this design come from Chapter 4 of MHTGR Preliminary Safety Information Document that GA sent to Department of Energy (DOE) on 1995. Both full core and unit cell models were used to perform this analysis using SCALE 6.1 and Serpent 1.1.18. Because of the long mean free paths (and migration lengths) of neutrons in HTRs, using a unit cell to represent a whole core can be non-trivial. The sizes of these cells were set to match the spectral index between unit cell and full core domains. It was found that for the purposes of this study an adjusted unit cell model is adequate. Discharge isotopics and one-group cross-sections were delivered to the transmutation analysis team. This report provides documentation for these calculations

  2. Isotopic change in the tissues of Bothrops atrox in captivity collected from environments of the eastern Amazon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martinez, M. G.; Chalkidis, H. D.; Amazonas, D. R.; da Silva, A. M.; De Oliveira, R., Jr.; Camargo, P. B.

    2013-12-01

    The Bothrops atrox is little studied because it is sympatric Amazonian animals, and very little is known about the ecology and natural history of this species. It has a generalist diet and the distribution of this species is very wide. The adult animals forage mostly on the ground, while the younger animals prefer to stay on the vegetation. They are easily find in the rainy months in areas near lakes and seasonally flooded and are difficult to find in the driest months, a period where there is less availability of preys in these environments. Due to its aggressiveness, is considered one of the most feared snakes in South America and in the eastern Amazon, being responsible for the largest number of snakebites in the region. Through stable isotope carbon-13 and nitrogen-15, is intended to characterize the variations of the feeding habits of these collected animals in different environments and also when they are kept in captivity, feeding the animal's bioterium. The serpents were collected in environments with different land uses, such as native forest, savannah, pasture and have been brought to the serpentarium Integrated College Tapajos (FIT), being retained in order to Samplings throughout the experiment with feeding mice's own bioterium. When these snakes came from different locations, samples were collected scales and blood (T0), before receiving the new supply (captive), and every time we fed the mice the vivarium, new tissue samples were collected, (T1, T2, T3) to exchange all the nature of food for the food captivity.Based on the results of ?13C and ?15N, the samples collected in the tissues of snakes of different environments (nature and captivity), it was observed that changes in food sources reflect changes in tissues (blood and scales), also reflecting the production of poison different periods of turnover of absorbed material in those tissues, contributing to the study of animal ecology and behavior in relation to habitat.

  3. Hydrogen Isotope Measurements of Organic Acids and Alcohols by Pyrolysis-GC-MS-TC-IRMS: Application to Analysis of Experimentally Derived Hydrothermal Mineral-Catalyzed Organic Products

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Socki, Richard A.; Fu, Qi; Niles, Paul B.; Gibson, Everett K., Jr.

    2012-01-01

    We report results of experiments to measure the H isotope composition of organic acids and alcohols. These experiments make use of a pyroprobe interfaced with a GC and high temperature extraction furnace to make quantitative H isotope measurements. This work compliments our previous work that focused on the extraction and analysis of C isotopes from the same compounds [1]. Together with our carbon isotope analyses our experiments serve as a "proof of concept" for making C and H isotope measurements on more complex mixtures of organic compounds on mineral surfaces in abiotic hydrocarbon formation processes at elevated temperatures and pressures. Our motivation for undertaking this work stems from observations of methane detected within the Martian atmosphere [2-5], coupled with evidence showing extensive water-rock interaction during Mars history [6-8]. Methane production on Mars could be the result of synthesis by mineral surface-catalyzed reduction of CO2 and/or CO by Fischer-Tropsch Type (FTT) reactions during serpentization [9,10]. Others have conducted experimental studies to show that FTT reactions are plausible mechanisms for low-molecular weight hydrocarbon formation in hydrothermal systems at mid-ocean ridges [11-13]. Our H isotope measurements utilize an analytical technique combining Pyrolysis-Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometry-High Temperature Conversion-Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (Py-GC-MS-TC-IRMS). This technique is designed to carry a split of the pyrolyzed GC-separated product to a Thermo DSQII quadrupole mass spectrometer as a means of making qualitative and semi-quantitative compositional measurements of separated organic compounds, therefore both chemical and isotopic measurements can be carried out simultaneously on the same sample.

  4. STELLAR 'EGGS' EMERGE FROM MOLECULAR CLOUD (Star-Birth Clouds in M16)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    This eerie, dark structure, resembling an imaginary sea serpent's head, is a column of cool molecular hydrogen gas (two atoms of hydrogen in each molecule) and dust that is an incubator for new stars. The stars are embedded inside finger-like protrusions extending from the top of the nebula. Each 'fingertip' is somewhat larger than our own solar system. The pillar is slowly eroding away by the ultraviolet light from nearby hot stars, a process called 'photoevaporation'. As it does, small globules of especially dense gas buried within the cloud is uncovered. These globules have been dubbed 'EGGs' -- an acronym for 'Evaporating Gaseous Globules'. The shadows of the EGGs protect gas behind them, resulting in the finger-like structures at the top of the cloud. Forming inside at least some of the EGGs are embryonic stars -- stars that abruptly stop growing when the EGGs are uncovered and they are separated from the larger reservoir of gas from which they were drawing mass. Eventually the stars emerge, as the EGGs themselves succumb to photoevaporation. The stellar EGGS are found, appropriately enough, in the 'Eagle Nebula' (also called M16 -- the 16th object in Charles Messier's 18th century catalog of 'fuzzy' permanent objects in the sky), a nearby star-forming region 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Serpens. The picture was taken on April 1, 1995 with the Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. The color image is constructed from three separate images taken in the light of emission from different types of atoms. Red shows emission from singly-ionized sulfur atoms. Green shows emission from hydrogen. Blue shows light emitted by doubly- ionized oxygen atoms. Credit: Jeff Hester and Paul Scowen (Arizona State University), and NASA Image files in GIF and JPEG format and captions may be accessed on Internet via anonymous ftp from oposite.stsci.edu in /pubinfo:

  5. Phylogeography of the Mekong mud snake (Enhydris subtaeniata): the biogeographic importance of dynamic river drainages and fluctuating sea levels for semiaquatic taxa in Indochina.

    PubMed

    Lukoschek, Vimoksalehi; Osterhage, Jennifer L; Karns, Daryl R; Murphy, John C; Voris, Harold K

    2011-11-01

    During the Cenozoic, Southeast Asia was profoundly affected by plate tectonic events, dynamic river systems, fluctuating sea levels, shifting coastlines, and climatic variation, which have influenced the ecological and evolutionary trajectories of the Southeast Asian flora and fauna. We examined the role of these paleogeographic factors on shaping phylogeographic patterns focusing on a species of semiaquatic snake, Enhydris subtaeniata (Serpentes: Homalopsidae) using sequence data from three mitochondrial fragments (cytochrome b, ND4, and ATPase-2785 bp). We sampled E. subtaeniata from seven locations in three river drainage basins that encompassed most of this species' range. Genetic diversities were typically low within locations but high across locations. Moreover, each location had a unique suite of haplotypes not shared among locations, and pairwise ?(ST) values (0.713-0.998) were highly significant between all location pairs. Relationships among phylogroups were well resolved and analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) revealed strong geographical partitioning of genetic variance among the three river drainage basins surveyed. The genetic differences observed among the populations of E. subtaeniata were likely shaped by the Quaternary landscapes of Indochina and the Sunda Shelf. Historically, the middle and lower Mekong consisted of strongly dissected river valleys separated by low mountain ranges and much of the Sunda Shelf consisted of lowland river valleys that served to connect faunas associated with major regional rivers. It is thus likely that the contemporary genetic patterns observed among populations of E. subtaeniata are the result of their histories in a complex terrain that created abundant opportunities for genetic isolation and divergence yet also provided lowland connections across now drowned river valleys. PMID:22393504

  6. Evolution of the mitochondrial genome in snakes: Gene rearrangements and phylogenetic relationships

    PubMed Central

    Yan, Jie; Li, Hongdan; Zhou, Kaiya

    2008-01-01

    Background Snakes as a major reptile group display a variety of morphological characteristics pertaining to their diverse behaviours. Despite abundant analyses of morphological characters, molecular studies using mitochondrial and nuclear genes are limited. As a result, the phylogeny of snakes remains controversial. Previous studies on mitochondrial genomes of snakes have demonstrated duplication of the control region and translocation of trnL to be two notable features of the alethinophidian (all serpents except blindsnakes and threadsnakes) mtDNAs. Our purpose is to further investigate the gene organizations, evolution of the snake mitochondrial genome, and phylogenetic relationships among several major snake families. Results The mitochondrial genomes were sequenced for four taxa representing four different families, and each had a different gene arrangement. Comparative analyses with other snake mitochondrial genomes allowed us to summarize six types of mitochondrial gene arrangement in snakes. Phylogenetic reconstruction with commonly used methods of phylogenetic inference (BI, ML, MP, NJ) arrived at a similar topology, which was used to reconstruct the evolution of mitochondrial gene arrangements in snakes. Conclusion The phylogenetic relationships among the major families of snakes are in accordance with the mitochondrial genomes in terms of gene arrangements. The gene arrangement in Ramphotyphlops braminus mtDNA is inferred to be ancestral for snakes. After the divergence of the early Ramphotyphlops lineage, three types of rearrangements occurred. These changes involve translocations within the IQM tRNA gene cluster and the duplication of the CR. All phylogenetic methods support the placement of Enhydris plumbea outside of the (Colubridae + Elapidae) cluster, providing mitochondrial genomic evidence for the familial rank of Homalopsidae. PMID:19038056

  7. Stellar

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1995-01-01

    This eerie, dark structure, resembling an imaginary sea serpent's head, is a column of cool molecular hydrogen gas (two atoms of hydrogen in each molecule) and dust that is an incubator for new stars. The stars are embedded inside finger-like protrusions extending from the top of the nebula. Each 'fingertip' is somewhat larger than our own solar system. The pillar is slowly eroding away by the ultraviolet light from nearby hot stars, a process called 'photoevaporation.' As it does, small globules of especially dense gas buried within the cloud is uncovered. These globules have been dubbed 'EGGs' -- an acronym for 'Evaporating Gaseous Globules.' The shadows of the EGGs protect gas behind them, resulting in the finger-like structures at the top of the cloud. Forming inside at least some of the EGGs are embryonic stars -- stars that abruptly stop growing when the EGGs are uncovered and they are separated from the larger reservoir of gas from which they were drawing mass. Eventually the stars emerge, as the EGGs themselves succumb to photoevaporation. The stellar EGGS are found, appropriately enough, in the 'Eagle Nebula' (also called M16 -- the 16th object in Charles Messier's 18th century catalog of 'fuzzy' permanent objects in the sky), a nearby star-forming region 7,000 light-years away in the constellation Serpens. The picture was taken on April 1, 1995 with the Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. The color image is constructed from three separate images taken in the light of emission from different types of atoms. Red shows emission from singly-ionized sulfur atoms. Green shows emission from hydrogen. Blue shows light emitted by doubly-ionized oxygen atoms.

  8. Carbon Isotopes of Alkanes in Hydrothermal Abiotic Organic Synthesis Processes at High Temperatures and Pressures: An Experimental Study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fu, Qi; Socki, Richard A.; Niles, Paul B.

    2010-01-01

    Observation of methane in the Martian atmosphere has been reported by different detection techniques [1-4]. With more evidence showing extensive water-rock interaction in Martian history [5-7], abiotic formation by Fischer-Tropsch Type (FTT) synthesis during serpentization reactions may be one possible process responsible for methane generation on Mars [8, 9]. While the experimental studies performed to date leave little doubt that chemical reactions exist for the abiotic synthesis of organic compounds by mineral surface-catalyzed reactions [10-12], little is known about the reaction pathways by which CO2 and/or CO are reduced under hydrothermal conditions. Carbon and hydrogen isotope measurements of alkanes have been used as an effective tool to constrain the origin and reaction pathways of hydrocarbon formation. Alkanes generated by thermal breakdown of high molecular weight organic compounds have carbon and hydrogen isotopic signatures completely distinct from those formed abiotically [13-15]. Recent experimental studies, however, showed that different abiogenic hydrocarbon formation processes (e.g., polymerization vs. depolymerization) may have different carbon and hydrogen isotopic patterns [16]. Results from previous experiments studying decomposition of higher molecular weight organic compounds (lignite) also suggested that pressure could be a crucial factor affecting fractionation of carbon isotopes [17]. Under high pressure conditions, no experimental data are available describing fractionation of carbon isotope during mineral catalyzed FTT synthesis. Thus, hydrothermal experiments present an excellent opportunity to provide the requisite carbon isotope data. Such data can also be used to identify reaction pathways of abiotic organic synthesis under experimental conditions.

  9. Purification and characterization of islet hormones (insulin, glucagon, pancreatic, polypeptide and somatostatin) from the Burmese python, Python molurus.

    PubMed

    Conlon, J M; Secor, S M; Adrian, T E; Mynarcik, D C; Whittaker, J

    1997-08-29

    Insulin was purified from an extract of the pancreas of the Burmese python, Python molurus (Squamata:Serpentes) and its primary structure established as: A Chain: Gly-Ile-Val-Glu-Gln-Cys-Cys-Glu-Asn-Thr10-Cys-Ser-Leu-Tyr-Glu-Leu- Glu-Asn-Tyr-Cys20-Asn. B-Chain: Ala-Pro-Asn-Gln-His-Leu-Cys-Gly-Ser-His10-Leu-Val-Glu-Ala-Leu-Tyr- Leu-Val-Cys-Gly20-Asp-Arg-Gly-Phe-Tyr-Tyr-Ser-Pro-Arg-Ser30. With the exception of the conservative substitution Phe --> Tyr at position B25, those residues in human insulin that comprise the receptor-binding and those residues involved in dimer and hexamer formation are fully conserved in python insulin. Python insulin was slightly more potent (1.8-fold) than human insulin in inhibiting the binding of [125I-Tyr-A14] insulin to the soluble full-length recombinant human insulin receptor but was slightly less potent (1.5-fold) than human insulin for inhibiting binding to the secreted extracellular domain of the receptor. The primary structure of python glucagon contains only one amino acid substitution (Ser28 --> Asn) compared with turtle/duck glucagon and python somatostatin is identical to that of mammalian somatostatin-14. In contrast, python pancreatic polypeptide (Arg-Ile-Ala-Pro-Val-Phe-Pro-Gly-Lys-Asp10-Glu-Leu-Ala-Lys-Phe- Tyr20-Thr-Glu-Leu-Gln-Gln-Tyr-Leu-Asn-Ser-Ile30-Asn-Arg-Pro-Arg -Phe.NH2) contains only 35 instead of the customary 36 residues and the amino acid sequence of this peptide has been poorly conserved between reptiles and birds (18 substitutions compared with alligator and 20 substitutions compared with chicken). PMID:9350978

  10. Results for Phase I of the IAEA Coordinated Research Program on HTGR Uncertainties

    SciTech Connect

    Strydom, Gerhard; Bostelmann, Friederike; Yoon, Su Jong

    2015-01-01

    The quantification of uncertainties in design and safety analysis of reactors is today not only broadly accepted, but in many cases became the preferred way to replace traditional conservative analysis for safety and licensing analysis. The use of a more fundamental methodology is also consistent with the reliable high fidelity physics models and robust, efficient, and accurate codes available today. To facilitate uncertainty analysis applications a comprehensive approach and methodology must be developed and applied. High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactors (HTGR) has its own peculiarities, coated particle design, large graphite quantities, different materials and high temperatures that also require other simulation requirements. The IAEA has therefore launched a Coordinated Research Project (CRP) on the HTGR Uncertainty Analysis in Modeling (UAM) in 2013 to study uncertainty propagation specifically in the HTGR analysis chain. Two benchmark problems are defined, with the prismatic design represented by the General Atomics (GA) MHTGR-350 and a 250 MW modular pebble bed design similar to the HTR-PM (INET, China). This report summarizes the contributions of the HTGR Methods Simulation group at Idaho National Laboratory (INL) up to this point of the CRP. The activities at INL have been focused so far on creating the problem specifications for the prismatic design, as well as providing reference solutions for the exercises defined for Phase I. An overview is provided of the HTGR UAM objectives and scope, and the detailed specifications for Exercises I-1, I-2, I-3 and I-4 are also included here for completeness. The main focus of the report is the compilation and discussion of reference results for Phase I (i.e. for input parameters at their nominal or best-estimate values), which is defined as the first step of the uncertainty quantification process. These reference results can be used by other CRP participants for comparison with other codes or their own reference results. The status on the Monte Carlo modeling of the experimental VHTRC facility is also discussed. Reference results were obtained for the neutronics stand-alone cases (Ex. I-1 and Ex. I-2) using the (relatively new) Monte Carlo code Serpent, and comparisons were performed with the more established Monte Carlo codes MCNP and KENO-VI. For the thermal-fluids stand-alone cases (Ex. I-3 and I-4) the commercial CFD code CFX was utilized to obtain reference results that can be compared with lower fidelity tools.

  11. Hubble Unveils Colorful and Turbulent Star-Birth Region on 100,000th Orbit Milestone

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Click on the image for orientation annotation

    In commemoration of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope completing its 100,000th orbit in its 18th year of exploration and discovery, scientists at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md., have aimed Hubble totake a snapshot of a dazzling region of celestial birth and renewal.

    Hubble peered into a small portion of the nebula near the star cluster NGC 2074 (upper, left). The region is a firestorm of raw stellar creation, perhaps triggered by a nearby supernova explosion. It lies about 170,000 light-years away near the Tarantula nebula, one of the most active star-forming regions in our Local Group of galaxies.

    The three-dimensional-looking image reveals dramatic ridges and valleys of dust, serpent-head 'pillars of creation,' and gaseous filaments glowing fiercely under torrential ultraviolet radiation. The region is on the edge of a dark molecular cloud that is an incubator for the birth of new stars.

    The high-energy radiation blazing out from clusters of hot young stars already born in NGC 2074 is sculpting the wall of the nebula by slowly eroding it away. Another young cluster may be hidden beneath a circle of brilliant blue gas at center, bottom.

    In this approximately 100-light-year-wide fantasy-like landscape, dark towers of dust rise above a glowing wall of gases on the surface of the molecular cloud. The seahorse-shaped pillar at lower, right is approximately 20 light-years long, roughly four times the distance between our Sun and the nearest star, Alpha Centauri.

    The region is in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a satellite of our Milky Way galaxy. It is a fascinating laboratory for observing star-formation regions and their evolution. Dwarf galaxies like the LMC are considered to be the primitive building blocks of larger galaxies.

    This representative color image was taken on August 10, 2008, with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. Red shows emission from sulfur atoms, green from glowing hydrogen, and blue from glowing oxygen.

  12. Profiling the venom gland transcriptomes of Costa Rican snakes by 454 pyrosequencing

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background A long term research goal of venomics, of applied importance for improving current antivenom therapy, but also for drug discovery, is to understand the pharmacological potential of venoms. Individually or combined, proteomic and transcriptomic studies have demonstrated their feasibility to explore in depth the molecular diversity of venoms. In the absence of genome sequence, transcriptomes represent also valuable searchable databases for proteomic projects. Results The venom gland transcriptomes of 8 Costa Rican taxa from 5 genera (Crotalus, Bothrops, Atropoides, Cerrophidion, and Bothriechis) of pitvipers were investigated using high-throughput 454 pyrosequencing. 100,394 out of 330,010 masked reads produced significant hits in the available databases. 5.165,220 nucleotides (8.27%) were masked by RepeatMasker, the vast majority of which corresponding to class I (retroelements) and class II (DNA transposons) mobile elements. BLAST hits included 79,991 matches to entries of the taxonomic suborder Serpentes, of which 62,433 displayed similarity to documented venom proteins. Strong discrepancies between the transcriptome-computed and the proteome-gathered toxin compositions were obvious at first sight. Although the reasons underlaying this discrepancy are elusive, since no clear trend within or between species is apparent, the data indicate that individual mRNA species may be translationally controlled in a species-dependent manner. The minimum number of genes from each toxin family transcribed into the venom gland transcriptome of each species was calculated from multiple alignments of reads matched to a full-length reference sequence of each toxin family. Reads encoding ORF regions of Kazal-type inhibitor-like proteins were uniquely found in Bothriechis schlegelii and B. lateralis transcriptomes, suggesting a genus-specific recruitment event during the early-Middle Miocene. A transcriptome-based cladogram supports the large divergence between A. mexicanus and A. picadoi, and a closer kinship between A. mexicanus and C. godmani. Conclusions Our comparative next-generation sequencing (NGS) analysis reveals taxon-specific trends governing the formulation of the venom arsenal. Knowledge of the venom proteome provides hints on the translation efficiency of toxin-coding transcripts, contributing thereby to a more accurate interpretation of the transcriptome. The application of NGS to the analysis of snake venom transcriptomes, may represent the tool for opening the door to systems venomics. PMID:21605378

  13. Deterministic Modeling of the High Temperature Test Reactor

    SciTech Connect

    Ortensi, J.; Cogliati, J. J.; Pope, M. A.; Ferrer, R. M.; Ougouag, A. M.

    2010-06-01

    Idaho National Laboratory (INL) is tasked with the development of reactor physics analysis capability of the Next Generation Nuclear Power (NGNP) project. In order to examine INL’s current prismatic reactor deterministic analysis tools, the project is conducting a benchmark exercise based on modeling the High Temperature Test Reactor (HTTR). This exercise entails the development of a model for the initial criticality, a 19 column thin annular core, and the fully loaded core critical condition with 30 columns. Special emphasis is devoted to the annular core modeling, which shares more characteristics with the NGNP base design. The DRAGON code is used in this study because it offers significant ease and versatility in modeling prismatic designs. Despite some geometric limitations, the code performs quite well compared to other lattice physics codes. DRAGON can generate transport solutions via collision probability (CP), method of characteristics (MOC), and discrete ordinates (Sn). A fine group cross section library based on the SHEM 281 energy structure is used in the DRAGON calculations. HEXPEDITE is the hexagonal z full core solver used in this study and is based on the Green’s Function solution of the transverse integrated equations. In addition, two Monte Carlo (MC) based codes, MCNP5 and PSG2/SERPENT, provide benchmarking capability for the DRAGON and the nodal diffusion solver codes. The results from this study show a consistent bias of 2–3% for the core multiplication factor. This systematic error has also been observed in other HTTR benchmark efforts and is well documented in the literature. The ENDF/B VII graphite and U235 cross sections appear to be the main source of the error. The isothermal temperature coefficients calculated with the fully loaded core configuration agree well with other benchmark participants but are 40% higher than the experimental values. This discrepancy with the measurement stems from the fact that during the experiments the control rods were adjusted to maintain criticality, whereas in the model, the rod positions were fixed. In addition, this work includes a brief study of a cross section generation approach that seeks to decouple the domain in order to account for neighbor effects. This spectral interpenetration is a dominant effect in annular HTR physics. This analysis methodology should be further explored in order to reduce the error that is systematically propagated in the traditional generation of cross sections.

  14. Ophiolite suture in Central Anatolia: New insights from the Sivas Basin (Turkey)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Legeay, Etienne; Ringenbach, Jean-Claude; Mohn, Geoffroy; Kergaravat, Charlie; Callot, Jean-Paul

    2015-04-01

    The closure of the Neotethys is classically associated with the obduction of ophiolitic rocks, defining successive suture zones. Theses Alpine-Himalayan ophiolites reflect a complex and still poorly understood paleogeographic framework. In Turkey, various types of ophiolite have been described, involving supra subduction zone and ophiolitic melanges as well. Hence reconstructions of the Anatolian continent assumed the amalgamation of one or more continental fragments during the Mesozoic-Early Cenozoic time. The Sivas Basin is located in a key position at the junction of three crustal domains: the Pontides to the North, the Anatolide - Tauride platforms to the South, and the Central Anatolian Crystalline Complex to the West. These blocks are separated to the North by the Izmir-Ankara-Erzican suture zone (IAESZ), and by the Inner Tauride suture zone (ITSZ) to the South. Ophiolitic outcrops are common in this area, mainly on the basin borders, and sometimes within the central part. These green rocks have been previously related to the ophiolitic melange from the IAESZ in Northern part and to the ITSZ for the southern parts. Recent fieldwork on the southern edge of the Sivas Basin allows a proper description of the ophiolitic complex, including from bottom to top: (1) a large volume of intensely serpentinized peridotites, strongly veined with chrysotile, with minor gabbroic intrusions; (2) upward, serpentinized mantle rocks affected by a cataclastic deformation associated with tectonic breccias and ophicalcites ; and eventually, (3) on the top of the mantle, silicates deposits similar to radiolarian cherts cover by sedimentary breccias with mantle clasts. New geochemical analysis and subsurface data confirm the existence of a southward obducted slice of ophiolite over more than 100km from North to South, forming the basement of the Sivas Basin since the Campanian. This southward obduction related to the IAESZ appears similar to slow spreading ridge or hyper-extended domains derived ophiolites. We interpret the parent body as related to the exhumation of mantle rocks along low angle detachment faults either during the rifting or the oceanic accretion. The peridotites record a high serpentization degree, increasing toward the surface. Outcropping of the mantle rocks at the sea floor is responsible for the reworking of materials as tectonosedimentary breccias (ophicalcites). The emplacement of the gabbro will be constrained by U-Pb zircon geochronology.

  15. Clear New View of a Classic Spiral

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2010-05-01

    ESO is releasing a beautiful image of the nearby galaxy Messier 83 taken by the HAWK-I instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory in Chile. The picture shows the galaxy in infrared light and demonstrates the impressive power of the camera to create one of the sharpest and most detailed pictures of Messier 83 ever taken from the ground. The galaxy Messier 83 (eso0825) is located about 15 million light-years away in the constellation of Hydra (the Sea Serpent). It spans over 40 000 light-years, only 40 percent the size of the Milky Way, but in many ways is quite similar to our home galaxy, both in its spiral shape and the presence of a bar of stars across its centre. Messier 83 is famous among astronomers for its many supernovae: vast explosions that end the lives of some stars. Over the last century, six supernovae have been observed in Messier 83 - a record number that is matched by only one other galaxy. Even without supernovae, Messier 83 is one of the brightest nearby galaxies, visible using just binoculars. Messier 83 has been observed in the infrared part of the spectrum using HAWK-I [1], a powerful camera on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT). When viewed in infrared light most of the obscuring dust that hides much of Messier 83 becomes transparent. The brightly lit gas around hot young stars in the spiral arms is also less prominent in infrared pictures. As a result much more of the structure of the galaxy and the vast hordes of its constituent stars can be seen. This clear view is important for astronomers looking for clusters of young stars, especially those hidden in dusty regions of the galaxy. Studying such star clusters was one of the main scientific goals of these observations [2]. When compared to earlier images, the acute vision of HAWK-I reveals far more stars within the galaxy. The combination of the huge mirror of the VLT, the large field of view and great sensitivity of the camera, and the superb observing conditions at ESO's Paranal Observatory makes HAWK-I one of the most powerful near-infrared imagers in the world. Astronomers are eagerly queuing up for the chance to use the camera, which began operation in 2007 (eso0736), and to get some of the best ground-based infrared images ever of the night sky. Notes [1] HAWK-I stands for High-Acuity Wide-field K-band Imager. More technical details about the camera can be found in an earlier press release (eso0736). [2] The data used to prepare this image were acquired by a team led by Mark Gieles (University of Cambridge) and Yuri Beletsky (ESO). Mischa Schirmer (University of Bonn) performed the challenging data processing. More information ESO, the European Southern Observatory, is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world's most productive astronomical observatory. It is supported by 14 countries: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world's most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and VISTA, the world's largest survey telescope. ESO is the European partner of a revolutionary astronomical telescope ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. ESO is currently planning a 42-metre European Extremely Large optical/near-infrared Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become "the world's biggest eye on the sky".

  16. The Development of WARP - A Framework for Continuous Energy Monte Carlo Neutron Transport in General 3D Geometries on GPUs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bergmann, Ryan

    Graphics processing units, or GPUs, have gradually increased in computational power from the small, job-specific boards of the early 1990s to the programmable powerhouses of today. Compared to more common central processing units, or CPUs, GPUs have a higher aggregate memory bandwidth, much higher floating-point operations per second (FLOPS), and lower energy consumption per FLOP. Because one of the main obstacles in exascale computing is power consumption, many new supercomputing platforms are gaining much of their computational capacity by incorporating GPUs into their compute nodes. Since CPU-optimized parallel algorithms are not directly portable to GPU architectures (or at least not without losing substantial performance), transport codes need to be rewritten to execute efficiently on GPUs. Unless this is done, reactor simulations cannot take full advantage of these new supercomputers. WARP, which can stand for ``Weaving All the Random Particles,'' is a three-dimensional (3D) continuous energy Monte Carlo neutron transport code developed in this work as to efficiently implement a continuous energy Monte Carlo neutron transport algorithm on a GPU. WARP accelerates Monte Carlo simulations while preserving the benefits of using the Monte Carlo Method, namely, very few physical and geometrical simplifications. WARP is able to calculate multiplication factors, flux tallies, and fission source distributions for time-independent problems, and can run in both criticality or fixed source modes. WARP can transport neutrons in unrestricted arrangements of parallelepipeds, hexagonal prisms, cylinders, and spheres. WARP uses an event-based algorithm, but with some important differences. Moving data is expensive, so WARP uses a remapping vector of pointer/index pairs to direct GPU threads to the data they need to access. The remapping vector is sorted by reaction type after every transport iteration using a high-efficiency parallel radix sort, which serves to keep the reaction types as contiguous as possible and removes completed histories from the transport cycle. The sort reduces the amount of divergence in GPU ``thread blocks,'' keeps the SIMD units as full as possible, and eliminates using memory bandwidth to check if a neutron in the batch has been terminated or not. Using a remapping vector means the data access pattern is irregular, but this is mitigated by using large batch sizes where the GPU can effectively eliminate the high cost of irregular global memory access. WARP modifies the standard unionized energy grid implementation to reduce memory traffic. Instead of storing a matrix of pointers indexed by reaction type and energy, WARP stores three matrices. The first contains cross section values, the second contains pointers to angular distributions, and a third contains pointers to energy distributions. This linked list type of layout increases memory usage, but lowers the number of data loads that are needed to determine a reaction by eliminating a pointer load to find a cross section value. Optimized, high-performance GPU code libraries are also used by WARP wherever possible. The CUDA performance primitives (CUDPP) library is used to perform the parallel reductions, sorts and sums, the CURAND library is used to seed the linear congruential random number generators, and the OptiX ray tracing framework is used for geometry representation. OptiX is a highly-optimized library developed by NVIDIA that automatically builds hierarchical acceleration structures around user-input geometry so only surfaces along a ray line need to be queried in ray tracing. WARP also performs material and cell number queries with OptiX by using a point-in-polygon like algorithm. WARP has shown that GPUs are an effective platform for performing Monte Carlo neutron transport with continuous energy cross sections. Currently, WARP is the most detailed and feature-rich program in existence for performing continuous energy Monte Carlo neutron transport in general 3D geometries on GPUs, but compared to production codes like Serpent and MCNP, WARP ha

  17. The Thousand-Ruby Galaxy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2008-09-01

    ESO's Wide Field Imager has captured the intricate swirls of the spiral galaxy Messier 83, a smaller look-alike of our own Milky Way. Shining with the light of billions of stars and the ruby red glow of hydrogen gas, it is a beautiful example of a barred spiral galaxy, whose shape has led to it being nicknamed the Southern Pinwheel. Messier 83, M83 ESO PR Photo 25/08 Spiral Galaxy Messier 83 This dramatic image of the galaxy Messier 83 was captured by the Wide Field Imager at ESO's La Silla Observatory, located high in the dry desert mountains of the Chilean Atacama Desert. Messier 83 lies roughly 15 million light-years away towards the huge southern constellation of Hydra (the sea serpent). It stretches over 40 000 light-years, making it roughly 2.5 times smaller than our own Milky Way. However, in some respects, Messier 83 is quite similar to our own galaxy. Both the Milky Way and Messier 83 possess a bar across their galactic nucleus, the dense spherical conglomeration of stars seen at the centre of the galaxies. This very detailed image shows the spiral arms of Messier 83 adorned by countless bright flourishes of ruby red light. These are in fact huge clouds of glowing hydrogen gas. Ultraviolet radiation from newly born, massive stars is ionising the gas in these clouds, causing the great regions of hydrogen to glow red. These star forming regions are contrasted dramatically in this image against the ethereal glow of older yellow stars near the galaxy's central hub. The image also shows the delicate tracery of dark and winding dust streams weaving throughout the arms of the galaxy. Messier 83 was discovered by the French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in the mid 18th century. Decades later it was listed in the famous catalogue of deep sky objects compiled by another French astronomer and famous comet hunter, Charles Messier. Recent observations of this enigmatic galaxy in ultraviolet light and radio waves have shown that even its outer desolate regions (farther out than those seen in this image) are populated with baby stars. X-ray observations of the heart of Messier 83 have shown that its centre is a hive of vigorous star formation, held deep within a cloud of superheated gas, with temperatures of 7 million degrees Celsius. Messier 83 is also one of the most prolific producers of supernovae, that is, exploding stars: this is one of the two galaxies, which had 6 supernovae in the past 100 years. One of these, SN 1957D was observable for 30 years! The Wide Field Imager (WFI) is a specialised astronomical camera attached to the 2.2-metre Max-Planck Society/ESO telescope, sited at the La Silla observatory in Chile. Located nearly 2400 m above sea level, atop the mountains of the Atacama Desert, ESO's La Silla enjoys some of the clearest and darkest skies on the whole planet, making the site ideally suited for studying the farthest depths of the Universe. To make this image, the WFI stared at M83 for roughly 100 minutes through a series of specialist filters, allowing the faint detail of the galaxy to reveal itself. The brighter stars in the foreground are stars in our own galaxy, whilst behind M83 the darkness is peppered with the faint smudges of distant galaxies.

  18. Application de la methode des sous-groupes au calcul Monte-Carlo multigroupe

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martin, Nicolas

    This thesis is dedicated to the development of a Monte Carlo neutron transport solver based on the subgroup (or multiband) method. In this formalism, cross sections for resonant isotopes are represented in the form of probability tables on the whole energy spectrum. This study is intended in order to test and validate this approach in lattice physics and criticality-safety applications. The probability table method seems promising since it introduces an alternative computational way between the legacy continuous-energy representation and the multigroup method. In the first case, the amount of data invoked in continuous-energy Monte Carlo calculations can be very important and tend to slow down the overall computational time. In addition, this model preserves the quality of the physical laws present in the ENDF format. Due to its cheap computational cost, the multigroup Monte Carlo way is usually at the basis of production codes in criticality-safety studies. However, the use of a multigroup representation of the cross sections implies a preliminary calculation to take into account self-shielding effects for resonant isotopes. This is generally performed by deterministic lattice codes relying on the collision probability method. Using cross-section probability tables on the whole energy range permits to directly take into account self-shielding effects and can be employed in both lattice physics and criticality-safety calculations. Several aspects have been thoroughly studied: (1) The consistent computation of probability tables with a energy grid comprising only 295 or 361 groups. The CALENDF moment approach conducted to probability tables suitable for a Monte Carlo code. (2) The combination of the probability table sampling for the energy variable with the delta-tracking rejection technique for the space variable, and its impact on the overall efficiency of the proposed Monte Carlo algorithm. (3) The derivation of a model for taking into account anisotropic effects of the scattering reaction consistent with the subgroup method. In this study, we generalize the Discrete Angle Technique, already proposed for homogeneous, multigroup cross sections, to isotopic cross sections on the form of probability tables. In this technique, the angular density is discretized into probability tables. Similarly to the cross-section case, a moment approach is used to compute the probability tables for the scattering cosine. (4) The introduction of a leakage model based on the B1 fundamental mode approximation. Unlike deterministic lattice packages, most Monte Carlo-based lattice physics codes do not include leakage models. However the generation of homogenized and condensed group constants (cross sections, diffusion coefficients) require the critical flux. This project has involved the development of a program into the DRAGON framework, written in Fortran 2003 and wrapped with a driver in C, the GANLIB 5. Choosing Fortran 2003 has permitted the use of some modern features, such as the definition of objects and methods, data encapsulation and polymorphism. The validation of the proposed code has been performed by comparison with other numerical methods: (1) The continuous-energy Monte Carlo method of the SERPENT code. (2) The Collision Probability (CP) method and the discrete ordinates (SN) method of the DRAGON lattice code. (3) The multigroup Monte Carlo code MORET, coupled with the DRAGON code. Benchmarks used in this work are representative of some industrial configurations encountered in reactor and criticality-safety calculations: (1)Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR) cells and assemblies. (2) Canada-Deuterium Uranium Reactors (CANDU-6) clusters. (3) Critical experiments from the ICSBEP handbook (International Criticality Safety Benchmark Evaluation Program).

  19. How to Steal a Million Stars?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2006-02-01

    Based on observations with ESO's Very Large Telescope, a team of Italian astronomers reports [1] that the stellar cluster Messier 12 must have lost to our Milky Way galaxy close to one million low-mass stars. ESO PR Photo 04a/06 ESO PR Photo 04a/06 The Central Part of Messier 12 "In the solar neighbourhood and in most stellar clusters, the least massive stars are the most common, and by far", said Guido De Marchi (ESA), lead author of the study. "Our observations with ESO's VLT show this is not the case for Messier 12." The team, which also includes Luigi Pulone and Francesco Paresce (INAF, Italy), measured the brightness and colours of more than 16,000 stars within the globular cluster Messier 12 [2] with the FORS1 multi-mode instrument attached to one of the Unit Telescopes of ESO's VLT at Cerro Paranal (Chile). The astronomers could study stars that are 40 million times fainter than what the unaided eye can see (magnitude 25). Located at a distance of 23,000 light years in the constellation Ophiuchus (The Serpent-holder), Messier 12 got its name by being the 12th entry in the catalogue of nebulous objects compiled in 1774 by French astronomer and comet chaser Charles Messier. It is also known to astronomers as NGC 6218 and contains about 200,000 stars, most of them having a mass between 20 and 80 percent of the mass of the Sun. "It is however clear that Messier 12 is surprisingly devoid of low-mass stars", said De Marchi. "For each solar-like star, we would expect roughly four times as many stars with half that mass. Our VLT observations only show an equal number of stars of different masses." ESO PR Photo 04b/06 ESO PR Photo 04b/06 Loosing Stars in the Milky Way Globular clusters move in extended elliptical orbits that periodically take them through the densely populated regions of our Galaxy, the plane, then high above and below, in the 'halo'. When venturing too close to the innermost and denser regions of the Milky Way, the 'bulge', a globular cluster can be perturbed, the smallest stars being ripped away. "We estimate that Messier 12 lost four times as many stars as it still has", said Francesco Paresce. "That is, roughly one million stars must have been ejected into the halo of our Milky Way." The total remaining lifetime of Messier 12 is predicted to be about 4.5 billion years, i.e. about a third of its present age. This is very short compared to the typical expected globular cluster's lifetime, which is about 20 billion years. The same team of astronomers had found in 1999, another example of a globular cluster that lost a large fraction of its original content (see ESO PR 04/99). The scientists hope to discover and study many more clusters like these, since catching clusters while being disrupted should clarify the dynamics of the process that shaped the halo of our home galaxy, the Milky Way. High resolution images and their captions are available on this page. A press release on this is also issued by INAF in Italian and is available at www.inaf.it/comunicati_stampa/cs070206/Inaf-04-06.html.

  20. Latest climate changes in Romania :tornadoes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pop, Elena

    2014-05-01

    Latest climate changes in Romania :tornadoes As climate change has been considered a research priority in the European Strategy for enduring development , I have done a detailed research with my students of the new climate change that has been going on in Romania for the past decade. More precisely I have studied together with my students the phenomenon of tornadoes that have seriously affected on some occasions some our our country's locations, such as Facaeni, in the county of Ialomita, in August 2002. A quite unusual phenomenon occurred on that location situated at 44.56 degrees northern latitude and at 27.89 degrees eastern longitude, that caused severe damage to the local environment and three persons lost their lives in the process, as well as other thirty people suffering from bad injuries. The magnitude of that strong phenomenon rose on the Fujita scale at level F3 which implied wing gusts between 252-300 km/ hour . A main cause of occurrence of such a severe weather was the difference in temperature of two huge air masses, one of Polar origin, and other coming from tropical latitudes . Their crossroads was on that precise territory of Romania. The duration of the worst part of the tornado path lasted only for two minutes, but the consequences of its passage were colossal : total destruction of 33 households, and other 395 were partially damaged, 1,000 people afflicted by the devastation and 100 acres of acacia tree forest ripped off the ground. The first ever recorded tornado phenomenon in Romania was around 1894-1896, considered at that time " a freak of nature" was seen as a cloud formation abnormality , an uncontrolled force of nature that had a huge impact , and at the same time, it vanished into "thin air " fast. The most affected areas in Romania by tornadoes are the south-eastern planes where the cloud formations can create fast columns of air rotating up to 500 km/hour. The local people compared the cloud funnels created on the planes to "serpents " that eat and spit out roofs, animals, trucks and concrete road poles. I have minutely searched with my students all the data of that tornado, the direction of wind gusts, we have calculated the force of the impact by studying the photos taken on that occasion. I have also done some research on other tornadoes that have taken place In Movilita and Brezoaele the past years. I have studied the increase of the centrifugal force and that of Coriolis in the context of repetition of such dangerous atmospheric phenomena that showed their apparition as ten per year in Romania. Therefore the average Coriolis parameter is 10-4 s-1, for a typical atmospheric speed of 10 m/s (22 mph) the radius is 100 km (62 mi), with a period of about 17 hours. The lowering of the air pressure occurring on such occasions has been one of my concerns as well the the speed of the cloud column rotation. All these phenomena are the effect of the climate change occurring all over our Planet due to pollution. As you can see the devastation produced by such extreme climate lead to spontaneous floods and later desertification on the south-eastern part of our country. References : 1. Craciun, Cristina, Bala, Bogdan, Tornadele din Romania, http://dezechilibrenaturale.blogspot.ro/2013/02/tornadele-din-romania.html 2. Bell, Aurora, Tornadele in Romania, http://vremea.meteoromania.ro/node/33 3. Lemon, R. Leslie, Stan-Sion, Aurora, Soci , Cornel, Corduneanu, Elena, A strong, long -track, Romanian tornado, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169809503000632 Author : Mrs. Elena Pop, Science teacher at "Lucian Blaga" Secondary School, Ocna Mures, Romania

  1. An update review on Commiphora molmol and related species.

    PubMed

    Tonkal, Abdulkader M D; Morsy, Tosson A

    2008-12-01

    The origins of myrrh and frankincense are traced to the Arabian Peninsula. According to Herodotus (5th century BC): "Arabia is the only country which produces frankincense, myrrh, cassia, and cinnamon.., the trees bearing the frankincense are guarded by winged serpents of small size and various colors." Diodorus Siculus wrote, in the second half of the first century BC, that "all of Arabia exudes a most delicate fragrance; even the seamen passing by Arabia can smell the strong fragrance that gives health and vigor." He also mentioned gold mines so pure that no smelting was necessary. The Magi, carrying myrrh, frankincense, and gold, came from the East: Arabia. The frankincense trade route, with transport by donkeys and later by camel caravans, reached Jerusalem and Egypt from the Dhofar region of what is today Oman, through Yemen, turning north to follow the Red Sea coast. It is likely that the same or similar species of the resin-bearing plants grew across the Red Sea in the area that is now Somalia and Ethiopia, while the collection of the gum resins was initiated in Arabia. Myrrh contributed much in the human welfare. Schistosomiasis was known in ancient Egypt since remote times. Haematuria with urinary bladder disturbances was mentioned in four Papyrus papers dated back to 1950-1900 BC, and Schistosoma ova was detected in a cirrhotic liver of a mummy from 1200 BC (Ruffer, 1910). Also, Fasciola eggs were detected in a mummy (Looss, 1896). Fascioliasis infected over 17 million people worldwide causing marked morbidity and mortality (Haseeb et al., 2002). Schistosomiasis affected over 200 million people in 74 countries and territories worldwide (WHO, 1999) causing several chronic complications. Both were incriminated to predispose or accompanied human hepatitis and predisposed to HCV (Wahib et al., 2006). Most zoonotic helminthes induced immune response (Nutman, 2001) characterized by producing of type 2 cytokines, Ig G1, IgG2, IgE antibodies and eosinophil and mast cell activation (Hoffman et al., 2002). Treatment of fascioliasis required high or drug multiple doses with side effect (Farid et al., 1990). In schistosomiasis, praziquantel (PZQ) in use for > 20 years was faced with low efficacy (Leishout et al., 1998), or with increased resistance (Coles et al., 1986; Watt et al., 1988; Herrera et al., 1994; Ismail et al., 1994; 1999; Tonelli et al., 1995; Stelma et al., 1995; Fallon et al., 1997; Bennett et al., 1997; Boisier et al., 1998; Periera et al., 1998; Kusel and Hagan, 1999; Liang et al., 2000; King et al., 2000; N'Goran et al., 2003; Raso et al., 2004), potentiality of carcinogenicity, genotoxicity (Rosenkranz et al., 1995), mutagenicity (Montero et al., 1993), big dose lethality and enhanced clastogenicity of environmental pollutants (Anwar, 1994). On the other hand, Nomicos (2007) in USA reported that since antiquity, the genus Commiphora is composed of more than 200 species, and exploited as a natural drug to treat pain, skin infections, inflammatory conditions, diarrhea, and periodontal diseases. He added that in more recent history, products derived from C. myrrha and various other species of Commiphora are becoming recognized to possess significant antiseptic, anesthetic, and antitumor properties. Traditional practice and evidence-based research have supported that these properties are directly attributable to terpenoids (especially furanoses-quiterpenes), the active compounds present in myrrh essential oil. Very recently, current studies have focused on applying clinical trial methodologies to validate its use as an antineoplastic, an antiparasitic agent, and as an adjunct in healing wounds. Weeks and Simpson (2007) in USA presented the molecular phylogeny of Commiphora, a predominantly tropical African, arid-adapted tree genus to test the monophyly of its taxonomic sections and to identify clades to help direct future study of this species-rich and geographically widespread taxon. The multiple fossil calibrations of Commiphora phylogeny proved that it is sister to Vietnamese Burse

  2. First Super-Earth Atmosphere Analysed

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2010-12-01

    The atmosphere around a super-Earth exoplanet has been analysed for the first time by an international team of astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope. The planet, which is known as GJ 1214b, was studied as it passed in front of its parent star and some of the starlight passed through the planet's atmosphere. We now know that the atmosphere is either mostly water in the form of steam or is dominated by thick clouds or hazes. The results will appear in the 2 December 2010 issue of the journal Nature. The planet GJ 1214b was confirmed in 2009 using the HARPS instrument on ESO's 3.6-metre telescope in Chile (eso0950) [1]. Initial findings suggested that this planet had an atmosphere, which has now been confirmed and studied in detail by an international team of astronomers, led by Jacob Bean (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), using the FORS instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope. "This is the first super-Earth to have its atmosphere analysed. We've reached a real milestone on the road toward characterising these worlds," said Bean. GJ 1214b has a radius of about 2.6 times that of the Earth and is about 6.5 times as massive, putting it squarely into the class of exoplanets known as super-Earths. Its host star lies about 40 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Ophiuchus (the Serpent Bearer). It is a faint star [2], but it is also small, which means that the size of the planet is large compared to the stellar disc, making it relatively easy to study [3]. The planet travels across the disc of its parent star once every 38 hours as it orbits at a distance of only two million kilometres: about seventy times closer than the Earth orbits the Sun. To study the atmosphere, the team observed the light coming from the star as the planet passed in front of it [4]. During these transits, some of the starlight passes through the planet's atmosphere and, depending on the chemical composition and weather on the planet, specific wavelengths of light are absorbed. The team then compared these precise new measurements with what they would expect to see for several possible atmospheric compositions. Before the new observations, astronomers had suggested three possible atmospheres for GJ 1214b. The first was the intriguing possibility that the planet was shrouded by water, which, given the close proximity to the star, would be in the form of steam. The second possibility was that this is a rocky world with an atmosphere consisting mostly of hydrogen, but with high clouds or hazes obscuring the view. The third option was that this exoplanet was like a mini-Neptune, with a small rocky core and a deep hydrogen-rich atmosphere. The new measurements do not show the telltale signs of hydrogen and hence rule out the third option. Therefore, the atmosphere is either rich in steam, or it is blanketed by clouds or hazes, similar to those seen in the atmospheres of Venus and Titan in our Solar System, which hide the signature of hydrogen.. "Although we can't yet say exactly what that atmosphere is made of, it is an exciting step forward to be able to narrow down the options for such a distant world to either steamy or hazy," says Bean. "Follow-up observations in longer wavelength infrared light are now needed to determine which of these atmospheres exists on GJ 1214b." Notes [1] The number of confirmed exoplanets reached 500 on 19 November 2010. Since then, more exoplanets have been confirmed. For the latest count, please visit: http://exoplanet.eu/catalog.php [2] If GJ 1214 were seen at the same distance from us as our Sun, it would appear 300 times fainter. [3] Because the star GJ1214 itself is quite faint - more than 100 times fainter in visible light than the host stars of the two most widely studied hot Jupiter exoplanets - the large collecting area of the Very Large Telescope was critical for acquiring enough signal for these measurements. [4] GJ 1214b's atmospheric composition was studied using the FORS instrument on the Very Large Telescope, which can perform very sensitive spectroscopy of

  3. A Vanishing Star Revisited

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    1999-07-01

    VLT Observations of an Unusual Stellar System Reinhold Häfner of the Munich University Observatory (Germany) is a happy astronomer. In 1988, when he was working at a telescope at the ESO La Silla observatory, he came across a strange star that suddenly vanished off the computer screen. He had to wait for more than a decade to get the full explanation of this unusual event. On June 10-11, 1999, he observed the same star with the first VLT 8.2-m Unit Telescope (ANTU) and the FORS1 astronomical instrument at Paranal [1]. With the vast power of this new research facility, he was now able to determine the physical properties of a very strange stellar system in which two planet-size stars orbit each other. One is an exceedingly hot white dwarf star , weighing half as much as the Sun, but only twice as big as the Earth. The other is a much cooler and less massive red dwarf star , one-and-a-half times the size of planet Jupiter. Once every three hours, the hot star disappears behind the other, as seen from the Earth. For a few minutes, the brightness of the system drops by a factor of more than 250 and it "vanishes" from view in telescopes smaller than the VLT. A variable star named NN Serpentis ESO PR Photo 30a/99 ESO PR Photo 30a/99 [Preview - JPEG: 400 x 468 pix - 152k] [Normal - JPEG: 800 x 936 pix - 576k] [High-Res - JPEG: 2304 x 2695 pix - 4.4M] Caption to ESO PR Photo 30a/99 : The sky field around the 17-mag variable stellar system NN Serpentis , as seen in a 5 sec exposure through a V(isual) filter with VLT ANTU and FORS1. It was obtained just before the observation of an eclipse of this unsual object and served to centre the telescope on the corresponding sky position. The field shown here measures 4.5 x 4.5 armin 2 (1365 x 1365 pix 2 ; 0.20 arcsec/pix). The field is somewhat larger than that shown in Photo 30b/99 and has the same orientation to allow comparison: North is about 20° anticlockwise from the top and East is 90° clockwise from that direction. The unsual star in question is designated NN Serpentis , or just NN Ser . As the name indicates, it is located in the constellation of Serpens (The Serpent), about 12° north of the celestial equator. A double letter, here "NN", is used to denote variable stars [2]. It is a rather faint object of magnitude 17, about 25,000 times fainter than what can be perceived with the unaided eye. The distance is about 600 light-years (180 pc). In July 1988, Reinhold Häfner performed observations of NN Ser (at that time still known by its earlier name PG 1550+131 ) with the Danish 1.54-m telescope at La Silla. He was surprised, but also very pleased to discover that it underwent a very deep eclipse every 187 minutes. Within less than 2 minutes, the brightness dropped by a factor of more than 100 (5 magnitudes). During the next 9 minutes, the star completely disappeared from view - it was too faint to be observed with this telescope. It then again reappeared and the entire event was over after just 11 minutes. Why eclipses are so important for stellar studies An eclipse occurs when one of the stars in a binary stellar system moves in front of the other, as seen by the observer. The effect is similar to what happens during a solar eclipse when the Moon moves in front of the Sun. In both cases, the eclipse may be partial or total , depending on whether or not the eclipsed star (or the Sun) is completely hidden from view. The occurence of eclipses in stellar systems, as seen from the Earth, depends on the spatial orientation of the orbital plane and the sizes of the two stars. Two eclipses take place during one orbital revolution, but they may not both be observable. The physical properties of the two stars in a binary system (e.g., the sizes of the stars, the size and shape of the orbit, the distribution of the light on the surfaces of the stars, their temperatures etc.) can be determined from the measured "light-curve" of the system (a plot of brightness vrs. time). The stars are always too close to each other to be seen as anything but a point of lig