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Sample records for alligator cyp3a77 gene

  1. Sex-biased expression of sex-differentiating genes FOXL2 and FGF9 in American alligators, Alligator mississippiensis

    PubMed Central

    Janes, Daniel E.; Elsey, Ruth M.; Langan, Esther M.; Valenzuela, Nicole; Edwards, Scott V.

    2013-01-01

    Across amniotes, sex-determining mechanisms exhibit great variation yet the genes that govern sexual differentiation are largely conserved. Studies of evolution of sex-determining and sex-differentiating genes require an exhaustive characterization of functions of those genes such as FOXL2 and FGF9. FOXL2 is associated with ovarian development and FGF9 is known to play a role in testicular organogenesis in mammals and other amniotes. As a step toward characterization of the evolutionary history of sexual development, we measured expression of FOXL2 and FGF9 across three developmental stages and eight juvenile tissue types in male and female American alligators, Alligator mississippiensis. We report surprisingly high expression of FOXL2 before the stage of embryonic development when sex is determined in response to temperature and sustained and variable expression of FGF9 in juvenile male but not female tissue types. Novel characterization of gene expression in reptiles with temperature-dependent sex determination such as American alligators may inform the evolution of sex-determining and sex-differentiating gene networks as they suggest alternative functions from which the genes may have been exapted. Future functional profiling of sex-differentiating genes should similarly follow other genes and other species to enable a broad comparison across sex-determining mechanisms. PMID:23689672

  2. A Comprehensive Analysis of the Phylogeny, Genomic Organization and Expression of Immunoglobulin Light Chain Genes in Alligator sinensis, an Endangered Reptile Species.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xifeng; Cheng, Gang; Lu, Yan; Zhang, Chenglin; Wu, Xiaobing; Han, Haitang; Zhao, Yaofeng; Ren, Liming

    2016-01-01

    Crocodilians are evolutionarily distinct reptiles that are distantly related to lizards and are thought to be the closest relatives of birds. Compared with birds and mammals, few studies have investigated the Ig light chain of crocodilians. Here, employing an Alligator sinensis genomic bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library and available genome data, we characterized the genomic organization of the Alligator sinensis IgL gene loci. The Alligator sinensis has two IgL isotypes, λ and κ, the same as Anolis carolinensis. The Igλ locus contains 6 Cλ genes, each preceded by a Jλ gene, and 86 potentially functional Vλ genes upstream of (Jλ-Cλ)n. The Igκ locus contains a single Cκ gene, 6 Jκs and 62 functional Vκs. All VL genes are classified into a total of 31 families: 19 Vλ families and 12 Vκ families. Based on an analysis of the chromosomal location of the light chain genes among mammals, birds, lizards and frogs, the data further confirm that there are two IgL isotypes in the Alligator sinensis: Igλ and Igκ. By analyzing the cloned Igλ/κ cDNA, we identified a biased usage pattern of V families in the expressed Vλ and Vκ. An analysis of the junctions of the recombined VJ revealed the presence of N and P nucleotides in both expressed λ and κ sequences. Phylogenetic analysis of the V genes revealed V families shared by mammals, birds, reptiles and Xenopus, suggesting that these conserved V families are orthologous and have been retained during the evolution of IgL. Our data suggest that the Alligator sinensis IgL gene repertoire is highly diverse and complex and provide insight into immunoglobulin gene evolution in vertebrates.

  3. A Comprehensive Analysis of the Phylogeny, Genomic Organization and Expression of Immunoglobulin Light Chain Genes in Alligator sinensis, an Endangered Reptile Species

    PubMed Central

    Lu, Yan; Zhang, Chenglin; Wu, Xiaobing; Han, Haitang; Zhao, Yaofeng; Ren, Liming

    2016-01-01

    Crocodilians are evolutionarily distinct reptiles that are distantly related to lizards and are thought to be the closest relatives of birds. Compared with birds and mammals, few studies have investigated the Ig light chain of crocodilians. Here, employing an Alligator sinensis genomic bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library and available genome data, we characterized the genomic organization of the Alligator sinensis IgL gene loci. The Alligator sinensis has two IgL isotypes, λ and κ, the same as Anolis carolinensis. The Igλ locus contains 6 Cλ genes, each preceded by a Jλ gene, and 86 potentially functional Vλ genes upstream of (Jλ-Cλ)n. The Igκ locus contains a single Cκ gene, 6 Jκs and 62 functional Vκs. All VL genes are classified into a total of 31 families: 19 Vλ families and 12 Vκ families. Based on an analysis of the chromosomal location of the light chain genes among mammals, birds, lizards and frogs, the data further confirm that there are two IgL isotypes in the Alligator sinensis: Igλ and Igκ. By analyzing the cloned Igλ/κ cDNA, we identified a biased usage pattern of V families in the expressed Vλ and Vκ. An analysis of the junctions of the recombined VJ revealed the presence of N and P nucleotides in both expressed λ and κ sequences. Phylogenetic analysis of the V genes revealed V families shared by mammals, birds, reptiles and Xenopus, suggesting that these conserved V families are orthologous and have been retained during the evolution of IgL. Our data suggest that the Alligator sinensis IgL gene repertoire is highly diverse and complex and provide insight into immunoglobulin gene evolution in vertebrates. PMID:26901135

  4. A Comprehensive Analysis of the Phylogeny, Genomic Organization and Expression of Immunoglobulin Light Chain Genes in Alligator sinensis, an Endangered Reptile Species.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xifeng; Cheng, Gang; Lu, Yan; Zhang, Chenglin; Wu, Xiaobing; Han, Haitang; Zhao, Yaofeng; Ren, Liming

    2016-01-01

    Crocodilians are evolutionarily distinct reptiles that are distantly related to lizards and are thought to be the closest relatives of birds. Compared with birds and mammals, few studies have investigated the Ig light chain of crocodilians. Here, employing an Alligator sinensis genomic bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library and available genome data, we characterized the genomic organization of the Alligator sinensis IgL gene loci. The Alligator sinensis has two IgL isotypes, λ and κ, the same as Anolis carolinensis. The Igλ locus contains 6 Cλ genes, each preceded by a Jλ gene, and 86 potentially functional Vλ genes upstream of (Jλ-Cλ)n. The Igκ locus contains a single Cκ gene, 6 Jκs and 62 functional Vκs. All VL genes are classified into a total of 31 families: 19 Vλ families and 12 Vκ families. Based on an analysis of the chromosomal location of the light chain genes among mammals, birds, lizards and frogs, the data further confirm that there are two IgL isotypes in the Alligator sinensis: Igλ and Igκ. By analyzing the cloned Igλ/κ cDNA, we identified a biased usage pattern of V families in the expressed Vλ and Vκ. An analysis of the junctions of the recombined VJ revealed the presence of N and P nucleotides in both expressed λ and κ sequences. Phylogenetic analysis of the V genes revealed V families shared by mammals, birds, reptiles and Xenopus, suggesting that these conserved V families are orthologous and have been retained during the evolution of IgL. Our data suggest that the Alligator sinensis IgL gene repertoire is highly diverse and complex and provide insight into immunoglobulin gene evolution in vertebrates. PMID:26901135

  5. Nonpineal melatonin in the alligator (Alligator mississippiensis).

    PubMed

    Roth, J J; Gern, W A; Roth, E C; Ralph, C L; Jacobson, E

    1980-10-31

    All living and most fossil representatives of the reptilian subclass Archosauria lack pineal bodies. Arrhythmic, low-level, nonpineal melatonin is present, however, in the blood of Alligator mississippiensis. Although pineal bodies have been implicated in circadian phenomena, these results suggest that arrhytmic melatonin in alligators may not be involved incircadian events and indicate that the pineal is not the only source of the hormone melatonin. The evolutionary loss of the pineal in Archosauria occurred during the Mesozoic, and era noted for its seasonal stability. Arrhythmic melatonin titers inalligators and pineal loss in alligators and other archosaurs may be related to Mesozoic seasonal stability.

  6. Identification and Characterization of the Androgen Receptor From the American Alligator, Alligator mississippiensis

    PubMed Central

    Miyagawa, Shinichi; Yatsu, Ryohei; Kohno, Satomi; Doheny, Brenna M.; Ogino, Yukiko; Ishibashi, Hiroshi; Katsu, Yoshinao; Ohta, Yasuhiko; Guillette, Louis J.

    2015-01-01

    Androgens are essential for the development, reproduction, and health throughout the life span of vertebrates, particularly during the initiation and maintenance of male sexual characteristics. Androgen signaling is mediated by the androgen receptor (AR), a member of the steroid nuclear receptor superfamily. Mounting evidence suggests that environmental factors, such as exogenous hormones or contaminants that mimic hormones, can disrupt endocrine signaling and function. The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), a unique model for ecological research in that it exhibits environment-dependent sex determination, is oviparous and long lived. Alligators from a contaminated environment exhibit low reproductive success and morphological disorders of the testis and phallus in neonates and juveniles, both associated with androgen signaling; thus, the alterations are hypothesized to be related to disrupted androgen signaling. However, this line of research has been limited because of a lack of information on the alligator AR gene. Here, we isolated A mississippiensis AR homologs (AmAR) and evaluated receptor-hormone/chemical interactions using a transactivation assay. We showed that AmAR responded to all natural androgens and their effects were inhibited by cotreatment with antiandrogens, such as flutamide, p,p′-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene, and vinclozolin. Intriguingly, we found a spliced form of the AR from alligator cDNA, which lacks seven amino acids within the ligand-binding domain that shows no response to androgens. Finally, we have initial data on a possible dominant-negative function of the spliced form of the AR against androgen-induced AmAR. PMID:25974402

  7. Identification and Characterization of the Androgen Receptor From the American Alligator, Alligator mississippiensis.

    PubMed

    Miyagawa, Shinichi; Yatsu, Ryohei; Kohno, Satomi; Doheny, Brenna M; Ogino, Yukiko; Ishibashi, Hiroshi; Katsu, Yoshinao; Ohta, Yasuhiko; Guillette, Louis J; Iguchi, Taisen

    2015-08-01

    Androgens are essential for the development, reproduction, and health throughout the life span of vertebrates, particularly during the initiation and maintenance of male sexual characteristics. Androgen signaling is mediated by the androgen receptor (AR), a member of the steroid nuclear receptor superfamily. Mounting evidence suggests that environmental factors, such as exogenous hormones or contaminants that mimic hormones, can disrupt endocrine signaling and function. The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), a unique model for ecological research in that it exhibits environment-dependent sex determination, is oviparous and long lived. Alligators from a contaminated environment exhibit low reproductive success and morphological disorders of the testis and phallus in neonates and juveniles, both associated with androgen signaling; thus, the alterations are hypothesized to be related to disrupted androgen signaling. However, this line of research has been limited because of a lack of information on the alligator AR gene. Here, we isolated A mississippiensis AR homologs (AmAR) and evaluated receptor-hormone/chemical interactions using a transactivation assay. We showed that AmAR responded to all natural androgens and their effects were inhibited by cotreatment with antiandrogens, such as flutamide, p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene, and vinclozolin. Intriguingly, we found a spliced form of the AR from alligator cDNA, which lacks seven amino acids within the ligand-binding domain that shows no response to androgens. Finally, we have initial data on a possible dominant-negative function of the spliced form of the AR against androgen-induced AmAR. PMID:25974402

  8. Molecular and functional characterization of BAFF from the Yangtze alligator (Alligator sinensis, Alligatoridae).

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jia-Xin; Song, Ren; Sang, Ming; Sun, Si-Qing; Ma, Lei; Zhang, Jie; Zhang, Shuang-Quan

    2015-10-01

    B-cell activating factor (BAFF) from the TNF family is critical for B-cell survival and maturation. In this study, we identified a Yangtze alligator (Alligator sinensis, Alligatoridae) BAFF cDNA, designated as asBAFF, using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE). The open reading frame of this cDNA encodes a 287-amino acid protein containing a predicted transmembrane domain and a furin protease cleavage site, similar to mammalian and avian BAFF. The amino acid identity between biologically soluble asBAFF (assBAFF) and csBAFF, hsBAFF, and msBAFF is 94, 76, and 71%, respectively. Real-time quantitative PCR analysis showed that the asBAFF gene is strongly expressed in the spleen. Since BAFF is always expressed as inclusion bodies in bacteria, it is difficult to purify. To enhance the soluble expression of assBAFF in Escherichia coli, we fused the extracellular region of the asBAFF gene to a small ubiquitin-related modifier gene (SUMO). Purified assBAFF was able to promote the survival of splenic lymphocytes and co-stimulate the proliferation of mouse B cells with anti-mouse IgM. These findings suggest that asBAFF plays an important role in the survival and proliferation of Yangtze alligator B cells, and because it is evolutionarily highly conserved, functional cross-reactivity exists between mammalian and Yangtze alligator BAFF. PMID:26116474

  9. In ovo and in vitro susceptibility of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) to avian influenza virus infection.

    PubMed

    Temple, Bradley L; Finger, John W; Jones, Cheryl A; Gabbard, Jon D; Jelesijevic, Tomislav; Uhl, Elizabeth W; Hogan, Robert J; Glenn, Travis C; Tompkins, S Mark

    2015-01-01

    Avian influenza has emerged as one of the most ubiquitous viruses within our biosphere. Wild aquatic birds are believed to be the primary reservoir of all influenza viruses; however, the spillover of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) and the recent swine-origin pandemic H1N1 viruses have sparked increased interest in identifying and understanding which and how many species can be infected. Moreover, novel influenza virus sequences were recently isolated from New World bats. Crocodilians have a slow rate of molecular evolution and are the sister group to birds; thus they are a logical reptilian group to explore susceptibility to influenza virus infection and they provide a link between birds and mammals. A primary American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) cell line, and embryos, were infected with four, low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) strains to assess susceptibility to infection. Embryonated alligator eggs supported virus replication, as evidenced by the influenza virus M gene and infectious virus detected in allantoic fluid and by virus antigen staining in embryo tissues. Primary alligator cells were also inoculated with the LPAI viruses and showed susceptibility based upon antigen staining; however, the requirement for trypsin to support replication in cell culture limited replication. To assess influenza virus replication in culture, primary alligator cells were inoculated with H1N1 human influenza or H5N1 HPAI viruses that replicate independent of trypsin. Both viruses replicated efficiently in culture, even at the 30 C temperature preferred by the alligator cells. This research demonstrates the ability of wild-type influenza viruses to infect and replicate within two crocodilian substrates and suggests the need for further research to assess crocodilians as a species potentially susceptible to influenza virus infection.

  10. A big alligator snacks on a smaller alligator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1998-01-01

    A large alligator attacks and eats a smaller one in a natural display of cannibalism. Although this event has been observed infrequently by Kennedy Space Center's staff photographers, it is common feeding behavior among the wild alligator population on the space center. Alligators are carnivorous and will eat any living thing that crosses their paths and is small enough for them to kill. For this reason, it is dangerous to feed wild alligators, and in Florida, it is also illegal. Kennedy Space Center is located on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge which is operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

  11. Periods of cardiovascular susceptibility to hypoxia in embryonic american alligators (Alligator mississippiensis).

    PubMed

    Tate, Kevin B; Rhen, Turk; Eme, John; Kohl, Zachary F; Crossley, Janna; Elsey, Ruth M; Crossley, Dane A

    2016-06-01

    During embryonic development, environmental perturbations can affect organisms' developing phenotype, a process known as developmental plasticity. Resulting phenotypic changes can occur during discrete, critical windows of development. Critical windows are periods when developing embryos are most susceptible to these perturbations. We have previously documented that hypoxia reduces embryo size and increases relative heart mass in American alligator, and this study identified critical windows when hypoxia altered morphological, cardiovascular function and cardiac gene expression of alligator embryos. We hypothesized that incubation in hypoxia (10% O2) would increase relative cardiac size due to cardiac enlargement rather than suppression of somatic growth. We exposed alligator embryos to hypoxia during discrete incubation periods to target windows where the embryonic phenotype is altered. Hypoxia affected heart growth between 20 and 40% of embryonic incubation, whereas somatic growth was affected between 70 and 90% of incubation. Arterial pressure was depressed by hypoxic exposure during 50-70% of incubation, whereas heart rate was depressed in embryos exposed to hypoxia during a period spanning 70-90% of incubation. Expression of Vegf and PdgfB was increased in certain hypoxia-exposed embryo treatment groups, and hypoxia toward the end of incubation altered β-adrenergic tone for arterial pressure and heart rate. It is well known that hypoxia exposure can alter embryonic development, and in the present study, we have identified brief, discrete windows that alter the morphology, cardiovascular physiology, and gene expression in embryonic American alligator. PMID:27101296

  12. Periods of cardiovascular susceptibility to hypoxia in embryonic american alligators (Alligator mississippiensis).

    PubMed

    Tate, Kevin B; Rhen, Turk; Eme, John; Kohl, Zachary F; Crossley, Janna; Elsey, Ruth M; Crossley, Dane A

    2016-06-01

    During embryonic development, environmental perturbations can affect organisms' developing phenotype, a process known as developmental plasticity. Resulting phenotypic changes can occur during discrete, critical windows of development. Critical windows are periods when developing embryos are most susceptible to these perturbations. We have previously documented that hypoxia reduces embryo size and increases relative heart mass in American alligator, and this study identified critical windows when hypoxia altered morphological, cardiovascular function and cardiac gene expression of alligator embryos. We hypothesized that incubation in hypoxia (10% O2) would increase relative cardiac size due to cardiac enlargement rather than suppression of somatic growth. We exposed alligator embryos to hypoxia during discrete incubation periods to target windows where the embryonic phenotype is altered. Hypoxia affected heart growth between 20 and 40% of embryonic incubation, whereas somatic growth was affected between 70 and 90% of incubation. Arterial pressure was depressed by hypoxic exposure during 50-70% of incubation, whereas heart rate was depressed in embryos exposed to hypoxia during a period spanning 70-90% of incubation. Expression of Vegf and PdgfB was increased in certain hypoxia-exposed embryo treatment groups, and hypoxia toward the end of incubation altered β-adrenergic tone for arterial pressure and heart rate. It is well known that hypoxia exposure can alter embryonic development, and in the present study, we have identified brief, discrete windows that alter the morphology, cardiovascular physiology, and gene expression in embryonic American alligator.

  13. Fibrous trabeculae in the liver of alligator (alligator mississippiensis).

    PubMed

    Beresford, W A

    1993-08-01

    In the mature alligator, fibrous trabeculae run from the portal areas and capsule through the hepatic parenchyma. The extent of these trabeculae becomes clear only after staining for collagen with, for example, Fast green or Picrosirius red. The trabeculae are less well developed in young caiman. The alligator's liver might use the trabeculae to withstand thrashing of the body.

  14. The 'Angry Alligator'

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1966-01-01

    The Augmented Target Docking Adapter (ATDA) as seen from the Gemini 9 spacecraft during one of their three rendezvous in space. The ATDA and Gemini 9 spacecraft are 66.5 ft. apart. Failure of the docking adapter protective cover to fully separate on the ATDA prevented the docking of the two spacecraft. The ATDA was described by the Gemini 9 crew as an 'angry alligator.'

  15. OOGENESIS AND OVARIAN HISTOLOGY OF THE AMERICAN ALLIGATOR ALLIGATOR MISSISSIPPIENSIS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Although folliculogenesis and oogenesis have been observed in numerous reptiles, these phenomena have not been described in detail in a crocodilian. Oogenesis and histological features of the adult ovary of Alligator mississippiensis are described. Using a complex process, the ov...

  16. Mercury in alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) in the southeastern United States

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jagoe, C.H.; Arnold-Hill, B.; Yanochko, G.M.; Winger, P.V.; Brisbin, I.L.

    1998-01-01

    Mercury methylation may be enhanced in wetlands and humic-rich, blackwater systems that crocodiles and alligators typically inhabit. Given their high trophic level and long life-spans, crocodilians could accumulate significant burdens of Hg. Our objectives were to survey Hg concentrations in alligators from several areas in the southeastern United States to test their utility as sentinels of Hg contamination, to examine relationships among Hg concentrations in various tissues and to look for any differences in tissue Hg concentrations among locations. We measured total Hg concentrations in alligators collected in the Florida Everglades (n = 18), the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia (n = 9), the Savannah River Site (SRS), South Carolina (n = 49) and various locations in central Florida ( n = 21), sampling tissues including blood, brain, liver, kidney, muscle, bone, fat, spleen, claws and dermal scutes. Alligators from the Everglades were mostly juvenile, but Hg concentrations in tissues were high (means: liver 41.0, kidney 36.4, muscle 5.6 mg Hg/kg dry wt.). Concentrations in alligators from other locations in Florida were lower (means: liver 14.6, kidney 12.6, muscle 1.8 mg Hg/kg dry wt.), although they tended to be larger adults. Alligators from the Okefenokee were smallest and had the lowest Hg concentrations (means: liver 4.3, kidney 4.8, muscle 0.8 mg Hg/kg dry wt.). At some locations, alligator length was correlated with Hg concentrations in some internal organs. However, at three of the four locations, muscle Hg was not related to length. Tissue Hg concentrations were correlated at most locations; however, claw or dermal scute Hg explained less than 74% of the variation of Hg in muscle or organs, suggesting readily-obtained tissues, such as scutes or claws, have limited value for nondestructive screening of Hg in alligator populations.

  17. Essential fatty acid nutrition of the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis).

    PubMed

    Staton, M A; Edwards, H M; Brisbin, I L; Joanen, T; McNease, L

    1990-07-01

    The essential fatty acid (EFA) nutrition of young American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) was examined by feeding a variety of fats/oils with potential EFA activity. Over a 12-wk period, alligators fed diets containing 2.5 or 5.0% chicken liver oil grew longer and heavier and converted feed to body mass more efficiently than alligators fed other fat/oil combinations that lacked or contained only trace amounts of arachidonic acid [20:4(n-6)]. Alligators fed an EFA-deficient diet (containing only coconut fat as the dietary fat) were the slowest-growing animals and converted feed to body mass least efficiently. However, over a 41-wk feeding period, alligators fed this diet showed no obvious external signs of deficiency other than being reduced in size and unthrifty. Fatty acid composition of heart, liver, muscle, skin and adipose tissue lipids was influenced markedly by dietary fat composition. Tissues varied significantly in response to dietary fat composition. Heart lipids contained the lowest levels of short- and medium-chain fatty acids and the highest levels of arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid levels were less influenced by diet than were levels of other 20- and 22-carbon polyunsaturated fatty acids. Radiotracer studies indicated that linoleic acid was converted to arachidonic acid in the liver. Nevertheless, tissue arachidonic acid levels also appeared to be maintained by concentration from dietary sources and selective conservation. It appears that a dietary source of arachidonic acid may be required for a maximum rate of growth.

  18. Mortality of American alligators attributed to cannibalism

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Delany, Michael F.; Woodward, Allan R.; Kiltie, Richard A.; Moore, Clinton T.

    2011-01-01

    Mortality of juvenile (Alligator mississippiensis) attributed to cannibalism on Orange Lake, Florida was examined. Alligator web tags used in mark–recapture studies were found in 12% of 267 stomachs sampled from alligators ≥168 cm TL. Captive alligators retained 76% of force-fed tags during a 588-d tag-retention trial. Models relating the probability of tag recovery to the annual probabilities of juvenile survival, cannibalism, tag retention, adult survival, and adult harvest suggested that cannibalism may on average remove 6–7% of the juvenile alligator population annually. Vulnerability continued to 140 cm TL (age 6–8 yr). Cannibalism of juveniles may serve to regulate the alligator population on Orange Lake. Alligator cannibalism may vary widely among populations, depending on demography and environmental conditions. The role and importance of cannibalism in alligator population dynamics should be more fully assessed and environmental and population factors that influence cannibalism identified to better evaluate management programs.

  19. Alligators, contaminants and steroid hormones.

    PubMed

    Guillette, Louis J; Edwards, Thea M; Moore, Brandon C

    2007-01-01

    Steroids are essential for successful reproduction in all vertebrate species. Over the last several decades, extensive research has indicated that exposure to various environmental pollutants can disrupt steroidogenesis and steroid signaling. Although steroidogenesis is regulated by the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, it is also modified by various paracrine and autocrine factors. Furthermore, the classical two-cell model of steroidogenesis in the developing ovarian follicle, involving the granulosa and theca cells in mammals, may not be universal. Instead, birds and probably reptiles use the two thecal compartments (theca interna and theca externa) as sites of steroid production. We have documented that embryonic or juvenile exposure to a complex mixture of contaminants from agricultural and storm water runoff leads to altered steroid hormone profiles in American alligators. Our observations suggest that alterations in plasma steroid hormone concentrations are due in part to altered gene expression, modified hepatic biotransformation and altered gonadal steroidogenesis. Future studies must examine the interplay between endocrine and paracrine regulation in the development and expression of gonadal steroidogenesis in individuals exposed to endocrine disrupting contaminants at various life stages if we are to fully understand potential detrimental outcomes.

  20. Glutamine synthetase in liver of the American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis.

    PubMed

    Smith, D D; Campbell, J W

    1987-01-01

    Glutamine synthetase was shown to be localized in liver mitochondria of the American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis, by immunofluorescent staining of frozen liver sections and by the detection of enzymatic activity and immunoreactive protein in the mitochondrial fraction following subcellular fractionation of liver tissue by differential centrifugation. The primary translation product of alligator liver glutamine synthetase mRNA was shown to have an Mr = 45,000 which is similar if not identical in size to that of the mature subunit. This mRNA was found to be heterogeneous in size with a major form corresponding to 2.8-3.0 kb and a lesser form corresponding to around 2 kb. Both are in excess of the size required to code for the glutamine synthetase subunit. The synthesis and presumably the mitochondrial import of glutamine synthetase in alligator liver are thus very similar to the same processes in avian liver. Despite the excretion of a high percentage of nitrogen as ammonia, the demonstration of a mitochondrial glutamine synthetase indicates the alligator has the typical avian-type uricotelic ammonia-detoxification system in liver. This suggests that the transition to uricotelism occurred in the sauropsid line of evolution and has persisted through both the lepidosaurian (snakes, lizards) and archosaurian (dinosaurs, crocodilians, birds) lines.

  1. Growth rates of Chinese and American alligators.

    PubMed

    Herbert, J D; Coulson, T D; Coulson, R A

    2002-04-01

    Growth rates in two closely related species, Alligator mississippiensis (American alligator) and Alligator sinensis (Chinese alligator), were compared under identical conditions for at least 1 year after hatching. When hatched, Chinese alligators were approximately 2/3 the length and approximately 1/2 the weight of American alligator hatchlings. At the end of 1 year of growth in captivity in heated chambers, the Chinese alligators were approximately 1/2 as long and weighed approximately 1/10 as much as American alligator yearlings. When the animals were maintained at 31 degrees C, Chinese alligator food consumption and length gain rates dropped to near zero during autumn and winter and body weights decreased slightly, apparently in response to the change in day length. At constant temperature (31 degrees C), food consumption by American alligators remained high throughout the year. Length gain rates in American alligators decreased slowly as size increased, but were not affected by photoperiod. Daily weight gains in American alligators increased steadily throughout the year. In autumn, provision of artificial light for 18 h a day initially stimulated both length and weight gain in Chinese alligators, but did not affect growth in American alligators. Continuation of the artificial light regimen seemed to cause deleterious effects in the Chinese alligators after several months, however, so that animals exposed to the normal light cycle caught up to and then surpassed the extra-light group in size. Even after removal of the artificial light, it was several months before these extra-light animals reverted to a normal growth pattern. These findings may be of interest to those institutions engaged in captive growth programs intended to provide animals for reintroduction to the wild or to protected habitat. PMID:11897202

  2. Alligator diet in relation to alligator mortality on Lake Griffin, FL

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rice, A.N.; Ross, J.P.; Woodward, A.R.; Carbonneau, D.A.; Percival, H.F.

    2007-01-01

    Alligator mississippiensis (American Alligators) demonstrated low hatch-rate success and increased adult mortality on Lake Griffin, FL, between 1998 and 2003. Dying Lake Griffin alligators with symptoms of poor motor coordination were reported to show specific neurological impairment and brain lesions. Similar lesions were documented in salmonines that consumed clupeids with high thiaminase levels. Therefore, we investigated the diet of Lake Griffin alligators and compared it with alligator diets from two lakes that exhibited relatively low levels of unexplained alligator mortality to see if consumption of Dorosoma cepedianum (gizzard shad) could be correlated with patterns of mortality. Shad in both lakes Griffin and Apopka had high levels of thiaminase and Lake Apopka alligators were consuming greater amounts of shad relative to Lake Griffin without showing mortality rates similar to Lake Griffin alligators. Therefore, a relationship between shad consumption alone and alligator mortality is not supported.

  3. AFFINITY OF THE ALLIGATOR ESTROGEN RECEPTOR FOR SERUM PESTICIDE CONTAMINANTS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Top predators, like the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) bioaccumulate and biomagnify persistent pollutants, such as organochlorine pesticides. In a recently published study, several pesticides and pesticide metabolites not previously reported in alligator eggs wer...

  4. Cloning and sequence analysis of the coding sequence of β-actin cDNA from the Chinese alligator and suitable internal reference primers from the β-actin gene.

    PubMed

    Zhu, H N; Zhang, S Z; Zhou, Y K; Wang, C L; Wu, X B

    2015-01-01

    β-Actin is an essential component of the cytoskeleton and is stably expressed in various tissues of animals, thus, it is commonly used as an internal reference for gene expression studies. In this study, a 1731-bp fragment of β-actin cDNA from Alligator sinensis was obtained using the homology cloning technique. Sequence analysis showed that this fragment contained the complete coding sequence of the β-actin gene (1128 bp), encoding 375 amino acids. The amino acid sequence of β-actin is highly conserved and its nucleotide sequence is slightly variable. Multiple alignment analyses showed that the nucleotide sequence of the β-actin gene from A. sinensis is very similar to sequences from birds, with 94-95% identity. Ten pairs of primers with different product sizes and different annealing temperatures were screened by PCR amplification, agarose gel electrophoresis, and DNA sequencing, and could be used as internal reference primers in gene expression studies. This study expands our knowledge of β-actin gene phylogenetic evolution and provides a basis for quantitative gene expression studies in A. sinensis. PMID:26505364

  5. Morphology and histochemistry of juvenile American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) nephrons.

    PubMed

    Moore, Brandon C; Hyndman, Kelly A; Cox, Ashley; Lawler, Ashley; Mathavan, Ketan; Guillette, Louis J

    2009-10-01

    Here we present a detailed morphological description of the alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) kidney and nephron. We present a series of histological, histochemical, and immunohistochemical markers that clearly define the seven regions of the alligator nephron. The alligator kidney is composed of many paired (mirrored) lobules on each kidney (lobe). Single nephrons span the width of lobules three times. The fine structure of glomeruli, lying in rows spanning the height of the lobule, is resolved by periodic acid methionine silver (PAMS) and periodic acid Schiff's (PAS) histochemistry. Glomeruli are connected to the proximal tubule (PT) via a neck segment. The PT is alcian blue-negative, making it distinct from the distal tubule (DT), connecting segment (CS), and collecting duct (CD). The PT is clearly identifiable by a PAS-positive brush border membrane. The PT is connected to the DT via an intermediate segment (IS) that makes a 180 degrees turn to connect these tubules. PAMS-positive material is found in the lumens of the PT, IS, and DT. Also, PAMS-positive granules are found in the DT, CS, and CD. Immunolocalization of the Na(+), K(+)-ATPase to the basolateral membrane of the DT, CS, and CD suggests a role of this enzyme in driving primary and secondary transport processes in these segments, including bicarbonate transport into the lumen of the DT (leading to an alkaline urine). Through the techniques described here, we have identified a series of distinct markers to be used by pathologists, veterinarians, and researchers to easily identify alligator nephron segments. Anat Rec, 2009. (c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  6. Alligators in the Sewers? Really?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Egbert, Joy

    2009-01-01

    A large number of alligators, flushed down toilets as babies, have grown up and proliferated in the bowels of New York City. Over the years, they have grown in number and size and frequently terrorize those foolish enough to visit the subways. This tale has been making its way around the Internet ever since there's been an Internet. It's wild…

  7. Gender differences in haemogregarine infections in American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) at Savannah River, South Carolina, USA.

    PubMed

    Davis, Andrew K; Horan, Robert V; Grosse, Andrew M; Harris, Bess B; Metts, Brian S; Scott, David E; Tuberville, Tracey D

    2011-10-01

    We report a host gender bias in haemogregarine infection characteristics in the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) at the Savannah River Site, South Carolina, USA. Prevalence and severity in female alligators was higher than it was in males. The reason for this pattern is not clear.

  8. Occurrence of decabromodiphenyl ethane in captive Chinese alligators (Alligator sinensis) from China.

    PubMed

    Hong, Bing; Wu, Ting; Zhao, Guangchao; Sun, Yuxin; Wang, Xinming; Zhao, Juan; Yi, Zhigang; Wu, Xiaobing; Mai, Bixian

    2015-01-01

    Decabromodiphenyl ethane (DBDPE), a replacement for decabromodiphenyl ether (deca-BDE), was investigated in captive Chinese alligators from China. DBDPE was detected in adult tissues, neonates and eggs of Chinese alligators with concentrations ranging from 4.74-192, 0.24-1.94, and 0.01-0.51 ng g(-1) lipid weight, respectively. Compared to PBDEs and PCBs, DBDPE contamination was limited in Chinese alligators. Additionally, DBDPE concentrations in adult muscles were one to three orders of magnitude higher than those in neonates and eggs, suggesting the limited maternal transfer potential of DBDPE in Chinese alligators. This is the first study to report the occurrence of DBDPE in Chinese alligators.

  9. Distribution of ventilation in American alligator Alligator mississippiensis

    SciTech Connect

    Bickler, P.E.; Spragg, R.G.; Hartman, M.T.; White, F.N.

    1985-10-01

    The regional distribution of ventilation in the multicameral lung of spontaneously ventilating alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) was studied with TTXe scintigraphy. Frequent gamma camera images of TTXe washin and washout were obtained and processed to allow evaluation of regional ventilation. Washin of TTXe to equilibrium occurred in three to four breaths in anterior, central, and posterior compartments. Washin was most rapid in the posterior compartment and slowest in the anterior. The structure of the lungs and distribution of ventilation of inspired gas is consistent with the rapid radial spread of gas through a parallel arrangement of lung units surrounding the central intrapulmonary bronchus. Washout to equilibrium of TTXe from all compartments occurred within three to four breaths. This rapid washin and washout of gas to all parts of the lung stands in contrast to the lungs of turtles and snakes, in which the caudal air sacs are relatively poorly ventilated.

  10. Bioprospecting the American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) Host Defense Peptidome

    PubMed Central

    Bishop, Barney M.; Juba, Melanie L.; Devine, Megan C.; Barksdale, Stephanie M.; Rodriguez, Carlos Alberto; Chung, Myung C.; Russo, Paul S.; Vliet, Kent A.; Schnur, Joel M.; van Hoek, Monique L.

    2015-01-01

    Cationic antimicrobial peptides and their therapeutic potential have garnered growing interest because of the proliferation of bacterial resistance. However, the discovery of new antimicrobial peptides from animals has proven challenging due to the limitations associated with conventional biochemical purification and difficulties in predicting active peptides from genomic sequences, if known. As an example, no antimicrobial peptides have been identified from the American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis, although their serum is antimicrobial. We have developed a novel approach for the discovery of new antimicrobial peptides from these animals, one that capitalizes on their fundamental and conserved physico-chemical properties. This sample-agnostic process employs custom-made functionalized hydrogel microparticles to harvest cationic peptides from biological samples, followed by de novo sequencing of captured peptides, eliminating the need to isolate individual peptides. After evaluation of the peptide sequences using a combination of rational and web-based bioinformatic analyses, forty-five potential antimicrobial peptides were identified, and eight of these peptides were selected to be chemically synthesized and evaluated. The successful identification of multiple novel peptides, exhibiting antibacterial properties, from Alligator mississippiensis plasma demonstrates the potential of this innovative discovery process in identifying potential new host defense peptides. PMID:25671663

  11. Biophysics of directional hearing in the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

    PubMed Central

    Bierman, Hilary S.; Thornton, Jennifer L.; Jones, Heath G.; Koka, Kanthaiah; Young, Bruce A.; Brandt, Christian; Christensen-Dalsgaard, Jakob; Carr, Catherine E.; Tollin, Daniel J.

    2014-01-01

    Physiological and anatomical studies have suggested that alligators have unique adaptations for spatial hearing. Sound localization cues are primarily generated by the filtering of sound waves by the head. Different vertebrate lineages have evolved external and/or internal anatomical adaptations to enhance these cues, such as pinnae and interaural canals. It has been hypothesized that in alligators, directionality may be enhanced via the acoustic coupling of middle ear cavities, resulting in a pressure difference receiver (PDR) mechanism. The experiments reported here support a role for a PDR mechanism in alligator sound localization by demonstrating that (1) acoustic space cues generated by the external morphology of the animal are not sufficient to generate location cues that match physiological sensitivity, (2) continuous pathways between the middle ears are present to provide an anatomical basis for coupling, (3) the auditory brainstem response shows some directionality, and (4) eardrum movement is directionally sensitive. Together, these data support the role of a PDR mechanism in crocodilians and further suggest this mechanism is a shared archosaur trait, most likely found also in the extinct dinosaurs. PMID:24671963

  12. Jumping the Alligators in the Ditch.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Barber, Rims

    Poor black young people in rural Mississippi contemplate their schooling with the same feelings as their friends who dare to jump the local ditches filled with alligators: the odds are against escaping the alligators, and the advantages of getting to the far side are not very apparent. Living in conditions of extreme poverty, these young people…

  13. Methyltestosterone alters sex determination in the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis).

    PubMed

    Murray, Christopher M; Easter, Michael; Merchant, Mark; Rheubert, Justin L; Wilson, Kelly A; Cooper, Amos; Mendonça, Mary; Wibbels, Thane; Marin, Mahmood Sasa; Guyer, Craig

    2016-09-15

    Effects of xenobiotics can be organizational, permanently affecting anatomy during embryonic development, and/or activational, influencing transitory actions during adulthood. The organizational influence of endocrine-disrupting contaminants (EDC's) produces a wide variety of reproductive abnormalities among vertebrates that exhibit temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD). Typically, such influences result in subsequent activational malfunction, some of which are beneficial in aquaculture. For example, 17-αmethyltestosterone (MT), a synthetic androgen, is utilized in tilapia farming to bias sex ratio towards males because they are more profitable. A heavily male-biased hatchling sex ratio is reported from a crocodile population near one such tilapia operation in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. In this study we test the effects of MT on sexual differentiation in American alligators, which we used as a surrogate for all crocodilians. Experimentally, alligators were exposed to MT in ovo at standard ecotoxicological concentrations. Sexual differentiation was determined by examination of primary and secondary sex organs post hatching. We find that MT is capable of producing male embryos at temperatures known to produce females and demonstrate a dose-dependent gradient of masculinization. Embryonic exposure to MT results in hermaphroditic primary sex organs, delayed renal development and masculinization of the clitero-penis (CTP). PMID:27401264

  14. Coronary blood flow in the anesthetized American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis).

    PubMed

    Jensen, Bjarke; Elfwing, Magnus; Elsey, Ruth M; Wang, Tobias; Crossley, Dane A

    2016-01-01

    Coronary circulation of the heart evolved early within ectothermic vertebrates and became of vital importance to cardiac performance in some teleost fish, mammals and birds. In contrast, the role and function of the coronary circulation in ectothermic reptiles remains largely unknown. Here, we investigated the systemic and coronary arterial responses of five anesthetized juvenile American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) to hypoxia, acetylcholine, adenosine, sodium nitroprusside, isoproterenol, and phenylephrine. We recorded electrocardiograms, monitored systemic blood pressure, blood flows in both aortae, and blood flow in a major coronary artery supplying most of the right ventricle. Coronary arterial blood flow was generally forward, but there was a brief retrograde flow during a ventricular contraction. Blood pressure was significantly changed in all conditions. Acetylcholine decreased coronary forward flow, but this response was confounded by the concomitant lowered work of the ventricles due to decreased heart rate and blood pressure. Coronary forward flow was poorly correlated with heart rate and mean arterial pressure across treatments. Overall changes in coronary forward flow, significant and not significant, were generally in the same direction as mean arterial pressure and ventricular power, approximated as the product of systemic cardiac output and mean arterial pressure. PMID:26436857

  15. Coronary blood flow in the anesthetized American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis).

    PubMed

    Jensen, Bjarke; Elfwing, Magnus; Elsey, Ruth M; Wang, Tobias; Crossley, Dane A

    2016-01-01

    Coronary circulation of the heart evolved early within ectothermic vertebrates and became of vital importance to cardiac performance in some teleost fish, mammals and birds. In contrast, the role and function of the coronary circulation in ectothermic reptiles remains largely unknown. Here, we investigated the systemic and coronary arterial responses of five anesthetized juvenile American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) to hypoxia, acetylcholine, adenosine, sodium nitroprusside, isoproterenol, and phenylephrine. We recorded electrocardiograms, monitored systemic blood pressure, blood flows in both aortae, and blood flow in a major coronary artery supplying most of the right ventricle. Coronary arterial blood flow was generally forward, but there was a brief retrograde flow during a ventricular contraction. Blood pressure was significantly changed in all conditions. Acetylcholine decreased coronary forward flow, but this response was confounded by the concomitant lowered work of the ventricles due to decreased heart rate and blood pressure. Coronary forward flow was poorly correlated with heart rate and mean arterial pressure across treatments. Overall changes in coronary forward flow, significant and not significant, were generally in the same direction as mean arterial pressure and ventricular power, approximated as the product of systemic cardiac output and mean arterial pressure.

  16. Methyltestosterone alters sex determination in the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis).

    PubMed

    Murray, Christopher M; Easter, Michael; Merchant, Mark; Rheubert, Justin L; Wilson, Kelly A; Cooper, Amos; Mendonça, Mary; Wibbels, Thane; Marin, Mahmood Sasa; Guyer, Craig

    2016-09-15

    Effects of xenobiotics can be organizational, permanently affecting anatomy during embryonic development, and/or activational, influencing transitory actions during adulthood. The organizational influence of endocrine-disrupting contaminants (EDC's) produces a wide variety of reproductive abnormalities among vertebrates that exhibit temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD). Typically, such influences result in subsequent activational malfunction, some of which are beneficial in aquaculture. For example, 17-αmethyltestosterone (MT), a synthetic androgen, is utilized in tilapia farming to bias sex ratio towards males because they are more profitable. A heavily male-biased hatchling sex ratio is reported from a crocodile population near one such tilapia operation in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. In this study we test the effects of MT on sexual differentiation in American alligators, which we used as a surrogate for all crocodilians. Experimentally, alligators were exposed to MT in ovo at standard ecotoxicological concentrations. Sexual differentiation was determined by examination of primary and secondary sex organs post hatching. We find that MT is capable of producing male embryos at temperatures known to produce females and demonstrate a dose-dependent gradient of masculinization. Embryonic exposure to MT results in hermaphroditic primary sex organs, delayed renal development and masculinization of the clitero-penis (CTP).

  17. On the variability of alligator sex ratios

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nichols, J.D.; Chabreck, R.H.

    1980-01-01

    Samples of alligators from wild and 'farm' populations exhibited disproportionate sex ratios. Males predominated among young alligators from wild populations, whereas females were much more abundant than males in the farm population, where resources were superabundant. These results and other considerations lead us to hypothesize that environmental factors influence sex determination in alligators. During favorable environmental conditions natural selection is expected to favor a preponderance of the sex whose individuals exhibit the greater environmentally associated variation in relative fitness. We hypothesize that environmentally associated variation in age at sexual maturity of females produces sufficient variation in relative fitness of females to result in selection for low sex ratios during periods of resource abundance.

  18. Chronic incidental lead ingestion in a group of captive-reared alligators (Alligator mississippiensis): possible contribution to reproductive failure.

    PubMed

    Lance, Valentine A; Horn, Thomas R; Elsey, Ruth M; de Peyster, Ann

    2006-01-01

    An American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) breeding facility using male and female alligators raised from artificially incubated eggs was established in 1975. These alligators first reproduced at 6 years of age as compared to 10-12 years in wild alligators, but the eggs produced showed a lower hatching rate than those collected from the wild. By age 21 reproduction had failed almost completely. The alligators were sacrificed and tissues collected at necropsy from 44 captive and 15 wild animals and assayed for metals. Results showed that captive alligators had significantly higher tissue levels of lead than wild alligators. Cadmium did not differ between wild and captive and selenium was 50% higher in wild than captive alligator kidneys. Bone lead in captive alligators was 252,443 +/- 20,462 ng/g. High yolk lead was suggested as a probable cause for early embryonic death in alligator eggs. The high tissue lead levels in captive alligators was attributed to long-term consumption of nutria (Myocastor coypus) meat contaminated with lead shot. Liver, ovary, and testis were assayed for lipid peroxidation using the thiobarbituric acid (TBA) test. Captive alligators had 3.6 fold increased TBA-reactive materials in the liver tissue compared to wild. Lipid peroxidation was strongly suspected as having been enhanced by consumption of rancid nutria meat containing lead.

  19. SEASONAL VARIATION IN PLASMA SEX STEROID CONCENTRATION IN JUVENILE ALLIGATORS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Seasonal variation in plasma sex steroid concentrations is common in mature vertebrates, and is occasionally seen in juvenile animals. In this study, we examine the seasonal pattern of sex hormone concentration in juvenile American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) and make...

  20. POPS IN ALLIGATOR LIVERS FROM LAKE APOPKA, FLORIDA, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Reproductive disorders in American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) inhabiting Lake Apopka, Florida, have been observed for several years. Such disorders are hypothesized to be caused by endocrine disrupting contaminants occurring in the Lake due to pesticide spills and ...

  1. THYROID STATUS IN JUVENILE ALLIGATORS (ALLIGATOR MISSISSIPPIENSIS) FROM CONTAMINATED AND REFERENCE SITES ON LAKE OKEECHOBEE, FLORIDA, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Exposure to environmental contaminants has been shown to alter normal thyroid function in various wildlife species, including the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis). Abnormalities in circulating levels of the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) have been reported in juven...

  2. 75 FR 34365 - Safety Zone, Alligator River, NC

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-06-17

    ... SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 RIN 1625-AA00 Safety Zone, Alligator River, NC AGENCY: Coast Guard... the waters of the Alligator River at East Lake, North Carolina. The safety zone is intended to... on the Alligator River makes safety zone regulations necessary to provide for the safety...

  3. Genome analysis and signature discovery for diving and sensory properties of the endangered Chinese alligator

    PubMed Central

    Wan, Qiu-Hong; Pan, Sheng-Kai; Hu, Li; Zhu, Ying; Xu, Peng-Wei; Xia, Jin-Quan; Chen, Hui; He, Gen-Yun; He, Jing; Ni, Xiao-Wei; Hou, Hao-Long; Liao, Sheng-Guang; Yang, Hai-Qiong; Chen, Ying; Gao, Shu-Kun; Ge, Yun-Fa; Cao, Chang-Chang; Li, Peng-Fei; Fang, Li-Ming; Liao, Li; Zhang, Shu; Wang, Meng-Zhen; Dong, Wei; Fang, Sheng-Guo

    2013-01-01

    Crocodilians are diving reptiles that can hold their breath under water for long periods of time and are crepuscular animals with excellent sensory abilities. They comprise a sister lineage of birds and have no sex chromosome. Here we report the genome sequence of the endangered Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis) and describe its unique features. The next-generation sequencing generated 314 Gb of raw sequence, yielding a genome size of 2.3 Gb. A total of 22 200 genes were predicted in Alligator sinensis using a de novo, homology- and RNA-based combined model. The genetic basis of long-diving behavior includes duplication of the bicarbonate-binding hemoglobin gene, co-functioning of routine phosphate-binding and special bicarbonate-binding oxygen transport, and positively selected energy metabolism, ammonium bicarbonate excretion and cardiac muscle contraction. Further, we elucidated the robust Alligator sinensis sensory system, including a significantly expanded olfactory receptor repertoire, rapidly evolving nerve-related cellular components and visual perception, and positive selection of the night vision-related opsin and sound detection-associated otopetrin. We also discovered a well-developed immune system with a considerable number of lineage-specific antigen-presentation genes for adaptive immunity as well as expansion of the tripartite motif-containing C-type lectin and butyrophilin genes for innate immunity and expression of antibacterial peptides. Multifluorescence in situ hybridization showed that alligator chromosome 3, which encodes DMRT1, exhibits significant synteny with chicken chromosome Z. Finally, population history analysis indicated population admixture 0.60-1.05 million years ago, when the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau was uplifted. PMID:23917531

  4. Molecular cloning, characterization, tissue distribution and mRNA expression changes during the hibernation and reproductive periods of estrogen receptor alpha (ESR1) in Chinese alligator, Alligator sinensis.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Ruidong; Hu, Yuehong; Wang, Huan; Yan, Peng; Zhou, Yongkang; Wu, Rong; Wu, Xiaobing

    2016-10-01

    Chinese alligator, Alligator sinensis, is a critically endangered reptile species unique to China. Little is known about the mechanism of growth- and reproduction-related hormones gene expression in Chinese alligator. Estrogens play important roles in regulating multiple reproduction- and non-reproduction-related functions by binding to their corresponding receptors. Here, the full-length cDNA of estrogen receptor alpha (ERα/ESR1) was cloned and sequenced from Chinese alligator for the first time, which comprises 1764bp nucleotides and encodes a predicted protein of 587 amino acids. Phylogenetic analysis of ESR1 showed that crocodilians and turtles were the sister-group of birds. The results of real-time quantitative PCR indicated that the ESR1 mRNA was widely expressed in the brain and peripheral tissues. In the brain and pituitary gland, ESR1 was most highly transcribed in the cerebellum. But in other peripheral tissues, ESR1 mRNA expression level was the highest in the ovary. Compared with hibernation period, ESR1 mRNA expression levels were increased significantly in the reproductive period (P<0.05) in cerebellum, pituitary gland, liver, spleen, lung, kidney and ovary, while no significant change in other examined tissues (P>0.05). The ESR1 mRNA expression levels changes during the two periods of different tissues suggested that ESR1 might play an important role in mediation of estrogenic multiple reproductive effects in Chinese alligator. Furthermore, it was the first time to quantify ESR1 mRNA level in the brain of crocodilians, and the distribution and expression of ESR1 mRNA in the midbrain, cerebellum and medulla oblongata was also reported for the first time in reptiles. PMID:27212643

  5. Alterations in steroidogenesis in alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) exposed naturally and experimentally to environmental contaminants.

    PubMed Central

    Crain, D A; Guillette, L J; Rooney, A A; Pickford, D B

    1997-01-01

    Many environmental contaminants alter the reproduction of animals by altering the development and function of the endocrine system. The ability of environmental contaminants to alter the endocrine system of alligators was studied both in a descriptive study in which juvenile alligators from a historically contaminated lake were compared to animals from a control lake and in an experimental study in which hatchling control alligators were exposed in ovo to several endocrine-disrupting standards and two modern-use herbicides. Endocrine status was assessed by examining plasma hormone concentrations, gonadal-adrenal mesonephros (GAM) aromatase activity, and gonadal histopathology. In the descriptive study, juvenile alligators from the contaminated lake had significantly lower plasma testosterone concentrations (29.2 pg/ml compared to 51.3 pg/ml), whereas plasma 17 beta-estradiol concentrations did not vary when compared to controls. GAM aromatase activity was significantly decreased n the alligators from the contaminated lake (7.6 pmol/g/hr compared to 11.4 pmol/g/hr). In the experimental study, the endocrine-disrupting standards had the expected effects. 17 beta-Estradiol and tamoxifen caused sex reversal from male to female, with a corresponding increase in aromatase activity. Vinclozolin had no apparent effect on male or female alligators. Among the herbicides tested, atrazine induced GAM aromatase activity in male hatchling alligators that was neither characteristic of males nor females, although testicular differentiation was not altered. Exposure to 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid had no effect on the endocrine parameters that were measured. Together, these studies show that exposure to some environmental chemicals (such as atrazine) can alter steroidogenesis in alligators, but the endocrine alterations previously noted for Lake Apopka, Florida, alligators can not be fully explained by this mechanism. Images Figure 1. PMID:9222139

  6. Endogenous and exogenous estrogens during embryonic development affect timing of hatch and growth in the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis).

    PubMed

    Cruze, Lori; Roark, Alison M; Rolland, Gabrielle; Younas, Mona; Stacy, Nicole; Guillette, Louis J

    2015-06-01

    Prenatal exposure to estrogenic endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can affect length of gestation and body mass and size of offspring. However, the dose, timing, and duration of exposure as well as sex and strain of the experimental animals determine the direction and magnitude of these effects. In this study, we examined the effects of a one-time embryonic exposure to either 17 β-estradiol (E2) or bisphenol A (BPA) on rate of development and growth in American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis). Our results indicate that BPA and E2-treated alligators hatched approximately 1.4 days earlier than vehicle-treated (control) alligators, suggesting that estrogenic chemicals hasten hatching in these animals. We assessed growth rates, growth allometry, and body condition for 21 weeks after hatching and found that BPA-treated alligators grew more quickly shortly after hatching but more slowly thereafter compared to control alligators. Conversely, E2-treated alligators grew more slowly shortly after hatching but more quickly thereafter compared to control alligators. As a result of differences in growth rate, BPA-treated alligators were heavier, longer, and fatter than control alligators at age 5 weeks but were similar in size and leaner than control alligators at age 21 weeks. Biochemical analytes were examined at the end of the 21-week study to assess overall metabolic condition. We found that E2-treated alligators had significantly higher circulating plasma concentrations of cholesterol and triglycerides than control alligators while BPA-treated alligators had blood profiles comparable to control alligators. Our results provide important insights into the effects of exogenous estrogens on morphology and metabolism in an oviparous, semi-aquatic reptile.

  7. A mother alligator protects her young

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2000-01-01

    In the water near Kennedy Space Center, a mother alligator gathers her six offspring. American alligators feed and rest in the water, and lay their eggs in dens they dig into the banks. The young alligators spend their first several weeks in these dens. The Center shares a boundary with the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, which encompasses 92,000 acres that are a habitat for more than 331 species of birds, 31 mammals, 117 fishes, and 65 amphibians and reptiles. The marshes and open water of the refuge provide wintering areas for 23 species of migratory waterfowl, as well as a year-round home for great blue herons, great egrets, wood storks, cormorants, brown pelicans and other species of marsh and shore birds, as well as a variety of insects.

  8. An algae-covered alligator rests warily

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2000-01-01

    An algae-covered alligator keeps a wary eye open as it rests in one of the ponds at Kennedy Space Center. American alligators feed and rest in the water, and lay their eggs in dens they dig into the banks. The young alligators spend their first several weeks in these dens. The Center shares a boundary with the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, which encompasses 92,000 acres that are a habitat for more than 331 species of birds, 31 mammals, 117 fishes, and 65 amphibians and reptiles. The marshes and open water of the refuge provide wintering areas for 23 species of migratory waterfowl, as well as a year-round home for great blue herons, great egrets, wood storks, cormorants, brown pelicans and other species of marsh and shore birds, as well as a variety of insects.

  9. TRPV4 associates environmental temperature and sex determination in the American alligator

    PubMed Central

    Yatsu, Ryohei; Miyagawa, Shinichi; Kohno, Satomi; Saito, Shigeru; Lowers, Russell H.; Ogino, Yukiko; Fukuta, Naomi; Katsu, Yoshinao; Ohta, Yasuhiko; Tominaga, Makoto; Guillette Jr, Louis J.; Iguchi, Taisen

    2015-01-01

    Temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD), commonly found among reptiles, is a sex determination mode in which the incubation temperature during a critical temperature sensitive period (TSP) determines sexual fate of the individual rather than the individual’s genotypic background. In the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), eggs incubated during the TSP at 33 °C (male producing temperature: MPT) yields male offspring, whereas incubation temperatures below 30 °C (female producing temperature: FPT) lead to female offspring. However, many of the details of the underlying molecular mechanism remains elusive, and the molecular link between environmental temperature and sex determination pathway is yet to be elucidated. Here we show the alligator TRPV4 ortholog (AmTRPV4) to be activated at temperatures proximate to the TSD-related temperature in alligators, and using pharmacological exposure, we show that AmTRPV4 channel activity affects gene expression patterns associated with male differentiation. This is the first experimental demonstration of a link between a well-described thermo-sensory mechanism, TRPV4 channel, and its potential role in regulation of TSD in vertebrates, shedding unique new light on the elusive TSD molecular mechanism. PMID:26677944

  10. TRPV4 associates environmental temperature and sex determination in the American alligator.

    PubMed

    Yatsu, Ryohei; Miyagawa, Shinichi; Kohno, Satomi; Saito, Shigeru; Lowers, Russell H; Ogino, Yukiko; Fukuta, Naomi; Katsu, Yoshinao; Ohta, Yasuhiko; Tominaga, Makoto; Guillette, Louis J; Iguchi, Taisen

    2015-01-01

    Temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD), commonly found among reptiles, is a sex determination mode in which the incubation temperature during a critical temperature sensitive period (TSP) determines sexual fate of the individual rather than the individual's genotypic background. In the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), eggs incubated during the TSP at 33 °C (male producing temperature: MPT) yields male offspring, whereas incubation temperatures below 30 °C (female producing temperature: FPT) lead to female offspring. However, many of the details of the underlying molecular mechanism remains elusive, and the molecular link between environmental temperature and sex determination pathway is yet to be elucidated. Here we show the alligator TRPV4 ortholog (AmTRPV4) to be activated at temperatures proximate to the TSD-related temperature in alligators, and using pharmacological exposure, we show that AmTRPV4 channel activity affects gene expression patterns associated with male differentiation. This is the first experimental demonstration of a link between a well-described thermo-sensory mechanism, TRPV4 channel, and its potential role in regulation of TSD in vertebrates, shedding unique new light on the elusive TSD molecular mechanism. PMID:26677944

  11. ALTERATIONS IN SEXUALLY DIMORPHIC BIOTRANSFORMATION OF TESTOSTERONE IN JUVENILE AMERICAN ALLIGATORS (ALLIGATOR MISSISSIPPIENSIS) FROM CONTAMINATED LAKES

    EPA Science Inventory

    The goal of this study was to determine whether hepatic biotransformation of testosterone is normally sexually dimorphic in juvenile alligators and whether living in a contaminated environment affects hepatic dimorphism. Lake Woodruff served as our reference site. Moonshine Bay, ...

  12. MORPHOLOGICAL VARIATION IN HATCHLING AMERICAN ALLIGATORS (ALLIGATOR MISSISSIPPIENSIS) FROM THREE FLORIDA LAKES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Morphological variation of 508 hatchling alligators from three lakes in north central Florida (Lakes Woodruff, Apopka, and Orange) was analyzed using multivariate statistics. Morphological variation was found among clutches as well as among lakes. Principal components analysis wa...

  13. International Alligator Rivers Analog Project

    SciTech Connect

    Bichard, G.F.

    1988-01-01

    The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO), the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate, the U.K. Department of the Environment, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and the Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corporation of Japan are participating under the aegis of the Nuclear Energy Agency in the International Alligator Rivers Analog Project. The project has a duration of 3 yr, starting in 1988. The project has grown out of a research program on uranium ore bodies as analogs of high-level waste (HLW) repositories undertaken by ANSTO supported by the NRC. A primary objective of the project is to develop an approach to radionuclide transport model validation that may be used by the participants to support assessments of the safety of radioactive waste repositories. The approach involves integrating mathematical and physical modeling with hydrological and geochemical field and laboratory investigations of the analog site. The Koongarra uranium ore body has been chosen as the analog site because it has a secondary ore body that has formed over the past million years as a result of leaching by groundwater flowing through fractures in the primary ore body.

  14. METALS AND METALLOIDS IN TISSUES OF AMERICAN ALLIGATORS IN THREE FLORIDA LAKES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Concentrations of metals and selenium were examined in tissues of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) from three lakes in central Florida, in one of which alligators have exhibited reproductive or developmental defects. Our overall objective was to determine whether ...

  15. Home range and movements of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) in an estuary habitat

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fujisaki, Ikuko; Hart, Kristen M.; Mazzotti, Frank J.; Cherkiss, Michael S.; Sartain-Iverson, Autumn R.; Jeffery, Brian M.; Beauchamp, Jeffrey S.; Denton, Mathew J.

    2014-01-01

    This study reveals consistent use of estuary habitat by American alligators. The alligators showed variations in their movement pattern and seasonal habitat, with movement attributable to environmental factors. Although satellite-derived locations were more dispersed compared to locations collected using VHF radio-tags, data collected from VHF tracking omitted some habitat used for a short period of time, indicating the effectiveness of satellite telemetry to continuously track animals for ecosystem-scale studies.

  16. The isolation of parvalbumin isoforms from the tail muscle of the American alligator (Alligator mississipiensis).

    PubMed

    Laney, E L; Shabanowitz, J; King, G; Hunt, D F; Nelson, D J

    1997-04-01

    Multiple parvalbumin isoforms have been detected in the tail (skeletal) muscle of the American alligator (Alligator mississipiensis). One of these isoforms (APV-1) has been highly purified and partially characterized. Protein purification involved mainly gel filtration and anion exchange chromatography, and characterization included gel electrophoresis, amino acid composition analysis, metal ion analysis, MALDI-TOF and ESI mass spectrometry, ultraviolet and fluorescence spectroscopy, and one- and two-dimensional 500 MHz proton NMR spectroscopy. The alligator isoforms are rich in phenylalanine and deficient in the other aromatic residues as is typical for parvalbumins. In fact, the one highly purified isoform that forms the basis of this study has only phenyl-alanine as an aromatic residue. Ion exchange chromatography further indicates that this isoform has a relatively high isoelectric point (pl approximately 5.0), indicating that it is an alpha-lineage parvalbumin. This alligator parvalbumin isoform is unusual in that it has an atypically high Ca2+ content (almost 3.0 mole of Ca2+ per mole of protein) following purification, a fact supported by terbium fluorescence titration experiments. Preliminary comparative analysis of the highly purified alligator parvalbumin isoform (in the Ca2-loaded state) by two-dimensional 1H-NMR (2D 1H TOCSY and 2D 1H NOESY) indicates that there is considerable similarity in structure between the alligator protein and a homologous protein obtained from the silver hake (a saltwater fish species). PMID:9076974

  17. Ecological studies on the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) on the Savannah River Plant

    SciTech Connect

    Seigel, R.A.; Brandt, L.A.; Knight, J.L.; Novak, S.S.

    1986-06-01

    The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is the largest vertebrate of the Savannah River Plant (SRP), reaching a maximum length of 3.7 meters (12 feet) and weighing up to 175 kg (385 pounds). Currently, populations in coastal South Carolina are considered Threatened, whereas populations in inland areas (such as the SRP) are still Endangered. Because of their legal status and economic and ecological importance, it is important to determine the environmental impacts of SRP operations on the local alligator population. The major objectives under the Endangered Species Program of the Comprehensive Cooling Water Study (CCWS) were as follows: (1) document and compare the present status and distribution of alligators on the SRP to previous surveys, in order to determine long-term changes in population abundance; (2) establish baseline population and ecological parameters of the Steel Creek population so that the ecological effects of L-Reactor operations can be determined, and (3) conduct ecological research on the immediate impacts of thermal effluents on American alligators. Gladden et al., (1985) summarized data on previous population surveys, temporal changes in the Par Pond population, preliminary results of the Steel Creek surveys and Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL) research on the effects of thermal effluents. This report summarizes the current status of the SRP population, presents data on the abundance, movement patterns and activity cycles of the Steel Creek population, and presents additional data on the effect of cooling water releases on alligator ecology and behavior.

  18. Urinary Phthalate Metabolites in American Alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) from Selected Florida Wetlands.

    PubMed

    Brock, John W; Bell, Jane Margaret; Guillette, Louis J

    2016-07-01

    Phthalates have been shown to cause endocrine disruption in laboratory animals and are associated with altered development of the reproductive system in humans. Further, human have significant exposure to phthalates. However, little is known concerning the exposure of wildlife to phthalates. We report urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations from fifty juvenile alligators from three Florida lakes and a site in the Everglades. Urinary phthalate monoester concentrations varied widely among alligators from the different sites but also among alligators from the same site. Mono-2-ethylhexy phthalate and monobutyl phthalate were found in most samples of alligator urine with maximums of 35,700 ng/mL and 193 ng/mL, respectively. Monobenzyl phthalate was found in 5 alligators with a maximum of 66.7 ng/mL. Other monoesters were found in only one or two alligator urine samples. The wide variation within and among sites, in addition to the high levels of mEHP, mBP and mBzP, is consistent with exposure arising from the intermittent spraying of herbicide formulations to control invasive aquatic plants in Florida freshwater sites. Phthalate diesters are used as adjuvants in many of these formulations. PMID:26743198

  19. Survival and growth of American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) hatchlings after artificial incubation and repatriation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Temsiripong, Y.; Woodward, A.R.; Ross, J.P.; Kubilis, P.S.; Percival, H.F.

    2006-01-01

    Hatchling American Alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) produced from artificially incubated wild eggs were returned to their natal areas (repatriated). We compared artificially incubated and repatriated hatchlings released within and outside the maternal alligator's home range with naturally incubated hatchlings captured and released within the maternal alligator's home range on Lake Apopka, Lake Griffin, and Orange Lake in Florida. We used probability of recapture and total length at approximately nine months after hatching as indices of survival and growth rates. Artificially incubated hatchlings released outside of the maternal alligator's home range had lower recapture probabilities than either naturally incubated hatchlings or artificially incubated hatchlings released near the original nest site. Recapture probabilities of other treatments did not differ significantly. Artificially incubated hatchlings were approximately 6% shorter than naturally incubated hatchlings at approximately nine months after hatching. We concluded that repatriation of hatchlings probably would not have long-term effects on populations because of the resiliency of alligator populations to alterations of early age-class survival and growth rates of the magnitude that we observed. Repatriation of hatchlings may be an economical alternative to repatriation of older juveniles for population restoration. However, the location of release may affect subsequent survival and growth. Copyright 2006 Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles.

  20. Bio-gas production from alligator weeds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Latif, A.

    1976-01-01

    Laboratory experiments were conducted to study the effect of temperature, sample preparation, reducing agents, light intensity and pH of the media, on bio-gas and methane production from the microbial anaerobic decomposition of alligator weeds (Alternanthera philoxeroides. Efforts were also made for the isolation and characterization of the methanogenic bacteria.

  1. Crocodiles and Alligators. Young Discovery Library Series.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Farre, Marie

    This book is written for children ages 5 through 10. Part of a series designed to develop their curiosity, fascinate them and educate them, this volume describes the physical characteristics, behavior, and peculiar habits of crocodiles, including how to distinguish them from close relatives such as alligators, cayman, and gharials. (YP)

  2. Alternathera philoxeroides (Martius) Grisebach - alligator weed

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Biological control of Alternanthera philoxeroides, alligator weed, began when George Vogt, USDA, conducted several surveys by public transport in South America during the 1960s. Three agents were released in USA and two of them, the flea beetle Agasicles hygrophila and the moth Arcola malloi were re...

  3. Elemental Levels Analyzed by PIXE in Florida Alligators

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuharik, J. C.; Kravchenko, I. I.; Dunnam, F. E.; Van Rinsvelt, H. A.; Ross, J. P.

    2003-08-01

    Unusual and alarming mortality of alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) has been reported from Lake Griffin, Florida, where almost 400 dead alligators have been observed since 1997. In addition, the hatch rate for alligator eggs around Lake Griffin fell below 10% and remains low (30-45%) while the normal hatch rate is typically 80%. Standard diagnostic methods have been ineffective in determining the cause of the phenomenon. Many possibilities have been considered including pollutants, nutrition, and toxic algae. Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) analysis is highly suitable for investigating concentrations of a wide range of elements in animal tissue. Liver, kidney and spinal cord tissues from healthy and sick alligators have been analyzed by PIXE for elemental content. Initial results showed positive correlation between certain elements and neural impairment and morbidity of alligators in Lake Griffin, but have failed to prove significant.

  4. Elemental Levels Analyzed by PIXE in Florida Alligators

    SciTech Connect

    Kuharik, J.C.; Kravchenko, I.I.; Dunnam, F.E.; Rinsvelt, H.A. van; Ross, J.P.

    2003-08-26

    Unusual and alarming mortality of alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) has been reported from Lake Griffin, Florida, where almost 400 dead alligators have been observed since 1997. In addition, the hatch rate for alligator eggs around Lake Griffin fell below 10% and remains low (30-45%) while the normal hatch rate is typically 80%. Standard diagnostic methods have been ineffective in determining the cause of the phenomenon. Many possibilities have been considered including pollutants, nutrition, and toxic algae. Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) analysis is highly suitable for investigating concentrations of a wide range of elements in animal tissue. Liver, kidney and spinal cord tissues from healthy and sick alligators have been analyzed by PIXE for elemental content. Initial results showed positive correlation between certain elements and neural impairment and morbidity of alligators in Lake Griffin, but have failed to prove significant.

  5. A study on biliary ductal system and bile fistula in the American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis.

    PubMed

    Xu, G; Elsey, R M; Lance, V A; Javors, B; Chen, T S; Salen, G; Tint, G S

    1997-12-15

    The anomalous arrangement of bile ducts in the Crocodylia has not been fully appreciated. A clear understanding of biliary anatomy is necessary in order to create complete bile drainage in these reptiles. The object of this study was to clarify the anatomy of the bile ductal system and to establish total bile fistulas in the American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis. Bile duct anatomy was studied in 104 juvenile alligators, and bile fistulas were constructed in seven alligators. In 93 out of 104 (89%) of the juveniles dissected there was an interconnection between the right and left hepatic duct before the right hepatic duct emptied into the gallbladder. The left hepatic duct then entered the duodenum independently of the cystic duct which drained the gallbladder directly into the duodenum. In 8% of the animals, the left hepatic duct did not enter the duodenum but joined with the right duct, forming a common hepatic duct that emptied into the gallbladder. In 3% of the cases, the right hepatic duct emptied into the gallbladder, while the left duct had no communication with the right hepatic duct and drained separately into the duodenum. This arrangement of bile ducts is similar to that seen in birds and reflects the common ancestry of crocodiles and birds. In other reptiles, the biliary system shows much more variability and is different from the alligator. In five of seven alligators in which total biliary diversion was attempted, the biliary catheter remained in place and stayed patent from 2-7 weeks. Bile flow was extremely low (1.5-2.5 ml/24 h) when compared to that of mammals (80-100 ml/24 h). This study demonstrates the variable nature of the biliary ductal system in Alligator mississippiensis and suggest a method for constructing an effective total bile fistula in these animals.

  6. Levels of mercury in alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) collected along a transect through the Florida Everglades

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rumbold, D.G.; Fink, L.E.; Laine, K.A.; Niemczyk, S.L.; Chandrasekhar, T.; Wankel, Scott D.; Kendall, C.

    2002-01-01

    As part of a multi-agency study of alligator health, 28 American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) were captured along a transect through the Florida Everglades in 1999. Liver and tail muscle tissues were sampled and analyzed on a wet weight basis for total mercury (THg) using cold-vapor atomic absorption spectrophotometry. All tissues had detectable concentrations of THg that ranged from 0.6 to 17 mg/kg in liver and from 0.1 to 1.8 mg/kg in tail muscle. THg was more concentrated in liver tissue than tail muscle, but levels were highly correlated between tissues. THg concentrations in tissue differed significantly among locations, with animals from Everglades National Park (ENP) having mean concentrations of THg in liver (10.4 mg/kg) and tail muscle (1.2 mg/kg) that were two-fold higher than basin-wide averages (4.9 and 0.64 mg/kg, respectively). The reasons for higher contamination of ENP alligators were unclear and could not be explained by differences in sex, length, weight or animal age. While ??15N values were positively correlated with THg concentrations in tail muscle, spatial patterns in isotopic composition did not explain the elevated THg levels in ENP alligators. Therefore, it appears that ENP alligators were more highly exposed to mercury in their environment than individuals in other areas. Comparisons to a previous survey by Yanochko et al. [Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 32 (1997) 323] suggest that mercury levels have declined in some Everglades alligators since 1994. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

  7. Blood and Plasma Biochemistry Reference Intervals for Wild Juvenile American Alligators ( Alligator mississippiensis ).

    PubMed

    Hamilton, Matthew T; Kupar, Caitlin A; Kelley, Meghan D; Finger, John W; Tuberville, Tracey D

    2016-07-01

    : American alligators ( Alligator mississippiensis ) are one of the most studied crocodilian species in the world, yet blood and plasma biochemistry information is limited for juvenile alligators in their northern range, where individuals may be exposed to extreme abiotic and biotic stressors. We collected blood samples over a 2-yr period from 37 juvenile alligators in May, June, and July to establish reference intervals for 22 blood and plasma analytes. We observed no effect of either sex or blood collection time on any analyte investigated. However, our results indicate a significant correlation between a calculated body condition index and aspartate aminotransferase and creatine kinase. Glucose, total protein, and potassium varied significantly between sampling sessions. In addition, glucose and potassium were highly correlated between the two point-of-care devices used, although they were significantly lower with the i-STAT 1 CG8+ cartridge than with the Vetscan VS2 Avian/Reptile Rotor. The reference intervals presented herein should provide baseline data for evaluating wild juvenile alligators in the northern portion of their range. PMID:27224213

  8. Respiratory bronchoscopy of subadult American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) and tracheal wash evaluation.

    PubMed

    Lafortune, Maud; Göbel, Thomas; Jacobson, Elliot; Heard, Darryl; Brown, Dan; Alleman, Rick; Vliet, Kent; Harr, Kendal E; Hernandez, Jorge

    2005-03-01

    Twelve healthy approximately 3-yr-old captive-born 4.5-9 kg American alligators (Alligator mississipiensis) each had bronchoscopy and tracheal washes performed four times during a 10-mo period to evaluate seasonal respiratory microbiology and cytology. Cytologic evaluation of most samples showed a small amount of mucus and low numbers of ciliated columnar epithelium, cubodial epithelium, and keratinized squamous cells. No bacteria or parasites were observed, and there was no seasonal variation in the cytology. No significant bacterial or fungal growth was identified in any season. Hematology performed in the spring and fall evaluations showed seasonal variation in the red blood cell count, hemoglobin concentration, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration, eosinophil count, and thrombocyte count. The lower respiratory tract (at the tracheal level) of healthy subadult alligators appears to be sterile, and cytology is similar to that described in domestic mammals. PMID:17315452

  9. Low cost of pulmonary ventilation in American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) stimulated with doxapram.

    PubMed

    Skovgaard, Nini; Crossley, Dane A; Wang, Tobias

    2016-04-01

    To determine the costs of pulmonary ventilation without imposing severe oxygen limitations or acidosis that normally accompany exposures to hypoxia or hypercapnia, we opted to pharmacologically stimulate ventilation with doxapram (5 and 10 mg kg(-1)) in alligators. Doxapram is used clinically to alleviate ventilatory depression in response to anaesthesia and acts primarily on the peripheral oxygen-sensitive chemoreceptors. Using this approach, we investigated the hypothesis that pulmonary ventilation is relatively modest in comparison to resting metabolic rate in crocodilians and equipped seven juvenile alligators with masks for concurrent determination of ventilation and oxygen uptake. Doxapram elicited a dose-dependent and up to fourfold rise in ventilation, primarily by increasing ventilatory frequency. The accompanying rise in oxygen uptake was very small; ventilation in resting animals constitutes no more than 5% of resting metabolic rate. The conclusion that pulmonary ventilation is energetically cheap is consistent with earlier studies on alligators where ventilation was stimulated by hypoxia or hypercapnia. PMID:26896538

  10. A mother alligator protects her young

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2000-01-01

    American alligators feed and rest in the water, and lay their eggs in dens they dig into the banks. The young alligators spend their first several weeks in these dens. The Center shares a boundary with the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, which encompasses 92,000 acres that are a habitat for more than 331 species of birds, 31 mammals, 117 fishes, and 65 amphibians and reptiles. The marshes and open water of the refuge provide wintering areas for 23 species of migratory waterfowl, as well as a year-round home for great blue herons, great egrets, wood storks, cormorants, brown pelicans and other species of marsh and shore birds, as well as a variety of insects.

  11. HISTOPATHOLOGY OF GASTRIC WALL IN CHINESE ALLIGATOR ALLIGATOR SINENSIS INFECTED WITH ORTLEPPASCARIS SINENSIS (NEMATODA: ASCARIDOIDEA).

    PubMed

    Zhao, Jinhong; Wang, Shaosheng; Tu, Genjun; Zhou, Yongkang; Wu, Xiaobing; Li, Chaopin

    2015-01-01

    Crocodiles are susceptible to infection with a wide array of external and internal gastrointestinal helminths, yet little is known on the histopathology following infection or the effects of these parasites. The present study was aimed at evaluating the impact of infection by Ortleppascaris sinensis (Nematoda: Ascaridoidea) on the stomach of captive Alligator sinensis. The histological examination of the stomach revealed presence of superficial ulcer in mucous layer and granulomatous inflammation in submucous layer at entire gastric walls of the Alligator sinensis. Our findings also confirm that development of Ortleppascaris sinensis is in close association with the wall of the stomach. PMID:26319836

  12. Incubation history prior to the canonical thermosensitive period determines sex in the American alligator.

    PubMed

    McCoy, Jessica A; Parrott, Benjamin B; Rainwater, Thomas R; Wilkinson, Phillip M; Guillette, Louis J

    2015-10-01

    Despite the widespread occurrence of environmental sex determination (ESD) among vertebrates, our knowledge of the temporal dynamics by which environmental factors act on this process remains limited. In many reptiles, incubation temperature determines sex during a discrete developmental window just prior to and coincident with the differentiation of the gonads. Yet, there is substantial variation in sex ratios among different clutches of eggs incubated at identical temperatures during this period. Here, we test the hypothesis that temperatures experienced prior to the reported thermosensitive period for alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) can impact how the sex determination system responds to thermal cues later in development. Temperature shift experiments on eggs collected from the field within 24  h of oviposition were employed to decouple various maternal influences from thermal effects, and results demonstrate a previously undefined window of thermosensitivity occurring by stage 15 of embryonic development, six stages earlier than previously reported. We also examine the intrasexual expression of several male- and female-biased genes and show that while male-biased genes display no intrasexual differences, ovarian CYP19A1 (aromatase) transcript abundance differs by approximately twofold depending on thermal exposures experienced at early stages of embryonic development. These findings expand our understanding of the ESD in the alligator and provide the rationale for reevaluation of the temporal dynamics of sex determination in other crocodilians. PMID:26183894

  13. Hexavalent chromium is cytotoxic and genotoxic to American alligator cells.

    PubMed

    Wise, Sandra S; Wise, Catherine; Xie, Hong; Guillette, Louis J; Zhu, Cairong; Wise, John Pierce; Wise, John Pierce

    2016-02-01

    Metals are a common pollutant in the aquatic ecosystem. With global climate change, these levels are anticipated to rise as lower pH levels allow sediment bound metals to be released. The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is an apex predator in the aquatic ecosystem and is considered a keystone species; as such it serves as a suitable monitor for localized pollution. One metal of increasing concern is hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)). It is present in the aquatic environment and is a known human carcinogen and reproductive toxicant. We measured the cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of Cr(VI) in American alligator cells derived from scute tissue. We found that particulate and soluble Cr(VI) are both cytotoxic and genotoxic to alligator cells in a concentration-dependent manner. These data suggest that alligators may be used as a model for assessing the effects of environmental Cr(VI) contamination as well as for other metals of concern. PMID:26730726

  14. Hexavalent chromium is cytotoxic and genotoxic to American alligator cells.

    PubMed

    Wise, Sandra S; Wise, Catherine; Xie, Hong; Guillette, Louis J; Zhu, Cairong; Wise, John Pierce; Wise, John Pierce

    2016-02-01

    Metals are a common pollutant in the aquatic ecosystem. With global climate change, these levels are anticipated to rise as lower pH levels allow sediment bound metals to be released. The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is an apex predator in the aquatic ecosystem and is considered a keystone species; as such it serves as a suitable monitor for localized pollution. One metal of increasing concern is hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)). It is present in the aquatic environment and is a known human carcinogen and reproductive toxicant. We measured the cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of Cr(VI) in American alligator cells derived from scute tissue. We found that particulate and soluble Cr(VI) are both cytotoxic and genotoxic to alligator cells in a concentration-dependent manner. These data suggest that alligators may be used as a model for assessing the effects of environmental Cr(VI) contamination as well as for other metals of concern.

  15. Pathology, physiologic parameters, tissue contaminants, and tissue thiamine in morbid and healthy central Florida adult American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Honeyfield, D.C.; Ross, J.P.; Carbonneau, D.A.; Terrell, S.P.; Woodward, A.R.; Schoeb, T.R.; Perceval, H.F.; Hinterkopf, J.P.

    2008-01-01

    An investigation of adult alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) mortalities in Lake Griffin, central Florida, was conducted from 1998-2004. Alligator mortality was highest in the months of April and May and annual death count peaked in 2000. Bacterial pathogens, heavy metals, and pesticides were not linked with the mortalities. Blood chemistry did not point to any clinical diagnosis, although differences between impaired and normal animals were noted. Captured alligators with signs of neurologic impairment displayed unresponsive and uncoordinated behavior. Three of 21 impaired Lake Griffin alligators were found to have neural lesions characteristic of thiamine deficiency in the telencephalon, particularly the dorsal ventricular ridge. In some cases, lesions were found in the thalamus, and parts of the midbrain. Liver and muscle tissue concentrations of thiamine (vitamin B"1) were lowest in impaired Lake Griffin alligators when compared to unimpaired alligators or to alligators from Lake Woodruff. The consumption of thiaminase-positive gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum) is thought to have been the cause of the low tissue thiamine and resulting mortalities. ?? Wildlife Disease Association 2008.

  16. Global DNA methylation loss associated with mercury contamination and aging in the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis).

    PubMed

    Nilsen, Frances M; Parrott, Benjamin B; Bowden, John A; Kassim, Brittany L; Somerville, Stephen E; Bryan, Teresa A; Bryan, Colleen E; Lange, Ted R; Delaney, J Patrick; Brunell, Arnold M; Long, Stephen E; Guillette, Louis J

    2016-03-01

    Mercury is a widespread environmental contaminant with exposures eliciting a well-documented catalog of adverse effects. Yet, knowledge regarding the underlying mechanisms by which mercury exposures are translated into biological effects remains incomplete. DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification that is sensitive to environmental cues, and alterations in DNA methylation at the global level are associated with a variety of diseases. Using a liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry-based (LC-MS/MS) approach, global DNA methylation levels were measured in red blood cells of 144 wild American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) from 6 sites with variable levels of mercury contamination across Florida's north-south axis. Variation in mercury concentrations measured in whole blood was highly associated with location, allowing the comparison of global DNA methylation levels across different "treatments" of mercury. Global DNA methylation in alligators across all locations was weakly associated with increased mercury exposure. However, a much more robust relationship was observed in those animals sampled from locations more highly contaminated with mercury. Also, similar to other vertebrates, global DNA methylation appears to decline with age in alligators. The relationship between age-associated loss of global DNA methylation and varying mercury exposures was examined to reveal a potential interaction. These findings demonstrate that global DNA methylation levels are associated with mercury exposure, and give insights into interactions between contaminants, aging, and epigenetics.

  17. Perfluorinated Alkyl Acids in Plasma of American Alligators (Alligator Mississippiensis) from Florida and South Carolina

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bangma, Jacqueline T.; Bowden, John A.; Brunell, Arnold M.; Christie, Ian; Finnell, Brendan; Guillette, Matthew P.; Jones, Martin; Lowers, Russell H.; Rainwater, Thomas R.; Reiner, Jessica L.; Wilkinson, Philip M.; Guillette, Louis J., Jr.

    2016-01-01

    This study aimed to quantitate fourteen perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) in 125 adult American alligators at twelve sites across the southeastern US. Of those fourteen PFAAs, nine were detected in 65% - 100% of the samples: PFOA, PFNA, PFDA, PFUnA, PFDoA, PFTriA, PFTA, PFHxS, and PFOS. Males (across all sites) showed significantly higher concentrations of four PFAAs: PFOS (p = 0.01), PFDA (p = 0.0003), PFUnA (p = 0.021), and PFTriA (p = 0.021). Concentrations of PFOS, PFHxS, and PFDA in plasma were significantly different among the sites in each sex. Alligators at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Kiawah Nature Conservancy both exhibited some of the highest PFOS concentrations (medians 99.5 ng/g and 55.8 ng/g respectively) in plasma measured to date in a crocodilian species. A number of positive correlations between PFAAs and snout-vent length (SVL) were observed in both sexes suggesting PFAA body burdens increase with increasing size. In addition, several significant correlations among PFAAs in alligator plasma may suggest conserved sources of PFAAs at each site throughout the greater study area. This study is the first to report PFAAs in American alligators, reveals potential PFAA hot spots in Florida and South Carolina, and provides and additional contaminant of concern when assessing anthropogenic impacts on ecosystem health.

  18. Persistent halogenated compounds in captive Chinese alligators (Alligator sinensis) from China.

    PubMed

    Wu, Ting; Hong, Bing; Wu, Xiaobing; Wu, Jiangping; Wang, Xinming; Yi, Zhigang; Zhao, Juan; Zhan, Miao; Mai, Bixian

    2014-09-01

    While a number of studies have reported residual levels of persistent halogenated compounds (PHCs) in crocodilia, there is still a dearth of information on the Chinese alligator, a critically endangered crocodilian species. In the present study, several PHCs, including polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane and its metabolites (DDTs), were detected in the adult tissues, neonates, and eggs of captive Chinese alligators from China. The concentrations of ΣPBDEs, ΣPCBs, and ΣDDTs in Chinese alligators ranged from 0.11 to 16.1, 1.12 to 22.2, and 6.03 to 1020ngg(-1) wet weight, respectively, with higher levels of ΣPCBs and ΣDDTs in the neonates and eggs than in muscle tissues. The ΣDDT residues in the studied Chinese alligators were at the high end of reported ranges from crocodilia around the world, and some results exceeded levels known to cause a female-biased sex ratio in crocodilians.

  19. Global DNA methylation loss associated with mercury contamination and aging in the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis).

    PubMed

    Nilsen, Frances M; Parrott, Benjamin B; Bowden, John A; Kassim, Brittany L; Somerville, Stephen E; Bryan, Teresa A; Bryan, Colleen E; Lange, Ted R; Delaney, J Patrick; Brunell, Arnold M; Long, Stephen E; Guillette, Louis J

    2016-03-01

    Mercury is a widespread environmental contaminant with exposures eliciting a well-documented catalog of adverse effects. Yet, knowledge regarding the underlying mechanisms by which mercury exposures are translated into biological effects remains incomplete. DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification that is sensitive to environmental cues, and alterations in DNA methylation at the global level are associated with a variety of diseases. Using a liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry-based (LC-MS/MS) approach, global DNA methylation levels were measured in red blood cells of 144 wild American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) from 6 sites with variable levels of mercury contamination across Florida's north-south axis. Variation in mercury concentrations measured in whole blood was highly associated with location, allowing the comparison of global DNA methylation levels across different "treatments" of mercury. Global DNA methylation in alligators across all locations was weakly associated with increased mercury exposure. However, a much more robust relationship was observed in those animals sampled from locations more highly contaminated with mercury. Also, similar to other vertebrates, global DNA methylation appears to decline with age in alligators. The relationship between age-associated loss of global DNA methylation and varying mercury exposures was examined to reveal a potential interaction. These findings demonstrate that global DNA methylation levels are associated with mercury exposure, and give insights into interactions between contaminants, aging, and epigenetics. PMID:26748003

  20. Polychlorinated biphenyls in eggs and chlorioallantoic membranes of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) from coastal South Carolina

    SciTech Connect

    Cobb, G.P.; Wood, P.D.; O`Quinn, M.

    1997-07-01

    Assessing chemical exposure in threatened or endangered wildlife species presents unique analytical problems. Chorioallantoic membranes (CAMs) have been proposed as surrogate tissues for evaluation of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) exposure in oviparous species. Research was undertaken to determine the extent of PCB accumulation in alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) at sites along the coast of South Carolina and to evaluate the utility of CAMs as surrogate tissues for determining PCB concentrations in whole alligator eggs. Polychlorinated biphenyls were found in eggs and CAMs of alligators from both sites examined. Concentrations of PCBs were higher in CAMs (p = 0.02) and eggs (p = 0.001) from sites known to contain chlorinated hydrocarbons than from more pristine sites. Total PCBs partitioned predictably (r{sup 2} > 0.59; p < 0.02) between egg and CAM tissues indicating the utility of CAMs to serve as surrogate tissues when comparing total PCB concentrations in whole eggs. Tetrachloro through octachloro biphenyl homologues and total PCBs in CAMs from reference areas were correlated with concentrations of these homologues in eggs. At contaminated sites, total PCB concentrations in CAMs were correlated with total PCB concentrations in eggs.

  1. Global DNA methylation loss associated with mercury contamination and aging in the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

    PubMed Central

    Nilsen, Frances M.; Parrott, Benjamin B.; Bowden, John A.; Kassim, Brittany L.; Somerville, Stephen E.; Bryan, Teresa A.; Bryan, Colleen E.; Lange, Ted R.; Delaney, J. Patrick; Brunell, Arnold M.; Long, Stephen E.; Guillette, Louis J.

    2016-01-01

    Mercury is a widespread environmental contaminant with exposures eliciting a well-documented catalog of adverse effects. Yet, knowledge regarding the underlying mechanisms by which mercury exposures are translated into biological effects remains incomplete. DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification that is sensitive to environmental cues, and alterations in DNA methylation at the global level are associated with a variety of diseases. Using a liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry-based (LC-MS/MS) approach, global DNA methylation levels were measured in red blood cells of 144 wild American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) from 6 sites with variable levels of mercury contamination across Florida’s north-south axis. Variation in mercury concentrations measured in whole blood was highly associated with location, allowing the comparison of global DNA methylation levels across different “treatments” of mercury. Global DNA methylation in alligators across all locations was weakly associated with increased mercury exposure. However, a much more robust relationship was observed in those animals sampled from locations more highly contaminated with mercury. Also, similar to other vertebrates, global DNA methylation appears to decline with age in alligators. The relationship between age-associated loss of global DNA methylation and varying mercury exposures was examined to reveal a potential interaction. These findings demonstrate that global DNA methylation levels are associated with mercury exposure, and give insights into interactions between contaminants, aging, and epigenetics. PMID:26748003

  2. Fluctuating water depths affect American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) body condition in the Everglades, Florida, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Brandt, Laura A.; Beauchamp, Jeffrey S.; Jeffery, Brian M.; Cherkiss, Michael S.; Mazzotti, Frank J.

    2016-01-01

    Successful restoration of wetland ecosystems requires knowledge of wetland hydrologic patterns and an understanding of how those patterns affect wetland plant and animal populations.Within the Everglades, Florida, USA restoration, an applied science strategy including conceptual ecological models linking drivers to indicators is being used to organize current scientific understanding to support restoration efforts. A key driver of the ecosystem affecting the distribution and abundance of organisms is the timing, distribution, and volume of water flows that result in water depth patterns across the landscape. American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) are one of the ecological indicators being used to assess Everglades restoration because they are a keystone species and integrate biological impacts of hydrological operations through all life stages. Alligator body condition (the relative fatness of an animal) is one of the metrics being used and targets have been set to allow us to track progress. We examined trends in alligator body condition using Fulton’s K over a 15 year period (2000–2014) at seven different wetland areas within the Everglades ecosystem, assessed patterns and trends relative to restoration targets, and related those trends to hydrologic variables. We developed a series of 17 a priori hypotheses that we tested with an information theoretic approach to identify which hydrologic factors affect alligator body condition. Alligator body condition was highest throughout the Everglades during the early 2000s and is approximately 5–10% lower now (2014). Values have varied by year, area, and hydrology. Body condition was positively correlated with range in water depth and fall water depth. Our top model was the “Current” model and included variables that describe current year hydrology (spring depth, fall depth, hydroperiod, range, interaction of range and fall depth, interaction of range and hydroperiod). Across all models, interaction

  3. Variations in hepatic biomarkers in American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) from three sites in Florida, USA.

    PubMed

    Gunderson, Mark P; Pickett, Melissa A; Martin, Justin T; Hulse, Elizabeth J; Smith, Spenser S; Smith, Levi A; Campbell, Rachel M; Lowers, Russell H; Boggs, Ashley S P; Guillette, Louis J

    2016-07-01

    Sub-individual biomarkers are sub-lethal biological responses commonly used in the assessment of wildlife exposure to environmental contaminants. In this study, we examined the activity of glutathione-s-transferase (GST) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and metallothionein (MT) concentrations among captive-raised alligator hatchlings, wild-caught juveniles, and wild-caught adults. Juveniles and adults were collected from three locations in Florida (USA) with varying degrees of contamination (i.e. Lake Apopka (organochlorine polluted site), Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) (metal polluted site), and Lake Woodruff NWR (reference site)). We examined whether changes in the response of these three biomarkers were age and sex dependent or reflected site-specific variations of environmental contaminants. Juvenile alligators from Merritt Island NWR had higher MT concentrations and lower GST activity compared to those from the other two sites. This outcome was consistent with higher metal pollution at this location. Sexually dimorphic patterns of MT and GST (F > M) were observed in juvenile alligators from all sites, although this pattern was not observed in adults. GST activity was lower in captive-raised alligators from Lake Apopka and Merritt Island NWR as compared to animals from Lake Woodruff NWR, suggesting a possible developmental modulator at these sites. No clear patterns were observed in LDH activity. We concluded that GST and MT demonstrate age and sex specific patterns in the alligators inhabiting these study sites and that the observed variation among sites could be due to differences in contaminant exposure. PMID:27111470

  4. Umbilical scarring in hatchling American alligators

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wiebe, J.J.; Sepulveda, M.S.; Buckland, J.E.; Anderson, S.R.; Gross, T.S.

    2004-01-01

    Umbilical scarring is the presence of excess scar tissue deposited between abdominal dermal layers at the site of yolk sac absorption in hatchling American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis). The presence of this dermal condition plays a key evaluatory role in the overall quality and subsequent value for various commercial leather products. Despite the prevalent nature of this condition, currently the industry has no standardized protocols for its quantification. The objectives of this study were to examine the relationship between hatchling weight and age and incidence of umbilical scarring and to develop a quantifiable and reproducible technique to measure this dermal condition in hatchling American alligators. Thirty eggs from each of nine clutches were incubated in two separate incubators at different facilities and hatchling umbilical scarring was measured at 2 and 10 days of age using digital calipers. Umbilical area was calculated by multiplying umbilical length times umbilical width. There was a significant effect of both age and clutch on umbilical area (overall decline of 64%) by 10 days post-hatch. However, only five of the nine clutches utilized expressed a noticeable decline in the size of this dermal condition (range 67-74%). We had hypothesized that larger hatchlings would have larger umbilical areas and a slower rate of improvement in this condition during the first few days post-hatch. The differences in umbilical area and percent decline with age across clutches, however, were not associated with differences in initial hatchling weights. Within clutches and time periods, hatchling weight had no significant effect on the size and/or rate of decline of this condition. ?? 2004 Published by Elsevier B.V.

  5. WILDLIFE - ALLIGATOR BEGINS TO CROSS KENNEDY PARKWAY

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1969-01-01

    Harold O'Connor, manager of the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, watches a 10-foot-long alligator inch its way toward a busy highway at the Kennedy Space Center. O'Connor, aided by assistant Jerome Carroll, not shown, guided the large gator to safety in a nearby pond, several miles south of the Vehicle Assembly Building, in background. The Apollo 12 astronauts will be launched no earlier than November 14, 1969, from the Kennedy Space Center on the Nation's second manned lunar landing mission.

  6. American Alligator Research on the Kennedy Space Center

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lowers, Russell H.

    2010-01-01

    This slide presentation reviews the research conducted at the Kennedy Space Center on the American Alligator. The objectives of the research were to establish life history baseline at the Kennedy Space Center and at the Merit Island National Wildlife Reserve (MINWR). Some of the factors that were examined are: nesting success, movement patterns, and population structure. Another objective was to determine the overall health of the alligator population, by analyzing blood and tissue chemistry, and urine analysis. A third objective was to compare alligators at KSC/MINWR to the statewide population. Some of the results are shown in charts and graphs.

  7. ENDOCRINE DISRUPTING CONTAMINANTS AND ALLIGATOR EMBRYOS: A LESSON FROM WILDLIFE?

    EPA Science Inventory

    Many xenobiotic compounds introduced into the environment by human activity adversely affect wildlife. A number of these contaminants have been hypothesized to induce non lethal, multigenerational effects by acting as endocrine disrupting agents. One case is that of the alligator...

  8. An alligator basks in the sun at KSC.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2000-01-01

    On the bank of a levee near Schwartz Rd. at Kennedy Space Center, an alligator suns itself with a wary eye out for trespassers. Nearly 5,000 alligators can be found in canals, ponds, and waterways throughout the Center and the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, which shares a boundary with the Center. American alligators feed and rest in the water, and lay their eggs in dens they dig into the banks. The young alligators spend their first several weeks in these dens. The Wildlife Refuge encompasses 92,000 acres that are a habitat for more than 331 species of birds, 31 mammals, 117 fishes, and 65 amphibians and reptiles. The marshes and open water of the refuge provide wintering areas for 23 species of migratory waterfowl, as well as a year-round home for great blue herons, great egrets, wood storks, cormorants, brown pelicans and other species of marsh and shore birds, as well as a variety of insects.

  9. 109. Doughton Park Recreation Area. View of alligator back and ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    109. Doughton Park Recreation Area. View of alligator back and the parkway seen from bluff mountain. Looking west. - Blue Ridge Parkway, Between Shenandoah National Park & Great Smoky Mountains, Asheville, Buncombe County, NC

  10. Persistent Organochlorine Pesticides and their Metabolites in Alligator Livers from Lakes Apopka and Woodruff, Florida, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Reproductive disorders in American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) inhabiting Lake Apopka, Florida, have been observed for several years. Such disorders are hypothesized to be caused by endocrine disrupting contaminants occurring in the Lake due to pesticide spills and ...

  11. Population status of the American alligator on the Savannah River Plant, South Carolina

    SciTech Connect

    Murphy, T.M.

    1981-04-01

    Estimates are presented of alligator numbers, size distribution, sex ratios, reproductive effort, and population trends for all major components of the entire Savannah River Plant (SRP) alligator population. Savannah River Plant operations have impacted the alligator population in many different ways. The formation of man-made reservoirs has dramatically increased the amount of aquatic habitat available to alligators and has therefore increased the carrying capacity of the SRP site for this species. The thermal alteration of aquatic habitats on the SRP has also impacted the resident alligator population. Temperature elevations of aquatic habitat to greater than 38/sup 0/C result in the loss of this habitat to alligators. Moderate thermal increases on the other hand are responded to by alligator movement. The current information available on the alligators of the SRP suggests the following future trends: low density populations distant from thermally altered areas will continue at a low density with the exception of localized increases.

  12. Ecological studies on the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) on the Savannah River Plant. Comprehensive Cooling Water Study: Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Seigel, R.A.; Brandt, L.A.; Knight, J.L.; Novak, S.S.

    1986-06-01

    The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is the largest vertebrate of the Savannah River Plant (SRP), reaching a maximum length of 3.7 meters (12 feet) and weighing up to 175 kg (385 pounds). Currently, populations in coastal South Carolina are considered Threatened, whereas populations in inland areas (such as the SRP) are still Endangered. Because of their legal status and economic and ecological importance, it is important to determine the environmental impacts of SRP operations on the local alligator population. The major objectives under the Endangered Species Program of the Comprehensive Cooling Water Study (CCWS) were as follows: (1) document and compare the present status and distribution of alligators on the SRP to previous surveys, in order to determine long-term changes in population abundance; (2) establish baseline population and ecological parameters of the Steel Creek population so that the ecological effects of L-Reactor operations can be determined, and (3) conduct ecological research on the immediate impacts of thermal effluents on American alligators. Gladden et al., (1985) summarized data on previous population surveys, temporal changes in the Par Pond population, preliminary results of the Steel Creek surveys and Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL) research on the effects of thermal effluents. This report summarizes the current status of the SRP population, presents data on the abundance, movement patterns and activity cycles of the Steel Creek population, and presents additional data on the effect of cooling water releases on alligator ecology and behavior.

  13. Unidirectional airflow in the lungs of alligators.

    PubMed

    Farmer, C G; Sanders, Kent

    2010-01-15

    The lungs of birds move air in only one direction during both inspiration and expiration through most of the tubular gas-exchanging bronchi (parabronchi), whereas in the lungs of mammals and presumably other vertebrates, air moves tidally into and out of terminal gas-exchange structures, which are cul-de-sacs. Unidirectional flow purportedly depends on bellowslike ventilation by air sacs and may have evolved to meet the high aerobic demands of sustained flight. Here, we show that air flows unidirectionally through parabronchi in the lungs of the American alligator, an amphibious ectotherm without air sacs, which suggests that this pattern dates back to the basal archosaurs of the Triassic and may have been present in their nondinosaur descendants (phytosaurs, aetosaurs, rauisuchians, crocodylomorphs, and pterosaurs) as well as in dinosaurs. PMID:20075253

  14. Ontogenetic development of otoliths in Alligator Gar

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Long, James M.; Snow, Richard A.

    2016-01-01

    The Alligator Gar Atractosteus spatula is a species of conservation concern throughout its range, and better definition of otoliths during early development would aid understanding its life history and ecology. We conducted X-ray computed tomography scans, scanning electron microscopy, and light microscopy to examine the three pairs of otoliths and how they developed over time in relation to fish size and age. The sagittae are the largest, possessing distinct dorsal and ventral lobes covered with small otoconia concentrated in the sulcul region. The sagittae exhibited allometric growth, increasing more rapidly in the ventral lobe than in the dorsal. The asterisci were smaller and also exhibited small otoconia on their surface, but much less than the sagittae. The lapilli were oriented laterally, in contrast to the sagittae and asterisci, which were oriented vertically, with a hump on the dorsum and very large otoconia on the lateral surface that appeared to fuse into the main otolith as the fish grew. Based on size measurements and ring counts in all three pairs of otoliths from 101 known-age Alligator Gar sampled weekly through 91 d after hatch, we developed regression models to examine otolith growth and predict age. All relationships were significant and highly explanatory, but the strongest relationships were between otolith and fish size (for measurements from sagittae) and for age predictions from the lapillus. Age prediction models all resulted in a slope near unity, indicating that ring deposition occurred approximately daily. The first ring in sagittae and lapilli corresponded to swim-up, whereas the first ring formed in asterisci approximately 8 d after swim-up. These results fill a gap in knowledge and can aid understanding of evolutionary processes as well as provide useful information for management and conservation.

  15. Morphological characteristics regulating phallic glans engorgement in the American alligator.

    PubMed

    Moore, Brandon C; Spears, David; Mascari, Taylor; Kelly, Diane A

    2016-10-01

    The distal part of the crocodilian phallus consists of a bulbous glans containing well-developed vascular tissues that can inflate before or during sexual activity, enlarging and elaborating the glans into a complex, though still functionally undefined, copulatory structure. An enlarged glans putatively interacts with the female cloaca and may change the shape of her reproductive tract to facilitate insemination and increase the probability of fertilization. Here, we investigated the cellular-level properties of the glans and other inflatable phallic tissues associated with the sperm-conducting sulcus spermaticus in the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis). Using histochemical staining, we visualized and defined collagen and elastin fiber densities and orientations in these tissues. Extracellular matrix architectures provided insights about phallic glans material properties and how they may affect tissue strength and flexibility during inflation and in response to copulatory forces. We also investigated the potential sources of fluids that induce inflation in alligator phalli. Combining serial sectioning and three-dimensional reconstruction, we identified a pair of supracrucal plexus vascular bodies at the proximal end of the alligator phallus that extend distally adjacent to ventro-medial sulcus tissues. Together, our gross and histological examination of the American alligator phallic glans suggests that its tissues are arranged in a manner that would allow vascular inflation to expand the glans to a specific and repeatable shape, and potentially release secretory products into the female reproductive tract. Both elements could play roles in postcopulatory sexual selection, by mechanically and/or chemically affecting female reproductive physiology.

  16. Full-length cDNA cloning and structural characterization of preproinsulin in Alligator sinensis.

    PubMed

    Zhang, R; Zhang, S Z; Li, E; Wang, C; Wang, C L; Wu, X B

    2014-01-01

    Insulin is an important endocrine hormone that plays a critical physiological role in regulating metabolism and glucostasis in vertebrates. In this study, the complete cDNA of Alligator sinensis preproinsulin gene was cloned for the first time by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and rapid amplification of cDNA ends methods; the amino acid sequence encoded and protein structure were analyzed. The full-length of preproinsulin cDNA sequence consists of 528 base pairs (bp), comprising a 34-bp 5'-untranslated region, a 170-bp 3'-untranslated region and an open reading frame that is 324 bp in length. The open reading frame encodes a 107-amino acid preproinsulin with a molecular weight of approximately 12,153.8 Da, theoretical isoelectric point of 5.68, aliphatic index of 92.06, and grand average of hydropathicity of -0.157, from which a signal peptide, a B-chain, a C-peptide, and an A-chain are derived. Online analysis suggested that the deduced preproinsulin amino acid sequence contains a transmembrane region, and that it has a signal peptide whose cleavage site occurs between alanine 24 and alanine 25. Comparative analysis of preproinsulin amino acid sequences indicated that the A-chain and B-chain sequences of preproinsulins are highly conserved between reptiles and birds, and that the preproinsulin amino acid sequence of Alligator sinensis shares 89% similarity to that of Chelonia mydas, but low similarity of 48-63% to those of mammals and fishes. The phylogenetic tree constructed using the neighbor-joining method revealed that preproinsulin of Alligator sinensis had high homology with reptiles and birds, such as Chelonia mydas, Gallus gallus, and Columba livia. PMID:25366775

  17. Estimating sighting proportions of American alligator nests during helicopter survey

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rice, Kenneth G.; Percival, H. Franklin; Woodward, Allan R.

    2000-01-01

    Proportions of American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) nests sighted during aerial survey in Florida were estimated based upon multiple surveys by different observers. We compared sighting proportions across habitats, nesting seasons, and observer experience levels. The mean sighting proportion across all habitats and years was 0.736 (SE=0.024). Survey counts corrected by the mean sighting proportion reliably predicted total nest counts (7?2=0.933). Sighting proportions did not differ by habitat type (P=0.668) or year P=0.328). Experienced observers detected a greater proportion of nests (P<0.0001) than did either less experienced or inexperienced observers. Reliable estimates of nest abundance can be derived from aerial counts of alligator nests when corrected by the appropriate sighting proportion.

  18. The alligator gut microbiome and implications for archosaur symbioses

    PubMed Central

    Keenan, Sarah W.; Engel, Annette Summers; Elsey, Ruth M.

    2013-01-01

    Among vertebrate gastrointestinal microbiome studies, complete representation of taxa is limited, particularly among reptiles. Here, we provide evidence for previously unrecognized host-microbiome associations along the gastrointestinal tract from the American alligator, a crown archosaur with shared ancestry to extinct taxa, including dinosaurs. Microbiome compositional variations reveal that the digestive system consists of multiple, longitudinally heterogeneous microbiomes that strongly correlate to specific gastrointestinal tract organs, regardless of rearing histories or feeding status. A core alligator gut microbiome comprised of Fusobacteria, but depleted in Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria common to mammalians, is compositionally unique from other vertebrate gut microbiomes, including other reptiles, fish, and herbivorous and carnivorous mammals. As such, modern alligator gut microbiomes advance our understanding of archosaur gut microbiome evolution, particularly if conserved host ecology has retained archosaur-specific symbioses over geologic time. PMID:24096888

  19. The alligator gut microbiome and implications for archosaur symbioses.

    PubMed

    Keenan, Sarah W; Engel, Annette Summers; Elsey, Ruth M

    2013-10-07

    Among vertebrate gastrointestinal microbiome studies, complete representation of taxa is limited, particularly among reptiles. Here, we provide evidence for previously unrecognized host-microbiome associations along the gastrointestinal tract from the American alligator, a crown archosaur with shared ancestry to extinct taxa, including dinosaurs. Microbiome compositional variations reveal that the digestive system consists of multiple, longitudinally heterogeneous microbiomes that strongly correlate to specific gastrointestinal tract organs, regardless of rearing histories or feeding status. A core alligator gut microbiome comprised of Fusobacteria, but depleted in Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria common to mammalians, is compositionally unique from other vertebrate gut microbiomes, including other reptiles, fish, and herbivorous and carnivorous mammals. As such, modern alligator gut microbiomes advance our understanding of archosaur gut microbiome evolution, particularly if conserved host ecology has retained archosaur-specific symbioses over geologic time.

  20. An examination of the sensory structures in the oral cavity of the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis).

    PubMed

    Rehorek, Susan J; Duffy, Michael; Zacherl, Janelle R; Anand, Kusuma; Elsey, Ruth M; Smith, Timothy S

    2014-11-01

    The location and distribution of mucosal sensory structures of the crocodilian oral cavity are poorly understood. Although there are several descriptions of these structures in adults, nothing is known about their development. The purpose of this study was to document location, morphology, and relative abundance of these mucosal sensory structures in both hatchling and subadult alligators. Numerous mucosal sensory structures and pale staining dome-shaped papillae were observed only in the upper palate and tongue. In hatchlings, these papillae, which house either mechanoreceptive or chemosensory (taste buds) structures, were larger and more prevalent on the tongue than the upper palate. In the subadult, however, these papillae housed primarily mechanoreceptive structures and possibly degenerate taste buds. Although the presence of the mechanoreceptive structures in the palates of the suabadult alligator are to be expected, the loss of most taste buds is hitherto undocumented. Thus, there is morphological support for an ontogenetic shift in the role of the sensory palate, from a prey detection gustatory sensory system in hatchlings to a prey-manipulative mechanoreceptive system in subadults.

  1. Potential molecular wires and molecular alligator clips

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schumm, Jeffry S.; Pearson, Darren L.; Jones, LeRoy, II; Hara, Ryuichiro; Tour, James M.

    1996-12-01

    The synthesis of oligo(2-ethylphenylene-ethynylene)s, oligo(2-(0957-4484/7/4/023/img1-ethylheptyl)phenylene-ethynylene)s, and oligo(3-ethylthiophene-ethynylene)s is described via an iterative divergent convergent approach. Synthesized were the monomer, dimer, tetramer, octamer and 16-mer of the oligo(3-ethylthiophene-ethynylene)s and oligo(2-0957-4484/7/4/023/img1-ethylheptyl)phenylene-ethynylene)s. The 16-mers are 100 Å and 128 Å long, respectively. At each stage in the iteration, the length of the framework doubles. Only three sets of reaction conditions are needed for the entire iterative synthetic sequence; an iodination, a protodesilylation, and a Pd/Cu-catalyzed cross coupling. The oligomers were characterized spectroscopically and by mass spectrometry. The optical properties are presented which show the stage of optical absorbance saturation. The size exclusion chromatography values for the number average weights, relative to polystyrene, illustrate the tremendous differences in the hydrodynamic volume of these rigid rod oligomers versus the random coils of polystyrene. These differences become quite apparent at the octamer stage. The preparation of thiol-protected end groups is described. These may serve as molecular alligator clips for adhesion to gold surfaces. These oligomers may act as molecular wires in molecular electronic devices and they also serve as useful models for understanding related bulk polymers.

  2. An urban Northeastern United States alligator bite.

    PubMed

    Shepherd, Suzanne Moore; Shoff, William H

    2014-05-01

    Individuals who live and work in the Southeastern coastal range of the 3 US crocodilian carnivores, American alligators, American crocodiles, and caiman, understand the risks of reptile-human encounters. Individuals who live in other parts of the country maybe exposed through contact with exotic pets at private homes, small menageries, or petting zoos or from escaped or abandoned animals. During these encounters, individuals may be severely injured.Emergency medical services, law enforcement, and animal welfare workers in nonhabitat areas are usually not trained in the handling and safe removal of injured individuals from the scene when the reptile is present. The emergency management of large crocodilian injuries is similar to that of other major trauma; however, providers also must take into consideration the significant crush component potentially inflicted by the tremendous bite power and shaking inflicting during attacks by these large reptiles, appropriate antibiotic coverage for less common organisms that inhabit their mouths, and management of possible psychological distress, including posttraumatic stress disorder produced by such an unusual attack. Emergency physicians should support the development of a readily available national database of scientifically collect information on attacks to inform appropriate care and support efforts to explore responsible measures that the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and other appropriate local, state, and federal agencies can take to ensure ethical and biologically sustainable management of our large reptiles, which also helps to ensure the safety of the public. PMID:24332253

  3. Seasonal Variation of Total Mercury Burden in the American Alligator (Alligator Mississippiensis) at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (MINWR), Florida

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nilsen, Frances M.; Dorsey, Jonathan E.; Long, Stephen E.; Schock, Tracey B.; Bowden, John A.; Lowers, Russell H.; Guillette, Louis J., Jr.

    2016-01-01

    Seasonal variation of mercury (Hg) is not well studied in free-ranging wildlife. Atmospheric deposition patterns of Hg have been studied in detail and have been modeled for both global and specific locations with great accuracy and correlates to environment impact. However, monitoring these trends in wildlife is complicated due to local environmental parameters (e.g., rainfall, humidity, pH, bacterial composition) that can affect the transformation of atmospheric Hg to the biologically available forms. Here, we utilized an abundant and healthy population of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (MINWR), FL, and assessed Hg burden in whole blood samples over a span of 7 years (2007 2014; n 174) in an effort to assess seasonal variation of total [Hg]. While the majority of this population is assumed healthy, 18 individuals with low body mass indices (BMI, defined in this study) were captured throughout the 7 year sampling period. These individual alligators exhibited [Hg] that were not consistent with the observed overall seasonal [Hg] variation, and were statistically different from the healthy population of alligators. The alligators with low BMI had elevated concentrations of Hg compared to their age/sex/season matched counterparts with normal BMI. Statistically significant differences were found between the winter and spring seasons for animals with normal BMI. The data in this report supports the conclusion that organismal total [Hg] do fluctuate directly with seasonal deposition rates as well as other seasonal environmental parameters, such as average rainfall and prevailing wind direction. This study highlights the unique environment of MINWR to permit annual assessment of apex predators, such as the American alligator, to determine detailed environmental impact of contaminants of concern.

  4. Atmospheric oxygen level affects growth trajectory, cardiopulmonary allometry and metabolic rate in the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

    PubMed Central

    Owerkowicz, Tomasz; Elsey, Ruth M.; Hicks, James W.

    2009-01-01

    Summary Recent palaeoatmospheric models suggest large-scale fluctuations in ambient oxygen level over the past 550 million years. To better understand how global hypoxia and hyperoxia might have affected the growth and physiology of contemporary vertebrates, we incubated eggs and raised hatchlings of the American alligator. Crocodilians are one of few vertebrate taxa that survived these global changes with distinctly conservative morphology. We maintained animals at 30°C under chronic hypoxia (12% O2), normoxia (21% O2) or hyperoxia (30% O2). At hatching, hypoxic animals were significantly smaller than their normoxic and hyperoxic siblings. Over the course of 3 months, post-hatching growth was fastest under hyperoxia and slowest under hypoxia. Hypoxia, but not hyperoxia, caused distinct scaling of major visceral organs–reduction of liver mass, enlargement of the heart and accelerated growth of lungs. When absorptive and post-absorptive metabolic rates were measured in juvenile alligators, the increase in oxygen consumption rate due to digestion/absorption of food was greatest in hyperoxic alligators and smallest in hypoxic ones. Hyperoxic alligators exhibited the lowest breathing rate and highest oxygen consumption per breath. We suggest that, despite compensatory cardiopulmonary remodelling, growth of hypoxic alligators is constrained by low atmospheric oxygen supply, which may limit their food utilisation capacity. Conversely, the combination of elevated metabolism and low cost of breathing in hyperoxic alligators allows for a greater proportion of metabolised energy to be available for growth. This suggests that growth and metabolic patterns of extinct vertebrates would have been significantly affected by changes in the atmospheric oxygen level. PMID:19376944

  5. Estimating trends in alligator populations from nightlight survey data

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fujisaki, Ikuko; Mazzotti, F.J.; Dorazio, R.M.; Rice, K.G.; Cherkiss, M.; Jeffery, B.

    2011-01-01

    Nightlight surveys are commonly used to evaluate status and trends of crocodilian populations, but imperfect detection caused by survey- and location-specific factors makes it difficult to draw population inferences accurately from uncorrected data. We used a two-stage hierarchical model comprising population abundance and detection probability to examine recent abundance trends of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) in subareas of Everglades wetlands in Florida using nightlight survey data. During 2001-2008, there were declining trends in abundance of small and/or medium sized animals in a majority of subareas, whereas abundance of large sized animals had either demonstrated an increased or unclear trend. For small and large sized class animals, estimated detection probability declined as water depth increased. Detection probability of small animals was much lower than for larger size classes. The declining trend of smaller alligators may reflect a natural population response to the fluctuating environment of Everglades wetlands under modified hydrology. It may have negative implications for the future of alligator populations in this region, particularly if habitat conditions do not favor recruitment of offspring in the near term. Our study provides a foundation to improve inferences made from nightlight surveys of other crocodilian populations. ?? 2011 US Government.

  6. Estimating trends in alligator populations from nightlight survey data

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fujisaki, Ikuko; Mazzotti, Frank J.; Dorazio, Robert M.; Rice, Kenneth G.; Cherkiss, Michael; Jeffery, Brian

    2011-01-01

    Nightlight surveys are commonly used to evaluate status and trends of crocodilian populations, but imperfect detection caused by survey- and location-specific factors makes it difficult to draw population inferences accurately from uncorrected data. We used a two-stage hierarchical model comprising population abundance and detection probability to examine recent abundance trends of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) in subareas of Everglades wetlands in Florida using nightlight survey data. During 2001–2008, there were declining trends in abundance of small and/or medium sized animals in a majority of subareas, whereas abundance of large sized animals had either demonstrated an increased or unclear trend. For small and large sized class animals, estimated detection probability declined as water depth increased. Detection probability of small animals was much lower than for larger size classes. The declining trend of smaller alligators may reflect a natural population response to the fluctuating environment of Everglades wetlands under modified hydrology. It may have negative implications for the future of alligator populations in this region, particularly if habitat conditions do not favor recruitment of offspring in the near term. Our study provides a foundation to improve inferences made from nightlight surveys of other crocodilian populations.

  7. Evaluating recent taxonomic changes for alligator snapping turtles (Testudines: Chelydridae).

    PubMed

    Folt, Brian; Guyer, Craig

    2015-01-01

    The Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckii Troost in Harlan 1835, sensu lato) has been historically treated as a single, wide-ranging species, until a recently published paper by Thomas et al. (2014; hereafter Thomas et al.) analyzed variation in morphology and mitochondrial DNA sequence data to describe two new species of Macrochelys: the Apalachicola Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys apalachicolae Thomas, Granatosky, Bourque, Krysko, Moler, Gamble, Suarez, Leone & Roman 2014) and the Suwannee Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys suwanniensis Thomas, Granatosky, Bourque, Krysko, Moler, Gamble, Suarez, Leone & Roman 2014). The specific epithet temminckii was retained for populations in drainages from the Yellow River in Alabama and Florida west to the San Antonio River, Texas. Because populations of Macrochelys have been historically exploited by humans (Pritchard 1989) and the life-history strategies of large, long-lived turtles make them susceptible to declines from harvest (Congdon et al. 1994), a sound understanding of species delimitation and richness is critical for the conservation of alligator snapping turtles, especially if the acceptance of a widely distributed species disguises the presence of multiple, smaller-ranged species. PMID:25947748

  8. Alligators and crocodiles as indicators for restoration of Everglades ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mazzotti, Frank J.; Best, G. Ronnie; Brandt, Laura A.; Cherkiss, Michael S.; Jeffery, Brian M.; Rice, Kenneth G.

    2009-01-01

    Alligators and crocodiles integrate biological impacts of hydrological operations, affecting them at all life stages through three key aspects of Everglades ecology: (1) food webs, (2) diversity and productivity, and (3) freshwater flow. Responses of crocodilians are directly related to suitability of environmental conditions and hydrologic change. Correlations between biological responses and environmental conditions contribute to an understanding of species' status and trends over time. Positive or negative trends of crocodilian populations relative to hydrologic changes permit assessment of positive or negative trends in restoration. The crocodilian indicator uses monitoring parameters (performance measures) that have been shown to be both effective and efficient in tracking trends. The alligator component uses relative density (reported as an encounter rate), body condition, and occupancy rates of alligator holes; the crocodile component uses juvenile growth and hatchling survival. We hypothesize that these parameters are correlated with hydrologic conditions including depth, duration, timing, spatial extent and water quality. Salinity is a critical parameter in estuarine habitats. Assessments of parameters defined for crocodilian performance measures support these hypotheses. Alligators and crocodiles are the charismatic megafauna of the Everglades. They are both keystone and flagship species to which the public can relate. In addition, the parameters used to track trends are easy to understand. They provide answers to the following questions: How has the number of alligators or crocodiles changed? Are the animals fatter or thinner than they should be? Are the animals in the places (in terms of habitat and geography) where they should be? As surely as there is no other Everglades, no other single species defines the Everglades as does the American alligator. The Everglades is the only place in the world where both alligators and crocodiles exist. Crocodilians

  9. Concentrations of trace elements in American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) from Florida, USA.

    PubMed

    Horai, Sawako; Itai, Takaaki; Noguchi, Takako; Yasuda, Yusuke; Adachi, Haruki; Hyobu, Yuika; Riyadi, Adi S; Boggs, Ashley S P; Lowers, Russell; Guillette, Louis J; Tanabe, Shinsuke

    2014-08-01

    Concentrations of 28 trace elements (Li, Mg, Al, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Ga, As, Se, Rb, Sr, Mo, Ag, Cd, In, Sn, Sb, Cs, Tl, Hg, Pb, and Bi) in the livers of juvenile and adult American alligators inhabiting two central Florida lakes, Lake Apopka (LA), and Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge (LW) and one lagoon population located in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (MINWR; NASA), were determined. In juveniles from MINWR, concentrations of nine elements (Li, Fe, Ni, Sr, In, Sb, Hg, Pb and Bi) were significantly higher, whereas six elements (V, Fe, As, Sr, Hg and Bi) were elevated in adults (p<0.05) obtained from MINWR. Significant enrichment of some trace elements in adults, relative to juveniles, was observed at all three sampling areas. Specifically, Fe, Pb and Hg were significantly elevated in adults when compared to juveniles, suggesting age-dependent accumulation of these elements. Further, As, Se and Sn showed the same trend but only in animals collected from MINWR. Mean Fe concentrations in the livers of adults from LA, LW and MINWR were 1770 μg g(-1) DW, 3690 μg g(-1) DW and 5250 μg g(-1) DW, respectively. More than half of the adult specimens from LW and MINWR exhibited elevated hepatic Fe concentrations that exceed the threshold value for toxic effects in donkey, red deer and human. These results prompted us to express our concern on possible exposure and health effects in American alligators by some trace elements derived from NASA activities. PMID:24698170

  10. Ultrastructure of spermiogenesis in the American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis (Reptilia, Crocodylia, Alligatoridae).

    PubMed

    Gribbins, Kevin M; Siegel, Dustin S; Anzalone, Marla L; Jackson, Daniel P; Venable, Katherine J; Rheubert, Justin L; Elsey, Ruth M

    2010-10-01

    Testicular samples were collected to describe the ultrastructure of spermiogenisis in Alligator mississipiensis (American Alligator). Spermiogenesis commences with an acrosome vesicle forming from Golgi transport vesicles. An acrosome granule forms during vesicle contact with the nucleus, and remains posterior until mid to late elongation when it diffuses uniformly throughout the acrosomal lumen. The nucleus has uniform diffuse chromatin with small indices of heterochromatin, and the condensation of DNA is granular. The subacrosome space develops early, enlarges during elongation, and accumulates a thick layer of dark staining granules. Once the acrosome has completed its development, the nucleus of the early elongating spermatid becomes associated with the cell membrane flattening the acrosome vesicle on the apical surface of the nucleus, which aids in the migration of the acrosomal shoulders laterally. One endonuclear canal is present where the perforatorium resides. A prominent longitudinal manchette is associated with the nuclei of late elongating spermatids, and less numerous circular microtubules are observed close to the acrosome complex. The microtubule doublets of the midpiece axoneme are surrounded by a layer of dense staining granular material. The mitochondria of the midpiece abut the proximal centriole resulting in a very short neck region, and possess tubular cristae internally and concentric layers of cristae superficially. A fibrous sheath surrounds only the axoneme of the principal piece. Characters not previously described during spermiogenesis in any other amniote are observed and include (1) an endoplasmic reticulum cap during early acrosome development, (2) a concentric ring of endoplasmic reticulum around the nucleus of early to middle elongating spermatids, (3) a band of endoplasmic reticulum around the acrosome complex of late developing elongate spermatids, and (4) midpiece mitochondria that have both tubular and concentric layers of

  11. Concentrations of trace elements in American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) from Florida, USA.

    PubMed

    Horai, Sawako; Itai, Takaaki; Noguchi, Takako; Yasuda, Yusuke; Adachi, Haruki; Hyobu, Yuika; Riyadi, Adi S; Boggs, Ashley S P; Lowers, Russell; Guillette, Louis J; Tanabe, Shinsuke

    2014-08-01

    Concentrations of 28 trace elements (Li, Mg, Al, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, Ga, As, Se, Rb, Sr, Mo, Ag, Cd, In, Sn, Sb, Cs, Tl, Hg, Pb, and Bi) in the livers of juvenile and adult American alligators inhabiting two central Florida lakes, Lake Apopka (LA), and Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge (LW) and one lagoon population located in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (MINWR; NASA), were determined. In juveniles from MINWR, concentrations of nine elements (Li, Fe, Ni, Sr, In, Sb, Hg, Pb and Bi) were significantly higher, whereas six elements (V, Fe, As, Sr, Hg and Bi) were elevated in adults (p<0.05) obtained from MINWR. Significant enrichment of some trace elements in adults, relative to juveniles, was observed at all three sampling areas. Specifically, Fe, Pb and Hg were significantly elevated in adults when compared to juveniles, suggesting age-dependent accumulation of these elements. Further, As, Se and Sn showed the same trend but only in animals collected from MINWR. Mean Fe concentrations in the livers of adults from LA, LW and MINWR were 1770 μg g(-1) DW, 3690 μg g(-1) DW and 5250 μg g(-1) DW, respectively. More than half of the adult specimens from LW and MINWR exhibited elevated hepatic Fe concentrations that exceed the threshold value for toxic effects in donkey, red deer and human. These results prompted us to express our concern on possible exposure and health effects in American alligators by some trace elements derived from NASA activities.

  12. Sex-steroid and thyroid hormone concentrations in juvenile alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) from contaminated and reference lakes in Florida, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grain, D.A.; Guillette, L.J.; Pickford, D.B.; Percival, H.F.; Woodward, A.R.

    1998-01-01

    Sex-steroid and thyroid hormones are critical regulators of growth and reproduction in all vertebrates, and several recent studies suggest that environmental chemicals can alter circulating concentrations of these hormones. This study examines plasma concentrations of estradiol-171?? (E2), testosterone (T), triiodothyronine (T3), and thyroxine (T4) in juvenile alligators (60-140 cm total length) from two contaminated lakes and one reference lake in Florida. First, the data were analyzed by comparing hormone concentrations among males and females from the different lakes. Whereas there were no differences in plasma E2 concentrations among animals of the three lakes, male alligators from the contaminated lakes (Lake Apopka and Lake Okeechobee) had significantly lower plasma T concentrations compared 10 males from the reference take (Lake Woodruff). Concentrations of thyroid hormones also differed in animals of the three lakes, with T4 concentrations being elevated in Lake Okeechobee males compared to Lake Woodruff males. Second, the relationship between body size and hormone concentration was examined using regression analysis. Most notably for steroid hormones, no clear relationship was detected between E2 and total length in Apopka females (r2 0.09, p = 0.54) or between T and total length in Apopka males (r2 = 0.007, p = 0.75). Females from Apopka (r2 = 0.318, p = 0.09) and Okeechobee (r2 = 0.222, p = 0.09) exhibited weak correlations between T3 and total length. Males from Apopka (r2 = 0.015, p = 0.66) and Okeechobee (r2 = 0.128, p = 0.19) showed no correlation between T4 and total length. These results indicate: some of the previously reported abnormalities in steroid hormones of hatchling alligators persist, at least, through the juvenile years; steroid and thyroid hormones are related to body size in juvenile alligators from the reference lake, whereas alligators living in lakes Apopka and Okeechobee experience alterations in circulating thyroid and steroid

  13. Spatial and temporal variability in estuary habitat use by American alligators

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fujisaki, Ikuko; Hart, Kristen M.; Cherkiss, Michael S.; Mazzotti, Frank J.; Beauchamp, Jeffrey S.; Jeffery, Brian M.; Brandt, Laura A.

    2016-01-01

    Estuarine habitat occupied by Alligator mississippiensis, a primarily freshwater species, is spatially and temporally heterogeneous largely due to a salinity gradient that fluctuates. Using long-term night light survey data, we examined seasonal patterns in alligators’ habitat use by size classes in midstream and downstream estuary zones of Shark River, Everglades National Park, in southern Florida. We observed predominantly large-sized alligators (total length ≥ 1.75 m); observations of alligators in the small size classes (0.5 m ≤ total length < 1.25 m) were rare especially in the higher-salinity downstream zone. The density of alligators in the downstream zone was lower than that of the midstream zone during the dry season when salinity increases due to reduced precipitation. Conversely, the density of the large size alligators was higher in the downstream zone than in the midstream zone during the wet season, likely because of reduced salinity. We also found a significant declining trend over time in the number of alligators in the dry season, which coincides with the reported decline in alligator relative density in southern Florida freshwater wetlands. Our results indicated high adaptability of alligators to the fluctuating habitat conditions. Use of estuaries by alligators is likely driven in part by physiology and possibly by reproductive cycle, and our results supported their opportunistic use of estuary habitat and ontogenetic niche shifts.

  14. IgH loci of American alligator and saltwater crocodile shed light on IgA evolution.

    PubMed

    Magadán-Mompó, Susana; Sánchez-Espinel, Christian; Gambón-Deza, Francisco

    2013-07-01

    Immunoglobulin loci of two representatives of the order Crocodylia were studied from full genome sequences. Both Alligator mississippiensis and Crocodylus porosus have 13 genes for the heavy chain constant regions of immunoglobulins. The IGHC locus contains genes encoding four immunoglobulins M (IgM), one immunoglobulin D (IgD), three immunoglobulins A (IgA), three immunoglobulins Y (IgY), and two immunoglobulins D2 (IgD2). IgA and IgD2 genes were found in reverse transcriptional orientation compared to the other Ig genes. The IGHD gene contains 11 exons, four of which containing stop codons or sequence alterations. As described in other reptiles, the IgD2 is a chimeric Ig with IgA- and IgD-related domains. This work clarifies the origin of bird IgA and its evolutionary relationship with amphibian immunoglobulin X (IgX) as well as their links with mammalian IgA.

  15. Survival of young American alligators on a Florida lake

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Woodward, A.R.; Hines, T.C.; Abercrombie, C.L.; Nichols, J.D.

    1987-01-01

    A capture-recapture study was conducted on Orange Lake, Florida, from 1979 through 1984 to estimate survival rates of young in an American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) populations. Hatchlings remained together in sibling groups (pods) for at least their 1st year and then began to disperse during their 2nd spring and summer. Mortality through mid-November of their 1st year was negligible. Jolly-Seber (JS) survival estimates of hatchlings for 6 and 12 months were 76 and 41%, respectively. The 2-year JS estimate for the 1980 cohort was 8%. Minimum-Known-Alive (MKA) survival values were 72 and 46% of JS estimates for 6 months and 1 year of age. Survival during the 2nd 6 months of life (spring-summer) tended to be lower than survival during the 1st 6 months (fall-winter).

  16. A new alligator-clip compound for molecular electronics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jacob, Timo; Blanco, Mario; Goddard, William A.

    2004-06-01

    We used the B3LYP flavor of density functional calculations to study new alligator-clip compounds for molecular electronics with platinum electrodes. First, with commonly used S-based linkage molecule 3-methyl-1,2-dithiolane (MDTL) we find that after chemisorption on Pt(1 1 1) the most stable structure is ring-opened with a binding energy of 32.44 kcal/mol. Among several alternative alligator-clip compounds we find that P-based molecules lead to much higher binding energies. For the ring-closed structure of 3-methyl-1,2-diphospholane (MDPL) a binding energy of 47.72 kcal/mol was calculated and even 54.88 kcal/mol for the ring-opened molecule. Thus, MDPL provides a more stable link to the metal surface and might increase the conductance.

  17. Water Hyacinths and Alligator Weeds for Final Filtration of Sewage

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wolverton, B. C.; Mcdonald, R. C.; Gordon, J.

    1976-01-01

    The potential of water hyacinths (Eichhornia crassipes) (Mart.) Solms and alligator weeds (Alternanthera philoxerides) (Mart.) Griesb. as secondary and tertiary filtration systems for domestic sewage was demonstrated. These two vascular aquatic plants reduced the suspended solids, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, total phosphorus, BOD sub 5, and total organic carbon levels in domestic sewage from 60 percent to 98 percent within a two week period. These plants grown in domestic sewage were also free of toxic levels of trace heavy metals.

  18. Barrier cells in gills of the alligator gar.

    PubMed

    Henderson, V

    1999-10-01

    Studies of barrier cells in fishes are few and have been restricted primarily to salmonids. Moreover, these studies revealed the presence of barrier cells only in hematopoietic and lymphoid organs. The alligator gar, Lepisosteus spatula, possesses similar tissues within the gills which are readily accessible; therefore, they were the organs of choice. An electron microscopical analysis of the gills was undertaken to determine if barrier cells exist and if they possess an ultrastructural design comparable to their counterparts in the brain and lungs of higher vertebrates and hematopoietic/lymphoid tissues in fishes. The present study revealed that barrier cells were found only within non-hematopoietic/lymphoid areas. Barrier cells surrounded endocrine components, nerves, and sinusoids rather than capillary endothelium or hematopoietic/lymphoid tissues. Barrier cells in the alligator gar displayed a complex envelopment more similar to those found in the blood-cerebrospinal fluid, blood-brain, and blood-gas barriers in higher vertebrates than in salmonids. The barrier in the alligator gar consisted of: (1) an endothelium whose cells displayed tight junctions; (2) a basement membrane; and (3) an outer adventitia composed of fibrocytic cells in syncytium. PMID:18627869

  19. Barrier cells in gills of the alligator gar.

    PubMed

    Henderson, V

    1999-10-01

    Studies of barrier cells in fishes are few and have been restricted primarily to salmonids. Moreover, these studies revealed the presence of barrier cells only in hematopoietic and lymphoid organs. The alligator gar, Lepisosteus spatula, possesses similar tissues within the gills which are readily accessible; therefore, they were the organs of choice. An electron microscopical analysis of the gills was undertaken to determine if barrier cells exist and if they possess an ultrastructural design comparable to their counterparts in the brain and lungs of higher vertebrates and hematopoietic/lymphoid tissues in fishes. The present study revealed that barrier cells were found only within non-hematopoietic/lymphoid areas. Barrier cells surrounded endocrine components, nerves, and sinusoids rather than capillary endothelium or hematopoietic/lymphoid tissues. Barrier cells in the alligator gar displayed a complex envelopment more similar to those found in the blood-cerebrospinal fluid, blood-brain, and blood-gas barriers in higher vertebrates than in salmonids. The barrier in the alligator gar consisted of: (1) an endothelium whose cells displayed tight junctions; (2) a basement membrane; and (3) an outer adventitia composed of fibrocytic cells in syncytium.

  20. Mathematical models for growth in alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) embryos developing at different incubation temperatures.

    PubMed Central

    Bardsley, W G; Ackerman, R A; Bukhari, N A; Deeming, D C; Ferguson, M W

    1995-01-01

    A variety of model-based (growth models) and model-free (cubic splines, exponentials) equations were fitted using weighted-nonlinear least squares regression to embryonic growth data from Alligator mississippiensis eggs incubated at 30 and 33 degrees C. Goodness of fit was estimated using a chi 2 on the sum of squared, weighted residuals, and run and sign tests on the residuals. One of the growth models used (Preece & Baines, 1978) was found to be superior to the classical growth models (exponential, monomolecular, logistic, Gompertz, von Bertalanffy) and gave an adequate fit to all longitudinal measures taken from the embryonic body and embryonic mass. However, measurements taken from the head could not be fitted by growth models but were adequately fitted by weighted least squares cubic splines. Data for the stage of development were best fitted by a sum of 2 exponentials with a transition point. Comparison of the maximum growth rates and parameter values, indicated that the growth data at 30 degrees C could be scaled to 33 degrees C to multiplying the time by a scaling factor of 1.2. This is equivalent to a Q10 of about 1.86 or, after solving the Arrhenius equation, an E++ of 46.9 kJmol-1. This may be interpreted as indicating a common rate-limiting step in development at the 2 temperatures. PMID:7591979

  1. WILDLIFE - ALLIGATOR STROLLS FROM TURN BASIN TO LC 39 PRESS SITE GRANDSTAND

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1985-01-01

    A 12-foot alligator worked his way up from the turn basin at Press Site 39 to the grandstand seats. The toothy reptile was later wrangled by wildlife trappers who relocated him to a less populated area on KSC. The alligator is one of approximately 4,000 on KSC/Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

  2. PLASMA STEROID CONCENTRATIONS IN RELATION TO SIZE AND AGE IN JUVENILE ALLIGATORS FROM TWO FLORIDA LAKES.

    EPA Science Inventory

    Previous studies have reported a number of physiological differences among juvenile alligators from two well-studied populations (Lake Apopka and Lake Woodruff) in north central Florida. These studies obtained alligators of similar size from each lake under the assumption that th...

  3. Biomonitoring Heavy Metal Pollution Using an Aquatic Apex Predator, the American Alligator, and Its Parasites

    PubMed Central

    Tellez, Marisa; Merchant, Mark

    2015-01-01

    Monitoring the bioaccumulation of chemical elements within various organismal tissues has become a useful tool to survey current or chronic levels of heavy metal exposure within an environment. In this study, we compared the bioaccumulations of As, Cd, Cu, Fe, Pb, Se, and Zn between the American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis, and its parasites in order to establish their use as bioindicators of heavy metal pollution. Concomitant with these results, we were interested to determine if parasites were more sensitive bioindicators of heavy metals relative to alligators. We found parasites collectively accumulated higher levels of As, Cu, Se, and Zn in comparison to their alligator hosts, whereas Fe, Cd, and Pb concentrations were higher in alligators. Interestingly, Fe levels were significantly greater in intestinal trematodes than their alligator hosts when analyzed independently from other parasitic taxa. Further analyses showed alligator intestinal trematodes concentrated As, Cu, Fe, Se, and Zn at significantly higher levels than intestinal nematodes and parasites from other organs. However, pentastomids also employed the role as a good biomagnifier of As. Interestingly, parasitic abundance decreased as levels of As increased. Stomach and intestinal nematodes were the poorest bioaccumulators of metals, yet stomach nematodes showed their ability to concentrate Pb at orders of magnitude higher in comparison to other parasites. Conclusively, we suggest that parasites, particularly intestinal trematodes, are superior biomagnifiers of As, Cu, Se, and Zn, whereas alligators are likely good biological indicators of Fe, Cd, and Pb levels within the environment. PMID:26555363

  4. Biomonitoring Heavy Metal Pollution Using an Aquatic Apex Predator, the American Alligator, and Its Parasites.

    PubMed

    Tellez, Marisa; Merchant, Mark

    2015-01-01

    Monitoring the bioaccumulation of chemical elements within various organismal tissues has become a useful tool to survey current or chronic levels of heavy metal exposure within an environment. In this study, we compared the bioaccumulations of As, Cd, Cu, Fe, Pb, Se, and Zn between the American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis, and its parasites in order to establish their use as bioindicators of heavy metal pollution. Concomitant with these results, we were interested to determine if parasites were more sensitive bioindicators of heavy metals relative to alligators. We found parasites collectively accumulated higher levels of As, Cu, Se, and Zn in comparison to their alligator hosts, whereas Fe, Cd, and Pb concentrations were higher in alligators. Interestingly, Fe levels were significantly greater in intestinal trematodes than their alligator hosts when analyzed independently from other parasitic taxa. Further analyses showed alligator intestinal trematodes concentrated As, Cu, Fe, Se, and Zn at significantly higher levels than intestinal nematodes and parasites from other organs. However, pentastomids also employed the role as a good biomagnifier of As. Interestingly, parasitic abundance decreased as levels of As increased. Stomach and intestinal nematodes were the poorest bioaccumulators of metals, yet stomach nematodes showed their ability to concentrate Pb at orders of magnitude higher in comparison to other parasites. Conclusively, we suggest that parasites, particularly intestinal trematodes, are superior biomagnifiers of As, Cu, Se, and Zn, whereas alligators are likely good biological indicators of Fe, Cd, and Pb levels within the environment. PMID:26555363

  5. 33 CFR 165.T05-0091 - Safety Zone; Alligator River, NC.

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2010 CFR

    2010-07-01

    ... 33 Navigation and Navigable Waters 2 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Safety Zone; Alligator River, NC... SECURITY (CONTINUED) PORTS AND WATERWAYS SAFETY REGULATED NAVIGATION AREAS AND LIMITED ACCESS AREAS... Safety Zone; Alligator River, NC. (a) Definitions. For the purposes of this section, Captain of the...

  6. Gastric nematode diversity between estuarine and inland freshwater populations of the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis, daudin 1802), and the prediction of intermediate hosts.

    PubMed

    Tellez, Marisa; Nifong, James

    2014-12-01

    We examined the variation of stomach nematode intensity and species richness of Alligator mississippiensis from coastal estuarine and inland freshwater habitats in Florida and Georgia, and integrated prey content data to predict possible intermediate hosts. Nematode parasitism within inland freshwater inhabiting populations was found to have a higher intensity and species richness than those inhabiting coastal estuarine systems. This pattern potentially correlates with the difference and diversity of prey available between inland freshwater and coastal estuarine habitats. Increased consumption of a diverse array of prey was also correlated with increased nematode intensity in larger alligators. Parasitic nematodes Dujardinascaris waltoni, Brevimulticaecum tenuicolle, Ortleppascaris antipini, Goezia sp., and Contracaecum sp. were present in alligators from both habitat types. Dujardinascaris waltoni, B. tenuicolle, and O. antipini had a significantly higher abundance among inland inhabiting alligators than hosts from estuarine populations. Our findings also suggest that host specific nematode parasites of alligators may have evolved to infect multiple intermediate hosts, particularly fishes, crabs, and turtles, perhaps in response to the opportunistic predatory behaviors of alligators. PMID:25426417

  7. Gastric nematode diversity between estuarine and inland freshwater populations of the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis, daudin 1802), and the prediction of intermediate hosts

    PubMed Central

    Tellez, Marisa; Nifong, James

    2014-01-01

    We examined the variation of stomach nematode intensity and species richness of Alligator mississippiensis from coastal estuarine and inland freshwater habitats in Florida and Georgia, and integrated prey content data to predict possible intermediate hosts. Nematode parasitism within inland freshwater inhabiting populations was found to have a higher intensity and species richness than those inhabiting coastal estuarine systems. This pattern potentially correlates with the difference and diversity of prey available between inland freshwater and coastal estuarine habitats. Increased consumption of a diverse array of prey was also correlated with increased nematode intensity in larger alligators. Parasitic nematodes Dujardinascaris waltoni, Brevimulticaecum tenuicolle, Ortleppascaris antipini, Goezia sp., and Contracaecum sp. were present in alligators from both habitat types. Dujardinascaris waltoni, B. tenuicolle, and O. antipini had a significantly higher abundance among inland inhabiting alligators than hosts from estuarine populations. Our findings also suggest that host specific nematode parasites of alligators may have evolved to infect multiple intermediate hosts, particularly fishes, crabs, and turtles, perhaps in response to the opportunistic predatory behaviors of alligators. PMID:25426417

  8. Dry years decrease abundance of American alligators in the Florida Everglades

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Waddle, J. Hardin; Brandt, Laura A.; Jeffery, Brian M.; Mazzotti, Frank J.

    2015-01-01

    The Everglades has been greatly reduced and is threatened by land use change and altered hydrology. The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan calls for monitoring and assessment of key ecosystem attributes, one of which is abundance of American alligators. We examined 10 years of alligator night spotlight counts from Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge along two canals and in the interior marsh to determine trends and how dry years affect alligator abundance. Alligators showed population response to hydrologic conditions. In particular, there were declines in abundance after dry years followed by an apparent recovery in abundance in subsequent years. Increases in abundance were lower in the marsh than L-40 Canal. In addition, there was evidence that intensity of dry events affected population dynamics with greater declines observed in years with drier conditions. Results revealed that overall population of alligators increased from 2004 to 2013, but that increases varied by survey route. These results demonstrate that dry years cause a decline in alligator abundance proportional to the intensity of the dry event, and that it is important to make a distinction between canals and marsh when measuring alligator response to hydrology.

  9. Growth plate formation and development in alligator and mouse metapodials: evolutionary and functional implications.

    PubMed

    Reno, Philip L; Horton, Walter E; Elsey, Ruth M; Lovejoy, C Owen

    2007-05-15

    Mammalian metapodials (metacarpals and metatarsals), unlike most long bones, form a single growth plate, and undergo longitudinal growth at only one end. The growth dynamics of non-mammalian tetrapod metapodials have not been systematically examined in order to determine if unidirectional growth is unique to mammals. Here we compare murine metapodial ossification in growth stages that parallel those of embryonic, juvenile and subadult American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis). Safranin O staining was used for qualitative histology, and chondrocyte differentiation and proliferation were assessed via immunohistochemistry for type X collagen and proliferative cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). We establish that growth plates form at both ends of alligator metapodials and are maintained in the subadult. PCNA results show that alligators and mice share common patterns of chondrocyte proliferation during growth plate formation. In addition, while alligators and mice differ initially in the degree of organization and pace of chondrocyte differentiation, these parameters are largely similar in established growth plates. However, the replacement of cartilage by bone is highly irregular throughout growth in the alligator, in contrast to the more uniform process in the mouse. These results indicate that while alligators and mammals share common mechanisms of chondrocyte regulation, they differ substantially in their processes of ossification. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that the direct ossification of one epiphysis and reliance on a single growth plate is a derived character (synapomorphy) in therian mammals and likely indicates an adaptation for erect quadrupedal gait. PMID:17285637

  10. Comparison of metabolic substrates in alligators and several birds of prey.

    PubMed

    Sweazea, Karen L; McMurtry, John P; Elsey, Ruth M; Redig, Patrick; Braun, Eldon J

    2014-08-01

    On average, avian blood glucose concentrations are 1.5-2 times those of mammals of similar mass and high concentrations of insulin are required to lower blood glucose. Whereas considerable data exist for granivorous species, few data are available for plasma metabolic substrate and glucoregulatory hormone concentrations for carnivorous birds and alligators. Birds and mammals with carnivorous diets have higher metabolic rates than animals consuming diets with less protein whereas alligators have low metabolic rates. Therefore, the present study was designed to compare substrate and glucoregulatory hormone concentrations in several birds of prey and a phylogenetically close relative of birds, the alligator. The hypothesis was that the combination of carnivorous diets and high metabolic rates favored the evolution of greater protein and fatty acid utilization leading to insulin resistance and high plasma glucose concentrations in carnivorous birds. In contrast, it was hypothesized that alligators would have low substrate utilization attributable to a low metabolic rate. Fasting plasma substrate and glucoregulatory hormone concentrations were compared for bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), great horned owls (Bubo virginianus), red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis), and American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis). Avian species had high circulating β-hydroxybutyrate (10-21 mg/dl) compared to alligators (2.81 ± 0.16 mg/dl). In mammals high concentrations of this byproduct of fatty acid utilization are correlated with insulin resistance. Fasting glucose and insulin concentrations were positively correlated in eagles whereas no relationship was found between these variables for owls, hawks or alligators. Additionally, β-hydroxybutyrate concentrations were low in alligators. Similar to carnivorous mammals, ingestion of a high protein diet may have favored the utilization of fatty acids and protein for energy thereby promoting the development of insulin

  11. Comparison of metabolic substrates in alligators and several birds of prey.

    PubMed

    Sweazea, Karen L; McMurtry, John P; Elsey, Ruth M; Redig, Patrick; Braun, Eldon J

    2014-08-01

    On average, avian blood glucose concentrations are 1.5-2 times those of mammals of similar mass and high concentrations of insulin are required to lower blood glucose. Whereas considerable data exist for granivorous species, few data are available for plasma metabolic substrate and glucoregulatory hormone concentrations for carnivorous birds and alligators. Birds and mammals with carnivorous diets have higher metabolic rates than animals consuming diets with less protein whereas alligators have low metabolic rates. Therefore, the present study was designed to compare substrate and glucoregulatory hormone concentrations in several birds of prey and a phylogenetically close relative of birds, the alligator. The hypothesis was that the combination of carnivorous diets and high metabolic rates favored the evolution of greater protein and fatty acid utilization leading to insulin resistance and high plasma glucose concentrations in carnivorous birds. In contrast, it was hypothesized that alligators would have low substrate utilization attributable to a low metabolic rate. Fasting plasma substrate and glucoregulatory hormone concentrations were compared for bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), great horned owls (Bubo virginianus), red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis), and American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis). Avian species had high circulating β-hydroxybutyrate (10-21 mg/dl) compared to alligators (2.81 ± 0.16 mg/dl). In mammals high concentrations of this byproduct of fatty acid utilization are correlated with insulin resistance. Fasting glucose and insulin concentrations were positively correlated in eagles whereas no relationship was found between these variables for owls, hawks or alligators. Additionally, β-hydroxybutyrate concentrations were low in alligators. Similar to carnivorous mammals, ingestion of a high protein diet may have favored the utilization of fatty acids and protein for energy thereby promoting the development of insulin

  12. Possible generational effects of habitat degradation on alligator reproduction

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fujisaki, Ikuko; Rice, K.G.; Woodward, A.R.; Percival, H.F.

    2007-01-01

    Population decline of the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) was observed in Lake Apopka in central Florida, USA, in the early 1980s. This decline was thought to result from adult mortality and nest failure caused by anthropogenic increases in sediment loads, nutrients, and contaminants. Reproductive impairment also was reported. Extensive restoration of marshes associated with Lake Apopka has been conducted, as well as some limited restoration measures on the lake. Monitoring by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) has indicated that the adult alligator population began increasing in the early 1990s. We expected that the previously reported high proportion of complete nest failure (??0) during the 1980s may have decreased. We collected clutches from alligator nests in Lake Apopka from 1983 to 2003 and from 5 reference areas from 1988 to 1991, and we artificially incubated them. We used a Bayesian framework with Gibbs sampler of Markov chain Monte Carlo simulation to analyze ??0. Estimated ??0was consistently higher in Lake Apopka compared with reference areas, and the difference in ??0 ranged from 0.19 to 0.56. We conducted change point analysis to identify and test the significance of the change point in ??0in Lake Apopka between 1983 and 2003, indicating the point of reproductive recovery. The estimated Bayes factor strongly supported the single change point hypothesis against the no change point hypothesis. The major downward shift in ??0 probably occurred in the mid-1990s, approximately a generation after the major population decline in the 1980s. Furthermore, estimated ??0 values after the change point (0.21) were comparable with those of reference areas (0.07-0.31). These results combined with the monitoring by FFWCC seem to suggest that anthropogenic habitat degradation caused reproductive impairment of adult females and decreases in ??0 occurred with the sexual maturity of a new generation of breeding females. Long

  13. Traumatic Amputation of Finger From an Alligator Snapping Turtle Bite.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Robert D; Nielsen, Cynthia L

    2016-06-01

    Legend states that the alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) should be handled with extreme caution as it has jaw strength powerful enough to bite a wooden broomstick in half. Tales of bite injuries from what is the largest freshwater turtle in North America exist anecdotally, yet there are few descriptions of medical encounters for such. The risk of infection from reptilian bites to the hand in an aquatic environment warrants thorough antibiotic treatment in conjunction with hand surgery consultation. We present the first case report of a near total amputation of an index finger in an adolescent boy who had been bitten by a wild "gator snapper." PMID:27116923

  14. [Formation of the genome of the alligator gar Lepisosteus osseus (Ganoidomorpha) genome].

    PubMed

    Vladychenskaia, N S; Kedrova, O S; Petrov, N B

    1983-01-01

    Genome structure of the alligator gar was studied by means of a comparison of reassociation kinetics of short and long DNA fragments, an estimation of hyperchromicity of reassociated repetitive DNA as a function of fragments length, and length estimation of S1-resistant duplexes by gel filtration. It was shown that most of the repeated sequences in the alligator gar DNA are no less than 2000 b.p. long and weakly divergent. Little or no interspersion of unique and short repeated sequences were observed in this genome. No highly divergent repeats were found in the alligator gar genome. PMID:6855762

  15. [Formation of the genome of the alligator gar Lepisosteus osseus (Ganoidomorpha) genome].

    PubMed

    Vladychenskaia, N S; Kedrova, O S; Petrov, N B

    1983-01-01

    Genome structure of the alligator gar was studied by means of a comparison of reassociation kinetics of short and long DNA fragments, an estimation of hyperchromicity of reassociated repetitive DNA as a function of fragments length, and length estimation of S1-resistant duplexes by gel filtration. It was shown that most of the repeated sequences in the alligator gar DNA are no less than 2000 b.p. long and weakly divergent. Little or no interspersion of unique and short repeated sequences were observed in this genome. No highly divergent repeats were found in the alligator gar genome.

  16. Specialized stem cell niche enables repetitive renewal of alligator teeth.

    PubMed

    Wu, Ping; Wu, Xiaoshan; Jiang, Ting-Xin; Elsey, Ruth M; Temple, Bradley L; Divers, Stephen J; Glenn, Travis C; Yuan, Kuo; Chen, Min-Huey; Widelitz, Randall B; Chuong, Cheng-Ming

    2013-05-28

    Reptiles and fish have robust regenerative powers for tooth renewal. However, extant mammals can either renew their teeth one time (diphyodont dentition) or not at all (monophyodont dentition). Humans replace their milk teeth with permanent teeth and then lose their ability for tooth renewal. Here, we study tooth renewal in a crocodilian model, the American alligator, which has well-organized teeth similar to mammals but can still undergo life-long renewal. Each alligator tooth is a complex family unit composed of the functional tooth, successional tooth, and dental lamina. Using multiple mitotic labeling, we map putative stem cells to the distal enlarged bulge of the dental lamina that contains quiescent odontogenic progenitors that can be activated during physiological exfoliation or artificial extraction. Tooth cycle initiation correlates with β-catenin activation and soluble frizzled-related protein 1 disappearance in the bulge. The dermal niche adjacent to the dermal lamina dynamically expresses neural cell adhesion molecule, tenascin-C, and other molecules. Furthermore, in development, asymmetric β-catenin localization leads to the formation of a heterochronous and complex tooth family unit configuration. Understanding how these signaling molecules interact in tooth development in this model may help us to learn how to stimulate growth of adult teeth in mammals.

  17. A 3D interactive model and atlas of the jaw musculature of Alligator mississippiensis.

    PubMed

    Holliday, Casey M; Tsai, Henry P; Skiljan, Rebecca J; George, Ian D; Pathan, Sami

    2013-01-01

    Modern imaging and dissemination methods enable morphologists to share complex, three-dimensional (3D) data in ways not previously possible. Here we present a 3D interactive model of the jaw musculature of the American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis). Alligator and crocodylian jaw musculature is notoriously challenging to inspect and interpret because of the derived nature of the feeding apparatus. Using Iodine-contrast enhanced microCT imaging, a segmented model of jaw muscles, trigeminal nerve, brain and skull are presented as a cross-sectional atlas and 3D, interactive pdf of the rendered model. Modern 3D dissemination methods like this 3D Alligator hold great potential for morphologists to share anatomical information to scientists, educators, and the public in an easily downloadable format. PMID:23762228

  18. ALTERED HISTOLOGY OF THE THYMUS AND SPLEEN IN CONTAMINANT-EXPOSED JUVENILE AMERICAN ALLIGATORS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Morphological difference in spleen and thymus are closely related to functional immune differences. Hormonal regulation of the immune system has been demonstrated in reptilian splenic and thymic tissue. Spleens and thymus were obtained from juvenile alligators at two reference si...

  19. Concentrations of contaminants in muscle of the American alligator in Florida

    SciTech Connect

    Delany, M.F.; Bell, J.U.; Sundlof, S.F.

    1988-01-01

    Samples of tail muscle from 32 American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) in Florida were analyzed for contaminant concentrations to provide preliminary information on the potential public health hazard of meat consumption. Detectable levels were found for eight metals; copper, zinc, iron, chromium, mercury, lead, cadmium and arsenic. Mean residue was highest for mercury (geometric mean = 0.61 ppm). DDE, DDD, DDT, dieldrin, heptachlor epoxide, lindane, and PCB's were found. Mean residue concentrations were compared by lake. Alligators appeared to be suitable monitors of environmental pollution. Concentrations of contaminants found in these animals probably pose little threat to public health. However, recommendations must await analysis of larger sample sizes and information on amount and frequency of meat consumption. Alligators killed for human consumption should continue to be monitored for contaminant residues.

  20. Scale-Dependent Habitat Selection and Size-Based Dominance in Adult Male American Alligators.

    PubMed

    Strickland, Bradley A; Vilella, Francisco J; Belant, Jerrold L

    2016-01-01

    Habitat selection is an active behavioral process that may vary across spatial and temporal scales. Animals choose an area of primary utilization (i.e., home range) then make decisions focused on resource needs within patches. Dominance may affect the spatial distribution of conspecifics and concomitant habitat selection. Size-dependent social dominance hierarchies have been documented in captive alligators, but evidence is lacking from wild populations. We studied habitat selection for adult male American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis; n = 17) on the Pearl River in central Mississippi, USA, to test whether habitat selection was scale-dependent and individual resource selectivity was a function of conspecific body size. We used K-select analysis to quantify selection at the home range scale and patches within the home range to determine selection congruency and important habitat variables. In addition, we used linear models to determine if body size was related to selection patterns and strengths. Our results indicated habitat selection of adult male alligators was a scale-dependent process. Alligators demonstrated greater overall selection for habitat variables at the patch level and less at the home range level, suggesting resources may not be limited when selecting a home range for animals in our study area. Further, diurnal habitat selection patterns may depend on thermoregulatory needs. There was no relationship between resource selection or home range size and body size, suggesting size-dependent dominance hierarchies may not have influenced alligator resource selection or space use in our sample. Though apparent habitat suitability and low alligator density did not manifest in an observed dominance hierarchy, we hypothesize that a change in either could increase intraspecific interactions, facilitating a dominance hierarchy. Due to the broad and diverse ecological roles of alligators, understanding the factors that influence their social dominance

  1. Scale-Dependent Habitat Selection and Size-Based Dominance in Adult Male American Alligators

    PubMed Central

    Strickland, Bradley A.; Vilella, Francisco J.; Belant, Jerrold L.

    2016-01-01

    Habitat selection is an active behavioral process that may vary across spatial and temporal scales. Animals choose an area of primary utilization (i.e., home range) then make decisions focused on resource needs within patches. Dominance may affect the spatial distribution of conspecifics and concomitant habitat selection. Size-dependent social dominance hierarchies have been documented in captive alligators, but evidence is lacking from wild populations. We studied habitat selection for adult male American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis; n = 17) on the Pearl River in central Mississippi, USA, to test whether habitat selection was scale-dependent and individual resource selectivity was a function of conspecific body size. We used K-select analysis to quantify selection at the home range scale and patches within the home range to determine selection congruency and important habitat variables. In addition, we used linear models to determine if body size was related to selection patterns and strengths. Our results indicated habitat selection of adult male alligators was a scale-dependent process. Alligators demonstrated greater overall selection for habitat variables at the patch level and less at the home range level, suggesting resources may not be limited when selecting a home range for animals in our study area. Further, diurnal habitat selection patterns may depend on thermoregulatory needs. There was no relationship between resource selection or home range size and body size, suggesting size-dependent dominance hierarchies may not have influenced alligator resource selection or space use in our sample. Though apparent habitat suitability and low alligator density did not manifest in an observed dominance hierarchy, we hypothesize that a change in either could increase intraspecific interactions, facilitating a dominance hierarchy. Due to the broad and diverse ecological roles of alligators, understanding the factors that influence their social dominance

  2. WILDLIFE - ALLIGATOR STRADDLES TWO PARKING SPACES IN FRONT OF OFFICE TRAILER

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1982-01-01

    Double-parked, an angry alligator straddles two parking spaces outside an office trailer at NASA's Launch Complex 17. Hank Curtin of Pan Am watches from a safe perch as John Tanner gets ready to wrap a rope around the snout of the 10-foot, 9-inch beast. It's all in a day's work for Tanner, who has a contract with the state of Florida to remove nuisance alligators.

  3. The reproductive hormone cycle of adult female American alligators from a barrier island population.

    PubMed

    Hamlin, Heather J; Lowers, Russell H; Kohno, Satomi; Mitsui-Watanabe, Naoko; Amano, Haruna; Hara, Akihiko; Ohta, Yasuhiko; Miyagawa, Shinichi; Iguchi, Taisen; Guillette, Louis J

    2014-06-01

    Comparatively, little data are available detailing the geographic variation that exists in the reproductive endocrinology of adult alligators, especially those living in barrier islands. The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (MI) is a unique barrier island environment and home to the Kennedy Space Center (FL, USA). Seasonal patterns of sex steroids were assessed in adult female American alligators from MI monthly from 2008 to 2009, with additional samples collected at more random intervals in 2006, 2007, and 2010. Plasma 17β-estradiol and vitellogenin concentrations peaked in April, coincident with courtship and mating, and showed patterns similar to those observed in adult female alligators in other regions. Plasma concentrations of progesterone, however, showed patterns distinctly different than those reported for alligator populations in other regions and remained relatively constant throughout the year. Plasma DHEA peaked in July around the time of oviposition, decreased in August, and then remained constant for the remaining months, except for a moderate increase in October. Circulating concentrations of DHEA have not been previously assessed in a female crocodilian, and plasma concentrations coincident with reproductive activity suggest a reproductive and/or behavioral role. Interestingly, plasma testosterone concentrations peaked in May of 2008, as has been shown in female alligator populations in other regions, but showed no peak in 2009, demonstrating dramatic variability from year to year. Surveys showed 2009 to be particularly depauperate of alligator nests in MI, and it is possible that testosterone could serve as a strong indicator of breeding success.

  4. Relationship between body condition of American alligators and water depth in the Everglades, Florida

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fujisaki, Ikuko; Rice, Kenneth G.; Pearlstine, Leonard G.; Mazzotti, Frank J.

    2009-01-01

    Feeding opportunities of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) in freshwater wetlands in south Florida are closely linked to hydrologic conditions. In the Everglades, seasonally and annually fluctuating surface water levels affect populations of aquatic organisms that alligators consume. Since prey becomes more concentrated when water depth decreases, we hypothesized an inverse relationship between body condition and water depth in the Everglades. On average, condition of adult alligators in the dry season was significantly higher than in the wet season, but this was not the case for juveniles/subadults. The correlation between body condition and measured water depth at capture locations was weak; however, there was a significant negative correlation between the condition and predicted water depth prior to capture for all animals except for spring juveniles/subadults which had a weak positive condition-water depth relationship. Overall, a relatively strong inverse correlation occurred at 10-49 days prior to the capture day, suggesting that current body condition of alligators may depend on feeding opportunities during that period. Fitted regression of body condition on water depth (mean depth of 10 days when condition-water depth correlation was greatest) resulted in a significantly negative slope, except for spring adult females and spring juveniles/subadults for which slopes were not significantly different from zero. Our results imply that water management practices may be critical for alligators in the Everglades since water depth can affect animal condition in a relatively short period of time.

  5. Detection of West Nile virus RNA in mosquitoes and identification of mosquito blood meals collected at alligator farms in Louisiana.

    PubMed

    Unlu, Isik; Kramer, Wayne L; Roy, Alma F; Foil, Lane D

    2010-07-01

    Since 2001, alligator farms in the United States have sustained substantial economic losses because of West Nile virus (WNV) outbreaks in American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis). Once an initial infection is introduced into captive alligators, WNV can spread among animals by contaminative transmission. Some outbreaks have been linked to feeding on infected meat or the introduction of infected hatchlings, but the initial source of WNV infection has been uncertain in other outbreaks. We conducted a study to identify species composition and presence of WNV in mosquito populations associated with alligator farms in Louisiana. A second objective of this study was to identify the origin of mosquito blood meals collected at commercial alligator farms. Mosquitoes were collected from 2004 to 2006, using Centers for Disease Control light traps, gravid traps, backpack aspirators, and resting boxes. We collected a total of 58,975 mosquitoes representing 24 species. WNV was detected in 41 pools of females from 11 mosquito species: Anopheles crucians, Anopheles quadrimaculatus, Coquillettidia perturbans, Culex coronator, Culex erraticus, Culex nigripalpus, Culex quinquefasciatus, Mansonia titillans, Aedes sollicitans, Psorophora columbiae, and Uranotaenia lowii. The blood meal origins of 213 field-collected mosquitoes were identified based on cytochrome B sequence identity. Alligator blood was detected in 21 mosquitoes representing six species of mosquitoes, including Cx. quinquefasciatus and Cx. nigripalpus. Our results showed that mosquitoes of species that are known to be competent vectors of WNV fed regularly on captive alligators. Therefore, mosquitoes probably are important in the role of transmission of WNV at alligator farms.

  6. Use of alligator hole abundance and occupancy rate as indicators for restoration of a human-altered wetland

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fujisaki, Ikuko; Mazzotti, Frank J.; Hart, Kristen M.; Rice, Kenneth G.; Ogurcak, Danielle; Rochford, Michael; Jeffery, Brian M.; Brandt, Laura A.; Cherkiss, Michael S.

    2012-01-01

    Use of indicator species as a measure of ecosystem conditions is an established science application in environmental management. Because of its role in shaping wetland systems, the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is one of the ecological indicators for wetland restoration in south Florida, USA. We conducted landscape-level aerial surveys of alligator holes in two different habitats in a wetland where anthropogenic modification of surface hydrology has altered the natural system. Alligator holes were scarcer in an area where modified hydrology caused draining and frequent dry-downs compared to another area that maintains a functional wetland system. Lower abundance of alligator holes indicates lack of alligator activities, lower overall species diversity, and lack of dry-season aquatic refugia for other organisms. The occupancy rate of alligator holes was lower than the current restoration target for the Everglades, and was variable by size class with large size-class alligators predominantly occupying alligator holes. This may indicate unequal size-class distribution, different habitat selection by size classes, or possibly a lack of recruitment. Our study provides pre-restoration baseline information about one indicator species for the Everglades. Success of the restoration can be assessed via effective synthesis of information derived by collective research efforts on the entire suite of selected ecological indicators.

  7. TEMPORAL AND SPATIAL VARIATION IN PLASMA THYROXINE (T4) CONCENTRATIONS IN JUVENILE ALLIGATORS COLLECTED FROM LAKE OKEECHOBEE AND THE NORTHERN EVERGLADES, FLORIDA, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    We examined variation in plasma thyroxine (T4) in juvenile American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) collected from three sites within the Kissimmee River drainage basin (FL, USA). Based on historical sediment data, Moonshine Bay served as the low contaminant exposure site...

  8. Isolation and characterization of sulfite oxidase from Alligator mississipiensis

    SciTech Connect

    Robbins, A.; Neame, P.J.; Barber, M.J. )

    1991-03-11

    Sulfite oxidase has been isolated from fresh alligator liver using ammonium sulfate and acetone fractionation, DEAE chromatography and FPLC on Mono Q. The enzyme is dimeric and exhibits a subunit M. Wt. of approximately 58 kDa, larger than that of chicken SO. EPR spectroscopy of the partially-reduced enzyme revealed a single Mo(V) species while visible spectroscopy revealed the presence of cytochrome b{sub 557}. Maximal activities were obtained at pH 8 and 9, respectively. K{sub m}'s for SO{sub 3}{sup 2 {minus}}, cyt. c and Fe(CN){sub 6}{sup 3 {minus}} were 23.5 uM, 2.9 uM and 8.0 uM, respectively. Sequencing of peptides obtained by endoprotease K digestion indicated regions of extensive sequence similarity to chicken and rat enzymes in both heme and Mo-pterin domains. Regions of sequence dissimilarity were also found.

  9. Alligator rivers analogue project an OECD/NEA international project

    SciTech Connect

    Duerden, P.; Airey, P.; Pescatore, C.

    1994-12-31

    The Koongarra uranium deposit in the Alligator Rivers Region of the Northern Territory of Australia was studied as a natural analogue of the far field behaviour of high level waste repositories following groundwater ingress. A number of mathematical modelling approaches were developed for processes as diverse as groundwater transport, host rock weathering, radionuclide sorption, evolution of the uranium dispersion fan and the distribution of uranium series nuclides between mineral assemblages in weathered host rock. Some of these models are relevant to performance assessment at the level of individual processes and subsystem performance. Through the project, new insights into the application of the natural analogue approach to the assessment of potential waste repository sites were obtained.

  10. A Chinese alligator in heliox: formant frequencies in a crocodilian

    PubMed Central

    Reber, Stephan A.; Nishimura, Takeshi; Janisch, Judith; Robertson, Mark; Fitch, W. Tecumseh

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Crocodilians are among the most vocal non-avian reptiles. Adults of both sexes produce loud vocalizations known as ‘bellows’ year round, with the highest rate during the mating season. Although the specific function of these vocalizations remains unclear, they may advertise the caller's body size, because relative size differences strongly affect courtship and territorial behaviour in crocodilians. In mammals and birds, a common mechanism for producing honest acoustic signals of body size is via formant frequencies (vocal tract resonances). To our knowledge, formants have to date never been documented in any non-avian reptile, and formants do not seem to play a role in the vocalizations of anurans. We tested for formants in crocodilian vocalizations by using playbacks to induce a female Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis) to bellow in an airtight chamber. During vocalizations, the animal inhaled either normal air or a helium/oxygen mixture (heliox) in which the velocity of sound is increased. Although heliox allows normal respiration, it alters the formant distribution of the sound spectrum. An acoustic analysis of the calls showed that the source signal components remained constant under both conditions, but an upward shift of high-energy frequency bands was observed in heliox. We conclude that these frequency bands represent formants. We suggest that crocodilian vocalizations could thus provide an acoustic indication of body size via formants. Because birds and crocodilians share a common ancestor with all dinosaurs, a better understanding of their vocal production systems may also provide insight into the communication of extinct Archosaurians. PMID:26246611

  11. A Chinese alligator in heliox: formant frequencies in a crocodilian.

    PubMed

    Reber, Stephan A; Nishimura, Takeshi; Janisch, Judith; Robertson, Mark; Fitch, W Tecumseh

    2015-08-01

    Crocodilians are among the most vocal non-avian reptiles. Adults of both sexes produce loud vocalizations known as 'bellows' year round, with the highest rate during the mating season. Although the specific function of these vocalizations remains unclear, they may advertise the caller's body size, because relative size differences strongly affect courtship and territorial behaviour in crocodilians. In mammals and birds, a common mechanism for producing honest acoustic signals of body size is via formant frequencies (vocal tract resonances). To our knowledge, formants have to date never been documented in any non-avian reptile, and formants do not seem to play a role in the vocalizations of anurans. We tested for formants in crocodilian vocalizations by using playbacks to induce a female Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis) to bellow in an airtight chamber. During vocalizations, the animal inhaled either normal air or a helium/oxygen mixture (heliox) in which the velocity of sound is increased. Although heliox allows normal respiration, it alters the formant distribution of the sound spectrum. An acoustic analysis of the calls showed that the source signal components remained constant under both conditions, but an upward shift of high-energy frequency bands was observed in heliox. We conclude that these frequency bands represent formants. We suggest that crocodilian vocalizations could thus provide an acoustic indication of body size via formants. Because birds and crocodilians share a common ancestor with all dinosaurs, a better understanding of their vocal production systems may also provide insight into the communication of extinct Archosaurians. PMID:26246611

  12. Post-hatching development of Alligator mississippiensis ovary and testis

    PubMed Central

    Moore, Brandon C.; Hamlin, Heather J.; Botteri, Nicole L.; Lawler, Ashley N.; Mathavan, Ketan K.; Guillette, Louis J.

    2009-01-01

    We investigated ovary and testis development of Alligator mississippiensis during the first five months post-hatch. To better describe follicle assembly and seminiferous cord development, we employed histochemical techniques to detect carbohydrate-rich extracellular matrix components in one-week, one-month, three-month, and five-month-old gonads. We found profound morphological changes in both ovary and testis. During this time, oogenesis progressed up to diplotene arrest and meiotic germ cells increasingly interacted with follicular cells. Concomitant with follicles becoming invested with full complements of granulosa cells, a periodic acid Schiff’s (PAS)-positive basement membrane formed. As follicles enlarged and thecal layers were observed, basement membranes and thecal compartments gained periodic acid-methionine silver (PAMS)-reactive fibers. The ovarian medulla increased first PAS- and then PAMS-reactivity as it fragmented into wide lacunae lined with low cuboidal to squamous epithelia. During this same period, testicular germ cells found along the tubule margins were observed progressing from spermatogonia to round spermatids located within the center of tubules. Accompanying this meiotic development, interstitial Leydig cell clusters become more visible and testicular capsules thickened. During the observed testis development, the thickening tunica albuginea and widening interstitial tissues showed increasing PAS- and PAMS-reactivity. We observed putative inter-sex structures in both ovary and testis. On the coelomic aspect of testes were cell clusters with germ cell morphology and at the posterior end of ovaries, we observed “medullary rests” resembling immature testis cords. We hypothesize laboratory conditions accelerated gonad maturation due to optimum conditions, including nutrients and temperature. Laboratory alligators grew more rapidly and with increased body conditions compared to previous measured, field-caught animals. Additionally, we

  13. Thermal acclimation, mitochondrial capacities and organ metabolic profiles in a reptile (Alligator mississippiensis).

    PubMed

    Guderley, Helga; Seebacher, Frank

    2011-01-01

    Reptiles thermoregulate behaviourally, but change their preferred temperature and the optimal temperature for performance seasonally. We evaluated whether the digestive and locomotor systems of the alligator show parallel metabolic adjustments during thermal acclimation. To this end, we allowed juvenile alligators to grow under thermal conditions typical of winter and summer, providing them with seasonally appropriate basking opportunities. Although mean body temperatures of alligators in these groups differed by approximately 10°C, their growth and final anatomic status was equivalent. While hepatic mitochondria isolated from cold-acclimated alligators had higher oxidative capacities at 30°C than those from warm-acclimated alligators, the capacities did not differ at 20°C. Cold acclimation decreased maximal oxidative capacities of muscle mitochondria. For mitochondria from both organs and acclimation groups, palmitate increased oligomycin-inhibited respiration. GDP addition reduced palmitate-uncoupled rates more in liver mitochondria from warm- than cold-acclimated alligators. In muscle mitochondria, carboxyatractyloside significantly reduced palmitate-uncoupled rates. This effect was not changed by thermal acclimation. The aerobic capacity of liver, skeletal muscle and duodenum, as estimated by activities of cytochrome c oxidase (COX), increased with cold acclimation. At acclimation temperatures, the activities of COX and citrate synthase (CS) in these organs were equivalent. By measuring COX and CS in isolated mitochondria and tissue extracts, we estimated that cold acclimation did not change the mitochondrial content in liver, but increased that of muscle. The thermal compensation of growth rates and of the aerobic capacity of the locomotor and digestive systems suggests that alligators optimised metabolic processes for the seasonally altered, preferred body temperature. The precision of this compensatory response exceeds that typically shown by aquatic

  14. 50 CFR 23.70 - How can I trade internationally in American alligator and other crocodilian skins, parts, and...

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-10-01

    ... laws regulating harvest seasons and methods. (iii) Total allowable harvest of the species. (iv..., including harvest of nuisance alligators, methods used to determine harvest levels, demographics of the harvest, and methods used to determine the total number and population trends of alligators in the...

  15. 33 CFR 334.760 - Naval Support Activity Panama City and Alligator Bayou, a tributary of St. Andrew Bay, Fla...

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2012 CFR

    2012-07-01

    ... 33 Navigation and Navigable Waters 3 2012-07-01 2012-07-01 false Naval Support Activity Panama City and Alligator Bayou, a tributary of St. Andrew Bay, Fla.; naval restricted area. 334.760 Section... Alligator Bayou, a tributary of St. Andrew Bay, Fla.; naval restricted area. (a) The area. The waters...

  16. 33 CFR 334.760 - Naval Support Activity Panama City and Alligator Bayou, a tributary of St. Andrew Bay, Fla...

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2011 CFR

    2011-07-01

    ... 33 Navigation and Navigable Waters 3 2011-07-01 2011-07-01 false Naval Support Activity Panama City and Alligator Bayou, a tributary of St. Andrew Bay, Fla.; naval restricted area. 334.760 Section... Alligator Bayou, a tributary of St. Andrew Bay, Fla.; naval restricted area. (a) The area. The waters...

  17. 33 CFR 334.760 - Naval Support Activity Panama City and Alligator Bayou, a tributary of St. Andrew Bay, Fla...

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2014 CFR

    2014-07-01

    ... 33 Navigation and Navigable Waters 3 2014-07-01 2014-07-01 false Naval Support Activity Panama City and Alligator Bayou, a tributary of St. Andrew Bay, Fla.; naval restricted area. 334.760 Section... Alligator Bayou, a tributary of St. Andrew Bay, Fla.; naval restricted area. (a) The area. The waters...

  18. 33 CFR 334.760 - Naval Support Activity Panama City and Alligator Bayou, a tributary of St. Andrew Bay, Fla...

    Code of Federal Regulations, 2013 CFR

    2013-07-01

    ... 33 Navigation and Navigable Waters 3 2013-07-01 2013-07-01 false Naval Support Activity Panama City and Alligator Bayou, a tributary of St. Andrew Bay, Fla.; naval restricted area. 334.760 Section... Alligator Bayou, a tributary of St. Andrew Bay, Fla.; naval restricted area. (a) The area. The waters...

  19. Chronic Ingestion of Coal Fly-Ash Contaminated Prey and Its Effects on Health and Immune Parameters in Juvenile American Alligators (Alligator mississippiensis).

    PubMed

    Finger, John W; Hamilton, Matthew T; Metts, Brian S; Glenn, Travis C; Tuberville, Tracey D

    2016-10-01

    Coal-burning power plants supply approximately 37 % of the electricity in the United States. However, incomplete combustion produces ash wastes enriched with toxic trace elements that have historically been disposed of in aquatic basins. Organisms inhabiting such habitats may accumulate these trace elements; however, studies investigating the effects on biota have been primarily restricted to shorter-lived, lower-trophic organisms. The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), a long-lived, top-trophic carnivore, has been observed inhabiting these basins, yet the health or immune effects of chronic exposure and possible accumulation remains unknown. In this study, we investigated how chronic dietary ingestion of prey contaminated with coal combustion wastes (CCWs) for 25 months, and subsequent accumulation of trace elements present in CCWs, affected juvenile alligator immune function and health. Alligators were assigned to one of four dietary-treatment groups including controls and those fed prey contaminated with CCWs for one, two, or three times a week. However, no effect of Dietary Treatment (p > 0.05) was observed on any immune parameter or hematological or plasma analyte we tested. Our results suggest that neither exposure to nor accumulation of low doses of CCWs had a negative effect on certain aspects of the immune and hematological system. However, future studies are required to elucidate this further. PMID:27475646

  20. Phase I and II liver enzyme activities in juvenile alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) collected from three sites in the Kissimmee-Everglades drainage, Florida (USA).

    PubMed

    Gunderson, M P; Oberdörster, E; Guillette, L J

    2004-10-01

    We examined CYP1A (measured using hepatic EROD and MROD activities) and glutathione-S-transferase (GST) activities in juvenile alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) collected from three sites with varying contamination in the Kissimmee-Everglades drainage in south Florida. We hypothesized that contaminants present in areas with intermediate or higher contaminant concentrations would alter hepatic enzyme activities in juvenile alligators from those sites when compared to hepatic enzyme activity in animals from the area with the least contamination. EROD activity was found to be higher in animals from the site with lower reported levels of contamination relative to those from the site with the highest reported contamination suggesting an inhibition of CYP1A expression or activity. No differences among animals from the three sites were observed for hepatic MROD and GST activities. A significant negative relationship between EROD, MROD, and GST activities and body size was exhibited in alligators from the site with the lowest contamination. No relationship between body size and hepatic enzyme activity was found in animals from the sites with intermediate and higher contamination, suggesting that contaminants present at these sites act to alter this relationship. No correlation was observed in this study between plasma steroid concentrations (estradiol-17 beta or testosterone) and hepatic EROD, MROD, or GST activities.

  1. Effects of egg and hatchling harvest on American alligators in Florida

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rice, K.G.; Percival, H.F.; Woodward, A.R.; Jennings, Michael L.

    1999-01-01

    Harvest of crocodilian eggs and young for captive rearing (ranching) has been used worldwide as an option for producing crocodilian skins and meat from wild stock. The long-term effects of harvesting a certain proportion of early age class, wild American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) without repatriation is unknown. We removed an estimated 50% of annual production of alligators on Lakes Griffin and Jesup in central Florida over an 11-year period and monitored population levels via night-light counts. Densities of the total alligator population increased (P 0.117), and subadult (122-182 cm TL) alligators increased (P < 0.011) on harvest areas. The density of juveniles on the control area increased (P = 0.006), and the density of subadults showed some evidence of increasing (P = 0.088). No changes were detected in size distributions on the treatment areas. Nest production, as observed from aerial helicopter surveys, increased (P < 0.039) on Lake Woodruff NWR and Lake Jesup and showed some evidence of an increase on Lake Griffin (P = 0.098) during 1983-91. A 50% harvest rate of eggs or hatchlings did not adversely affect recruitment into the subadult or adult size classes.

  2. American alligator digestion rate of blue crabs and its implications for stomach contents analysis

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nifong, James C.; Rosenblatt, Adam E.; Johnson, Nathan A.; Barichivich, William; Silliman, Brian; Heithaus, Michael R.

    2012-01-01

    Stomach contents analysis (SCA) provides a snap-shot observation of a consumer's diet. Interpretation of SCA data can be complicated by many factors, including variation in gastric residence times and digestion rates among prey taxa. Although some SCA methods are reported to efficiently remove all stomach contents, the effectiveness of these techniques has rarely been tested for large irregular shaped prey with hard exoskeletons. We used a controlled feeding trial to estimate gastric residency time and decomposition rate of a large crustacean prey item, the Blue Crab (Callinectes sapidus), which is consumed by American Alligators (Alligator mississippiensis), an abundant apex predator in coastal habitats of the southeastern United States. The decomposition rate of C. sapidus in the stomachs of A. mississippiensis followed a predictable pattern, and some crab pieces remained in stomachs for at least 14 days. We also found that certain portions of C. sapidus were prone to becoming caught within the stomach or esophagus, meaning not all crab parts are consistently recovered using gastric lavage techniques. However, because the state of decomposition of crabs was predictable, it is possible to estimate time since consumption for crabs recovered from wild alligators. This information, coupled with a detailed understanding of crab distributions and alligator movement tactics could help elucidate patterns of cross-ecosystem foraging by the American Alligator in coastal habitats

  3. The influence of regional hydrology on nesting behavior and nest fate of the American alligator

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ugarte, Cristina A.; Bass, Oron L.; Nuttle, William; Mazzotti, Frank J.; Rice, Kenneth G.; Fujisaki, Ikuko; Whelan, Kevin R.T.

    2013-01-01

    Hydrologic conditions are critical to the nesting behavior and reproductive success of crocodilians. In South Florida, USA, growing human settlement has led to extensive surface water management and modification of historical water flows in the wetlands, which have affected regional nesting of the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis). Although both natural and anthropogenic factors are considered to determine hydrologic conditions, the aspects of hydrological patterns that affect alligator nest effort, flooding (partial and complete), and failure (no hatchling) are unclear. We deconstructed annual hydrological patterns using harmonic models that estimated hydrological matrices including mean, amplitude, timing of peak, and periodicity of surface water depth and discharge and examined their effects on alligator nesting using survey data from Shark Slough, Everglades National Park, from 1985 to 2005. Nest effort increased in years with higher mean and lesser periodicity of water depth. A greater proportion of nests were flooded and failed when peak discharge occurred earlier in the year. Also, nest flooding rates were greater in years with greater periodicity of water depth, and nest failure rate was greater when mean discharge was higher. This study guides future water management decisions to mitigate negative impacts on reproduction of alligators and provides wildlife managers with a tool for assessing and modifying annual water management plans to conserve crocodilians and other wetland species.

  4. Body temperatures and behavior of American alligators during cold winter weather

    SciTech Connect

    Brisbin, I.L., Jr.; Standora, E.A.; Vargo, M.J.

    1982-04-01

    Data from two large (188 and 135 kg) male alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) indicated that 4-5 C seemed to be the lowest body temperatures that they could endure with subsequent recovery. Although one animal in shallow water managed to keep a breathing hole open for several days, in ice that was 1.5 cm thick, it later died following a decrease of its body temperature to 4.0 C. The second alligator which was located in a deeper portion of the reservoir used both terrestrial and aquatic basking behavior to raise its body temperature and level of activity. Except in the case of basking events, there was not clear evidence of significant evaluations of the body temperatures of either the live or dead alligators above those of their adjacent water. When located side-by-side, diurnal cycles of deep body temperatures exceeding adjacent water temperatures to a maximum extent near dawn and usually falling below water temperatures during the afternoon and early evening hours. The physical properties and thermal inertia of the bodies of such large alligators, when placed in appropriate microclimates, may be sufficient in themselves to explain the general patterns and levels of body temperature changes observed at these low temperatures.

  5. The effects of hurricane Rita and subsequent drought on alligators in southwest Louisiana.

    PubMed

    Lance, Valentine A; Elsey, Ruth M; Butterstein, George; Trosclair, Phillip L; Merchant, Mark

    2010-02-01

    Hurricane Rita struck the coast of southwest Louisiana in September 2005. The storm generated an enormous tidal surge of approximately four meters in height that inundated many thousands of acres of the coastal marsh with full strength seawater. The initial surge resulted in the deaths of a number of alligators and severely stressed those who survived. In addition, a prolonged drought (the lowest rainfall in 111 years of recorded weather data) following the hurricane resulted in highly saline conditions that persisted in the marsh for several months. We had the opportunity to collect 11 blood samples from alligators located on Holly Beach less than a month after the hurricane, but were unable to collect samples from alligators on Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge until February 2006. Conditions at Rockefeller Refuge did not permit systematic sampling, but a total of 201 samples were collected on the refuge up through August 2006. The blood samples were analyzed for sodium, potassium, chloride, osmolality, and corticosterone. Blood samples from alligators sampled on Holly Beach in October 2005, showed a marked elevation in plasma osmolality, sodium, chloride, potassium, corticosterone, and an elevated heterophil/lymphocyte ratio. Blood samples from alligators on Rockefeller Refuge showed increasing levels of corticosterone as the drought persisted and elevated osmolality and electrolytes. After substantial rainfall in July and August, these indices of osmotic stress returned to within normal limits.

  6. Animal-borne imaging reveals novel insights into the foraging behaviors and Diel activity of a large-bodied apex predator, the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis).

    PubMed

    Nifong, James C; Nifong, Rachel L; Silliman, Brian R; Lowers, Russell H; Guillette, Louis J; Ferguson, Jake M; Welsh, Matthew; Abernathy, Kyler; Marshall, Greg

    2014-01-01

    Large-bodied, top- and apex predators (e.g., crocodilians, sharks, wolves, killer whales) can exert strong top-down effects within ecological communities through their interactions with prey. Due to inherent difficulties while studying the behavior of these often dangerous predatory species, relatively little is known regarding their feeding behaviors and activity patterns, information that is essential to understanding their role in regulating food web dynamics and ecological processes. Here we use animal-borne imaging systems (Crittercam) to study the foraging behavior and activity patterns of a cryptic, large-bodied predator, the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) in two estuaries of coastal Florida, USA. Using retrieved video data we examine the variation in foraging behaviors and activity patterns due to abiotic factors. We found the frequency of prey-attacks (mean = 0.49 prey attacks/hour) as well as the probability of prey-capture success (mean = 0.52 per attack) were significantly affected by time of day. Alligators attempted to capture prey most frequently during the night. Probability of prey-capture success per attack was highest during morning hours and sequentially lower during day, night, and sunset, respectively. Position in the water column also significantly affected prey-capture success, as individuals' experienced two-fold greater success when attacking prey while submerged. These estimates are the first for wild adult American alligators and one of the few examples for any crocodilian species worldwide. More broadly, these results reveal that our understandings of crocodilian foraging behaviors are biased due to previous studies containing limited observations of cryptic and nocturnal foraging interactions. Our results can be used to inform greater understanding regarding the top-down effects of American alligators in estuarine food webs. Additionally, our results highlight the importance and power of using animal-borne imaging when

  7. Animal-Borne Imaging Reveals Novel Insights into the Foraging Behaviors and Diel Activity of a Large-Bodied Apex Predator, the American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

    PubMed Central

    Nifong, James C.; Nifong, Rachel L.; Silliman, Brian R.; Lowers, Russell H.; Guillette, Louis J.; Ferguson, Jake M.; Welsh, Matthew; Abernathy, Kyler; Marshall, Greg

    2014-01-01

    Large-bodied, top- and apex predators (e.g., crocodilians, sharks, wolves, killer whales) can exert strong top-down effects within ecological communities through their interactions with prey. Due to inherent difficulties while studying the behavior of these often dangerous predatory species, relatively little is known regarding their feeding behaviors and activity patterns, information that is essential to understanding their role in regulating food web dynamics and ecological processes. Here we use animal-borne imaging systems (Crittercam) to study the foraging behavior and activity patterns of a cryptic, large-bodied predator, the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) in two estuaries of coastal Florida, USA. Using retrieved video data we examine the variation in foraging behaviors and activity patterns due to abiotic factors. We found the frequency of prey-attacks (mean = 0.49 prey attacks/hour) as well as the probability of prey-capture success (mean = 0.52 per attack) were significantly affected by time of day. Alligators attempted to capture prey most frequently during the night. Probability of prey-capture success per attack was highest during morning hours and sequentially lower during day, night, and sunset, respectively. Position in the water column also significantly affected prey-capture success, as individuals’ experienced two-fold greater success when attacking prey while submerged. These estimates are the first for wild adult American alligators and one of the few examples for any crocodilian species worldwide. More broadly, these results reveal that our understandings of crocodilian foraging behaviors are biased due to previous studies containing limited observations of cryptic and nocturnal foraging interactions. Our results can be used to inform greater understanding regarding the top-down effects of American alligators in estuarine food webs. Additionally, our results highlight the importance and power of using animal

  8. Coplanar PCB distribution between chorioallantoic membranes and eggs of alligators and Loggerhead sea turtles

    SciTech Connect

    Bargar, T.A.; Cobb, G.P.

    1995-12-31

    The relative distribution of coplanar polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) between chorioallantoic membranes (CAMS) and eggs was investigated in inviable American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) and Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretra) eggs. Cam and egg extracts were fractionated by HPLC using a porous graphitic column (PGC) and an in line switching valve to separate coplanar from non-coplanar PCBs. The fractions were collected, concentrated by nitrogen evaporation, and injected on GC-ECD (60M DB-5 capillary column) for quantification. Alligator and Loggerhead sea turtle eggs contain toxicologically significant coplanar PCBs. Mono-ortho substituted PCBs were present with greater frequency relative to non-ortho substituted PCBs in both eggs and CAMS. The presence of coplanar PCBs in eggs appears to be correlated to coplanar PCB presence in CAMS. The chorioallantoic membrane could serve as a biomarker of embryo exposure to coplanar PCBs.

  9. American alligator proximal pedal phalanges resemble human finger bones: Diagnostic criteria for forensic investigators.

    PubMed

    Ferraro, Joseph V; Binetti, Katie M

    2014-07-01

    A scientific approach to bone and tooth identification requires analysts to pursue the goal of empirical falsification. That is, they may attribute a questioned specimen to element and taxon only after having ruled out all other possible attributions. This requires analysts to possess a thorough understanding of both human and non-human osteology, particularly so for remains that may be morphologically similar across taxa. To date, forensic anthropologists have identified several potential 'mimics' for human skeletal remains, including pig teeth and bear paws. Here we document another possible mimic for isolated human skeletal elements--the proximal pedal phalanges of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) closely resemble the proximal and intermediate hand phalanges of adult humans. We detail morphological similarities and differences between these elements, with the goal of providing sufficient information for investigators to confidently falsify the hypothesis that a questioned phalanx is derived from an American alligator.

  10. [Comparison of the genome of the alligator gar with the genomes of several other fish].

    PubMed

    Kedrova, O S; Vladychenskaia, N S; Antonov, A S

    1983-01-01

    Hybridization of alligator gar (Lepisosteus osseus, Lepisosteiformes, Ganoidomorpha) [125I]- or [3H]DNA fractions with DNAs of more or less phylogenetically related fishes was studied. Almost all of the repeated and unique sequences of alligator gar DNA and DNA of the spotted gar (from the same genus) are highly homologous (1-2% of nucleotide substitutions). The degrees of homology between repeated and unique sequences of alligator gar DNA and DNAs of the representatives of Acipenseriformes (the same super-order Ganoidomorpha), Latimeria chalumnae (another subclass, Sarcopterygii) and a shark (another class, Chondrichthyes) are of the same order, and the levels of divergency of their DNAs sequences are similar. These results demonstrate, that the joining of Lepisosteiformes and Acipenseriformes in one and the same group of Ganoidomorpha is artificial, and that the superclass of fishes, Pisces, includes more taxons of the class rank then it has been taken in theory. PMID:6855763

  11. [Comparison of the genome of the alligator gar with the genomes of several other fish].

    PubMed

    Kedrova, O S; Vladychenskaia, N S; Antonov, A S

    1983-01-01

    Hybridization of alligator gar (Lepisosteus osseus, Lepisosteiformes, Ganoidomorpha) [125I]- or [3H]DNA fractions with DNAs of more or less phylogenetically related fishes was studied. Almost all of the repeated and unique sequences of alligator gar DNA and DNA of the spotted gar (from the same genus) are highly homologous (1-2% of nucleotide substitutions). The degrees of homology between repeated and unique sequences of alligator gar DNA and DNAs of the representatives of Acipenseriformes (the same super-order Ganoidomorpha), Latimeria chalumnae (another subclass, Sarcopterygii) and a shark (another class, Chondrichthyes) are of the same order, and the levels of divergency of their DNAs sequences are similar. These results demonstrate, that the joining of Lepisosteiformes and Acipenseriformes in one and the same group of Ganoidomorpha is artificial, and that the superclass of fishes, Pisces, includes more taxons of the class rank then it has been taken in theory.

  12. Water hyacinths and alligator weeds for removal of silver, cobalt, and strontium from polluted waters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wolverton, B. C.; Mcdonald, R. C.

    1975-01-01

    Water hyacinths and alligator weeds demonstrated the ability to rapidly remove heavy metals from an aqueous system by root absorption and concentration. Water hyacinths demonstrated the ability to remove 0.439 mg of silver, 0.568 mg of cobalt, and 0.544 mg of strontium in an ionized form per gram of dry plant material in a 24-hour period. Alligator weeds removed a maximum of 0.439 mg of silver, 0.130 mg of cobalt, and 0.161 mg of strontium per gram of dry plant material per day.

  13. Dujardinascaris gigantea sp. n. (Nematoda: Ascaridida) from the critically endangered crocodile Alligator sinensis Fauvel (Reptilia: Crocodylia).

    PubMed

    Zhao, Jin-Hong; Li, Liang; Guo, Yan-Ning; Zhang, Lu-Ping

    2015-03-01

    The Chinese alligator Alligator sinensis Fauvel (Reptilia: Crocodylia) is considered as one of the most critically endangered species of the 23 extant crocodiles. However, our knowledge of the helminth parasites of this rare animal is completely lacking. During a helminthological survey of reptiles in China, we found a new ascaridoid nematode, Dujardinascaris gigantea sp. n. from A. sinensis. The morphology of D. gigantea sp. n. was studied using light and scanning electron microscopy. The new species was also characterised using molecular methods by sequencing and analysing the small ribosomal DNA (18S) and the second internal transcribed spacer (ITS-2).

  14. Patterns of sexual dimorphism in Mexican alligator lizards, Barisia imbricata

    PubMed Central

    Dashevsky, Daniel; Meik, Jesse M; Mociño-Deloya, Estrella; Setser, Kirk; Schaack, Sarah

    2013-01-01

    We compare morphological characteristics of male and female Barisia imbricata, Mexican alligator lizards, and find that mass, head length, coloration, incidence of scars from conspecifics, tail loss, and frequency of bearing the color/pattern of the opposite sex are all sexually dimorphic traits. Overall size (measured as snout–vent length), on the other hand, is not different between the two sexes. We use data on bite scar frequency and fecundity to evaluate competing hypotheses regarding the selective forces driving these patterns. We contend that sexual selection, acting through male-male competition, may favor larger mass and head size in males, whereas large females are likely favored by natural selection for greater fecundity. In addition, the frequency of opposite-sex patterning in males versus females may indicate that the costs of agonistic interactions among males are severe enough to allow for an alternative mating strategy. Finally, we discuss how sexual and natural selective forces may interact to drive or mask the evolution of sexually dimorphic traits. PMID:23467394

  15. Evaluating the effect of sample type on American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) analyte values in a point-of-care blood analyser.

    PubMed

    Hamilton, Matthew T; Finger, John W; Winzeler, Megan E; Tuberville, Tracey D

    2016-01-01

    The assessment of wildlife health has been enhanced by the ability of point-of-care (POC) blood analysers to provide biochemical analyses of non-domesticated animals in the field. However, environmental limitations (e.g. temperature, atmospheric humidity and rain) and lack of reference values may inhibit researchers from using such a device with certain wildlife species. Evaluating the use of alternative sample types, such as plasma, in a POC device may afford researchers the opportunity to delay sample analysis and the ability to use banked samples. In this study, we examined fresh whole blood, fresh plasma and frozen plasma (sample type) pH, partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PCO2), bicarbonate (HCO3 (-)), total carbon dioxide (TCO2), base excess (BE), partial pressure of oxygen (PO2), oxygen saturation (sO2) and lactate concentrations in 23 juvenile American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) using an i-STAT CG4+ cartridge. Our results indicate that sample type had no effect on lactate concentration values (F 2,65 = 0.37, P = 0.963), suggesting that the i-STAT analyser can be used reliably to quantify lactate concentrations in fresh and frozen plasma samples. In contrast, the other seven blood parameters measured by the CG4+ cartridge were significantly affected by sample type. Lastly, we were able to collect blood samples from all alligators within 2 min of capture to establish preliminary reference ranges for juvenile alligators based on values obtained using fresh whole blood. PMID:27382469

  16. Evaluating the effect of sample type on American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) analyte values in a point-of-care blood analyser

    SciTech Connect

    Hamilton, Matthew T.; Finger, John W.; Winzeler, Megan E.; Tuberville, Tracey D.

    2016-01-01

    The assessment of wildlife health has been enhanced by the ability of point-of-care (POC) blood analysers to provide biochemical analyses of non-domesticated animals in the field. However, environmental limitations (e.g. temperature, atmospheric humidity and rain) and lack of reference values may inhibit researchers from using such a device with certain wildlife species. Evaluating the use of alternative sample types, such as plasma, in a POC device may afford researchers the opportunity to delay sample analysis and the ability to use banked samples. In this study, we examined fresh whole blood, fresh plasma and frozen plasma (sample type) pH, partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PCO2), bicarbonate (HCO3₋), total carbon dioxide (TCO2), base excess (BE), partial pressure of oxygen (PO2), oxygen saturation (sO2) and lactate concentrations in 23 juvenile American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) using an i-STAT CG4+ cartridge. Our results indicate that sample type had no effect on lactate concentration values (F2,65 = 0.37, P = 0.963), suggesting that the i-STAT analyser can be used reliably to quantify lactate concentrations in fresh and frozen plasma samples. In contrast, the other seven blood parameters measured by the CG4+ cartridge were significantly affected by sample type. In conclusion, we were able to collect blood samples from all alligators within 2 min of capture to establish preliminary reference ranges for juvenile alligators based on values obtained using fresh whole blood.

  17. Evaluating the effect of sample type on American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) analyte values in a point-of-care blood analyser

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Hamilton, Matthew T.; Finger, John W.; Winzeler, Megan E.; Tuberville, Tracey D.

    2016-01-01

    The assessment of wildlife health has been enhanced by the ability of point-of-care (POC) blood analysers to provide biochemical analyses of non-domesticated animals in the field. However, environmental limitations (e.g. temperature, atmospheric humidity and rain) and lack of reference values may inhibit researchers from using such a device with certain wildlife species. Evaluating the use of alternative sample types, such as plasma, in a POC device may afford researchers the opportunity to delay sample analysis and the ability to use banked samples. In this study, we examined fresh whole blood, fresh plasma and frozen plasma (sample type) pH, partial pressuremore » of carbon dioxide (PCO2), bicarbonate (HCO3₋), total carbon dioxide (TCO2), base excess (BE), partial pressure of oxygen (PO2), oxygen saturation (sO2) and lactate concentrations in 23 juvenile American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) using an i-STAT CG4+ cartridge. Our results indicate that sample type had no effect on lactate concentration values (F2,65 = 0.37, P = 0.963), suggesting that the i-STAT analyser can be used reliably to quantify lactate concentrations in fresh and frozen plasma samples. In contrast, the other seven blood parameters measured by the CG4+ cartridge were significantly affected by sample type. In conclusion, we were able to collect blood samples from all alligators within 2 min of capture to establish preliminary reference ranges for juvenile alligators based on values obtained using fresh whole blood.« less

  18. Evaluating the effect of sample type on American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) analyte values in a point-of-care blood analyser

    PubMed Central

    Hamilton, Matthew T.; Finger, John W.; Winzeler, Megan E.; Tuberville, Tracey D.

    2016-01-01

    The assessment of wildlife health has been enhanced by the ability of point-of-care (POC) blood analysers to provide biochemical analyses of non-domesticated animals in the field. However, environmental limitations (e.g. temperature, atmospheric humidity and rain) and lack of reference values may inhibit researchers from using such a device with certain wildlife species. Evaluating the use of alternative sample types, such as plasma, in a POC device may afford researchers the opportunity to delay sample analysis and the ability to use banked samples. In this study, we examined fresh whole blood, fresh plasma and frozen plasma (sample type) pH, partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PCO2), bicarbonate (HCO3−), total carbon dioxide (TCO2), base excess (BE), partial pressure of oxygen (PO2), oxygen saturation (sO2) and lactate concentrations in 23 juvenile American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) using an i-STAT CG4+ cartridge. Our results indicate that sample type had no effect on lactate concentration values (F2,65 = 0.37, P = 0.963), suggesting that the i-STAT analyser can be used reliably to quantify lactate concentrations in fresh and frozen plasma samples. In contrast, the other seven blood parameters measured by the CG4+ cartridge were significantly affected by sample type. Lastly, we were able to collect blood samples from all alligators within 2 min of capture to establish preliminary reference ranges for juvenile alligators based on values obtained using fresh whole blood. PMID:27382469

  19. Follicle-stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR) in Chinese alligator, Alligator sinensis: molecular characterization, tissue distribution and mRNA expression changes during the female reproductive cycle.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Rui; Zhang, Shengzhou; Zhu, Xue; Zhou, Yongkang; Wu, Xiaobing

    2015-05-01

    The follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) plays a central role in vertebrate reproduction, with the actions of FSH mediated by FSH receptors (FSHRs) on the granulosa cells of the ovary. The present study reports the cloning and characterization of FSHR in Chinese alligator, Alligator sinensis (caFSHR), and its tissue distribution and mRNA expression changes during the reproductive cycle. The mature protein of caFSHR displays typical features of the glycoprotein hormone receptor family, but also contains some remarkable differences when compared with other vertebrate FSHRs. The deduced amino acid sequence of the caFSHR shares identity of 85% with Chinese softshell turtle, 84-87% with birds, 77-78% with mammals, 67-73% with amphibians and 51-58% with fishes. Phylogenetic tree analysis of the FSHR amino acid sequence indicated that alligators cluster into the bird branch. Tissue expression analysis showed that caFSHR was not only expressed in the ovary, but also in the stomach, intestine, pancreas liver and oviduct at similar levels, while it was not detectable in heart, thymus or thyroid. Expression of caFSHR in the ovary is high in May (breeding prophase) and peaks in July during the breeding period, where it is maintained at high levels through September (breeding anaphase). Expression decreases significantly in November (hibernating period) and then remains relatively low from January to March (hibernating period). These temporal changes in FSHR expression suggest that it plays an important role in promoting ovarian development during the female reproductive cycle of Chinese alligator. PMID:25765682

  20. A group of alligators basks in the sun and rest in the water at KSC.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2000-01-01

    This pond near Schwartz Rd. at Kennedy Space Center is host to a least the nine alligators shown on the banks and in the water. Nearly 5,000 alligators can be found in canals, ponds, and waterways throughout the Center and the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, which shares a boundary with the Center. American alligators feed and rest in the water, and lay their eggs in dens they dig into the banks. The young alligators spend their first several weeks in these dens. The Wildlife Refuge encompasses 92,000 acres that are a habitat for more than 331 species of birds, 31 mammals, 117 fishes, and 65 amphibians and reptiles. The marshes and open water of the refuge provide wintering areas for 23 species of migratory waterfowl, as well as a year-round home for great blue herons, great egrets, wood storks, cormorants, brown pelicans and other species of marsh and shore birds, as well as a variety of insects.

  1. Effects of salinity on growth and ion regulation of juvenile alligator gar Atractosteus spatula.

    PubMed

    Schwarz, Daniel E; Allen, Peter J

    2014-03-01

    The alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) is a primitive euryhaline fish, found primarily in estuaries and freshwater drainages associated with the northern Gulf of Mexico. The extent of its hypo-osmotic regulatory abilities is not well understood. In order to determine how salinity affects growth rates and ionic and osmoregulation, juvenile alligator gar (330 days after hatch; 185 g) were exposed to 4 different salinities (0, 8, 16, and 24 ppt) for a 30-day period. Specific growth rate, plasma osmolality and ion concentrations, gill and gastrointestinal tract Na(+), K(+)-ATPase activities, and drinking rate were compared. Juvenile alligator gar were able to tolerate hyperosmotic salinities up to 24 ppt for a 30 day period, albeit with decreased growth resulting largely from decreased food consumption. Plasma osmolality and ionic concentrations were elevated in hyperosmotic salinities, and drinking rates and gastrointestinal tract Na(+), K(+)-ATPase activities increased, particularly in the pyloric caeca, presumably the primary location of water absorption. Therefore, juvenile alligator gar<1 year of age are capable of prolonged exposure to hyperosmotic salinities, but, based on the inference of these data, require access to lower salinities for long-term survival. PMID:24368134

  2. Achieving environmentally relevant organochlorine pesticide concentrations in eggs through maternal exposure in Alligator mississippiensis

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rauschenberger, R.H.; Wiebe, J.J.; Buckland, J.E.; Smith, Joe T.; Sepulveda, M.S.; Gross, T.S.

    2004-01-01

    Alligator mississippiensis eggs from organochlorine pesticide (OCP) contaminated sites in Florida exhibit high rates of embryonic mortality compared to reference sites (p<0.05). The objective of the present study was to use captive adult alligators to test the hypotheses that maternal exposure to OCPs results in increased OCP concentrations in eggs, and that increased exposure is associated with increased embryonic mortality. A total of 24 adult alligators (8 males and 16 females) were housed in eight pens. Eight females in four pens were dosed with a mixture of p,p'-DDE, toxaphene, dieldrin, and chlordane at a rate of 0.2 ? 0.01 mg/kg/day for 274 ? 8 days. Treated females produced eggs containing higher OCP concentrations (12,814 ? 813 ng/g yolk) than controls (38 ? 4 ng/g yolk). Eggs of treated females exhibited decreased viability (13 ? 22%) as compared to controls (45 ? 20%). Results indicated that 0.6% of administered OCPs were maternally transferred to the eggs of American alligators, and that maternal exposure is associated with decreased egg/embryo viability in this species.

  3. Effects of salinity on growth and ion regulation of juvenile alligator gar Atractosteus spatula

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) is a primitive euryhaline fish, found primarily in estuaries and freshwater drainages associated with the northern Gulf of Mexico. The extent of its hypo-osmotic regulatory abilities is not well understood. In order to determine how salinity affects growth ra...

  4. The evolutionary history of an invasive species: alligator weed, Alternanthera philoxeroides

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The eco-evolutionary mechanisms of biological invasions are still not thoroughly understood. Alligator weed, Alternanthera philoxeroides (Martius) Gisebach (Amaranthaceae), is a plant native to South America and a weed in Australia and other countries. To better understand its success as an invader,...

  5. Effects of salinity on growth and ion regulation of juvenile alligator gar Atractosteus spatula.

    PubMed

    Schwarz, Daniel E; Allen, Peter J

    2014-03-01

    The alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) is a primitive euryhaline fish, found primarily in estuaries and freshwater drainages associated with the northern Gulf of Mexico. The extent of its hypo-osmotic regulatory abilities is not well understood. In order to determine how salinity affects growth rates and ionic and osmoregulation, juvenile alligator gar (330 days after hatch; 185 g) were exposed to 4 different salinities (0, 8, 16, and 24 ppt) for a 30-day period. Specific growth rate, plasma osmolality and ion concentrations, gill and gastrointestinal tract Na(+), K(+)-ATPase activities, and drinking rate were compared. Juvenile alligator gar were able to tolerate hyperosmotic salinities up to 24 ppt for a 30 day period, albeit with decreased growth resulting largely from decreased food consumption. Plasma osmolality and ionic concentrations were elevated in hyperosmotic salinities, and drinking rates and gastrointestinal tract Na(+), K(+)-ATPase activities increased, particularly in the pyloric caeca, presumably the primary location of water absorption. Therefore, juvenile alligator gar<1 year of age are capable of prolonged exposure to hyperosmotic salinities, but, based on the inference of these data, require access to lower salinities for long-term survival.

  6. Simple solar technology saves money for alligator farms

    SciTech Connect

    Goldman, A.

    1993-01-01

    In 1990, a high-volume solar thermal water-heating system in Florida was installed in Okeechobee County by Solar Development, Inc. (SDI). The system is designed to provide large quantities of hot water for commercial use and heat water to as high as 140[degrees]F. The design in Florida is known as a Shallow Solar Pond (SSP). It was completed with the help of the Florida Alligator Farmers Association, the Florida Energy Office, Foster Farms, and SDI. The SSP is a modular system built on site and modified to meet the specific needs of each application. The tank and the collector are the same unit, which keeps the system cost very low. The typical SSP module is 16 feet wide and up to 200 feet long. The module contains one or two reinforced-rubber flat water bags similar to a water bed. The bags rest on a layer of insulation or sand inside concrete or fiberglass curbs. In the Foster Farms SSP, the insulation was omitted and the water bags are placed on sand. The bag is protected against damage and heat loss by greenhouse-type glazing. At Foster Farms there are 3 SSPs, set in approximately 8,000 square feet, with two 5,000-gallon bags per unit. In addition, there is a pressurizing pump/tank system. Every morning, the heated water from the bags drains into a sump tank. While the bags are emptied into the backup system, well water is pumped in and the solar heating process starts all over again.

  7. The Good, the Bad, and the Unknown: Microbial Symbioses of the American Alligator.

    PubMed

    Keenan, Sarah W; Elsey, Ruth M

    2015-12-01

    Vertebrates coexist with microorganisms in diverse symbiotic associations that range from beneficial to detrimental to the host. Most research has aimed at deciphering the nature of the composite microbial assemblage's genome, or microbiome, from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and skin of mammals (i.e., humans). In mammals, the GI tract's microbiome aids digestion, enhances uptake of nutrients, and prevents the establishment of pathogenic microorganisms. However, because the GI tract microbiome of the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is distinct from that of all other vertebrates studied to date, being comprised of Fusobacteria in the lower GI tract with lesser abundances of Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, and Bacteroidetes, the function of these assemblages is largely unknown. This review provides a synthesis of our current understanding of the composition of alligators' microbiomes, highlights the potential role of microbiome members in alligators' health (the good), and presents a brief summary of microorganisms detrimental to alligators' health (the bad) including Salmonella spp. and others. Microbial assemblages of the GI tract have co-evolved with their vertebrate host over geologic time, which means that evolutionary hypotheses can be tested using information about the microbiome. For reptiles and amphibians, the number of taxa studied at present is limited, thereby restricting evolutionary insights. Nevertheless, we present a compilation of our current understanding of reptiles' and amphibians' microbiomes, and highlight future avenues of research (the unknown). As in humans, composition of microbiome assemblages provides a promising tool for assessing hosts' health or disease. By further exploring present-day associations between symbiotic microorganisms in the microbiomes of reptiles and amphibians, we can better identify good (beneficial) and bad (detrimental) microorganisms, and unravel the evolutionary history of the acquisition of

  8. The oldest record of Alligator sinensis from the Late Pliocene of Western Japan, and its biogeographic implication

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Iijima, Masaya; Takahashi, Keiichi; Kobayashi, Yoshitsugu

    2016-07-01

    The late Cenozoic fossil record of alligators in East Asia is crucial in understanding the origin and past distribution of Asian alligators that are now represented by a single species, Alligator sinensis. This study reports a partial skeleton of A. sinensis from the Late Pliocene (approximately 3.0 Ma) of western Japan. This Japanese A. sinensis is large in size (>200 cm total length), comparable to the maximum size of extant individuals. It demonstrates the oldest record of A. sinensis and wider distribution of this species in the past. Tectonic and geographic history of East Asia suggests that alligators presumably dispersed into Japan before 25 Ma or after 10 Ma, yet finally were wiped out from Japan due to the semi-isolated condition of the Japanese island arc and the deteriorated climate during the Plio-Pleistocene.

  9. Conservation genetics of the alligator snapping turtle: cytonuclear evidence of range-wide bottleneck effects and unusually pronounced geographic structure

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Echelle, A.A.; Hackler, J.C.; Lack, Justin B.; Ballard, S. R.; Roman, J.; Fox, S. F.; Leslie,, David M.; Van Den Bussche, Ronald A.

    2010-01-01

    A previous mtDNA study indicated that female-mediated gene flow was extremely rare among alligator snapping turtle populations in different drainages of the Gulf of Mexico. In this study, we used variation at seven microsatellite DNA loci to assess the possibility of male-mediated gene flow, we augmented the mtDNA survey with additional sampling of the large Mississippi River System, and we evaluated the hypothesis that the consistently low within-population mtDNA diversity reflects past population bottlenecks. The results show that dispersal between drainages of the Gulf of Mexico is rare (F STmsat  = 0.43, ΦSTmtDNA = 0.98). Past range-wide bottlenecks are indicated by several genetic signals, including low diversity for microsatellites (1.1–3.9 alleles/locus; H e = 0.06–0.53) and mtDNA (h = 0.00 for most drainages; π = 0.000–0.001). Microsatellite data reinforce the conclusion from mtDNA that the Suwannee River population might eventually be recognized as a distinct taxonomic unit. It was the only population showing fixation or near fixation for otherwise rare microsatellite alleles. Six evolutionarily significant units are recommended on the basis of reciprocal mtDNA monophyly and high levels of microsatellite DNA divergence.

  10. EAARL coastal topography--Alligator Point, Louisiana, 2010

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nayegandhi, Amar; Bonisteel-Cormier, J.M.; Wright, C.W.; Brock, J.C.; Nagle, D.B.; Vivekanandan, Saisudha; Fredericks, Xan; Barras, J.A.

    2012-01-01

    This project provides highly detailed and accurate datasets of a portion of Alligator Point, Louisiana, acquired on March 5 and 6, 2010. The datasets are made available for use as a management tool to research scientists and natural-resource managers. An innovative airborne lidar instrument originally developed at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Wallops Flight Facility, and known as the Experimental Advanced Airborne Research Lidar (EAARL), was used during data acquisition. The EAARL system is a raster-scanning, waveform-resolving, green-wavelength (532-nanometer) lidar designed to map near-shore bathymetry, topography, and vegetation structure simultaneously. The EAARL sensor suite includes the raster-scanning, water-penetrating full-waveform adaptive lidar, a down-looking red-green-blue (RGB) digital camera, a high-resolution multispectral color-infrared (CIR) camera, two precision dual-frequency kinematic carrier-phase GPS receivers, and an integrated miniature digital inertial measurement unit, which provide for sub-meter georeferencing of each laser sample. The nominal EAARL platform is a twin-engine aircraft, but the instrument was deployed on a Pilatus PC-6. A single pilot, a lidar operator, and a data analyst constitute the crew for most survey operations. This sensor has the potential to make significant contributions in measuring sub-aerial and submarine coastal topography within cross-environmental surveys. Elevation measurements were collected over the survey area using the EAARL system, and the resulting data were then processed using the Airborne Lidar Processing System (ALPS), a custom-built processing system developed in a NASA-USGS collaboration. ALPS supports the exploration and processing of lidar data in an interactive or batch mode. Modules for presurvey flight-line definition, flight-path plotting, lidar raster and waveform investigation, and digital camera image playback have been developed. Processing algorithms have

  11. Herpetofaunal diversity of Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, North Carolina

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Meyers, J.M.; Pike, D.A.

    2006-01-01

    In the past century, habitat alteration and fragmentation have increased dramatically, which increases the need for improving our understanding of how species and biological communities react to these modifications. A national strategy on biological diversity has focused attention on how these habitat modifications affect species, especially herpetofauna (i.e., changes in species richness, community evenness and similarity, and dominant/rare species). As part of this strategy, we surveyed Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, a coastal, mixed second-growth forested swamp (MFS) and pocosin wetland (PW), in North Carolina for amphibians and reptiles from September 2000 to August 2001. We randomly selected three sites (3 x 3 km) in two major habitat types (MFS, PW) and completed random surveys and trapping using transects, quadrats, nighttime aural road surveys, drift fences, canal transects, coverboards, incidental captures, and evening road surveys. We also collected herpetofauna opportunistically throughout the refuge to establish an updated species list. For analysis, we used Shannon-Weiner species diversity (H'), evenness (1'), species richness and species detectability (COMDYN4), and community percent similarity index to determine herpetofaunal community differences. We estimated 39 species in MFS and 32 species in PW (P < 0.10). Species detectability was similar between habitats (0.84 to 0.86). More reptilian species (+ 31 %) inhabited MFS than PW, but estimated amphibian species richness was identical (17 spp.). H' was higher (P < 0.000 I) for PW (2.6680) than for MFS (2.1535) because of lower J' in the latter (0.6214 vs. 0.8010). Dominance of three Rana species caused lower J' and H' in MFS. Similarity between the communities was 56.6%; we estimated 22-24 species in common for each habitat (95% CI = 18 to 31 spp.). We verified 49 of the 52 herpetofaunal species on the refuge that were known to exist in the area. Restoration of natural water flows may

  12. Seasonal acclimatisation of muscle metabolic enzymes in a reptile (Alligator mississippiensis).

    PubMed

    Seebacher, Frank; Guderley, Helga; Elsey, Ruth M; Trosclair, Phillip L

    2003-04-01

    Reptiles living in heterogeneous thermal environments are often thought to show behavioural thermoregulation or to become inactive when environmental conditions prevent the achievement of preferred body temperatures. By contrast, thermally homogeneous environments preclude behavioural thermoregulation, and ectotherms inhabiting these environments (particularly fish in which branchial respiration requires body temperature to follow water temperature) modify their biochemical capacities in response to long-term seasonal temperature fluctuations. Reptiles may also be active at seasonally varying body temperatures and could, therefore, gain selective advantages from regulating biochemical capacities. Hence, we tested the hypothesis that a reptile (the American alligator Alligator mississippiensis) that experiences pronounced seasonal fluctuations in body temperature will show seasonal acclimatisation in the activity of its metabolic enzymes. We measured body temperatures of alligators in the wild in winter and summer (N=7 alligators in each season), and we collected muscle samples from wild alligators (N=31 in each season) for analysis of metabolic enzyme activity (lactate dehydrogenase, citrate synthase and cytochrome c oxidase). There were significant differences in mean daily body temperatures between winter (15.66+/-0.43 degrees C; mean +/- S.E.M.) and summer (29.34+/-0.21 degrees C), and daily body temperatures fluctuated significantly more in winter compared with summer. Alligators compensated for lower winter temperatures by increasing enzyme activities, and the activities of cytochrome c oxidase and lactate dehydrogenase were significantly greater in winter compared with summer at all assay temperatures. The activity of citrate synthase was significantly greater in the winter samples at the winter body temperature (15 degrees C) but not at the summer body temperature (30 degrees C). The thermal sensitivity (Q(10)) of mitochondrial enzymes decreased

  13. Water hyacinths and alligator weeds for removal of lead and mercury from polluted waters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wolverton, B. C.; Mcdonald, R. C.

    1975-01-01

    Removal of lead and mercury by water hyacinths (Eichhornia crassipes) (Mart.) Solms and alligator weeds (Alternanthera philoxeroides) (Mart.) Griesb. was investigated. Water hyacinths demonstrated the ability to remove 0.176 mg of lead and 0.150 mg of mercury per gram of dry plant material from distilled water and river water in a 24-hour period. One acre of water hyacinths is potentially capable of removing 105.6 grams of lead and 90.0 grams of mercury per day. Alligator weeds removed 0.101 mg of lead per gram of dry plant material in a 24-hour period. This same plant also demonstrated the ability to remove a minimum of 0.153 mg of mercury per gram of dry plant material in a six hour period.

  14. Contaminants in American alligator eggs from Lake Apopka, Lake Griffin, and Lake Okeechobee, Florida

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Heinz, G.H.; Percival, H.F.; Jennings, Michael L.

    1991-01-01

    Residues of organochlorine pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and 16 elements were measured in American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) eggs collected in 1984 from Lakes Apopka, Griffin, and Okeechobee in central and south Florida. Organochlorine pesticides were highest in eggs from Lake Apopka. None of the elements appeared to be present at harmful concentrations in eggs from any of the lakes. A larger sample of eggs was collected in 1985, but only from Lakes Griffin, a lake where eggs were relatively clean, and Apopka, where eggs were most contaminated. In 1985, hatching success of artificially incubated eggs was lower for Lake Apopka, and several organochlorine pesticides were higher than in eggs from Lake Griffin. However, within Lake Apopka, higher levels of pesticides in chemically analyzed eggs were not associated with reduced hatching success of the remaining eggs in the clutch. Therefore, it did not appear that any of the pesticides we measured were responsible for the reduced hatching of Lake Apopka eggs.

  15. Regulatory peptides in the gastrointestinal tract of Alligator mississipiensis. An immunocytochemical study.

    PubMed

    Buchan, A M; Lance, V; Polak, J M

    1983-01-01

    The gastrointestinal tract of the alligator Alligator mississipiensis has been investigated for the presence of immunoreactivity to fourteen regulatory peptides all known to occur in the mammalian gut system. Mucosal endocrine cells reacting specifically with the antisera to neurotensin, C-terminal gastrin, somatostatin, bombesin, secretin, pancreatic glucagon and enteroglucagon were detectable, the distribution of these cells being, in general, similar to the mammalian pattern. Peripheral nerve cell bodies and nerve fibres were detected with the antisera to vasoactive intestinal polypeptide, substance P, bombesin and somatostatin again with a distribution similar to that seen in mammals. No immunoreactivity was observed with the available antisera to glicentin, motilin, gastric inhibitory polypeptide, gastrin 34, cholecystokinin 9-20 and met-enkephalin.

  16. Hydrodynamic analysis, performance assessment, and actuator design of a flexible tail propulsor in an artificial alligator

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Philen, Michael; Neu, Wayne

    2011-09-01

    The overall objective of this research is to develop analysis tools for determining actuator requirements and assessing viable actuator technology for design of a flexible tail propulsor in an artificial alligator. A simple hydrodynamic model that includes both reactive and resistive forces along the tail is proposed and the calculated mean thrust agrees well with conventional estimates of drag. Using the hydrodynamic model forces as an input, studies are performed for an alligator ranging in size from 1 cm to 2 m at swimming speeds of 0.3-1.8 body lengths per second containing five antagonistic pairs of actuators distributed along the length of the tail. Several smart materials are considered for the actuation system, and preliminary analysis results indicate that the acrylic electroactive polymer and the flexible matrix composite actuators are potential artificial muscle technologies for the system.

  17. Determining the size of American alligators using hind-foot track length

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wilkinson, Philip M.; Rice, Kenneth G.

    2000-01-01

    Size distribution information is useful for crocodilian management, but can be hard to obtain. Indirect and less costly demographic inferences made from track measurements may be valuable for management decisions. We related hind-foot lengths (HF) with total length (TL) to determine if we could indirectly assess alligator size using track length. Regression showed that HF was an excellent predictor (F1,246= 15722.9, R2=0.98, P<0.01) of TL and track length was an exceptional predictor of HF (F1,14=7520.3, R2= 1.00, P<0.01). The correlation between track length and HF length also was significant (N= 15, r=0.99, P <0.01). Thus, alligator size can be accurately estimated from measures of track length at sites where capture and direct measurement is impractical.

  18. Functional morphology of the Alligator mississippiensis larynx with implications for vocal production.

    PubMed

    Riede, Tobias; Li, Zhiheng; Tokuda, Isao T; Farmer, Colleen G

    2015-04-01

    Sauropsid vocalization is mediated by the syrinx in birds and the larynx in extant reptiles; but whereas avian vocal production has received much attention, the vocal mechanism of basal reptilians is poorly understood. The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) displays a large vocal repertoire during mating and in parent-offspring interactions. Although vocal outputs of these behaviors have received some attention, the underlying mechanism of sound production remains speculative. Here, we investigate the laryngeal anatomy of juvenile and adult animals by macroscopic and histological methods. Observations of the cartilaginous framework and associated muscles largely corroborate earlier findings, but one muscle, the cricoarytenoideus, exhibits a heretofore unknown extrinsic insertion that has important implications for effective regulation of vocal fold length and tension. Histological investigation of the larynx revealed a layered vocal fold morphology. The thick lamina propria consists of non-homogenous extracellular matrix containing collagen fibers that are tightly packed below the epithelium but loosely organized deep inside the vocal fold. We found few elastic fibers but comparatively high proportions of hyaluronan. Similar organizational complexity is also seen in mammalian vocal folds and the labia of the avian syrinx: convergent morphologies that suggest analogous mechanisms for sound production. In tensile tests, alligator vocal folds demonstrated a linear stress-strain behavior in the low strain region and nonlinear stress responses at strains larger than 15%, which is similar to mammalian vocal fold tissue. We have integrated morphological and physiological data in a two-mass vocal fold model, providing a systematic description of the possible acoustic space that could be available to an alligator larynx. Mapping actual call production onto possible acoustic space validates the model's predictions.

  19. Nutrient and organochlorine pesticide concentrations in American alligator eggs and their associations with clutch viability.

    PubMed

    Rauschenberger, R Heath; Sepúlveda, Maria S; Wiebe, Jon J; Wiebe, Janet E; Honeyfield, Dale C; Gross, Timothy S

    2009-12-01

    Since the early 1900s, the lakes of the Ocklawaha basin in central Florida have experienced ecological degradation due to anthropogenic development. One species affected by this degradation is the American alligator Alligator mississippiensis, which has suffered from poor clutch viability and embryo mortality. Although some studies indicate that organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) may be involved, OCPs do not account for all of the variation seen in hatch rates. Indeed, nutrition and non-OCP contaminants have been associated with developmental problems in fish and birds. Our study evaluated embryo mortality in alligators at reference and OCP-contaminated sites as a function of exposure to OCPs, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), along with egg nutrients (Zn, Se, and vitamins A, E, and B1). The four-pronged study consisted of a case-control cohort study, an expanded field study, a topical egg treatment thiamine amelioration experiment, and a topical egg treatment thiamine antagonist experiment. The results from the two field studies suggested that the total thiamine levels in the eggs were positively associated with clutch viability and negatively associated with the lipid content and certain OCPs measured in egg yolks. In addition, PCBs, PAHs, Zn, Se, and vitamins A and E were not found to be associated with the observed clutch viability defects. The thiamine levels in the eggs explained 38% of the variation in clutch survival in the case-control cohort study and 27% in the expanded field study. The topical egg treatment experiments were successful in elevating the thiamine concentrations in the albumin but not the yolk. No significant differences were noted among treatment groups in either egg treatment experiment with respect to clutch survival. In summary, thiamine egg concentrations explain some of the variation in the clutch viability of free-ranging alligators, but the cause-effect relationships are still unclear. PMID

  20. WILDLIFE - ALLIGATOR NAMED KASEY LIVES IN POND IN FRONT OF HEADQUARTERS

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1969-01-01

    A big, toothy saurian grin is flashed by this alligator in the pond in front of the KSC Headquarters Building. And wy not? After years of namelessness, he [or she] has a name. The 'gator was dubbed Kasey following a ''Name the Gator'' contest in which scores of Spaceport employees submitted name suggestions. Kasey is one of two 'gators placed in the pond in an attempt to restore its natural ecology.

  1. Biosorption of As(V) onto dried alligator weed root: role of metal (hydro) oxides.

    PubMed

    Chen, Jian; Tao, Weihua; Sun, Cheng

    2016-01-01

    The present work investigates the adsorption of As(V) onto the dried powder of alligator weed root as bio-sorbent, using acid pre-treated alligator weed root powder as the reference. The isotherm study suggested there is a favorable As(V) adsorption happened on the AWR surface. The batch adsorption experimental results indicated that the ionic strength has little impact on the adsorption, while the solution pH has a significant effect on the adsorption with apparent inhibition appearing in both extreme acidic and alkaline pH region. In addition, the properties of the biosorbent were characterized by various techniques including SEM-EDS, FT-IR, and ICP detection. The analysis results suggested that the metals including Mn, Fe, and Al enrich over the alligator weed root surface in the morphology of metal (hydro) oxide. Based on the nature of the biosorbent and As(V) besides the adsorption performance, the metal (hydro) oxides over biosorbent surface is suggested as the essential role to drive the adsorption. With the metal (hydro) oxides denuded in the pre-treatment, the biosorbent loses its adsorption capability for As(V) totally.

  2. Do egg-laying crocodilian (Alligator mississippiensis) archosaurs form medullary bone?

    PubMed

    Schweitzer, M H; Elsey, R M; Dacke, C G; Horner, J R; Lamm, E-T

    2007-04-01

    It is beyond question that Mesozoic dinosaurs, like Aves and Crocodylia, are archosaurs. However, within the archosaurian clade, the origin and distribution of some major features are less clear, particularly with respect to reproductive physiology. Medullary bone, a highly mineralized, bony reproductive tissue present in the endosteal cavities of all extant egg-laying birds thus far examined, has recently been reported in Tyrannosaurus rex. Its presence or absence in extant crocodilians, therefore, may shed light on the timing of its evolutionary appearance. If medullary bone is present in all three taxa, it arose before the three lineages diverged. However, if medullary bone arose after this divergence, it may be present in both extinct dinosaurs and birds, or in birds only. If present in extinct dinosaurs and birds, but not crocodilians, it would indicate that it arose in the common ancestor of this clade, thus adding support to the closer phylogenetic relationship of dinosaurs and birds relative to crocodilians. Thus, the question of whether the crocodilian Alligator mississippiensis forms medullary bone during the production of eggs has important evolutionary significance. Our examination of long bones from several alligators (two alligators with eggs in the oviducts, one that had produced eggs in the past but was not currently in reproductive phase, an immature female and an adult male) shows no differences on the endosteal surfaces of the long bones, and no evidence of medullary bone, supporting the hypothesis that medullary bone first evolved in the dinosaur-bird line, after the divergence of crocodilians from this lineage.

  3. Environmental risk assessment of compost prepared from salvinia, egeria densa, and alligator weed.

    PubMed

    Dorahy, C G; Pirie, A D; McMaster, I; Muirhead, L; Pengelly, P; Chan, K Y; Jackson, M; Barchia, I M

    2009-01-01

    Approximately 70,000 m(3) of salvinia (Salvinia molesta) was removed from the Hawkesbury-Nepean River, New South Wales (NSW), Australia, during 2004. This study assessed the risks associated with applying compost prepared from aquatic weeds (AWC) to land, namely, survival and spread of aquatic and terrestrial weeds, eutrophication of waterways, accumulation of heavy metals and phytotoxicity. The results demonstrate composting is an effective method of reducing the viability of aquatic and terrestrial weeds. However, mortality of alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides), which was used as an indicator plant, was significantly (P < 0.001) correlated with the temperature within the windrows and the length of time the material was subjected to composting. Conditions within the central core of the windrow were sufficient to kill the alligator weed, although not all of the aquatic weed material was exposed to the windrows' central core. This resulted in alligator weed continuing to grow at the base of the windrow. To reduce the risk of weeds surviving and spreading in aquatic and terrestrial environments it is suggested compost windrows should be located on an appropriate hard pad to enable complete mixing of the material and ensure all material is exposed to temperatures >55 degrees C for greater than three consecutive days. The likelihood of other risks associated with the AWC was low. If composting is selected as the preferred method for managing organic material harvested from waterways, then ongoing monitoring and evaluation is required to validate the composting process and ensure consumer confidence in the final product.

  4. Biosorption of As(V) onto dried alligator weed root: role of metal (hydro) oxides.

    PubMed

    Chen, Jian; Tao, Weihua; Sun, Cheng

    2016-01-01

    The present work investigates the adsorption of As(V) onto the dried powder of alligator weed root as bio-sorbent, using acid pre-treated alligator weed root powder as the reference. The isotherm study suggested there is a favorable As(V) adsorption happened on the AWR surface. The batch adsorption experimental results indicated that the ionic strength has little impact on the adsorption, while the solution pH has a significant effect on the adsorption with apparent inhibition appearing in both extreme acidic and alkaline pH region. In addition, the properties of the biosorbent were characterized by various techniques including SEM-EDS, FT-IR, and ICP detection. The analysis results suggested that the metals including Mn, Fe, and Al enrich over the alligator weed root surface in the morphology of metal (hydro) oxide. Based on the nature of the biosorbent and As(V) besides the adsorption performance, the metal (hydro) oxides over biosorbent surface is suggested as the essential role to drive the adsorption. With the metal (hydro) oxides denuded in the pre-treatment, the biosorbent loses its adsorption capability for As(V) totally. PMID:26458188

  5. Analysis of the landsat remote sensing images of the types of habitats of Yangtze alligators

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huang, Zhujian; Lin, Hengzhang; Zhang, Shengkai

    1986-12-01

    The Chinese “Yangtze” alligator is a rare reptile that has been listed as an “endangered species” by the United Nations, so its preservation has become an urgent task. A study of its habitats through analysis of their Landsat images will provide a scientific basis for the government departments concerned to select the best locations for its breeding. The Chinese alligator is a subtropical reptile of freshwater rivers, lakes and ponds. Found only in China, it is now distributed only in the border region between the three provinces of Anhui, Zhejiang and Jiangsu. On the basis of previous investigations by Chinese scientists, and from an analysis and interpretation of their Landsat images, we made a special study, review, and classification of the natural environment of the alligator’s present habitats (and the modern changes in the natural background of these hatitats) so that the government departments concerned with the preservation of the reptiles may have a scientific basis for determining the best locations for the breeding and propagation of the alligator.

  6. Estimating spawning times of Alligator Gar (Atractosteus spatula) in Lake Texoma, Oklahoma

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Snow, Richard A.; Long, James M.

    2015-01-01

    In 2013, juvenile Alligator Gar were sampled in the reservoir-river interface of the Red River arm of Lake Texoma. The Red River, which flows 860 km along Oklahoma’s border with Texas, is the primary in-flow source of Lake Texoma, and is impounded by Denison Dam. Minifyke nets were deployed using an adaptive random cluster sampling design, which has been used to effectively sample rare species. Lapilli otoliths (one of the three pair of ear stones found within the inner ear of fish) were removed from juvenile Alligator Gar collected in July of 2013. Daily ages were estimated by counting the number of rings present, and spawn dates were back-calculated from date of capture and subtracting 8 days (3 days from spawn to hatch and 5 days from hatch to swimup when the first ring forms). Alligator Gar daily age estimation ranged from 50 to 63 days old since swim-up. Spawn dates corresponded to rising pool elevations of Lake Texoma and water pulses of tributaries.

  7. Health assessment of free-ranging alligator snapping turtles (Macrochelys temminckii) in Georgia and Florida.

    PubMed

    Chaffin, Kristen; Norton, Terry M; Gilardi, Kirsten; Poppenga, Robert; Jensen, John B; Moler, Paul; Cray, Carolyn; Dierenfeld, Ellen S; Chen, Tai; Oliva, Marcie; Origgi, Francesco C; Gibbs, Samantha; Mazzaro, Lisa; Mazet, Jonna

    2008-07-01

    The Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) is a large freshwater turtle endemic to river systems that drain into the Gulf of Mexico. Turtle populations were sharply reduced by commercial harvest in the 1970s and 1980s; however, the species has yet to be protected under the Endangered Species Act. While anthropogenic stressors such as habitat fragmentation and degradation and illegal capture continue to threaten populations, the degree to which disease may be contributing to any decline of the Alligator Snapping Turtle is unknown. Data were collected from 97 free-ranging Alligator Snapping Turtles in nine waterways in Florida and Georgia from 2001 to 2006. Eleven turtles were captured more than once, resulting in a total sample pool of 123. Reference ranges were established for complete blood count, plasma biochemistry values, trace metals (mercury, zinc, copper, lead, and arsenic), and nutrient parameters (vitamins A, E, D, and selenium). Variations by capture location, sex, and season were detected and likely resulted from external factors such as habitat and diet. Turtles sampled in one location were positive for tortoise herpesviral antibodies. Blood mercury values also differed among populations. This study provides justification for the use of these long-lived aquatic turtles as biologic monitors of the health of local freshwater ecosystems. PMID:18689653

  8. Hepatic and renal trace element concentrations in American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) following chronic dietary exposure to coal fly ash contaminated prey.

    PubMed

    Tuberville, Tracey D; Scott, David E; Metts, Brian S; Finger, John W; Hamilton, Matthew T

    2016-07-01

    Little is known about the propensity of crocodilians to bioaccumulate trace elements as a result of chronic dietary exposure. We exposed 36 juvenile alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) to one of four dietary treatments that varied in the relative frequency of meals containing prey from coal combustion waste (CCW)-contaminated habitats vs. prey from uncontaminated sites, and evaluated tissue residues and growth rates after 12 mo and 25 mo of exposure. Hepatic and renal concentrations of arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd) and selenium (Se) varied significantly among dietary treatment groups in a dose-dependent manner and were higher in kidneys than in livers. Exposure period did not affect Se or As levels but Cd levels were significantly higher after 25 mo than 12 mo of exposure. Kidney As and Se levels were negatively correlated with body size but neither growth rates nor body condition varied significantly among dietary treatment groups. Our study is among the first to experimentally examine bioaccumulation of trace element contaminants in crocodilians as a result of chronic dietary exposure. A combination of field surveys and laboratory experiments will be required to understand the effects of different exposure scenarios on tissue residues, and ultimately link these concentrations with effects on individual health. PMID:27149145

  9. Laser ablation ICP-MS analysis of the radial distribution of lead in the femur of Alligator mississippiensis.

    PubMed

    Seltzer, Michael D; Lance, Valentine A; Elsey, Ruth M

    2006-06-15

    A laser ablation ICP-MS technique has been used to examine the radial distribution of lead in transverse sections of alligator femur. Annual bone growth in the femur results in the deposition of incremental layers of calcified tissue at the periphery of existing bone. Patterns of lead concentration within these layers provide a record of time-dependent accumulation from which exposure history can potentially be deduced. Femur specimens obtained from captive-reared alligators exhibited levels of lead accumulation that were entirely consistent with previously documented clinical signs of lead intoxication. In contrast, femurs obtained from wild alligators contained only minor amounts of lead that were likely accumulated as a result of incidental exposure.

  10. Laser ablation ICP-MS analysis of the radial distribution of lead in the femur of Alligator mississippiensis.

    PubMed

    Seltzer, Michael D; Lance, Valentine A; Elsey, Ruth M

    2006-06-15

    A laser ablation ICP-MS technique has been used to examine the radial distribution of lead in transverse sections of alligator femur. Annual bone growth in the femur results in the deposition of incremental layers of calcified tissue at the periphery of existing bone. Patterns of lead concentration within these layers provide a record of time-dependent accumulation from which exposure history can potentially be deduced. Femur specimens obtained from captive-reared alligators exhibited levels of lead accumulation that were entirely consistent with previously documented clinical signs of lead intoxication. In contrast, femurs obtained from wild alligators contained only minor amounts of lead that were likely accumulated as a result of incidental exposure. PMID:15982720

  11. DIFFERENCES IN SENSITIVITY BUT NOT SELECTIVITY OF XENOESTROGEN BINDING TO ALLIGATOR VERSUS HUMAN ESTROGEN RECEPTOR ALPHA

    PubMed Central

    Rider, Cynthia V.; Hartig, Phillip C.; Cardon, Mary C.; Lambright, Christy R.; Bobseine, Kathy L.; Guillette, Louis J.; Gray, L. Earl; Wilson, Vickie S.

    2010-01-01

    Reproductive abnormalities in alligators exposed to contaminants in Lake Apopka, Florida, USA represent a clear example of endocrine disruption in wildlife. Several of these contaminants that are not able to bind to mammalian estrogen receptors (such as atrazine and cyanazine) have previously been reported to bind to the alligator estrogen receptor from oviductal tissue. Binding of known Lake Apopka contaminants to full length estrogen receptors alpha from human (hERα) and alligator (aERα) was assessed in a side-by-side comparison within the same assay system. Baculovirus-expressed recombinant hERα and aERα were used in a competitive binding assay. Atrazine and cyanazine were not able to bind to either receptor. p,p′-Dicofol was able to bind to aERα with a concentration inhibiting 50% of binding (IC50) of 4 μM, while only partially displacing 17β-estradiol (E2) from hERα and yielding a projected IC50 of 45 μM. Chemicals that only partially displaced E2 from either receptor, including some dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) metabolites and trans-nonachlor, appeared to have higher affinity for aERα than hERα. p,p′-Dicofol-mediated transcriptional activation through aERα and hERα was assessed to further explore the preferential binding of p,p′-dicofol to aERα over hERα. p,p′-Dicofol was able to stimulate transcriptional activation in a similar manner with both receptors. However, the in vitro results obtained with p,p′-dicofol were not reflected in an in vivo mammalian model, where Kelthane™ (mixed o,p′-and p,p′-dicofol isomers) did not elicit estrogenic effects. In conclusion, although there was no evidence of exclusively species-specific estrogen receptor binders, some xenoestrogens, especially p,p′-dicofol, had a higher affinity for aERα than for hERα. PMID:20821664

  12. Physiological response of alligator gar juveniles (Atractosteus spatula) exposed to sub-lethal doses of pollutants.

    PubMed

    González, Carlos Aguilera; Cruz, Julio; Alfaro, Roberto Mendoza

    2015-08-01

    Alligator gar populations have declined because of overfishing, habitat loss and pollution. Over time, the exposure to different pollutants have affected these fishes as a consequence of their high trophic level, bottom-dwelling habits and long life span. In order to evaluate the physiological effects of pollutants on alligator gar, juveniles (6, 12 and 24 months) were exposed to sub-lethal doses of diazinon, β-naphthoflavone (BNF) and 17 β-estradiol (E2) by intraperitoneal injection. After 2 days of exposure, liver samples were taken to determine the activities of acetylcholinesterase, butyrylcholinesterase and carboxylesterase; alkaline and acid phosphatases (ALP and ACP); ethoxyresorufin o-deethylase (EROD); glutathione s-transferase (GST); superoxide dismutase (SOD), and vitellogenin (VTG) concentration. Two additional bioassays consisting on the exposure of compounds through water or food were performed and after 4 and 28 days, respectively, biomarkers were determined. All esterases were inhibited in organisms exposed to diazinon as well as in 6-months gar exposed to E2 and BNF. In contrast, ALP activity increased in gar exposed to diazinon and E2, while ACP activity did not show any variations. No EROD activity was registered after exposure to the different pollutants, despite being one of the most sensitive and common detoxification biomarkers used for fishes. GST activity reduction was detected when gar were exposed to E2 and BNF, while SOD activity increased after exposure to diazinon and E2. Finally, VTG levels were higher in animals exposed to E2 compared to other treatments. Overall, these results suggest that alligator gar juveniles have a low biotransformation metabolism and show that they are especially sensitive to those pollutants affecting the nervous system. PMID:25948055

  13. Plasma steroid concentrations and male phallus size in juvenile alligators from seven Florida lakes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Guillette, L.J.; Woodward, A.R.; Crain, D.A.; Pickford, D.B.; Rooney, A.A.; Percival, H.F.

    1999-01-01

    Neonatal and juvenile alligators from contaminated Lake Apopka in central Florida exhibit abnormal plasma sex steroid concentrations as well as morphological abnormalities of the gonad and phallus. This study addresses whether similar abnormalities occur in juvenile alligators inhabiting six other lakes in Florida. For analysis, animals were partitioned into two subsets, animals 40-79 cm total length (1-3 years old) and juveniles 80-130 cm total length (3-7 years old). Plasma testosterone (T) concentrations were lower in small males from lakes Apopka, Griffin, and Jessup than from Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Similar differences were observed in the larger juveniles, with males from lakes Jessup, Apopka, and Okeechobee having lower plasma T concentrations than Lake Woodruff males. Plasma estradiol-17?? (E2) concentrations were significantly elevated in larger juvenile males from Lake Apopka compared to Lake Woodruff NWR. When compared to small juvenile females from Lake Woodruff NWR, females from lakes Griffin, Apopka, Orange, and Okeechobee had elevated plasma E2 concentrations. Phallus size was significantly smaller in males from lakes Griffin and Apopka when compared to males from Lake Woodruff NWR. An association existed between body size and phallus size on all lakes except Lake Apopka and between phallus size and plasma T concentration on all lakes except lakes Apopka and Orange. Multiple regression analysis, with body size and plasma T concentration as independent covariables, explained the majority of the variation in phallus size on all lakes. These data suggest that the differences in sex steroids and phallus size observed in alligators from Lake Apopka are not limited to that lake, nor to one with a history of a major pesticide spill. Further work examining the relationship of sex steroids and phallus size with specific biotic and abiotic factors, such as antiandrogenic or estrogenic contaminants, is needed.

  14. Physiological response of alligator gar juveniles (Atractosteus spatula) exposed to sub-lethal doses of pollutants.

    PubMed

    González, Carlos Aguilera; Cruz, Julio; Alfaro, Roberto Mendoza

    2015-08-01

    Alligator gar populations have declined because of overfishing, habitat loss and pollution. Over time, the exposure to different pollutants have affected these fishes as a consequence of their high trophic level, bottom-dwelling habits and long life span. In order to evaluate the physiological effects of pollutants on alligator gar, juveniles (6, 12 and 24 months) were exposed to sub-lethal doses of diazinon, β-naphthoflavone (BNF) and 17 β-estradiol (E2) by intraperitoneal injection. After 2 days of exposure, liver samples were taken to determine the activities of acetylcholinesterase, butyrylcholinesterase and carboxylesterase; alkaline and acid phosphatases (ALP and ACP); ethoxyresorufin o-deethylase (EROD); glutathione s-transferase (GST); superoxide dismutase (SOD), and vitellogenin (VTG) concentration. Two additional bioassays consisting on the exposure of compounds through water or food were performed and after 4 and 28 days, respectively, biomarkers were determined. All esterases were inhibited in organisms exposed to diazinon as well as in 6-months gar exposed to E2 and BNF. In contrast, ALP activity increased in gar exposed to diazinon and E2, while ACP activity did not show any variations. No EROD activity was registered after exposure to the different pollutants, despite being one of the most sensitive and common detoxification biomarkers used for fishes. GST activity reduction was detected when gar were exposed to E2 and BNF, while SOD activity increased after exposure to diazinon and E2. Finally, VTG levels were higher in animals exposed to E2 compared to other treatments. Overall, these results suggest that alligator gar juveniles have a low biotransformation metabolism and show that they are especially sensitive to those pollutants affecting the nervous system.

  15. Post-hatching development of mitochondrial function, organ mass and metabolic rate in two ectotherms, the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) and the common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina)

    PubMed Central

    Sirsat, Sarah K. G.; Sirsat, Tushar S.; Price, Edwin R.; Dzialowski, Edward M.

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT The ontogeny of endothermy in birds is associated with disproportionate growth of thermogenic organs and increased mitochondrial oxidative capacity. However, no similar study has been made of the development of these traits in ectotherms. For comparison, we therefore investigated the metabolism, growth and muscle mitochondrial function in hatchlings of a turtle and a crocodilian, two ectotherms that never develop endothermy. Metabolic rate did not increase substantially in either species by 30 days post-hatching. Yolk-free body mass and heart mass did not change through 30 days in alligators and heart mass was a constant proportion of body mass, even after 1 year. Yolk-free body mass and liver mass grew 36% and 27%, respectively, in turtles during the first 30 days post-hatch. The mass-specific oxidative phosphorylation capacity of mitochondria, assessed using permeabilized muscle fibers, increased by a non-significant 47% in alligator thigh and a non-significant 50% in turtle thigh over 30 days, but did not increase in the heart. This developmental trajectory of mitochondrial function is slower and shallower than that previously observed in ducks, which demonstrate a 90% increase in mass-specific oxidative phosphorylation capacity in thigh muscles over just a few days, a 60% increase in mass-specific oxidative phosphorylation capacity of the heart over a few days, and disproportionate growth of the heart and other organs. Our data thus support the hypothesis that these developmental changes in ducks represent mechanistic drivers for attaining endothermy. PMID:26962048

  16. Post-hatching development of mitochondrial function, organ mass and metabolic rate in two ectotherms, the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) and the common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina).

    PubMed

    Sirsat, Sarah K G; Sirsat, Tushar S; Price, Edwin R; Dzialowski, Edward M

    2016-01-01

    The ontogeny of endothermy in birds is associated with disproportionate growth of thermogenic organs and increased mitochondrial oxidative capacity. However, no similar study has been made of the development of these traits in ectotherms. For comparison, we therefore investigated the metabolism, growth and muscle mitochondrial function in hatchlings of a turtle and a crocodilian, two ectotherms that never develop endothermy. Metabolic rate did not increase substantially in either species by 30 days post-hatching. Yolk-free body mass and heart mass did not change through 30 days in alligators and heart mass was a constant proportion of body mass, even after 1 year. Yolk-free body mass and liver mass grew 36% and 27%, respectively, in turtles during the first 30 days post-hatch. The mass-specific oxidative phosphorylation capacity of mitochondria, assessed using permeabilized muscle fibers, increased by a non-significant 47% in alligator thigh and a non-significant 50% in turtle thigh over 30 days, but did not increase in the heart. This developmental trajectory of mitochondrial function is slower and shallower than that previously observed in ducks, which demonstrate a 90% increase in mass-specific oxidative phosphorylation capacity in thigh muscles over just a few days, a 60% increase in mass-specific oxidative phosphorylation capacity of the heart over a few days, and disproportionate growth of the heart and other organs. Our data thus support the hypothesis that these developmental changes in ducks represent mechanistic drivers for attaining endothermy. PMID:26962048

  17. Characterization of microsatellite DNA markers for the alligator snapping turtle, Macrochelys temminckii: Primer note

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hackler, J.C.; Van Den Bussche, Ronald A.; Leslie, David M.

    2007-01-01

    Two trinucleotide and seven tetranucleotide microsatellite loci were isolated from an alligator snapping turtle Macrochelys temminckii. To assess the degree of variability in these nine microsatellite loci, we genotyped 174 individuals collected from eight river drainage basins in the southeastern USA. These markers revealed a moderate degree of allelic diversity (six to 16 alleles per locus) and observed heterozygosity (0.166-0.686). These polymorphic microsatellite loci provide powerful tools for population genetic studies for a species that is afforded some level of conservation protection in every state in which it occurs. ?? 2006 The Authors.

  18. Slow isotope turnover rates and low discrimination values in the American alligator: implications for interpretation of ectotherm stable isotope data.

    PubMed

    Rosenblatt, Adam E; Heithaus, Michael R

    2013-01-01

    Stable isotope analysis has become a standard ecological tool for elucidating feeding relationships of organisms and determining food web structure and connectivity. There remain important questions concerning rates at which stable isotope values are incorporated into tissues (turnover rates) and the change in isotope value between a tissue and a food source (discrimination values). These gaps in our understanding necessitate experimental studies to adequately interpret field data. Tissue turnover rates and discrimination values vary among species and have been investigated in a broad array of taxa. However, little attention has been paid to ectothermic top predators in this regard. We quantified the turnover rates and discrimination values for three tissues (scutes, red blood cells, and plasma) in American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis). Plasma turned over faster than scutes or red blood cells, but turnover rates of all three tissues were very slow in comparison to those in endothermic species. Alligator δ(15)N discrimination values were surprisingly low in comparison to those of other top predators and varied between experimental and control alligators. The variability of δ(15)N discrimination values highlights the difficulties in using δ(15)N to assign absolute and possibly even relative trophic levels in field studies. Our results suggest that interpreting stable isotope data based on parameter estimates from other species can be problematic and that large ectothermic tetrapod tissues may be characterized by unique stable isotope dynamics relative to species occupying lower trophic levels and endothermic tetrapods.

  19. Urinary iodine and stable isotope analysis to examine habitat influences on thyroid hormones among coastal dwelling American alligators.

    PubMed

    Boggs, Ashley S P; Hamlin, Heather J; Nifong, James C; Kassim, Brittany L; Lowers, Russell H; Galligan, Thomas M; Long, Stephen E; Guillette, Louis J

    2016-01-15

    The American alligator, generally a freshwater species, is known to forage in marine environments despite the lack of a salt secreting gland found in other crocodylids. Estuarine and marine foraging could lead to increased dietary uptake of iodine, a nutrient necessary for the production of thyroid hormones. To explore the influence of dietary iodine on thyroid hormone health of coastal dwelling alligators, we described the seasonal plasma thyroxine and triiodothyronine concentrations measured by radioimmunoassay and urinary iodine (UI) concentrations measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. We also analyzed long-term dietary patterns through stable isotope analysis of scute tissue. Snout-to-vent length (SVL) was a significant factor among UI and stable isotope analyses. Large adult males greater than 135cm SVL had the highest UI concentrations but did not display seasonality of thyroid hormones. Alligators under 135 SVL exhibited seasonality in thyroid hormones and a positive relationship between UI and triiodothyronine concentrations. Isotopic signatures provided supporting evidence that large males predominantly feed on marine/estuarine prey whereas females showed reliance on freshwater/terrestrial prey supplemented by marine/estuarine prey. UI measurement provided immediate information that correlated to thyroid hormone concentrations whereas stable isotope analysis described long-term dietary patterns. Both techniques demonstrate that adult alligators in coastal environments are utilizing estuarine/marine habitats, which could alter thyroid hormone physiology.

  20. Nuclear β-catenin localization supports homology of feathers, avian scutate scales, and alligator scales in early development.

    PubMed

    Musser, Jacob M; Wagner, Günter P; Prum, Richard O

    2015-01-01

    Feathers are an evolutionary novelty found in all extant birds. Despite recent progress investigating feather development and a revolution in dinosaur paleontology, the relationship of feathers to other amniote skin appendages, particularly reptile scales, remains unclear. Disagreement arises primarily from the observation that feathers and avian scutate scales exhibit an anatomical placode-defined as an epidermal thickening-in early development, whereas alligator and other avian scales do not. To investigate the homology of feathers and archosaur scales we examined patterns of nuclear β-catenin localization during early development of feathers and different bird and alligator scales. In birds, nuclear β-catenin is first localized to the feather placode, and then exhibits a dynamic pattern of localization in both epidermis and dermis of the feather bud. We found that asymmetric avian scutate scales and alligator scales share similar patterns of nuclear β-catenin localization with feathers. This supports the hypothesis that feathers, scutate scales, and alligator scales are homologous during early developmental stages, and are derived from early developmental stages of an asymmetric scale present in the archosaur ancestor. Furthermore, given that the earliest stage of β-catenin localization in feathers and archosaur scales is also found in placodes of several mammalian skin appendages, including hair and mammary glands, we hypothesize that a common skin appendage placode originated in the common ancestor of all amniotes. We suggest a skin placode should not be defined by anatomical features, but as a local, organized molecular signaling center from which an epidermal appendage develops.

  1. Cloning of the growth hormone cDNA of alligator gar Atractosteus spatula and its expression through larval development.

    PubMed

    Revol, Agnès; Garza Rodríguez, Maria de Lourdes; Hernández Montenegro, Víctor; Aguilera, Carlos; Barrera Saldaña, Hugo; Mendoza, Roberto

    2005-04-01

    The alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) is the largest freshwater fish inhabiting rivers draining into the Gulf of Mexico. This primitive fish shows a fast growth rate since its early larval stages. This is attributed to the action of growth hormone (GH), an anterior pituitary gland hormone responsible for linear growth in vertebrates that can also be expressed in extrapituitary adult tissues and in fish embryos. The present research was aimed at obtaining the GH coding sequence of the alligator gar and studying its expression through larval development. A cDNA was obtained by RT-PCR, cloned and sequenced. The alligator gar GH cDNA sequence shares 98% nucleotide similarity with that reported for Lepisosteus osseus, indicating a very slow evolution of the GH within the primitive fish, in contrast with the burst of changes observed in euteleosts. Using RT-PCR and RNA nuclease protection assays, GH transcripts were detected at very high levels in eggs, embryos and in several larval stages. These data suggest that the GH may play an important role during embryogenesis in fish. The better understanding of alligator gar larval physiology will facilitate the culture of larvae and juvenile gar and consequently may allow the restoration of their natural populations. PMID:15936701

  2. Cloning of the growth hormone cDNA of alligator gar Atractosteus spatula and its expression through larval development.

    PubMed

    Revol, Agnès; Garza Rodríguez, Maria de Lourdes; Hernández Montenegro, Víctor; Aguilera, Carlos; Barrera Saldaña, Hugo; Mendoza, Roberto

    2005-04-01

    The alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) is the largest freshwater fish inhabiting rivers draining into the Gulf of Mexico. This primitive fish shows a fast growth rate since its early larval stages. This is attributed to the action of growth hormone (GH), an anterior pituitary gland hormone responsible for linear growth in vertebrates that can also be expressed in extrapituitary adult tissues and in fish embryos. The present research was aimed at obtaining the GH coding sequence of the alligator gar and studying its expression through larval development. A cDNA was obtained by RT-PCR, cloned and sequenced. The alligator gar GH cDNA sequence shares 98% nucleotide similarity with that reported for Lepisosteus osseus, indicating a very slow evolution of the GH within the primitive fish, in contrast with the burst of changes observed in euteleosts. Using RT-PCR and RNA nuclease protection assays, GH transcripts were detected at very high levels in eggs, embryos and in several larval stages. These data suggest that the GH may play an important role during embryogenesis in fish. The better understanding of alligator gar larval physiology will facilitate the culture of larvae and juvenile gar and consequently may allow the restoration of their natural populations.

  3. Urinary iodine and stable isotope analysis to examine habitat influences on thyroid hormones among coastal dwelling American alligators.

    PubMed

    Boggs, Ashley S P; Hamlin, Heather J; Nifong, James C; Kassim, Brittany L; Lowers, Russell H; Galligan, Thomas M; Long, Stephen E; Guillette, Louis J

    2016-01-15

    The American alligator, generally a freshwater species, is known to forage in marine environments despite the lack of a salt secreting gland found in other crocodylids. Estuarine and marine foraging could lead to increased dietary uptake of iodine, a nutrient necessary for the production of thyroid hormones. To explore the influence of dietary iodine on thyroid hormone health of coastal dwelling alligators, we described the seasonal plasma thyroxine and triiodothyronine concentrations measured by radioimmunoassay and urinary iodine (UI) concentrations measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. We also analyzed long-term dietary patterns through stable isotope analysis of scute tissue. Snout-to-vent length (SVL) was a significant factor among UI and stable isotope analyses. Large adult males greater than 135cm SVL had the highest UI concentrations but did not display seasonality of thyroid hormones. Alligators under 135 SVL exhibited seasonality in thyroid hormones and a positive relationship between UI and triiodothyronine concentrations. Isotopic signatures provided supporting evidence that large males predominantly feed on marine/estuarine prey whereas females showed reliance on freshwater/terrestrial prey supplemented by marine/estuarine prey. UI measurement provided immediate information that correlated to thyroid hormone concentrations whereas stable isotope analysis described long-term dietary patterns. Both techniques demonstrate that adult alligators in coastal environments are utilizing estuarine/marine habitats, which could alter thyroid hormone physiology. PMID:26684734

  4. The first fossil skull of Alligator sinensis from the Pleistocene, Taiwan, with a paleogeographic implication of the species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hsi-yin, Shan; Yen-nien, Cheng; Xiao-chun, Wu

    2013-06-01

    A nearly complete fossil skull of Alligatoridae from the Pleistocene, Penghu Channel, east of Taiwan, is reported. It can be referred to the most latest clade of Alligatorinae, which includes Alligator sinensis, Alligator mississippiensis and Alligator mefferdi, on the basis of the following features: the splenial is excluded from the mandibular symphysis; the anterior tip of the splenial passes dorsal to the Meckelian groove; and the mandible is gently curved between the fourth alveoli and the mid dentary. It differs from A. mississippiensis and A. mefferdi mainly in the following characters: the breadth between the supratemporal fenestrae is approximately equal to the interorbital width, the snout is about half the length of the skull; and the anterior part of the snout is subtriangular in dorsal view. These features suggest that the Penghu alligator is most probably referable to A. sinensis. This is the only fossil skull of A. sinensis known. The discovery of the skull in Penghu Channel not only provides the first solid fossil evidence to indicate that the geological distribution of A. sinensis extended farther southeast than the historical/archeological range of the species but also adds new information on the biodiversity of the Penghu fauna.

  5. Gonadal steroidogenesis in vitro from juvenile alligators obtained from contaminated or control lakes.

    PubMed Central

    Guillette, L J; Gross, T S; Gross, D A; Rooney, A A; Percival, H F

    1995-01-01

    The ubiquitous distribution of many contaminants and the nonlethal, multigenerational effects of such contaminants on reproductive, endocrine, and immune systems have led to concerns that wildlife worldwide are affected. Although the causal agents and effects are known for some species, the underlying physiological mechanisms associated with contaminant-induced reproductive modifications are still poorly understood and require extensive research. We describe a study examining the steroidogenic activity of gonads removed from juvenile alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) obtained from contaminated or control lakes in central Florida. Synthesis of estradiol-17 beta (E2) was significantly different when ovaries from the contaminated and control lakes were compared in vitro. Additionally, testes from males obtained from the contaminated lake. Lake Apopka, synthesized significantly higher concentrations of E2 when compared to testes obtained from control males. In contrast, testosterone (T) synthesis from all testes examined in this study displayed a normal pattern and produced concentrations greater than that observed from ovaries obtained from either lake. Interestingly, the pattern of gonadal steroidogenesis differs from previously reported plasma concentrations of these hormones obtained from the same individuals. We suggest that the differences between the in vivo and in vitro patterns are due to modifications in the hepatic degradation of plasma sex steroid hormones. PMID:7556021

  6. In vivo bone strain and finite element modeling of the mandible of Alligator mississippiensis

    PubMed Central

    Porro, Laura B; Metzger, Keith A; Iriarte-Diaz, Jose; Ross, Callum F

    2013-01-01

    Forces experienced during feeding are thought to strongly influence the morphology of the vertebrate mandible; in vivo strain data are the most direct evidence for deformation of the mandible induced by these loading regimes. Although many studies have documented bone strains in the mammalian mandible, no information is available on strain magnitudes, orientations or patterns in the sauropsid lower jaw during feeding. Furthermore, strain gage experiments record the mechanical response of bone at a few locations, not across the entire mandible. In this paper, we present bone strain data recorded at various sites on the lower jaw of Alligator mississippiensis during in vivo feeding experiments. These data are used to understand how changes in loading regime associated with changes in bite location are related to changes in strain regime on the working and balancing sides of the mandible. Our results suggest that the working side mandible is bent dorsoventrally and twisted about its long-axis during biting, and the balancing side experiences primarily dorsoventral bending. Strain orientations are more variable on the working side than on the balancing side with changes in bite point and between experiments; the balancing side exhibits higher strain magnitudes. In the second part of this paper, we use principal strain orientations and magnitudes recorded in vivo to evaluate a finite element model of the alligator mandible. Our comparison demonstrates that strain orientations and mandibular deformation predicted by the model closely match in vivo results; however, absolute strain magnitudes are lower in the finite element model. PMID:23855772

  7. Spermiogenesis in the imbricate alligator lizard, Barisia imbricata (Reptilia, Squamata, Anguidae).

    PubMed

    Gribbins, Kevin M; Rheubert, Justin L; Touzinsky, Katherine; Hanover, Jessica; Matchett, Caroline L; Granados-González, Gisela; Hernández-Gallegos, Oswaldo

    2013-06-01

    Although the events of spermiogenesis are commonly studied in amniotes, the amount of research available for Squamata is lacking. Many studies have described the morphological characteristics of mature spermatozoa in squamates, but few detail the ultrastructural changes that occur during spermiogenesis. This study's purpose is to gain a better understanding of the subcellular events of spermatid development within the Imbricate Alligator Lizard, Barisia imbricata. The morphological data presented here represent the first complete ultrastructural study of spermiogenesis within the family Anguidae. Samples of testes from four specimens collected on the northwest side of the Nevado de Toluca, México, were prepared using standard techniques for transmission electron microscopy. Many of the ultrastructural changes occurring during spermiogenesis within B. imbricata are similar to that of other squamates (i.e., early acrosome formation, chromatin condensation, flagella formation, annulus present, and a prominent manchette). However, there are a few unique characteristics within B. imbricata spermatids that to date have not been described during spermiogenesis in other squamates. For example, penetration of the acrosomal granule into the subacrosomal space to form the basal plate of the perforatorium during round spermatid development, the clover-shaped morphology of the developing nuclear fossa of the flagellum, and the bulbous shape to the perforatorium are all unique to the Imbricate Alligator Lizard. These anatomical character differences may be valuable nontraditional data that along with more traditional matrices (such as DNA sequences and gross morphological data) may help elucidate phylogenetic relationships, which are historically considered controversial within Squamata.

  8. Quantification of intraskeletal histovariability in Alligator mississippiensis and implications for vertebrate osteohistology.

    PubMed

    Woodward, Holly N; Horner, John R; Farlow, James O

    2014-01-01

    Bone microanalyses of extant vertebrates provide a necessary framework from which to form hypotheses regarding the growth and skeletochronology of extinct taxa. Here, we describe the bone microstructure and quantify the histovariability of appendicular elements and osteoderms from three juvenile American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) to assess growth mark and tissue organization within and amongst individuals, with the intention of validating paleohistological interpretations. Results confirm previous observations that lamellar and parallel fibered tissue organization are typical of crocodylians, and also that crocodylians are capable of forming woven tissue for brief periods. Tissue organization and growth mark count varies across individual skeletal elements and reveal that the femur, tibia, and humerus had the highest annual apposition rates in each individual. Cyclical growth mark count also varies intraskeletally, but data suggest these inconsistencies are due to differing medullary cavity expansion rates. There was no appreciable difference in either diaphyseal circumference or cyclical growth mark circumferences between left and right element pairs from an individual if diaphyses were sampled from roughly the same location. The considerable intraskeletal data obtained here provide validation for long-held paleohistology assumptions, but because medullary expansion, cyclical growth mark formation, and variable intraskeletal growth rates are skeletal features found in tetrapod taxa living or extinct, the validations presented herein should be considered during any tetrapod bone microanalysis. PMID:24949239

  9. Acanthostomum macroclemidis n. sp. (Digenea: Cryptogonimidae: Acanthostominae) from the alligator snapping turtle, Macroclemys temmincki.

    PubMed

    Tkach, Vasyl V; Snyder, Scott D

    2003-02-01

    Acanthostomum macroclemidis n. sp. is described from specimens found in the intestine of an alligator snapping turtle Macroclemys temmincki from southern Mississippi. The most important diagnostic features of the new species are the general shape and proportions of the body, the position of the pharynx (relative length of the prepharynx and esophagus), the egg size, the relative length and position of the vitelline fields, and the number, shape, and size of the circumoral spines. The new species has a very elongated body (length-width ratio, 8.9-13.0:1), 26 circumoral spines, which are almost oval in shape, a long prepharynx and a very short (shorter than the pharynx) esophagus, a seminal receptacle situated between the ovary and the anterior testis, a uterus not extending posterior to the anterior margin of the ovary, a long-stemmed and short-armed excretory vesicle, and 2 anal openings. Some features of the external morphology, such as the suckers, circumoral spines, sensory papillae, tegumental spines, and morphology of the posterior end, are examined using scanning electron microscopy. A diagnosis differentiating A. macroclemidis n. sp. from some other acanthostomine digeneans is provided. Acanthostomum macroclemidis n. sp. is the first digenean reported from an alligator snapping turtle and represents the northernmost record of an acanthostomine from turtles. PMID:12659321

  10. Three-dimensional skeletal kinematics of the shoulder girdle and forelimb in walking Alligator

    PubMed Central

    Baier, David B; Gatesy, Stephen M

    2013-01-01

    Crocodylians occupy a key phylogenetic position for investigations of archosaur locomotor evolution. Compared to the well-studied hindlimb, relatively little is known about the skeletal movements and mechanics of the forelimb. In this study, we employed manual markerless XROMM (X-ray Reconstruction Of Moving Morphology) to measure detailed 3-D kinematics of the shoulder girdle and forelimb bones of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) walking on a treadmill. Digital models of the interclavicle, scapulocoracoid, humerus, radius and ulna were created using a 3-D laser scanner. Models were articulated and aligned to simultaneously recorded frames of fluoroscopic and standard light video to reconstruct and measure joint motion. Joint coordinate systems were established for the coracosternal, glenohumeral and elbow joints. Our analysis revealed that the limb joints only account for about half of fore/aft limb excursion; the remaining excursion results from shoulder girdle movements and lateral bending of the vertebral column. Considerable motion of each scapulocoracoid relative to the vertebral column is consistent with coracosternal mobility. The hemisellar design of the glenohumeral joint permits some additional translation, or sliding in the fore-aft plane, but this movement does not have much of an effect on the distal excursion of the bone. PMID:24102540

  11. Abnormal bone composition in female juvenile American alligators from a pesticide-polluted lake (Lake Apopka, Florida).

    PubMed Central

    Lind, P Monica; Milnes, Matthew R; Lundberg, Rebecca; Bermudez, Dieldrich; Orberg, Jan A; Guillette, Louis J

    2004-01-01

    Reproductive disorders have been found in pesticide-exposed alligators living in Lake Apopka, Florida (USA). These disorders have been hypothesized to be caused by exposure to endocrine- disruptive estrogen-like contaminants. The aim of this study was to expand our analysis beyond previous studies by investigating whether bone tissue, known to be affected by sex steroid hormones, is a potential target of endocrine disruptors. Long bones from 16 juvenile female alligators from Lake Apopka (pesticide-contaminated lake) and Lake Woodruff (control lake) were evaluated by peripheral quantitative computed tomography. We observed significant differences in bone composition, with female alligators from the contaminated lake having greater trabecular bone mineral density (BMD), total BMD, and trabecular mineral content compared with females from the control lake (p < 0.05). Increased trabecular and total BMD measurements suggest that juvenile female alligators from Lake Apopka were exposed to contaminants that created an internal environment more estrogenic than that normally observed. This estrogenic environment could be caused by both natural and anthropogenic compounds. Effects on BMD indicate interference with bone homeostasis. We hypothesize that contaminants present in the lake inhibit the natural and continuous resorption of bone tissue, resulting in increased bone mass. Although this is the only study performed to date examining effects of environmental estrogenic compounds on alligator bones, it supports previous laboratory-based studies in rodents. Further, this study is important in demonstrating that the alterations in morphology and physiology induced in free-ranging individuals living in environments contaminated with endocrine-active compounds are not limited to a few systems or tissues; rather, effects can be observed in many tissues affected by these hormones. PMID:14998753

  12. Developmental abnormalities of the gonad and abnormal sex hormone concentrations in juvenile alligators from contaminated and control lakes in Florida.

    PubMed Central

    Guillette, L J; Gross, T S; Masson, G R; Matter, J M; Percival, H F; Woodward, A R

    1994-01-01

    The reproductive development of alligators from a contaminated and a control lake in central Florida was examined. Lake Apopka is adjacent to an EPA Superfund site, listed due to an extensive spill of dicofol and DDT or its metabolites. These compounds can act as estrogens. Contaminants in the lake also have been derived from extensive agricultural activities around the lake that continue today and a sewage treatment facility associated with the city of Winter Garden, Florida. We examined the hypothesis that an estrogenic contaminant has caused the current failure in recruitment of alligators on Lake Apopka. Supporting data include the following: At 6 months of age, female alligators from Lake Apopka had plasma estradiol-17 beta concentrations almost two times greater than normal females from the control lake, Lake Woodruff. The Apopka females exhibited abnormal ovarian morphology with large numbers of polyovular follicles and polynuclear oocytes. Male juvenile alligators had significantly depressed plasma testosterone concentrations comparable to levels observed in normal Lake Woodruff females but more than three times lower than normal Lake Woodruff males. Additionally, males from Lake Apopka had poorly organized testes and abnormally small phalli. The differences between lakes and sexes in plasma hormone concentrations of juvenile alligators remain even after stimulation with luteinizing hormone. Our data suggest that the gonads of juveniles from Lake Apopka have been permanently modified in ovo, so that normal steroidogenesis is not possible, and thus normal sexual maturation is unlikely. Images p680-a Figure 1. Figure 2. Figure 3. A Figure 3. B Figure 3. C Figure 4. A Figure 4. B Figure 4. C Figure 4. D Figure 5. A Figure 5. B Figure 5. C PMID:7895709

  13. Study of red-sore disease in alligators. Final report, September 1, 1976-September 3, 1980. [Predisposing factors

    SciTech Connect

    Gorden, R.E.; Esch, G.W.

    1980-01-01

    Necropsies of eight alligators which died following capture within a thermally-altered reservoir demonstrated the presence of the gram negative, pathogenic bacterium Aeromonas hydrophila, in internal tissues. A study designed to demonstrate whether A. hydrophila were capable of causing infection and death of the ecologically threatened alligator and, if so, the mechanism of exposure and infection in natural habitats was undertaken. The pathology and response to infection were also studied. When juvenile alligators were exposed under experimental conditions to increasing concentrations of A. hydrophila in water, by oral inoculation, or by intramuscular injections at 20/sup 0/, 25/sup 0/, 30/sup 0/, and 35/sup 0/C, they developed external lesions. These lesions were likely to become severe and lead to death of the animal at 30 and 35/sup 0/C. Infected animals produced: (a) increased numbers of white blood cells; (b) increased specific antibody titer; and (c) alpha 2 peaks higher than albumen peaks (except at 35/sup 0/C). Biweekly intraperitoneal injections of live, washed A. hydrophila were apparently more effective in the prevention of infection and of external lesions than were the antibiotics Kanamycin and OTH-Puramycin. Topical applications of Neosporin ointment resulted in the healing of severe lesions on confined animals. Alligators which were shown to be exposed to A. hydrophila in their natural habitats showed no external evidence of infection by the bacteria. It is recommended that exposure to conditions of stress, including water temperatures greater than 30/sup 0/C, be kept to a minimum during the capture, transport, and captivity of alligators. (ERB)

  14. EFFECT OF ACUTE STRESS ON PLASMA CONCENTRATIONS OF SEX AND STRESS HORMONES IN JUVENILE ALLIGATORS LIVING IN CONTROL AND CONTAMINATED LAKES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Environmental contaminants can act as stressors, inducing elevated circulating concentrations of stress hormones such as corticosterone and cortisol. Development in contaminated eggs has been reported to modify circulating sex steroid hormone concentrations in alligators (Alligat...

  15. THE FUNCTIONAL AND STRUCTURAL OBSERVATIONS OF THE NEONATAL REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM OF ALLIGATORS EXPOSED IN OVO TO ATRAZINE, 2,4-D, OR ESTRADIOL.

    EPA Science Inventory

    Wild alligators exposed to persistent organochlorine contaminants, municipal waste compounds, and contemporary-use herbicides exhibit reproductive alterations that are thought to be caused by endocrine disruption. This study tests the hypothesis that these alterations, at least i...

  16. Isolation and structures of alligator gar (Lepisosteus spatula) insulin and pancreatic polypeptide.

    PubMed

    Pollock, H G; Kimmel, J R; Hamilton, J W; Rouse, J B; Ebner, K E; Lance, V; Rawitch, A B

    1987-09-01

    Insulin and a 36-residue peptide with homology to pancreatic polypeptide (PP) were isolated from the endocrine pancreas of the alligator gar (Lepisosteus spatula), a ganoid fish, by gel filtration and HPLC. Heterologous radioimmunoassays were used to detect insulin-like and PP-like immunoreactivities during purification of the two peptides. The sequence of the 36-amino acid peptide containing a C-terminal tyrosinamide was identical at 31 of 36 positions to porcine neuropeptide Y (NPY). The amino acid sequence of this peptide is YPPKPENPGEDAPPEELAKYYSALRHYINLITRQRY-NH2. The second peptide, gar insulin, contains 52 amino acid residues and is composed of a 21-residue A chain and a 31-residue B chain. The sequence of the A chain is GIVEQCCHKPCTIYELENYCN. The sequence of the B chain is AANQHLCGSHLVEALYLVCGEKGFFYNPNKV. PMID:3311873

  17. Isolation and structures of alligator gar (Lepisosteus spatula) insulin and pancreatic polypeptide.

    PubMed

    Pollock, H G; Kimmel, J R; Hamilton, J W; Rouse, J B; Ebner, K E; Lance, V; Rawitch, A B

    1987-09-01

    Insulin and a 36-residue peptide with homology to pancreatic polypeptide (PP) were isolated from the endocrine pancreas of the alligator gar (Lepisosteus spatula), a ganoid fish, by gel filtration and HPLC. Heterologous radioimmunoassays were used to detect insulin-like and PP-like immunoreactivities during purification of the two peptides. The sequence of the 36-amino acid peptide containing a C-terminal tyrosinamide was identical at 31 of 36 positions to porcine neuropeptide Y (NPY). The amino acid sequence of this peptide is YPPKPENPGEDAPPEELAKYYSALRHYINLITRQRY-NH2. The second peptide, gar insulin, contains 52 amino acid residues and is composed of a 21-residue A chain and a 31-residue B chain. The sequence of the A chain is GIVEQCCHKPCTIYELENYCN. The sequence of the B chain is AANQHLCGSHLVEALYLVCGEKGFFYNPNKV.

  18. Guidelines for choosing molecular "alligator clip" binding motifs in electron transport devices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reuter, Matthew G.; Seideman, Tamar; Ratner, Mark A.

    2011-04-01

    We employ a one-electron, tight-binding model of an electrode-molecule-electrode junction to explore the fundamental relationship between adsorption geometry and electron transport, producing exact results (within this model). By varying the chemisorption location (e.g., atop a surface atom or in a hollow site between surface atoms) and the molecule-electrode coupling, we find that the largest currents are realized when the molecule (i) is highly coordinated by the surface and (ii) has favorable overlap with electrode states near the Fermi level. We also show the importance of electrode-induced molecular level shifting for certain adsorption geometries, which can cause molecular levels far from the Fermi level to conduct better than those near the Fermi level. Since all of these factors are greatly influenced by the chemical moiety used to link the molecule to an electrode, these results present a set of guidelines to help choose "alligator clips" for molecular electronic devices.

  19. Evolution of corticosteroid specificity for human, chicken, alligator and frog glucocorticoid receptors.

    PubMed

    Katsu, Yoshinao; Kohno, Satomi; Oka, Kaori; Baker, Michael E

    2016-09-01

    We investigated the evolution of the response of human, chicken, alligator and frog glucocorticoid receptors (GRs) to dexamethasone, cortisol, cortisone, corticosterone, 11-deoxycorticosterone, 11-deoxycortisol and aldosterone. We find significant differences among these vertebrates in the transcriptional activation of their full length GRs by these steroids, indicating that there were changes in the specificity of the GR for steroids during the evolution of terrestrial vertebrates. To begin to study the role of interactions between different domains on the GR in steroid sensitivity and specificity for terrestrial GRs, we investigated transcriptional activation of truncated GRs containing their hinge domain and ligand binding domain (LBD) fused to a GAL4 DNA binding domain (GAL4-DBD). Compared to corresponding full length GRs, transcriptional activation of GAL4-DBD_GR-hinge/LBD constructs required higher steroid concentrations and displayed altered steroid specificity, indicating that interactions between the hinge/LBD and other domains are important in glucocorticoid activation of these terrestrial GRs. PMID:27317937

  20. ALLIGATOR - An apparatus for ion beam assisted deposition with a broad-beam ion source

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wituschek, H.; Barth, M.; Ensinger, W.; Frech, G.; Rück, D. M.; Leible, K. D.; Wolf, G. K.

    1992-04-01

    Ion beam assisted deposition is a versatile technique for preparing thin films and coatings for various applications. Up to now a prototype setup for research purposes has been used in our laboratory. Processing of industrial standard workpieces requires a high current ion source with broad beam and high uniformity for homogeneous bombardment. In this contribution a new apparatus for large area samples will be described. It is named ALLIGATOR (German acronym of facility for ion assisted evaporation on transverse movable or rotary targets). In order to have a wide energy range available two ion sources are used. One delivers a beam energy up to 1.3 keV. The other is suitable for energies from 5 keV up to 40 keV. The ``high-energy'' ion source is a multicusp multiaperture source with 180-mA total current and a beam diameter of 280 mm at the target position.

  1. Ontogeny of the Middle-Ear Air-Sinus System in Alligator mississippiensis (Archosauria: Crocodylia).

    PubMed

    Dufeau, David L; Witmer, Lawrence M

    2015-01-01

    Modern crocodylians, including Alligator mississippiensis, have a greatly elaborated system of pneumatic sinuses invading the cranium. These sinuses invade nearly all the bones of the chondrocranium and several bony elements of the splanchnocranium, but patterns of postnatal paratympanic sinus development are poorly understood and documented. Much of crocodylomorph--indeed archosaurian--evolution is characterized by the evolution of various paratympanic air sinuses, the homologies of which are poorly understood due in large part to the fact that individual sinuses tend to become confluent in adults, obscuring underlying patterns. This study seeks to explore the ontogeny of these sinuses primarily to clarify the anatomical relations of the individual sinuses before they become confluent and thus to provide the foundation for later studies testing hypotheses of homology across extant and extinct Archosauria. Ontogeny was assessed using computed tomography in a sample of 13 specimens covering an almost 19-fold increase in head size. The paratympanic sinus system comprises two major inflations of evaginated pharyngeal epithelium: the pharyngotympanic sinus, which communicates with the pharynx via the lateral (true) Eustachian tubes and forms the cavum tympanicum proprium, and the median pharyngeal sinus, which communicates with the pharynx via the median pharyngeal tube. Each of these primary inflations gives rise to a number of secondary inflations that further invade the bones of the skull. The primary sinuses and secondary diverticula are well developed in perinatal individuals of Alligator, but during ontogeny the number and relative volumes of the secondary diverticula are reduced. In addition to describing the morphological ontogeny of this sinus system, we provide some preliminary exploratory analyses of sinus function and allometry, rejecting the hypothesis that changes in the volume of the paratympanic sinuses are simply an allometric function of braincase

  2. Plasma catecholamines and plasma corticosterone following restraint stress in juvenile alligators.

    PubMed

    Lance, V A; Elsey, R M

    1999-05-01

    Ten juvenile alligators, mean body mass 793 g, hatched from artificially incubated eggs and raised under controlled conditions, were held out of water with their jaws held closed for 48 hr. An initial blood sample was taken and further samples collected at 1, 2, 4, 8, 24, and 48 hr. Epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine were measured in plasma aliquots of 1.5 ml using high pressure liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection. Corticosterone was measured by radioimmunoassay. Plasma glucose was measured using the Trinder method and plasma calcium, cholesterol, and triglycerides were measured in an autoanalyzer. Epinephrine was about 4 ng/ml at the initial bleed, but declined steadily to < 0.4 ng/ml by 24 hr. Norepinephrine was also about 4 ng/ml at the initial bleed, but rose to over 8 ng/ml at 1 hr, and then declined to < 0.2 ng/ml at 24 hr. A second, but smaller increase in plasma norepinephrine was seen at 48 hr. Plasma dopamine was low at the initial bleed (< 0.7 ng/ml), rose to over 8 ng/ml at 1 hr, then declined to < 0.2 ng/ml. Plasma corticosterone rose progressively for the first 4 hr, declined at 8 hr and 24 hr, then rose again at 48 hr. Plasma glucose rose significantly by 24 hr and remained elevated for 48 hr. Plasma calcium increased at 1, 2, and 4 hr then returned to levels not significantly different from the initial sample at 24 and 48 hr. The white blood cells showed changes indicating immune system suppression. By the end of the treatment the hetorophil/lymphocyte ratio increased to 4.7. These results suggest that handling alligators, taking multiple blood samples, and keeping them restrained for more than 8 hr is a severe stress to the animals.

  3. Ontogeny of the Middle-Ear Air-Sinus System in Alligator mississippiensis (Archosauria: Crocodylia)

    PubMed Central

    Dufeau, David L.; Witmer, Lawrence M.

    2015-01-01

    Modern crocodylians, including Alligator mississippiensis, have a greatly elaborated system of pneumatic sinuses invading the cranium. These sinuses invade nearly all the bones of the chondrocranium and several bony elements of the splanchnocranium, but patterns of postnatal paratympanic sinus development are poorly understood and documented. Much of crocodylomorph—indeed archosaurian—evolution is characterized by the evolution of various paratympanic air sinuses, the homologies of which are poorly understood due in large part to the fact that individual sinuses tend to become confluent in adults, obscuring underlying patterns. This study seeks to explore the ontogeny of these sinuses primarily to clarify the anatomical relations of the individual sinuses before they become confluent and thus to provide the foundation for later studies testing hypotheses of homology across extant and extinct Archosauria. Ontogeny was assessed using computed tomography in a sample of 13 specimens covering an almost 19-fold increase in head size. The paratympanic sinus system comprises two major inflations of evaginated pharyngeal epithelium: the pharyngotympanic sinus, which communicates with the pharynx via the lateral (true) Eustachian tubes and forms the cavum tympanicum proprium, and the median pharyngeal sinus, which communicates with the pharynx via the median pharyngeal tube. Each of these primary inflations gives rise to a number of secondary inflations that further invade the bones of the skull. The primary sinuses and secondary diverticula are well developed in perinatal individuals of Alligator, but during ontogeny the number and relative volumes of the secondary diverticula are reduced. In addition to describing the morphological ontogeny of this sinus system, we provide some preliminary exploratory analyses of sinus function and allometry, rejecting the hypothesis that changes in the volume of the paratympanic sinuses are simply an allometric function of braincase

  4. Necropsy findings in American alligator late-stage embryos and hatchlings from northcentral Florida lakes contaminated with organochlorine pesticides

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sepulveda, M.S.; Del, Piero F.; Wiebe, J.J.; Rauschenberger, H.R.; Gross, T.S.

    2006-01-01

    Increased American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) embryo and neonatal mortality has been reported from several northcentral Florida lakes contaminated with old-use organochlorine pesticides (OCPs). However, a clear relationship among these contaminants and egg viability has not been established, suggesting the involvement of additional factors in these mortalities. Thus, the main objective of this study was to determine the ultimate cause of mortality of American alligator late-stage embryos and hatchlings through the conduction of detailed pathological examinations, and to evaluate better the role of OCPs in these mortalities. Between 2000 and 2001, 236 dead alligators were necropsied at or near hatching (after ???65 days of artificial incubation and up to 1 mo of age posthatch). Dead animals were collected from 18 clutches ranging in viability from 0% to 95%. Total OCP concentrations in yolk ranged from ???100 to 52,000 ??g/kg, wet weight. The most common gross findings were generalized edema (34%) and organ hyperemia (29%), followed by severe emaciation (14%) and gross deformities (3%). Histopathologic examination revealed lesions in 35% of the animals, with over half of the cases being pneumonia, pulmonary edema, and atelectasis. Within and across clutches, dead embryos and hatchlings compared with their live cohorts were significantly smaller and lighter. Although alterations in growth and development were not related to yolk OCPs, there was an increase in prevalence of histologic lesions in clutches with high OCPs. Overall, these results indicate that general growth retardation and respiratory abnormalities were a major contributing factor in observed mortalities and that contaminants may increase the susceptibility of animals to developing certain pathologic conditions. ?? Wildlife Disease Association 2006.

  5. Nuclear β-catenin localization supports homology of feathers, avian scutate scales, and alligator scales in early development.

    PubMed

    Musser, Jacob M; Wagner, Günter P; Prum, Richard O

    2015-01-01

    Feathers are an evolutionary novelty found in all extant birds. Despite recent progress investigating feather development and a revolution in dinosaur paleontology, the relationship of feathers to other amniote skin appendages, particularly reptile scales, remains unclear. Disagreement arises primarily from the observation that feathers and avian scutate scales exhibit an anatomical placode-defined as an epidermal thickening-in early development, whereas alligator and other avian scales do not. To investigate the homology of feathers and archosaur scales we examined patterns of nuclear β-catenin localization during early development of feathers and different bird and alligator scales. In birds, nuclear β-catenin is first localized to the feather placode, and then exhibits a dynamic pattern of localization in both epidermis and dermis of the feather bud. We found that asymmetric avian scutate scales and alligator scales share similar patterns of nuclear β-catenin localization with feathers. This supports the hypothesis that feathers, scutate scales, and alligator scales are homologous during early developmental stages, and are derived from early developmental stages of an asymmetric scale present in the archosaur ancestor. Furthermore, given that the earliest stage of β-catenin localization in feathers and archosaur scales is also found in placodes of several mammalian skin appendages, including hair and mammary glands, we hypothesize that a common skin appendage placode originated in the common ancestor of all amniotes. We suggest a skin placode should not be defined by anatomical features, but as a local, organized molecular signaling center from which an epidermal appendage develops. PMID:25963196

  6. Cadmium and lead residues in field-collected red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) and uptake by alligator weed, Alternanthera philoxiroides

    SciTech Connect

    Naqvi, S.M.; Howell, R.D.; Sholas, M. . Dept. of Biological Sciences and Health Research Center)

    1993-01-01

    The whole-body residues of Cd and Pb in the tissues of Louisiana swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) were determined by flame AAS technique. Test animals were collected from roadside ditches alongside major highways. The water and soil samples were also collected from the same sites. The mean Cd and Pb concentrations in crayfish tissues were 0.46 and 0.07, respectively. The levels of Cd and Pb in the water were 0.09 and 0.04; and in soil were 2.85 and 0.87 mg/1, respectively. The concentration of cadmium was 32 and Pb 12 times more than in the water. The bioaccumulation factors (BF) for Cd and Pb in crayfish tissues were 5.1 and 1.7, respectively. Alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxiroides) plants were exposed to 0.5 mg/1 Cd-chloride or Pb-nitrate solutions for 3 wk period, thrice. The mean Pb accumulation in roots was 1.31 mg/1, followed by stem (0.078 mg/1), but Cd only accumulated in root (0.83 mg/1). The BF for Pb and Cd in plant tissues were 14.8 and 16.6, respectively. The uptake of metals was time-dependent. These data suggest that although there is no biomagnification of Cd and Pb from alligator weed to crayfish, both metals readily accumulate in field-collected crayfish and laboratory-exposed alligator weed.

  7. Predicting maternal body burdens of organochlorine pesticides from eggs and evidence of maternal transfer in Alligator mississippiensis

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rauschenberger, R.H.; Sepulveda, M.S.; Wiebe, J.J.; Szabo, N.J.; Gross, T.S.

    2004-01-01

    Few data exist regarding maternal-embryonal transfer of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in reptiles. The objective of the present study was to evaluate maternal transfer of OCPs in American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) from low-, intermediate-, and high-OCP-exposure sites. Overall, total OCP burdens ranged from less than 0.8 ppb in blood to more than 44,000 ppb in abdominal adipose tissue (wet wt concentrations). Lipid-adjusted ratios of maternal adipose burdens (total OCPs) to yolk burdens were close to one (0.94 ?? 0.31:1), suggesting that animals were in steady state and that OCPs in eggs originated from adipose lipids. In contrast, lipid-adjusted muscle and liver OCP burdens were greater than yolk OCP burdens, suggesting that lipids in muscle were not utilized during oogenesis and that nonlipid liver tissue sequesters OCPs. Predictive equations were derived for several tissues and several OCP analytes with r2 values ranging from 0.40 to 0.99 (p < 0.05). We suggest that yolk burdens are predictive of maternal tissue burdens for certain tissues and OCPs and that certain OCPs are maternally transferred in the American alligator. Furthermore, we suggest that future studies should investigate the applicability of these predictive equations for assessing maternal exposure in other crocodilian species.

  8. The provenance of alveolar and parabronchial lungs: insights from paleoecology and the discovery of cardiogenic, unidirectional airflow in the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis).

    PubMed

    Farmer, C G

    2010-01-01

    Birds and mammals evolved greater aerobic abilities than their common ancestor had. This required expansion of the cardiopulmonary system's capacity for gas exchange, but while directional selection for this expanded capacity resulted in extremely similar avian and mammalian hearts, strikingly different lungs arose, and the reasons for this divergence in lung morphology are not understood. In birds, gas exchange occurs in the lungs as air moves through small tubes (parabronchi) in one direction; in mammals, air flows tidally into and out of the alveoli. Here, I present a scenario for the origin of both the alveolar and parabronchial lungs that explains when and how they could have arisen by a gradual sequence of steps. I argue that (1) the alveolar lung evolved in the late Paleozoic, when high levels of atmospheric oxygen relaxed selection for a thin blood-gas barrier within the lung; (2) unidirectional flow originated in the ectothermic ancestral archosaur, the forerunner of birds and crocodilians, to enable the heart to circulate pulmonary gases during apnea. This hypothesis would be supported by a demonstration of unidirectional flow in the lungs of crocodilians, the extant sister taxon of birds. Airflow in the lungs of juvenile alligators was measured during apnea using dual thermistor flowmeters, and cardiac activity was measured with electrocardiography. Coincident with each heartbeat, a pulse of air flowed in the pulmonary conduit under study with a bias in the direction of movement, yielding a net unidirectional flow. These data suggest the internal structures requisite for unidirectional flow were present in the common ancestors of birds and crocodilians and may have preadapted the lungs of archosaurs to function advantageously during the oxygen-poor period of the early Mesozoic.

  9. The provenance of alveolar and parabronchial lungs: insights from paleoecology and the discovery of cardiogenic, unidirectional airflow in the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis).

    PubMed

    Farmer, C G

    2010-01-01

    Birds and mammals evolved greater aerobic abilities than their common ancestor had. This required expansion of the cardiopulmonary system's capacity for gas exchange, but while directional selection for this expanded capacity resulted in extremely similar avian and mammalian hearts, strikingly different lungs arose, and the reasons for this divergence in lung morphology are not understood. In birds, gas exchange occurs in the lungs as air moves through small tubes (parabronchi) in one direction; in mammals, air flows tidally into and out of the alveoli. Here, I present a scenario for the origin of both the alveolar and parabronchial lungs that explains when and how they could have arisen by a gradual sequence of steps. I argue that (1) the alveolar lung evolved in the late Paleozoic, when high levels of atmospheric oxygen relaxed selection for a thin blood-gas barrier within the lung; (2) unidirectional flow originated in the ectothermic ancestral archosaur, the forerunner of birds and crocodilians, to enable the heart to circulate pulmonary gases during apnea. This hypothesis would be supported by a demonstration of unidirectional flow in the lungs of crocodilians, the extant sister taxon of birds. Airflow in the lungs of juvenile alligators was measured during apnea using dual thermistor flowmeters, and cardiac activity was measured with electrocardiography. Coincident with each heartbeat, a pulse of air flowed in the pulmonary conduit under study with a bias in the direction of movement, yielding a net unidirectional flow. These data suggest the internal structures requisite for unidirectional flow were present in the common ancestors of birds and crocodilians and may have preadapted the lungs of archosaurs to function advantageously during the oxygen-poor period of the early Mesozoic. PMID:20377411

  10. The orientation and navigation of juvenile alligators: evidence of magnetic sensitivity

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rodda, Gordon H.

    1984-01-01

    Displaced juvenile alligators, Alligator mississipiensis, were released on land in a 9 m diameter dodecagonal arena to test their ability to orient in the absence of terrestrial landmarks. Navigational ability seemed to improve with age. When displaced along a fairly direct route yearlings (age 7–14 months) compensated for their displacement, moving in the direction from the arena to their home sites. When displaced by a circuitous route, yearlings failed to compensate for their displacement, exhibiting instead simple compass orientation in a direction that would have returned them to water had they been released on land near the site where they were captured. The older juveniles were oriented in a homeward direction under all displacement and test conditions. The latter animals may have been using geomagnetic map information to select their homeward directions as the errors in their homeward bearings correlated with small deviations in the geomagnetic field's dip angle at the time of the test (1980r s=−0.6047,P=0.0131, all testsr s= −0.4652,P=0.0084). This effect appeared to depend on a very short-term assessment of geomagnetic conditions, as values measured 20 min before or 30 min after the tests began did not correlate with the directions the animals moved. The older juveniles appeared to use magnetically quiet hours on the night of their capture as the baseline from which to measure the geomagnetic deviations that occurred at the time of the arena test. The magnitude of the magnetic effect in the older animals suggests that the geomagnetic information may have been used to perform a ‘map’ step, as small fluctuations in dip angle correlated with much larger deviations in homeward bearings. In addition, the compass-oriented yearlings and the seemingly route-based behavior of the homeward-oriented yearlings did not appear to be influenced by geomagnetic conditions. These findings have many parallels in results obtained from bird orientation studies

  11. Primary alkaline magmas associated with the Quaternary Alligator Lake volcanic complex, Yukon Territory, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eiché, G. E.; Francis, D. M.; Ludden, J. N.

    1987-02-01

    The Alligator Lake complex is a Quaternary alkaline volcanic center located in the southern Yukon Territory of Canada. It comprises two cinder cones which cap a shield consisting of five distinct lava units of basaltic composition. Units 2 and 3 of this shield are primitive olivine-phyric lavas (13.5 19.5 cation % Mg) which host abundant spinel lherzolite xenoliths, megacrysts, and granitoid fragments. Although the two lava types have erupted coevally from adjacent vents and are petrographically similar, they are chemically distinct. Unit 2 lavas have considerably higher abundances of LREE, LILE, and Fe, but lower HREE, Y, Ca, Si, and Al relative to unit 3 lavas. The 87Sr/86Sr and 143Nd/144Nd isotopic ratios of these two units are, however, indistinguishable. The differences between these two lava types cannot be explained in terms of low pressure olivine fractionation, and the low concentrations of Sr, Nb, P, and Ti in the granitoid xenoliths relative to the primitive lavas discounts differential crustal contamination. The abundance of spinel lherzolite xenoliths and the high Mg contents in the lavas of both units indicates that their compositional differences originated in the upper mantle. The Al and Si systematics of these lavas suggests that, compared to unit 3 magmas, the unit 2 magmas may have segregated at greater depths from a garnet lherzolite mantle. The identical isotopic composition and similar ratios of highly incompatible elements in these two lava units argues against their differences being a consequence of random metasomatism or mantle heterogeneity. The lower Y and HREE contents but higher concentrations of incompatible elements in the unit 2 lavas relative to unit 3 can be most simply explained by differential partial melting of similar garnet-bearing sources. The unit 2 magmas thus appear to have been generated by smaller degrees of melting at a greater depth than the unit 3 magmas. The contemporaneous eruption of two distinct but

  12. Turning crocodilian hearts into bird hearts: growth rates are similar for alligators with and without right-to-left cardiac shunt

    PubMed Central

    Eme, John; Gwalthney, June; Owerkowicz, Tomasz; Blank, Jason M.; Hicks, James W.

    2010-01-01

    The functional and possible adaptive significance of non-avian reptiles' dual aortic arch system and the ability of all non-avian reptiles to perform central vascular cardiac shunts have been of great interest to comparative physiologists. The unique cardiac anatomy of crocodilians – a four-chambered heart with the dual aortic arch system – allows for only right-to-left (R–L; pulmonary bypass) cardiac shunt and for surgical elimination of this shunt. Surgical removal of the R–L shunt, by occluding the left aorta (LAo) upstream and downstream of the foramen of Panizza, results in a crocodilian with an obligatory, avian/mammalian central circulation. In this study, R–L cardiac shunt was eliminated in age-matched, female American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis; 5–7 months of age). We tested the hypothesis that surgical elimination of R–L cardiac shunt would impair growth (a readily measured proxy for fitness) compared with sham-operated, age-matched controls, especially in animals subjected to exhaustive exercise. While regular exercise caused a decrease in size (snout-to-vent length, head length and body mass), elimination of the capacity for R–L cardiac shunt did not greatly reduce animal growth, despite a chronic ventricular enlargement in surgically altered juvenile alligators. We speculate that, despite being slightly smaller, alligators with an occluded LAo would have reached sexual maturity in the same breeding season as control alligators. This study suggests that crocodilian R–L cardiac shunt does not provide an adaptive advantage for juvenile alligator growth and supports the logic that cardiac shunts persist in crocodilians because they have not been selected against. PMID:20639429

  13. Analysis of chorioallantoic membranes to assess PCB accumulation in American alligators and Loggerhead sea turtles from the coast of South Carolina

    SciTech Connect

    Cobb, G.P.; Wood, P.D.; O`Quinn, M.

    1995-12-31

    Investigation of contaminant burdens in threatened and endangered species is difficult due to the small number of samples that can be collected. Many samples can be collected if the sampling methods are non-lethal and more specifically non-invasive. Analysis of chorioallantoic membranes is demonstrated for American alligators and Loggerhead sea turtles. Significant differences were found in PCB, uptake by alligators from the Ashepoo-Combahee-Edisto Basin reference site and a contaminated site in Winyah Bay. Intrasite and intersite differences in uptake and distribution of PCB homologues were noted. These data will be discussed as they relate to egg viability and embryo development.

  14. Formation and regression of the corpus luteum of the American alligator

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Guillette, L.J.; Woodward, A.R.; You-Xiang, Q.; Cox, M.C.; Matter, J.H.; Gross, T.S.

    1995-01-01

    Luteal morphology of the American alligator is unique when compared to other reptiles but is similar to that of its phylogenetic relatives, the birds. The theca is extensively hypertrophied, but the granulosa never fills the cavity formed following the ovulation of the ovum. The formation of the corpus luteum (CL) is correlated with elevated plasma progesterone concentrations, which decline dramatically after oviposition with the onset of luteolysis. Unlike those of most other reptiles, the central luteal cell mass is composed of two cell types; one presumably is derived from the granulosa, whereas the other is from the theca interna. Both cell types are present throughout gravidity but only one cell type is seen during mid to late luteolysis. A significant decline in luteal volume occurs following oviposition and continues throughout the post-oviposition period. The fastest decline in luteal volume occurs in the month immediately after oviposition; this rate then slows. Luteolysis appears to continue for a year or more following oviposition, as distinct structures of luteal origin can still be identified in animals 9 months after oviposition. The size of persistent CL can be used to determine whether a given female oviposited during the previous nesting season. Females with CL having volumes greater than 0.2 cm2 or CL diameters greater than 0.4 cm were active the previous season. 

  15. Microhabitat use, home range, and movements of the alligator snapping turtle, Macrochelys temminckii, in Oklahoma

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Riedle, J.D.; Shipman, P.A.; Fox, S. F.; Leslie, David M.

    2006-01-01

    Little is known about the ecology of the alligator snapping turtle, Macrochelys temminckii, particularly dentography and behavior. To learn more about the species in Oklahoma, we conducted a telemetry project on 2 small streams at Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge, an 8,417.5-ha refuge located in east-central Oklahoma. Between June 1999 and August 2000, we fitted 19 M. temminckii with ultrasonic telemetry tags and studied turtle movements and microhahitat use. Turtles were checked 2 to 3 times weekly in summer and sporadically in winter. Several microhabitat variables were measured at each turtle location and a random location to help quantify microhabitat use vs. availability. We recorded 147 turtle locations. Turtles were always associated with submerged cover with a high percentage of overhead canopy cover. Turtles used deeper depths in late summer (but not deeper depths than random locations) and deeper depths in mid-winter (and deeper depths than random locations) than in early summer. They used shallower depths than random locations in early summer. This seasonal shift in depth use might be thermoregulatory, although evidence for this is indirect. The mean linear home range for all turtles was 777.8 m. Females had larger home ranges than males, and juveniles had larger home ranges than adults, although the latter was not statistically significant. Macrochelys temminckii used submerged structures as a core site, and stayed at each core site for an average of 12.3 d.

  16. Sorption of sulphamethoxazole by the biochars derived from rice straw and alligator flag.

    PubMed

    Li, Tingqiang; Han, Xuan; Liang, Chengfeng; Shohag, M J I; Yang, Xiaoe

    2015-01-01

    The sorption ability of sulphamethoxazole (SMX) by biochar derived from rice straw (RS) and alligator flag (AF) at 600°C was studied to assess the ability of biochar as adsorbent to remove SMX from aqueous solution. The results indicated that sorption of SMX by biochars was well described using the Langmuir equation (R2>0.94), and the maximum sorption parameter (Q) of RS (3650 mg kg(-1)) was much higher than that of AF (1963 mg kg(-1)). Temperature had no effect on SMX sorption by biochars, while thermodynamics analysis indicated that the sorption of SMX on both biochars was a spontaneous physical process. The d 250 RS (diameter of RS sieved through 250 µm) and d 150 AF (diameter of AF sieved through 150 µm) showed excellent sorption ability for SMX. The sorption amount of RS was larger than that of AF when pH<7, whereas, the sorption amount of AF surpassed RS when pH≥7. The presence of Cu2+ and/or Cd2+ ion at low concentrations (20 mg L(-1)) significantly (P<0.05) increased the sorption of SMX on both RS and AF. Our study confirms that biochar derived from the wetland plants could be used as effective adsorbents to remove SMX from aqueous solution. PMID:25413119

  17. Macroderoides texanus n. sp. (Digenea: Macroderoididae) from alligator gar, Atractosteus spatula in Texas.

    PubMed

    Tkach, Vasyl V; Strand, Eric J; Froese, Leanne

    2008-12-01

    Macroderoides texanus n. sp. is described based on 16 specimens collected from the intestine of the North American alligator gar, Atractosteus spatula. Of the five established species of Macroderoides, the new species is morphologically most similar to Macroderoides spiniferus and Macroderoides trilobatus. M. texanus n. sp. differs from M. spiniferus by having the ovary situated immediately posterior to the cirrus sac rather than at mid-way between the cirrus sac and anterior testis, the ventral sucker situated further posteriorly, and the vitelline fields extending somewhat posterior to posterior testis rather than to the middle of posterior testis. M. texanus n. sp. differs from M. trilobatus by having the ovary positioned immediately adjacent to, or overlapping the cirrus sac rather than at some distance posterior to it, and by having significantly larger eggs. Additionally, the new species has two distinctive rows of spines on the postero-ventral surface of the oral sucker that are lacking in M. spiniferus and M. trilobatus. Comparison of approximately 2,700-base-pair sequences of nuclear rDNA (partial 18S, complete ITS region and partial 28S) from M. texanus n. sp., M. spiniferus and M. trilobatus, strongly supports the status of M. texanus n. sp. as a new species. PMID:18762983

  18. Structure and fracture resistance of alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) armored fish scales.

    PubMed

    Yang, Wen; Gludovatz, Bernd; Zimmermann, Elizabeth A; Bale, Hrishikesh A; Ritchie, Robert O; Meyers, Marc A

    2013-04-01

    The alligator gar is a large fish with flexible armor consisting of ganoid scales. These scales contain a thin layer of ganoine (microhardness ~2.5 GPa) and a bony body (microhardness ~400 MPa), with jagged edges that provide effective protection against predators. We describe here the structure of both ganoine and bony foundation and characterize the mechanical properties and fracture mechanisms. The bony foundation is characterized by two components: a mineralized matrix and parallel arrays of tubules, most of which contain collagen fibers. The spacing of the empty tubules is ~60 μm; the spacing of those filled with collagen fibers is ~7 μm. Using micromechanical testing of such scales in a variable-pressure scanning electron microscope, we identify interactions between propagating cracks and the microstructure, and show that the toughness of the scales increases with crack extension in a classical resistance-curve response from the activation of extrinsic toughening mechanisms. We demonstrate how mechanical damage evolves in these structures, and further identify that the reinforcement of the mineral by the network of collagen fibers is the principal toughening mechanism resisting such damage. Additionally, we define the anisotropy of the toughness of the scales and relate this to the collagen fiber orientation. PMID:23274521

  19. Structure and fracture resistance of alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) armored fish scales.

    PubMed

    Yang, Wen; Gludovatz, Bernd; Zimmermann, Elizabeth A; Bale, Hrishikesh A; Ritchie, Robert O; Meyers, Marc A

    2013-04-01

    The alligator gar is a large fish with flexible armor consisting of ganoid scales. These scales contain a thin layer of ganoine (microhardness ~2.5 GPa) and a bony body (microhardness ~400 MPa), with jagged edges that provide effective protection against predators. We describe here the structure of both ganoine and bony foundation and characterize the mechanical properties and fracture mechanisms. The bony foundation is characterized by two components: a mineralized matrix and parallel arrays of tubules, most of which contain collagen fibers. The spacing of the empty tubules is ~60 μm; the spacing of those filled with collagen fibers is ~7 μm. Using micromechanical testing of such scales in a variable-pressure scanning electron microscope, we identify interactions between propagating cracks and the microstructure, and show that the toughness of the scales increases with crack extension in a classical resistance-curve response from the activation of extrinsic toughening mechanisms. We demonstrate how mechanical damage evolves in these structures, and further identify that the reinforcement of the mineral by the network of collagen fibers is the principal toughening mechanism resisting such damage. Additionally, we define the anisotropy of the toughness of the scales and relate this to the collagen fiber orientation.

  20. Macroderoides texanus n. sp. (Digenea: Macroderoididae) from alligator gar, Atractosteus spatula in Texas.

    PubMed

    Tkach, Vasyl V; Strand, Eric J; Froese, Leanne

    2008-12-01

    Macroderoides texanus n. sp. is described based on 16 specimens collected from the intestine of the North American alligator gar, Atractosteus spatula. Of the five established species of Macroderoides, the new species is morphologically most similar to Macroderoides spiniferus and Macroderoides trilobatus. M. texanus n. sp. differs from M. spiniferus by having the ovary situated immediately posterior to the cirrus sac rather than at mid-way between the cirrus sac and anterior testis, the ventral sucker situated further posteriorly, and the vitelline fields extending somewhat posterior to posterior testis rather than to the middle of posterior testis. M. texanus n. sp. differs from M. trilobatus by having the ovary positioned immediately adjacent to, or overlapping the cirrus sac rather than at some distance posterior to it, and by having significantly larger eggs. Additionally, the new species has two distinctive rows of spines on the postero-ventral surface of the oral sucker that are lacking in M. spiniferus and M. trilobatus. Comparison of approximately 2,700-base-pair sequences of nuclear rDNA (partial 18S, complete ITS region and partial 28S) from M. texanus n. sp., M. spiniferus and M. trilobatus, strongly supports the status of M. texanus n. sp. as a new species.

  1. Sorption of sulphamethoxazole by the biochars derived from rice straw and alligator flag.

    PubMed

    Li, Tingqiang; Han, Xuan; Liang, Chengfeng; Shohag, M J I; Yang, Xiaoe

    2015-01-01

    The sorption ability of sulphamethoxazole (SMX) by biochar derived from rice straw (RS) and alligator flag (AF) at 600°C was studied to assess the ability of biochar as adsorbent to remove SMX from aqueous solution. The results indicated that sorption of SMX by biochars was well described using the Langmuir equation (R2>0.94), and the maximum sorption parameter (Q) of RS (3650 mg kg(-1)) was much higher than that of AF (1963 mg kg(-1)). Temperature had no effect on SMX sorption by biochars, while thermodynamics analysis indicated that the sorption of SMX on both biochars was a spontaneous physical process. The d 250 RS (diameter of RS sieved through 250 µm) and d 150 AF (diameter of AF sieved through 150 µm) showed excellent sorption ability for SMX. The sorption amount of RS was larger than that of AF when pH<7, whereas, the sorption amount of AF surpassed RS when pH≥7. The presence of Cu2+ and/or Cd2+ ion at low concentrations (20 mg L(-1)) significantly (P<0.05) increased the sorption of SMX on both RS and AF. Our study confirms that biochar derived from the wetland plants could be used as effective adsorbents to remove SMX from aqueous solution.

  2. Thermoluminescence and excess 226Ra decay dating of late Quaternary fluvial sands, East Alligator River, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murray, Andrew; Wohl, Ellen; East, Jon

    1992-01-01

    Thermoluminescence (TL) dating was applied to seven samples of siliceous fluvial sands from the East Alligator River of Northern Australia, giving ages ranging from modern to 6000 yr B.P. Two methods of estimating the equivalent dose (ED), total bleach and regenerative, were applied to the 90- to 125-μm quartz fraction of the samples in order to determine the reliability and internal consistency of the technique. High-resolution γ and α spectroscopy were used to measure radionuclide contents; these measurements revealed an excess 226Ra activity compared with 230Th. This excess decreased with depth, and was used directly to derive mean sedimentation rates, and thus sediment ages. Both this method and one 14C date confirmed the validity of the TL values, which increased systematically with depth and were consistent with site stratigraphy. TL was of limited use in the dating of these late Holocene deposits because of age uncertainties of 500 to 1600 yr, resulting from a significant residual ED. This residual probably resulted from incomplete bleaching during reworking upstream of the sampling site. For Pleistocene deposits, the residual ED will be less significant because of higher total EDs, and TL dates will be correspondingly more accurate.

  3. Two modes of motion of the alligator lizard cochlea: Measurements and model predictions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Aranyosi, A. J.; Freeman, Dennis M.

    2005-09-01

    Measurements of motion of an in vitro preparation of the alligator lizard basilar papilla in response to sound demonstrate elliptical trajectories. These trajectories are consistent with the presence of both a translational and rotational mode of motion. The translational mode is independent of frequency, and the rotational mode has a displacement peak near 5 kHz. These measurements can be explained by a simple mechanical system in which the basilar papilla is supported asymmetrically on the basilar membrane. In a quantitative model, the translational admittance is compliant while the rotational admittance is second order. Best-fit model parameters are consistent with estimates based on anatomy and predict that fluid flow across hair bundles is a primary source of viscous damping. The model predicts that the rotational mode contributes to the high-frequency slopes of auditory nerve fiber tuning curves, providing a physical explanation for a low-pass filter required in models of this cochlea. The combination of modes makes the sensitivity of hair bundles more uniform with radial position than that which would result from pure rotation. A mechanical analogy with the organ of Corti suggests that these two modes of motion may also be present in the mammalian cochlea.

  4. Invertebrate community composition differs between invasive herb alligator weed and native sedges

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bassett, Imogen E.; Paynter, Quentin; Beggs, Jacqueline R.

    2012-05-01

    Chemical and/or architectural differences between native and exotic plants may influence invertebrate community composition. According to the enemy release hypothesis, invasive weeds should host fewer and less specialised invertebrates than native vegetation. Invertebrate communities were compared on invasive Alternanthera philoxeroides (alligator weed) and native sedges (Isolepis prolifer and Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani) in a New Zealand lake. A. philoxeroides is more architecturally and chemically similar to I. prolifer than to S. tabernaemontani. Lower invertebrate abundance, richness and proportionally fewer specialists were predicted on A. philoxeroides compared to native sedges, but with greatest differences between A. philoxeroides and S. tabernaemontani. A. philoxeroides is more architecturally and chemically similar to I. prolifer than to S. tabernaemontani. Invertebrate abundance showed taxa-specific responses, rather than consistently lower abundance on A. philoxeroides. Nevertheless, as predicted, invertebrate fauna of A. philoxeroides was more similar to that of I. prolifer than to S. tabernaemontani. The prediction of a depauperate native fauna on A. philoxeroides received support from some but not all taxa. All vegetation types hosted generalist-dominated invertebrate communities with simple guild structures. The enemy release hypothesis thus had minimal ability to predict patterns in this system. Results suggest the extent of architectural and chemical differences between native and invasive vegetation may be useful in predicting the extent to which they will host different invertebrate communities. However, invertebrate ecology also affects whether invertebrate taxa respond positively or negatively to weed invasion. Thus, exotic vegetation may support distinct invertebrate communities despite similar overall invertebrate abundance to native vegetation.

  5. Direct comparison of the electronic coupling efficiency of sulfur and selenium alligator clips for molecules adsorbed onto gold electrodes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Patrone, L.; Palacin, S.; Bourgoin, J. P.

    2003-05-01

    Scanning tunneling microscopy experiments have been performed to compare the electronic coupling provided by S and by Se used as alligator clips for bisthiol- and biselenol-terthiophene molecules adsorbed onto gold. The molecules were inserted in a dodecanethiol (DT) self-assembled monolayer. Their apparent height above the dodecanethiol matrix was used as a measure of the electronic coupling strength corresponding to S and Se, respectively. We show that the insertion behaviors of the two molecules are qualitatively the same, and that Se provides systematically a better coupling link than S, whatever the tunneling conditions.

  6. A moss-covered alligator rests in the sun at KSC. copy form; photos beginning with 99PD are only ava

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2000-01-01

    On top of what may be a nest on the edge of an algae-coated canal near Schwartz Rd. at Kennedy Space Center, a moss-covered alligator rests while keeping a wary eye open for trespassers. Nearly 5,000 alligators can be found in canals, ponds, and waterways throughout the Center and the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, which shares a boundary with the Center. American alligators feed and rest in the water, and usually lay their eggs in dens they dig into the banks. The young alligators spend their first several weeks in these dens. The Wildlife Refuge encompasses 92,000 acres that are a habitat for more than 331 species of birds, 31 mammals, 117 fishes, and 65 amphibians and reptiles. The marshes and open water of the refuge provide wintering areas for 23 species of migratory waterfowl, as well as a year-round home for great blue herons, great egrets, wood storks, cormorants, brown pelicans and other species of marsh and shore birds, as well as a variety of insects.

  7. Preliminary report on the intestinal parasites and their diversity in captive Chinese alligators.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Jinhong; Zhou, Yongkang; Wang, Shaosheng; Tu, Genjun; Tang, Xiaoniu; Wu, Xiaobing

    2014-10-20

    Objetivo: Aunque los parásitos intestinales son comúnmente detectados en los cocodrilos salvajes o en criados en cautividad en otras partes del mundo, existen muy pocos informes el caso concreto del caimán chino criado en cautividad (Alligator sinensis), ya que sólo están distribuidos en las zonas del sur del río Yangtze. El presente trabajo fue realizado para investigar los parásitos intestinales y su diversidad en las especies de cocodrilo chino. Métodos: En mayo y octubre de 2013, se recopilaron aleatoriamente un total de 328 muestras fecales de caimanes chinos en cautividad de un centro de cría en el sur de la provincia de Anhui. Resultados: Fueron identificados tres géneros de protozoos (Entaoeba, Eimeria e Isospora), cinco géneros de nematodos (Ascaris, Dujardin Ascaris, Capillaria, Toxocara y Strongylus), dos géneros de trematodos (Echinostoma y Clonorchis) y dos familias de trematodos (Schistosomatidae y Cryptogonimidae), de los cuales la mayor prevalencia correspondió a Dujardin Ascaris y producían la mayor tasa de infección (14,33%); entaoeba se situó en el segundo puesto (13,11%). El número de especies, índice de riqueza, índice de diversidad y de equitatividad fue superior en los meses de julio y agosto, y éstos, relativamente más para caimanes jóvenes y sub-adultos. Conclusiones: Nuestros resultados apuntan la prevalencia de la infección por parásitos intestinales en caimanes chinos en cautividad y ello exige nuestra atención, ya sea para controlar o prevenir la propagación de la enfermedad parasitaria intestinal a los seres humanos, o para la conservación de esta especie en peligro de extinción.

  8. Effect of lymph composition on an in vitro preparation of the alligator lizard cochlea.

    PubMed

    Freeman, D M; Hendrix, D K; Shah, D; Fan, L F; Weiss, T F

    1993-02-01

    The effects of different artificial lymphs on the cochlear duct of the alligator lizard were studied in an in vitro preparation. The duct was dissected and cemented to the glass floor of a chamber that had been filled with an artificial lymph. The vestibular membrane was removed and latex beads (1-5 microns in diameter) were allowed to settle on the endolymphatic surface of the duct. During perfusion with an artificial lymph solution, the positions of beads were measured and video images of the duct were obtained. Artificial lymphs were isosmotic and included artificial endolymph (AE), artificial perilymph (AP), Leibovitz's L-15 culture medium, an AE solution whose calcium concentration was the same as that of AP, and AE and AP solutions in which gluconate was substituted for chloride ions. Results obtained in AE were consistently different from those in other lymphs. The displacements of beads, the projected area of the papilla, the occurrence of blebs, and direct observation of cells in the duct all indicated that the tissue swelled in AE (with or without 2 mmol/l Ca) but showed no consistent shrinking or swelling in any of the other artificial lymphs. Thus for the solutions we used, the presence of both potassium and chloride was required to elicit the swelling response to isosmotic artificial lymphs. There were some regional differences in the swelling response: the swelling of the endolymphatic surface of the tissue in a direction orthogonal to the basilar membrane surface was smaller on the free-standing region of the basilar papilla than either on the tectorial membrane or on the hyaline epithelial cells. The preparation was osmotically stable in AP and in both AE and AP solutions in which gluconate was substituted for chloride ions. After exposure to these solutions for as much as 300 min, the preparation showed no gross signs of deterioration visible with the light microscope, and continued to exhibit a highly specific osmotic response to the composition

  9. Histology-based morphology of the neurocentral synchondrosis in Alligator mississippiensis (Archosauria, Crocodylia).

    PubMed

    Ikejiri, Takehito

    2012-01-01

    Morphology of the neurocentral synchondroses--thin cartilaginous layers between centra and neural arches--are documented in the extant crocodilian, Alligator mississippiensis (Archosauria, Crocodylia). Examination of dry skeletons demonstrates that neurocentral suture closure occurs in very late postnatal ontogeny (after reaching sexual maturity and/or body size ca. 40% from the upper range). Before sexual maturity (body length (BL) ≥ ca. 1.80 m), completely fused centra and neural arches are restricted to the caudal vertebral series. In contrast, the presacral vertebrae often remain unfused throughout postnatal ontogeny, retaining open sutures in very mature individuals (BL ≥ 2.80 m). These unfused centra and neural arches are structurally supported by the relatively large surface area of the neurocentral junctions, which results from primarily horizontal (mediolateral) increases with strong positive allometry. Cleared and stained specimens show that the cartilaginous neurocentral synchondrosis starts to form after approximately 40 embryonic days. Histological examination of the neurocentral junction in dorsal and anterior caudal vertebrae of six individuals (BL = 0.28-3.12 m) shows : (1) neurocentral fusion is the result of endochondral ossification of the neurocentral synchondrosis, (2) the neurocentral synchondrosis exhibits bipolar organization of three types of cartilaginous cells, and (3) complex neurocentral sutures (i.e., curved, zigzagged, and/or interdigitated boundaries) come from clumping of bone cells of the neural arches and centra into the neurocentral synchondrosis. The last two morphological features can be advantageous for delaying neurocentral fusion, which seems to be unique in crocodilians and possibly their close relatives, including nonavian dinosaurs and other Mesozoic archosaurs. PMID:22095938

  10. Mercury contamination in alligators (Melanosuchus niger) from Mamirauá Reservoir (Brazilian Amazon) and human health risk assessment.

    PubMed

    Correia, Jozélia; Cesar, Ricardo; Marsico, Eliane; Diniz, George Tadeu Nunes; Zorro, Mauricio Camargo; Castilhos, Zuleica

    2014-12-01

    Mercury (Hg) concentrations in muscles of wild alligators (Melanosuchus niger) from the Mamirauá Reservoir (a reference area in the Brazilian Amazon) and the human health risks associated with its consumption were assessed. The mean Hg concentration in alligator muscles was 0.407 ± 0.114 μg/g (N = 61). Close to 5 % of the muscle samples showed Hg levels above the World Health Organization guideline for fish consumption (0.5 μg/g). A positive and significant relationship was observed between Hg concentrations in muscle and the age of the specimens. The dose-response approach suggests that close to 27.4 years is required for half of the exposed specimens to attain 0.5 μg/g. The hazard quotient (HQ) is a risk indicator which defines the ratio of exposure level and a toxicological reference dose. HQ resulted above the unity for all the specimens when the ingestion rate for riverine communities (200 g of muscle per day) is considered, indicating the existence of hazard. When the ingestion rate for market consumers (28.57 g/day) is considered, the risks are much lower (mean HQ = 0.55), suggesting that such group is not at risk. The establishment of local and regional ingestion rates for riverine populations and market consumers is extremely recommended.

  11. Infestation of the southern alligator lizard (Squamata: Anguidae) by Ixodes pacificus (Acari: Ixodidae) and its susceptibility to Borrelia burgdorferi.

    PubMed

    Wright, S A; Lane, R S; Clover, J R

    1998-11-01

    To investigate the reservoir potential of the southern alligator lizard, Elgaria multicarinata (Blainville), for the Lyme disease spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi Johnson, Schmid, Hyde, Steigerwalt & Brenner, 14 lizards were collected from 1 county on each side of the northern Central Valley of California. Seven animals were collected from a Placer County site (Drivers Flat) and a Yolo County site (Cache Creek) where B. burgdorferi had been isolated previously from Ixodes pacificus Cooley & Kohls. Overall, the mean abundance of I. pacificus on all 14 lizards was 34.1 (range, 3-63) for larvae and 11.0 (range, 1-28) for nymphs. In captivity, field-attached I. pacificus larvae and nymphs required, on average, 12.6 (range, 1-37) and 14.4 (range, 5-44) d to feed to repletion, respectively. The prevalence of B. burgdorferi infection in host-seeking I. pacificus nymphs was 1.4% in Cache Creek Canyon and 9.9% in Drivers Flat. Attempts to isolate spirochetes from lizard blood or ticks that had fed on lizards and subsequently molted were unsuccessful as were efforts to cultivate spirochetes in lizard sera. These data suggest that the southern alligator lizard is not a competent reservoir for B. burgdorferi, although it is an important host for I. pacificus subadults. PMID:9835700

  12. Organochlorine pesticides and thiamine in eggs of largemouth bass and American alligators and their relationship with early life-stage mortality

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sepulveda, M.S.; Wiebe, J.J.; Honeyfield, D.C.; Rauschenberger, H.R.; Hinterkopf, J.P.; Johnson, W.E.; Gross, T.S.

    2004-01-01

    Thiamine deficiency has been linked to early mortality syndrome in salmonids in the Great Lakes. This study was conducted to compare thiamine concentrations in American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) and Florida largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides floridanus) eggs from sites with high embryo mortality and high exposure to organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) (Lakes Apopka and Griffin, and Emeralda Marsh, Florida, USA) to those from sites that have historically exhibited low embryo mortality and low OCPs (Lakes Woodruff and Orange, Florida). During June-July 2000, 20 alligator clutches were collected from these sites, artificially incubated, and monitored for embryo mortality. Thiamine and OCPs were measured in one egg/clutch. During February 2002, 10 adult female bass were collected from Emeralda Marsh and Lake Woodruff and mature ovaries analyzed for thiamine and OCP concentrations. Although ovaries from the Emeralda Marsh bass contained almost 1,000-fold more OCPs compared with the reference site, Lake Woodruff, there were no differences in thiamine concentrations between sites (11,710 vs. 11,857 pmol/g). In contrast, alligator eggs from the reference site had five times the amount of thiamine compared with the contaminated sites (3,123 vs. 617 pmol/g). Similarly, clutches with > 55% hatch rates had significantly higher concentrations of thiamine compared with clutches with <54% hatch rates (1,119 vs. 201 pmol/g). These results suggest that thiamine deficiency might be playing an important role in alligator embryo survival but not in reproductive failure and recruitment of largemouth bass. The cause(s) of this thiamine deficiency are unknown but might be related to differences in the nutritional value of prey items across the sites studied and/or to the presence of high concentration of contaminants in eggs. ?? Wildlife Disease Association 2004.

  13. Alligators and Crocodiles Have High Paracellular Absorption of Nutrients, But Differ in Digestive Morphology and Physiology.

    PubMed

    Tracy, Christopher R; McWhorter, Todd J; Gienger, C M; Starck, J Matthias; Medley, Peter; Manolis, S Charlie; Webb, Grahame J W; Christian, Keith A

    2015-12-01

    Much of what is known about crocodilian nutrition and growth has come from animals propagated in captivity, but captive animals from the families Crocodilidae and Alligatoridae respond differently to similar diets. Since there are few comparative studies of crocodilian digestive physiology to help explain these differences, we investigated young Alligator mississippiensis and Crocodylus porosus in terms of (1) gross and microscopic morphology of the intestine, (2) activity of the membrane-bound digestive enzymes aminopeptidase-N, maltase, and sucrase, and (3) nutrient absorption by carrier-mediated and paracellular pathways. We also measured gut morphology of animals over a larger range of body sizes. The two species showed different allometry of length and mass of the gut, with A. mississippiensis having a steeper increase in intestinal mass with body size, and C. porosus having a steeper increase in intestinal length with body size. Both species showed similar patterns of magnification of the intestinal surface area, with decreasing magnification from the proximal to distal ends of the intestine. Although A. mississippiensis had significantly greater surface-area magnification overall, a compensating significant difference in gut length between species meant that total surface area of the intestine was not significantly different from that of C. porosus. The species differed in enzyme activities, with A. mississippiensis having significantly greater ability to digest carbohydrates relative to protein than did C. porosus. These differences in enzyme activity may help explain the differences in performance between the crocodilian families when on artificial diets. Both A. mississippiensis and C. porosus showed high absorption of 3-O methyl d-glucose (absorbed via both carrier-mediated and paracellular transport), as expected. Both species also showed surprisingly high levels of l-glucose-uptake (absorbed paracellularly), with fractional absorptions as high as those

  14. Organizational Changes to Thyroid Regulation in Alligator mississippiensis: Evidence for Predictive Adaptive Responses

    PubMed Central

    Boggs, Ashley S. P.; Lowers, Russell H.; Cloy-McCoy, Jessica A.; Guillette, Louis J.

    2013-01-01

    During embryonic development, organisms are sensitive to changes in thyroid hormone signaling which can reset the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis. It has been hypothesized that this developmental programming is a ‘predictive adaptive response’, a physiological adjustment in accordance with the embryonic environment that will best aid an individual's survival in a similar postnatal environment. When the embryonic environment is a poor predictor of the external environment, the developmental changes are no longer adaptive and can result in disease states. We predicted that endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and environmentally-based iodide imbalance could lead to developmental changes to the thyroid axis. To explore whether iodide or EDCs could alter developmental programming, we collected American alligator eggs from an estuarine environment with high iodide availability and elevated thyroid-specific EDCs, a freshwater environment contaminated with elevated agriculturally derived EDCs, and a reference freshwater environment. We then incubated them under identical conditions. We examined plasma thyroxine and triiodothyronine concentrations, thyroid gland histology, plasma inorganic iodide, and somatic growth at one week (before external nutrition) and ten months after hatching (on identical diets). Neonates from the estuarine environment were thyrotoxic, expressing follicular cell hyperplasia (p = 0.01) and elevated plasma triiodothyronine concentrations (p = 0.0006) closely tied to plasma iodide concentrations (p = 0.003). Neonates from the freshwater contaminated site were hypothyroid, expressing thyroid follicular cell hyperplasia (p = 0.01) and depressed plasma thyroxine concentrations (p = 0.008). Following a ten month growth period under identical conditions, thyroid histology (hyperplasia p = 0.04; colloid depletion p = 0.01) and somatic growth (body mass p<0.0001; length p = 0.02) remained altered among the

  15. Alligator ridge district, East-Central Nevada: Carlin-type gold mineralization at shallow depths

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nutt, C.J.; Hofstra, A.H.

    2003-01-01

    Carlin-type deposits in the Alligator Ridge mining district are present sporadically for 40 km along the north-striking Mooney Basin fault system but are restricted to a 250-m interval of Devonian to Mississippian strata. Their age is bracketed between silicified ca. 45 Ma sedimentary rocks and unaltered 36.5 to 34 Ma volcanic rocks. The silicification is linked to the deposits by its continuity with ore-grade silicification in Devonian-Mississippian strata and by its similar ??18O values (_e1???17???) and trace element signature (As, Sb, Tl, Hg). Eocene reconstruction indicates that the deposits formed at depths of ???300 to 800 m. In comparison to most Carlin-type gold deposits, they have lower Au/Ag, Au grades, and contained Au, more abundant jasperoid, and textural evidence from deposition of an amorphous silica precursor in jasperoid. These differences most likely result from their shallow depth of formation. The peak fluid temperature (_e1???230??C) and large ??18OH2O value shift from the meteroric water line (_e1???20???) suggest that ore fluids were derived from depths of 8 km or more. A magnetotelluric survey indicates that the Mooney Basin fault system penetrates to mid-crustal depths. Deep circulation of meteoric water along the Mooney Basin fault system may have been in response to initial uplift of the East Humboldt-Ruby Mountains metamorphic core complex; convection also may have been promoted by increased heat flow associated with large magnitude extension in the core complex and regional magmatism. Ore fluids ascended along the fault system until they encountered impermeable Devonian and Mississippian shales, at which point they moved laterally through permeable strata in the Devonian Guilmette Formation, Devonian-Mississippian Pilot Shale, Mississippian Joana Limestone, and Mississippian Chainman Shale toward erosional windows where they ascended into Eocene fluvial conglomerates and lake sediments. Most gold precipitated by sulfidation of host

  16. Alligators and Crocodiles Have High Paracellular Absorption of Nutrients, But Differ in Digestive Morphology and Physiology.

    PubMed

    Tracy, Christopher R; McWhorter, Todd J; Gienger, C M; Starck, J Matthias; Medley, Peter; Manolis, S Charlie; Webb, Grahame J W; Christian, Keith A

    2015-12-01

    Much of what is known about crocodilian nutrition and growth has come from animals propagated in captivity, but captive animals from the families Crocodilidae and Alligatoridae respond differently to similar diets. Since there are few comparative studies of crocodilian digestive physiology to help explain these differences, we investigated young Alligator mississippiensis and Crocodylus porosus in terms of (1) gross and microscopic morphology of the intestine, (2) activity of the membrane-bound digestive enzymes aminopeptidase-N, maltase, and sucrase, and (3) nutrient absorption by carrier-mediated and paracellular pathways. We also measured gut morphology of animals over a larger range of body sizes. The two species showed different allometry of length and mass of the gut, with A. mississippiensis having a steeper increase in intestinal mass with body size, and C. porosus having a steeper increase in intestinal length with body size. Both species showed similar patterns of magnification of the intestinal surface area, with decreasing magnification from the proximal to distal ends of the intestine. Although A. mississippiensis had significantly greater surface-area magnification overall, a compensating significant difference in gut length between species meant that total surface area of the intestine was not significantly different from that of C. porosus. The species differed in enzyme activities, with A. mississippiensis having significantly greater ability to digest carbohydrates relative to protein than did C. porosus. These differences in enzyme activity may help explain the differences in performance between the crocodilian families when on artificial diets. Both A. mississippiensis and C. porosus showed high absorption of 3-O methyl d-glucose (absorbed via both carrier-mediated and paracellular transport), as expected. Both species also showed surprisingly high levels of l-glucose-uptake (absorbed paracellularly), with fractional absorptions as high as those

  17. Effect of aqueous extracts of alligator pear seed (Persea americana mill) on blood glucose and histopathology of pancreas in alloxan-induced diabetic rats.

    PubMed

    Edem, Do; Ekanem, Is; Ebong, Pe

    2009-07-01

    Effects of aqueous extract of alligator pear seed on normal and alloxan-induced diabetic rats were investigated in 6 groups of rats (5 rats per group). Test groups were made diabetic with intra-peritoneal injection of alloxan and treated with 300 mg and 600 mg/kg body weight of alligator pear seed extract. Two non-diabetic groups were also administered with 300 mg and 600 mg/kg body weight extract. The levels of blood glucose were examined in all 6 experimental groups. In diabetic rats, blood glucose levels were significantly reduced (p<0.05) by 73.26-78.24% on consumption of the extracts, with greater effect exhibited by the 600 mg/kg extract. In normal rats, blood glucose levels were significantly reduced (p<0.05) by 34.68-38.9% on consumption of the seed extract. Histological studies showed a degenerative effect on the pancreatic islet cells of diabetic rats. The result suggested restorative (protective) effect of the extract on pancreatic islet cells. Administration of aqueous extract of alligator pear seed may contribute significantly to the reduction of blood glucose levels and can be useful in the treatment of diabetes.

  18. Development of the dermal skeleton in Alligator mississippiensis (Archosauria, Crocodylia) with comments on the homology of osteoderms.

    PubMed

    Vickaryous, Matthew K; Hall, Brian K

    2008-04-01

    The dermal skeleton (=exoskeleton) has long been recognized as a major determinant of vertebrate morphology. Until recently however, details of tissue development and diversity, particularly among amniotes, have been lacking. This investigation explores the development of the dermatocranium, gastralia, and osteoderms in the American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis. With the exception of osteoderms, elements of the dermal skeleton develop early during skeletogenesis, with most initiating ossification prior to mineralization of the endoskeleton. Characteristically, circumoral elements of the dermatocranium, including the pterygoid and dentigerous elements, are among the first to form. Unlike other axially arranged bones, gastralia develop in a caudolateral to craniomedial sequence. Osteoderms demonstrate a delayed onset of development compared with the rest of the skeleton, not appearing until well after hatching. Osteoderm development is asynchronous across the body, first forming dorsally adjacent to the cervical vertebrae; the majority of successive elements appear in caudal and lateral positions. Exclusive of osteoderms, the dermal skeleton initiates osteogenesis via intramembranous ossification. Following the establishment of skeletal condensations, some preossified spicules become engorged with many closely packed clusters of chondrocyte-like cells in a bone-like matrix. This combination of features is characteristic of chondroid bone, a tissue otherwise unreported among nonavian reptiles. No secondary cartilage was identified in any of the specimens examined. With continued growth, dermal bone (including chondroid bone) and osteoid are resorbed by multinucleated osteoclasts. However, there is no evidence that these cells contribute to the rugose pattern of bony ornamentation characteristic of the crocodylian dermatocranium. Instead, ornamentation develops as a result of localized concentrations of bone deposited by osteoblasts. Osteoderms develop in the

  19. New insight into the anatomy of the hyolingual apparatus of Alligator mississippiensis and implications for reconstructing feeding in extinct archosaurs.

    PubMed

    Li, Zhiheng; Clarke, Julia A

    2015-07-01

    Anatomical studies of the cranium of crocodilians motivated by an interest in its function in feeding largely focused on bite force, the jaw apparatus and associated muscles innervated by the trigeminal nerve. However, the ossified and cartilaginous elements of the hyoid and the associated hyolingual muscles, innervated by the facial, hypoglossal and glossopharyngeal nerves, received much less attention. Crocodilians are known to retain what are ancestrally the 'Rhythmic Hyobranchial Behaviors' such as buccal oscillation, but show diminished freedom and movement for the hyobranchial apparatus and the tongue in food transport and manipulation. Feeding among crocodilians, generally on larger prey items than other reptilian outgroups, involves passive transport of the food within the mouth. The tongue in extant crocodilians is firmly attached to the buccal floor and shows little movement during feeding. Here, we present a detailed anatomical description of the myology of the hyolingual apparatus of Alligator mississippiensis, utilizing contrast-enhanced micro-computed tomography and dissection. We construct the first three-dimensional (3D) description of hyolingual myology in Alligator mississippiensis and discuss the detailed implications of these data for our understanding of hyolingual muscle homology across Reptilia. These anatomical data and an evaluation of the fossil record of hyoid structures also shed light on the evolution of feeding in Reptilia. Simplification of the hyoid occurs early in the evolution of archosaurs. A hyoid with only one pair of ceratobranchials and a weakly ossified or cartilaginous midline basihyal is ancestral to Archosauriformes. The comparison with non-archosaurian reptilian outgroup demonstrates that loss of the second set of ceratobranchials as well as reduced ossification in basihyal occurred prior to the origin of crown-clade archosaurs, crocodilians and birds. Early modification in feeding ecology appears to characterize the

  20. Mining in the Alligator Rivers Region, northern Australia: assessing potential and actual effects on ecosystem and human health.

    PubMed

    van Dam, R A; Humphrey, C L; Martin, P

    2002-12-27

    This paper presents an overview of issues related to surface water contamination arising from uranium mining activities in the Alligator Rivers Region (ARR) of northern Australia, and a program of research and monitoring that must assess the potential and actual effects on ecosystem and human health. The program of assessing effects on aquatic ecosystems involves a four-tiered approach including the derivation of local water quality guideline trigger values, direct toxicity assessment of mine waters prior to their release, creekside or in situ monitoring for early warning of adverse effects during mine water release, and longer-term monitoring of macroinvertebrate and fish communities. Bioaccumulation in aquatic biota is also assessed, and is an issue of importance not only to ecosystem health, but also to the health of local Aboriginal people. The aquatic animals they consume represent potential sources of radiological dose, and as a result, a major component of the program to assess potential effects on human health is the prediction of doses to Aboriginal people living downstream of mining activities. Acknowledging the assumptions and uncertainties, the calculation of concentration factors for local aquatic (and other) food sources allows the prediction of potential radiological exposure to people following hypothetical mine water releases. The approaches described form the basis of best-practice protocols that are relevant at both regional and national levels.

  1. Summary of well construction, testing, and preliminary findings from the Alligator Alley test well, Broward County, Florida

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Meyer, F.W.

    1988-01-01

    A 2,811-foot deep test well was drilled during 1980 in The Everglades along Alligator Alley as part of the Floridan Regional Aquifer Systems Analysis project. The well was cased 895 feet deep. Hydraulic packers were used to isolate selected zones in the open hole for water samples and measurement of water levels. The well penetrated the surficial and intermediate aquifers into the Floridan aquifer system. The top of the Floridan aquifer system occurs at 770 feet and includes limestone ranging in age from Oligocene to early Eocene. About 67 percent of the total thickness of the Floridan aquifer system was penetrated by the well. The chief water-producing zones in the Floridan aquifer system occur at about 1,030 feet and at about 2,560 feet. The 1,030-foot zone contains brackish artesian groundwater, and the 2,560-foot zone contains salty artesian groundwater similar in composition to seawater. The static water geothermal gradient is indicated, and radiocarbon activities suggest that the saltwater in the lower zone is younger than brackish groundwater in the upper zone. (USGS)

  2. Fine structure of crystalline inclusions in B-cells of the islets of Langerhans in the alligator.

    PubMed

    Raska, I; Komrska, J; Titlbach, M; Rieder, M

    1978-03-13

    The ultrastructure of crystalline beta granules of the islets of Langerhans in the alligator has been investigated. From optical diffraction analysis and serial sectioning, the existence of four distinct types of crystalline inclusions was established in ultrathin sections. The first type is the most frequent and is interpreted as a rhombohedron with a base, the ortho-hexagonal unit-cell edges being a equal to 18.9 nm, c equal to 23.0 nm. The second type of crystal (not observed in serial sections) is found compatible with a rhomb-dodecahedron which indexes on a cubic cell with a equal to 9.6 nm. The third type of crystal was assigned to dipyramids. Dipyramids are extremely rare, and only two diffraction patterns were obtained; their crystal system could not be determined. Prisms, which are second in abundance, represent the fourth type of crystal. Spacings as well as the symmetry differ from those of the above three crystal types and indicate a tetragonal cell with a equal to 4.2 nm, c equal to 14.2 nm. The data for the prismatic crystals are strikingly similar to those of proinsulin and may represent the first case of agreement between crystals (i) formed in vitro and studied by X-ray diffraction and (ii) those investigated in situ by electron microscopy.

  3. A thermal history of the Proterozoic East Alligator River Terrain, N.T., Australia: a fission track study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koul, Sohan L.; Wilde, A. R.; Tickoo, Awtar K.

    1988-01-01

    Radiometric data indicate a major thermal event in Proterozoic rocks of the East Alligator River Terrain, at 1870 Ma. These data, together with metamorphic mineral assemblages, demonstrate peak temperatures in excess of 600 ° C, close to the melting temperature of more deeply buried rocks. A cooling rate following peak metamorphism of 3°C/Ma is suggested. Fission-track dates of peak metamorphic phases, however, reveal a thermal event (or events), after 1650 Ma, rather than the peak metamorphic event. This rise in temperature was the result of thermal blanketing of the metamorphic basement by Carpentarian sediments and anomalous radiogenic heat flow from underlying granitoid gneiss. The temperatures so generated (≥ 175 ° C) were insufficient to reset Rb-Sr and K-Ar systems, but are clearly in excess of F.T. annealing temperatures for all the phases investigated. A cooling history, extending over 1000 m.y. and reflecting gradual erosion of the sedimentary cover, is revealed. This history is consistent with the extraordinary tectonic stability of the region. The importance of F.T. studies in establishing a thermal history is underscored, particularly when maximum temperatures experienced were less than those required to reset Rb-Sr and K-Ar systems.

  4. Ontogeny of the palatoquadrate and adjacent lateral cranial wall of the endocranium in prehatching Alligator mississippiensis (Archosauria: Crocodylia).

    PubMed

    Klembara, Jozef

    2004-11-01

    The purpose of this article is to gain insight into the ossification sequence of the palatoquadrate and the adjacent lateral cranial wall of prehatching Alligator mississippiensis, a process about which there is almost no published information. Results were obtained by studying serial histological sections of the series of ontogenetic stages and enlarged wax-plate models of several stages. The cartilage of the palatoquadrate starts to ossify endochondrally in the quadrate portion of the pars pterygoquadrata palatoquadrati in Stage 6A. In this stage, a bone, called the lamina palatoquadrati anterior here, appears at and close to the anteromedial wall of the cartilaginous pterygoid portion of the pars pterygoquadrata. The lamina palatoquadrati anterior ossifies in membrane. Later in ontogeny, the lamina palatoquadrati anterior spreads into the cavum epiptericum and sheathes the posterior portion of the trigeminal ganglion laterally. The jaw adductor muscles insert at the outer surface of the lamina palatoquadrati anterior. The lamina palatoquadrati anterior is a new structure not previously recorded in crocodylians or any other Recent reptile. The topology, mode of ossification, and functional anatomy of the lamina palatoquadrati anterior correspond to those of the membranous ossification of the alisphenoid of marsupials. Another bone, called the lamina prootici anterior here, spreads in membrane from the anterolateral wall of the prootic portion of the otic capsule into the prootic fenestra, above the trigeminal ganglion. The lamina prootici anterior represents a structure not recorded previously in crocodylians. It contributes to the orbitotemporal braincase wall. PMID:15376273

  5. Intra-population variation in activity ranges, diel patterns, movement rates, and habitat use of American alligators in a subtropical estuary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rosenblatt, Adam E.; Heithaus, Michael R.; Mazzotti, Frank M; Cherkiss, Michael S.; Jeffery, Brian M.

    2013-01-01

    Movement and habitat use patterns are fundamental components of the behaviors of mobile animals and help determine the scale and types of interactions they have with their environments. These behaviors are especially important to quantify for top predators because they can have strong effects on lower trophic levels as well as the wider ecosystem. Many studies of top predator movement and habitat use focus on general population level trends, which may overlook important intra-population variation in behaviors that now appear to be common. In an effort to better understand the prevalence of intrapopulation variation in top predator movement behaviors and the potential effects of such variation on ecosystem dynamics, we examined the movement and habitat use patterns of a population of adult American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) in a subtropical estuary for nearly four years. We found that alligators exhibited divergent behaviors with respect to activity ranges, movement rates, and habitat use, and that individualized behaviors were stable over multiple years. We also found that the variations across the three behavioral metrics were correlated such that consistent behavioral types emerged, specifically more exploratory individuals and more sedentary individuals. Our study demonstrates that top predator populations can be characterized by high degrees of intra-population variation in terms of movement and habitat use behaviors that could lead to individuals filling different ecological roles in the same ecosystem. By extension, one-size-fits-all ecosystem and species-specific conservation and management strategies that do not account for potential intra-population variation in top predator behaviors may not produce the desired outcomes in all cases.

  6. Estrogen receptor 1 (ESR1; ERα), not ESR2 (ERβ), modulates estrogen-induced sex reversal in the American alligator, a species with temperature-dependent sex determination.

    PubMed

    Kohno, Satomi; Bernhard, Melissa C; Katsu, Yoshinao; Zhu, Jianguo; Bryan, Teresa A; Doheny, Brenna M; Iguchi, Taisen; Guillette, Louis J

    2015-05-01

    All crocodilians and many turtles exhibit temperature-dependent sex determination where the temperature of the incubated egg, during a thermo-sensitive period (TSP), determines the sex of the offspring. Estrogens play a critical role in sex determination in crocodilians and turtles, as it likely does in most nonmammalian vertebrates. Indeed, administration of estrogens during the TSP induces male to female sex reversal at a male-producing temperature (MPT). However, it is not clear how estrogens override the influence of temperature during sex determination in these species. Most vertebrates have 2 forms of nuclear estrogen receptor (ESR): ESR1 (ERα) and ESR2 (ERβ). However, there is no direct evidence concerning which ESR is involved in sex determination, because a specific agonist or antagonist for each ESR has not been tested in nonmammalian species. We identified specific pharmaceutical agonists for each ESR using an in vitro transactivation assay employing American alligator ESR1 and ESR2; these were 4,4',4''-(4-propyl-[1H]-pyrazole-1,3,5-triyl)trisphenol (PPT) and 7-bromo-2-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-1,3-benzoxazol-5-ol (WAY 200070), respectively. Alligator eggs were exposed to PPT or WAY 200070 at a MPT just before the TSP, and their sex was examined at the last stage of embryonic development. Estradiol-17β and PPT, but not WAY 200070, induced sex reversal at a MPT. PPT-exposed embryos exposed to the highest dose (5.0 μg/g egg weight) exhibited enlargement and advanced differentiation of the Müllerian duct. These results indicate that ESR1 is likely the principal ESR involved in sex reversal as well as embryonic Müllerian duct survival and growth in American alligators. PMID:25714813

  7. Intra-population variation in activity ranges, diel patterns, movement rates, and habitat use of American alligators in a subtropical estuary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rosenblatt, Adam E.; Heithaus, Michael R.; Mazzotti, Frank J.; Cherkiss, Michael; Jeffery, Brian M.

    2013-12-01

    Movement and habitat use patterns are fundamental components of the behaviors of mobile animals and help determine the scale and types of interactions they have with their environments. These behaviors are especially important to quantify for top predators because they can have strong effects on lower trophic levels as well as the wider ecosystem. Many studies of top predator movement and habitat use focus on general population level trends, which may overlook important intra-population variation in behaviors that now appear to be common. In an effort to better understand the prevalence of intra-population variation in top predator movement behaviors and the potential effects of such variation on ecosystem dynamics, we examined the movement and habitat use patterns of a population of adult American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) in a subtropical estuary for nearly four years. We found that alligators exhibited divergent behaviors with respect to activity ranges, movement rates, and habitat use, and that individualized behaviors were stable over multiple years. We also found that the variations across the three behavioral metrics were correlated such that consistent behavioral types emerged, specifically more exploratory individuals and more sedentary individuals. Our study demonstrates that top predator populations can be characterized by high degrees of intra-population variation in terms of movement and habitat use behaviors that could lead to individuals filling different ecological roles in the same ecosystem. By extension, one-size-fits-all ecosystem and species-specific conservation and management strategies that do not account for potential intra-population variation in top predator behaviors may not produce the desired outcomes in all cases.

  8. Isolation and characterization of microsatellite loci for alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) and their variability in two other species (Lepisosteus oculatus and L. osseus) of Lepisosteidae

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Moyer, G.R.; Sloss, Brian L.; Kreiser, B.R.; Feldheim, K.A.

    2009-01-01

    We report on the isolation of 17 polymorphic microsatellite loci from alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula), a large-bodied species that has experienced population declines across much of its range. These loci possessed 2-19 alleles and observed heterozygosities of 0-0.974. All loci conformed to Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium expectations, and none exhibited linkage disequilibrium. Nine and eight of these loci were found to be polymorphic in the related species Lepisosteus oculatus and L. osseus, respectively. These microsatellite loci should prove useful in conservation efforts of A. spatula through the study of population structure and hatchery broodstock management. ?? 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  9. Isolation and characterization of microsatellite loci for alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) and their variability in two other species (Lepisosteus oculatus and L. osseus) of Lepisosteidae.

    PubMed

    Moyer, Gregory R; Sloss, Brian L; Kreiser, Brian R; Feldheim, Kevin A

    2009-05-01

    We report on the isolation of 17 polymorphic microsatellite loci from alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula), a large-bodied species that has experienced population declines across much of its range. These loci possessed 2-19 alleles and observed heterozygosities of 0-0.974. All loci conformed to Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium expectations, and none exhibited linkage disequilibrium. Nine and eight of these loci were found to be polymorphic in the related species Lepisosteus oculatus and L. osseus, respectively. These microsatellite loci should prove useful in conservation efforts of A. spatula through the study of population structure and hatchery broodstock management. PMID:21564806

  10. Isolation and characterization of microsatellite loci for alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) and their variability in two other species (Lepisosteus oculatus and L. osseus) of Lepisosteidae.

    PubMed

    Moyer, Gregory R; Sloss, Brian L; Kreiser, Brian R; Feldheim, Kevin A

    2009-05-01

    We report on the isolation of 17 polymorphic microsatellite loci from alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula), a large-bodied species that has experienced population declines across much of its range. These loci possessed 2-19 alleles and observed heterozygosities of 0-0.974. All loci conformed to Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium expectations, and none exhibited linkage disequilibrium. Nine and eight of these loci were found to be polymorphic in the related species Lepisosteus oculatus and L. osseus, respectively. These microsatellite loci should prove useful in conservation efforts of A. spatula through the study of population structure and hatchery broodstock management.

  11. EFFECT OF ACUTE STRESS ON PLASMA B-CORTICOSTERONE, ESTRADIOL-17B AND TESTOSTERONE CONCENTRATIONS IN JUVENILE AMERICAN ALLIGATORS COLLECTED FROM THREE SITES WITHIN THE KISSIMMEE-EVERGLADES DRAINAGE BASIN IN FLORIDA (USA)

    EPA Science Inventory

    The effect of acute stress on plasma b-corticosterone (B), testosterone (T) and estradiol-17b (E2), concentrations in juvenile alligators collected from sites with varying sediment contaminants was examined in this study. Dramatic increases in plasma B concentrations were observe...

  12. Taxonomic assessment of Alligator Snapping Turtles (Chelydridae: Macrochelys), with the description of two new species from the southeastern United States.

    PubMed

    Thomas, Travis M; Granatosky, Michael C; Bourque, Jason R; Krysko, Kenneth L; Moler, Paul E; Gamble, Tony; Suarez, Eric; Leone, Erin; Roman, Joe

    2014-01-01

    The Alligator Snapping Turtle, Macrochelys temminckii, is a large, aquatic turtle limited to river systems that drain into the Gulf of Mexico. Previous molecular analyses using both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA suggested that Macrochelys exhibits significant genetic variation across its range that includes three distinct genetic assemblages (western, central, and eastern = Suwannee). However, no taxonomic revision or morphological analyses have been conducted previously. In this study, we test previous hypotheses of distinct geographic assemblages by examining morphology, reanalyzing phylogeographic genetic structure, and estimating divergence dating among lineages in a coalescent framework using Bayesian inference. We reviewed the fossil record and discuss phylogeographic and taxonomic implications of the existence of three distinct evolutionary lineages. We measured cranial (n=145) and post-cranial (n=104) material on field-captured individuals and museum specimens. We analyzed 420 base pairs (bp) of mitochondrial DNA sequence data for 158 Macrochelys. We examined fossil Macrochelys from ca. 15-16 million years ago (Ma) to the present to better assess historical distributions and evaluate named fossil taxa. The morphological and molecular data both indicate significant geographical variation and suggest three species-level breaks among genetic lineages that correspond to previously hypothesized genetic assemblages. The holotype of Macrochelys temminckii is from the western lineage. Therefore, we describe two new species as Macrochelys apalachicolae sp. nov. from the central lineage and Macrochelys suwanniensis sp. nov. from the eastern lineage (Suwannee River drainage). Our estimates of divergence times suggest that the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of M. temminckii (western) and M. apalachicolae (central) existed 3.2-8.9 Ma during the late Miocene to late Pliocene, whereas M. temminckii-M. apalachicolae and M. suwanniensis last shared a MRCA 5.5-13.4 Ma

  13. Water in the Lithospheric Mantle Beneath a Phanerozoic Continental Belt: FTIR Analyses of Alligator Lake Xenoliths (Yukon, Canada)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gelber, McKensie; Peslier, Ann H.; Brandon, Alan D.

    2015-01-01

    Water in the mantle influences melting, metasomatism, viscosity and electrical conductivity. The Alligator Lake mantle xenolith suite is one of three bimodal peridotite suites from the northern Canadian Cordillera brought to the surface by alkali basalts, i.e., it consists of chemically distinct lherzolites and harzburgites. The lherzolites have equilibration temperatures about 50 C lower than the harzburgites and are thought to represent the fertile upper mantle of the region. The harzburgites might have come from slightly deeper in the mantle and/or be the result of a melting event above an asthenospheric upwelling detected as a seismic anomaly at 400-500 km depth. Major and trace element data are best interpreted as the lherzolite mantle having simultaneously experienced 20-25% partial melting and a metasomatic event to create the harzburgites. Well-characterized xenoliths are being analyzed for water by FTIR. Harzburgites contain 29-52 ppm H2O in orthopyroxene (opx) and (is) approximately140 ppm H2O in clinopyroxene (cpx). The lherzolites have H2O contents of 27-150 ppm in opx and 46-361 ppm in cpx. Despite correlating with enrichments in LREE, the water contents of the harzburgite pyroxenes are low relative to those of typical peridotite xenoliths, suggesting that the metasomatic agents were water-poor, contrarily to what has been suggested before. The water content of cpx is about double that of opx indicating equilibrium. Olivine water contents are low ((is) less than 5 ppm H2O) and out of equilibrium with those of opx and cpx, which may be due to H loss during xenolith ascent. This is consistent with olivines containing more water in their cores than their rims. Olivines exclusively exhibit water bands in the 3400-3000 cm-1 range, which may be indicative of a reduced environment.

  14. Ontogeny of the partial secondary wall of the otoccipital region of the endocranium in prehatching Alligator mississippiensis (Archosauria, Crocodylia).

    PubMed

    Klembara, Jozef

    2005-12-01

    The ontogeny of the posterior otic and anterior occipital portions of the neural endocranium of prehatching Alligator mississippiensis was investigated by reconstruction from sectioned material. In Stage 6 of this species, in which the endochondral ossification of the otoccipital region of the neural endocranium is only in its very early stage, two bony outgrowths-laminae-are present at the external wall of the posterior portion of the neural endocranium. The anterior lamina arises from the external surface of the basal plate at the level of the posterior margin of the subcapsular process; the posterior lamina arises from the external surface of that portion of the pila occipitalis that forms the posteroventral wall of the metotic fissure. During ontogeny, both laminae lying in the anteroposterior sequence ossify in membrane, fuse together, grow laterodorsally, and fuse with the lateral wall of the lateral semicircular canal and the crista parotica. This lamina forms a new, secondary wall enclosing the posterior section of the otic capsule and contains the large external jugular foramen (or foramen vagi) in its basal portion. The laminae, designated lamina juxtaotica anterior and posterior (lamina juxtaotica when fused together), have not been recorded previously in crocodylians and are absent in all other Recent reptiles. From the functional point of view, the juxtaotic lamina 1) forms the margins of the external jugular foramen, and 2) forms the floor of the posterior section of the Eustachian tube. In birds, the structure called the metotic cartilage, which arises in ontogeny as an independent element, has a similar position as the juxtaotic lamina. However, the two structures differ in their developmental origins and their relation to the Eustachian tube and the ramus hyomandibularis of the facialis nerve. Moreover, there is no external jugular foramen in birds. PMID:16235248

  15. Alligator pepper/Grain of Paradise (Aframomum melegueta) modulates Angiotensin-I converting enzyme activity, lipid profile and oxidative imbalances in a rat model of hypercholesterolemia.

    PubMed

    Adefegha, Stephen A; Oboh, Ganiyu; Adefegha, Omowunmi M; Henle, Thomas

    2016-09-01

    Alligator pepper [Aframomum melegueta Roscoe K. (Zingiberaceae)] seeds have been reportedly used in folkloric medicine in the management of hypercholesterolemia and hypertension with limited scientific basis for their action. This study was conducted to characterize the amino acids in Alligator pepper seeds (APS), assess their effects on lipid profile and enzyme linked to blood pressure regulation in hypercholesterolemic rat (rats fed 2% cholesterol diet) model. Free and total amino acids of APS were extracted and their various constituents were analyzed using the amino acid analyzer and ultra-performance liquid chromatography. The effect of dietary inclusion of APS (2-4%) on the lipid profile, angiotensin I-enzyme (ACE) activity and antioxidant status in hypercholesterolemic rats (HCR) for 30days was assessed. The results suggest that APS may modulate blood lipid profile, ameliorate blood pressure, attenuate hepatotoxicity and exert antihypercholesterolemic effect. γ - amino butyric acid (GABA), tyrosine, phenylalanine and tryptophan that were subsequently detected in APS. The observed salutary effects of APS may be attributed to the synergistic or/and additive actions of the amino acids present with other antioxidant phytoconstituents. These findings may therefore provide pharmacological basis for APS use in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia, hyperlipidemia and hypertension.

  16. Supporting-cell and extracellular responses to acoustic clicks in the free-standing region of the alligator lizard cochlea.

    PubMed

    Baden-Kristensen, K; Weiss, T F

    1982-12-01

    1. Acoustic clocks were delivered to the tympanic membrane of anesthetized alligator lizards, and electric responses were measured within the free-standing region of the cochlea using glass micropipettes. Responses were recorded intracellularly in supporting cells and extracellularly in the receptor organ and in the scalae. Gross responses were also recorded with wire electrodes in scala tympani. 2. Intra- and extracellular responses contain two components: (1) an early (with latent period less than 0.15 ms after the onset of the click), rate-independent component presumed to originate in the receptor cells, which we call the 'receptor component'; and (2) a later (with latent period from 2 to 5 ms after the onset of the click), rate-dependent component presumed to originate in the primary neurons, which we call the 'neural component'. 3. The receptor component consists of a positive, slow, polarity-independent potential which is superimposed on a small, oscillatory, polarity-dependent potential. The average magnitude of the receptor component in supporting cells (0.72 mV for -20 dB clicks) is about 10 times that in the extracellular spaces and about 1/5 of that recorded in receptor cells. This component depends nonlinearly on the sound stimulus in the -20 to -55 dB range of click levels. 4. The average magnitude of the neural component in supporting cells (0.3 mV for clicks at -20 dB and 10 clicks/s) is about 5-10 times larger than that in the extracellular spaces. 5. The receptor and neural components have different distributions within the cochlea. The slow potential of the receptor component has positive polarity within the receptor organ and in scala tympani, and negative polarity in scala media. In contrast, the neural component has approximately the same biphasic (negative then positive) waveform in all extracellular compartments where it was detected. However, the neural component has a larger magnitude and an inverted (positive then negative) waveform in

  17. Water in the lithospheric mantle beneath a Phanerozoic continental belt: FTIR analyses of Alligator Lake Xenoliths (Yukon, Canada)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gelber, M.; Peslier, A. H.; Brandon, A. D.

    2015-12-01

    Water in the mantle influences melting, metasomatism, viscosity and electrical conductivity. The Alligator Lake mantle xenolith suite is one of three bimodal peridotite suites from the northern Canadian Cordillera brought to the surface by alkali basalts, i.e., it consists of chemically distinct lherzolites and harzburgites [1-2]. The lherzolites have equilibration temperatures about 50 °C lower than the harzburgites and are thought to represent the fertile upper mantle of the region. The harzburgites might have come from slightly deeper in the mantle and/or be the result of a melting event above an asthenospheric upwelling detected as a seismic anomaly at 400-500 km depth [3]. Major and trace element data are best interpreted as the lherzolite mantle having simultaneously experienced 20-25% partial melting and a metasomatic event to create the harzburgites [3]. Well-characterized xenoliths are being analyzed for water by FTIR. Harzburgites contain 29-52 ppm H2O in orthopyroxene (opx) and ~140 ppm H2O in clinopyroxene (cpx). The lherzolites have H2O contents of 27-150 ppm in opx and 46-361 ppm in cpx. Despite correlating with enrichments in LREE, the water contents of the harzburgite pyroxenes are low relative to those of typical peridotite xenoliths [4], suggesting that the metasomatic agents were water-poor, contrarily to what has been suggested before [3]. The water content of cpx is about double that of opx indicating equilibrium. Olivine water contents are low (< 5 ppm H2O) and out of equilibrium with those of opx and cpx, which may be due to H loss during xenolith ascent. This is consistent with olivines containing more water in their cores than their rims. Olivines exclusively exhibit water bands in the 3400-3000 cm-1 range, which may be indicative of a reduced environment [5]. [1] Francis. 1987 JP 28, 569-97. [2] Eiche et al. 1987 CMP 95, 191-201. [3] Shi et al. 1997 CMP 131, 39-53. [4] Peslier et al. 2015 GGG 154, 98-117. [5] Bai et al. 1993 PCM 19, 460-71.

  18. A new Haemogregarina species of the alligator snapping turtle, Macrochelys temminckii (Testudines: Chelydridae), in Georgia and Florida that produces macromeronts in circulating erythrocytes.

    PubMed

    Telford, Sam R; Norton, Terry M; Moler, Paul E; Jensen, John B

    2009-02-01

    Haemogregarina macrochelysi n. sp. (Apicomplexa: Haemogregarinidae) of the alligator snapping turtle, Macrochelys temminckii, is characterized by slender, recurved gamonts 29-35 x 3-4.5 microm, in which the anterior limb comprises 48-54% of the total length. The gamont nucleus, 5-7.5 x 2-5 microm, is situated at approximately midbody of the gamont. Meronts typical of Haemogregarina occupying erythrocytes have 3-8 small, compact nuclei and are 13-17 x 4.5-9 microm. Erythrocytic meronts that contain larger, nearly square or rectangular nuclei become rounded, and then undergo 7 or more nuclear divisions, which produce very large, usually ovoid to rounded meronts that may contain up to 150 nuclei or more within the thinly stretched host erythrocyte membrane. In tissues of the Placobdella spp. leech vectors, merogony occurs directly from sporozoites, forming merozoites that presumably are infective for the turtle host. PMID:19245282

  19. A new Haemogregarina species of the alligator snapping turtle, Macrochelys temminckii (Testudines: Chelydridae), in Georgia and Florida that produces macromeronts in circulating erythrocytes.

    PubMed

    Telford, Sam R; Norton, Terry M; Moler, Paul E; Jensen, John B

    2009-02-01

    Haemogregarina macrochelysi n. sp. (Apicomplexa: Haemogregarinidae) of the alligator snapping turtle, Macrochelys temminckii, is characterized by slender, recurved gamonts 29-35 x 3-4.5 microm, in which the anterior limb comprises 48-54% of the total length. The gamont nucleus, 5-7.5 x 2-5 microm, is situated at approximately midbody of the gamont. Meronts typical of Haemogregarina occupying erythrocytes have 3-8 small, compact nuclei and are 13-17 x 4.5-9 microm. Erythrocytic meronts that contain larger, nearly square or rectangular nuclei become rounded, and then undergo 7 or more nuclear divisions, which produce very large, usually ovoid to rounded meronts that may contain up to 150 nuclei or more within the thinly stretched host erythrocyte membrane. In tissues of the Placobdella spp. leech vectors, merogony occurs directly from sporozoites, forming merozoites that presumably are infective for the turtle host.

  20. A New Class of SINEs with snRNA Gene-Derived Heads.

    PubMed

    Kojima, Kenji K

    2015-05-27

    Eukaryotic genomes are colonized by various transposons including short interspersed elements (SINEs). The 5' region (head) of the majority of SINEs is derived from one of the three types of RNA genes--7SL RNA, transfer RNA (tRNA), or 5S ribosomal RNA (rRNA)--and the internal promoter inside the head promotes the transcription of the entire SINEs. Here I report a new group of SINEs whose heads originate from either the U1 or U2 small nuclear RNA gene. These SINEs, named SINEU, are distributed among crocodilians and classified into three families. The structures of the SINEU-1 subfamilies indicate the recurrent addition of a U1- or U2-derived sequence onto the 5' end of SINEU-1 elements. SINEU-1 and SINEU-3 are ancient and shared among alligators, crocodiles, and gharials, while SINEU-2 is absent in the alligator genome. SINEU-2 is the only SINE family that was active after the split of crocodiles and gharials. All SINEU families, especially SINEU-3, are preferentially inserted into a family of Mariner DNA transposon, Mariner-N4_AMi. A group of Tx1 non-long terminal repeat retrotransposons designated Tx1-Mar also show target preference for Mariner-N4_AMi, indicating that SINEU was mobilized by Tx1-Mar.

  1. A New Class of SINEs with snRNA Gene-Derived Heads.

    PubMed

    Kojima, Kenji K

    2015-06-01

    Eukaryotic genomes are colonized by various transposons including short interspersed elements (SINEs). The 5' region (head) of the majority of SINEs is derived from one of the three types of RNA genes--7SL RNA, transfer RNA (tRNA), or 5S ribosomal RNA (rRNA)--and the internal promoter inside the head promotes the transcription of the entire SINEs. Here I report a new group of SINEs whose heads originate from either the U1 or U2 small nuclear RNA gene. These SINEs, named SINEU, are distributed among crocodilians and classified into three families. The structures of the SINEU-1 subfamilies indicate the recurrent addition of a U1- or U2-derived sequence onto the 5' end of SINEU-1 elements. SINEU-1 and SINEU-3 are ancient and shared among alligators, crocodiles, and gharials, while SINEU-2 is absent in the alligator genome. SINEU-2 is the only SINE family that was active after the split of crocodiles and gharials. All SINEU families, especially SINEU-3, are preferentially inserted into a family of Mariner DNA transposon, Mariner-N4_AMi. A group of Tx1 non-long terminal repeat retrotransposons designated Tx1-Mar also show target preference for Mariner-N4_AMi, indicating that SINEU was mobilized by Tx1-Mar. PMID:26019167

  2. Wrestling the process alligator

    SciTech Connect

    Springer, F.E.

    1993-04-01

    The Office of Hydropower Licensing's (FERC) current efforts to address the procedural problems in hydropower licensing are briefly described. A reorganization has taken place along functional lines to focus efforts in the three major programmatic functions: licensing, compliance, and dam safety. Other measures are also described.

  3. A New Class of SINEs with snRNA Gene-Derived Heads

    PubMed Central

    Kojima, Kenji K.

    2015-01-01

    Eukaryotic genomes are colonized by various transposons including short interspersed elements (SINEs). The 5′ region (head) of the majority of SINEs is derived from one of the three types of RNA genes—7SL RNA, transfer RNA (tRNA), or 5S ribosomal RNA (rRNA)—and the internal promoter inside the head promotes the transcription of the entire SINEs. Here I report a new group of SINEs whose heads originate from either the U1 or U2 small nuclear RNA gene. These SINEs, named SINEU, are distributed among crocodilians and classified into three families. The structures of the SINEU-1 subfamilies indicate the recurrent addition of a U1- or U2-derived sequence onto the 5′ end of SINEU-1 elements. SINEU-1 and SINEU-3 are ancient and shared among alligators, crocodiles, and gharials, while SINEU-2 is absent in the alligator genome. SINEU-2 is the only SINE family that was active after the split of crocodiles and gharials. All SINEU families, especially SINEU-3, are preferentially inserted into a family of Mariner DNA transposon, Mariner-N4_AMi. A group of Tx1 non-long terminal repeat retrotransposons designated Tx1-Mar also show target preference for Mariner-N4_AMi, indicating that SINEU was mobilized by Tx1-Mar. PMID:26019167

  4. Using the American alligator and a repeated-measures design to place constraints on in vivo shoulder joint range of motion in dinosaurs and other fossil archosaurs.

    PubMed

    Hutson, Joel D; Hutson, Kelda N

    2013-01-15

    Using the extant phylogenetic bracket of dinosaurs (crocodylians and birds), recent work has reported that elbow joint range of motion (ROM) studies of fossil dinosaur forearms may be providing conservative underestimates of fully fleshed in vivo ROM. As humeral ROM occupies a more central role in forelimb movements, the placement of quantitative constraints on shoulder joint ROM could improve fossil reconstructions. Here, we investigated whether soft tissues affect the more mobile shoulder joint in the same manner in which they affect elbow joint ROM in an extant archosaur. This test involved separately and repeatedly measuring humeral ROM in Alligator mississippiensis as soft tissues were dissected away in stages to bare bone. Our data show that the ROMs of humeral flexion and extension, as well as abduction and adduction, both show a statistically significant increase as flesh is removed, but then decrease when the bones must be physically articulated and moved until they separate from one another and/or visible joint surfaces. A similar ROM pattern is inferred for humeral pronation and supination. All final skeletonized ROMs were less than initial fully fleshed ROMs. These results are consistent with previously reported elbow joint ROM patterns from the extant phylogenetic bracket of dinosaurs. Thus, studies that avoid separation of complementary articular surfaces may be providing fossil shoulder joint ROMs that underestimate in vivo ROM in dinosaurs, as well as other fossil archosaurs.

  5. Tissue PAH, blood cell and tissue changes following exposure to water accommodated fractions of crude oil in alligator gar, Atractosteus spatula.

    PubMed

    Omar-Ali, Ahmad; Hohn, Claudia; Allen, Peter J; Rodriguez, Jose; Petrie-Hanson, Lora

    2015-07-01

    Alligator gar Atractosteus spatula acclimated to brackish water (9 ppt) were exposed to water accommodated fraction oil loadings (surrogate to Macondo Deepwater Horizon, northern Gulf of Mexico) of 0.5 and 4.0 gm oil/L tank water for 48 h. The surrogate oil was approximately 98% alkanes and alkynes and 2% petroleum aromatic hydrocarbons. The 2% petroleum aromatic hydrocarbons were predominately naphthalene. After 48 h, naphthalene levels in fish liver exposed to 0.5 or 4 gm oil/L were 547.79 and 910.68 ppb, while muscle levels were 214.11 and 253.84 ppb. There was a significant decrease in peripheral blood lymphocyte numbers and a significant reduction of granulocytes in the kidney marrow of the same fish. Tissue changes included hepatocellular vacuolization and necrosis, necrotizing pancreatitis, renal eosinophilia, and splenic congestion. After 7 days recovery, liver naphthalene levels decreased to 43.59 and 43.20 ppb, while muscle levels decreased to 9.74, and 16.78 ppb for oil exposures of 0, 0.5 or 4 g/L. In peripheral blood and kidney marrow, blood cell counts returned to normal. The severity of liver and kidney lesions lessened after 7 days recovery in non-oiled water, but splenic congestion remained in all gar. PMID:25956543

  6. Isolation of alligator gar (Lepisosteus spatula) glucagon, oxyntomodulin, and glucagon-like peptide: amino acid sequences of oxyntomodulin and glucagon-like peptide.

    PubMed

    Pollock, H G; Kimmel, J R; Ebner, K E; Hamilton, J W; Rouse, J B; Lance, V; Rawitch, A B

    1988-01-01

    Oxyntomodulin, glucagon, and a glucagon-like peptide (GLP) have been isolated from the endocrine pancreas of the alligator gar (Lepisosteus spatula), a ganoid fish. The three peptides were isolated by gel filtration and HPLC and were identified by size, composition, and glucagon-like immunoreactivity. The amino acid sequences of the oxyntomodulin and GLP were determined. The oxyntomodulin contains 36 amino acid residues and its sequence is H S Q G T F T N D Y S K Y L D T R R A Q D F V Q W L M S T K R S G G I T. The composition of the glucagon is identical to the N-terminal 29 residues of the gar oxyntomodulin. The single form of GLP found contains 34 amino acid residues in the following sequence: H A D G T Y T S D V S S Y L Q D Q A A K K F V T W L K Q G Q D R R E. These findings suggest that all three peptides are derived from a common precursor. PMID:3282974

  7. Isolation of alligator gar (Lepisosteus spatula) glucagon, oxyntomodulin, and glucagon-like peptide: amino acid sequences of oxyntomodulin and glucagon-like peptide.

    PubMed

    Pollock, H G; Kimmel, J R; Ebner, K E; Hamilton, J W; Rouse, J B; Lance, V; Rawitch, A B

    1988-01-01

    Oxyntomodulin, glucagon, and a glucagon-like peptide (GLP) have been isolated from the endocrine pancreas of the alligator gar (Lepisosteus spatula), a ganoid fish. The three peptides were isolated by gel filtration and HPLC and were identified by size, composition, and glucagon-like immunoreactivity. The amino acid sequences of the oxyntomodulin and GLP were determined. The oxyntomodulin contains 36 amino acid residues and its sequence is H S Q G T F T N D Y S K Y L D T R R A Q D F V Q W L M S T K R S G G I T. The composition of the glucagon is identical to the N-terminal 29 residues of the gar oxyntomodulin. The single form of GLP found contains 34 amino acid residues in the following sequence: H A D G T Y T S D V S S Y L Q D Q A A K K F V T W L K Q G Q D R R E. These findings suggest that all three peptides are derived from a common precursor.

  8. Tissue PAH, blood cell and tissue changes following exposure to water accommodated fractions of crude oil in alligator gar, Atractosteus spatula.

    PubMed

    Omar-Ali, Ahmad; Hohn, Claudia; Allen, Peter J; Rodriguez, Jose; Petrie-Hanson, Lora

    2015-07-01

    Alligator gar Atractosteus spatula acclimated to brackish water (9 ppt) were exposed to water accommodated fraction oil loadings (surrogate to Macondo Deepwater Horizon, northern Gulf of Mexico) of 0.5 and 4.0 gm oil/L tank water for 48 h. The surrogate oil was approximately 98% alkanes and alkynes and 2% petroleum aromatic hydrocarbons. The 2% petroleum aromatic hydrocarbons were predominately naphthalene. After 48 h, naphthalene levels in fish liver exposed to 0.5 or 4 gm oil/L were 547.79 and 910.68 ppb, while muscle levels were 214.11 and 253.84 ppb. There was a significant decrease in peripheral blood lymphocyte numbers and a significant reduction of granulocytes in the kidney marrow of the same fish. Tissue changes included hepatocellular vacuolization and necrosis, necrotizing pancreatitis, renal eosinophilia, and splenic congestion. After 7 days recovery, liver naphthalene levels decreased to 43.59 and 43.20 ppb, while muscle levels decreased to 9.74, and 16.78 ppb for oil exposures of 0, 0.5 or 4 g/L. In peripheral blood and kidney marrow, blood cell counts returned to normal. The severity of liver and kidney lesions lessened after 7 days recovery in non-oiled water, but splenic congestion remained in all gar.

  9. Phenrica littoralis (Bechyné, 1955) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) a potential candidate for the biological control of alligator weed, Alternantheraphiloxeroides (Martius) Grisebach (Amaranthaceae): redescription of the adult, first description of immature stages, and biological notes.

    PubMed

    Cabrera, Nora; Sosa, Alejandro J; Julien, Mic

    2013-01-01

    Flea beetles of alligator weed, Alternanthera philoxeroides (Martius) Grisebach (Amaranthaceae), were collected in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Brazil. Species in the genera Disonycha Chevrolat, Agasicles Jacoby, Systena Chevrolat and Phenrica Bechyné were frequently found on this weed. Phenrica littoralis (Bechyn6) was the most abundant within this genus. The male is described and the holotype female is redescribed adding new diagnostic characters of the mouthparts, hind wings, metendosternite, and male and female genitalia. Larva and pupa are described and illustrated for the first time providing data for future phylogenetic studies in the subtribe Disonychina.

  10. Genes and Gene Therapy

    MedlinePlus

    ... correctly, a child can have a genetic disorder. Gene therapy is an experimental technique that uses genes to ... or prevent disease. The most common form of gene therapy involves inserting a normal gene to replace an ...

  11. The impact of bone and suture material properties on mandibular function in Alligator mississippiensis: testing theoretical phenotypes with finite element analysis

    PubMed Central

    Reed, David A; Porro, Laura B; Iriarte-Diaz, Jose; Lemberg, Justin B; Holliday, Casey M; Anapol, Fred; Ross, Callum F

    2011-01-01

    Abstract The functional effects of bone and suture stiffness were considered here using finite element models representing three different theoretical phenotypes of an Alligator mississippiensis mandible. The models were loaded using force estimates derived from muscle architecture in dissected specimens, constrained at the 18th and 19th teeth in the upper jaw and 19th tooth of the lower jaw, as well as at the quadrate-articular joint. Stiffness was varied systematically in each theoretical phenotype. The three theoretical phenotypes included: (i) linear elastic isotropic bone of varying stiffness and no sutures; (ii) linear elastic orthotropic bone of varying stiffness with no sutures; and (iii) linear elastic isotropic bone of a constant stiffness with varying suture stiffness. Variation in the isotropic material properties of bone primarily resulted in changes in the magnitude of principal strain. By comparison, variation in the orthotropic material properties of bone and isotropic material properties of sutures resulted in: a greater number of bricks becoming either more compressive or more tensile, changing between being either dominantly compressive or tensile, and having larger changes in the orientation of maximum principal strain. These data indicate that variation in these model properties resulted in changes to the strain regime of the model, highlighting the importance of using biologically verified material properties when modeling vertebrate bones. When bones were compared within each set, the response of each to changing material properties varied. In two of the 12 bones in the mandible, varied material properties within sutures resulted in a decrease in the magnitude of principal strain in bricks adjacent to the bone/suture interface and decreases in stored elastic energy. The varied response of the mandibular bones to changes in suture stiffness highlights the importance of defining the appropriate functional unit when addressing relationships of

  12. The utility of captive animals in actualistic research: A geometric morphometric exploration of the tooth row of Alligator mississippiensis suggesting ecophenotypic influences and functional constraints.

    PubMed

    Drumheller, Stephanie K; Wilberg, Eric W; Sadleir, Rudyard W

    2016-07-01

    Captive broad snouted crocodylians are generally thought to have wider, shorter rostra than their wild counterparts. Interpreted to reflect morphological change in response to the conditions of captivity, this qualitative pattern could affect the utility of these animals in a variety of fields of research. However, due to relative ease of access and availability of life history data, captive animals are often utilized in actualistic research. Thus, this issue should be addressed in more detail. Here we explore snout shape variation between captive and wild members of Alligator mississippiensis using two-dimensional (2D) morphometric techniques. Several landmark schemesare used to assess the utility of different aspects of morphology in distinguishing the groups. While statistical analyses consistently differentiated between the groups, the area of morphospace occupied by wild members of A. mississippiensis generally overlapped with the larger area encompassing the captive specimens. This indicates that the captive condition is not as uniform as previously thought and instead encompasses a large spectrum of morphologies, ranging from the stereotypical broad, shortened snouts to outlines that are indistinguishable from the wild morphotype. These results align well with the interpretation that this change reflects an extreme example of ecophenotypy, since ranched, farmed, or zoo organisms are held in an array of enclosures, ranging from indoor, climate controlled pens to outdoor, more natural areas. This variation in environments should be reflected in different reactions to the animals' surroundings, resulting in a broad spectrum of morphotypes. While wild specimens are still preferred, especially for fine scale analyses, these results indicate that not all captive members of A. mississippiensis exhibit the extreme morphological alterations often cited in the literature. Weighing the conditions in which the animals are held and exploring the possibility of

  13. A comparative examination of odontogenic gene expression in both toothed and toothless amniotes.

    PubMed

    Lainoff, Alexis J; Moustakas-Verho, Jacqueline E; Hu, Diane; Kallonen, Aki; Marcucio, Ralph S; Hlusko, Leslea J

    2015-05-01

    A well-known tenet of murine tooth development is that BMP4 and FGF8 antagonistically initiate odontogenesis, but whether this tenet is conserved across amniotes is largely unexplored. Moreover, changes in BMP4-signaling have previously been implicated in evolutionary tooth loss in Aves. Here we demonstrate that Bmp4, Msx1, and Msx2 expression is limited proximally in the red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta) mandible at stages equivalent to those at which odontogenesis is initiated in mice, a similar finding to previously reported results in chicks. To address whether the limited domains in the turtle and the chicken indicate an evolutionary molecular parallelism, or whether the domains simply constitute an ancestral phenotype, we assessed gene expression in a toothed reptile (the American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis) and a toothed non-placental mammal (the gray short-tailed opossum, Monodelphis domestica). We demonstrate that the Bmp4 domain is limited proximally in M. domestica and that the Fgf8 domain is limited distally in A. mississippiensis just preceding odontogenesis. Additionally, we show that Msx1 and Msx2 expression patterns in these species differ from those found in mice. Our data suggest that a limited Bmp4 domain does not necessarily correlate with edentulism, and reveal that the initiation of odontogenesis in non-murine amniotes is more complex than previously imagined. Our data also suggest a partially conserved odontogenic program in T. scripta, as indicated by conserved Pitx2, Pax9, and Barx1 expression patterns and by the presence of a Shh-expressing palatal epithelium, which we hypothesize may represent potential dental rudiments based on the Testudinata fossil record.

  14. A comparative examination of odontogenic gene expression in both toothed and toothless amniotes

    PubMed Central

    Lainoff, Alexis J.; Moustakas-Verho, Jacqueline E.; Hu, Diane; Kallonen, Aki; Marcucio, Ralph S.; Hlusko, Leslea J.

    2015-01-01

    A well-known tenet of murine tooth development is that BMP4 and FGF8 antagonistically initiate odontogenesis, but whether this tenet is conserved across amniotes is largely unexplored. Moreover, changes in BMP4-signaling have previously been implicated in evolutionary tooth loss in Aves. Here we demonstrate that Bmp4, Msx1, and Msx2 expression is limited proximally in the red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta) mandible at stages equivalent to those at which odontogenesis is initiated in mice, a similar finding to previously reported results in chicks. To address whether the limited domains in the turtle and the chicken indicate an evolutionary molecular parallelism, or whether the domains simply constitute an ancestral phenotype, we assessed gene expression in a toothed reptile (the American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis) and a toothed non-placental mammal (the gray short-tailed opossum, Monodelphis domestica). We demonstrate that the Bmp4 domain is limited proximally in M. domestica and that the Fgf8 domain is limited distally in A. mississippiensis just preceding odontogenesis. Additionally, we show that Msx1 and Msx2 expression patterns in these species differ from those found in mice. Our data suggest that a limited Bmp4 domain does not necessarily correlate with edentulism, and reveal that the initiation of odontogenesis in non-murine amniotes is more complex than previously imagined. Our data also suggest a partially conserved odontogenic program in T. scripta, as indicated by conserved Pitx2, Pax9, and Barx1 expression patterns and by the presence of a Shh-expressing palatal epithelium, which we hypothesize may represent potential dental rudiments based on the Testudinata fossil record. PMID:25678399

  15. Devin, Alligators, Jellyfish, and Me.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tsuchiyama, Elaine

    1997-01-01

    Describes how a first-grade teacher used the "hypothesis-test" approach with Devin, a first grader who struggled as a reader and writer. Points out that, when she started working with Devin, she wanted to understand his difficulties, but by the end, she realized that it was her curriculum, not his difficulties, that needed to be in the foreground.…

  16. Swamps, Alligators, and Adult Educators.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Burnham, Byron R.

    1990-01-01

    Choice taking is a personal matter that results from consideration of the issues and beliefs about the nature of reality, humans, and social context. Systematic consideration of these elements forms the foundation of professional practice. (Author)

  17. Alligator clips to molecular dimensions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prokopuk, Nicholas; Son, Kyung-Ah

    2008-09-01

    Techniques for fabricating nanospaced electrodes suitable for studying electron tunneling through metal-molecule-metal junctions are described. In one approach, top contacts are deposited/placed on a self-assembled monolayer or Langmuir-Blodgett film resting on a conducting substrate, the bottom contact. The molecular component serves as a permanent spacer that controls and limits the electrode separations. The top contact can be a thermally deposited metal film, liquid mercury drop, scanning probe tip, metallic wire or particle. Introduction of the top contact can greatly affect the electrical conductance of the intervening molecular film by chemical reaction, exerting pressure, or simply migrating through the organic layer. Alternatively, vacant nanogaps can be fabricated and the molecular component subsequently inserted. Strategies for constructing vacant nanogaps include mechanical break junction, electromigration, shadow mask lithography, focused ion beam deposition, chemical and electrochemical plating techniques, electron-beam lithography, and molecular and atomic rulers. The size of the nanogaps must be small enough to allow the molecule to connect both leads and large enough to keep the molecules in a relaxed and undistorted state. A significant advantage of using vacant nanogaps in the construction of metal-molecule-metal devices is that the junction can be characterized with and without the molecule in place. Any electrical artifacts introduced by the electrode fabrication process are more easily deconvoluted from the intrinsic properties of the molecule.

  18. Sound localization in the alligator.

    PubMed

    Bierman, Hilary S; Carr, Catherine E

    2015-11-01

    In early tetrapods, it is assumed that the tympana were acoustically coupled through the pharynx and therefore inherently directional, acting as pressure difference receivers. The later closure of the middle ear cavity in turtles, archosaurs, and mammals is a derived condition, and would have changed the ear by decoupling the tympana. Isolation of the middle ears would then have led to selection for structural and neural strategies to compute sound source localization in both archosaurs and mammalian ancestors. In the archosaurs (birds and crocodilians) the presence of air spaces in the skull provided connections between the ears that have been exploited to improve directional hearing, while neural circuits mediating sound localization are well developed. In this review, we will focus primarily on directional hearing in crocodilians, where vocalization and sound localization are thought to be ecologically important, and indicate important issues still awaiting resolution. PMID:26048335

  19. A ZFY-like sequence in fish, with comments on the evolution of the ZFY family of genes in vertebrates

    SciTech Connect

    Zimmerer, E.J.; Threlkeld, L.

    1995-08-01

    ZFY-like genes have been observed in a variety of vertebrate species. Although originally implicated as the primary testis-determining gene in humans and other placental mammals, more recent evidence indicates a role(s) outside that of testis determination. In this study, DNA from five species of fish, Carasius auratus, Rivulus marmoratus, Xiphophorus maculatus, X. milleri, and X. nigrensis was subjected to Southern blot analysis using a PCR-amplified fragment of mouse ZFY-like sequence as a probe. Restriction fragment patterns were not polymorphic between sexes in any one species but showed a different pattern for each species. With one exception, Rivulus, a 3.1-kb band from the EcoRI digestion was common to all. Sequence and open reading frame analysis of this fragment showed a strong homology to other known vertebrate ZFY-like genes. Of particular interest in this gene is a novel third finger domain similar to one human and one alligator ZFY-like gene. Our studies and others provide evidence for a family of vertebrate ZFY genes, with those having this novel third finger being representative of the ancestral condition. 30 refs., 3 figs., 3 tabs.

  20. Genes and gene regulation

    SciTech Connect

    MacLean, N.

    1988-01-01

    Genetics has long been a central topic for biologists, and recent progress has captured the public imagination as well. This book addresses questions that are at the leading edge of this continually advancing discipline. In tune with the increasing emphasis on molecular biology and genetic engineering, this text emphasizes the molecular aspects of gene expression, and the evolution of gene sequence organization and control. It reviews the genetic material of viruses, bacteria, and of higher organisms. Cells and organisms are compared in terms of gene numbers, their arrangements within a cell, and the control mechanisms which regulate the activity of genes.

  1. Studying Genes

    MedlinePlus

    ... Area What are genes? Genes are sections of DNA that contain instructions for making the molecules—many ... material in an organism. This includes genes and DNA elements that control the activity of genes. Does ...

  2. Identification and characterization of a ubiquitinconjugating enzyme UBE2A gene from lamprey.

    PubMed

    Chen, Liyong; Wu, Fenfang; Feng, Bo

    2016-02-01

    Ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes (E2s) play an important role in the mechanism of ubiquitin transfer. Although in most species many of these enzymes share high sequence and structural conservation, their existence and functions in the lamprey remain unknown. In this study, we identified and characterized a ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (UBE2A)-like gene in lamprey. The gene, designated as LaUBE2A, contained a 456-bp open reading frame encoding a 152-amino acid protein with a typical UBC domain. Real-time PCR assay showed that LaUBE2A was expressed in various tissues of the adult lamprey, with higher levels in the leukocytes and muscle and lower levels in the skin and liver. The high conservation in amino acid sequence between LaUBE2A and UBE2As from Homo sapiens, Mus musculus, Cavia porcellus, and Alligator sinensi implied that the function of LaUBE2A may be similar to that of UBE2A. PMID:26463350

  3. Gene doping.

    PubMed

    Harridge, Stephen D R; Velloso, Cristiana P

    2008-01-01

    Gene doping is the misuse of gene therapy to enhance athletic performance. It has recently been recognised as a potential threat and subsequently been prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Despite concerns with safety and efficacy of gene therapy, the technology is progressing steadily. Many of the genes/proteins which are involved in determining key components of athletic performance have been identified. Naturally occurring mutations in humans as well as gene-transfer experiments in adult animals have shown that altered expression of these genes does indeed affect physical performance. For athletes, however, the gains in performance must be weighed against the health risks associated with the gene-transfer process, whereas the detection of such practices will provide new challenges for the anti-doping authorities.

  4. GlpC gene is responsible for biofilm formation and defense against phagocytes and imparts tolerance to pH and organic solvents in Proteus vulgaris.

    PubMed

    Wu, Y L; Liu, K S; Yin, X T; Fei, R M

    2015-01-01

    Biofilm-forming bacteria are highly resistant to antibiotics, host immune defenses, and other external conditions. The formation of biofilms plays a key role in colonization and infection. To explore the mechanism of biofilm formation, mutant strains of Proteus vulgaris XC 2 were generated by Tn5 random transposon insertion. Only one biofilm defective bacterial species was identified from among 500 mutants. Inactivation of the glpC gene coding an anaerobic glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase subunit C was identified by sequence analysis of the biofilm defective strain. Differences were detected in the growth phenotypes of the wild-type and mutant strains under pH, antibiotic, and organic solvent stress conditions. Furthermore, we observed an increase in the phagocytosis of the biofilm defective strain by the mouse macrophage RAW264.7 cell line compared to the wild-type strain. This study shows that the glpC gene plays an important role in biofilm formation, in addition to imparting pH, organic solvent, and antibiotic tolerance, and defense against phagocytosis to Proteus sp. The results further clarified the mechanism of biofilm formation at the genomic level, and indicated the importance of the glpC gene in this process. This data may provide innovative therapeutic measures against P. vulgaris infections; furthermore, as an important crocodile pathogen, this study also has important significance in the protection of Chinese alligators. PMID:26400293

  5. GlpC gene is responsible for biofilm formation and defense against phagocytes and imparts tolerance to pH and organic solvents in Proteus vulgaris.

    PubMed

    Wu, Y L; Liu, K S; Yin, X T; Fei, R M

    2015-09-09

    Biofilm-forming bacteria are highly resistant to antibiotics, host immune defenses, and other external conditions. The formation of biofilms plays a key role in colonization and infection. To explore the mechanism of biofilm formation, mutant strains of Proteus vulgaris XC 2 were generated by Tn5 random transposon insertion. Only one biofilm defective bacterial species was identified from among 500 mutants. Inactivation of the glpC gene coding an anaerobic glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase subunit C was identified by sequence analysis of the biofilm defective strain. Differences were detected in the growth phenotypes of the wild-type and mutant strains under pH, antibiotic, and organic solvent stress conditions. Furthermore, we observed an increase in the phagocytosis of the biofilm defective strain by the mouse macrophage RAW264.7 cell line compared to the wild-type strain. This study shows that the glpC gene plays an important role in biofilm formation, in addition to imparting pH, organic solvent, and antibiotic tolerance, and defense against phagocytosis to Proteus sp. The results further clarified the mechanism of biofilm formation at the genomic level, and indicated the importance of the glpC gene in this process. This data may provide innovative therapeutic measures against P. vulgaris infections; furthermore, as an important crocodile pathogen, this study also has important significance in the protection of Chinese alligators.

  6. Trichoderma genes

    SciTech Connect

    Foreman, Pamela; Goedegebuur, Frits; Van Solingen, Pieter; Ward, Michael

    2012-06-19

    Described herein are novel gene sequences isolated from Trichoderma reesei. Two genes encoding proteins comprising a cellulose binding domain, one encoding an arabionfuranosidase and one encoding an acetylxylanesterase are described. The sequences, CIP1 and CIP2, contain a cellulose binding domain. These proteins are especially useful in the textile and detergent industry and in pulp and paper industry.

  7. [Gene therapy].

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Fragoso, L

    1997-01-01

    In the last years there has been much progress in our understanding of molecular mechanisms in the pathogenesis of disease. In this review we provide an overview of gene therapy, its most actualized techniques for gene delivery, and we give specific examples of laboratory and clinical achievements to date. The development of methods for delivering genes to mammalian cells has stimulated great interest in the possibility of treating human disease by gene-based therapies. As a result, concepts and methods that would have been considered purely science fiction 50 years ago are now used in the treatment of diseases. The widespread application of gene therapy technology to many diseases is already breaking down the traditional boundaries of modern medicine. However, despite its progress, several key technical drawbacks need to be overcome before gene therapy can be used safely and effectively in clinical settings. Technological developments, particularly in the areas of gene delivery and cell transplantation, will be critical for the successful practice of gene therapy.

  8. Gene Therapy

    PubMed Central

    Baum, Bruce J

    2014-01-01

    Applications of gene therapy have been evaluated in virtually every oral tissue, and many of these have proved successful at least in animal models. While gene therapy will not be used routinely in the next decade, practitioners of oral medicine should be aware of the potential of this novel type of treatment that doubtless will benefit many patients with oral diseases. PMID:24372817

  9. Alligators, hospital birth and other urban legends.

    PubMed

    Cohain, Judy Slome

    2012-05-01

    The belief that hospital birth for low risk pregnancies has better outcomes than planned, attended homebirth is an urban legend. The choice of low-risk women to deliver in hospital is a result of the dominant and irrational human propensities to gossip, to follow the crowd and to cling to irrational hope. Rational analysis shows that planned homebirth with experienced trained attendants has the best outcomes for both mother and newborn for low risk pregnancy.

  10. Designer Genes.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Miller, Judith; Miller, Mark

    1983-01-01

    Genetic technologies may soon help fill some of the most important needs of humanity from food to energy to health care. The research of major designer genes companies and reasons why the initial mad rush for biotechnology has slowed are reviewed. (SR)

  11. Attention Genes

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Posner, Michael I.; Rothbart, Mary K.; Sheese, Brad E.

    2007-01-01

    A major problem for developmental science is understanding how the cognitive and emotional networks important in carrying out mental processes can be related to individual differences. The last five years have seen major advances in establishing links between alleles of specific genes and the neural networks underlying aspects of attention. These…

  12. Vulnerability genes or plasticity genes?

    PubMed Central

    Belsky, J; Jonassaint, C; Pluess, M; Stanton, M; Brummett, B; Williams, R

    2009-01-01

    The classic diathesis–stress framework, which views some individuals as particularly vulnerable to adversity, informs virtually all psychiatric research on behavior–gene–environment (G × E) interaction. An alternative framework of ‘differential susceptibility' is proposed, one which regards those most susceptible to adversity because of their genetic make up as simultaneously most likely to benefit from supportive or enriching experiences—or even just the absence of adversity. Recent G × E findings consistent with this perspective and involving monoamine oxidase-A, 5-HTTLPR (5-hydroxytryptamine-linked polymorphic region polymorphism) and dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) are reviewed for illustrative purposes. Results considered suggest that putative ‘vulnerability genes' or ‘risk alleles' might, at times, be more appropriately conceptualized as ‘plasticity genes', because they seem to make individuals more susceptible to environmental influences—for better and for worse. PMID:19455150

  13. Genes and Hearing Loss

    MedlinePlus

    ... Meeting Calendar Find an ENT Doctor Near You Genes and Hearing Loss Genes and Hearing Loss Patient ... mutation may only have dystopia canthorum. How Do Genes Work? Genes are a road map for the ...

  14. Compare Gene Profiles

    SciTech Connect

    2014-05-31

    Compare Gene Profiles (CGP) performs pairwise gene content comparisons among a relatively large set of related bacterial genomes. CGP performs pairwise BLAST among gene calls from a set of input genome and associated annotation files, and combines the results to generate lists of common genes, unique genes, homologs, and genes from each genome that differ substantially in length from corresponding genes in the other genomes. CGP is implemented in Python and runs in a Linux environment in serial or parallel mode.

  15. THE REPRODUCTIVE CYCLE OF THE FEMALE AMERICAN ALLIGATOR (ALLIGATOR MISSISSIPPIENSIS). (R824760)

    EPA Science Inventory

    The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Concl...

  16. ALTERATIONS IN STEROIDOGENESIS IN ALLIGATORS (ALLIGATOR MISSISSIPPIENSIS) EXPOSED NATURALLY AND EXPERIMENTALLY TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONTAMINANTS. (R824760)

    EPA Science Inventory

    The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Concl...

  17. Gene gymnastics

    PubMed Central

    Vijayachandran, Lakshmi S; Thimiri Govinda Raj, Deepak B; Edelweiss, Evelina; Gupta, Kapil; Maier, Josef; Gordeliy, Valentin; Fitzgerald, Daniel J; Berger, Imre

    2013-01-01

    Most essential activities in eukaryotic cells are catalyzed by large multiprotein assemblies containing up to ten or more interlocking subunits. The vast majority of these protein complexes are not easily accessible for high resolution studies aimed at unlocking their mechanisms, due to their low cellular abundance and high heterogeneity. Recombinant overproduction can resolve this bottleneck and baculovirus expression vector systems (BEVS) have emerged as particularly powerful tools for the provision of eukaryotic multiprotein complexes in high quality and quantity. Recently, synthetic biology approaches have begun to make their mark in improving existing BEVS reagents by de novo design of streamlined transfer plasmids and by engineering the baculovirus genome. Here we present OmniBac, comprising new custom designed reagents that further facilitate the integration of heterologous genes into the baculovirus genome for multiprotein expression. Based on comparative genome analysis and data mining, we herein present a blueprint to custom design and engineer the entire baculovirus genome for optimized production properties using a bottom-up synthetic biology approach. PMID:23328086

  18. Organization of immunoglobulin genes.

    PubMed

    Tonegawa, S; Brack, C; Hozumi, N; Pirrotta, V

    1978-01-01

    The nucleotide-sequence determination of a cloned, embryonic Vlambda gene directly demonstrated that V genes are separate from a corresponding C gene in embryonic cells. Analysis by restriction enzymes of total cellular DNA from various sources strongly suggested that the two separate immunoglobulin genes become continuous during differentiation of B lymphocytes. There seems to be a strict correlation between the joining event and activation of the joined genes. Cloning of more immunoglobulin genes from embryo and plasma cells will not only provide direct demonstration of such a gene-joining event but also help in the elucidation of a possible relationship of the event to gene activation mechanisms.

  19. Gene doping: gene delivery for olympic victory.

    PubMed

    Gould, David

    2013-08-01

    With one recently recommended gene therapy in Europe and a number of other gene therapy treatments now proving effective in clinical trials it is feasible that the same technologies will soon be adopted in the world of sport by unscrupulous athletes and their trainers in so called 'gene doping'. In this article an overview of the successful gene therapy clinical trials is provided and the potential targets for gene doping are highlighted. Depending on whether a doping gene product is secreted from the engineered cells or is retained locally to, or inside engineered cells will, to some extent, determine the likelihood of detection. It is clear that effective gene delivery technologies now exist and it is important that detection and prevention plans are in place. PMID:23082866

  20. Gene doping: gene delivery for olympic victory

    PubMed Central

    Gould, David

    2013-01-01

    With one recently recommended gene therapy in Europe and a number of other gene therapy treatments now proving effective in clinical trials it is feasible that the same technologies will soon be adopted in the world of sport by unscrupulous athletes and their trainers in so called ‘gene doping’. In this article an overview of the successful gene therapy clinical trials is provided and the potential targets for gene doping are highlighted. Depending on whether a doping gene product is secreted from the engineered cells or is retained locally to, or inside engineered cells will, to some extent, determine the likelihood of detection. It is clear that effective gene delivery technologies now exist and it is important that detection and prevention plans are in place. PMID:23082866

  1. Gene doping: gene delivery for olympic victory.

    PubMed

    Gould, David

    2013-08-01

    With one recently recommended gene therapy in Europe and a number of other gene therapy treatments now proving effective in clinical trials it is feasible that the same technologies will soon be adopted in the world of sport by unscrupulous athletes and their trainers in so called 'gene doping'. In this article an overview of the successful gene therapy clinical trials is provided and the potential targets for gene doping are highlighted. Depending on whether a doping gene product is secreted from the engineered cells or is retained locally to, or inside engineered cells will, to some extent, determine the likelihood of detection. It is clear that effective gene delivery technologies now exist and it is important that detection and prevention plans are in place.

  2. Autism and Genes

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    National Institutes of Health, 2005

    2005-01-01

    This document defines and discusses autism and how genes play a role in the condition. Answers to the following questions are covered: (1) What are genes? (2) What is autism? (3) What causes autism? (4) Why study genes to learn about autism? (5) How do researchers look for the genes involved in autism? (screen the whole genome; conduct cytogenetic…

  3. Compare Gene Profiles

    2014-05-31

    Compare Gene Profiles (CGP) performs pairwise gene content comparisons among a relatively large set of related bacterial genomes. CGP performs pairwise BLAST among gene calls from a set of input genome and associated annotation files, and combines the results to generate lists of common genes, unique genes, homologs, and genes from each genome that differ substantially in length from corresponding genes in the other genomes. CGP is implemented in Python and runs in a Linuxmore » environment in serial or parallel mode.« less

  4. [Genes associated to cancer].

    PubMed

    Peralta-Rodríguez, Raúl; Valdivia, Alejandra; Mendoza, Mónica; Rodríguez, Jade; Marrero, Daniel; Paniagua, Lucero; Romero, Pablo; Taniguchi, Keiko; Salcedo, Mauricio

    2015-01-01

    In 2010, in a cancer genes census, 291 genes were enumerated. These represent near to the 1 % of the total genes, for which there is enough biological evidence that they belong to a new genes classification, known as the cancer genes. These have been defined as the causal genes for sporadic or familiar cancer, when they mutate. The mutation types for these genes includes amplifications, point mutations, deletions, genomic rearranges, amongst others, which lead to a protein over-expression, muting, production of chimeric proteins or a de novo expression. In conjunction these genomic alterations or those of the genetic expression, when they affect specific genes which contribute to the development of cancer, are denominated as cancer genes. It is possible that the list of these alterations will grow longer due to new strategies being developed, for example, the genomic analysis.

  5. Gene doping in sports.

    PubMed

    Unal, Mehmet; Ozer Unal, Durisehvar

    2004-01-01

    Gene or cell doping is defined by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as "the non-therapeutic use of genes, genetic elements and/or cells that have the capacity to enhance athletic performance". New research in genetics and genomics will be used not only to diagnose and treat disease, but also to attempt to enhance human performance. In recent years, gene therapy has shown progress and positive results that have highlighted the potential misuse of this technology and the debate of 'gene doping'. Gene therapies developed for the treatment of diseases such as anaemia (the gene for erythropoietin), muscular dystrophy (the gene for insulin-like growth factor-1) and peripheral vascular diseases (the gene for vascular endothelial growth factor) are potential doping methods. With progress in gene technology, many other genes with this potential will be discovered. For this reason, it is important to develop timely legal regulations and to research the field of gene doping in order to develop methods of detection. To protect the health of athletes and to ensure equal competitive conditions, the International Olympic Committee, WADA and International Sports Federations have accepted performance-enhancing substances and methods as being doping, and have forbidden them. Nevertheless, the desire to win causes athletes to misuse these drugs and methods. This paper reviews the current status of gene doping and candidate performance enhancement genes, and also the use of gene therapy in sports medicine and ethics of genetic enhancement.

  6. Human Gene Therapy: Genes without Frontiers?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Simon, Eric J.

    2002-01-01

    Describes the latest advancements and setbacks in human gene therapy to provide reference material for biology teachers to use in their science classes. Focuses on basic concepts such as recombinant DNA technology, and provides examples of human gene therapy such as severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome, familial hypercholesterolemia, and…

  7. Myocardial gene therapy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Isner, Jeffrey M.

    2002-01-01

    Gene therapy is proving likely to be a viable alternative to conventional therapies in coronary artery disease and heart failure. Phase 1 clinical trials indicate high levels of safety and clinical benefits with gene therapy using angiogenic growth factors in myocardial ischaemia. Although gene therapy for heart failure is still at the pre-clinical stage, experimental data indicate that therapeutic angiogenesis using short-term gene expression may elicit functional improvement in affected individuals.

  8. Evolution of Gene Expression after Gene Amplification

    PubMed Central

    Garcia, Nelson; Zhang, Wei; Wu, Yongrui; Messing, Joachim

    2015-01-01

    We took a rather unique approach to investigate the conservation of gene expression of prolamin storage protein genes across two different subfamilies of the Poaceae. We took advantage of oat plants carrying single maize chromosomes in different cultivars, called oat–maize addition (OMA) lines, which permitted us to determine whether regulation of gene expression was conserved between the two species. We found that γ-zeins are expressed in OMA7.06, which carries maize chromosome 7 even in the absence of the trans-acting maize prolamin-box-binding factor (PBF), which regulates their expression. This is likely because oat PBF can substitute for the function of maize PBF as shown in our transient expression data, using a γ-zein promoter fused to green fluorescent protein (GFP). Despite this conservation, the younger, recently amplified prolamin genes in maize, absent in oat, are not expressed in the corresponding OMAs. However, maize can express the oldest prolamin gene, the wheat high-molecular weight glutenin Dx5 gene, even when maize Pbf is knocked down (through PbfRNAi), and/or another maize transcription factor, Opaque-2 (O2) is knocked out (in maize o2 mutant). Therefore, older genes are conserved in their regulation, whereas younger ones diverged during evolution and eventually acquired a new repertoire of suitable transcriptional activators. PMID:25912045

  9. Reading and Generalist Genes

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Haworth, Claire M. A.; Meaburn, Emma L.; Harlaar, Nicole; Plomin, Robert

    2007-01-01

    Twin-study research suggests that many (but not all) of the same genes contribute to genetic influence on diverse learning abilities and disabilities, a hypothesis called "generalist genes". This generalist genes hypothesis was tested using a set of 10 DNA markers (single nucleotide polymorphisms [SNPs]) found to be associated with early reading…

  10. CEST MRI reporter genes.

    PubMed

    Liu, Guanshu; Bulte, Jeff W M; Gilad, Assaf A

    2011-01-01

    In recent years, several reporter genes have been developed that can serve as a beacon for non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Here, we provide a brief summary of recent advances in MRI reporter gene technology, as well as detailed "hands-on" protocols for cloning, expression, and imaging of reporter genes based on chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST).

  11. Gene hunting in autoinflammation

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Steady progress in our understanding of the genetic basis of autoinflammatory diseases has been made over the past 16 years. Since the discovery of the familial Mediterranean fever gene MEFV (also known as marenostrin) in 1997, 18 other genes responsible for monogenic autoinflammatory diseases have been identified to date. The discovery of these genes was made through the utilisation of many genetic mapping techniques, including next generation sequencing platforms. This review article clearly describes the gene hunting approaches, methods of data analysis and the technological platforms used, which has relevance to all those working within the field of gene discovery for Mendelian disorders. PMID:24070009

  12. Human disease genes.

    PubMed

    Jimenez-Sanchez, G; Childs, B; Valle, D

    2001-02-15

    The complete human genome sequence will facilitate the identification of all genes that contribute to disease. We propose that the functional classification of disease genes and their products will reveal general principles of human disease. We have determined functional categories for nearly 1,000 documented disease genes, and found striking correlations between the function of the gene product and features of disease, such as age of onset and mode of inheritance. As knowledge of disease genes grows, including those contributing to complex traits, more sophisticated analyses will be possible; their results will yield a deeper understanding of disease and an enhanced integration of medicine with biology.

  13. Journey from Jumping Genes to Gene Therapy.

    PubMed

    Whartenby, Katharine A

    2015-01-01

    Gene therapy for cancer is a still evolving approach that resulted from a long history of studies into genetic modification of organisms. The fascination with manipulating gene products has spanned hundreds if not thousands of years, beginning with observations of the hereditary nature of traits in plants and culminating to date in the alteration of genetic makeup in humans via modern technology. From early discoveries noting the potential for natural mobility of genetic material to the culmination of clinical trials in a variety of disease, gene transfer has had an eventful and sometimes tumultuous course. Within the present review is a brief history of the biology of gene transfer, how it came to be applied to genetic diseases, and its early applications to cancer therapies. Some of the different types of methods used to modify cells, the theories behind the approaches, and some of the limitations encountered along the way are reviewed. PMID:27279244

  14. Regulated Gene Therapy.

    PubMed

    Breger, Ludivine; Wettergren, Erika Elgstrand; Quintino, Luis; Lundberg, Cecilia

    2016-01-01

    Gene therapy represents a promising approach for the treatment of monogenic and multifactorial neurological disorders. It can be used to replace a missing gene and mutated gene or downregulate a causal gene. Despite the versatility of gene therapy, one of the main limitations lies in the irreversibility of the process: once delivered to target cells, the gene of interest is constitutively expressed and cannot be removed. Therefore, efficient, safe and long-term gene modification requires a system allowing fine control of transgene expression.Different systems have been developed over the past decades to regulate transgene expression after in vivo delivery, either at transcriptional or post-translational levels. The purpose of this chapter is to give an overview on current regulatory system used in the context of gene therapy for neurological disorders. Systems using external regulation of transgenes using antibiotics are commonly used to control either gene expression using tetracycline-controlled transcription or protein levels using destabilizing domain technology. Alternatively, specific promoters of genes that are regulated by disease mechanisms, increasing expression as the disease progresses or decreasing expression as disease regresses, are also examined. Overall, this chapter discusses advantages and drawbacks of current molecular methods for regulated gene therapy in the central nervous system.

  15. Gene conversion in human rearranged immunoglobulin genes.

    PubMed

    Darlow, John M; Stott, David I

    2006-07-01

    Over the past 20 years, many DNA sequences have been published suggesting that all or part of the V(H) segment of a rearranged immunoglobulin gene may be replaced in vivo. Two different mechanisms appear to be operating. One of these is very similar to primary V(D)J recombination, involving the RAG proteins acting upon recombination signal sequences, and this has recently been proven to occur. Other sequences, many of which show partial V(H) replacements with no addition of untemplated nucleotides at the V(H)-V(H) joint, have been proposed to occur by an unusual RAG-mediated recombination with the formation of hybrid (coding-to-signal) joints. These appear to occur in cells already undergoing somatic hypermutation in which, some authors are convinced, RAG genes are silenced. We recently proposed that the latter type of V(H) replacement might occur by homologous recombination initiated by the activity of AID (activation-induced cytidine deaminase), which is essential for somatic hypermutation and gene conversion. The latter has been observed in other species, but not in human Ig genes, so far. In this paper, we present a new analysis of sequences published as examples of the second type of rearrangement. This not only shows that AID recognition motifs occur in recombination regions but also that some sequences show replacement of central sections by a sequence from another gene, similar to gene conversion in the immunoglobulin genes of other species. These observations support the proposal that this type of rearrangement is likely to be AID-mediated rather than RAG-mediated and is consistent with gene conversion.

  16. Retrieval with gene queries

    PubMed Central

    Sehgal, Aditya K; Srinivasan, Padmini

    2006-01-01

    Background Accuracy of document retrieval from MEDLINE for gene queries is crucially important for many applications in bioinformatics. We explore five information retrieval-based methods to rank documents retrieved by PubMed gene queries for the human genome. The aim is to rank relevant documents higher in the retrieved list. We address the special challenges faced due to ambiguity in gene nomenclature: gene terms that refer to multiple genes, gene terms that are also English words, and gene terms that have other biological meanings. Results Our two baseline ranking strategies are quite similar in performance. Two of our three LocusLink-based strategies offer significant improvements. These methods work very well even when there is ambiguity in the gene terms. Our best ranking strategy offers significant improvements on three different kinds of ambiguities over our two baseline strategies (improvements range from 15.9% to 17.7% and 11.7% to 13.3% depending on the baseline). For most genes the best ranking query is one that is built from the LocusLink (now Entrez Gene) summary and product information along with the gene names and aliases. For others, the gene names and aliases suffice. We also present an approach that successfully predicts, for a given gene, which of these two ranking queries is more appropriate. Conclusion We explore the effect of different post-retrieval strategies on the ranking of documents returned by PubMed for human gene queries. We have successfully applied some of these strategies to improve the ranking of relevant documents in the retrieved sets. This holds true even when various kinds of ambiguity are encountered. We feel that it would be very useful to apply strategies like ours on PubMed search results as these are not ordered by relevance in any way. This is especially so for queries that retrieve a large number of documents. PMID:16630348

  17. Oncogenes, genes, and growth factors

    SciTech Connect

    Guroff, G.

    1989-01-01

    This book contains 12 chapters. Some of the chapter titles are: The Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Gene; Structure and Expression of the Nerve Growth Factor Gene; The Erythropoietin Gene; The Interleukin-2 Gene; The Transferrin Gene; and The Transferrin Receptor Gene.

  18. Do Housekeeping Genes Exist?

    PubMed Central

    Sun, Bingyun

    2015-01-01

    The searching of human housekeeping (HK) genes has been a long quest since the emergence of transcriptomics, and is instrumental for us to understand the structure of genome and the fundamentals of biological processes. The resolved genes are frequently used in evolution studies and as normalization standards in quantitative gene-expression analysis. Within the past 20 years, more than a dozen HK-gene studies have been conducted, yet none of them sampled human tissues completely. We believe an integration of these results will help remove false positive genes owing to the inadequate sampling. Surprisingly, we only find one common gene across 15 examined HK-gene datasets comprising 187 different tissue and cell types. Our subsequent analyses suggest that it might not be appropriate to rigidly define HK genes as expressed in all tissue types that have diverse developmental, physiological, and pathological states. It might be beneficial to use more robustly identified HK functions for filtering criteria, in which the representing genes can be a subset of genome. These genes are not necessarily the same, and perhaps need not to be the same, everywhere in our body. PMID:25970694

  19. Do housekeeping genes exist?

    PubMed

    Zhang, Yijuan; Li, Ding; Sun, Bingyun

    2015-01-01

    The searching of human housekeeping (HK) genes has been a long quest since the emergence of transcriptomics, and is instrumental for us to understand the structure of genome and the fundamentals of biological processes. The resolved genes are frequently used in evolution studies and as normalization standards in quantitative gene-expression analysis. Within the past 20 years, more than a dozen HK-gene studies have been conducted, yet none of them sampled human tissues completely. We believe an integration of these results will help remove false positive genes owing to the inadequate sampling. Surprisingly, we only find one common gene across 15 examined HK-gene datasets comprising 187 different tissue and cell types. Our subsequent analyses suggest that it might not be appropriate to rigidly define HK genes as expressed in all tissue types that have diverse developmental, physiological, and pathological states. It might be beneficial to use more robustly identified HK functions for filtering criteria, in which the representing genes can be a subset of genome. These genes are not necessarily the same, and perhaps need not to be the same, everywhere in our body. PMID:25970694

  20. Towards Consensus Gene Ages.

    PubMed

    Liebeskind, Benjamin J; McWhite, Claire D; Marcotte, Edward M

    2016-01-01

    Correctly estimating the age of a gene or gene family is important for a variety of fields, including molecular evolution, comparative genomics, and phylogenetics, and increasingly for systems biology and disease genetics. However, most studies use only a point estimate of a gene's age, neglecting the substantial uncertainty involved in this estimation. Here, we characterize this uncertainty by investigating the effect of algorithm choice on gene-age inference and calculate consensus gene ages with attendant error distributions for a variety of model eukaryotes. We use 13 orthology inference algorithms to create gene-age datasets and then characterize the error around each age-call on a per-gene and per-algorithm basis. Systematic error was found to be a large factor in estimating gene age, suggesting that simple consensus algorithms are not enough to give a reliable point estimate. We also found that different sources of error can affect downstream analyses, such as gene ontology enrichment. Our consensus gene-age datasets, with associated error terms, are made fully available at so that researchers can propagate this uncertainty through their analyses (geneages.org). PMID:27259914

  1. Human HOX gene disorders.

    PubMed

    Quinonez, Shane C; Innis, Jeffrey W

    2014-01-01

    The Hox genes are an evolutionarily conserved family of genes, which encode a class of important transcription factors that function in numerous developmental processes. Following their initial discovery, a substantial amount of information has been gained regarding the roles Hox genes play in various physiologic and pathologic processes. These processes range from a central role in anterior-posterior patterning of the developing embryo to roles in oncogenesis that are yet to be fully elucidated. In vertebrates there are a total of 39 Hox genes divided into 4 separate clusters. Of these, mutations in 10 Hox genes have been found to cause human disorders with significant variation in their inheritance patterns, penetrance, expressivity and mechanism of pathogenesis. This review aims to describe the various phenotypes caused by germline mutation in these 10 Hox genes that cause a human phenotype, with specific emphasis paid to the genotypic and phenotypic differences between allelic disorders. As clinical whole exome and genome sequencing is increasingly utilized in the future, we predict that additional Hox gene mutations will likely be identified to cause distinct human phenotypes. As the known human phenotypes closely resemble gene-specific murine models, we also review the homozygous loss-of-function mouse phenotypes for the 29 Hox genes without a known human disease. This review will aid clinicians in identifying and caring for patients affected with a known Hox gene disorder and help recognize the potential for novel mutations in patients with phenotypes informed by mouse knockout studies.

  2. Notch signaling genes

    PubMed Central

    Terragni, Jolyon; Zhang, Guoqiang; Sun, Zhiyi; Pradhan, Sriharsa; Song, Lingyun; Crawford, Gregory E; Lacey, Michelle; Ehrlich, Melanie

    2014-01-01

    Notch intercellular signaling is critical for diverse developmental pathways and for homeostasis in various types of stem cells and progenitor cells. Because Notch gene products need to be precisely regulated spatially and temporally, epigenetics is likely to help control expression of Notch signaling genes. Reduced representation bisulfite sequencing (RRBS) indicated significant hypomethylation in myoblasts, myotubes, and skeletal muscle vs. many nonmuscle samples at intragenic or intergenic regions of the following Notch receptor or ligand genes: NOTCH1, NOTCH2, JAG2, and DLL1. An enzymatic assay of sites in or near these genes revealed unusually high enrichment of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (up to 81%) in skeletal muscle, heart, and cerebellum. Epigenetics studies and gene expression profiles suggest that hypomethylation and/or hydroxymethylation help control expression of these genes in heart, brain, myoblasts, myotubes, and within skeletal muscle myofibers. Such regulation could promote cell renewal, cell maintenance, homeostasis, and a poised state for repair of tissue damage. PMID:24670287

  3. Gene therapy for radioprotection.

    PubMed

    Everett, W H; Curiel, D T

    2015-03-01

    Radiation therapy is a critical component of cancer treatment with over half of patients receiving radiation during their treatment. Despite advances in image-guided therapy and dose fractionation, patients receiving radiation therapy are still at risk for side effects due to off-target radiation damage of normal tissues. To reduce normal tissue damage, researchers have sought radioprotectors, which are agents capable of protecting tissue against radiation by preventing radiation damage from occurring or by decreasing cell death in the presence of radiation damage. Although much early research focused on small-molecule radioprotectors, there has been a growing interest in gene therapy for radioprotection. The amenability of gene therapy vectors to targeting, as well as the flexibility of gene therapy to accomplish ablation or augmentation of biologically relevant genes, makes gene therapy an excellent strategy for radioprotection. Future improvements to vector targeting and delivery should greatly enhance radioprotection through gene therapy.

  4. Towards Consensus Gene Ages

    PubMed Central

    Liebeskind, Benjamin J.; McWhite, Claire D.; Marcotte, Edward M.

    2016-01-01

    Correctly estimating the age of a gene or gene family is important for a variety of fields, including molecular evolution, comparative genomics, and phylogenetics, and increasingly for systems biology and disease genetics. However, most studies use only a point estimate of a gene’s age, neglecting the substantial uncertainty involved in this estimation. Here, we characterize this uncertainty by investigating the effect of algorithm choice on gene-age inference and calculate consensus gene ages with attendant error distributions for a variety of model eukaryotes. We use 13 orthology inference algorithms to create gene-age datasets and then characterize the error around each age-call on a per-gene and per-algorithm basis. Systematic error was found to be a large factor in estimating gene age, suggesting that simple consensus algorithms are not enough to give a reliable point estimate. We also found that different sources of error can affect downstream analyses, such as gene ontology enrichment. Our consensus gene-age datasets, with associated error terms, are made fully available at so that researchers can propagate this uncertainty through their analyses (geneages.org). PMID:27259914

  5. Supervised clustering of genes

    PubMed Central

    Dettling, Marcel; Bühlmann, Peter

    2002-01-01

    Background We focus on microarray data where experiments monitor gene expression in different tissues and where each experiment is equipped with an additional response variable such as a cancer type. Although the number of measured genes is in the thousands, it is assumed that only a few marker components of gene subsets determine the type of a tissue. Here we present a new method for finding such groups of genes by directly incorporating the response variables into the grouping process, yielding a supervised clustering algorithm for genes. Results An empirical study on eight publicly available microarray datasets shows that our algorithm identifies gene clusters with excellent predictive potential, often superior to classification with state-of-the-art methods based on single genes. Permutation tests and bootstrapping provide evidence that the output is reasonably stable and more than a noise artifact. Conclusions In contrast to other methods such as hierarchical clustering, our algorithm identifies several gene clusters whose expression levels clearly distinguish the different tissue types. The identification of such gene clusters is potentially useful for medical diagnostics and may at the same time reveal insights into functional genomics. PMID:12537558

  6. Integron associated mobile genes

    PubMed Central

    Labbate, Maurizio; Boucher, Yan; Luu, Ivan; Chowdhury, Piklu Roy; Stokes, H.W.

    2012-01-01

    Lateral gene transfer (LGT) impacts on the evolution of prokaryotes in both the short and long-term. The short-term impacts of mobilized genes are a concern to humans since LGT explains the global rise of multi drug resistant pathogens seen in the past 70 years. However, LGT has been a feature of prokaryotes from the earliest days of their existence and the concept of a bifurcating tree of life is not entirely applicable to prokaryotes since most genes in extant prokaryotic genomes have probably been acquired from other lineages. Successful transfer and maintenance of a gene in a new host is understandable if it acts independently of cell networks and confers an advantage. Antibiotic resistance provides an example of this whereby a gene can be advantageous in virtually any cell across broad species backgrounds. In a longer evolutionary context however laterally transferred genes can be assimilated into even essential cell networks. How this happens is not well understood and we discuss recent work that identifies a mobile gene, unique to a cell lineage, which is detrimental to the cell when lost. We also present some additional data and believe our emerging model will be helpful in understanding how mobile genes integrate into cell networks. PMID:22754748

  7. Your Genes, Your Choices

    MedlinePlus

    Table of Contents Your Genes, Your Choices describes the Human Genome Project, the science behind it, and the ethical, legal, and social issues that are ... Nothing could be further from the truth. Your Genes, Your Choices points out how the progress of ...

  8. What Is a Gene?

    MedlinePlus

    ... a new kind of medicine — so new that scientists are still doing experiments to see if it works. It uses the technology of genetic engineering to treat a disease caused by a gene that has changed in some way. One method being tested is replacing sick genes with healthy ...

  9. Engineered gene circuits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hasty, Jeff; McMillen, David; Collins, J. J.

    2002-11-01

    A central focus of postgenomic research will be to understand how cellular phenomena arise from the connectivity of genes and proteins. This connectivity generates molecular network diagrams that resemble complex electrical circuits, and a systematic understanding will require the development of a mathematical framework for describing the circuitry. From an engineering perspective, the natural path towards such a framework is the construction and analysis of the underlying submodules that constitute the network. Recent experimental advances in both sequencing and genetic engineering have made this approach feasible through the design and implementation of synthetic gene networks amenable to mathematical modelling and quantitative analysis. These developments have signalled the emergence of a gene circuit discipline, which provides a framework for predicting and evaluating the dynamics of cellular processes. Synthetic gene networks will also lead to new logical forms of cellular control, which could have important applications in functional genomics, nanotechnology, and gene and cell therapy.

  10. A gene expression screen.

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Z; Brown, D D

    1991-01-01

    A gene expression screen identifies mRNAs that differ in abundance between two mRNA mixtures by a subtractive hybridization method. The two mRNA populations are converted to double-stranded cDNAs, fragmented, and ligated to linkers for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification. The multiple cDNA fragments isolated from any given gene can be treated as alleles in a genetic screen. Probability analysis of the frequency with which multiple alleles are found provides an estimation of the total number of up- and down-regulated genes. We have applied this method to genes that are differentially expressed in amphibian tadpole tail tissue in the first 24 hr after thyroid hormone treatment, which ultimately induces tail resorption. We estimate that there are about 30 up-regulated genes; 16 have been isolated. Images PMID:1722336

  11. Autophagy genes in immunity

    PubMed Central

    Virgin, Herbert W; Levine, Beth

    2009-01-01

    In its classical form, autophagy is a pathway by which cytoplasmic constituents, including intracellular pathogens, are sequestered in a double-membrane–bound autophagosome and delivered to the lysosome for degradation. This pathway has been linked to diverse aspects of innate and adaptive immunity, including pathogen resistance, production of type I interferon, antigen presentation, tolerance and lymphocyte development, as well as the negative regulation of cytokine signaling and inflammation. Most of these links have emerged from studies in which genes encoding molecules involved in autophagy are inactivated in immune effector cells. However, it is not yet known whether all of the critical functions of such genes in immunity represent ‘classical autophagy’ or possible as-yet-undefined autophagolysosome-independent functions of these genes. This review summarizes phenotypes that result from the inactivation of autophagy genes in the immune system and discusses the pleiotropic functions of autophagy genes in immunity. PMID:19381141

  12. Genes, genome and Gestalt.

    PubMed

    Grisolia, Cesar Koppe

    2005-01-01

    According to Gestalt thinking, biological systems cannot be viewed as the sum of their elements, but as processes of the whole. To understand organisms we must start from the whole, observing how the various parts are related. In genetics, we must observe the genome over and above the sum of its genes. Either loss or addition of one gene in a genome can change the function of the organism. Genomes are organized in networks of genes, which need to be well integrated. In the case of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), for example, soybeans, rats, Anopheles mosquitoes, and pigs, the insertion of an exogenous gene into a receptive organism generally causes disturbance in the networks, resulting in the breakdown of gene interactions. In these cases, genetic modification increased the genetic load of the GMO and consequently decreased its adaptability (fitness). Therefore, it is hard to claim that the production of such organisms with an increased genetic load does not have ethical implications.

  13. 4. AERIAL VIEW OF GENE WASH RESERVOIR AND GENE CAMP ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    4. AERIAL VIEW OF GENE WASH RESERVOIR AND GENE CAMP LOOKING SOUTHWEST. DAM AND SPILLWAY VISIBLE IN BOTTOM OF PHOTO. - Gene Wash Reservoir & Dam, 2 miles west of Parker Dam, Parker Dam, San Bernardino County, CA

  14. Duplicate genes increase gene expression diversity within and between species.

    PubMed

    Gu, Zhenglong; Rifkin, Scott A; White, Kevin P; Li, Wen-Hsiung

    2004-06-01

    Using microarray gene expression data from several Drosophila species and strains, we show that duplicated genes, compared with single-copy genes, significantly increase gene expression diversity during development. We show further that duplicate genes tend to cause expression divergences between Drosophila species (or strains) to evolve faster than do single-copy genes. This conclusion is also supported by data from different yeast strains.

  15. [Is gene technology immoral?].

    PubMed

    Halter, H

    1994-10-01

    Since it came into being in the USA in the early 1970s, gene technology has always been fundamentally controversial, especially in the German-speaking countries. The optimistic--or critical--supporters of gene technology are convinced that, in view of gene technology's not otherwise attainable advantages for human and animal health, for food production and other important aims, it would be ethically unacceptable to restrict to the minimum or even ban it. On the other hand, the radical critics are convinced that gene technology, in view of its anthropologically false starting-point, the questionable interests behind it, and above all its unforeseeable, serious negative implications for mankind and environment, is unacceptable on ethical grounds. Critical reflexion on these polarized arguments must start from the question why precisely gene technology is so controversial, and what are the criteria for ethical assessment. These reflexions presuppose that the prior judgement of gene technology as a technology in the ideological field is rooted in life attitudes, history and nature in general, and this is true not only of gene technology's opponents but also its supporters. It is thus a question of one ideology vs. another. Chief importance here attaches to the mankind-nature relationship and the need to take seriously the fundamental ambivalence of all (!) human action with unforeseeable consequences. The conclusion is that neither to demonize nor to glorify gene technology, as a matter of principle, does justice to its wide and varied positive or negative potential. The ethical assessment of gene technology must be differentiated according to the aims and possible implications.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS) PMID:7939540

  16. Clock genes and cancer.

    PubMed

    Wood, Patricia A; Yang, Xiaoming; Hrushesky, William J M

    2009-12-01

    Period genes ( Per2, Per1) are essential circadian clock genes. They also function as negative growth regulators. Per2 mutant mice show de novo and radiation-induced epithelial hyperplasia, tumors, and an abnormal DNA damage response. Human tumors show Period gene mutations or decreased expression. Other murine clock gene mutations are not associated with a tumor prone phenotype. Shift work and nocturnal light exposure are associated with circadian clock disruption and with increased cancer risk. The mechanisms responsible for the connection between the circadian clock and cancer are not well defined. We propose that circadian disruption per se is not uniformly tumor promoting and the mechanisms for tumor promotion by specific circadian clock disturbances will differ dependent upon the genes and pathways involved. We propose that Period clock gene mutations promote tumorigenesis by unique molecular pathways. Per2 and Per1 modulate beta-catenin and cell proliferation in colon and non-colon cancer cells. Per2 mutation increases intestinal beta-catenin levels and colon polyp formation. Per2 mutation also increases Apc(Min/+)-mediated intestinal and colonic polyp formation. Intestinal tumorigenesis per se may also alter clock function as a result of increased beta-catenin destabilizing PER2 protein. Levels and circadian rhythm of PER2 in Apc(Min/+) mouse intestine are markedly decreased, and selective abnormalities in intestinal clock gene and clock-controlled gene expression are seen. We propose that tumor promotion by loss of PERIOD clock proteins is unique to these clock genes as a result of altered beta-catenin signaling and DNA damage response. PERIOD proteins may offer new targets for cancer prevention and control.

  17. Genes in sweeping competition.

    PubMed

    Nurminsky, D I

    2001-01-01

    Analysis of DNA variation is a powerful tool for detecting adaptation at the genomic level. The contribution of adaptive evolution is evident from examples of rapidly evolving genes, which represent the likely targets for strong selection. More subtle adaptation is also an integral component of routine maintenance of gene performance, continuously applied to every gene. Adaptive changes in the population are accomplished through selective sweeps, i.e. complete or partial fixation of beneficial alleles. The evidence is accumulating that selective sweeps are quite frequent events which, together with associated genetic hitchhiking, represent dominant forces that influence molecular evolution by shaping the variability pattern in the genome.

  18. Gene structure and expression

    SciTech Connect

    Hawkins, J. )

    1990-01-01

    This book describes the structure of genes in molecular terms and summarizes present knowledge about how their activity is regulated. It covers a range of topics, including a review of the structure and replication of DNA, transcription and translation, prokaryotic and eukaryotic gene organization and expression, retroviruses and oncogenes. The book also includes a chapter on the methodology of DNA manipulation including sections on site-directed mutagenesis, the polymerase chain reaction, reporter genes and restriction fragment length polymorphisms. The hemoglobin gene system and the genetics of the proteins of the immune system are presented in the latter half of the book to show the structure and expression of the most well-studied systems in higher eukaryotes. The final chapter reviews the differences between prokaryotic and the eukaryotic genomes.

  19. GeneLab

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Berrios, Daniel C.; Thompson, Terri G.

    2015-01-01

    NASA GeneLab is expected to capture and distribute omics data and experimental and process conditions most relevant to research community in their statistical and theoretical analysis of NASAs omics data.

  20. Epigenetics and gene expression.

    PubMed

    Gibney, E R; Nolan, C M

    2010-07-01

    Transcription, translation and subsequent protein modification represent the transfer of genetic information from the archival copy of DNA to the short-lived messenger RNA, usually with subsequent production of protein. Although all cells in an organism contain essentially the same DNA, cell types and functions differ because of qualitative and quantitative differences in their gene expression. Thus, control of gene expression is at the heart of differentiation and development. Epigenetic processes, including DNA methylation, histone modification and various RNA-mediated processes, are thought to influence gene expression chiefly at the level of transcription; however, other steps in the process (for example, translation) may also be regulated epigenetically. The following paper will outline the role epigenetics is believed to have in influencing gene expression.

  1. "Bad genes" & criminal responsibility.

    PubMed

    González-Tapia, María Isabel; Obsuth, Ingrid

    2015-01-01

    The genetics of the accused is trying to break into the courts. To date several candidate genes have been put forward and their links to antisocial behavior have been examined and documented with some consistency. In this paper, we focus on the so called "warrior gene", or the low-activity allele of the MAOA gene, which has been most consistently related to human behavior and specifically to violence and antisocial behavior. In preparing this paper we had two objectives. First, to summarize and analyze the current scientific evidence, in order to gain an in depth understanding of the state of the issue and determine whether a dominant line of generally accepted scientific knowledge in this field can be asserted. Second, to derive conclusions and put forward recommendations related to the use of genetic information, specifically the presence of the low-activity genotype of the MAOA gene, in modulation of criminal responsibility in European and US courts.

  2. "Bad genes" & criminal responsibility.

    PubMed

    González-Tapia, María Isabel; Obsuth, Ingrid

    2015-01-01

    The genetics of the accused is trying to break into the courts. To date several candidate genes have been put forward and their links to antisocial behavior have been examined and documented with some consistency. In this paper, we focus on the so called "warrior gene", or the low-activity allele of the MAOA gene, which has been most consistently related to human behavior and specifically to violence and antisocial behavior. In preparing this paper we had two objectives. First, to summarize and analyze the current scientific evidence, in order to gain an in depth understanding of the state of the issue and determine whether a dominant line of generally accepted scientific knowledge in this field can be asserted. Second, to derive conclusions and put forward recommendations related to the use of genetic information, specifically the presence of the low-activity genotype of the MAOA gene, in modulation of criminal responsibility in European and US courts. PMID:25708001

  3. Vaginal gene therapy.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Gascón, Alicia; Del Pozo-Rodríguez, Ana; Isla, Arantxazu; Solinís, María Angeles

    2015-09-15

    In the last years, vaginal gene therapy has gained increasing attention mainly for the treatment and control of sexually transmitted infections. DNA delivery has been also suggested to improve reproductive outcomes for women with deficiencies in the female reproductive tract. Although no product has reached clinical phase, preclinical investigations reveal the potential of the vaginal tract as an effective administration route for gene delivery. This review focuses on the main advantages and challenges of vaginal gene therapy, and on the most used nucleic acid delivery systems, including viral and non-viral vectors. Additionally, the advances in the application of vaginal gene therapy for the treatment and/or prevention of infectious diseases such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the human papillomavirus (HPV) or the herpes simplex virus (HSV) are presented.

  4. Evidence for homosexuality gene

    SciTech Connect

    Pool, R.

    1993-07-16

    A genetic analysis of 40 pairs of homosexual brothers has uncovered a region on the X chromosome that appears to contain a gene or genes for homosexuality. When analyzing the pedigrees of homosexual males, the researcheres found evidence that the trait has a higher likelihood of being passed through maternal genes. This led them to search the X chromosome for genes predisposing to homosexuality. The researchers examined the X chromosomes of pairs of homosexual brothers for regions of DNA that most or all had in common. Of the 40 sets of brothers, 33 shared a set of five markers in the q28 region of the long arm of the X chromosome. The linkage has a LOD score of 4.0, which translates into a 99.5% certainty that there is a gene or genes in this area that predispose males to homosexuality. The chief researcher warns, however, that this one site cannot explain all instances of homosexuality, since there were some cases where the trait seemed to be passed paternally. And even among those brothers where there was no evidence that the trait was passed paternally, seven sets of brothers did not share the Xq28 markers. It seems likely that homosexuality arises from a variety of causes.

  5. [Integrons: gene collectors].

    PubMed

    Di Conza, J A; Gutkind, G O

    2010-01-01

    Integrons gained great interest due to their participation in resistance gene recruitment and expression. Their basic structure includes a fragment that encodes an integrase (intI) followed by a recognition sequence (attI) into which they may incorporate gene cassettes (encoding resistance mechanisms). A promoter (Pc) embedded within the integrase gene controls the transcription of integrated resistance markers, as these genes do not have their own promoters. When in cassettes, resistance genes are flanked by specific sequences (attC), which are recognized by the integrase that, by site specific recombination, incorporates them after attI in proper orientation for their expression. In the past, integrons were classified according to their sequence homology; currently they are classified according to their location. In general, they are divided into "mobile" integrons (those associated with insertion sequences, transposons and/or plasmids, being most of them associated with resistance mechanisms), and chromosomally-located "super" integrons with large arrangements of cassette genes. "Mobile" class 1 integrons are the most abundant in clinical isolates and are generally associated with Tn21 subgroup transposons, followed by class 2, derived primarily from Tn7. These elements are not mobile themselves, but their association with mobile platforms that facilitate horizontal transfer, explains their wide distribution among bacteria. This review also attempts to describe the mobile integrons described so far in Argentina.

  6. Identification of four soybean reference genes for gene expression normalization

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Gene expression analysis requires the use of reference genes stably expressed independently of specific tissues or environmental conditions. Housekeeping genes (e.g., actin, tubulin, ribosomal, polyubiquitin and elongation factor 1-alpha) are commonly used as reference genes with the assumption tha...

  7. 5. OVERHEAD VIEW OF GENE CAMP LOOKING SOUTH. GENE PUMP ...

    Library of Congress Historic Buildings Survey, Historic Engineering Record, Historic Landscapes Survey

    5. OVERHEAD VIEW OF GENE CAMP LOOKING SOUTH. GENE PUMP PLANT IS AT CENTER WITH ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLEX IN FOREGROUND AND RESIDENTIAL AREA BEYOND PLANT. - Gene Pump Plant, South of Gene Wash Reservoir, 2 miles west of Whitsett Pump Plant, Parker Dam, San Bernardino County, CA

  8. The Psychologist's Dilemma: Killing Alligators vs. Draining The Swamp

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Withers, Thomas

    1973-01-01

    Analyzes the problems of the school psychologist, his relationship with the school as a whole as well as with individual children, and the effect teachers can have on child psychological development. (RK)

  9. A modular solar system provides hot water for alligator farm

    SciTech Connect

    Healey, H.M. )

    1994-03-01

    This article describes an 8,000 ft[sup 2] (743 m[sup 2]), site-built, large volume, Integral Collector Storage (ICS) solar water heating system installed at the farm to preheat water for the building washdown as part of a Florida Energy Office demonstration project. The project utilized at Foster Farms was a Shallow Solar Pond (SSP)--a modular, site-built, solar water heating system capable of providing in excess of 5,000 heated gallons (19 m[sup 3]) per day. During the past 10 years, a large number of solar systems have been proposed to provide economical hot water for industrial processes. Most of these water heating systems have proven to be too costly or too complex to compete with the traditional water heating methods using conventional fuels. Technology initiated at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory and expanded upon by the Tennessee Valley Authority was shown to have outstanding potential in Florida. This technology, which was utilized at Foster Farms, consists of a site-built large-volume ICAS system called the Shallow Solar Pond. Shallow Solar Pond (SSP) systems utilize the modular approach in which modules, built in a standardized size, are tied together to supply the required load. The SSP module can be ground mounted or installed on a roof. Each SSP module is typically 16 ft (5 m) wide and up to 200 ft (61 m) in length. The module contains one or two flat waterbags similar to a waterbed. The bags rest on a layer of insulation or bed of sand inside concrete or fiberglass curbs. The bag is protected against damage and heat loss by greenhouse-type glazing. A typical 200 ft [times] 16 ft (61 m [times] 5 m) pond, filled to a 4 in. (10 cm) depth, holds approximately 8,000 gallons (30 m[sup 3]) of water.

  10. Balancing Teaching with Other Responsibilities: Integrating Roles or Feeding Alligators.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Colbeck, Carol L.

    This study investigated how university research faculty balanced undergraduate teaching with their other professional responsibilities, noting how discipline and rank influenced their efforts to balance their work responsibilities. Interviews with 97 faculty members from the University of Texas at Knoxville, the University of Texas at Austin, and…

  11. When You're Up to Your Ears in Alligators.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Baumbach, Donna

    1997-01-01

    Discusses 10 challenges media specialists must overcome to effectively use technology in education. Highlights include people opposed to technology; teacher training to help develop collaborative relationships; establishing and using a comprehensive technology plan; assuming more professional responsibility; and empowerment. (LRW)

  12. Hox genes and study of Hox genes in crustacean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hou, Lin; Chen, Zhijuan; Xu, Mingyu; Lin, Shengguo; Wang, Lu

    2004-12-01

    Homeobox genes have been discovered in many species. These genes are known to play a major role in specifying regional identity along the anterior-posterior axis of animals from a wide range of phyla. The products of the homeotic genes are a set of evolutionarily conserved transcription factors that control elaborate developmental processes and specify cell fates in metazoans. Crustacean, presenting a variety of body plans not encountered in any other class or phylum of the Metazoa, has been shown to possess a single set of homologous Hox genes like insect. The ancestral crustacean Hox gene complex comprised ten genes: eight homologous to the hometic Hox genes and two related to nonhomeotic genes presented within the insect Hox complexes. The crustacean in particular exhibits an abundant diversity segment specialization and tagmosis. This morphological diversity relates to the Hox genes. In crustacean body plan, different Hox genes control different segments and tagmosis.

  13. GeneCards Version 3: the human gene integrator.

    PubMed

    Safran, Marilyn; Dalah, Irina; Alexander, Justin; Rosen, Naomi; Iny Stein, Tsippi; Shmoish, Michael; Nativ, Noam; Bahir, Iris; Doniger, Tirza; Krug, Hagit; Sirota-Madi, Alexandra; Olender, Tsviya; Golan, Yaron; Stelzer, Gil; Harel, Arye; Lancet, Doron

    2010-08-05

    GeneCards (www.genecards.org) is a comprehensive, authoritative compendium of annotative information about human genes, widely used for nearly 15 years. Its gene-centric content is automatically mined and integrated from over 80 digital sources, resulting in a web-based deep-linked card for each of >73,000 human gene entries, encompassing the following categories: protein coding, pseudogene, RNA gene, genetic locus, cluster and uncategorized. We now introduce GeneCards Version 3, featuring a speedy and sophisticated search engine and a revamped, technologically enabling infrastructure, catering to the expanding needs of biomedical researchers. A key focus is on gene-set analyses, which leverage GeneCards' unique wealth of combinatorial annotations. These include the GeneALaCart batch query facility, which tabulates user-selected annotations for multiple genes and GeneDecks, which identifies similar genes with shared annotations, and finds set-shared annotations by descriptor enrichment analysis. Such set-centric features address a host of applications, including microarray data analysis, cross-database annotation mapping and gene-disorder associations for drug targeting. We highlight the new Version 3 database architecture, its multi-faceted search engine, and its semi-automated quality assurance system. Data enhancements include an expanded visualization of gene expression patterns in normal and cancer tissues, an integrated alternative splicing pattern display, and augmented multi-source SNPs and pathways sections. GeneCards now provides direct links to gene-related research reagents such as antibodies, recombinant proteins, DNA clones and inhibitory RNAs and features gene-related drugs and compounds lists. We also portray the GeneCards Inferred Functionality Score annotation landscape tool for scoring a gene's functional information status. Finally, we delineate examples of applications and collaborations that have benefited from the GeneCards suite. Database

  14. GeneCards Version 3: the human gene integrator.

    PubMed

    Safran, Marilyn; Dalah, Irina; Alexander, Justin; Rosen, Naomi; Iny Stein, Tsippi; Shmoish, Michael; Nativ, Noam; Bahir, Iris; Doniger, Tirza; Krug, Hagit; Sirota-Madi, Alexandra; Olender, Tsviya; Golan, Yaron; Stelzer, Gil; Harel, Arye; Lancet, Doron

    2010-01-01

    GeneCards (www.genecards.org) is a comprehensive, authoritative compendium of annotative information about human genes, widely used for nearly 15 years. Its gene-centric content is automatically mined and integrated from over 80 digital sources, resulting in a web-based deep-linked card for each of >73,000 human gene entries, encompassing the following categories: protein coding, pseudogene, RNA gene, genetic locus, cluster and uncategorized. We now introduce GeneCards Version 3, featuring a speedy and sophisticated search engine and a revamped, technologically enabling infrastructure, catering to the expanding needs of biomedical researchers. A key focus is on gene-set analyses, which leverage GeneCards' unique wealth of combinatorial annotations. These include the GeneALaCart batch query facility, which tabulates user-selected annotations for multiple genes and GeneDecks, which identifies similar genes with shared annotations, and finds set-shared annotations by descriptor enrichment analysis. Such set-centric features address a host of applications, including microarray data analysis, cross-database annotation mapping and gene-disorder associations for drug targeting. We highlight the new Version 3 database architecture, its multi-faceted search engine, and its semi-automated quality assurance system. Data enhancements include an expanded visualization of gene expression patterns in normal and cancer tissues, an integrated alternative splicing pattern display, and augmented multi-source SNPs and pathways sections. GeneCards now provides direct links to gene-related research reagents such as antibodies, recombinant proteins, DNA clones and inhibitory RNAs and features gene-related drugs and compounds lists. We also portray the GeneCards Inferred Functionality Score annotation landscape tool for scoring a gene's functional information status. Finally, we delineate examples of applications and collaborations that have benefited from the GeneCards suite. Database

  15. Neighboring Genes Show Correlated Evolution in Gene Expression.

    PubMed

    Ghanbarian, Avazeh T; Hurst, Laurence D

    2015-07-01

    When considering the evolution of a gene's expression profile, we commonly assume that this is unaffected by its genomic neighborhood. This is, however, in contrast to what we know about the lack of autonomy between neighboring genes in gene expression profiles in extant taxa. Indeed, in all eukaryotic genomes genes of similar expression-profile tend to cluster, reflecting chromatin level dynamics. Does it follow that if a gene increases expression in a particular lineage then the genomic neighbors will also increase in their expression or is gene expression evolution autonomous? To address this here we consider evolution of human gene expression since the human-chimp common ancestor, allowing for both variation in estimation of current expression level and error in Bayesian estimation of the ancestral state. We find that in all tissues and both sexes, the change in gene expression of a focal gene on average predicts the change in gene expression of neighbors. The effect is highly pronounced in the immediate vicinity (<100 kb) but extends much further. Sex-specific expression change is also genomically clustered. As genes increasing their expression in humans tend to avoid nuclear lamina domains and be enriched for the gene activator 5-hydroxymethylcytosine, we conclude that, most probably owing to chromatin level control of gene expression, a change in gene expression of one gene likely affects the expression evolution of neighbors, what we term expression piggybacking, an analog of hitchhiking.

  16. Saporin suicide gene therapy.

    PubMed

    Zarovni, Natasa; Vago, Riccardo; Fabbrini, Maria Serena

    2009-01-01

    New genes useful in suicide gene therapy are those encoding toxins such as plant ribosome-inactivating proteins (RIPs), which can irreversibly block protein synthesis, triggering apoptotic cell death. Plasmids expressing a cytosolic saporin (SAP) gene from common soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) are generated by placing the region encoding the mature plant toxin under the control of strong viral promoters and may be placed under tumor-specific promoters. The ability of the resulting constructs to inhibit protein synthesis is tested in cultured tumor cells co-transfected with a luciferase reporter gene. SAP expression driven by the cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter (pCI-SAP) demonstrates that only 10 ng ofplasmid DNA per 1.6 x 10(4) B16 melanoma cells drastically reduces luciferase reporter activity to 18% of that in control cells (1). Direct intratumoral injections are performed in an aggressive melanoma model. B16 melanoma-bearing mice injected with pCI-SAP complexed with lipofectamine or N-(2,3-dioleoyloxy-1-propyl) trimethylammonium methyl sulfate (DOTAP) show a noteworthy attenuation in tumor growth, and this effect is significantly augmented by repeated administrations of the DNA complexes. Here, we describe in detail this cost-effective and safe suicide gene approach. PMID:19565907

  17. On sports and genes.

    PubMed

    Zilberman-Schapira, Gili; Chen, Jieming; Gerstein, Mark

    2012-12-01

    Our genes influence our athletic ability. However, the causal genetic factors and mechanisms, and the extent of their effects, remain largely elusive. Many studies investigate this association between specific genes and athletic performance. Such studies have increased in number over the past few years, as recent developments and patents in DNA sequencing have made large amounts of sequencing data available for such analysis. In this paper, we consider four of the most intensively studied genes in relation to athletic ability: angiotensin I-converting enzyme, alpha-actinin 3, peroxismose proliferator-activator receptor alpha and nitric oxide synthase 3. We investigate the connection between genotype and athletic phenotype in the context of these four genes in various sport fields and across different ethnicities and genders. We do an extensive literature survey on these genes and the polymorphisms (single nucleotide polymorphisms or indels) found to be associated with athletic performance. We also present, for each of these polymorphisms, the allele frequencies in the different ethnicities reported in the pilot phase of the 1000 Genomes Project - arguably the largest human genome-sequencing endeavor to date. We discuss the considerable success, and significant drawbacks, of past research along these lines, and propose interesting directions for future research.

  18. Hox genes and evolution

    PubMed Central

    Hrycaj, Steven M.; Wellik, Deneen M.

    2016-01-01

    Hox proteins are a deeply conserved group of transcription factors originally defined for their critical roles in governing segmental identity along the antero-posterior (AP) axis in Drosophila. Over the last 30 years, numerous data generated in evolutionarily diverse taxa have clearly shown that changes in the expression patterns of these genes are closely associated with the regionalization of the AP axis, suggesting that Hox genes have played a critical role in the evolution of novel body plans within Bilateria. Despite this deep functional conservation and the importance of these genes in AP patterning, key questions remain regarding many aspects of Hox biology. In this commentary, we highlight recent reports that have provided novel insight into the origins of the mammalian Hox cluster, the role of Hox genes in the generation of a limbless body plan, and a novel putative mechanism in which Hox genes may encode specificity along the AP axis. Although the data discussed here offer a fresh perspective, it is clear that there is still much to learn about Hox biology and the roles it has played in the evolution of the Bilaterian body plan. PMID:27239281

  19. LQTS gene LOVD database.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Tao; Moss, Arthur; Cong, Peikuan; Pan, Min; Chang, Bingxi; Zheng, Liangrong; Fang, Quan; Zareba, Wojciech; Robinson, Jennifer; Lin, Changsong; Li, Zhongxiang; Wei, Junfang; Zeng, Qiang; Qi, Ming

    2010-11-01

    The Long QT Syndrome (LQTS) is a group of genetically heterogeneous disorders that predisposes young individuals to ventricular arrhythmias and sudden death. LQTS is mainly caused by mutations in genes encoding subunits of cardiac ion channels (KCNQ1, KCNH2,SCN5A, KCNE1, and KCNE2). Many other genes involved in LQTS have been described recently(KCNJ2, AKAP9, ANK2, CACNA1C, SCNA4B, SNTA1, and CAV3). We created an online database(http://www.genomed.org/LOVD/introduction.html) that provides information on variants in LQTS-associated genes. As of February 2010, the database contains 1738 unique variants in 12 genes. A total of 950 variants are considered pathogenic, 265 are possible pathogenic, 131 are unknown/unclassified, and 292 have no known pathogenicity. In addition to these mutations collected from published literature, we also submitted information on gene variants, including one possible novel pathogenic mutation in the KCNH2 splice site found in ten Chinese families with documented arrhythmias. The remote user is able to search the data and is encouraged to submit new mutations into the database. The LQTS database will become a powerful tool for both researchers and clinicians. PMID:20809527

  20. LQTS gene LOVD database.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Tao; Moss, Arthur; Cong, Peikuan; Pan, Min; Chang, Bingxi; Zheng, Liangrong; Fang, Quan; Zareba, Wojciech; Robinson, Jennifer; Lin, Changsong; Li, Zhongxiang; Wei, Junfang; Zeng, Qiang; Qi, Ming

    2010-11-01

    The Long QT Syndrome (LQTS) is a group of genetically heterogeneous disorders that predisposes young individuals to ventricular arrhythmias and sudden death. LQTS is mainly caused by mutations in genes encoding subunits of cardiac ion channels (KCNQ1, KCNH2,SCN5A, KCNE1, and KCNE2). Many other genes involved in LQTS have been described recently(KCNJ2, AKAP9, ANK2, CACNA1C, SCNA4B, SNTA1, and CAV3). We created an online database(http://www.genomed.org/LOVD/introduction.html) that provides information on variants in LQTS-associated genes. As of February 2010, the database contains 1738 unique variants in 12 genes. A total of 950 variants are considered pathogenic, 265 are possible pathogenic, 131 are unknown/unclassified, and 292 have no known pathogenicity. In addition to these mutations collected from published literature, we also submitted information on gene variants, including one possible novel pathogenic mutation in the KCNH2 splice site found in ten Chinese families with documented arrhythmias. The remote user is able to search the data and is encouraged to submit new mutations into the database. The LQTS database will become a powerful tool for both researchers and clinicians.

  1. Gene therapy for brain tumors.

    PubMed

    Bansal, K; Engelhard, H H

    2000-09-01

    "Gene therapy" can be defined as the transfer of genetic material into a patient's cells for therapeutic purposes. To date, a diverse and creative assortment of treatment strategies utilizing gene therapy have been devised, including gene transfer for modulating the immune system, enzyme prodrug ("suicide gene") therapy, oncolytic therapy, replacement/therapeutic gene transfer, and antisense therapy. For malignant glioma, gene-directed prodrug therapy using the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase gene was the first gene therapy attempted clinically. A variety of different strategies have now been pursued experimentally and in clinical trials. Although, to date, gene therapy for brain tumors has been found to be reasonably safe, concerns still exist regarding issues related to viral delivery, transduction efficiency, potential pathologic response of the brain, and treatment efficacy. Improved viral vectors are being sought, and potential use of gene therapy in combination with other treatments is being investigated.

  2. How old is my gene?

    PubMed Central

    Capra, John A.; Stolzer, Maureen; Durand, Dannie; Pollard, Katherine S.

    2013-01-01

    Gene functions, interactions, disease associations, and ecological distributions are all correlated with gene age. However, it is challenging to estimate the intricate series of evolutionary events leading to a modern day gene and then reduce this history to a single age estimate. Focusing on eukaryotic gene families, we introduce a framework in which to compare current strategies for quantifying gene age, discuss key differences between these methods, and highlight several common problems. We argue that genes with complex evolutionary histories do not have a single well-defined age. As a result, care must be taken to articulate the goals and assumptions of any analysis that uses gene age estimates. Recent algorithmic advances offer the promise of gene age estimates that are fast, accurate, and consistent across gene families. This will enable a shift to integrated genome-wide analyses of all events in gene evolutionary histories in the near future. PMID:23915718

  3. Gene therapy prospects--intranasal delivery of therapeutic genes.

    PubMed

    Podolska, Karolina; Stachurska, Anna; Hajdukiewicz, Karolina; Małecki, Maciej

    2012-01-01

    Gene therapy is recognized to be a novel method for the treatment of various disorders. Gene therapy strategies involve gene manipulation on broad biological processes responsible for the spreading of diseases. Cancer, monogenic diseases, vascular and infectious diseases are the main targets of gene therapy. In order to obtain valuable experimental and clinical results, sufficient gene transfer methods are required. Therapeutic genes can be administered into target tissues via gene carriers commonly defined as vectors. The retroviral, adenoviral and adeno-associated virus based vectors are most frequently used in the clinic. So far, gene preparations may be administered directly into target organs or by intravenous, intramuscular, intratumor or intranasal injections. It is common knowledge that the number of gene therapy clinical trials has rapidly increased. However, some limitations such as transfection efficiency and stable and long-term gene expression are still not resolved. Consequently, great effort is focused on the evaluation of new strategies of gene delivery. There are many expectations associated with intranasal delivery of gene preparations for the treatment of diseases. Intranasal delivery of therapeutic genes is regarded as one of the most promising forms of pulmonary gene therapy research. Gene therapy based on inhalation of gene preparations offers an alternative way for the treatment of patients suffering from such lung diseases as cystic fibrosis, alpha-1-antitrypsin defect, or cancer. Experimental and first clinical trials based on plasmid vectors or recombinant viruses have revealed that gene preparations can effectively deliver therapeutic or marker genes to the cells of the respiratory tract. The noninvasive intranasal delivery of gene preparations or conventional drugs seems to be very encouraging, although basic scientific research still has to continue.

  4. GeneCards Version 3: the human gene integrator

    PubMed Central

    Safran, Marilyn; Dalah, Irina; Alexander, Justin; Rosen, Naomi; Iny Stein, Tsippi; Shmoish, Michael; Nativ, Noam; Bahir, Iris; Doniger, Tirza; Krug, Hagit; Sirota-Madi, Alexandra; Olender, Tsviya; Golan, Yaron; Stelzer, Gil; Harel, Arye; Lancet, Doron

    2010-01-01

    GeneCards (www.genecards.org) is a comprehensive, authoritative compendium of annotative information about human genes, widely used for nearly 15 years. Its gene-centric content is automatically mined and integrated from over 80 digital sources, resulting in a web-based deep-linked card for each of >73 000 human gene entries, encompassing the following categories: protein coding, pseudogene, RNA gene, genetic locus, cluster and uncategorized. We now introduce GeneCards Version 3, featuring a speedy and sophisticated search engine and a revamped, technologically enabling infrastructure, catering to the expanding needs of biomedical researchers. A key focus is on gene-set analyses, which leverage GeneCards’ unique wealth of combinatorial annotations. These include the GeneALaCart batch query facility, which tabulates user-selected annotations for multiple genes and GeneDecks, which identifies similar genes with shared annotations, and finds set-shared annotations by descriptor enrichment analysis. Such set-centric features address a host of applications, including microarray data analysis, cross-database annotation mapping and gene-disorder associations for drug targeting. We highlight the new Version 3 database architecture, its multi-faceted search engine, and its semi-automated quality assurance system. Data enhancements include an expanded visualization of gene expression patterns in normal and cancer tissues, an integrated alternative splicing pattern display, and augmented multi-source SNPs and pathways sections. GeneCards now provides direct links to gene-related research reagents such as antibodies, recombinant proteins, DNA clones and inhibitory RNAs and features gene-related drugs and compounds lists. We also portray the GeneCards Inferred Functionality Score annotation landscape tool for scoring a gene’s functional information status. Finally, we delineate examples of applications and collaborations that have benefited from the GeneCards suite

  5. FunGene: the functional gene pipeline and repository

    PubMed Central

    Fish, Jordan A.; Chai, Benli; Wang, Qiong; Sun, Yanni; Brown, C. Titus; Tiedje, James M.; Cole, James R.

    2013-01-01

    Ribosomal RNA genes have become the standard molecular markers for microbial community analysis for good reasons, including universal occurrence in cellular organisms, availability of large databases, and ease of rRNA gene region amplification and analysis. As markers, however, rRNA genes have some significant limitations. The rRNA genes are often present in multiple copies, unlike most protein-coding genes. The slow rate of change in rRNA genes means that multiple species sometimes share identical 16S rRNA gene sequences, while many more species share identical sequences in the short 16S rRNA regions commonly analyzed. In addition, the genes involved in many important processes are not distributed in a phylogenetically coherent manner, potentially due to gene loss or horizontal gene transfer. While rRNA genes remain the most commonly used markers, key genes in ecologically important pathways, e.g., those involved in carbon and nitrogen cycling, can provide important insights into community composition and function not obtainable through rRNA analysis. However, working with ecofunctional gene data requires some tools beyond those required for rRNA analysis. To address this, our Functional Gene Pipeline and Repository (FunGene; http://fungene.cme.msu.edu/) offers databases of many common ecofunctional genes and proteins, as well as integrated tools that allow researchers to browse these collections and choose subsets for further analysis, build phylogenetic trees, test primers and probes for coverage, and download aligned sequences. Additional FunGene tools are specialized to process coding gene amplicon data. For example, FrameBot produces frameshift-corrected protein and DNA sequences from raw reads while finding the most closely related protein reference sequence. These tools can help provide better insight into microbial communities by directly studying key genes involved in important ecological processes. PMID:24101916

  6. SEX-STEROID AND THYROID HORMONE CONCENTRATIONS IN JUVENILE ALLIGATORS (ALLIGATOR MISSISSIPPIENSIS) FROM CONTAMINATED AND REFERENCE LAKES IN FLORIDA, USA

    EPA Science Inventory

    Sex-steroid and thyroid hormones are critical regulators of growth and reproduction in all vertebrates, and several recent studies suggest that environmental chemicals can alter circulating concentrations of these hormones. This study examines plasma concentrations of estradiol-...

  7. IDENTIFICATION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF ESTROGEN AND PROGESTERONE RECEPTORS FROM THE OVIDUCT OF THE AMERICAN ALLIGATOR (ALLIGATOR MISSISSIPPIENSIS). (R824760)

    EPA Science Inventory

    The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Concl...

  8. ALTERATIONS IN SEXUALLY DIMORPHIC BIOTRANSFORMATION OF TESTOSTERONE IN JUVENILE AMERICAN ALLIGATORS (ALLIGATOR MISSISSIPPIENSIS) FROM CONTAMINATED LAKES. (R826129)

    EPA Science Inventory

    The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Concl...

  9. Human DNA repair genes.

    PubMed

    Wood, R D; Mitchell, M; Sgouros, J; Lindahl, T

    2001-02-16

    Cellular DNA is subjected to continual attack, both by reactive species inside cells and by environmental agents. Toxic and mutagenic consequences are minimized by distinct pathways of repair, and 130 known human DNA repair genes are described here. Notable features presently include four enzymes that can remove uracil from DNA, seven recombination genes related to RAD51, and many recently discovered DNA polymerases that bypass damage, but only one system to remove the main DNA lesions induced by ultraviolet light. More human DNA repair genes will be found by comparison with model organisms and as common folds in three-dimensional protein structures are determined. Modulation of DNA repair should lead to clinical applications including improvement of radiotherapy and treatment with anticancer drugs and an advanced understanding of the cellular aging process. PMID:11181991

  10. Frequent gene conversion between human red and green opsin genes.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Z; Hewett-Emmett, D; Li, W H

    1998-04-01

    To study the evolution of human X-linked red and green opsin genes, genomic sequences in large regions of the two genes were compared. The divergences in introns 3, 4, and 5 and the 3' flanking sequence of the two genes are significantly lower than those in exons 4 and 5. The homogenization mechanism of introns and the 3' flanking sequence of human red and green opsin genes is probably gene conversion, which also occurred in exons 1 and 6. At least one gene conversion event occurred in each of three regions (1, 3, and 5) in the sequences compared. In conclusion, gene conversion has occurred frequently between human red and green opsin genes, but exons 2, 3, 4, and 5 have been maintained distinct between the two genes by natural selection.

  11. Neighboring Genes Show Correlated Evolution in Gene Expression

    PubMed Central

    Ghanbarian, Avazeh T.; Hurst, Laurence D.

    2015-01-01

    When considering the evolution of a gene’s expression profile, we commonly assume that this is unaffected by its genomic neighborhood. This is, however, in contrast to what we know about the lack of autonomy between neighboring genes in gene expression profiles in extant taxa. Indeed, in all eukaryotic genomes genes of similar expression-profile tend to cluster, reflecting chromatin level dynamics. Does it follow that if a gene increases expression in a particular lineage then the genomic neighbors will also increase in their expression or is gene expression evolution autonomous? To address this here we consider evolution of human gene expression since the human-chimp common ancestor, allowing for both variation in estimation of current expression level and error in Bayesian estimation of the ancestral state. We find that in all tissues and both sexes, the change in gene expression of a focal gene on average predicts the change in gene expression of neighbors. The effect is highly pronounced in the immediate vicinity (<100 kb) but extends much further. Sex-specific expression change is also genomically clustered. As genes increasing their expression in humans tend to avoid nuclear lamina domains and be enriched for the gene activator 5-hydroxymethylcytosine, we conclude that, most probably owing to chromatin level control of gene expression, a change in gene expression of one gene likely affects the expression evolution of neighbors, what we term expression piggybacking, an analog of hitchhiking. PMID:25743543

  12. Genes and Vocal Learning

    PubMed Central

    White, Stephanie A.

    2009-01-01

    Could a mutation in a single gene be the evolutionary lynchpin supporting the development of human language? A rare mutation in the molecule known as FOXP2 discovered in a human family seemed to suggest so, and its sequence phylogeny reinforced a Chomskian view that language emerged wholesale in humans. Spurred by this discovery, research in primates, rodents and birds suggests that FoxP2 and other language-related genes are interactors in the neuromolecular networks that underlie subsystems of language, such symbolic understanding, vocal learning and theory of mind. The whole picture will only come together through comparative and integrative study into how the human language singularity evolved. PMID:19913899

  13. The gene tree delusion.

    PubMed

    Springer, Mark S; Gatesy, John

    2016-01-01

    Higher-level relationships among placental mammals are mostly resolved, but several polytomies remain contentious. Song et al. (2012) claimed to have resolved three of these using shortcut coalescence methods (MP-EST, STAR) and further concluded that these methods, which assume no within-locus recombination, are required to unravel deep-level phylogenetic problems that have stymied concatenation. Here, we reanalyze Song et al.'s (2012) data and leverage these re-analyses to explore key issues in systematics including the recombination ratchet, gene tree stoichiometry, the proportion of gene tree incongruence that results from deep coalescence versus other factors, and simulations that compare the performance of coalescence and concatenation methods in species tree estimation. Song et al. (2012) reported an average locus length of 3.1 kb for the 447 protein-coding genes in their phylogenomic dataset, but the true mean length of these loci (start codon to stop codon) is 139.6 kb. Empirical estimates of recombination breakpoints in primates, coupled with consideration of the recombination ratchet, suggest that individual coalescence genes (c-genes) approach ∼12 bp or less for Song et al.'s (2012) dataset, three to four orders of magnitude shorter than the c-genes reported by these authors. This result has general implications for the application of coalescence methods in species tree estimation. We contend that it is illogical to apply coalescence methods to complete protein-coding sequences. Such analyses amalgamate c-genes with different evolutionary histories (i.e., exons separated by >100,000 bp), distort true gene tree stoichiometry that is required for accurate species tree inference, and contradict the central rationale for applying coalescence methods to difficult phylogenetic problems. In addition, Song et al.'s (2012) dataset of 447 genes includes 21 loci with switched taxonomic names, eight duplicated loci, 26 loci with non-homologous sequences that are

  14. The gene tree delusion.

    PubMed

    Springer, Mark S; Gatesy, John

    2016-01-01

    Higher-level relationships among placental mammals are mostly resolved, but several polytomies remain contentious. Song et al. (2012) claimed to have resolved three of these using shortcut coalescence methods (MP-EST, STAR) and further concluded that these methods, which assume no within-locus recombination, are required to unravel deep-level phylogenetic problems that have stymied concatenation. Here, we reanalyze Song et al.'s (2012) data and leverage these re-analyses to explore key issues in systematics including the recombination ratchet, gene tree stoichiometry, the proportion of gene tree incongruence that results from deep coalescence versus other factors, and simulations that compare the performance of coalescence and concatenation methods in species tree estimation. Song et al. (2012) reported an average locus length of 3.1 kb for the 447 protein-coding genes in their phylogenomic dataset, but the true mean length of these loci (start codon to stop codon) is 139.6 kb. Empirical estimates of recombination breakpoints in primates, coupled with consideration of the recombination ratchet, suggest that individual coalescence genes (c-genes) approach ∼12 bp or less for Song et al.'s (2012) dataset, three to four orders of magnitude shorter than the c-genes reported by these authors. This result has general implications for the application of coalescence methods in species tree estimation. We contend that it is illogical to apply coalescence methods to complete protein-coding sequences. Such analyses amalgamate c-genes with different evolutionary histories (i.e., exons separated by >100,000 bp), distort true gene tree stoichiometry that is required for accurate species tree inference, and contradict the central rationale for applying coalescence methods to difficult phylogenetic problems. In addition, Song et al.'s (2012) dataset of 447 genes includes 21 loci with switched taxonomic names, eight duplicated loci, 26 loci with non-homologous sequences that are

  15. Huntington's disease gene located.

    PubMed

    Kolata, G

    1983-11-25

    Investigators have found a restriction enzyme marker, a piece of DNA that can be located with recombinant DNA techniques, that is so close to the Huntington's disease gene that its presence can be used as an indicator for that gene. If this marker is used as a diagnostic test for Huntington's disease, people at risk for getting the disease will be able to learn whether or not they will in fact develop the disease. The ability to predict the inevitable onset of this progressive, degenerative disease raises ethical questions about counseling, screening, and disclosure of risk status to patients and family members.

  16. Gene therapy: progress and predictions

    PubMed Central

    Collins, Mary; Thrasher, Adrian

    2015-01-01

    The first clinical gene delivery, which involved insertion of a marker gene into lymphocytes from cancer patients, was published 25 years ago. In this review, we describe progress since then in gene therapy. Patients with some inherited single-gene defects can now be treated with their own bone marrow stem cells that have been engineered with a viral vector carrying the missing gene. Patients with inherited retinopathies and haemophilia B can also be treated by local or systemic injection of viral vectors. There are also a number of promising gene therapy approaches for cancer and infectious disease. We predict that the next 25 years will see improvements in safety, efficacy and manufacture of gene delivery vectors and introduction of gene-editing technologies to the clinic. Gene delivery may also prove a cost-effective method for the delivery of biological medicines. PMID:26702034

  17. Gene Characterization Index: Assessing the Depth of Gene Annotation

    PubMed Central

    Yusuf, Dimas; Brumm, Jochen; Cheung, Warren; Wahlestedt, Claes; Lenhard, Boris; Wasserman, Wyeth W.

    2008-01-01

    Background We introduce the Gene Characterization Index, a bioinformatics method for scoring the extent to which a protein-encoding gene is functionally described. Inherently a reflection of human perception, the Gene Characterization Index is applied for assessing the characterization status of individual genes, thus serving the advancement of both genome annotation and applied genomics research by rapid and unbiased identification of groups of uncharacterized genes for diverse applications such as directed functional studies and delineation of novel drug targets. Methodology/Principal Findings The scoring procedure is based on a global survey of researchers, who assigned characterization scores from 1 (poor) to 10 (extensive) for a sample of genes based on major online resources. By evaluating the survey as training data, we developed a bioinformatics procedure to assign gene characterization scores to all genes in the human genome. We analyzed snapshots of functional genome annotation over a period of 6 years to assess temporal changes reflected by the increase of the average Gene Characterization Index. Applying the Gene Characterization Index to genes within pharmaceutically relevant classes, we confirmed known drug targets as high-scoring genes and revealed potentially interesting novel targets with low characterization indexes. Removing known drug targets and genes linked to sequence-related patent filings from the entirety of indexed genes, we identified sets of low-scoring genes particularly suited for further experimental investigation. Conclusions/Significance The Gene Characterization Index is intended to serve as a tool to the scientific community and granting agencies for focusing resources and efforts on unexplored areas of the genome. The Gene Characterization Index is available from http://cisreg.ca/gci/. PMID:18213364

  18. Naming genes beyond Caenorhabditis

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The nomenclature of genes in Caenorhabditis elegans is based on long-standing, successful guidelines established in the late 1970s. Over time these guidelines have matured into a comprehensive, systematic nomenclature that is easy to apply, descriptive and therefore highly informative. Recently, a f...

  19. Gene targeting in livestock.

    PubMed

    Thomson, A J; Marques, M M; McWhir, J

    2003-01-01

    The development of nuclear transfer from tissue culture cells in livestock made it possible in principle to produce animals with subtle, directed genetic changes by in vitro modification of nuclear donor cells. In the short period since nuclear transfer was first performed, gene targeting in livestock has become a reality. Although gene targeting has immediate potential in biotechnology, it is unclear whether there are practical agricultural applications, at present. The first livestock targeting experiments have been directed at engineering animals either to render their organs immunologically compatible for human transplantation, or for improving the commercial production of recombinant proteins in the transgenic mammary gland. All successful examples of targeting have involved target loci that are expressed in the nuclear donor cell line. Two important barriers to the further development of this technology are adapting protocols for non-expressed genes and modifying procedures to enhance the lifespan of targeted cells in vitro. This review provides data that illustrate the difficulty in targeting non-expressed genes and discusses some of the practical issues associated with providing targeted nuclear donor cells that are competent for nuclear transfer.

  20. Inferring horizontal gene transfer.

    PubMed

    Ravenhall, Matt; Škunca, Nives; Lassalle, Florent; Dessimoz, Christophe

    2015-05-01

    Horizontal or Lateral Gene Transfer (HGT or LGT) is the transmission of portions of genomic DNA between organisms through a process decoupled from vertical inheritance. In the presence of HGT events, different fragments of the genome are the result of different evolutionary histories. This can therefore complicate the investigations of evolutionary relatedness of lineages and species. Also, as HGT can bring into genomes radically different genotypes from distant lineages, or even new genes bearing new functions, it is a major source of phenotypic innovation and a mechanism of niche adaptation. For example, of particular relevance to human health is the lateral transfer of antibiotic resistance and pathogenicity determinants, leading to the emergence of pathogenic lineages. Computational identification of HGT events relies upon the investigation of sequence composition or evolutionary history of genes. Sequence composition-based ("parametric") methods search for deviations from the genomic average, whereas evolutionary history-based ("phylogenetic") approaches identify genes whose evolutionary history significantly differs from that of the host species. The evaluation and benchmarking of HGT inference methods typically rely upon simulated genomes, for which the true history is known. On real data, different methods tend to infer different HGT events, and as a result it can be difficult to ascertain all but simple and clear-cut HGT events. PMID:26020646

  1. Gene-Environment Interdependence

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rutter, Michael

    2007-01-01

    Behavioural genetics was initially concerned with partitioning population variance into that due to genetics and that due to environmental influences. The implication was that the two were separate and it was assumed that gene-environment interactions were usually of so little importance that they could safely be ignored. Theoretical…

  2. Zmspds2 maize gene

    PubMed Central

    Rodríguez-Kessler, Margarita

    2008-01-01

    During the last decade, growing evidence has arisen referring the importance of the proper regulation of plant polyamine metabolism in the response to stress conditions. Being the activation of signaling pathways, the stabilization of anionic molecules and prevention of their degradation, as well as the free radical scavenger properties of polyamines some possible mechanisms exerted by these amines. Accumulation of polyamines (putrescine, spermidine and spermine) has been associated to plant tolerance to a wide array of environmental stresses. The synthesis of spermidine and spermine is mediated by aminopropyltransferases (spermidine and spermine synthases) which constitute a class of widely distributed enzymes that use decarboxylated S-adenosylmethionine as an aminopropyl donor, and putrescine or spermidine as an amino acceptor. We recently reported the effect of salt stress on the expression of aminopropyltransferase genes in maize seedlings. Our data revealed a time and NaCl dependent regulation of the Zmspds2 and Zmspds1 genes, possibly mediated by abscisic acid, since these genes were regulated at the transcriptional level by this plant hormone. In this addendum, we show that the Zmspds2 gene initially classified as spermidine synthase might encode a spermine synthase based on an in silico analysis. This is discussed in terms of protein homologies and specific amino acid substitutions between aminopropyltransferase enzymes. PMID:19704464

  3. Rhabdovirus accessory genes.

    PubMed

    Walker, Peter J; Dietzgen, Ralf G; Joubert, D Albert; Blasdell, Kim R

    2011-12-01

    The Rhabdoviridae is one of the most ecologically diverse families of RNA viruses with members infecting a wide range of organisms including placental mammals, marsupials, birds, reptiles, fish, insects and plants. The availability of complete nucleotide sequences for an increasing number of rhabdoviruses has revealed that their ecological diversity is reflected in the diversity and complexity of their genomes. The five canonical rhabdovirus structural protein genes (N, P, M, G and L) that are shared by all rhabdoviruses are overprinted, overlapped and interspersed with a multitude of novel and diverse accessory genes. Although not essential for replication in cell culture, several of these genes have been shown to have roles associated with pathogenesis and apoptosis in animals, and cell-to-cell movement in plants. Others appear to be secreted or have the characteristics of membrane-anchored glycoproteins or viroporins. However, most encode proteins of unknown function that are unrelated to any other known proteins. Understanding the roles of these accessory genes and the strategies by which rhabdoviruses use them to engage, divert and re-direct cellular processes will not only present opportunities to develop new anti-viral therapies but may also reveal aspects of cellar function that have broader significance in biology, agriculture and medicine.

  4. Genes and Vocal Learning

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    White, Stephanie A.

    2010-01-01

    Could a mutation in a single gene be the evolutionary lynchpin supporting the development of human language? A rare mutation in the molecule known as FOXP2 discovered in a human family seemed to suggest so, and its sequence phylogeny reinforced a Chomskian view that language emerged wholesale in humans. Spurred by this discovery, research in…

  5. Inferring Horizontal Gene Transfer

    PubMed Central

    Lassalle, Florent; Dessimoz, Christophe

    2015-01-01

    Horizontal or Lateral Gene Transfer (HGT or LGT) is the transmission of portions of genomic DNA between organisms through a process decoupled from vertical inheritance. In the presence of HGT events, different fragments of the genome are the result of different evolutionary histories. This can therefore complicate the investigations of evolutionary relatedness of lineages and species. Also, as HGT can bring into genomes radically different genotypes from distant lineages, or even new genes bearing new functions, it is a major source of phenotypic innovation and a mechanism of niche adaptation. For example, of particular relevance to human health is the lateral transfer of antibiotic resistance and pathogenicity determinants, leading to the emergence of pathogenic lineages [1]. Computational identification of HGT events relies upon the investigation of sequence composition or evolutionary history of genes. Sequence composition-based ("parametric") methods search for deviations from the genomic average, whereas evolutionary history-based ("phylogenetic") approaches identify genes whose evolutionary history significantly differs from that of the host species. The evaluation and benchmarking of HGT inference methods typically rely upon simulated genomes, for which the true history is known. On real data, different methods tend to infer different HGT events, and as a result it can be difficult to ascertain all but simple and clear-cut HGT events. PMID:26020646

  6. Genes in mammalian reproduction

    SciTech Connect

    Gwatkin, R.B.L.

    1996-11-01

    This is an informative book which deals mainly with genomic imprinting, the role of steroid hormones in development, the expression of a variety of genes during development and the link to hereditary diseases. It is an up-to-date review in a field that is quickly changing and provides valuable basic information and current research trends.

  7. Airway gene therapy.

    PubMed

    Davies, Jane C; Alton, Eric W F W

    2005-01-01

    Given both the accessibility and the genetic basis of several pulmonary diseases, the lungs and airways initially seemed ideal candidates for gene therapy. Several routes of access are available, many of which have been refined and optimized for nongene drug delivery. Two respiratory diseases, cystic fibrosis (CF) and alpha1-antitrypsin (alpha1-AT) deficiency, are relatively common; the single gene responsible has been identified and current treatment strategies are not curative. This type of inherited disease was the obvious initial target for gene therapy, but it has become clear that nongenetic and acquired diseases, including cancer, may also be amenable to this approach. The majority of preclinical and clinical studies in the airway have involved viral vectors, although for diseases such as CF, likely to require repeated application, non-viral delivery systems have clear advantages. However, with both approaches a range of barriers to gene expression have been identified that are limiting success in the airway and alveolar region. This chapter reviews these issues, strategies aimed at overcoming them, and progress into clinical trials with non-viral vectors in a variety of pulmonary diseases.

  8. Gene stacking by recombinases

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Efficient methods of stacking genes into plant genomes are needed to expedite transfer of multigenic traits into diverse crops grown in a variety of environments. Over two decades of research has identified several site-specific recombinases that carry out efficient cis and trans recombination betw...

  9. Old genes experience stronger translational selection than young genes.

    PubMed

    Yin, Hongyan; Ma, Lina; Wang, Guangyu; Li, Mengwei; Zhang, Zhang

    2016-09-15

    Selection on synonymous codon usage for translation efficiency and/or accuracy has been identified as a widespread mechanism in many living organisms. However, it remains unknown whether translational selection associates closely with gene age and acts differentially on genes with different evolutionary ages. To address this issue, here we investigate the strength of translational selection acting on different aged genes in human. Our results show that old genes present stronger translational selection than young genes, demonstrating that translational selection correlates positively with gene age. We further explore the difference of translational selection in duplicates vs. singletons and in housekeeping vs. tissue-specific genes. We find that translational selection acts comparably in old singletons and old duplicates and stronger translational selection in old genes is contributed primarily by housekeeping genes. For young genes, contrastingly, singletons experience stronger translational selection than duplicates, presumably due to redundant function of duplicated genes during their early evolutionary stage. Taken together, our results indicate that translational selection acting on a gene would not be constant during all stages of evolution, associating closely with gene age.

  10. Genes2FANs: connecting genes through functional association networks

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Protein-protein, cell signaling, metabolic, and transcriptional interaction networks are useful for identifying connections between lists of experimentally identified genes/proteins. However, besides physical or co-expression interactions there are many ways in which pairs of genes, or their protein products, can be associated. By systematically incorporating knowledge on shared properties of genes from diverse sources to build functional association networks (FANs), researchers may be able to identify additional functional interactions between groups of genes that are not readily apparent. Results Genes2FANs is a web based tool and a database that utilizes 14 carefully constructed FANs and a large-scale protein-protein interaction (PPI) network to build subnetworks that connect lists of human and mouse genes. The FANs are created from mammalian gene set libraries where mouse genes are converted to their human orthologs. The tool takes as input a list of human or mouse Entrez gene symbols to produce a subnetwork and a ranked list of intermediate genes that are used to connect the query input list. In addition, users can enter any PubMed search term and then the system automatically converts the returned results to gene lists using GeneRIF. This gene list is then used as input to generate a subnetwork from the user’s PubMed query. As a case study, we applied Genes2FANs to connect disease genes from 90 well-studied disorders. We find an inverse correlation between the counts of links connecting disease genes through PPI and links connecting diseases genes through FANs, separating diseases into two categories. Conclusions Genes2FANs is a useful tool for interpreting the relationships between gene/protein lists in the context of their various functions and networks. Combining functional association interactions with physical PPIs can be useful for revealing new biology and help form hypotheses for further experimentation. Our finding that disease genes in

  11. Industrial scale gene synthesis.

    PubMed

    Notka, Frank; Liss, Michael; Wagner, Ralf

    2011-01-01

    The most recent developments in the area of deep DNA sequencing and downstream quantitative and functional analysis are rapidly adding a new dimension to understanding biochemical pathways and metabolic interdependencies. These increasing insights pave the way to designing new strategies that address public needs, including environmental applications and therapeutic inventions, or novel cell factories for sustainable and reconcilable energy or chemicals sources. Adding yet another level is building upon nonnaturally occurring networks and pathways. Recent developments in synthetic biology have created economic and reliable options for designing and synthesizing genes, operons, and eventually complete genomes. Meanwhile, high-throughput design and synthesis of extremely comprehensive DNA sequences have evolved into an enabling technology already indispensable in various life science sectors today. Here, we describe the industrial perspective of modern gene synthesis and its relationship with synthetic biology. Gene synthesis contributed significantly to the emergence of synthetic biology by not only providing the genetic material in high quality and quantity but also enabling its assembly, according to engineering design principles, in a standardized format. Synthetic biology on the other hand, added the need for assembling complex circuits and large complexes, thus fostering the development of appropriate methods and expanding the scope of applications. Synthetic biology has also stimulated interdisciplinary collaboration as well as integration of the broader public by addressing socioeconomic, philosophical, ethical, political, and legal opportunities and concerns. The demand-driven technological achievements of gene synthesis and the implemented processes are exemplified by an industrial setting of large-scale gene synthesis, describing production from order to delivery.

  12. Endovascular Gene Delivery from a Stent Platform: Gene- Eluting Stents

    PubMed Central

    Fishbein, Ilia; Chorny, Michael; Adamo, Richard F; Forbes, Scott P; Corrales, Ricardo A; Alferiev, Ivan S; Levy, Robert J

    2015-01-01

    A synergistic impact of research in the fields of post-angioplasty restenosis, drug-eluting stents and vascular gene therapy over the past 15 years has shaped the concept of gene-eluting stents. Gene-eluting stents hold promise of overcoming some biological and technical problems inherent to drug-eluting stent technology. As the field of gene-eluting stents matures it becomes evident that all three main design modules of a gene-eluting stent: a therapeutic transgene, a vector and a delivery system are equally important for accomplishing sustained inhibition of neointimal formation in arteries treated with gene delivery stents. This review summarizes prior work on stent-based gene delivery and discusses the main optimization strategies required to move the field of gene-eluting stents to clinical translation. PMID:26225356

  13. Optimal Reference Genes for Gene Expression Normalization in Trichomonas vaginalis.

    PubMed

    dos Santos, Odelta; de Vargas Rigo, Graziela; Frasson, Amanda Piccoli; Macedo, Alexandre José; Tasca, Tiana

    2015-01-01

    Trichomonas vaginalis is the etiologic agent of trichomonosis, the most common non-viral sexually transmitted disease worldwide. This infection is associated with several health consequences, including cervical and prostate cancers and HIV acquisition. Gene expression analysis has been facilitated because of available genome sequences and large-scale transcriptomes in T. vaginalis, particularly using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), one of the most used methods for molecular studies. Reference genes for normalization are crucial to ensure the accuracy of this method. However, to the best of our knowledge, a systematic validation of reference genes has not been performed for T. vaginalis. In this study, the transcripts of nine candidate reference genes were quantified using qRT-PCR under different cultivation conditions, and the stability of these genes was compared using the geNorm and NormFinder algorithms. The most stable reference genes were α-tubulin, actin and DNATopII, and, conversely, the widely used T. vaginalis reference genes GAPDH and β-tubulin were less stable. The PFOR gene was used to validate the reliability of the use of these candidate reference genes. As expected, the PFOR gene was upregulated when the trophozoites were cultivated with ferrous ammonium sulfate when the DNATopII, α-tubulin and actin genes were used as normalizing gene. By contrast, the PFOR gene was downregulated when the GAPDH gene was used as an internal control, leading to misinterpretation of the data. These results provide an important starting point for reference gene selection and gene expression analysis with qRT-PCR studies of T. vaginalis.

  14. Optimal Reference Genes for Gene Expression Normalization in Trichomonas vaginalis.

    PubMed

    dos Santos, Odelta; de Vargas Rigo, Graziela; Frasson, Amanda Piccoli; Macedo, Alexandre José; Tasca, Tiana

    2015-01-01

    Trichomonas vaginalis is the etiologic agent of trichomonosis, the most common non-viral sexually transmitted disease worldwide. This infection is associated with several health consequences, including cervical and prostate cancers and HIV acquisition. Gene expression analysis has been facilitated because of available genome sequences and large-scale transcriptomes in T. vaginalis, particularly using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), one of the most used methods for molecular studies. Reference genes for normalization are crucial to ensure the accuracy of this method. However, to the best of our knowledge, a systematic validation of reference genes has not been performed for T. vaginalis. In this study, the transcripts of nine candidate reference genes were quantified using qRT-PCR under different cultivation conditions, and the stability of these genes was compared using the geNorm and NormFinder algorithms. The most stable reference genes were α-tubulin, actin and DNATopII, and, conversely, the widely used T. vaginalis reference genes GAPDH and β-tubulin were less stable. The PFOR gene was used to validate the reliability of the use of these candidate reference genes. As expected, the PFOR gene was upregulated when the trophozoites were cultivated with ferrous ammonium sulfate when the DNATopII, α-tubulin and actin genes were used as normalizing gene. By contrast, the PFOR gene was downregulated when the GAPDH gene was used as an internal control, leading to misinterpretation of the data. These results provide an important starting point for reference gene selection and gene expression analysis with qRT-PCR studies of T. vaginalis. PMID:26393928

  15. Optimal Reference Genes for Gene Expression Normalization in Trichomonas vaginalis

    PubMed Central

    dos Santos, Odelta; de Vargas Rigo, Graziela; Frasson, Amanda Piccoli; Macedo, Alexandre José; Tasca, Tiana

    2015-01-01

    Trichomonas vaginalis is the etiologic agent of trichomonosis, the most common non-viral sexually transmitted disease worldwide. This infection is associated with several health consequences, including cervical and prostate cancers and HIV acquisition. Gene expression analysis has been facilitated because of available genome sequences and large-scale transcriptomes in T. vaginalis, particularly using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), one of the most used methods for molecular studies. Reference genes for normalization are crucial to ensure the accuracy of this method. However, to the best of our knowledge, a systematic validation of reference genes has not been performed for T. vaginalis. In this study, the transcripts of nine candidate reference genes were quantified using qRT-PCR under different cultivation conditions, and the stability of these genes was compared using the geNorm and NormFinder algorithms. The most stable reference genes were α-tubulin, actin and DNATopII, and, conversely, the widely used T. vaginalis reference genes GAPDH and β-tubulin were less stable. The PFOR gene was used to validate the reliability of the use of these candidate reference genes. As expected, the PFOR gene was upregulated when the trophozoites were cultivated with ferrous ammonium sulfate when the DNATopII, α-tubulin and actin genes were used as normalizing gene. By contrast, the PFOR gene was downregulated when the GAPDH gene was used as an internal control, leading to misinterpretation of the data. These results provide an important starting point for reference gene selection and gene expression analysis with qRT-PCR studies of T. vaginalis. PMID:26393928

  16. Dominance from the perspective of gene-gene and gene-chemical interactions.

    PubMed

    Gladki, Arkadiusz; Zielenkiewicz, Piotr; Kaczanowski, Szymon

    2016-02-01

    In this study, we used genetic interaction (GI) and gene-chemical interaction (GCI) data to compare mutations with different dominance phenotypes. Our analysis focused primarily on Saccharomyces cerevisiae, where haploinsufficient genes (HI; genes with dominant loss-of-function mutations) were found to be participating in gene expression processes, namely, the translation and regulation of gene transcription. Non-ribosomal HI genes (mainly regulators of gene transcription) were found to have more GIs and GCIs than haplosufficient (HS) genes. Several properties seem to lead to the enrichment of interactions, most notably, the following: importance, pleiotropy, gene expression level and gene expression variation. Importantly, after these properties were appropriately considered in the analysis, the correlation between dominance and GI/GCI degrees was still observed. Strikingly, for the GCIs of heterozygous strains, haploinsufficiency was the only property significantly correlated with the number of GCIs. We found ribosomal HI genes to be depleted in GIs/GCIs. This finding can be explained by their high variation in gene expression under different genetic backgrounds and environmental conditions. We observed the same distributions of GIs among non-ribosomal HI, ribosomal HI and HS genes in three other species: Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Drosophila melanogaster and Homo sapiens. One potentially interesting exception was the lack of significant differences in the degree of GIs between non-ribosomal HI and HS genes in Schizosaccharomyces pombe.

  17. Avirulence Genes in Cereal Powdery Mildews: The Gene-for-Gene Hypothesis 2.0.

    PubMed

    Bourras, Salim; McNally, Kaitlin E; Müller, Marion C; Wicker, Thomas; Keller, Beat

    2016-01-01

    The gene-for-gene hypothesis states that for each gene controlling resistance in the host, there is a corresponding, specific gene controlling avirulence in the pathogen. Allelic series of the cereal mildew resistance genes Pm3 and Mla provide an excellent system for genetic and molecular analysis of resistance specificity. Despite this opportunity for molecular research, avirulence genes in mildews remain underexplored. Earlier work in barley powdery mildew (B.g. hordei) has shown that the reaction to some Mla resistance alleles is controlled by multiple genes. Similarly, several genes are involved in the specific interaction of wheat mildew (B.g. tritici) with the Pm3 allelic series. We found that two mildew genes control avirulence on Pm3f: one gene is involved in recognition by the resistance protein as demonstrated by functional studies in wheat and the heterologous host Nicotiana benthamiana. A second gene is a suppressor, and resistance is only observed in mildew genotypes combining the inactive suppressor and the recognized Avr. We propose that such suppressor/avirulence gene combinations provide the basis of specificity in mildews. Depending on the particular gene combinations in a mildew race, different genes will be genetically identified as the "avirulence" gene. Additionally, the observation of two LINE retrotransposon-encoded avirulence genes in B.g. hordei further suggests that the control of avirulence in mildew is more complex than a canonical gene-for-gene interaction. To fully understand the mildew-cereal interactions, more knowledge on avirulence determinants is needed and we propose ways how this can be achieved based on recent advances in the field.

  18. Avirulence Genes in Cereal Powdery Mildews: The Gene-for-Gene Hypothesis 2.0

    PubMed Central

    Bourras, Salim; McNally, Kaitlin E.; Müller, Marion C.; Wicker, Thomas; Keller, Beat

    2016-01-01

    The gene-for-gene hypothesis states that for each gene controlling resistance in the host, there is a corresponding, specific gene controlling avirulence in the pathogen. Allelic series of the cereal mildew resistance genes Pm3 and Mla provide an excellent system for genetic and molecular analysis of resistance specificity. Despite this opportunity for molecular research, avirulence genes in mildews remain underexplored. Earlier work in barley powdery mildew (B.g. hordei) has shown that the reaction to some Mla resistance alleles is controlled by multiple genes. Similarly, several genes are involved in the specific interaction of wheat mildew (B.g. tritici) with the Pm3 allelic series. We found that two mildew genes control avirulence on Pm3f: one gene is involved in recognition by the resistance protein as demonstrated by functional studies in wheat and the heterologous host Nicotiana benthamiana. A second gene is a suppressor, and resistance is only observed in mildew genotypes combining the inactive suppressor and the recognized Avr. We propose that such suppressor/avirulence gene combinations provide the basis of specificity in mildews. Depending on the particular gene combinations in a mildew race, different genes will be genetically identified as the “avirulence” gene. Additionally, the observation of two LINE retrotransposon-encoded avirulence genes in B.g. hordei further suggests that the control of avirulence in mildew is more complex than a canonical gene-for-gene interaction. To fully understand the mildew–cereal interactions, more knowledge on avirulence determinants is needed and we propose ways how this can be achieved based on recent advances in the field. PMID:26973683

  19. Chapter 15: Disease Gene Prioritization

    PubMed Central

    Bromberg, Yana

    2013-01-01

    Disease-causing aberrations in the normal function of a gene define that gene as a disease gene. Proving a causal link between a gene and a disease experimentally is expensive and time-consuming. Comprehensive prioritization of candidate genes prior to experimental testing drastically reduces the associated costs. Computational gene prioritization is based on various pieces of correlative evidence that associate each gene with the given disease and suggest possible causal links. A fair amount of this evidence comes from high-throughput experimentation. Thus, well-developed methods are necessary to reliably deal with the quantity of information at hand. Existing gene prioritization techniques already significantly improve the outcomes of targeted experimental studies. Faster and more reliable techniques that account for novel data types are necessary for the development of new diagnostics, treatments, and cure for many diseases. PMID:23633938

  20. Evolutionary genomics: transdomain gene transfers.

    PubMed

    Bordenstein, Seth R

    2007-11-01

    Biologists have until now conceded that bacterial gene transfer to multicellular animals is relatively uncommon in Nature. A new study showing promiscuous insertions of bacterial endosymbiont genes into invertebrate genomes ushers in a shift in this paradigm.

  1. Gene Therapy for Lung Cancer.

    PubMed

    Lara-Guerra, Humberto; Roth, Jack A

    2016-01-01

    Gene therapy was originally conceived to treat monogenic diseases. The replacement of a defective gene with a functional gene can theoretically cure the disease. In cancer, multiple genetic defects are present and the molecular profile changes during the course of the disease, making the replacement of all defective genes impossible. To overcome these difficulties, various gene therapy strategies have been adopted, including immune stimulation, transfer of suicide genes, inhibition of driver oncogenes, replacement of tumor-suppressor genes that could mediate apoptosis or anti-angiogenesis, and transfer of genes that enhance conventional treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Some of these strategies have been tested successfully in non-small-cell lung cancer patients and the results of laboratory studies and clinical trials are reviewed herein. PMID:27481008

  2. Gene Testing for Hereditary Ataxia

    MedlinePlus

    ... have a family history of ataxia, but diagnostic tests for known ataxia genes cannot explain the ataxia in their family. In recent years, scientists have developed technologies to sequence thousands of genes at the same ...

  3. RNA-mediated gene activation

    PubMed Central

    Jiao, Alan L; Slack, Frank J

    2014-01-01

    The regulation of gene expression by non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) has become a new paradigm in biology. RNA-mediated gene silencing pathways have been studied extensively, revealing diverse epigenetic and posttranscriptional mechanisms. In contrast, the roles of ncRNAs in activating gene expression remains poorly understood. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of gene activation by small RNAs, long non-coding RNAs, and enhancer-derived RNAs, with an emphasis on epigenetic mechanisms. PMID:24185374

  4. Gene expression technology

    SciTech Connect

    Goeddel, D.V. )

    1990-01-01

    The articles in this volume were assemble to enable the reader to design effective strategies for the expression of cloned genes and cDNAs. More than a compilation of papers describing the multitude of techniques now available for expressing cloned genes, this volume provides a manual that should prove useful for solving the majority of expression problems one likely to encounter. The four major expression systems commonly available to most investigators are stressed: Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, yeast, and mammalian cells. Each of these system has its advantages and disadvantages, details of which are found in Chapter 1 and the strategic overviews for the four major sections of the volume. The papers in each of these sections provide many suggestions on how to proceed if initial expression levels are not sufficient.

  5. Brains, Genes and Primates

    PubMed Central

    Belmonte, Juan Carlos Izpisua; Callaway, Edward M.; Churchland, Patricia; Caddick, Sarah J.; Feng, Guoping; Homanics, Gregg E.; Lee, Kuo-Fen; Leopold, David A.; Miller, Cory T.; Mitchell, Jude F.; Mitalipov, Shoukhrat; Moutri, Alysson R.; Movshon, J. Anthony; Okano, Hideyuki; Reynolds, John H.; Ringach, Dario; Sejnowski, Terrence J.; Silva, Afonso C.; Strick, Peter L.; Wu, Jun; Zhang, Feng

    2015-01-01

    One of the great strengths of the mouse model is the wide array of genetic tools that have been developed. Striking examples include methods for directed modification of the genome, and for regulated expression or inactivation of genes. Within neuroscience, it is now routine to express reporter genes, neuronal activity indicators and opsins in specific neuronal types in the mouse. However, there are considerable anatomical, physiological, cognitive and behavioral differences between the mouse and the human that, in some areas of inquiry, limit the degree to which insights derived from the mouse can be applied to understanding human neurobiology. Several recent advances have now brought into reach the goal of applying these tools to understanding the primate brain. Here we describe these advances, consider their potential to advance our understanding of the human brain and brain disorders, discuss bioethical considerations, and describe what will be needed to move forward. PMID:25950631

  6. Agrobacterium virulence gene induction.

    PubMed

    Gelvin, Stanton B

    2006-01-01

    The ability of Agrobacterium to transform plants and other organisms is under highly regulated genetic control. Two Virulence (Vir) proteins, VirA and VirG, function as a two-component regulatory system to sense particular phenolic compounds synthesized by wounded plant tissues. Induction by these phenolic compounds, in the presence of certain neutral or acid sugars, results in activation of other vir genes, leading to the processing of T-DNA from the Ti-plasmid and transfer of T-DNA to recipient host cells. Many plant, and most nonplant, species do not provide sufficient quantities of the correct phenolic compounds to permit efficient Agrobacterium-mediated genetic transformation to occur. In order to transform these species, phenolic inducing compounds must be added to agrobacteria before and/or during cocultivation of recipient cells with the bacteria. This chapter discusses conditions for efficient induction of Agrobacterium virulence genes by phenolic compounds. PMID:16988335

  7. Graphene based gene transfection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feng, Liangzhu; Zhang, Shuai; Liu, Zhuang

    2011-03-01

    Graphene as a star in materials research has been attracting tremendous attentions in the past few years in various fields including biomedicine. In this work, for the first time we successfully use graphene as a non-toxic nano-vehicle for efficient gene transfection. Graphene oxide (GO) is bound with cationic polymers, polyethyleneimine (PEI) with two different molecular weights at 1.2 kDa and 10 kDa, forming GO-PEI-1.2k and GO-PEG-10k complexes, respectively, both of which are stable in physiological solutions. Cellular toxicity tests reveal that our GO-PEI-10k complex exhibits significantly reduced toxicity to the treated cells compared to the bare PEI-10k polymer. The positively charged GO-PEI complexes are able to further bind with plasmid DNA (pDNA) for intracellular transfection of the enhanced green fluorescence protein (EGFP) gene in HeLa cells. While EGFP transfection with PEI-1.2k appears to be ineffective, high EGFP expression is observed using the corresponding GO-PEI-1.2k as the transfection agent. On the other hand, GO-PEI-10k shows similar EGFP transfection efficiency but lower toxicity compared with PEI-10k. Our results suggest graphene to be a novel gene delivery nano-vector with low cytotoxicity and high transfection efficiency, promising for future applications in non-viral based gene therapy.Graphene as a star in materials research has been attracting tremendous attentions in the past few years in various fields including biomedicine. In this work, for the first time we successfully use graphene as a non-toxic nano-vehicle for efficient gene transfection. Graphene oxide (GO) is bound with cationic polymers, polyethyleneimine (PEI) with two different molecular weights at 1.2 kDa and 10 kDa, forming GO-PEI-1.2k and GO-PEG-10k complexes, respectively, both of which are stable in physiological solutions. Cellular toxicity tests reveal that our GO-PEI-10k complex exhibits significantly reduced toxicity to the treated cells compared to the bare PEI

  8. ToppGene Suite for gene list enrichment analysis and candidate gene prioritization

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Jing; Bardes, Eric E.; Aronow, Bruce J.; Jegga, Anil G.

    2009-01-01

    ToppGene Suite (http://toppgene.cchmc.org; this web site is free and open to all users and does not require a login to access) is a one-stop portal for (i) gene list functional enrichment, (ii) candidate gene prioritization using either functional annotations or network analysis and (iii) identification and prioritization of novel disease candidate genes in the interactome. Functional annotation-based disease candidate gene prioritization uses a fuzzy-based similarity measure to compute the similarity between any two genes based on semantic annotations. The similarity scores from individual features are combined into an overall score using statistical meta-analysis. A P-value of each annotation of a test gene is derived by random sampling of the whole genome. The protein–protein interaction network (PPIN)-based disease candidate gene prioritization uses social and Web networks analysis algorithms (extended versions of the PageRank and HITS algorithms, and the K-Step Markov method). We demonstrate the utility of ToppGene Suite using 20 recently reported GWAS-based gene–disease associations (including novel disease genes) representing five diseases. ToppGene ranked 19 of 20 (95%) candidate genes within the top 20%, while ToppNet ranked 12 of 16 (75%) candidate genes among the top 20%. PMID:19465376

  9. Independent Gene Discovery and Testing

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Palsule, Vrushalee; Coric, Dijana; Delancy, Russell; Dunham, Heather; Melancon, Caleb; Thompson, Dennis; Toms, Jamie; White, Ashley; Shultz, Jeffry

    2010-01-01

    A clear understanding of basic gene structure is critical when teaching molecular genetics, the central dogma and the biological sciences. We sought to create a gene-based teaching project to improve students' understanding of gene structure and to integrate this into a research project that can be implemented by instructors at the secondary level…

  10. nanosheets for gene therapy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kou, Zhongyang; Wang, Xin; Yuan, Renshun; Chen, Huabin; Zhi, Qiaoming; Gao, Ling; Wang, Bin; Guo, Zhaoji; Xue, Xiaofeng; Cao, Wei; Guo, Liang

    2014-10-01

    A new class of two-dimensional (2D) nanomaterial, transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs) such as MoS2, MoSe2, WS2, and WSe2 which have fantastic physical and chemical properties, has drawn tremendous attention in different fields recently. Herein, we for the first time take advantage of the great potential of MoS2 with well-engineered surface as a novel type of 2D nanocarriers for gene delivery and therapy of cancer. In our system, positively charged MoS2-PEG-PEI is synthesized with lipoic acid-modified polyethylene glycol (LA-PEG) and branched polyethylenimine (PEI). The amino end of positively charged nanomaterials can bind to the negatively charged small interfering RNA (siRNA). After detection of physical and chemical characteristics of the nanomaterial, cell toxicity was evaluated by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) was investigated as a well-known oncogene, which was a critical regulator of cell cycle transmission at multiple levels. Through knockdown of PLK1 with siRNA carried by novel nanovector, qPCR and Western blot were used to measure the interfering efficiency; apoptosis assay was used to detect the transfection effect of PLK1. All results showed that the novel nanocarrier revealed good biocompatibility, reduced cytotoxicity, as well as high gene-carrying ability without serum interference, thus would have great potential for gene delivery and therapy.

  11. From SNPs to Genes: Disease Association at the Gene Level

    PubMed Central

    Lehne, Benjamin; Lewis, Cathryn M.; Schlitt, Thomas

    2011-01-01

    Interpreting Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) at a gene level is an important step towards understanding the molecular processes that lead to disease. In order to incorporate prior biological knowledge such as pathways and protein interactions in the analysis of GWAS data it is necessary to derive one measure of association for each gene. We compare three different methods to obtain gene-wide test statistics from Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) based association data: choosing the test statistic from the most significant SNP; the mean test statistics of all SNPs; and the mean of the top quartile of all test statistics. We demonstrate that the gene-wide test statistics can be controlled for the number of SNPs within each gene and show that all three methods perform considerably better than expected by chance at identifying genes with confirmed associations. By applying each method to GWAS data for Crohn's Disease and Type 1 Diabetes we identified new potential disease genes. PMID:21738570

  12. Physical methods for gene transfer.

    PubMed

    Alsaggar, Mohammad; Liu, Dexi

    2015-01-01

    The key impediment to the successful application of gene therapy in clinics is not the paucity of therapeutic genes. It is rather the lack of nontoxic and efficient strategies to transfer therapeutic genes into target cells. Over the past few decades, considerable progress has been made in gene transfer technologies, and thus far, three different delivery systems have been developed with merits and demerits characterizing each system. Viral and chemical methods of gene transfer utilize specialized carrier to overcome membrane barrier and facilitate gene transfer into cells. Physical methods, on the other hand, utilize various forms of mechanical forces to enforce gene entry into cells. Starting in 1980s, physical methods have been introduced as alternatives to viral and chemical methods to overcome various extra- and intracellular barriers that limit the amount of DNA reaching the intended cells. Accumulating evidence suggests that it is quite feasible to directly translocate genes into cytoplasm or even nuclei of target cells by means of mechanical force, bypassing endocytosis, a common pathway for viral and nonviral vectors. Indeed, several methods have been developed, and the majority of them share the same underlying mechanism of gene transfer, i.e., physically created transient pores in cell membrane through which genes get into cells. Here, we provide an overview of the current status and future research directions in the field of physical methods of gene transfer.

  13. Horizontal gene transfer in choanoflagellates.

    PubMed

    Tucker, Richard P

    2013-01-01

    Horizontal gene transfer (HGT), also known as lateral gene transfer, results in the rapid acquisition of genes from another organism. HGT has long been known to be a driving force in speciation in prokaryotes, and there is evidence for HGT from symbiotic and infectious bacteria to metazoans, as well as from protists to bacteria. Recently, it has become clear that as many as a 1,000 genes in the genome of the choanoflagellate Monosiga brevicollis may have been acquired by HGT. Interestingly, these genes reportedly come from algae, bacteria, and other choanoflagellate prey. Some of these genes appear to have allowed an ancestral choanoflagellate to exploit nutrient-poor environments and were not passed on to metazoan descendents. However, some of these genes are also found in animal genomes, suggesting that HGT into a common ancestor of choanozoans and animals may have contributed to metazoan evolution.

  14. RANGE: Gene Transfer of Reversibly Controlled Polycistronic Genes

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Yiwei; Cao, Liji; Luo, Chonglin; Ditzel, Désirée AW; Peter, Jörg; Sprengel, Rolf

    2013-01-01

    We developed a single vector recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV) expression system for spatial and reversible control of polycistronic gene expression. Our approach (i) integrates the advantages of the tetracycline (Tet)-controlled transcriptional silencer tTSKid and the self-cleaving 2A peptide bridge, (ii) combines essential regulatory components as an autoregulatory loop, (iii) simplifies the gene delivery scheme, and (iv) regulates multiple genes in a synchronized manner. Controlled by an upstream Tet-responsive element (TRE), both the ubiquitous chicken β-actin promoter (CAG) and the neuron-specific synapsin-1 promoter (Syn) could regulate expression of tTSKid together with two 2A-linked reporter genes. Transduction in vitro exhibited maximally 50-fold regulation by doxycycline (Dox). Determined by gene delivery method as well as promoter, highly specific tissues were transduced in vivo. Bioluminescence imaging (BLI) visualized reversible “ON/OFF” gene switches over repeated “Doxy-Cycling” in living mice. Thus, the reversible rAAV-mediated N-cistronic gene expression system, termed RANGE, may serve as a versatile tool to achieve reversible polycistronic gene regulation for the study of gene function as well as gene therapy. PMID:23571608

  15. Diseases originate and terminate by genes: unraveling nonviral gene delivery.

    PubMed

    Swami, Rajan; Singh, Indu; Khan, Wahid; Ramakrishna, Sistla

    2013-12-01

    The world is driving in to the era of transformation of chemical therapeutic molecules to biological genetic material therapeutics, and that is where the biological drugs especially "genes" come into existence. These genes worked as "magical bullets" to specifically silence faulty genes responsible for progression of diseases. Viral gene delivery research is far ahead of nonviral gene delivery technique. However, with more advancement in polymer science, new ways are opening for better and efficient nonviral gene delivery. But efficient delivery method is always considered as a bottleneck for gene delivery as success of which will decide the fate of gene in cells. During the past decade, it became evident that extracellular as well as intracellular barriers compromise the transfection efficiency of nonviral vectors. The challenge for gene therapy research is to pinpoint the rate-limiting steps in this complex process and implement strategies to overcome the biological physiochemical and metabolic barriers encountered during targeting. The synergy between studies that investigate the mechanism of breaking in and breaking out of nonviral gene delivery carrier through various extracellular and intracellular barriers with desired characteristics will enable the rational design of vehicles and revolutionize the treatment of various diseases.

  16. The Gene Wiki: community intelligence applied to human gene annotation.

    PubMed

    Huss, Jon W; Lindenbaum, Pierre; Martone, Michael; Roberts, Donabel; Pizarro, Angel; Valafar, Faramarz; Hogenesch, John B; Su, Andrew I

    2010-01-01

    Annotating the function of all human genes is a critical, yet formidable, challenge. Current gene annotation efforts focus on centralized curation resources, but it is increasingly clear that this approach does not scale with the rapid growth of the biomedical literature. The Gene Wiki utilizes an alternative and complementary model based on the principle of community intelligence. Directly integrated within the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, the goal of this effort is to build a gene-specific review article for every gene in the human genome, where each article is collaboratively written, continuously updated and community reviewed. Previously, we described the creation of Gene Wiki 'stubs' for approximately 9000 human genes. Here, we describe ongoing systematic improvements to these articles to increase their utility. Moreover, we retrospectively examine the community usage and improvement of the Gene Wiki, providing evidence of a critical mass of users and editors. Gene Wiki articles are freely accessible within the Wikipedia web site, and additional links and information are available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:Gene_Wiki.

  17. Five New Genes Linked to Colon Cancer

    MedlinePlus

    ... More Health News on: Colorectal Cancer Genes and Gene Therapy Recent Health News Related MedlinePlus Health Topics Colorectal Cancer Genes and Gene Therapy About MedlinePlus Site Map FAQs Contact Us Get ...

  18. Breast cancer susceptibility genes.

    PubMed

    Lubinski, Jan; Korzen, Marcin; Gorski, Bohdan; Cybulski, Cezary; Debniak, Tadeusz; Jakubowska, Anna; Medrek, Krzysztof; Matyjasik, Joanna; Huzarski, Tomasz; Byrski, Tomasz; Gronwald, Jacek; Masojc, Bartlomiej; Lener, Marcin; Szymanska, Anna; Szymanska-Pasternak, Jolanta; Fernandez, Pablo Serrano; Wokolorczyk, Dominika; Piegat, Andrzej; Ucinski, Michal; Domagala, Pawel; Kladny, Jozef; Gorecka, Barbara; Scott, Rodney; Narod, Steven

    2007-09-01

    In 1999 it has been recognized that 3 BRCA1 abnormalities - 5382insC, C61G and 4153delA - constitute almost 90% of all germline mutations of this gene in Poland. Due to the above findings we started performing the cheap and quick large scale testing for BRCA1 mutations and, these days, we have almost 4,000 carriers diagnosed and under direct or indirect supervision what is probably the largest number in the world. Additionally, the above results pushed us to hypothesize that genetic homogeneity will be seen in Poland in studies of other genes. Actually, the next studies allowed us to identify genes / changes associated with moderate / low breast cancer risk and showed, similarly to BRCA1, high level of genetic homogeneity. This series included BRCA2, C5972T, CHEK2 del5395; 1100delC, I157T or IVS2 + 1G > A, CDKN2A (p16) A148T, XPD Asp312Asn and Lys751Gln, CYP1B1 R48G, A119S and L43V. The results of the above studies led us in 2004 already to hypothesize that >90% of all cancers have genetic (constitutional) background. Two years later we were able to show a panel of markers covering 92% of consecutive breast cancers in Poland, and we formulated the hypothesis that all cancers have a genetic background. These days we are demonstrating for the first time that genetic components to malignancy play a role in all cancers. We are presenting it on examples of late-onset breast cancers from Poland, but it seems to be justified to expect that similar results can be achieved from other malignancies. PMID:17935274

  19. Gene transfer: transduction.

    PubMed

    Frangipani, Emanuela

    2014-01-01

    Bacteriophages able to propagate on Pseudomonas strains are very common and can be easily isolated from natural environments or lysogenic strains. The development of transducing systems has allowed bacterial geneticists to perform chromosome analyses and mutation mapping. Moreover, these systems have also been proved to be a successful tool for molecular microbiologists to introduce a foreign gene or a mutation into the chromosome of a bacterial cell. This chapter provides a description of the phage methodology illustrated by Adams in 1959 and applicable to strain PAO1 derivatives. PMID:24818891

  20. MYCN Gene Amplification

    PubMed Central

    Yoshimoto, Maisa; Caminada de Toledo, Silvia Regina; Monteiro Caran, Eliana Maria; de Seixas, Maria Teresa; de Martino Lee, Maria Lucia; de Campos Vieira Abib, Simone; Vianna, Sonia Maria Rossi; Schettini, Sergio Thomaz; Anderson Duffles Andrade, Joyce

    1999-01-01

    Neuroblastoma is the second most common solid tumor occurring in children. Amplification of the MYCN oncogene is associated with poor prognosis. To identify neuroblastoma tumors with MYCN amplification, we studied the number of copies of MYCN in interphase cells by fluorescence in situ hybridization in 20 neuroblastoma patients. MYCN amplification appeared in 7 tumor specimens. Interphase and metaphase studies showed a tumor cell population with both forms of amplification, double minutes and homogeneously staining regions, in two patients. These patients showed a smaller tumor cell subpopulation with the presence of more than one homogeneously staining region, suggesting that gene amplification was undergoing karyotype evolution. PMID:10550298

  1. Computation in gene networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ben-Hur, Asa; Siegelmann, Hava T.

    2004-03-01

    Genetic regulatory networks have the complex task of controlling all aspects of life. Using a model of gene expression by piecewise linear differential equations we show that this process can be considered as a process of computation. This is demonstrated by showing that this model can simulate memory bounded Turing machines. The simulation is robust with respect to perturbations of the system, an important property for both analog computers and biological systems. Robustness is achieved using a condition that ensures that the model equations, that are generally chaotic, follow a predictable dynamics.

  2. Human AZU-1 gene, variants thereof and expressed gene products

    DOEpatents

    Chen, Huei-Mei; Bissell, Mina

    2004-06-22

    A human AZU-1 gene, mutants, variants and fragments thereof. Protein products encoded by the AZU-1 gene and homologs encoded by the variants of AZU-1 gene acting as tumor suppressors or markers of malignancy progression and tumorigenicity reversion. Identification, isolation and characterization of AZU-1 and AZU-2 genes localized to a tumor suppressive locus at chromosome 10q26, highly expressed in nonmalignant and premalignant cells derived from a human breast tumor progression model. A recombinant full length protein sequences encoded by the AZU-1 gene and nucleotide sequences of AZU-1 and AZU-2 genes and variant and fragments thereof. Monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies specific to AZU-1, AZU-2 encoded protein and to AZU-1, or AZU-2 encoded protein homologs.

  3. Imprinting genes associated with endometriosis

    PubMed Central

    Kobayashi, Hiroshi

    2014-01-01

    Purpose: Much work has been carried out to investigate the genetic and epigenetic basis of endometriosis and proposed that endometriosis has been described as an epigenetic disease. The purpose of this study was to extract the imprinting genes that are associated with endometriosis development. Methods: The information on the imprinting genes can be accessed publicly from a web-based interface at http://www.geneimprint.com/site/genes-by-species. Results: In the current version, the database contains 150 human imprinted genes derived from the literature. We searched gene functions and their roles in particular biological processes or events, such as development and pathogenesis of endometriosis. From the genomic imprinting database, we picked 10 genes that were highly associated with female reproduction; prominent among them were paternally expressed genes (DIRAS3, BMP8B, CYP1B1, ZFAT, IGF2, MIMT1, or MIR296) and maternally expressed genes (DVL1, FGFRL1, or CDKN1C). These imprinted genes may be associated with reproductive biology such as endometriosis, pregnancy loss, decidualization process and preeclampsia. Discussion: This study supports the possibility that aberrant epigenetic dysregulation of specific imprinting genes may contribute to endometriosis predisposition. PMID:26417259

  4. Vectors for cancer gene therapy.

    PubMed

    Zhang, J; Russell, S J

    1996-09-01

    Many viral and non-viral vector systems have now been developed for gene therapy applications. In this article, the pros and cons of these vector systems are discussed in relation to the different cancer gene therapy strategies. The protocols used in cancer gene therapy can be broadly divided into six categories including gene transfer to explanted cells for use as cell-based cancer vaccines; gene transfer to a small number of tumour cells in situ to achieve a vaccine effect; gene transfer to vascular endothelial cells (VECs) lining the blood vessels of the tumour to interfere with tumour angiogenesis; gene transfer to T lymphocytes to enhance their antitumour effector capability; gene transfer to haemopoietic stem cells (HSCs) to enhance their resistance to cytotoxic drugs and gene transfer to a large number of tumour cells in situ to achieve nonimmune tumour reduction with or without bystander effect. Each of the six strategies makes unique demands on the vector system and these are discussed with reference to currently available vectors. Aspects of vector biology that are in need of further development are discussed in some detail. The final section points to the potential use of replicating viruses as delivery vehicles for efficient in vivo gene transfer to disseminated cancers.

  5. The Zebrafish Annexin Gene Family

    PubMed Central

    Farber, Steven A.; De Rose, Robert A.; Olson, Eric S.; Halpern, Marnie E.

    2003-01-01

    The Annexins (ANXs) are a family of calcium- and phospholipid-binding proteins that have been implicated in many cellular processes, including channel formation, membrane fusion, vesicle transport, and regulation of phospholipase A2 activity. As a first step toward understanding in vivo function, we have cloned 11 zebrafish anx genes. Four genes (anx1a, anx2a, anx5,and anx11a) were identified by screening a zebrafish cDNA library with a Xenopus anx2 fragment. For these genes, full-length cDNA sequences were used to cluster 212 EST sequences generated by the Zebrafish Genome Resources Project. The EST analysis revealed seven additional anx genes that were subsequently cloned. The genetic map positions of all 11 genes were determined by using a zebrafish radiation hybrid panel. Sequence and syntenic relationships between zebrafish and human genes indicate that the 11 genes represent orthologs of human anx1,2,4,5,6,11,13,and suggest that several zebrafish anx genes resulted from duplications that arose after divergence of the zebrafish and mammalian genomes. Zebrafish anx genes are expressed in a wide range of tissues during embryonic and larval stages. Analysis of the expression patterns of duplicated genes revealed both redundancy and divergence, with the most similar genes having almost identical tissue-specific patterns of expression and with less similar duplicates showing no overlap. The differences in gene expression of recently duplicated anx genes could explain why highly related paralogs were maintained in the genome and did not rapidly become pseudogenes. PMID:12799347

  6. Learning About Gene Regulatory Networks From Gene Deletion Experiments

    PubMed Central

    Brazma, Alvis

    2002-01-01

    Gene regulatory networks are a major focus of interest in molecular biology. A crucial question is how complex regulatory systems are encoded and controlled by the genome. Three recent publications have raised the question of what can be learned about gene regulatory networks from microarray experiments on gene deletion mutants. Using this indirect approach, topological features such as connectivity and modularity have been studied. PMID:18629255

  7. Ancient origins of axial patterning genes: Hox genes and ParaHox genes in the Cnidaria.

    PubMed

    Finnerty, J R; Martindale, M Q

    1999-01-01

    Among the bilaterally symmetrical, triploblastic animals (the Bilateria), a conserved set of developmental regulatory genes are known to function in patterning the anterior-posterior (AP) axis. This set includes the well-studied Hox cluster genes, and the recently described genes of the ParaHox cluster, which is believed to be the evolutionary sister of the Hox cluster (Brooke et al. 1998). The conserved role of these axial patterning genes in animals as diverse as frogs and flies is believed to reflect an underlying homology (i.e., all bilaterians derive from a common ancestor which possessed an AP axis and the developmental mechanisms responsible for patterning the axis). However, the origin and early evolution of Hox genes and ParaHox genes remain obscure. Repeated attempts have been made to reconstruct the early evolution of Hox genes by analyzing data from the triphoblastic animals, the Bilateria (Schubert et al. 1993; Zhang and Nei 1996). A more precise dating of Hox origins has been elusive due to a lack of sufficient information from outgroup taxa such as the phylum Cnidaria (corals, hydras, jellyfishes, and sea anemones). In combination with outgroup taxa, another potential source of information about Hox origins is outgroup genes (e.g., the genes of the ParaHox cluster). In this article, we present cDNA sequences of two Hox-like genes (anthox2 and anthox6) from the sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that anthox2 (= Cnox2) is homologous to the GSX class of ParaHox genes, and anthox6 is homologous to the anterior class of Hox genes. Therefore, the origin of Hox genes and ParaHox genes occurred prior to the evolutionary split between the Cnidaria and the Bilateria and predated the evolution of the anterior-posterior axis of bilaterian animals. Our analysis also suggests that the central Hox class was invented in the bilaterian lineage, subsequent to their split from the Cnidaria.

  8. Identifying driver genes in cancer by triangulating gene expression, gene location, and survival data.

    PubMed

    Rouam, Sigrid; Miller, Lance D; Karuturi, R Krishna Murthy

    2014-01-01

    Driver genes are directly responsible for oncogenesis and identifying them is essential in order to fully understand the mechanisms of cancer. However, it is difficult to delineate them from the larger pool of genes that are deregulated in cancer (ie, passenger genes). In order to address this problem, we developed an approach called TRIAngulating Gene Expression (TRIAGE through clinico-genomic intersects). Here, we present a refinement of this approach incorporating a new scoring methodology to identify putative driver genes that are deregulated in cancer. TRIAGE triangulates - or integrates - three levels of information: gene expression, gene location, and patient survival. First, TRIAGE identifies regions of deregulated expression (ie, expression footprints) by deriving a newly established measure called the Local Singular Value Decomposition (LSVD) score for each locus. Driver genes are then distinguished from passenger genes using dual survival analyses. Incorporating measurements of gene expression and weighting them according to the LSVD weight of each tumor, these analyses are performed using the genes located in significant expression footprints. Here, we first use simulated data to characterize the newly established LSVD score. We then present the results of our application of this refined version of TRIAGE to gene expression data from five cancer types. This refined version of TRIAGE not only allowed us to identify known prominent driver genes, such as MMP1, IL8, and COL1A2, but it also led us to identify several novel ones. These results illustrate that TRIAGE complements existing tools, allows for the identification of genes that drive cancer and could perhaps elucidate potential future targets of novel anticancer therapeutics.

  9. Ancient origins of axial patterning genes: Hox genes and ParaHox genes in the Cnidaria.

    PubMed

    Finnerty, J R; Martindale, M Q

    1999-01-01

    Among the bilaterally symmetrical, triploblastic animals (the Bilateria), a conserved set of developmental regulatory genes are known to function in patterning the anterior-posterior (AP) axis. This set includes the well-studied Hox cluster genes, and the recently described genes of the ParaHox cluster, which is believed to be the evolutionary sister of the Hox cluster (Brooke et al. 1998). The conserved role of these axial patterning genes in animals as diverse as frogs and flies is believed to reflect an underlying homology (i.e., all bilaterians derive from a common ancestor which possessed an AP axis and the developmental mechanisms responsible for patterning the axis). However, the origin and early evolution of Hox genes and ParaHox genes remain obscure. Repeated attempts have been made to reconstruct the early evolution of Hox genes by analyzing data from the triphoblastic animals, the Bilateria (Schubert et al. 1993; Zhang and Nei 1996). A more precise dating of Hox origins has been elusive due to a lack of sufficient information from outgroup taxa such as the phylum Cnidaria (corals, hydras, jellyfishes, and sea anemones). In combination with outgroup taxa, another potential source of information about Hox origins is outgroup genes (e.g., the genes of the ParaHox cluster). In this article, we present cDNA sequences of two Hox-like genes (anthox2 and anthox6) from the sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that anthox2 (= Cnox2) is homologous to the GSX class of ParaHox genes, and anthox6 is homologous to the anterior class of Hox genes. Therefore, the origin of Hox genes and ParaHox genes occurred prior to the evolutionary split between the Cnidaria and the Bilateria and predated the evolution of the anterior-posterior axis of bilaterian animals. Our analysis also suggests that the central Hox class was invented in the bilaterian lineage, subsequent to their split from the Cnidaria. PMID:11324016

  10. Genes and causation.

    PubMed

    Noble, Denis

    2008-09-13

    Relating genotypes to phenotypes is problematic not only owing to the extreme complexity of the interactions between genes, proteins and high-level physiological functions but also because the paradigms for genetic causality in biological systems are seriously confused. This paper examines some of the misconceptions, starting with the changing definitions of a gene, from the cause of phenotype characters to the stretches of DNA. I then assess whether the 'digital' nature of DNA sequences guarantees primacy in causation compared to non-DNA inheritance, whether it is meaningful or useful to refer to genetic programs, and the role of high-level (downward) causation. The metaphors that served us well during the molecular biological phase of recent decades have limited or even misleading impacts in the multilevel world of systems biology. New paradigms are needed if we are to succeed in unravelling multifactorial genetic causation at higher levels of physiological function and so to explain the phenomena that genetics was originally about. Because it can solve the 'genetic differential effect problem', modelling of biological function has an essential role to play in unravelling genetic causation.

  11. Gene set enrichment analysis.

    PubMed

    Tilford, Charles A; Siemers, Nathan O

    2009-01-01

    Set enrichment analytical methods have become commonplace tools applied to the analysis and interpretation of biological data. The statistical techniques are used to identify categorical biases within lists of genes, proteins, or metabolites. The goal is to discover the shared functions or properties of the biological items represented within the lists. Application of these methods can provide great biological insight, including the discovery of participation in the same biological activity or pathway, shared interacting genes or regulators, common cellular compartmentalization, or association with disease. The methods require ordered or unordered lists of biological items as input, understanding of the reference set from which the lists were selected, categorical classifiers describing the items, and a statistical algorithm to assess bias of each classifier. Due to the complexity of most algorithms and the number of calculations performed, computer software is almost always used for execution of the algorithm, as well as for presentation of the results. This chapter will provide an overview of the statistical methods used to perform an enrichment analysis. Guidelines for assembly of the requisite information will be presented, with a focus on careful definition of the sets used by the statistical algorithms. The need for multiple test correction when working with large libraries of classifiers is emphasized, and we outline several options for performing the corrections. Finally, interpreting the results of such analysis will be discussed along with examples of recent research utilizing the techniques.

  12. Tetraspanin genes in plants.

    PubMed

    Wang, Feng; Vandepoele, Klaas; Van Lijsebettens, Mieke

    2012-07-01

    Tetraspanins represent a four-transmembrane protein superfamily with a conserved structure and amino acid residues that are present in mammals, insects, fungi and plants. Tetraspanins interact with each other or with other membrane proteins to form tetraspanin-enriched microdomains that play important roles in development, pathogenesis and immune responses via facilitating cell-cell adhesion and fusion, ligand binding and intracellular trafficking. Here, we emphasize evolutionary aspects within the plant kingdom based on genomic sequence information. A phylogenetic tree based on 155 tetraspanin genes of 11 plant species revealed ancient and fast evolving clades. Tetraspanins were only present in multicellular plants, were often duplicated in the plant genomes and predicted by the electronic Fluorescent Pictograph for gene expression analysis to be either functionally redundant or divergent. Tetraspanins contain a large extracellular loop with conserved cysteines that provide the binding sites for the interactions. The Arabidopsis thaliana TETRASPANIN1/TORNADO2/EKEKO has a function in leaf and root patterning and TETRASPANIN3 was identified in the plasmodesmatal proteome, suggesting a role in cell-cell communication during plant development.

  13. Genes of aging.

    PubMed

    Hamet, Pavel; Tremblay, Johanne

    2003-10-01

    According to developmental genetics theories, aging is a genetically programmed and controlled continuum of development and maturation. Being dynamic and malleable processes, development and aging are controlled not only by genes but also by environmental and epigenetic influences that predominate in the second half of life. Genetic mutations affect many phenotypes in flies, worms, rodents, and humans which share several diseases or their equivalents, including cancer, neurodegeneration, and infectious disorders as well as their susceptibility to them. Life span and stress resistance are closely linked. Oxidative stress actually constitutes a defined hypothesis of aging in that macromolecule oxidative damage accumulates with age and tends to be associated with life expectancy. DNA methylation, a force in the regulation of gene expression, is also one of the biomarkers of genetic damage. The mitotic clock of aging is marked, if not guided, by telomeres, essential genetic elements stabilizing natural chromosomic ends. The dream of humans to live longer, healthy lives is being tested by attempts to modify longevity in animal models, frequently by dietary manipulation. The quest continues to understand the mechanisms of healthy aging, one of the most compelling areas of research in the 21st century. PMID:14577056

  14. Adenoviral vector-mediated gene transfer for human gene therapy.

    PubMed

    Breyer, B; Jiang, W; Cheng, H; Zhou, L; Paul, R; Feng, T; He, T C

    2001-07-01

    Human gene therapy promises to change the practice of medicine by treating the causes of disease rather than the symptoms. Since the first clinical trial made its debut ten years ago, there are over 400 approved protocols in the United States alone, most of which have failed to show convincing data of clinical efficacy. This setback is largely due to the lack of efficient and adequate gene transfer vehicles. With the recent progress in elucidating the molecular mechanisms of human diseases and the imminent arrival of the post genomic era, there are increasing numbers of therapeutic genes or targets that are available for gene therapy. Therefore, the urgency and need for efficacious gene therapies are greater than ever. Clearly, the current fundamental obstacle is to develop delivery vectors that exhibit high efficacy and specificity of gene transfer. Recombinant adenoviruses have provided a versatile system for gene expression studies and therapeutic applications. Of late, there has been a remarkable increase in adenoviral vector-based clinical trials. Recent endeavors in the development of recombinant adenoviral vectors have focused on modification of virus tropism, accommodation of larger genes, increase in stability and control of transgene expression, and down-modulation of host immune responses. These modifications and continued improvements in adenoviral vectors will provide a great opportunity for human gene therapy to live up to its enormous potential in the second decade.

  15. Bacteriophage phiX174: gene A overlaps gene B.

    PubMed Central

    Weisbeek, P J; Borrias, W E; Langeveld, S A; Baas, P D; Van Arkel, G A

    1977-01-01

    The map position of several phiX174 mutations in the genes A and B was determined by marker rescue with DNA fragments produced by the restriction enzymes Hha I, HindII, Hae III, and Alu I. All the gene B mutants were found to be located within gene A. Genetic complementation and analysis of phage-specific protein synthesis show that, under restrictive conditions, nonsense mutants in gene A do not block the synthesis and activity of the B protein and nonsense mutants in gene B do not affect the gene A function. The map position of the COOH-terminal end of gene A was determined using an amber mutant that synthesizes slightly shortened A and A proteins. It is concluded from these experiments that gene A overlaps gene B completely (or almost completely) and that the overlap region can be translated in two ways with different reading frames: one frame for the synthesis of the A and A proteins and another for the synthesis of the B protein. Images PMID:267943

  16. Gene-targeting pharmaceuticals for single-gene disorders.

    PubMed

    Beaudet, Arthur L; Meng, Linyan

    2016-04-15

    The concept of orphan drugs for treatment of orphan genetic diseases is perceived enthusiastically at present, and this is leading to research investment on the part of governments, disease-specific foundations and industry. This review attempts to survey the potential to use traditional pharmaceuticals as opposed to biopharmaceuticals to treat single-gene disorders. The available strategies include the use of antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) to alter splicing or knock-down expression of a transcript, siRNAs to knock-down gene expression and drugs for nonsense mutation read-through. There is an approved drug for biallelic knock-down of the APOB gene as treatment for familial hypercholesterolemia. Both ASOs and siRNAs are being explored to knock-down the transthyretin gene to prevent the related form of amyloidosis. The use of ASOs to alter gene-splicing to treat spinal muscular atrophy is in phase 3 clinical trials. Work is progressing on the use of ASOs to activate the normally silent paternal copy of the imprinted UBE3A gene in neurons as a treatment for Angelman syndrome. A gene-activation or gene-specific ramp-up strategy would be generally helpful if such could be developed. There is exciting theoretical potential for converting biopharmaceutical strategies such gene correction and CRISPR-Cas9 editing to a synthetic pharmaceutical approach. PMID:26628634

  17. Sexually antagonistic genes: experimental evidence.

    PubMed

    Rice, W R

    1992-06-01

    When selection differs between the sexes, a mutation beneficial to one sex may be harmful to the other (sexually antagonistic). Because the sexes share a common gene pool, selection in one sex can interfere with the other's adaptive evolution. Theory predicts that sexually antagonistic mutations should accumulate in tight linkage with a new sex-determining gene, even when the harm to benefit ratio is high. Genetic markers and artificial selection were used to make a pair of autosomal genes segregate like a new pair of sex-determining genes in a Drosophila melanogaster model system. A 29-generation study provides experimental evidence that sexually antagonistic genes may be common in nature and will accumulate in response to a new sex-determining gene. PMID:1604317

  18. Gene Therapy for Cartilage Repair

    PubMed Central

    Madry, Henning; Orth, Patrick; Cucchiarini, Magali

    2011-01-01

    The concept of using gene transfer strategies for cartilage repair originates from the idea of transferring genes encoding therapeutic factors into the repair tissue, resulting in a temporarily and spatially defined delivery of therapeutic molecules to sites of cartilage damage. This review focuses on the potential benefits of using gene therapy approaches for the repair of articular cartilage and meniscal fibrocartilage, including articular cartilage defects resulting from acute trauma, osteochondritis dissecans, osteonecrosis, and osteoarthritis. Possible applications for meniscal repair comprise meniscal lesions, meniscal sutures, and meniscal transplantation. Recent studies in both small and large animal models have demonstrated the applicability of gene-based approaches for cartilage repair. Chondrogenic pathways were stimulated in the repair tissue and in osteoarthritic cartilage using genes for polypeptide growth factors and transcription factors. Although encouraging data have been generated, a successful translation of gene therapy for cartilage repair will require an ongoing combined effort of orthopedic surgeons and of basic scientists. PMID:26069580

  19. Gene targeting with retroviral vectors

    SciTech Connect

    Ellis, J.; Bernstein, A. )

    1989-04-01

    The authors have designed and constructed integration-defective retroviral vectors to explore their potential for gene targeting in mammalian cells. Two nonoverlapping deletion mutants of the bacterial neomycin resistance (neo) gene were used to detect homologous recombination events between viral and chromosomal sequences. Stable neo gene correction events were selected at a frequency of approximately 1 G418/sup r/ cell per 3 x 10/sup 6/ infected cells. Analysis of the functional neo gene in independent targeted cell clones indicated that unintegrated retroviral linear DNA recombined with the target by gene conversion for variable distances into regions of nonhomology. In addition, transient neo gene correction events which were associated with the complete loss of the chromosomal target sequences were observed. These results demonstrated that retroviral vectors can recombine with homologous chromosomal sequences in rodent and human cells.

  20. The coalescent with gene conversion.

    PubMed Central

    Wiuf, C; Hein, J

    2000-01-01

    In this article we develop a coalescent model with intralocus gene conversion. The distribution of the tract length is geometric in concordance with results published in the literature. We derive a simulation scheme and deduce a number of analytical results for this coalescent with gene conversion. We compare patterns of variability in samples simulated according to the coalescent with recombination with similar patterns simulated according to the coalescent with gene conversion alone. Further, an expression for the expected number of topology shifts in a sample of present-day sequences caused by gene conversion events is derived. PMID:10790416

  1. Serial analysis of gene expression.

    PubMed

    Velculescu, V E; Zhang, L; Vogelstein, B; Kinzler, K W

    1995-10-20

    The characteristics of an organism are determined by the genes expressed within it. A method was developed, called serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE), that allows the quantitative and simultaneous analysis of a large number of transcripts. To demonstrate this strategy, short diagnostic sequence tags were isolated from pancreas, concatenated, and cloned. Manual sequencing of 1000 tags revealed a gene expression pattern characteristic of pancreatic function. New pancreatic transcripts corresponding to novel tags were identified. SAGE should provide a broadly applicable means for the quantitative cataloging and comparison of expressed genes in a variety of normal, developmental, and disease states. PMID:7570003

  2. Method for cloning genes

    SciTech Connect

    Weissman, S.M.; Pereira, D.; Sood, A.

    1988-04-19

    This patent describes a recombinant cloning vehicle comprising an inserted human gene, the improvement wherein the cloning vehicle is isolated from a recombinant clone which is isolated and identified by a process comprising the steps of: (a) effecting cDNA synthesis on a mixture of mRNAs containing a target mRNA coding for a major hisitocompatibility antigen, and isolating the resultant cDNA mixture; (b) inserting the resultant cDNA into recombinant cloning vehicles, and transforming hosts with the vehicles; and (c) separating the transformants and isolating and identifying a recombinant clone containing a DNA segment which is homologous over at least a portion thereof to at least one oligonucleotide probe specific for the DNA segment.

  3. New genes for boys

    SciTech Connect

    Sinclair, A.H.

    1995-11-01

    Sex is a fascinating topic, particularly at the level of molecular genetics, since it represents a wonderful paradigm for mammalian organ development. Recently, interest in the molecular basis for mammalian sex determination has been heating up as new pieces are added to the jigsaw puzzle of testis development. In mammals, the Y chromosome is male determining and encodes a gene referred to as TDF (testis-determining factor), which induces the indifferent embryonic gonad to develop as a testis. Subsequent male sexual differentiation is largely a consequence of hormonal secretion from the testis. In the absence of the Y chromosome, the testis-determining pathway fails to be initiated, and the embryonic gonad develops as an ovary, resulting in female development. 32 refs.

  4. Copyright and gene technology.

    PubMed

    Coke, Sue

    2002-08-01

    The rapid growth of gene technology and its commercialisation raises concerns for scientific researchers and research institutions wishing to place information in the public domain. This article examines whether copyright laws in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia provide any protection for genetically modified DNA, proteins, and genetically modified organisms, in contrast with any copyright protection extending to a record of the lettering of a sequence representing a series of nucleotides of modified DNA or the amino acids comprising a protein. Whilst it is arguable that protection may be available in the United States and the United Kingdom, it is submitted that it would be difficult to persuade a court in Australia that genetically modified DNA and genetically modified organisms directly constitute "literary" or "artistic" works.

  5. Taste Receptor Genes

    PubMed Central

    Bachmanov, Alexander A.; Beauchamp, Gary K.

    2009-01-01

    In the past several years, tremendous progress has been achieved with the discovery and characterization of vertebrate taste receptors from the T1R and T2R families, which are involved in recognition of bitter, sweet, and umami taste stimuli. Individual differences in taste, at least in some cases, can be attributed to allelic variants of the T1R and T2R genes. Progress with understanding how T1R and T2R receptors interact with taste stimuli and with identifying their patterns of expression in taste cells sheds light on coding of taste information by the nervous system. Candidate mechanisms for detection of salts, acids, fat, complex carbohydrates, and water have also been proposed, but further studies are needed to prove their identity. PMID:17444812

  6. Gene-environment interaction.

    PubMed

    Manuck, Stephen B; McCaffery, Jeanne M

    2014-01-01

    With the advent of increasingly accessible technologies for typing genetic variation, studies of gene-environment (G×E) interactions have proliferated in psychological research. Among the aims of such studies are testing developmental hypotheses and models of the etiology of behavioral disorders, defining boundaries of genetic and environmental influences, and identifying individuals most susceptible to risk exposures or most amenable to preventive and therapeutic interventions. This research also coincides with the emergence of unanticipated difficulties in detecting genetic variants of direct association with behavioral traits and disorders, which may be obscured if genetic effects are expressed only in predisposing environments. In this essay we consider these and other rationales for positing G×E interactions, review conceptual models meant to inform G×E interpretations from a psychological perspective, discuss points of common critique to which G×E research is vulnerable, and address the role of the environment in G×E interactions.

  7. Gene therapy for hemophilia

    PubMed Central

    Rogers, Geoffrey L.; Herzog, Roland W.

    2015-01-01

    Hemophilia is an X-linked inherited bleeding disorder consisting of two classifications, hemophilia A and hemophilia B, depending on the underlying mutation. Although the disease is currently treatable with intravenous delivery of replacement recombinant clotting factor, this approach represents a significant cost both monetarily and in terms of quality of life. Gene therapy is an attractive alternative approach to the treatment of hemophilia that would ideally provide life-long correction of clotting activity with a single injection. In this review, we will discuss the multitude of approaches that have been explored for the treatment of both hemophilia A and B, including both in vivo and ex vivo approaches with viral and nonviral delivery vectors. PMID:25553466

  8. Gene Express Inc.

    PubMed

    Saccomanno, Colette F

    2006-07-01

    Gene Express, Inc. is a technology-licensing company and provider of Standardized Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (StaRT-PCR) services. Designed by and for clinical researchers involved in pharmaceutical, biomarker and molecular diagnostic product development, StaRT-PCR is a unique quantitative and standardized multigene expression measurement platform. StaRT-PCR meets all of the performance characteristics defined by the US FDA as required to support regulatory submissions [101,102] , and by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act of 1988 (CLIA) as necessary to support diagnostic testing [1] . A standardized mixture of internal standards (SMIS), manufactured in bulk, provides integrated quality control wherein each native template target gene is measured relative to a competitive template internal standard. Bulk production enables the compilation of a comprehensive standardized database from across multiple experiments, across collaborating laboratories and across the entire clinical development lifecycle of a given compound or diagnostic product. For the first time, all these data are able to be directly compared. Access to such a database can dramatically shorten the time from investigational new drug (IND) to new drug application (NDA), or save time and money by hastening a substantiated 'no-go' decision. High-throughput StaRT-PCR is conducted at the company's automated Standardized Expression Measurement (SEM) Center. Currently optimized for detection on a microcapillary electrophoretic platform, StaRT-PCR products also may be analyzed on microarray, high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), or matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) platforms. SEM Center services deliver standardized genomic data--data that will accelerate the application of pharmacogenomic technology to new drug and diagnostic test development and facilitate personalized medicine.

  9. Contributions of Gene Marking to Cell and Gene Therapies

    PubMed Central

    Barese, Cecilia N.

    2011-01-01

    Abstract The first human genetic modification studies used replication-incompetent integrating vector vectors to introduce marker genes into T lymphocytes and subsequently into hematopoietic stem cells. Such studies have provided numerous insights into the biology of hematopoiesis and immune reconstitution and contributed to clinical development of gene and cell therapies. Tracking of hematopoietic reconstitution and analysis of the origin of residual malignant disease after hematopoietic transplantation has been possible via gene marking. Introduction of selectable marker genes has enabled preselection of specific T-cell populations for tumor and viral immunotherapy and reduced the threat of graft-versus-host disease, improving the survival of patients after allogeneic marrow transplantation. Marking studies in humans, murine xenografts, and large animals have helped optimize conditions for gene transfer into CD34+ hematopoietic progenitors, contributing to the achievement of gene transfer efficiencies sufficient for clinical benefit in several serious genetic diseases such as X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency and adrenoleukodystropy. When adverse events linked to insertional mutagenesis arose in clinical gene therapy trials for inherited immunodeficiencies, additional animal studies using gene-marking vectors have greatly increased our understanding of genotoxicity. The knowledge gained from these studies is being translated into new vector designs and clinical protocols, which we hope will continue to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and safety of these promising therapeutic approaches. PMID:21261461

  10. Contributions of gene marking to cell and gene therapies.

    PubMed

    Barese, Cecilia N; Dunbar, Cynthia E

    2011-06-01

    The first human genetic modification studies used replication-incompetent integrating vector vectors to introduce marker genes into T lymphocytes and subsequently into hematopoietic stem cells. Such studies have provided numerous insights into the biology of hematopoiesis and immune reconstitution and contributed to clinical development of gene and cell therapies. Tracking of hematopoietic reconstitution and analysis of the origin of residual malignant disease after hematopoietic transplantation has been possible via gene marking. Introduction of selectable marker genes has enabled preselection of specific T-cell populations for tumor and viral immunotherapy and reduced the threat of graft-versus-host disease, improving the survival of patients after allogeneic marrow transplantation. Marking studies in humans, murine xenografts, and large animals have helped optimize conditions for gene transfer into CD34(+) hematopoietic progenitors, contributing to the achievement of gene transfer efficiencies sufficient for clinical benefit in several serious genetic diseases such as X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency and adrenoleukodystrophy. When adverse events linked to insertional mutagenesis arose in clinical gene therapy trials for inherited immunodeficiencies, additional animal studies using gene-marking vectors have greatly increased our understanding of genotoxicity. The knowledge gained from these studies is being translated into new vector designs and clinical protocols, which we hope will continue to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and safety of these promising therapeutic approaches.

  11. Candidate reference genes for gene expression studies in water lily.

    PubMed

    Luo, Huolin; Chen, Sumei; Wan, Hongjian; Chen, Fadi; Gu, Chunsun; Liu, Zhaolei

    2010-09-01

    The selection of an appropriate reference gene(s) is a prerequisite for the proper interpretation of quantitative Real-Time polymerase chain reaction data. We report the evaluation of eight candidate reference genes across various tissues and treatments in the water lily by the two software packages geNorm and NormFinder. Across all samples, clathrin adaptor complexes medium subunit (AP47) and actin 11 (ACT11) emerged as the most suitable reference genes. Across different tissues, ACT11 and elongation factor 1-alpha (EF1alpha) exhibited a stable expression pattern. ACT11 and AP47 also stably expressed in roots subjected to various treatments, but in the leaves of the same plants the most stably expressed genes were ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme 16 (UBC16) and ACT11. PMID:20452325

  12. Using Genes to Guide Prescriptions

    MedlinePlus

    ... Science > Using Genes to Guide Prescriptions Inside Life Science View All Articles | Inside Life Science Home Page Using Genes to Guide Prescriptions By ... to Zoloft: Ways Medicines Work This Inside Life Science article also appears on LiveScience . Learn about related ...

  13. Determining Semantically Related Significant Genes.

    PubMed

    Taha, Kamal

    2014-01-01

    GO relation embodies some aspects of existence dependency. If GO term xis existence-dependent on GO term y, the presence of y implies the presence of x. Therefore, the genes annotated with the function of the GO term y are usually functionally and semantically related to the genes annotated with the function of the GO term x. A large number of gene set enrichment analysis methods have been developed in recent years for analyzing gene sets enrichment. However, most of these methods overlook the structural dependencies between GO terms in GO graph by not considering the concept of existence dependency. We propose in this paper a biological search engine called RSGSearch that identifies enriched sets of genes annotated with different functions using the concept of existence dependency. We observe that GO term xcannot be existence-dependent on GO term y, if x- and y- have the same specificity (biological characteristics). After encoding into a numeric format the contributions of GO terms annotating target genes to the semantics of their lowest common ancestors (LCAs), RSGSearch uses microarray experiment to identify the most significant LCA that annotates the result genes. We evaluated RSGSearch experimentally and compared it with five gene set enrichment systems. Results showed marked improvement.

  14. From genes to genome biology

    SciTech Connect

    Pennisi, E.

    1996-06-21

    This article describes a change in the approach to mapping genomes, from looking at one gene at a time, to other approaches. Strategies include everything from lab techniques to computer programs designed to analyze whole batches of genes at once. Also included is a update on the work on the human genome.

  15. Susceptibility Genes in Thyroid Autoimmunity

    PubMed Central

    Ban, Yoshiyuki; Tomer, Yaron

    2005-01-01

    The autoimmune thyroid diseases (AITD) are complex diseases which are caused by an interaction between susceptibility genes and environmental triggers. Genetic susceptibility in combination with external factors (e.g. dietary iodine) is believed to initiate the autoimmune response to thyroid antigens. Abundant epidemiological data, including family and twin studies, point to a strong genetic influence on the development of AITD. Various techniques have been employed to identify the genes contributing to the etiology of AITD, including candidate gene analysis and whole genome screening. These studies have enabled the identification of several loci (genetic regions) that are linked with AITD, and in some of these loci, putative AITD susceptibility genes have been identified. Some of these genes/loci are unique to Graves' disease (GD) and Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT) and some are common to both the diseases, indicating that there is a shared genetic susceptibility to GD and HT. The putative GD and HT susceptibility genes include both immune modifying genes (e.g. HLA, CTLA-4) and thyroid specific genes (e.g. TSHR, Tg). Most likely, these loci interact and their interactions may influence disease phenotype and severity. PMID:15712599

  16. Gene therapy on the move

    PubMed Central

    Kaufmann, Kerstin B; Büning, Hildegard; Galy, Anne; Schambach, Axel; Grez, Manuel

    2013-01-01

    The first gene therapy clinical trials were initiated more than two decades ago. In the early days, gene therapy shared the fate of many experimental medicine approaches and was impeded by the occurrence of severe side effects in a few treated patients. The understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms leading to treatment- and/or vector-associated setbacks has resulted in the development of highly sophisticated gene transfer tools with improved safety and therapeutic efficacy. Employing these advanced tools, a series of Phase I/II trials were started in the past few years with excellent clinical results and no side effects reported so far. Moreover, highly efficient gene targeting strategies and site-directed gene editing technologies have been developed and applied clinically. With more than 1900 clinical trials to date, gene therapy has moved from a vision to clinical reality. This review focuses on the application of gene therapy for the correction of inherited diseases, the limitations and drawbacks encountered in some of the early clinical trials and the revival of gene therapy as a powerful treatment option for the correction of monogenic disorders. PMID:24106209

  17. Candidate gene prioritization with Endeavour.

    PubMed

    Tranchevent, Léon-Charles; Ardeshirdavani, Amin; ElShal, Sarah; Alcaide, Daniel; Aerts, Jan; Auboeuf, Didier; Moreau, Yves

    2016-07-01

    Genomic studies and high-throughput experiments often produce large lists of candidate genes among which only a small fraction are truly relevant to the disease, phenotype or biological process of interest. Gene prioritization tackles this problem by ranking candidate genes by profiling candidates across multiple genomic data sources and integrating this heterogeneous information into a global ranking. We describe an extended version of our gene prioritization method, Endeavour, now available for six species and integrating 75 data sources. The performance (Area Under the Curve) of Endeavour on cross-validation benchmarks using 'gold standard' gene sets varies from 88% (for human phenotypes) to 95% (for worm gene function). In addition, we have also validated our approach using a time-stamped benchmark derived from the Human Phenotype Ontology, which provides a setting close to prospective validation. With this benchmark, using 3854 novel gene-phenotype associations, we observe a performance of 82%. Altogether, our results indicate that this extended version of Endeavour efficiently prioritizes candidate genes. The Endeavour web server is freely available at https://endeavour.esat.kuleuven.be/.

  18. Genes, Tolerance and Systemic Autoimmunity

    PubMed Central

    Singh, Ram P.; Waldron, Richard T.; Hahn, Bevra H.

    2011-01-01

    The characterization of functional CD8+ inhibitory or regulatory T cells and their gene regulation remains a critical challenge in the field of tolerance and autoimmunity. Investigating the genes induced in regulatory cells and the regulatory networks and pathways that underlie mechanisms of immune resistance and prevent apoptosis in the CD8+ T cell compartment are crucial to understanding tolerance mechanisms in systemic autoimmunity. Little is currently known about the genetic control that governs the ability of CD8+ Ti or regulatory cells to suppress anti-DNA Ab production in B cells. Silencing genes with siRNA or shRNA and overexpression of genes with lentiviral cDNA transduction are established approaches to identifying and understanding the function of candidate genes in tolerance and immunity. Elucidation of interactions between genes and proteins, and their synergistic effects in establishing cell-cell cross talk, including receptor modulation/antagonism, are essential for delineating the roles of these cells. In this review, we will examine recent reports which describe the modulation of cells from lupus prone mice or lupus patients to confer anti-inflammatory and protective gene expression and novel associated phenotypes. We will highlight recent findings on the role of selected genes induced by peptide tolerance in CD8+ Ti. PMID:22155015

  19. Method of controlling gene expression

    DOEpatents

    Peters, Norman K.; Frost, John W.; Long, Sharon R.

    1991-12-03

    A method of controlling expression of a DNA segment under the control of a nod gene promoter which comprises administering to a host containing a nod gene promoter an amount sufficient to control expression of the DNA segment of a compound of the formula: ##STR1## in which each R is independently H or OH, is described.

  20. Fusion genes in solid tumors.

    PubMed

    Aman, P

    1999-08-01

    Tumor development in different cell types and tissue locations involves many pathways, distinct genes and exogenous factors. Tumor type-specific chromosome rearrangements resulting in fusion genes or promoter swapping are believed to be involved in the early development of many tumor types. They are present in almost all cases of a particular tumor type and cases have been described that carry only tumor type-specific translocations without any signs of other cytogenetic changes. The mechanisms behind chromosome rearrangements in solid tumors are largely unknown. Radiation is an important factor in thyroid carcinomas but no com-$bmon sequence motifs are made out in the break points of solid tumors. The fusion genes found in sarcomas are dominated by the transcription factor type of genes with the TLS/FUS and EWS series of fusion genes as the largest group. More than 50% of papillary thyroid carcinomas carry fusion proteins with tyrosine kinase activity. Rearrangements involving HMGIC, HMGIY, and PLAG1 are common in benign mesenchymal tumors and salivary gland adenomas. Many recurrent tumor translocations show a strict specificity for tumor type. This specificity can most likely be explained by the specific sets of target genes that are deregulated by the fusion gene products. Identification of the downstream target genes is currently the object of intense research and may provide us with information that will help design better diagnostic tools and eventually find a cure for these diseases.