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Sample records for fossil calibrations codon

  1. Calibrating the Tree of Life: fossils, molecules and evolutionary timescales

    PubMed Central

    Forest, Félix

    2009-01-01

    Background Molecular dating has gained ever-increasing interest since the molecular clock hypothesis was proposed in the 1960s. Molecular dating provides detailed temporal frameworks for divergence events in phylogenetic trees, allowing diverse evolutionary questions to be addressed. The key aspect of the molecular clock hypothesis, namely that differences in DNA or protein sequence between two species are proportional to the time elapsed since they diverged, was soon shown to be untenable. Other approaches were proposed to take into account rate heterogeneity among lineages, but the calibration process, by which relative times are transformed into absolute ages, has received little attention until recently. New methods have now been proposed to resolve potential sources of error associated with the calibration of phylogenetic trees, particularly those involving use of the fossil record. Scope and Conclusions The use of the fossil record as a source of independent information in the calibration process is the main focus of this paper; other sources of calibration information are also discussed. Particularly error-prone aspects of fossil calibration are identified, such as fossil dating, the phylogenetic placement of the fossil and the incompleteness of the fossil record. Methods proposed to tackle one or more of these potential error sources are discussed (e.g. fossil cross-validation, prior distribution of calibration points and confidence intervals on the fossil record). In conclusion, the fossil record remains the most reliable source of information for the calibration of phylogenetic trees, although associated assumptions and potential bias must be taken into account. PMID:19666901

  2. Synthesizing and databasing fossil calibrations: divergence dating and beyond.

    PubMed

    Ksepka, Daniel T; Benton, Michael J; Carrano, Matthew T; Gandolfo, Maria A; Head, Jason J; Hermsen, Elizabeth J; Joyce, Walter G; Lamm, Kristin S; Patané, José S L; Phillips, Matthew J; Polly, P David; Van Tuinen, Marcel; Ware, Jessica L; Warnock, Rachel C M; Parham, James F

    2011-12-23

    Divergence dating studies, which combine temporal data from the fossil record with branch length data from molecular phylogenetic trees, represent a rapidly expanding approach to understanding the history of life. National Evolutionary Synthesis Center hosted the first Fossil Calibrations Working Group (3-6 March, 2011, Durham, NC, USA), bringing together palaeontologists, molecular evolutionists and bioinformatics experts to present perspectives from disciplines that generate, model and use fossil calibration data. Presentations and discussions focused on channels for interdisciplinary collaboration, best practices for justifying, reporting and using fossil calibrations and roadblocks to synthesis of palaeontological and molecular data. Bioinformatics solutions were proposed, with the primary objective being a new database for vetted fossil calibrations with linkages to existing resources, targeted for a 2012 launch.

  3. Synthesizing and databasing fossil calibrations: divergence dating and beyond

    PubMed Central

    Ksepka, Daniel T.; Benton, Michael J.; Carrano, Matthew T.; Gandolfo, Maria A.; Head, Jason J.; Hermsen, Elizabeth J.; Joyce, Walter G.; Lamm, Kristin S.; Patané, José S. L.; Phillips, Matthew J.; Polly, P. David; Van Tuinen, Marcel; Ware, Jessica L.; Warnock, Rachel C. M.; Parham, James F.

    2011-01-01

    Divergence dating studies, which combine temporal data from the fossil record with branch length data from molecular phylogenetic trees, represent a rapidly expanding approach to understanding the history of life. National Evolutionary Synthesis Center hosted the first Fossil Calibrations Working Group (3–6 March, 2011, Durham, NC, USA), bringing together palaeontologists, molecular evolutionists and bioinformatics experts to present perspectives from disciplines that generate, model and use fossil calibration data. Presentations and discussions focused on channels for interdisciplinary collaboration, best practices for justifying, reporting and using fossil calibrations and roadblocks to synthesis of palaeontological and molecular data. Bioinformatics solutions were proposed, with the primary objective being a new database for vetted fossil calibrations with linkages to existing resources, targeted for a 2012 launch. PMID:21525049

  4. Evaluating fossil calibrations for dating phylogenies in light of rates of molecular evolution: a comparison of three approaches.

    PubMed

    Lukoschek, Vimoksalehi; Scott Keogh, J; Avise, John C

    2012-01-01

    severely compressed basal branch lengths obtained from mitochondrial DNA compared with nuclear DNA. The effects of mitochondrial saturation were not ameliorated by analyzing a combined nuclear and mitochondrial data set. Although removing the third codon positions from the mitochondrial coding regions did not ameliorate saturation effects in the single-fossil cross-validations, it did in the Bayesian multicalibration analyses. Saturation significantly influenced the fossils that were selected as most reliable for all three methods evaluated. Our findings highlight the need to critically evaluate the fossils selected by data with different rates of nucleotide substitution and how data with different evolutionary rates affect the results of each method for evaluating fossils. Our empirical evaluation demonstrates that the advantages of using multiple independent fossil calibrations significantly outweigh any disadvantages.

  5. Early penguin fossils, plus mitochondrial genomes, calibrate avian evolution.

    PubMed

    Slack, Kerryn E; Jones, Craig M; Ando, Tatsuro; Harrison, G L Abby; Fordyce, R Ewan; Arnason, Ulfur; Penny, David

    2006-06-01

    Testing models of macroevolution, and especially the sufficiency of microevolutionary processes, requires good collaboration between molecular biologists and paleontologists. We report such a test for events around the Late Cretaceous by describing the earliest penguin fossils, analyzing complete mitochondrial genomes from an albatross, a petrel, and a loon, and describe the gradual decline of pterosaurs at the same time modern birds radiate. The penguin fossils comprise four naturally associated skeletons from the New Zealand Waipara Greensand, a Paleocene (early Tertiary) formation just above a well-known Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary site. The fossils, in a new genus (Waimanu), provide a lower estimate of 61-62 Ma for the divergence between penguins and other birds and thus establish a reliable calibration point for avian evolution. Combining fossil calibration points, DNA sequences, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian analysis, the penguin calibrations imply a radiation of modern (crown group) birds in the Late Cretaceous. This includes a conservative estimate that modern sea and shorebird lineages diverged at least by the Late Cretaceous about 74 +/- 3 Ma (Campanian). It is clear that modern birds from at least the latest Cretaceous lived at the same time as archaic birds including Hesperornis, Ichthyornis, and the diverse Enantiornithiformes. Pterosaurs, which also coexisted with early crown birds, show notable changes through the Late Cretaceous. There was a decrease in taxonomic diversity, and small- to medium-sized species disappeared well before the end of the Cretaceous. A simple reading of the fossil record might suggest competitive interactions with birds, but much more needs to be understood about pterosaur life histories. Additional fossils and molecular data are still required to help understand the role of biotic interactions in the evolution of Late Cretaceous birds and thus to test that the mechanisms of microevolution are sufficient to explain

  6. The Fossil Calibration Database-A New Resource for Divergence Dating.

    PubMed

    Ksepka, Daniel T; Parham, James F; Allman, James F; Benton, Michael J; Carrano, Matthew T; Cranston, Karen A; Donoghue, Philip C J; Head, Jason J; Hermsen, Elizabeth J; Irmis, Randall B; Joyce, Walter G; Kohli, Manpreet; Lamm, Kristin D; Leehr, Dan; Patané, Josés L; Polly, P David; Phillips, Matthew J; Smith, N Adam; Smith, Nathan D; Van Tuinen, Marcel; Ware, Jessica L; Warnock, Rachel C M

    2015-09-01

    Fossils provide the principal basis for temporal calibrations, which are critical to the accuracy of divergence dating analyses. Translating fossil data into minimum and maximum bounds for calibrations is the most important-often least appreciated-step of divergence dating. Properly justified calibrations require the synthesis of phylogenetic, paleontological, and geological evidence and can be difficult for nonspecialists to formulate. The dynamic nature of the fossil record (e.g., new discoveries, taxonomic revisions, updates of global or local stratigraphy) requires that calibration data be updated continually lest they become obsolete. Here, we announce the Fossil Calibration Database (http://fossilcalibrations.org), a new open-access resource providing vetted fossil calibrations to the scientific community. Calibrations accessioned into this database are based on individual fossil specimens and follow best practices for phylogenetic justification and geochronological constraint. The associated Fossil Calibration Series, a calibration-themed publication series at Palaeontologia Electronica, will serve as a key pipeline for peer-reviewed calibrations to enter the database.

  7. Fossil calibrations and molecular divergence time estimates in centrarchid fishes (Teleostei: Centrarchidae).

    PubMed

    Near, Thomas J; Bolnick, Daniel I; Wainwright, Peter C

    2005-08-01

    Molecular clock methods allow biologists to estimate divergence times, which in turn play an important role in comparative studies of many evolutionary processes. It is well known that molecular age estimates can be biased by heterogeneity in rates of molecular evolution, but less attention has been paid to the issue of potentially erroneous fossil calibrations. In this study we estimate the timing of diversification in Centrarchidae, an endemic major lineage of the diverse North American freshwater fish fauna, through a new approach to fossil calibration and molecular evolutionary model selection. Given a completely resolved multi-gene molecular phylogeny and a set of multiple fossil-inferred age estimates, we tested for potentially erroneous fossil calibrations using a recently developed fossil cross-validation. We also used fossil information to guide the selection of the optimal molecular evolutionary model with a new fossil jackknife method in a fossil-based model cross-validation. The centrarchid phylogeny resulted from a mixed-model Bayesian strategy that included 14 separate data partitions sampled from three mtDNA and four nuclear genes. Ten of the 31 interspecific nodes in the centrarchid phylogeny were assigned a minimal age estimate from the centrarchid fossil record. Our analyses identified four fossil dates that were inconsistent with the other fossils, and we removed them from the molecular dating analysis. Using fossil-based model cross-validation to determine the optimal smoothing value in penalized likelihood analysis, and six mutually consistent fossil calibrations, the age of the most recent common ancestor of Centrarchidae was 33.59 million years ago (mya). Penalized likelihood analyses of individual data partitions all converged on a very similar age estimate for this node, indicating that rate heterogeneity among data partitions is not confounding our analyses. These results place the origin of the centrarchid radiation at a time of major

  8. Corrected placement of Mus-Rattus fossil calibration forces precision in the molecular tree of rodents.

    PubMed

    Kimura, Yuri; Hawkins, Melissa T R; McDonough, Molly M; Jacobs, Louis L; Flynn, Lawrence J

    2015-09-28

    Time calibration derived from the fossil record is essential for molecular phylogenetic and evolutionary studies. Fossil mice and rats, discovered in the Siwalik Group of Pakistan, have served as one of the best-known fossil calibration points in molecular phylogenic studies. Although these fossils have been widely used as the 12 Ma date for the Mus/Rattus split or a more basal split, conclusive paleontological evidence for the nodal assignments has been absent. This study analyzes newly recognized characters that demonstrate lineage separation in the fossil record of Siwalik murines and examines the most reasonable nodal placement of the diverging lineages in a molecular phylogenetic tree by ancestral state reconstruction. Our specimen-based approach strongly indicates that Siwalik murines of the Karnimata clade are fossil members of the Arvicanthini-Otomyini-Millardini clade, which excludes Rattus and its relatives. Combining the new interpretation with the widely accepted hypothesis that the Progonomys clade includes Mus, the lineage separation event in the Siwalik fossil record represents the Mus/Arvicanthis split. Our test analysis on Bayesian age estimates shows that this new calibration point provides more accurate estimates of murine divergence than previous applications. Thus, we define this fossil calibration point and refine two other fossil-based points for molecular dating.

  9. Integrating fossil preservation biases in the selection of calibrations for molecular divergence time estimation.

    PubMed

    Dornburg, Alex; Beaulieu, Jeremy M; Oliver, Jeffrey C; Near, Thomas J

    2011-07-01

    The selection of fossil data to use as calibration age priors in molecular divergence time estimates inherently links neontological methods with paleontological theory. However, few neontological studies have taken into account the possibility of a taphonomic bias in the fossil record when developing approaches to fossil calibration selection. The Sppil-Rongis effect may bias the first appearance of a lineage toward the recent causing most objective calibration selection approaches to erroneously exclude appropriate calibrations or to incorporate multiple calibrations that are too young to accurately represent the divergence times of target lineages. Using turtles as a case study, we develop a Bayesian extension to the fossil selection approach developed by Marshall (2008. A simple method for bracketing absolute divergence times on molecular phylogenies using multiple fossil calibrations points. Am. Nat. 171:726-742) that takes into account this taphonomic bias. Our method has the advantage of identifying calibrations that may bias age estimates to be too recent while incorporating uncertainty in phylogenetic parameter estimates such as tree topology and branch lengths. Additionally, this method is easily adapted to assess the consistency of potential calibrations to any one calibration in the candidate pool.

  10. The fossilized birth–death process for coherent calibration of divergence-time estimates

    PubMed Central

    Heath, Tracy A.; Huelsenbeck, John P.; Stadler, Tanja

    2014-01-01

    Time-calibrated species phylogenies are critical for addressing a wide range of questions in evolutionary biology, such as those that elucidate historical biogeography or uncover patterns of coevolution and diversification. Because molecular sequence data are not informative on absolute time, external data—most commonly, fossil age estimates—are required to calibrate estimates of species divergence dates. For Bayesian divergence time methods, the common practice for calibration using fossil information involves placing arbitrarily chosen parametric distributions on internal nodes, often disregarding most of the information in the fossil record. We introduce the “fossilized birth–death” (FBD) process—a model for calibrating divergence time estimates in a Bayesian framework, explicitly acknowledging that extant species and fossils are part of the same macroevolutionary process. Under this model, absolute node age estimates are calibrated by a single diversification model and arbitrary calibration densities are not necessary. Moreover, the FBD model allows for inclusion of all available fossils. We performed analyses of simulated data and show that node age estimation under the FBD model results in robust and accurate estimates of species divergence times with realistic measures of statistical uncertainty, overcoming major limitations of standard divergence time estimation methods. We used this model to estimate the speciation times for a dataset composed of all living bears, indicating that the genus Ursus diversified in the Late Miocene to Middle Pliocene. PMID:25009181

  11. Beyond fossil calibrations: realities of molecular clock practices in evolutionary biology

    PubMed Central

    Hipsley, Christy A.; Müller, Johannes

    2014-01-01

    Molecular-based divergence dating methods, or molecular clocks, are the primary neontological tool for estimating the temporal origins of clades. While the appropriate use of vertebrate fossils as external clock calibrations has stimulated heated discussions in the paleontological community, less attention has been given to the quality and implementation of other calibration types. In lieu of appropriate fossils, many studies rely on alternative sources of age constraints based on geological events, substitution rates and heterochronous sampling, as well as dates secondarily derived from previous analyses. To illustrate the breadth and frequency of calibration types currently employed, we conducted a literature survey of over 600 articles published from 2007 to 2013. Over half of all analyses implemented one or more fossil dates as constraints, followed by geological events and secondary calibrations (15% each). Vertebrate taxa were subjects in nearly half of all studies, while invertebrates and plants together accounted for 43%, followed by viruses, protists and fungi (3% each). Current patterns in calibration practices were disproportionate to the number of discussions on their proper use, particularly regarding plants and secondarily derived dates, which are both relatively neglected in methodological evaluations. Based on our survey, we provide a comprehensive overview of the latest approaches in clock calibration, and outline strengths and weaknesses associated with each. This critique should serve as a call to action for researchers across multiple communities, particularly those working on clades for which fossil records are poor, to develop their own guidelines regarding selection and implementation of alternative calibration types. This issue is particularly relevant now, as time-calibrated phylogenies are used for more than dating evolutionary origins, but often serve as the backbone of investigations into biogeography, diversity dynamics and rates of

  12. Beyond fossil calibrations: realities of molecular clock practices in evolutionary biology.

    PubMed

    Hipsley, Christy A; Müller, Johannes

    2014-01-01

    Molecular-based divergence dating methods, or molecular clocks, are the primary neontological tool for estimating the temporal origins of clades. While the appropriate use of vertebrate fossils as external clock calibrations has stimulated heated discussions in the paleontological community, less attention has been given to the quality and implementation of other calibration types. In lieu of appropriate fossils, many studies rely on alternative sources of age constraints based on geological events, substitution rates and heterochronous sampling, as well as dates secondarily derived from previous analyses. To illustrate the breadth and frequency of calibration types currently employed, we conducted a literature survey of over 600 articles published from 2007 to 2013. Over half of all analyses implemented one or more fossil dates as constraints, followed by geological events and secondary calibrations (15% each). Vertebrate taxa were subjects in nearly half of all studies, while invertebrates and plants together accounted for 43%, followed by viruses, protists and fungi (3% each). Current patterns in calibration practices were disproportionate to the number of discussions on their proper use, particularly regarding plants and secondarily derived dates, which are both relatively neglected in methodological evaluations. Based on our survey, we provide a comprehensive overview of the latest approaches in clock calibration, and outline strengths and weaknesses associated with each. This critique should serve as a call to action for researchers across multiple communities, particularly those working on clades for which fossil records are poor, to develop their own guidelines regarding selection and implementation of alternative calibration types. This issue is particularly relevant now, as time-calibrated phylogenies are used for more than dating evolutionary origins, but often serve as the backbone of investigations into biogeography, diversity dynamics and rates of

  13. Are pollen fossils useful for calibrating relaxed molecular clock dating of phylogenies? A comparative study using Myrtaceae.

    PubMed

    Thornhill, Andrew H; Popple, Lindsay W; Carter, Richard J; Ho, Simon Y W; Crisp, Michael D

    2012-04-01

    The identification and application of reliable fossil calibrations represents a key component of many molecular studies of evolutionary timescales. In studies of plants, most paleontological calibrations are associated with macrofossils. However, the pollen record can also inform age calibrations if fossils matching extant pollen groups are found. Recent work has shown that pollen of the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, can be classified into a number of morphological groups that are synapomorphic with molecular groups. By assembling a data matrix of pollen morphological characters from extant and fossil Myrtaceae, we were able to measure the fit of 26 pollen fossils to a molecular phylogenetic tree using parsimony optimisation of characters. We identified eight Myrtaceidites fossils as appropriate for calibration based on the most parsimonious placements of these fossils on the tree. These fossils were used to inform age constraints in a Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of a sequence alignment comprising two sequences from the chloroplast genome (matK and ndhF) and one nuclear locus (ITS), sampled from 106 taxa representing 80 genera. Three additional analyses were calibrated by placing pollen fossils using geographic and morphological information (eight calibrations), macrofossils (five calibrations), and macrofossils and pollen fossils in combination (12 calibrations). The addition of new fossil pollen calibrations led to older crown ages than have previously been found for tribes such as Eucalypteae and Myrteae. Estimates of rate variation among lineages were affected by the choice of calibrations, suggesting that the use of multiple calibrations can improve estimates of rate heterogeneity among lineages. This study illustrates the potential of including pollen-based calibrations in molecular studies of divergence times.

  14. Xenopus in Space and Time: Fossils, Node Calibrations, Tip-Dating, and Paleobiogeography.

    PubMed

    Cannatella, David

    2015-01-01

    Published data from DNA sequences, morphology of 11 extant and 15 extinct frog taxa, and stratigraphic ranges of fossils were integrated to open a window into the deep-time evolution of Xenopus. The ages and morphological characters of fossils were used as independent datasets to calibrate a chronogram. We found that DNA sequences, either alone or in combination with morphological data and fossils, tended to support a close relationship between Xenopus and Hymenochirus, although in some analyses this topology was not significantly better than the Pipa + Hymenochirus topology. Analyses that excluded DNA data found strong support for the Pipa + Hymenochirus tree. The criterion for selecting the maximum age of the calibration prior influenced the age estimates, and our age estimates of early divergences in the tree of frogs are substantially younger than those of published studies. Node-dating and tip-dating calibrations, either alone or in combination, yielded older dates for nodes than did a root calibration alone. Our estimates of divergence times indicate that overwater dispersal, rather than vicariance due to the splitting of Africa and South America, may explain the presence of Xenopus in Africa and its closest fossil relatives in South America.

  15. Testing the impact of calibration on molecular divergence times using a fossil-rich group: the case of Nothofagus (Fagales).

    PubMed

    Sauquet, Hervé; Ho, Simon Y W; Gandolfo, Maria A; Jordan, Gregory J; Wilf, Peter; Cantrill, David J; Bayly, Michael J; Bromham, Lindell; Brown, Gillian K; Carpenter, Raymond J; Lee, Daphne M; Murphy, Daniel J; Sniderman, J M Kale; Udovicic, Frank

    2012-03-01

    Although temporal calibration is widely recognized as critical for obtaining accurate divergence-time estimates using molecular dating methods, few studies have evaluated the variation resulting from different calibration strategies. Depending on the information available, researchers have often used primary calibrations from the fossil record or secondary calibrations from previous molecular dating studies. In analyses of flowering plants, primary calibration data can be obtained from macro- and mesofossils (e.g., leaves, flowers, and fruits) or microfossils (e.g., pollen). Fossil data can vary substantially in accuracy and precision, presenting a difficult choice when selecting appropriate calibrations. Here, we test the impact of eight plausible calibration scenarios for Nothofagus (Nothofagaceae, Fagales), a plant genus with a particularly rich and well-studied fossil record. To do so, we reviewed the phylogenetic placement and geochronology of 38 fossil taxa of Nothofagus and other Fagales, and we identified minimum age constraints for up to 18 nodes of the phylogeny of Fagales. Molecular dating analyses were conducted for each scenario using maximum likelihood (RAxML + r8s) and Bayesian (BEAST) approaches on sequence data from six regions of the chloroplast and nuclear genomes. Using either ingroup or outgroup constraints, or both, led to similar age estimates, except near strongly influential calibration nodes. Using "early but risky" fossil constraints in addition to "safe but late" constraints, or using assumptions of vicariance instead of fossil constraints, led to older age estimates. In contrast, using secondary calibration points yielded drastically younger age estimates. This empirical study highlights the critical influence of calibration on molecular dating analyses. Even in a best-case situation, with many thoroughly vetted fossils available, substantial uncertainties can remain in the estimates of divergence times. For example, our estimates for

  16. A multi-calibrated mitochondrial phylogeny of extant Bovidae (Artiodactyla, Ruminantia) and the importance of the fossil record to systematics

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Molecular phylogenetics has provided unprecedented resolution in the ruminant evolutionary tree. However, molecular age estimates using only one or a few (often misapplied) fossil calibration points have produced a diversity of conflicting ages for important evolutionary events within this clade. I here identify 16 fossil calibration points of relevance to the phylogeny of Bovidae and Ruminantia and use these, individually and together, to construct a dated molecular phylogeny through a reanalysis of the full mitochondrial genome of over 100 ruminant species. Results The new multi-calibrated tree provides ages that are younger overall than found in previous studies. Among these are young ages for the origin of crown Ruminantia (39.3–28.8 Ma), and crown Bovidae (17.3–15.1 Ma). These are argued to be reasonable hypotheses given that many basal fossils assigned to these taxa may in fact lie on the stem groups leading to the crown clades, thus inflating previous age estimates. Areas of conflict between molecular and fossil dates do persist, however, especially with regard to the base of the rapid Pecoran radiation and the sister relationship of Moschidae to Bovidae. Results of the single-calibrated analyses also show that a very wide range of molecular age estimates are obtainable using different calibration points, and that the choice of calibration point can influence the topology of the resulting tree. Compared to the single-calibrated trees, the multi-calibrated tree exhibits smaller variance in estimated ages and better reflects the fossil record. Conclusions The use of a large number of vetted fossil calibration points with soft bounds is promoted as a better approach than using just one or a few calibrations, or relying on internal-congruency metrics to discard good fossil data. This study also highlights the importance of considering morphological and ecological characteristics of clades when delimiting higher taxa. I also illustrate how

  17. A simple method for estimating informative node age priors for the fossil calibration of molecular divergence time analyses.

    PubMed

    Nowak, Michael D; Smith, Andrew B; Simpson, Carl; Zwickl, Derrick J

    2013-01-01

    Molecular divergence time analyses often rely on the age of fossil lineages to calibrate node age estimates. Most divergence time analyses are now performed in a Bayesian framework, where fossil calibrations are incorporated as parametric prior probabilities on node ages. It is widely accepted that an ideal parameterization of such node age prior probabilities should be based on a comprehensive analysis of the fossil record of the clade of interest, but there is currently no generally applicable approach for calculating such informative priors. We provide here a simple and easily implemented method that employs fossil data to estimate the likely amount of missing history prior to the oldest fossil occurrence of a clade, which can be used to fit an informative parametric prior probability distribution on a node age. Specifically, our method uses the extant diversity and the stratigraphic distribution of fossil lineages confidently assigned to a clade to fit a branching model of lineage diversification. Conditioning this on a simple model of fossil preservation, we estimate the likely amount of missing history prior to the oldest fossil occurrence of a clade. The likelihood surface of missing history can then be translated into a parametric prior probability distribution on the age of the clade of interest. We show that the method performs well with simulated fossil distribution data, but that the likelihood surface of missing history can at times be too complex for the distribution-fitting algorithm employed by our software tool. An empirical example of the application of our method is performed to estimate echinoid node ages. A simulation-based sensitivity analysis using the echinoid data set shows that node age prior distributions estimated under poor preservation rates are significantly less informative than those estimated under high preservation rates.

  18. Multi-locus fossil-calibrated phylogeny of Atheriniformes (Teleostei, Ovalentaria).

    PubMed

    Campanella, Daniela; Hughes, Lily C; Unmack, Peter J; Bloom, Devin D; Piller, Kyle R; Ortí, Guillermo

    2015-05-01

    Phylogenetic relationships among families within the order Atheriniformes have been difficult to resolve on the basis of morphological evidence. Molecular studies so far have been fragmentary and based on a small number taxa and loci. In this study, we provide a new phylogenetic hypothesis based on sequence data collected for eight molecular markers for a representative sample of 103 atheriniform species, covering 2/3 of the genera in this order. The phylogeny is calibrated with six carefully chosen fossil taxa to provide an explicit timeframe for the diversification of this group. Our results support the subdivision of Atheriniformes into two suborders (Atherinopsoidei and Atherinoidei), the nesting of Notocheirinae within Atherinopsidae, and the monophyly of tribe Menidiini, among others. We propose taxonomic changes for Atherinopsoidei, but a few weakly supported nodes in our phylogeny suggests that further study is necessary to support a revised taxonomy of Atherinoidei. The time-calibrated phylogeny was used to infer ancestral habitat reconstructions to explain the current distribution of marine and freshwater taxa. Based on these results, the current distribution of Atheriniformes is likely due to widespread marine dispersal along the margins of continents, infrequent trans-oceanic dispersal, and repeated invasion of freshwater habitats. This conclusion is supported by post-Gondwanan divergence times among families within the order, and a high probability of a marine ancestral habitat.

  19. An evaluation of fossil tip-dating versus node-age calibrations in tetraodontiform fishes (Teleostei: Percomorphaceae).

    PubMed

    Arcila, Dahiana; Alexander Pyron, R; Tyler, James C; Ortí, Guillermo; Betancur-R, Ricardo

    2015-01-01

    Time-calibrated phylogenies based on molecular data provide a framework for comparative studies. Calibration methods to combine fossil information with molecular phylogenies are, however, under active development, often generating disagreement about the best way to incorporate paleontological data into these analyses. This study provides an empirical comparison of the most widely used approach based on node-dating priors for relaxed clocks implemented in the programs BEAST and MrBayes, with two recently proposed improvements: one using a new fossilized birth-death process model for node dating (implemented in the program DPPDiv), and the other using a total-evidence or tip-dating method (implemented in MrBayes and BEAST). These methods are applied herein to tetraodontiform fishes, a diverse group of living and extinct taxa that features one of the most extensive fossil records among teleosts. Previous estimates of time-calibrated phylogenies of tetraodontiforms using node-dating methods reported disparate estimates for their age of origin, ranging from the late Jurassic to the early Paleocene (ca. 150-59Ma). We analyzed a comprehensive dataset with 16 loci and 210 morphological characters, including 131 taxa (95 extant and 36 fossil species) representing all families of fossil and extant tetraodontiforms, under different molecular clock calibration approaches. Results from node-dating methods produced consistently younger ages than the tip-dating approaches. The older ages inferred by tip dating imply an unlikely early-late Jurassic (ca. 185-119Ma) origin for this order and the existence of extended ghost lineages in their fossil record. Node-based methods, by contrast, produce time estimates that are more consistent with the stratigraphic record, suggesting a late Cretaceous (ca. 86-96Ma) origin. We show that the precision of clade age estimates using tip dating increases with the number of fossils analyzed and with the proximity of fossil taxa to the node under

  20. The effects of fossil placement and calibration on divergence times and rates: an example from the termites (Insecta: Isoptera).

    PubMed

    Ware, Jessica L; Grimaldi, David A; Engel, Michael S

    2010-01-01

    Among insects, eusocial behavior occurs in termites, ants, some bees and wasps. Isoptera and Hymenoptera convergently share social behavior, and for both taxa its evolution remains poorly understood. While dating analyses provide researchers with the opportunity to date the origin of eusociality, fossil calibration methodology may mislead subsequent ecological interpretations. Using a comprehensive termite dataset, we explored the effect of fossil placement and calibration methodology. A combined molecular and morphological dataset for 42 extant termite lineages was used, and a second dataset including these 42 taxa, plus an additional 39 fossil lineages for which we had only morphological data. MrBayes doublet-model analyses recovered similar topologies, with one minor exception (Stolotermitidae is sister to the Hodotermitidae, s.s., in the 42-taxon analysis but is in a polytomy with Hodotermitidae and (Kalotermitidae + Neoisoptera) in the 81-taxon analysis). Analyses using the r8s program on these topologies were run with either minimum/maximum constraints (analysis a = 42-taxon and analysis c = 81-taxon analyses) or with the fossil taxon ages fixed (ages fixed to be the geological age of the deposit from which they came, analysis b = 81-taxon analysis). Confidence intervals were determined for the resulting ultrametric trees, and for most major clades there was significant overlap between dates recovered for analyses A and C (with exceptions, such as the nodes Neoisoptera, and Euisoptera). With the exception of isopteran and eusiopteran node ages, however, none of the major clade ages overlapped when analysis B is compared with either analysis A or C. Future studies on Dictyoptera should note that the age of Kalotermitidae was underestimated in absence of kalotermitid fossils with fixed ages.

  1. Phylogenetic Analysis of Pelecaniformes (Aves) Based on Osteological Data: Implications for Waterbird Phylogeny and Fossil Calibration Studies

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Nathan D.

    2010-01-01

    Background Debate regarding the monophyly and relationships of the avian order Pelecaniformes represents a classic example of discord between morphological and molecular estimates of phylogeny. This lack of consensus hampers interpretation of the group's fossil record, which has major implications for understanding patterns of character evolution (e.g., the evolution of wing-propelled diving) and temporal diversification (e.g., the origins of modern families). Relationships of the Pelecaniformes were inferred through parsimony analyses of an osteological dataset encompassing 59 taxa and 464 characters. The relationships of the Plotopteridae, an extinct family of wing-propelled divers, and several other fossil pelecaniforms (Limnofregata, Prophaethon, Lithoptila, ?Borvocarbo stoeffelensis) were also assessed. The antiquity of these taxa and their purported status as stem members of extant families makes them valuable for studies of higher-level avian diversification. Methodology/Principal Findings Pelecaniform monophyly is not recovered, with Phaethontidae recovered as distantly related to all other pelecaniforms, which are supported as a monophyletic Steganopodes. Some anatomical partitions of the dataset possess different phylogenetic signals, and partitioned analyses reveal that these discrepancies are localized outside of Steganopodes, and primarily due to a few labile taxa. The Plotopteridae are recovered as the sister taxon to Phalacrocoracoidea, and the relationships of other fossil pelecaniforms representing key calibration points are well supported, including Limnofregata (sister taxon to Fregatidae), Prophaethon and Lithoptila (successive sister taxa to Phaethontidae), and ?Borvocarbo stoeffelensis (sister taxon to Phalacrocoracidae). These relationships are invariant when ‘backbone’ constraints based on recent avian phylogenies are imposed. Conclusions/Significance Relationships of extant pelecaniforms inferred from morphology are more congruent with

  2. Colonization and diversification in the African 'sky islands': insights from fossil-calibrated molecular dating of Lychnis (Caryophyllaceae).

    PubMed

    Gizaw, Abel; Brochmann, Christian; Nemomissa, Sileshi; Wondimu, Tigist; Masao, Catherine Aloyce; Tusiime, Felly Mugizi; Abdi, Ahmed Abdikadir; Oxelman, Bengt; Popp, Magnus; Dimitrov, Dimitar

    2016-07-01

    The flora on the isolated high African mountains or 'sky islands' is remarkable for its peculiar adaptations, local endemism and striking biogeographical connections to remote parts of the world. Ages of the plant lineages and the timing of their radiations have frequently been debated but remain contentious as there are few estimates based on explicit models and fossil-calibrated molecular clocks. We used the plastid region maturaseK (matK) and a Caryophylloflora paleogenica fossil to infer the age of the genus Lychnis, and constructed a data set of three plastid (matK; a ribosomal protein S16 (rps16); and an intergenic spacer (psbE-petL)) and two nuclear (internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and a region spanning exon 18-24 in the second largest subunit of RNA polymerase II (RPB2)) loci for joint estimation of the species tree and divergence time of the African representatives. The time of divergence of the African high-altitude Lychnis was placed in the late Miocene to early Pliocene. A single speciation event was inferred in the early Pliocene; subsequent speciation took place sporadically from the late Pliocene to the middle Pleistocene. We provide further support for a Eurasian origin of the African 'sky islands' floral elements, which seem to have been recruited via dispersals at different times: some old, as in Lychnis, and others very recent. We show that dispersal and diversification within Africa play an important role in shaping these isolated plant communities.

  3. A rich fossil record yields calibrated phylogeny for Acanthaceae (Lamiales) and evidence for marked biases in timing and directionality of intercontinental disjunctions.

    PubMed

    Tripp, Erin A; McDade, Lucinda A

    2014-09-01

    More than a decade of phylogenetic research has yielded a well-sampled, strongly supported hypothesis of relationships within the large ( > 4000 species) plant family Acanthaceae. This hypothesis points to intriguing biogeographic patterns and asymmetries in sister clade diversity but, absent a time-calibrated estimate for this evolutionary history, these patterns have remained unexplored. Here, we reconstruct divergence times within Acanthaceae using fossils as calibration points and experimenting with both fossil selection and effects of invoking a maximum age prior related to the origin of Eudicots. Contrary to earlier reports of a paucity of fossils of Lamiales (an order of ∼ 23,000 species that includes Acanthaceae) and to the expectation that a largely herbaceous to soft-wooded and tropical lineage would have few fossils, we recovered 51 reports of fossil Acanthaceae. Rigorous evaluation of these for accurate identification, quality of age assessment and utility in dating yielded eight fossils judged to merit inclusion in analyses. With nearly 10 kb of DNA sequence data, we used two sets of fossils as constraints to reconstruct divergence times. We demonstrate differences in age estimates depending on fossil selection and that enforcement of maximum age priors substantially alters estimated clade ages, especially in analyses that utilize a smaller rather than larger set of fossils. Our results suggest that long-distance dispersal events explain present-day distributions better than do Gondwanan or northern land bridge hypotheses. This biogeographical conclusion is for the most part robust to alternative calibration schemes. Our data support a minimum of 13 Old World (OW) to New World (NW) dispersal events but, intriguingly, only one in the reverse direction. Eleven of these 13 were among Acanthaceae s.s., which comprises > 90% of species diversity in the family. Remarkably, if minimum age estimates approximate true history, these 11 events occurred within

  4. Growth-Dependent Calibration of Coral Sr/Ca-SST From Multiple Colonies Provides Potential for Long SST Records from Fossil Corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goodkin, N. F.

    2005-12-01

    Extended reconstructions of sea surface temperature (SST) are critical to examining long-term climate variability not captured in instrumental records. Coral skeleton, which continuously accretes in annual density bands, preserves unique, multi-century archives of sub-annual resolution SST. Despite the promise of coral proxies, however, SSTs derived from corals are often several degrees cooler than those derived from other archives. Here we present strontium to calcium ratios (Sr/Ca) for four brain corals (Diploria labyrinthiformis) collected from the south shore of Bermuda that are strongly correlated with both instrumental SST (Hydrostation S, 30km southeast) and annual skeletal extension rate. High Sr/Ca ratios correspond with cold SSTs and slow skeletal growth rate, and vice versa. Over a ~25 year calibration period, the four corals have distinct average growth rates (2.57, 2.68, 3.55 and 4.03 mm/yr). For each colony, we provide a quantitative calibration of annual Sr/Ca to annual extension rate and annual SST along the axis of maximum growth and derive an individual growth dependent Sr/Ca-SST calibration equation: Sr/Ca = m*(SST) + n*(annual growth rate)*(SST) + b The slopes and intercepts of the four equations are found to be linearly related to the average growth-rate during the calibration periods of each colony, and a final multi-variant regression is performed to establish one final Sr/Ca-Growth Rate-SST calibration, in the form: Sr/Ca = m*(SST) + n*(annual growth rate)*(SST) + o*(average colony growth rate)*(SST) + b This growth-dependent calibration is shown to be applicable to a fossil coral of the same species in order to reconstruct SSTs at Bermuda for 223 years. A reconstruction excluding the influence of growth yields SSTs that exaggerate both cool and warm periods. SST anomalies near the end of the Little Ice Age (~1850) that are derived using a non-growth dependent calibration are exaggerated by a factor of two relative to those from a growth

  5. New Eocene Coleoid (Cephalopoda) Diversity from Statolith Remains: Taxonomic Assignation, Fossil Record Analysis, and New Data for Calibrating Molecular Phylogenies.

    PubMed

    Neige, Pascal; Lapierre, Hervé; Merle, Didier

    2016-01-01

    New coleoid cephalopods are described from statolith remains from the Middle Eocene (Middle Lutetian) of the Paris Basin. Fifteen fossil statoliths are identified and assigned to the Sepiidae (Sepia boletzkyi sp. nov.,? Sepia pira sp. nov.), Loliginidae (Loligo clarkei sp. nov.), and Ommastrephidae (genus indet.) families. The sediments containing these fossils indicate permanent aquatic settings in the infralittoral domain. These sediments range in age from 46 Mya to 43 Mya. Analysis of the fossil record of statoliths (from findings described here, together with a review of previously published data) indicates marked biases in our knowledge. Fossil statoliths are known from as far back as the Early Jurassic (199.3 to 190.8 Mya) but surprisingly, to the best of our knowledge, no record occurs in the Cretaceous. This is a "knowledge bias" and clearly calls for further studies. Finally, we attempt to compare findings described here with fossils previously used to constrain divergence and/or diversification ages of some coleoid subclades in molecular phylogenies. This comparison clearly indicates that the new records detailed here will challenge some estimated divergence times of coleoid cephalopod subclades.

  6. New Eocene Coleoid (Cephalopoda) Diversity from Statolith Remains: Taxonomic Assignation, Fossil Record Analysis, and New Data for Calibrating Molecular Phylogenies

    PubMed Central

    Neige, Pascal; Lapierre, Hervé; Merle, Didier

    2016-01-01

    New coleoid cephalopods are described from statolith remains from the Middle Eocene (Middle Lutetian) of the Paris Basin. Fifteen fossil statoliths are identified and assigned to the Sepiidae (Sepia boletzkyi sp. nov.,? Sepia pira sp. nov.), Loliginidae (Loligo clarkei sp. nov.), and Ommastrephidae (genus indet.) families. The sediments containing these fossils indicate permanent aquatic settings in the infralittoral domain. These sediments range in age from 46 Mya to 43 Mya. Analysis of the fossil record of statoliths (from findings described here, together with a review of previously published data) indicates marked biases in our knowledge. Fossil statoliths are known from as far back as the Early Jurassic (199.3 to 190.8 Mya) but surprisingly, to the best of our knowledge, no record occurs in the Cretaceous. This is a “knowledge bias” and clearly calls for further studies. Finally, we attempt to compare findings described here with fossils previously used to constrain divergence and/or diversification ages of some coleoid subclades in molecular phylogenies. This comparison clearly indicates that the new records detailed here will challenge some estimated divergence times of coleoid cephalopod subclades. PMID:27192490

  7. Age estimates for the buckwheat family Polygonaceae based on sequence data calibrated by fossils and with a focus on the amphi-Pacific Muehlenbeckia.

    PubMed

    Schuster, Tanja M; Setaro, Sabrina D; Kron, Kathleen A

    2013-01-01

    The buckwheat family Polygonaceae is a diverse group of plants and is a good model for investigating biogeography, breeding systems, coevolution with symbionts such as ants and fungi, functional trait evolution, hybridization, invasiveness, morphological plasticity, pollen morphology and wood anatomy. The main goal of this study was to obtain age estimates for Polygonaceae by calibrating a Bayesian phylogenetic analysis, using a relaxed molecular clock with fossil data. Based on the age estimates, we also develop hypotheses about the historical biogeography of the Southern Hemisphere group Muehlenbeckia. We are interested in addressing whether vicariance or dispersal could account for the diversification of Muehlenbeckia, which has a "Gondwanan" distribution. Eighty-one species of Polygonaceae were analysed with MrBayes to infer species relationships. One nuclear (nrITS) and three chloroplast markers (the trnL-trnF spacer region, matK and ndhF genes) were used. The molecular data were also analysed with Beast to estimate divergence times. Seven calibration points including fossil pollen and a leaf fossil of Muehlenbeckia were used to infer node ages. Results of the Beast analyses indicate an age of 110.9 (exponential/lognormal priors)/118.7 (uniform priors) million years (Myr) with an uncertainty interval of (90.7-125.0) Myr for the stem age of Polygonaceae. This age is older than previously thought (Maastrichtian, approximately 65.5-70.6 Myr). The estimated divergence time for Muehlenbeckia is 41.0/41.6 (39.6-47.8) Myr and its crown clade is 20.5/22.3 (14.2-33.5) Myr old. Because the breakup of Gondwana occurred from 95-30 Myr ago, diversification of Muehlenbeckia is best explained by oceanic long-distance and maybe stepping-stone dispersal rather than vicariance. This study is the first to give age estimates for clades of Polygonaceae and functions as a jumping-off point for future studies on the historical biogeography of the family.

  8. Age Estimates for the Buckwheat Family Polygonaceae Based on Sequence Data Calibrated by Fossils and with a Focus on the Amphi-Pacific Muehlenbeckia

    PubMed Central

    Kron, Kathleen A.

    2013-01-01

    The buckwheat family Polygonaceae is a diverse group of plants and is a good model for investigating biogeography, breeding systems, coevolution with symbionts such as ants and fungi, functional trait evolution, hybridization, invasiveness, morphological plasticity, pollen morphology and wood anatomy. The main goal of this study was to obtain age estimates for Polygonaceae by calibrating a Bayesian phylogenetic analysis, using a relaxed molecular clock with fossil data. Based on the age estimates, we also develop hypotheses about the historical biogeography of the Southern Hemisphere group Muehlenbeckia. We are interested in addressing whether vicariance or dispersal could account for the diversification of Muehlenbeckia, which has a “Gondwanan” distribution. Eighty-one species of Polygonaceae were analysed with MrBayes to infer species relationships. One nuclear (nrITS) and three chloroplast markers (the trnL-trnF spacer region, matK and ndhF genes) were used. The molecular data were also analysed with Beast to estimate divergence times. Seven calibration points including fossil pollen and a leaf fossil of Muehlenbeckia were used to infer node ages. Results of the Beast analyses indicate an age of 110.9 (exponential/lognormal priors)/118.7 (uniform priors) million years (Myr) with an uncertainty interval of (90.7–125.0) Myr for the stem age of Polygonaceae. This age is older than previously thought (Maastrichtian, approximately 65.5–70.6 Myr). The estimated divergence time for Muehlenbeckia is 41.0/41.6 (39.6–47.8) Myr and its crown clade is 20.5/22.3 (14.2–33.5) Myr old. Because the breakup of Gondwana occurred from 95–30 Myr ago, diversification of Muehlenbeckia is best explained by oceanic long-distance and maybe stepping-stone dispersal rather than vicariance. This study is the first to give age estimates for clades of Polygonaceae and functions as a jumping-off point for future studies on the historical biogeography of the family. PMID:23585884

  9. A Complete Fossil-Calibrated Phylogeny of Seed Plant Families as a Tool for Comparative Analyses: Testing the ‘Time for Speciation’ Hypothesis

    PubMed Central

    Harris, Liam W.; Davies, T. Jonathan

    2016-01-01

    Explaining the uneven distribution of species richness across the branches of the tree of life has been a major challenge for evolutionary biologists. Advances in phylogenetic reconstruction, allowing the generation of large, well-sampled, phylogenetic trees have provided an opportunity to contrast competing hypotheses. Here, we present a new time-calibrated phylogeny of seed plant families using Bayesian methods and 26 fossil calibrations. While there are various published phylogenetic trees for plants which have a greater density of species sampling, we are still a long way from generating a complete phylogeny for all ~300,000+ plants. Our phylogeny samples all seed plant families and is a useful tool for comparative analyses. We use this new phylogenetic hypothesis to contrast two alternative explanations for differences in species richness among higher taxa: time for speciation versus ecological limits. We calculated net diversification rate for each clade in the phylogeny and assessed the relationship between clade age and species richness. We then fit models of speciation and extinction to individual branches in the tree to identify major rate-shifts. Our data suggest that the majority of lineages are diversifying very slowly while a few lineages, distributed throughout the tree, are diversifying rapidly. Diversification is unrelated to clade age, no matter the age range of the clades being examined, contrary to both the assumption of an unbounded lineage increase through time, and the paradigm of fixed ecological limits. These findings are consistent with the idea that ecology plays a role in diversification, but rather than imposing a fixed limit, it may have variable effects on per lineage diversification rates through time. PMID:27706173

  10. Codon Adaptation of Plastid Genes

    PubMed Central

    Suzuki, Haruo; Morton, Brian R.

    2016-01-01

    Codon adaptation is codon usage bias that results from selective pressure to increase the translation efficiency of a gene. Codon adaptation has been studied across a wide range of genomes and some early analyses of plastids have shown evidence for codon adaptation in a limited set of highly expressed plastid genes. Here we study codon usage bias across all fully sequenced plastid genomes which includes representatives of the Rhodophyta, Alveolata, Cryptophyta, Euglenozoa, Glaucocystophyceae, Rhizaria, Stramenopiles and numerous lineages within the Viridiplantae, including Chlorophyta and Embryophyta. We show evidence that codon adaptation occurs in all genomes except for two, Theileria parva and Heicosporidium sp., both of which have highly reduced gene contents and no photosynthesis genes. We also show evidence that selection for codon adaptation increases the representation of the same set of codons, which we refer to as the adaptive codons, across this wide range of taxa, which is probably due to common features descended from the initial endosymbiont. We use various measures to estimate the relative strength of selection in the different lineages and show that it appears to be fairly strong in certain Stramenopiles and Chlorophyta lineages but relatively weak in many members of the Rhodophyta, Euglenozoa and Embryophyta. Given these results we propose that codon adaptation in plastids is widespread and displays the same general features as adaptation in eubacterial genomes. PMID:27196606

  11. "Fossil" Forecasting.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brody, Michael J.; deOnis, Ann

    2001-01-01

    Presents a density study in which students calculate the density of limestone substrate to determine if the specimen contains any fossils. Explains how to make fossils and addresses national standards. (YDS)

  12. Fossil Explorers

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Moran, Sean; McLaughlin, Cheryl; MacFadden, Bruce; Jacobbe, Elizabeth; Poole, Michael

    2015-01-01

    Many young learners are fascinated with fossils, particularly charismatic forms such as dinosaurs and giant sharks. Fossils provide tangible, objective evidence of life that lived millions of years ago. They also provide a timescale of evolution not typically appreciated by young learners. Fossils and the science of paleontology can, therefore,…

  13. Marquee Fossils

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clary, Renee; Wandersee, James

    2008-01-01

    Professors of an online graduate-level paleontology class developed the concept of marquee fossils--fossils that have one or more unique characteristics that capture the attention and direct observation of students. In the classroom, Marquee fossils integrate the geology, biology, and environmental science involved in the study of fossilized…

  14. Fossil Fuels.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Crank, Ron

    This instructional unit is one of 10 developed by students on various energy-related areas that deals specifically with fossil fuels. Some topics covered are historic facts, development of fuels, history of oil production, current and future trends of the oil industry, refining fossil fuels, and environmental problems. Material in each unit may…

  15. Ediacara Fossils

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Science Teacher, 2005

    2005-01-01

    Now, a research team from Virginia Tech and Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology has discovered uniquely well-preserved fossil forms from 550-million-year-old rocks of the Ediacaran Period. The research appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The discovery of these unusually preserved fossils reveals unprecedented…

  16. Fossil Horses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacFadden, Bruce J.

    1994-06-01

    The family Equidae have an extensive fossil record spanning the past 58 million years, and the evolution of the horse has frequently been used as a classic example of long-term evolution. In recent years, however, there have been many important discoveries of fossil horses, and these, in conjunction with such new methods as cladistics, and techniques such as precise geochronology, have allowed us to achieve a much greater understanding of the evolution and biology of this important group. This book synthesizes the large body of data and research relevant to an understanding of fossil horses from several disciplines including biology, geology and paleontology. Using horses as the central theme, the author weaves together in the text such topics as modern geochronology, paleobiogeography, climate change, evolution and extinction, functional morphology, and population biology during the Cenozoic period. This book will be exciting reading for researchers and graduate students in vertebrate paleontology, evolution, and zoology.

  17. Divergence in codon usage of Lactobacillus species.

    PubMed Central

    Pouwels, P H; Leunissen, J A

    1994-01-01

    We have analyzed codon usage patterns of 70 sequenced genes from different Lactobacillus species. Codon usage in lactobacilli is highly biased. Both inter-species and intra-species heterogeneity of codon usage bias was observed. Codon usage in L. acidophilus is similar to that in L. helveticus, but dissimilar to that in L. bulgaricus, L. casei, L. pentosus and L. plantarum. Codon usage in the latter three organisms is not significantly different, but is different from that in L. bulgaricus. Inter-species differences in codon usage can, at least in part, be explained by differences in mutational drift. L. bulgaricus shows GC drift, whereas all other species show AT drift. L. acidophilus and L. helveticus rarely use NNG in family-box (a set of synonymous) codons, in contrast to all other species. This result may be explained by assuming that L. acidophilus and L. helveticus, but not other species examined, use a single tRNA species for translation of family-box codons. Differences in expression level of genes are positively correlated with codon usage bias. Highly expressed genes show highly biased codon usage, whereas weakly expressed genes show much less biased codon usage. Codon usage patterns at the 5'-end of Lactobacillus genes is not significantly different from that of entire genes. The GC content of codons 2-6 is significantly reduced compared with that of the remainder of the gene. The possible implications of a reduced GC content for the control of translation efficiency are discussed. PMID:8152923

  18. What drives codon choices in human genes?

    PubMed

    Karlin, S; Mrázek, J

    1996-10-04

    Synonymous codon usage is based and the bias seems to be different in different organisms. Factors with proposed roles in causing codon bias include degree and timing of gene expression, codon-anticodon interactions, transcription and translation rate and fidelity, codon context, and global and local G + C content. We offer a new perspective and new methods for elucidating codon choices applied especially to the human genome. We present data supporting the thesis that codon choices for human genes are largely a consequence of two factors: (1) amino acid constraints, (2) maintaining DNA structures dependent on base-step conformational tendencies consistent with the organism's genome signature that is determined by genome-wide processes of DNA modification, replication and repair. The related codon signature defined as the dinucleotide relative abundances at the distinct codon positions (1,2), (2,3), and (3,4) (4 = 1 of the next codon) accommodates both the global genome signature and amino acid constraints. In human genes, codon positions (2,3) and (3,4) containing the silent site have similar codon signatures reflecting DNA symmetry. Strong CG and TA dinucleotide underrepresentation is observed at all codon positions as well as in non-coding regions. Estimates of synonymous codon usage based on codon signatures are in excellent agreement with the actual codon usage in human and general vertebrate genes. These properties are largely independent of the isochore compartment (G + C content), gene size, and transcriptional and translational constraints. We hypothesize that major influences on codon usage in human genes result from residue preferences and diresidue associations in proteins coupled to biases on the DNA level, related to replication and repair processes and/or DNA structural requirements.

  19. Mud fossils

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    ,

    1997-01-01

    At the close of the 18th century, the haze of fantasy and mysticism that tended to obscure the true nature of the Earth was being swept away. Careful studies by scientists showed that rocks had diverse origins. Some rock layers, containing clearly identifiable fossil remains of fish and other forms of aquatic animal and plant life, originally formed in the ocean. Other layers, consisting of sand grains winnowed clean by the pounding surf, obviously formed as beach deposits that marked the shorelines of ancient seas.

  20. Age estimation for the genus Cymbidium (Orchidaceae: Epidendroideae) with implementation of fossil data calibration using molecular markers (ITS2 & matK) and phylogeographic inference from ancestral area reconstruction.

    PubMed

    Konhar, Ruchishree; Debnath, Manish; Marbaniang, Jean Valrie; Biswal, Devendra Kumar; Tandon, Pramod

    2016-12-01

    Intercontinental dislocations between tropical regions harboring two-thirds of the flowering plants have always drawn attention from taxonomists and biogeographers. One such family belonging to angiosperms is Orchidaceae with an herbaceous habit and high species diversity in the tropics. Here, we investigate the evolutionary and biogeographical history of the genus Cymbidium, which represents a monophyletic subfamily (Epidendroideae) of the orchids and comprises 50 odd species that are distinctly distributed in tropical to temperate regions. Much is not known about correlations among the level of CAM activity (one of the photosynthetic pathways often regarded as an adaptation to water stress in land plants), habitat, life forms, and phylogenetic relationships of orchids from an evolutionary perspective. A relatively well-resolved and highly supported phylogeny for Cymbidium orchids is reconstructed based on sequence analysis of ITS2 and matK regions from the chloroplast DNA available in public repositories viz. GenBank at NCBI. This study examines a genus level analysis by integrating different molecular matrices to existing fossil data on orchids in a molecular Bayesian relaxed clock employed in BEAST and assessed divergence times for the genus Cymbidium with a focus on evolutionary history of photosynthetic characters. Our study has enabled age estimations (45Ma) as well as ancestral area reconstruction for the genus Cymbidium using BEAST by addition of previously analyzed two internal calibration points.

  1. Are the oldest 'fossils', fossils

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schopf, J. W.

    1976-01-01

    A comparative statistical study has been carried out on populations of modern algae, Precambrian algal microfossils, the 'organized elements' of the Orgueil carbonaceous meteorite, and the oldest microfossil-like objects now known (spheroidal bodies from the Fig Tree and Onverwacht Groups of the Swaziland Supergroup, South Africa). The distribution patterns exhibited by the more than 3000 m.y.-old Swaziland microstructures bear considerable resemblance to those of the abiotic 'organized elements' but differ rather markedly from those exhibited by younger, assuredly biogenic, populations. Based on these comparisons, it is concluded that the Swaziland spheroids could be, at least in part, of nonbiologic origin; these oldest known fossil-like microstructures should not be regarded as constituting firm evidence of Archean life.

  2. Will My Fossil Float?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Riesser, Sharon; Airey, Linda

    1993-01-01

    Explains how young students can be introduced to fossils. Suggests books to read and science activities including "Fossils to Eat" where students make fossils from peanut butter, honey, and powdered milk. (PR)

  3. Codon information value and codon transition-probability distributions in short-term evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jiménez-Montaño, M. A.; Coronel-Brizio, H. F.; Hernández-Montoya, A. R.; Ramos-Fernández, A.

    2016-07-01

    To understand the way the Genetic Code and the physical-chemical properties of coded amino acids affect accepted amino acid substitutions in short-term protein evolution, taking into account only overall amino acid conservation, we consider an underlying codon-level model. This model employs codon pair-substitution frequencies from an empirical matrix in the literature, modified for single-base mutations only. Ordering the degenerated codons according to their codon information value (Volkenstein, 1979), we found that three-fold and most of four-fold degenerated codons, which have low codon values, were best fitted to rank-frequency distributions with constant failure rate (exponentials). In contrast, almost all two-fold degenerated codons, which have high codon values, were best fitted to rank-frequency distributions with variable failure rate (inverse power-laws). Six-fold degenerated codons are considered to be doubly assigned. The exceptional behavior of some codons, including non-degenerate codons, is discussed.

  4. Minigene-like inhibition of protein synthesis mediated by hungry codons near the start codon

    PubMed Central

    Jacinto-Loeza, Eva; Vivanco-Domínguez, Serafín; Guarneros, Gabriel; Hernández-Sánchez, Javier

    2008-01-01

    Rare AGA or AGG codons close to the initiation codon inhibit protein synthesis by a tRNA-sequestering mechanism as toxic minigenes do. To further understand this mechanism, a parallel analysis of protein synthesis and peptidyl-tRNA accumulation was performed using both a set of lacZ constructs where AGAAGA codons were moved codon by codon from +2, +3 up to +7, +8 positions and a series of 3–8 codon minigenes containing AGAAGA codons before the stop codon. β-Galactosidase synthesis from the AGAAGA lacZ constructs (in a Pth defective in vitro system without exogenous tRNA) diminished as the AGAAGA codons were closer to AUG codon. Likewise, β-galactosidase expression from the reporter +7 AGA lacZ gene (plus tRNA, 0.25 μg/μl) waned as the AGAAGAUAA minigene shortened. Pth counteracted both the length-dependent minigene effect on the expression of β-galactosidase from the +7 AGA lacZ reporter gene and the positional effect from the AGAAGA lacZ constructs. The +2, +3 AGAAGA lacZ construct and the shortest +2, +3 AGAAGAUAA minigene accumulated the highest percentage of peptidyl-tRNAArg4. These observations lead us to propose that hungry codons at early positions, albeit with less strength, inhibit protein synthesis by a minigene-like mechanism involving accumulation of peptidyl-tRNA. PMID:18583364

  5. Codon Constraints on Closed 2D Shapes,

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2014-09-26

    19843$ CODON CONSTRAINTS ON CLOSED 2D SHAPES Go Whitman Richards "I Donald D. Hoffman’ D T 18 Abstract: Codons are simple primitives for describing plane...RSONAL AUT"ORtIS) Richards, Whitman & Hoffman, Donald D. 13&. TYPE OF REPORT 13b. TIME COVERED N/A P8 AT F RRrT t~r. Ago..D,) is, PlE COUNT Reprint...outlines, if figure and ground are ignored. Later, we will address the problem of indexing identical codon descriptors that have different figure

  6. Codon optimization underpins generalist parasitism in fungi

    PubMed Central

    Badet, Thomas; Peyraud, Remi; Mbengue, Malick; Navaud, Olivier; Derbyshire, Mark; Oliver, Richard P; Barbacci, Adelin; Raffaele, Sylvain

    2017-01-01

    The range of hosts that parasites can infect is a key determinant of the emergence and spread of disease. Yet, the impact of host range variation on the evolution of parasite genomes remains unknown. Here, we show that codon optimization underlies genome adaptation in broad host range parasites. We found that the longer proteins encoded by broad host range fungi likely increase natural selection on codon optimization in these species. Accordingly, codon optimization correlates with host range across the fungal kingdom. At the species level, biased patterns of synonymous substitutions underpin increased codon optimization in a generalist but not a specialist fungal pathogen. Virulence genes were consistently enriched in highly codon-optimized genes of generalist but not specialist species. We conclude that codon optimization is related to the capacity of parasites to colonize multiple hosts. Our results link genome evolution and translational regulation to the long-term persistence of generalist parasitism. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.22472.001 PMID:28157073

  7. Evolutionary Dynamics of Abundant Stop Codon Readthrough

    PubMed Central

    Jungreis, Irwin; Kellis, Manolis

    2016-01-01

    Translational stop codon readthrough emerged as a major regulatory mechanism affecting hundreds of genes in animal genomes, based on recent comparative genomics and ribosomal profiling evidence, but its evolutionary properties remain unknown. Here, we leverage comparative genomic evidence across 21 Anopheles mosquitoes to systematically annotate readthrough genes in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae, and to provide the first study of abundant readthrough evolution, by comparison with 20 Drosophila species. Using improved comparative genomics methods for detecting readthrough, we identify evolutionary signatures of conserved, functional readthrough of 353 stop codons in the malaria vector, Anopheles gambiae, and of 51 additional Drosophila melanogaster stop codons, including several cases of double and triple readthrough and of readthrough of two adjacent stop codons. We find that most differences between the readthrough repertoires of the two species arose from readthrough gain or loss in existing genes, rather than birth of new genes or gene death; that readthrough-associated RNA structures are sometimes gained or lost while readthrough persists; that readthrough is more likely to be lost at TAA and TAG stop codons; and that readthrough is under continued purifying evolutionary selection in mosquito, based on population genetic evidence. We also determine readthrough-associated gene properties that predate readthrough, and identify differences in the characteristic properties of readthrough genes between clades. We estimate more than 600 functional readthrough stop codons in mosquito and 900 in fruit fly, provide evidence of readthrough control of peroxisomal targeting, and refine the phylogenetic extent of abundant readthrough as following divergence from centipede. PMID:27604222

  8. Emergent rules for codon choice elucidated by editing rare arginine codons in Escherichia coli

    PubMed Central

    Napolitano, Michael G.; Landon, Matthieu; Gregg, Christopher J.; Lajoie, Marc J.; Govindarajan, Lakshmi; Mosberg, Joshua A.; Kuznetsov, Gleb; Goodman, Daniel B.; Vargas-Rodriguez, Oscar; Isaacs, Farren J.; Söll, Dieter; Church, George M.

    2016-01-01

    The degeneracy of the genetic code allows nucleic acids to encode amino acid identity as well as noncoding information for gene regulation and genome maintenance. The rare arginine codons AGA and AGG (AGR) present a case study in codon choice, with AGRs encoding important transcriptional and translational properties distinct from the other synonymous alternatives (CGN). We created a strain of Escherichia coli with all 123 instances of AGR codons removed from all essential genes. We readily replaced 110 AGR codons with the synonymous CGU codons, but the remaining 13 “recalcitrant” AGRs required diversification to identify viable alternatives. Successful replacement codons tended to conserve local ribosomal binding site-like motifs and local mRNA secondary structure, sometimes at the expense of amino acid identity. Based on these observations, we empirically defined metrics for a multidimensional “safe replacement zone” (SRZ) within which alternative codons are more likely to be viable. To evaluate synonymous and nonsynonymous alternatives to essential AGRs further, we implemented a CRISPR/Cas9-based method to deplete a diversified population of a wild-type allele, allowing us to evaluate exhaustively the fitness impact of all 64 codon alternatives. Using this method, we confirmed the relevance of the SRZ by tracking codon fitness over time in 14 different genes, finding that codons that fall outside the SRZ are rapidly depleted from a growing population. Our unbiased and systematic strategy for identifying unpredicted design flaws in synthetic genomes and for elucidating rules governing codon choice will be crucial for designing genomes exhibiting radically altered genetic codes. PMID:27601680

  9. The usage of codons which are similar to stop codons in the genomes of Xylella fastidiosa and Xanthomonas citri.

    PubMed

    Galves-dos-Santos, Dilermando P; Martins-de-Souza, Daniel

    2011-03-01

    During the evolution of living organisms, a natural selection event occurs toward the optimization of their genomes regarding the usage of codons. During this process which is known as codon bias, a set of preferred codons is naturally defined in the genome of a given organism, since there are 61 possible codons (plus 3 stop codons) to 20 amino acids. Such event leads to optimization of metabolic cellular processes such as translational efficiency, RNA stability and energy saving. Although we know why, we do not know how exactly a set of preferred codons for each amino acid is defined for a given genome considering that the usage frequency of each synonymous codons is peculiar to each organism. In order to help answering this question, we analyzed the usage frequency of codons which are similar to stop codons, since a minor mutation on these codons may lead to a stop codon into the open reading frame compromising the protein expression as a result. We found a reduced use of those codons in Xanthomomas axonopodis pv. citri which presents an optimized genome regarding codon usage. On the other hand, such codons are more often used in Xylella fastidiosa, which does not seem to have established codon preferences as previously shown. Our results support that a set of preferred codons is not randomly selected and propose new ideas to the field warranting further experiments in this regard.

  10. SENCA: A Multilayered Codon Model to Study the Origins and Dynamics of Codon Usage

    PubMed Central

    Pouyet, Fanny; Bailly-Bechet, Marc; Mouchiroud, Dominique; Guéguen, Laurent

    2016-01-01

    Gene sequences are the target of evolution operating at different levels, including the nucleotide, codon, and amino acid levels. Disentangling the impact of those different levels on gene sequences requires developing a probabilistic model with three layers. Here we present SENCA (site evolution of nucleotides, codons, and amino acids), a codon substitution model that separately describes 1) nucleotide processes which apply on all sites of a sequence such as the mutational bias, 2) preferences between synonymous codons, and 3) preferences among amino acids. We argue that most synonymous substitutions are not neutral and that SENCA provides more accurate estimates of selection compared with more classical codon sequence models. We study the forces that drive the genomic content evolution, intraspecifically in the core genome of 21 prokaryotes and interspecifically for five Enterobacteria. We retrieve the existence of a universal mutational bias toward AT, and that taking into account selection on synonymous codon usage has consequences on the measurement of selection on nonsynonymous substitutions. We also confirm that codon usage bias is mostly driven by selection on preferred codons. We propose new summary statistics to measure the relative importance of the different evolutionary processes acting on sequences. PMID:27401173

  11. A major controversy in codon-anticodon adaptation resolved by a new codon usage index.

    PubMed

    Xia, Xuhua

    2015-02-01

    Two alternative hypotheses attribute different benefits to codon-anticodon adaptation. The first assumes that protein production is rate limited by both initiation and elongation and that codon-anticodon adaptation would result in higher elongation efficiency and more efficient and accurate protein production, especially for highly expressed genes. The second claims that protein production is rate limited only by initiation efficiency but that improved codon adaptation and, consequently, increased elongation efficiency have the benefit of increasing ribosomal availability for global translation. To test these hypotheses, a recent study engineered a synthetic library of 154 genes, all encoding the same protein but differing in degrees of codon adaptation, to quantify the effect of differential codon adaptation on protein production in Escherichia coli. The surprising conclusion that "codon bias did not correlate with gene expression" and that "translation initiation, not elongation, is rate-limiting for gene expression" contradicts the conclusion reached by many other empirical studies. In this paper, I resolve the contradiction by reanalyzing the data from the 154 sequences. I demonstrate that translation elongation accounts for about 17% of total variation in protein production and that the previous conclusion is due to the use of a codon adaptation index (CAI) that does not account for the mutation bias in characterizing codon adaptation. The effect of translation elongation becomes undetectable only when translation initiation is unrealistically slow. A new index of translation elongation ITE is formulated to facilitate studies on the efficiency and evolution of the translation machinery.

  12. Analysis of synonymous codon usage patterns in the genus Rhizobium.

    PubMed

    Wang, Xinxin; Wu, Liang; Zhou, Ping; Zhu, Shengfeng; An, Wei; Chen, Yu; Zhao, Lin

    2013-11-01

    The codon usage patterns of rhizobia have received increasing attention. However, little information is available regarding the conserved features of the codon usage patterns in a typical rhizobial genus. The codon usage patterns of six completely sequenced strains belonging to the genus Rhizobium were analysed as model rhizobia in the present study. The relative neutrality plot showed that selection pressure played a role in codon usage in the genus Rhizobium. Spearman's rank correlation analysis combined with correspondence analysis (COA) showed that the codon adaptation index and the effective number of codons (ENC) had strong correlation with the first axis of the COA, which indicated the important role of gene expression level and the ENC in the codon usage patterns in this genus. The relative synonymous codon usage of Cys codons had the strongest correlation with the second axis of the COA. Accordingly, the usage of Cys codons was another important factor that shaped the codon usage patterns in Rhizobium genomes and was a conserved feature of the genus. Moreover, the comparison of codon usage between highly and lowly expressed genes showed that 20 unique preferred codons were shared among Rhizobium genomes, revealing another conserved feature of the genus. This is the first report of the codon usage patterns in the genus Rhizobium.

  13. Discrepancy among the synonymous codons with respect to their selection as optimal codon in bacteria

    PubMed Central

    Satapathy, Siddhartha Sankar; Powdel, Bhesh Raj; Buragohain, Alak Kumar; Ray, Suvendra Kumar

    2016-01-01

    The different triplets encoding the same amino acid, termed as synonymous codons, are not equally abundant in a genome. Factors such as G + C% and tRNA are known to influence their abundance in a genome. However, the order of the nucleotide in each codon per se might also be another factor impacting on its abundance values. Of the synonymous codons for specific amino acids, some are preferentially used in the high expression genes that are referred to as the ‘optimal codons’ (OCs). In this study, we compared OCs of the 18 amino acids in 221 species of bacteria. It is observed that there is amino acid specific influence for the selection of OCs. There is also influence of phylogeny in the choice of OCs for some amino acids such as Glu, Gln, Lys and Leu. The phenomenon of codon bias is also supported by the comparative studies of the abundance values of the synonymous codons with same G + C. It is likely that the order of the nucleotides in the triplet codon is also perhaps involved in the phenomenon of codon usage bias in organisms. PMID:27426467

  14. Fossilized bioelectric wire - the trace fossil Trichichnus.

    PubMed

    Kędzierski, M; Uchman, A; Sawlowicz, Z; Briguglio, A

    2015-04-16

    The trace fossil Trichichnus is proposed as an indicator of fossil bioelectric bacterial activity at the oxic-anoxic interface zone of marine sediments. This fulfils the idea that such processes, commonly found in the modern realm, should be also present in the geological past. Trichichnus is an exceptional trace fossil due to its very thin diameter (mostly less than 1 mm) and common pyritic filling. It is ubiquitous in some fine-grained sediments, where it has been interpreted as a burrow formed deeper than any other trace fossils, below the redox boundary. Trichichnus, formerly referred to as deeply burrowed invertebrates, has been found as remnant of a fossilized intrasediment bacterial mat that is pyritized. As visualized in 3-D by means of X-ray computed microtomography scanner, Trichichnus forms dense filamentous fabric, which reflects that it is produced by modern large, mat-forming, sulfide-oxidizing bacteria, belonging mostly to Thioploca-related taxa, which are able to house a complex bacterial consortium. Several stages of Trichichnus formation, including filamentous, bacterial mat and its pyritization, are proposed to explain an electron exchange between oxic and suboxic/anoxic layers in the sediment. Therefore, Trichichnus can be considered a fossilized "electric wire".

  15. Fossilized bioelectric wire - the trace fossil Trichichnus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kędzierski, M.; Uchman, A.; Sawlowicz, Z.; Briguglio, A.

    2014-12-01

    The trace fossil Trichichnus is proposed as an indicator of fossil bioelectric bacterial activity at the interface oxic - anoxic zone of marine sediments. This fulfils the idea that such processes, commonly found in the modern realm, should be also present in the geological past. Trichichnus is an exceptional trace fossil due to its very thin diameter (mostly less than 1 mm) and common pyritic filling. It is ubiquitous in some fine-grained sediments, where it has been interpreted as a burrow formed deeper than any other trace fossils, below the redox boundary. Trichichnus formerly referred to as deeply burrowed invertebrates, has been found as remnant of a fossilized intrasediment bacterial mat that is pyritized. As visualized in 3-D by means of X-ray computed microtomography scanner, Trichichnus forms dense filamentous fabric, which reflects that produced by modern large, mat-forming, sulphide-oxidizing bacteria, belonging mostly to Trichichnus-related taxa, which are able to house a complex bacterial consortium. Several stages of Trichichnus formation, including filamentous, bacterial mat and its pyritization, are proposed to explain an electron exchange between oxic and suboxic/anoxic layers in the sediment. Therefore, Trichichnus can be considered a fossilized "electric wire".

  16. Fossilized bioelectric wire - the trace fossil Trichichnus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kędzierski, M.; Uchman, A.; Sawlowicz, Z.; Briguglio, A.

    2015-04-01

    The trace fossil Trichichnus is proposed as an indicator of fossil bioelectric bacterial activity at the oxic-anoxic interface zone of marine sediments. This fulfils the idea that such processes, commonly found in the modern realm, should be also present in the geological past. Trichichnus is an exceptional trace fossil due to its very thin diameter (mostly less than 1 mm) and common pyritic filling. It is ubiquitous in some fine-grained sediments, where it has been interpreted as a burrow formed deeper than any other trace fossils, below the redox boundary. Trichichnus, formerly referred to as deeply burrowed invertebrates, has been found as remnant of a fossilized intrasediment bacterial mat that is pyritized. As visualized in 3-D by means of X-ray computed microtomography scanner, Trichichnus forms dense filamentous fabric, which reflects that it is produced by modern large, mat-forming, sulfide-oxidizing bacteria, belonging mostly to Thioploca-related taxa, which are able to house a complex bacterial consortium. Several stages of Trichichnus formation, including filamentous, bacterial mat and its pyritization, are proposed to explain an electron exchange between oxic and suboxic/anoxic layers in the sediment. Therefore, Trichichnus can be considered a fossilized "electric wire".

  17. Codon catalog usage and the genome hypothesis.

    PubMed Central

    Grantham, R; Gautier, C; Gouy, M; Mercier, R; Pavé, A

    1980-01-01

    Frequencies for each of the 61 amino acid codons have been determined in every published mRNA sequence of 50 or more codons. The frequencies are shown for each kind of genome and for each individual gene. A surprising consistency of choices exists among genes of the same or similar genomes. Thus each genome, or kind of genome, appears to possess a "system" for choosing between codons. Frameshift genes, however, have widely different choice strategies from normal genes. Our work indicates that the main factors distinguishing between mRNA sequences relate to choices among degenerate bases. These systematic third base choices can therefore be used to establish a new kind of genetic distance, which reflects differences in coding strategy. The choice patterns we find seem compatible with the idea that the genome and not the individual gene is the unit of selection. Each gene in a genome tends to conform to its species' usage of the codon catalog; this is our genome hypothesis. PMID:6986610

  18. Nucleotide composition and codon usage bias of SRY gene.

    PubMed

    Choudhury, M N; Uddin, A; Chakraborty, S

    2017-01-26

    The SRY gene is present within the sex-determining region of the Y chromosome which is responsible for maleness in mammals. The nonuniform usage of synonymous codons in the mRNA transcript for encoding a particular amino acid is the codon usage bias (CUB). Analysis of codon usage pattern is important to understand the genetic and molecular organisation of a gene. It also helps in heterologous gene expression, design of primer and synthetic gene. However, the analysis of codon usage bias of SRY gene was not yet studied. We have used bioinformatic tools to analyse codon usage bias of SRY gene across mammals. Codon bias index (CBI) indicated that the overall extent of codon usage bias was weak. The relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) analysis suggested that most frequently used codons had an A or C at the third codon position. Compositional constraint played an important role in codon usage pattern as evident from correspondence analysis (CA). Significant correlation among nucleotides constraints indicated that both mutation pressure and natural selection affect the codon usage pattern. Neutrality plot suggested that natural selection might play a major role, while mutation pressure might play a minor role in codon usage pattern in SRY gene in different species of mammals.

  19. Efficient expression of gene variants that harbour AGA codons next to the initiation codon

    PubMed Central

    Zamora-Romo, Efraín; Cruz-Vera, Luis Rogelio; Vivanco-Domínguez, Serafín; Magos-Castro, Marco Antonio; Guarneros, Gabriel

    2007-01-01

    In an effort to improve the knowledge about the rules which direct the effect of the early ORF sequences on translation efficiency, we have analyzed the effect of pairs of the six arginine codons at the second and third positions on the expression of lacZ variants. Whereas the pairs of identical AGA or AGG codons were favorable for the gene expression, identical pairs of each of the four CGN codons were very inefficient. This result was unexpected because tandems of AGA or AGG codons located in more internal gene positions provoke deficient expression whilst internally located CGU and CGC are the most abundant and efficiently translated arginine codons. The mixed combinations of AGA and each of the CGN codons usually resulted in efficient rates of lacZ expression independently of the peptidyl-tRNA propensity to dissociate from the ribosome. Thus, the variant harboring the pair of AGA codons was expressed as efficiently as the variant carrying a pair of AAA codons in the same positions, a configuration reported as one of the most common and efficient for gene expression. We explain these results assuming that the presence of adenines in these early positions enhance gene expression. As expected, specific mRNA levels correlated with the intensity of lacZ expression for each variant. However, the induction of lacZ AGA AGA gene in pth cells accumulated peptidyl-tRNAArg4 as well as a short 5′-proximal lacZ mRNA fragment suggesting ribosome stalling due to depletion of aminoacylated-tRNAArg4. PMID:17726048

  20. Synthetic Gene Design Using Codon Optimization On-Line (COOL).

    PubMed

    Yu, Kai; Ang, Kok Siong; Lee, Dong-Yup

    2017-01-01

    Codon optimization has been widely used for designing native or synthetic genes to enhance their expression in heterologous host organisms. We recently developed Codon Optimization On-Line (COOL) which is a web-based tool to provide multi-objective codon optimization functionality for synthetic gene design. COOL provides a simple and flexible interface for customizing codon optimization based on several design parameters such as individual codon usage, codon pairing, and codon adaptation index. User-defined sequences can also be compared against the COOL optimized ones to show the extent by which the user's sequences can be evaluated and further improved. The utility of COOL is demonstrated via a case study where the codon optimized sequence of an invertase enzyme is generated for the enhanced expression in E. coli.

  1. Modes of fossil preservation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schopf, J.M.

    1975-01-01

    The processes of geologic preservation are important for understanding the organisms represented by fossils. Some fossil differences are due to basic differences in organization of animals and plants, but the interpretation of fossils has also tended to be influenced by modes of preservation. Four modes of preservation generally can be distinguished: (1) Cellular permineralization ("petrifaction") preserves anatomical detail, and, occasionally, even cytologic structures. (2) Coalified compression, best illustrated by structures from coal but characteristic of many plant fossils in shale, preserves anatomical details in distorted form and produces surface replicas (impressions) on enclosing matrix. (3) Authigenic preservation replicates surface form or outline (molds and casts) prior to distortion by compression and, depending on cementation and timing, may intergrade with fossils that have been subject to compression. (4) Duripartic (hard part) preservation is characteristic of fossil skeletal remains, predominantly animal. Molds, pseudomorphs, or casts may form as bulk replacements following dissolution of the original fossil material, usually by leaching. Classification of the kinds of preservation in fossils will aid in identifying the processes responsible for modifying the fossil remains of both animals and plants. ?? 1975.

  2. Stop codon reassignments in the wild.

    PubMed

    Ivanova, Natalia N; Schwientek, Patrick; Tripp, H James; Rinke, Christian; Pati, Amrita; Huntemann, Marcel; Visel, Axel; Woyke, Tanja; Kyrpides, Nikos C; Rubin, Edward M

    2014-05-23

    The canonical genetic code is assumed to be deeply conserved across all domains of life with very few exceptions. By scanning 5.6 trillion base pairs of metagenomic data for stop codon reassignment events, we detected recoding in a substantial fraction of the >1700 environmental samples examined. We observed extensive opal and amber stop codon reassignments in bacteriophages and of opal in bacteria. Our data indicate that bacteriophages can infect hosts with a different genetic code and demonstrate phage-host antagonism based on code differences. The abundance and diversity of genetic codes present in environmental organisms should be considered in the design of engineered organisms with altered genetic codes in order to preclude the exchange of genetic information with naturally occurring species.

  3. Stop Codon Reassignment in the Wild

    SciTech Connect

    Ivanova, Natalia; Schwientek, Patrick; Tripp, H. James; Rinke, Christian; Pati, Amrita; Huntemann, Marcel; Visel, Axel; Woyke, Tanja; Kyrpides, Nikos; Rubin, Edward

    2014-03-21

    Since the discovery of the genetic code and protein translation mechanisms (1), a limited number of variations of the standard assignment between unique base triplets (codons) and their encoded amino acids and translational stop signals have been found in bacteria and phages (2-3). Given the apparent ubiquity of the canonical genetic code, the design of genomically recoded organisms with non-canonical codes has been suggested as a means to prevent horizontal gene transfer between laboratory and environmental organisms (4). It is also predicted that genomically recoded organisms are immune to infection by viruses, under the assumption that phages and their hosts must share a common genetic code (5). This paradigm is supported by the observation of increased resistance of genomically recoded bacteria to phages with a canonical code (4). Despite these assumptions and accompanying lines of evidence, it remains unclear whether differential and non-canonical codon usage represents an absolute barrier to phage infection and genetic exchange between organisms. Our knowledge of the diversity of genetic codes and their use by viruses and their hosts is primarily derived from the analysis of cultivated organisms. Advances in single-cell sequencing and metagenome assembly technologies have enabled the reconstruction of genomes of uncultivated bacterial and archaeal lineages (6). These initial findings suggest that large scale systematic studies of uncultivated microorganisms and viruses may reveal the extent and modes of divergence from the canonical genetic code operating in nature. To explore alternative genetic codes, we carried out a systematic analysis of stop codon reassignments from the canonical TAG amber, TGA opal, and TAA ochre codons in assembled metagenomes from environmental and host-associated samples, single-cell genomes of uncultivated bacteria and archaea, and a collection of phage sequences

  4. Restoring Fossil Creek

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Flaccus, Kathleen; Vlieg, Julie; Marks, Jane C.; LeRoy, Carri J.

    2004-01-01

    Fossil Creek had been dammed for the past 90 years, and plans were underway to restore the stream. The creek runs through Central Arizona and flows from the high plateaus to the desert, cutting through the same formations that form the Grand Canyon. This article discusses the Fossil Creek monitoring project. In this project, students and teachers…

  5. Recent synchronous radiation of a living fossil.

    PubMed

    Nagalingum, N S; Marshall, C R; Quental, T B; Rai, H S; Little, D P; Mathews, S

    2011-11-11

    Modern survivors of previously more diverse lineages are regarded as living fossils, particularly when characterized by morphological stasis. Cycads are often cited as a classic example, reaching their greatest diversity during the Jurassic-Cretaceous (199.6 to 65.5 million years ago) then dwindling to their present diversity of ~300 species as flowering plants rose to dominance. Using fossil-calibrated molecular phylogenies, we show that cycads underwent a near synchronous global rediversification beginning in the late Miocene, followed by a slowdown toward the Recent. Although the cycad lineage is ancient, our timetrees indicate that living cycad species are not much older than ~12 million years. These data reject the hypothesized role of dinosaurs in generating extant diversity and the designation of today's cycad species as living fossils.

  6. A critical analysis of codon optimization in human therapeutics.

    PubMed

    Mauro, Vincent P; Chappell, Stephen A

    2014-11-01

    Codon optimization describes gene engineering approaches that use synonymous codon changes to increase protein production. Applications for codon optimization include recombinant protein drugs and nucleic acid therapies, including gene therapy, mRNA therapy, and DNA/RNA vaccines. However, recent reports indicate that codon optimization can affect protein conformation and function, increase immunogenicity, and reduce efficacy. We critically review this subject, identifying additional potential hazards including some unique to nucleic acid therapies. This analysis highlights the evolved complexity of codon usage and challenges the scientific bases for codon optimization. Consequently, codon optimization may not provide the optimal strategy for increasing protein production and may decrease the safety and efficacy of biotech therapeutics. We suggest that the use of this approach is reconsidered, particularly for in vivo applications.

  7. Codon optimization of genes for efficient protein expression in mammalian cells by selection of only preferred human codons.

    PubMed

    Inouye, Satoshi; Sahara-Miura, Yuiko; Sato, Jun-ichi; Suzuki, Takahiro

    2015-05-01

    A simple design method for codon optimization of genes to express a heterologous protein in mammalian cells is described. Codon optimization was performed by choosing only codons preferentially used in humans and with over 60% GC content, and the method was named the "preferred human codon-optimized method." To test our simple rule for codon optimization, the preferred human codon-optimized genes for six proteins containing photoproteins (aequorin and clytin II) and luciferases (Gaussia luciferase, Renilla luciferase, and firefly luciferases from Photinus pyralis and Luciola cruciata) were chemically synthesized and transiently expressed in Chinese hamster ovary-K1 cells. All preferred human codon-optimized genes showed higher luminescence activity than the corresponding wild-type genes. Our simple design method could be used to improve protein expression in mammalian cells efficiently.

  8. Fossil fuels -- future fuels

    SciTech Connect

    1998-03-01

    Fossil fuels -- coal, oil, and natural gas -- built America`s historic economic strength. Today, coal supplies more than 55% of the electricity, oil more than 97% of the transportation needs, and natural gas 24% of the primary energy used in the US. Even taking into account increased use of renewable fuels and vastly improved powerplant efficiencies, 90% of national energy needs will still be met by fossil fuels in 2020. If advanced technologies that boost efficiency and environmental performance can be successfully developed and deployed, the US can continue to depend upon its rich resources of fossil fuels.

  9. Infrared Spectra of Fossils,

    DTIC Science & Technology

    fossil’s surface is accessible to the analyzing beams. The technique is potentially valuable for the examination of special samples of palaeontological and archaeological interest. Keywords include: Photothermal effect.

  10. Natural Product Molecular Fossils.

    PubMed

    Falk, Heinz; Wolkenstein, Klaus

    2017-01-01

    The natural products synthesized by organisms that were living a long time ago gave rise to their molecular fossils. These can consist of either the original unchanged compounds or they may undergo peripheral transformations in which their skeletons remain intact. In cases when molecular fossils can be traced to their organismic source, they are termed "geological biomarkers".This contribution describes apolar and polar molecular fossils and, in particular biomarkers, along the lines usually followed in organic chemistry textbooks, and points to their bioprecursors when available. Thus, the apolar compounds are divided in linear and branched alkanes followed by alicyclic compounds and aromatic and heterocyclic molecules, and, in particular, the geoporphyrins. The polar molecular fossils contain as functional groups or constituent units ethers, alcohols, phenols, carbonyl groups, flavonoids, quinones, and acids, or are polymers like kerogen, amber, melanin, proteins, or nucleic acids. The final sections discuss the methodology used and the fundamental processes encountered by the biomolecules described, including diagenesis, catagenesis, and metagenesis.

  11. eCodonOpt: a systematic computational framework for optimizing codon usage in directed evolution experiments

    PubMed Central

    Moore, Gregory L.; Maranas, Costas D.

    2002-01-01

    We present a systematic computational framework, eCodonOpt, for designing parental DNA sequences for directed evolution experiments through codon usage optimization. Given a set of homologous parental proteins to be recombined at the DNA level, the optimal DNA sequences encoding these proteins are sought for a given diversity objective. We find that the free energy of annealing between the recombining DNA sequences is a much better descriptor of the extent of crossover formation than sequence identity. Three different diversity targets are investigated for the DNA shuffling protocol to showcase the utility of the eCodonOpt framework: (i) maximizing the average number of crossovers per recombined sequence; (ii) minimizing bias in family DNA shuffling so that each of the parental sequence pair contributes a similar number of crossovers to the library; and (iii) maximizing the relative frequency of crossovers in specific structural regions. Each one of these design challenges is formulated as a constrained optimization problem that utilizes 0–1 binary variables as on/off switches to model the selection of different codon choices for each residue position. Computational results suggest that many-fold improvements in the crossover frequency, location and specificity are possible, providing valuable insights for the engineering of directed evolution protocols. PMID:12034828

  12. A common periodic table of codons and amino acids.

    PubMed

    Biro, J C; Benyó, B; Sansom, C; Szlávecz, A; Fördös, G; Micsik, T; Benyó, Z

    2003-06-27

    A periodic table of codons has been designed where the codons are in regular locations. The table has four fields (16 places in each) one with each of the four nucleotides (A, U, G, C) in the central codon position. Thus, AAA (lysine), UUU (phenylalanine), GGG (glycine), and CCC (proline) were placed into the corners of the fields as the main codons (and amino acids) of the fields. They were connected to each other by six axes. The resulting nucleic acid periodic table showed perfect axial symmetry for codons. The corresponding amino acid table also displaced periodicity regarding the biochemical properties (charge and hydropathy) of the 20 amino acids and the position of the stop signals. The table emphasizes the importance of the central nucleotide in the codons and predicts that purines control the charge while pyrimidines determine the polarity of the amino acids. This prediction was experimentally tested.

  13. Codon reassignment and amino acid composition in hemichordate mitochondria

    PubMed Central

    Castresana, Jose; Feldmaier-Fuchs, Gertraud; Pääbo, Svante

    1998-01-01

    In the mitochondrial genome of the hemichordate Balanoglossus carnosus, the codon AAA, which is assigned to lysine in most metazoans but to asparagine in echinoderms, is absent. Furthermore, the lysine tRNA gene carries an anticodon substitution that renders its gene product unable to decode AAA codons, whereas the asparagine tRNA gene has not changed to encode a tRNA with the ability to recognize AAA codons. Thus, the hemichordate mitochondrial genome can be regarded as an intermediate in the process of reassignment of mitochondrial AAA codons, where most metazoans represent the ancestral situation and the echinoderms the derived situation. This lends support to the codon capture hypothesis. We also show that the reassignment of the AAA codon is associated with a reduction in the relative abundance of lysine residues in mitochondrial proteins. PMID:9520430

  14. Fossil Simulation in the Classroom

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hoehn, Robert G.

    1977-01-01

    Describes classroom science demonstrations and experiments that simulate the process of fossil formation. Lists materials, procedures and suggestions for successful activities. Includes ten student activities (coral fossils, leaf fossils, leaf scars, carbonization, etc.). Describes a fossil game in which students work in pairs. (CS)

  15. Tooth Enamel Oxygen and Carbon Isotope Variations in Modern Central Asian Horses: Development of a Calibration Database for the Interpretation of Stable Isotope Signals Preserved in Fossil Horse Remains from Archaeological Sites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sikora, M. T.; Rosenmeier, M. F.; Allard, F.; Olsen, S. L.

    2005-12-01

    Recent studies of early nomadic pastoralism within Central Asia have focused on the rich archaeological history of Mongolia and specifically the examination of so-called khirigsuur sites. These monumental Bronze Age (first and second millennium B.C.) structures consist of stone constructions that contain abundant horse remains (typically skulls) and occasionally human burials. Isotopic analysis of horse remains preserved within these sites may provide a wealth of paleoclimatic information. However, the accuracy of climate reconstructions from fossil teeth collected at archaeological sites in Mongolia is currently limited by insufficient knowledge of the relationship between local environmental conditions and tooth enamel isotope ratios as well as uncertainties attributed to intra-population variability. In this study we measured the oxygen and carbon isotope (δ18O and δ13C) values of enamel samples from modern horse teeth collected along a nearly 550 km latitudinal (northwest-southeast) transect within central Mongolia. Preliminary results suggest that modern tooth enamel records local environmental conditions, although δ18O and δ13C values are not always a direct proxy for climate and vegetation cover. The modern samples serve as a baseline for interpreting isotope signals preserved in fossil horses and thereby increase the accuracy of paleoclimatic reconstructions. Approximately one-hundred individuals were examined from highly varied geographic zones (forest steppe, grassland steppe, dry steppe, and semi-desert) and compared with the δ18O of meteoric waters and δ13C values of local vegetation. Oxygen isotope ratios of bulk enamel samples (spanning the entire vertical axis of tooth growth) parallel spatial trends observed in isotopic composition of meteoric waters and major north-south gradients in temperature and precipitation. Average δ13C values similarly increase with decreasing geographic latitude and likely correspond to documented increases in the

  16. Partial attenuation of Marek's disease virus by manipulation of Di-codon bias

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    All species studied to date demonstrate a preference for certain codons over other synonymous codons (codon bias), a preference which is also observed for pairs of codons (di-codon bias). Previous studies using poliovirus and influenza virus as models have demonstrated the ability to cause attenuat...

  17. On the fossil record of the Gekkota.

    PubMed

    Daza, Juan D; Bauer, Aaron M; Snively, Eric D

    2014-03-01

    Gekkota is often interpreted as sister to all remaining squamates, exclusive of dibamids, or as sister to Autarchoglossa. It is the only diverse lineage of primarily nocturnal lizards and includes some of the smallest amniotes. The skeleton of geckos has often been interpreted as paedomorphic and/or "primitive" but these lizards also display a wide range of structural specializations of the postcranium, including modifications associated with both scansorial locomotion and limb reduction. Although the concept of "Gekkota" has been variously applied by different authors, we here apply a rigorous apomorphy based definition, recent advances in gekkotan morphology and phylogenetics, and diverse comparative material to provide a comprehensive assessment of 28 known pre-Quaternary geckos, updating the last such review, published three decades ago. Fossils evaluated include both sedimentary fossils and amber-embedded specimens. Known Cretaceous geckos are exclusively Asian and exhibit character combinations not seen in any living forms. Cenozoic gekkotans derive from sites around the world, although Europe is especially well represented. Paleogene geckos are largely known from disarticulated remains and show similarities to Sphaerodactylidae and Diplodactylidae, although resemblances may be plesiomorphic in some cases. Many Neogene gekkotans are referable to living families or even genera, but their geographic occurrences are often extralimital to those of modern groups, as is consistent with paleoclimatic conditions. The phylogenetic placement of fossil gekkotans has important repercusions for timetree calibration, but at present only a small number of fossils can be confidently assigned to even family level groupings, limiting their utility in this regard.

  18. Two new beta0-thalassemic mutations: a deletion (-CC) at codon 142 or overlapping codons 142-143, and an insertion (+T) at codon 45 or overlapping codons 44-45/45-46 of the beta-globin gene.

    PubMed

    Lacan, Philippe; Aubry, Martine; Couprie, Nicole; Francina, Alain

    2007-01-01

    We report here two new beta(0)-thalassemic mutations. In the first case, a deletion of two nucleotides (-CC) at codon 142 was found in a French Caucasian woman. In the second case, an insertion of a single nucleotide (+T) at codon 45 was found in a Turkish girl. In both cases, no dominant thalassemia-like phenotype was observed.

  19. Protein Synthesis in E. coli: Dependence of Codon-Specific Elongation on tRNA Concentration and Codon Usage.

    PubMed

    Rudorf, Sophia; Lipowsky, Reinhard

    2015-01-01

    To synthesize a protein, a ribosome moves along a messenger RNA (mRNA), reads it codon by codon, and takes up the corresponding ternary complexes which consist of aminoacylated transfer RNAs (aa-tRNAs), elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu), and GTP. During this process of translation elongation, the ribosome proceeds with a codon-specific rate. Here, we present a general theoretical framework to calculate codon-specific elongation rates and error frequencies based on tRNA concentrations and codon usages. Our theory takes three important aspects of in-vivo translation elongation into account. First, non-cognate, near-cognate and cognate ternary complexes compete for the binding sites on the ribosomes. Second, the corresponding binding rates are determined by the concentrations of free ternary complexes, which must be distinguished from the total tRNA concentrations as measured in vivo. Third, for each tRNA species, the difference between total tRNA and ternary complex concentration depends on the codon usages of the corresponding cognate and near-cognate codons. Furthermore, we apply our theory to two alternative pathways for tRNA release from the ribosomal E site and show how the mechanism of tRNA release influences the concentrations of free ternary complexes and thus the codon-specific elongation rates. Using a recently introduced method to determine kinetic rates of in-vivo translation from in-vitro data, we compute elongation rates for all codons in Escherichia coli. We show that for some tRNA species only a few tRNA molecules are part of ternary complexes and, thus, available for the translating ribosomes. In addition, we find that codon-specific elongation rates strongly depend on the overall codon usage in the cell, which could be altered experimentally by overexpression of individual genes.

  20. Structural basis for stop codon recognition in eukaryotes.

    PubMed

    Brown, Alan; Shao, Sichen; Murray, Jason; Hegde, Ramanujan S; Ramakrishnan, V

    2015-08-27

    Termination of protein synthesis occurs when a translating ribosome encounters one of three universally conserved stop codons: UAA, UAG or UGA. Release factors recognize stop codons in the ribosomal A-site to mediate release of the nascent chain and recycling of the ribosome. Bacteria decode stop codons using two separate release factors with differing specificities for the second and third bases. By contrast, eukaryotes rely on an evolutionarily unrelated omnipotent release factor (eRF1) to recognize all three stop codons. The molecular basis of eRF1 discrimination for stop codons over sense codons is not known. Here we present cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structures at 3.5-3.8 Å resolution of mammalian ribosomal complexes containing eRF1 interacting with each of the three stop codons in the A-site. Binding of eRF1 flips nucleotide A1825 of 18S ribosomal RNA so that it stacks on the second and third stop codon bases. This configuration pulls the fourth position base into the A-site, where it is stabilized by stacking against G626 of 18S rRNA. Thus, eRF1 exploits two rRNA nucleotides also used during transfer RNA selection to drive messenger RNA compaction. In this compacted mRNA conformation, stop codons are favoured by a hydrogen-bonding network formed between rRNA and essential eRF1 residues that constrains the identity of the bases. These results provide a molecular framework for eukaryotic stop codon recognition and have implications for future studies on the mechanisms of canonical and premature translation termination.

  1. Structural basis for stop codon recognition in eukaryotes

    PubMed Central

    Murray, Jason; Hegde, Ramanujan S.; Ramakrishnan, V.

    2015-01-01

    Termination of protein synthesis occurs when a translating ribosome encounters one of three universally conserved stop codons: UGA, UAA, or UAG. Release factors recognise stop codons in the ribosomal A site to mediate release of the nascent chain and recycling of the ribosome. Bacteria decode stop codons using two separate release factors with differing specificities for the second and third bases1. By contrast, eukaryotes rely on an evolutionarily unrelated omnipotent release factor (eRF1) to recognise all three stop codons2. The molecular basis of eRF1 discrimination for stop codons over sense codons is not known. Here, we present electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) structures at 3.5 – 3.8 Å resolution of mammalian ribosomal complexes containing eRF1 interacting with each of the three stop codons in the A site. Binding of eRF1 flips nucleotide A1825 of 18S rRNA so that it stacks on the second and third stop codon bases. This configuration pulls the fourth position base into the A site, where it is stabilised by stacking against G626 of 18S rRNA. Thus, eRF1 exploits two rRNA nucleotides also used during tRNA selection to drive mRNA compaction. Stop codons are favoured in this compacted mRNA conformation by a hydrogen-bonding network with essential eRF1 residues that constrains the identity of the bases. These results provide a molecular framework for eukaryotic stop codon recognition and have implications for future studies on the mechanisms of canonical and premature translation termination3,4. PMID:26245381

  2. Transitional fossils and the origin of turtles.

    PubMed

    Lyson, Tyler R; Bever, Gabe S; Bhullar, Bhart-Anjan S; Joyce, Walter G; Gauthier, Jacques A

    2010-12-23

    The origin of turtles is one of the most contentious issues in systematics with three currently viable hypotheses: turtles as the extant sister to (i) the crocodile-bird clade, (ii) the lizard-tuatara clade, or (iii) Diapsida (a clade composed of (i) and (ii)). We reanalysed a recent dataset that allied turtles with the lizard-tuatara clade and found that the inclusion of the stem turtle Proganochelys quenstedti and the 'parareptile' Eunotosaurus africanus results in a single overriding morphological signal, with turtles outside Diapsida. This result reflects the importance of transitional fossils when long branches separate crown clades, and highlights unexplored issues such as the role of topological congruence when using fossils to calibrate molecular clocks.

  3. Advanced fossil energy utilization

    SciTech Connect

    Shekhawat, D.; Berry, D.; Spivey, J.; Pennline, H.; Granite, E.

    2010-01-01

    This special issue of Fuel is a selection of papers presented at the symposium ‘Advanced Fossil Energy Utilization’ co-sponsored by the Fuels and Petrochemicals Division and Research and New Technology Committee in the 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Spring National Meeting Tampa, FL, on April 26–30, 2009.

  4. Trace Fossil Analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hasiotis, Stephen T.

    2009-05-01

    Today, the study of trace fossils—ichnology—is an important subdiscipline of geology at the interface of paleontology and sedimentology, mostly because of the efforts of Adolf Seilacher. His ability to synthesize various aspects of ichnology and produce a hierarchy of marine ichna and sedimentary facies has made ichnology useful worldwide in interpreting paleodiversity, rates of sedimentation, oxygenation of bottom water and sediment pore water, and depositional energy. Seilacher's book Trace Fossil Analysis provides a glimpse into the mind, methodology, and insights of the father of modern ichnology, generated from his course notes as a professor and a guest lecturer. The title sounds misleading—readers looking for up-to-date principles and approaches to trace fossil analysis in marine and continental strata will be disappointed. In his preface, however, Seilacher clearly gives direction for the use of his text: “This is a course book—meaning that it is intended to confer not knowledge, but skill.” Thus, it is not meant as a total compilation of all trace fossils, ichnotaxonomy, ichnological interpretations, applications, or the most relevant and up-to-date references. Rather, it takes the reader on a personal journey, explaining how trace fossils are understood in the context of their three-dimensional (3-D) morphology and sedimentary facies.

  5. Sustainability of Fossil Fuels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lackner, K. S.

    2002-05-01

    For a sustainable world economy, energy is a bottleneck. Energy is at the basis of a modern, technological society, but unlike materials it cannot be recycled. Energy or more precisely "negentropy" (the opposite of entropy) is always consumed. Thus, one either accepts the use of large but finite resources or must stay within the limits imposed by dilute but self-renewing resources like sunlight. The challenge of sustainable energy is exacerbated by likely growth in world energy demand due to increased population and increased wealth. Most of the world still has to undergo the transition to a wealthy, stable society with the near zero population growth that characterizes a modern industrial society. This represents a huge unmet demand. If ten billion people were to consume energy like North Americans do today, world energy demand would be ten times higher. In addition, technological advances while often improving energy efficiency tend to raise energy demand by offering more opportunity for consumption. Energy consumption still increases at close to the 2.3% per year that would lead to a tenfold increase over the course of the next century. Meeting future energy demands while phasing out fossil fuels appears extremely difficult. Instead, the world needs sustainable or nearly sustainable fossil fuels. I propose the following definition of sustainable under which fossil fuels would well qualify: The use of a technology or resource is sustainable if the intended and unintended consequences will not force its abandonment within a reasonable planning horizon. Of course sustainable technologies must not be limited by resource depletion but this is only one of many concerns. Environmental impacts, excessive land use, and other constraints can equally limit the use of a technology and thus render it unsustainable. In the foreseeable future, fossil fuels are not limited by resource depletion. However, environmental concerns based on climate change and other environmental

  6. Ants and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    LaPolla, John S; Dlussky, Gennady M; Perrichot, Vincent

    2013-01-01

    The dominance of ants in the terrestrial biosphere has few equals among animals today, but this was not always the case. The oldest ants appear in the fossil record 100 million years ago, but given the scarcity of their fossils, it is presumed they were relatively minor components of Mesozoic insect life. The ant fossil record consists of two primary types of fossils, each with inherent biases: as imprints in rock and as inclusions in fossilized resins (amber). New imaging technology allows ancient ant fossils to be examined in ways never before possible. This is particularly helpful because it can be difficult to distinguish true ants from non-ants in Mesozoic fossils. Fossil discoveries continue to inform our understanding of ancient ant morphological diversity, as well as provide insights into their paleobiology.

  7. Efficient translation initiation dictates codon usage at gene start

    PubMed Central

    Bentele, Kajetan; Saffert, Paul; Rauscher, Robert; Ignatova, Zoya; Blüthgen, Nils

    2013-01-01

    The genetic code is degenerate; thus, protein evolution does not uniquely determine the coding sequence. One of the puzzles in evolutionary genetics is therefore to uncover evolutionary driving forces that result in specific codon choice. In many bacteria, the first 5–10 codons of protein-coding genes are often codons that are less frequently used in the rest of the genome, an effect that has been argued to arise from selection for slowed early elongation to reduce ribosome traffic jams. However, genome analysis across many species has demonstrated that the region shows reduced mRNA folding consistent with pressure for efficient translation initiation. This raises the possibility that unusual codon usage is a side effect of selection for reduced mRNA structure. Here we discriminate between these two competing hypotheses, and show that in bacteria selection favours codons that reduce mRNA folding around the translation start, regardless of whether these codons are frequent or rare. Experiments confirm that primarily mRNA structure, and not codon usage, at the beginning of genes determines the translation rate. PMID:23774758

  8. DNA G+C content of the third codon position and codon usage biases of human genes.

    PubMed

    Sueoka, N; Kawanishi, Y

    2000-12-30

    The human genome, as in other eukaryotes, has a wide heterogeneity in the DNA base composition. The evolutionary basis for this heterogeneity has been unknown. A previous study of the human genome (846 genes analyzed) has shown that, in the major range of the G+C content in the third codon position (0.25-0.75), biases from the Parity Rule 2 (PR2) among the synonymous codons of the four-codon amino acids are similar except in the highest G+C range (Sueoka, N., 1999. Translation-coupled violation of Parity Rule 2 in human genes is not the cause of heterogeneity of the DNA G+C content of third codon position. Gene 238, 53-58.). PR2 is an intra-strand rule where A=T and G=C are expected when there are no biases between the two complementary strands of DNA in mutation and selection rates (substitution rates). In this study, 14,026 human genes were analyzed. In addition, the third codon positions of two-codon amino acids were analyzed. New results show the following: (a) The G+C contents of the third codon position of human genes are scattered in the G+C range of 0.22-0.96 in the third codon position. (b) The PR2 biases are similar in the range of 0.25-0.75, whereas, in the high G+C range (0.75-0.96; 13% of the genes), the PR2-bias fingerprints are different from those of the major range. (c) Unlike the PR2 biases, the G+C contents of the third codon position for both four-codon and two-codon amino acids are all correlated almost perfectly with the G+C content of the third codon position over the total G+C ranges. These results support the notion that the directional mutation pressure, rather than the directional selection pressure, is mainly responsible for the heterogeneity of the G+C content of the third codon position.

  9. A thermodynamic theory of codon bias in viral genes.

    PubMed

    Rowe, G W; Trainor, L E

    1983-03-21

    The relationship between degeneracy in the genetic code and the occurrence of a strong codon bias is examined, with particular reference to a group of viral genomes. The present paper shows how codon bias may have been imposed by thermodynamic considerations at the time the primitive DNA first formed in the primordial soup. Using a four-state Ising-like model with stacking interactions between successive base pairs, we show how primeval periodic DNA polymers could have arisen the remnants of which are still observed in codon biases today.

  10. The largest fossil rodent

    PubMed Central

    Rinderknecht, Andrés; Blanco, R. Ernesto

    2008-01-01

    The discovery of an exceptionally well-preserved skull permits the description of the new South American fossil species of the rodent, Josephoartigasia monesi sp. nov. (family: Dinomyidae; Rodentia: Hystricognathi: Caviomorpha). This species with estimated body mass of nearly 1000 kg is the largest yet recorded. The skull sheds new light on the anatomy of the extinct giant rodents of the Dinomyidae, which are known mostly from isolated teeth and incomplete mandible remains. The fossil derives from San José Formation, Uruguay, usually assigned to the Pliocene–Pleistocene (4–2 Myr ago), and the proposed palaeoenvironment where this rodent lived was characterized as an estuarine or deltaic system with forest communities. PMID:18198140

  11. The largest fossil rodent.

    PubMed

    Rinderknecht, Andrés; Blanco, R Ernesto

    2008-04-22

    The discovery of an exceptionally well-preserved skull permits the description of the new South American fossil species of the rodent, Josephoartigasia monesi sp. nov. (family: Dinomyidae; Rodentia: Hystricognathi: Caviomorpha). This species with estimated body mass of nearly 1000kg is the largest yet recorded. The skull sheds new light on the anatomy of the extinct giant rodents of the Dinomyidae, which are known mostly from isolated teeth and incomplete mandible remains. The fossil derives from San José Formation, Uruguay, usually assigned to the Pliocene-Pleistocene (4-2Myr ago), and the proposed palaeoenvironment where this rodent lived was characterized as an estuarine or deltaic system with forest communities.

  12. How tRNAs dictate nuclear codon reassignments: Only a few can capture non-cognate codons.

    PubMed

    Kollmar, Martin; Mühlhausen, Stefanie

    2017-03-04

    mRNA decoding by tRNAs and tRNA charging by aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases are biochemically separated processes that nevertheless in general involve the same nucleotides. The combination of charging and decoding determines the genetic code. Codon reassignment happens when a differently charged tRNA replaces a former cognate tRNA. The recent discovery of the polyphyly of the yeast CUG sense codon reassignment challenged previous mechanistic considerations and led to the proposal of the so-called tRNA loss driven codon reassignment hypothesis. Accordingly, codon capture is caused by loss of a tRNA or by mutations in the translation termination factor, subsequent reduction of the codon frequency through reduced translation fidelity and final appearance of a new cognate tRNA. Critical for codon capture are sequence and structure of the new tRNA, which must be compatible with recognition regions of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases. The proposed hypothesis applies to all reported nuclear and organellar codon reassignments.

  13. Human alpha and beta papillomaviruses use different synonymous codon profiles.

    PubMed

    Cladel, Nancy M; Bertotto, Alex; Christensen, Neil D

    2010-06-01

    Human papillomaviruses use rare codons relative to their hosts. It has been theorized that this is a mechanism to allow the virus to escape immune surveillance. In the present study, we examined the codings of four major genes of 21 human alpha (mucosatropic) viruses and 16 human beta (cutaneous-tropic) viruses. We compared the codon usage of different genes from a given papillomavirus and also the same genes from different papillomaviruses. Our data showed that codon usage was not always uniform between two genes of a given papillomavirus or between the same genes of papillomaviruses from different genera. We speculate as to why this might be and conclude that codon usage in the papillomaviruses may not only play a role in facilitating escape from immune surveillance but may also underlie some of the unanswered questions in the papillomavirus field.

  14. The Undead: Fossil Galaxy Alive Again

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berglund, Kallan; Wilcots, Eric M.

    2015-01-01

    This project investigates the formation and evolution of fossil galaxies, specifically the history of active galactic nucleus (AGN) activity as it relates to galaxy mergers. We used low-frequency radio data from the J-VLA radio telescope's new P-band receivers [300-350MHz] to observe fossil galaxy J171811.93+563956.1 (referenced as FG30) at a red-shift of z=0.114. This galaxy was selected for its strong X-ray emission from the surrounding IGM, because it is indicative of an AGN. After cleaning and calibrating the data using CASA, images were generated to map the intensity of radio emission, revealing that FG30 is nearly a point source and lacks any prominent AGN jets. Analysis of the SDSS optical spectrum of FG30 revealed strong evidence of shocks. We believe that past AGN activity heated the intergalactic medium (IGM) to produce the strong X-ray emission, though the jets have been dormant for long enough that the IGM filled in the regions previously cleared by jets. The density of new material is now causing strong shocks when hit by newly restarted jets. This implies the start of a new epoch of AGN activity for FG30, which was most likely caused by a recent galaxy merger. This observation demonstrates that not all fossil groups have been quiescent, as the dominant theories suggested.*This work was supported by the National Science Foundation's REU program through NSF Award AST-1004881.

  15. Principles of start codon recognition in eukaryotic translation initiation

    PubMed Central

    Lind, Christoffer; Åqvist, Johan

    2016-01-01

    Selection of the correct start codon during initiation of translation on the ribosome is a key event in protein synthesis. In eukaryotic initiation, several factors have to function in concert to ensure that the initiator tRNA finds the cognate AUG start codon during mRNA scanning. The two initiation factors eIF1 and eIF1A are known to provide important functions for the initiation process and codon selection. Here, we have used molecular dynamics free energy calculations to evaluate the energetics of initiator tRNA binding to different near-cognate codons on the yeast 40S ribosomal subunit, in the presence and absence of these two initiation factors. The results show that eIF1 and eIF1A together cause a relatively uniform and high discrimination against near-cognate codons. This works such that eIF1 boosts the discrimination against a first position near-cognate G-U mismatch, and also against a second position A-A base pair, while eIF1A mainly acts on third codon position. The computer simulations further reveal the structural basis of the increased discriminatory effect caused by binding of eIF1 and eIF1A to the 40S ribosomal subunit. PMID:27280974

  16. The Effect of Codon Mismatch on the Protein Translation System.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Dinglin; Chen, Danfeng; Cao, Liaoran; Li, Guohui; Cheng, Hong

    2016-01-01

    Incorrect protein translation, caused by codon mismatch, is an important problem of living cells. In this work, a computational model was introduced to quantify the effects of codon mismatch and the model was used to study the protein translation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. According to simulation results, the probability of codon mismatch will increase when the supply of amino acids is unbalanced, and the longer is the codon sequence, the larger is the probability for incorrect translation to occur, making the synthesis of long peptide chain difficult. By comparing to simulation results without codon mismatch effects taken into account, the fraction of mRNAs with bound ribosome decrease faster along the mRNAs, making the 5' ramp phenomenon more obvious. It was also found in our work that the premature mechanism resulted from codon mismatch can reduce the proportion of incorrect translation when the amino acid supply is extremely unbalanced, which is one possible source of high fidelity protein synthesis after peptidyl transfer.

  17. Properties and determinants of codon decoding time distributions

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Codon decoding time is a fundamental property of mRNA translation believed to affect the abundance, function, and properties of proteins. Recently, a novel experimental technology--ribosome profiling--was developed to measure the density, and thus the speed, of ribosomes at codon resolution. Specifically, this method is based on next-generation sequencing, which theoretically can provide footprint counts that correspond to the probability of observing a ribosome in this position for each nucleotide in each transcript. Results In this study, we report for the first time various novel properties of the distribution of codon footprint counts in five organisms, based on large-scale analysis of ribosomal profiling data. We show that codons have distinctive footprint count distributions. These tend to be preserved along the inner part of the ORF, but differ at the 5' and 3' ends of the ORF, suggesting that the translation-elongation stage actually includes three biophysical sub-steps. In addition, we study various basic properties of the codon footprint count distributions and show that some of them correlate with the abundance of the tRNA molecule types recognizing them. Conclusions Our approach emphasizes the advantages of analyzing ribosome profiling and similar types of data via a comparative genomic codon-distribution-centric view. Thus, our methods can be used in future studies related to translation and even transcription elongation. PMID:25572668

  18. Codon Usage Bias and Determining Forces in Taenia solium Genome.

    PubMed

    Yang, Xing; Ma, Xusheng; Luo, Xuenong; Ling, Houjun; Zhang, Xichen; Cai, Xuepeng

    2015-12-01

    The tapeworm Taenia solium is an important human zoonotic parasite that causes great economic loss and also endangers public health. At present, an effective vaccine that will prevent infection and chemotherapy without any side effect remains to be developed. In this study, codon usage patterns in the T. solium genome were examined through 8,484 protein-coding genes. Neutrality analysis showed that T. solium had a narrow GC distribution, and a significant correlation was observed between GC12 and GC3. Examination of an NC (ENC vs GC3s)-plot showed a few genes on or close to the expected curve, but the majority of points with low-ENC (the effective number of codons) values were detected below the expected curve, suggesting that mutational bias plays a major role in shaping codon usage. The Parity Rule 2 plot (PR2) analysis showed that GC and AT were not used proportionally. We also identified 26 optimal codons in the T. solium genome, all of which ended with either a G or C residue. These optimal codons in the T. solium genome are likely consistent with tRNAs that are highly expressed in the cell, suggesting that mutational and translational selection forces are probably driving factors of codon usage bias in the T. solium genome.

  19. Cycles in fossil diversity

    SciTech Connect

    Rohde, Robert A.; Muller, Richard A.

    2004-10-20

    It is well-known that the diversity of life appears to fluctuate during the course the Phanerozoic, the eon during which hard shells and skeletons left abundant fossils (0-542 Ma). Using Sepkoski's compendium of the first and last stratigraphic appearances of 36380 marine genera, we report a strong 62 {+-} 3 Myr cycle, which is particularly strong in the shorter-lived genera. The five great extinctions enumerated by Raup and Sepkoski may be an aspect of this cycle. Because of the high statistical significance, we also consider contributing environmental factors and possible causes.

  20. Biodesulfurization of fossil fuels.

    PubMed

    Gray, Kevin A; Mrachko, Gregory T; Squires, Charles H

    2003-06-01

    Biotechnological techniques enabling the specific removal of sulfur from fossil fuels have been developed. In the past three years there have been important advances in the elucidation of the mechanisms of biodesulfurization; some of the most significant relate to the role of a flavin reductase, DszD, in the enzymology of desulfurization, and to the use of new tools that enable enzyme enhancement via DNA manipulation to influence both the rate and the substrate range of Dsz. Also, a clearer understanding of the unique desulfinase step in the pathway has begun to emerge.

  1. Cycles in fossil diversity.

    PubMed

    Rohde, Robert A; Muller, Richard A

    2005-03-10

    It is well known that the diversity of life appears to fluctuate during the course of the Phanerozoic, the eon during which hard shells and skeletons left abundant fossils (0-542 million years ago). Here we show, using Sepkoski's compendium of the first and last stratigraphic appearances of 36,380 marine genera, a strong 62 +/- 3-million-year cycle, which is particularly evident in the shorter-lived genera. The five great extinctions enumerated by Raup and Sepkoski may be an aspect of this cycle. Because of the high statistical significance we also consider the contributions of environmental factors, and possible causes.

  2. Fossil Microorganisms in Archaean

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Astafleva, Marina; Hoover, Richard; Rozanov, Alexei; Vrevskiy, A.

    2006-01-01

    Ancient Archean and Proterozoic rocks are the model objects for investigation of rocks comprising astromaterials. The first of Archean fossil microorganisms from Baltic shield have been reported at the last SPIE Conference in 2005. Since this confeence biomorphic structures have been revealed in Archean rocks of Karelia. It was determined that there are 3 types of such bion structures: 1. structures found in situ, in other words microorganisms even-aged with rock matrix, that is real Archean fossils biomorphic structures, that is to say forms inhabited early formed rocks, and 3. younger than Archean-Protherozoic minerali microorganisms, that is later contamination. We made attempt to differentiate these 3 types of findings and tried to understand of burial of microorganisms. The structures belongs (from our point of view) to the first type, or real Archean, forms were under examination. Practical investigation of ancient microorganisms from Green-Stone-Belt of Northern Karelia turns to be very perspective. It shows that even in such ancient time as Archean ancient diverse world existed. Moreover probably such relatively highly organized cyanobacteria and perhaps eukaryotic formes existed in Archean world.

  3. Molecular decay of the tooth gene Enamelin (ENAM) mirrors the loss of enamel in the fossil record of placental mammals.

    PubMed

    Meredith, Robert W; Gatesy, John; Murphy, William J; Ryder, Oliver A; Springer, Mark S

    2009-09-01

    Vestigial structures occur at both the anatomical and molecular levels, but studies documenting the co-occurrence of morphological degeneration in the fossil record and molecular decay in the genome are rare. Here, we use morphology, the fossil record, and phylogenetics to predict the occurrence of "molecular fossils" of the enamelin (ENAM) gene in four different orders of placental mammals (Tubulidentata, Pholidota, Cetacea, Xenarthra) with toothless and/or enamelless taxa. Our results support the "molecular fossil" hypothesis and demonstrate the occurrence of frameshift mutations and/or stop codons in all toothless and enamelless taxa. We then use a novel method based on selection intensity estimates for codons (omega) to calculate the timing of iterated enamel loss in the fossil record of aardvarks and pangolins, and further show that the molecular evolutionary history of ENAM predicts the occurrence of enamel in basal representatives of Xenarthra (sloths, anteaters, armadillos) even though frameshift mutations are ubiquitous in ENAM sequences of living xenarthrans. The molecular decay of ENAM parallels the morphological degeneration of enamel in the fossil record of placental mammals and provides manifest evidence for the predictive power of Darwin's theory.

  4. Role of premature stop codons in bacterial evolution.

    PubMed

    Wong, Tit-Yee; Fernandes, Sanjit; Sankhon, Naby; Leong, Patrick P; Kuo, Jimmy; Liu, Jong-Kang

    2008-10-01

    When the stop codons TGA, TAA, and TAG are found in the second and third reading frames of a protein-encoding gene, they are considered premature stop codons (PSC). Deinococcus radiodurans disproportionately favored TGA more than the other two triplets as a PSC. The TGA triplet was also found more often in noncoding regions and as a stop codon, though the bias was less pronounced. We investigated this phenomenon in 72 bacterial species with widely differing chromosomal GC contents. Although TGA and TAG were compositionally similar, we found a great variation in use of TGA but a very limited range of use of TAG. The frequency of use of TGA in the gene sequences generally increased with the GC content of the chromosome, while the frequency of use of TAG, like that of TAA, was inversely proportional to the GC content of the chromosome. The patterns of use of TAA, TGA and TAG as real stop codons were less biased and less influenced by the GC content of the chromosome. Bacteria with higher chromosomal GC contents often contained fewer PSC trimers in their genes. Phylogenetically related bacteria often exhibited similar PSC ratios. In addition, metabolically versatile bacteria have significantly fewer PSC trimers in their genes. The bias toward TGA but against TAG as a PSC could not be explained either by the preferential usage of specific codons or by the GC contents of individual chromosomes. We proposed that the quantity and the quality of the PSC in the genome might be important in bacterial evolution.

  5. Codon Preference Optimization Increases Prokaryotic Cystatin C Expression

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Qing; Mei, Cui; Zhen, Honghua; Zhu, Jess

    2012-01-01

    Gene expression is closely related to optimal vector-host system pairing in many prokaryotes. Redesign of the human cystatin C (cysC) gene using the preferred codons of the prokaryotic system may significantly increase cysC expression in Escherichia coli (E. coli). Specifically, cysC expression may be increased by removing unstable sequences and optimizing GC content. According to E. coli expression system codon preferences, the gene sequence was optimized while the amino acid sequence was maintained. The codon-optimized cysC (co-cysC) and wild-type cysC (wt-cysC) were expressed by cloning the genes into a pET-30a plasmid, thus transforming the recombinant plasmid into E. coli BL21. Before and after the optimization process, the prokaryotic expression vector and host bacteria were examined for protein expression and biological activation of CysC. The recombinant proteins in the lysate of the transformed bacteria were purified using Ni2+-NTA resin. Recombinant protein expression increased from 10% to 46% based on total protein expression after codon optimization. Recombinant CysC purity was above 95%. The significant increase in cysC expression in E. coli expression produced by codon optimization techniques may be applicable to commercial production systems. PMID:23093857

  6. Radioactivity in fossils at the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument.

    PubMed

    Farmer, C Neal; Kathren, Ronald L; Christensen, Craig

    2008-08-01

    Since 1996, higher than background levels of naturally occurring radioactivity have been documented in both fossil and mineral deposits at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument in south-central Idaho. Radioactive fossil sites occur primarily within an elevation zone of 900-1000 m above sea level and are most commonly found associated with ancient river channels filled with sand. Fossils found in clay rich deposits do not exhibit discernable levels of radioactivity. Out of 300 randomly selected fossils, approximately three-fourths exhibit detectable levels of natural radioactivity ranging from 1 to 2 orders of magnitude above ambient background levels when surveyed with a portable hand held Geiger-Muller survey instrument. Mineral deposits in geologic strata also show above ambient background levels of radioactivity. Radiochemical lab analysis has documented the presence of numerous natural radioactive isotopes. It is postulated that ancient groundwater transported radioactive elements through sand bodies containing fossils which precipitated out of solution during the fossilization process. The elevated levels of natural radioactivity in fossils may require special precautions to ensure that exposures to personnel from stored or displayed items are kept as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA).

  7. Genome-Wide Analysis of Codon Usage Bias in Epichloë festucae

    PubMed Central

    Li, Xiuzhang; Song, Hui; Kuang, Yu; Chen, Shuihong; Tian, Pei; Li, Chunjie; Nan, Zhibiao

    2016-01-01

    Analysis of codon usage data has both practical and theoretical applications in understanding the basics of molecular biology. Differences in codon usage patterns among genes reflect variations in local base compositional biases and the intensity of natural selection. Recently, there have been several reports related to codon usage in fungi, but little is known about codon usage bias in Epichloë endophytes. The present study aimed to assess codon usage patterns and biases in 4870 sequences from Epichloë festucae, which may be helpful in revealing the constraint factors such as mutation or selection pressure and improving the bioreactor on the cloning, expression, and characterization of some special genes. The GC content with 56.41% is higher than the AT content (43.59%) in E. festucae. The results of neutrality and effective number of codons plot analyses showed that both mutational bias and natural selection play roles in shaping codon usage in this species. We found that gene length is strongly correlated with codon usage and may contribute to the codon usage patterns observed in genes. Nucleotide composition and gene expression levels also shape codon usage bias in E. festucae. E. festucae exhibits codon usage bias based on the relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) values of 61 sense codons, with 25 codons showing an RSCU larger than 1. In addition, we identified 27 optimal codons that end in a G or C. PMID:27428961

  8. Clustering of low usage codons in the translation initiation region of hepatitis C virus.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Jian-hua; Su, Jun-hong; Chen, Hao-tai; Zhang, Jie; Ma, Li-na; Ding, Yao-zhong; Stipkovits, Laszlo; Szathmary, Susan; Pejsak, Zygmunt; Liu, Yong-sheng

    2013-08-01

    The adaptation of the overall codon usage pattern of hepatitis C virus (HCV) to that of human is estimated by the synonymous codon usage value (RSCU). The synonymous codon usage biases for the translation initiation region (TIR) of this virus are also analyzed by calculation of usage fluctuation of each synonymous codon along the TIR (the first 30 codon sites of the whole coding sequence of HCV). As for the overall codon usage pattern of HCV, this virus has a significant tendency to delete the codons with CpG or TpA dinucleotides. Turning to the adaptation of the overall codon usage of HCV to that of human, over half part of codons has a similar usage pattern between this virus and human, suggesting that the host cellular environment of the overall codon usage pattern influences the formation of codon usage for HCV. In addition, there is no obvious phenomenon that the codons with relatively low energy tend to be highly selected in the TIR of HCV, suggesting that the synonymous codon usage patterns for the TIR of HCV might be not affected by the secondary structure of nucleotide sequence, however, the formation of synonymous codons usage in the TIR of HCV is influenced by the overall codon usage patterns of human to some degree.

  9. Biogeographic calibrations for the molecular clock

    PubMed Central

    Ho, Simon Y. W.; Tong, K. Jun; Foster, Charles S. P.; Ritchie, Andrew M.; Lo, Nathan; Crisp, Michael D.

    2015-01-01

    Molecular estimates of evolutionary timescales have an important role in a range of biological studies. Such estimates can be made using methods based on molecular clocks, including models that are able to account for rate variation across lineages. All clock models share a dependence on calibrations, which enable estimates to be given in absolute time units. There are many available methods for incorporating fossil calibrations, but geological and climatic data can also provide useful calibrations for molecular clocks. However, a number of strong assumptions need to be made when using these biogeographic calibrations, leading to wide variation in their reliability and precision. In this review, we describe the nature of biogeographic calibrations and the assumptions that they involve. We present an overview of the different geological and climatic events that can provide informative calibrations, and explain how such temporal information can be incorporated into dating analyses. PMID:26333662

  10. Giving the early fossil record of sponges a squeeze.

    PubMed

    Antcliffe, Jonathan B; Callow, Richard H T; Brasier, Martin D

    2014-11-01

    Twenty candidate fossils with claim to be the oldest representative of the Phylum Porifera have been re-analysed. Three criteria are used to assess each candidate: (i) the diagnostic criteria needed to categorize sponges in the fossil record; (ii) the presence, or absence, of such diagnostic features in the putative poriferan fossils; and (iii) the age constraints for the candidate fossils. All three criteria are critical to the correct interpretation of any fossil and its placement within an evolutionary context. Our analysis shows that no Precambrian fossil candidate yet satisfies all three of these criteria to be a reliable sponge fossil. The oldest widely accepted candidate, Mongolian silica hexacts from c. 545 million years ago (Ma), are here shown to be cruciform arsenopyrite crystals. The oldest reliable sponge remains are siliceous spicules from the basal Cambrian (Protohertzina anabarica Zone) Soltanieh Formation, Iran, which are described and analysed here in detail for the first time. Extensive archaeocyathan sponge reefs emerge and radiate as late as the middle of the Fortunian Stage of the Cambrian and demonstrate a gradual assembly of their skeletal structure through this time coincident with the evolution of other metazoan groups. Since the Porifera are basal in the Metazoa, their presence within the late Proterozoic has been widely anticipated. Molecular clock calibration for the earliest Porifera and Metazoa should now be based on the Iranian hexactinellid material dated to c. 535 Ma. The earliest convincing fossil sponge remains appeared at around the time of the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary, associated with the great radiation events of that interval.

  11. Using more than the oldest fossils: dating osmundaceae with three Bayesian clock approaches.

    PubMed

    Grimm, Guido W; Kapli, Paschalia; Bomfleur, Benjamin; McLoughlin, Stephen; Renner, Susanne S

    2015-05-01

    A major concern in molecular clock dating is how to use information from the fossil record to calibrate genetic distances from DNA sequences. Here we apply three Bayesian dating methods that differ in how calibration is achieved-"node dating" (ND) in BEAST, "total evidence" (TE) dating in MrBayes, and the "fossilized birth-death" (FBD) in FDPPDiv-to infer divergence times in the royal ferns. Osmundaceae have 16-17 species in four genera, two mainly in the Northern Hemisphere and two in South Africa and Australasia; they are the sister clade to the remaining leptosporangiate ferns. Their fossil record consists of at least 150 species in ∼17 genera. For ND, we used the five oldest fossils, whereas for TE and FBD dating, which do not require forcing fossils to nodes and thus can use more fossils, we included up to 36 rhizomes and frond compression/impression fossils, which for TE dating were scored for 33 morphological characters. We also subsampled 10%, 25%, and 50% of the 36 fossils to assess model sensitivity. FBD-derived divergence ages were generally greater than those inferred from ND; two of seven TE-derived ages agreed with FBD-obtained ages, the others were much younger or much older than ND or FBD ages. We prefer the FBD-derived ages because they best fit the Osmundales fossil record (including Triassic fossils not used in our study). Under the preferred model, the clade encompassing extant Osmundaceae (and many fossils) dates to the latest Paleozoic to Early Triassic; divergences of the extant species occurred during the Neogene. Under the assumption of constant speciation and extinction rates, the FBD approach yielded speciation and extinction rates that overlapped those obtained from just neontological data. However, FBD estimates of speciation and extinction are sensitive to violations in the assumption of continuous fossil sampling; therefore, these estimates should be treated with caution.

  12. Anemometer calibrator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bate, T.; Calkins, D. E.; Price, P.; Veikins, O.

    1971-01-01

    Calibrator generates accurate flow velocities over wide range of gas pressure, temperature, and composition. Both pressure and flow velocity can be maintained within 0.25 percent. Instrument is essentially closed loop hydraulic system containing positive displacement drive.

  13. A model for codon position bias in RNA editing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bundschuh, Ralf; Liu, Tsunglin

    2006-03-01

    RNA editing can be crucial for the expression of genetic information via inserting, deleting, or substituting a few nucleotides at specific positions in an RNA sequence. Within coding regions in an RNA sequence, editing usually occurs with a certain bias in choosing the positions of the editing sites. In the mitochondrial genes of Physarum polycephalum, many more editing events have been observed at the third codon position than at the first and second, while in some plant mitochondria the second codon position dominates. Here we propose an evolutionary model that explains this bias as the basis of selection at the protein level. The model predicts a distribution of the three positions rather close to the experimental observation in Physarum. This suggests that the codon position bias in Physarum is mainly a consequence of selection at the protein level.

  14. Model for Codon Position Bias in RNA Editing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Tsunglin; Bundschuh, Ralf

    2005-08-01

    RNA editing can be crucial for the expression of genetic information via inserting, deleting, or substituting a few nucleotides at specific positions in an RNA sequence. Within coding regions in an RNA sequence, editing usually occurs with a certain bias in choosing the positions of the editing sites. In the mitochondrial genes of Physarum polycephalum, many more editing events have been observed at the third codon position than at the first and second, while in some plant mitochondria the second codon position dominates. Here we propose an evolutionary model that explains this bias as the basis of selection at the protein level. The model predicts a distribution of the three positions rather close to the experimental observation in Physarum. This suggests that the codon position bias in Physarum is mainly a consequence of selection at the protein level.

  15. Why is start codon selection so precise in eukaryotes?

    PubMed Central

    Asano, Katsura

    2014-01-01

    Translation generally initiates with the AUG codon. While initiation at GUG and UUG is permitted in prokaryotes (Archaea and Bacteria), cases of CUG initiation were recently reported in human cells. The varying stringency in translation initiation between eukaryotic and prokaryotic domains largely stems from a fundamental problem for the ribosome in recognizing a codon at the peptidyl-tRNA binding site. Initiation factors specific to each domain of life evolved to confer stringent initiation by the ribosome. The mechanistic basis for high accuracy in eukaryotic initiation is described based on recent findings concerning the role of the multifactor complex (MFC) in this process. Also discussed are whether non-AUG initiation plays any role in translational control and whether start codon accuracy is regulated in eukaryotes. PMID:26779403

  16. Aeromonas phages encode tRNAs for their overused codons.

    PubMed

    Prabhakaran, Ramanandan; Chithambaram, Shivapriya; Xia, Xuhua

    2014-01-01

    The GC-rich bacterial species, Aeromonas salmonicida, is parasitised by both GC-rich phages (Aeromonas phages - phiAS7 and vB_AsaM-56) and GC-poor phages (Aeromonas phages - 25, 31, 44RR2.8t, 65, Aes508, phiAS4 and phiAS5). Both the GC-rich Aeromonas phage phiAS7 and Aeromonas phage vB_AsaM-56 have nearly identical codon usage bias as their host. While all the remaining seven GC-poor Aeromonas phages differ dramatically in codon usage from their GC-rich host. Here, we investigated whether tRNA encoded in the genome of Aeromonas phages facilitate the translation of phage proteins. We found that tRNAs encoded in the phage genome correspond to synonymous codons overused in the phage genes but not in the host genes.

  17. Codon-reading specificities of mitochondrial release factors and translation termination at non-standard stop codons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lind, Christoffer; Sund, Johan; Åqvist, Johan

    2013-12-01

    A key feature of mitochondrial translation is the reduced number of transfer RNAs and reassignment of codons. For human mitochondria, a major unresolved problem is how the set of stop codons are decoded by the release factors mtRF1a and mtRF1. Here we present three-dimensional structural models of human mtRF1a and mtRF1 based on their homology to bacterial RF1 in the codon recognition domain, and the strong conservation between mitochondrial and bacterial ribosomal RNA in the decoding region. Sequence changes in the less homologous mtRF1 appear to be correlated with specific features of the mitochondrial rRNA. Extensive computer simulations of the complexes with the ribosomal decoding site show that both mitochondrial factors have similar specificities and that neither reads the putative vertebrate stop codons AGA and AGG. Instead, we present a structural model for a mechanism by which the ICT1 protein causes termination by sensing the presence of these codons in the A-site of stalled ribosomes.

  18. A detailed analysis of codon usage patterns and influencing factors in Zika virus.

    PubMed

    Singh, Niraj K; Tyagi, Anuj

    2017-03-21

    Recent outbreaks of Zika virus (ZIKV) in Africa, Latin America, Europe, and Southeast Asia have resulted in serious health concerns. To understand more about evolution and transmission of ZIKV, detailed codon usage analysis was performed for all available strains. A high effective number of codons (ENC) value indicated the presence of low codon usage bias in ZIKV. The effect of mutational pressure on codon usage bias was confirmed by significant correlations between nucleotide compositions at third codon positions and ENCs. Correlation analysis between Gravy values, Aroma values and nucleotide compositions at third codon positions also indicated some influence of natural selection. However, the low codon adaptation index (CAI) value of ZIKV with reference to human and mosquito indicated poor adaptation of ZIKV codon usage towards its hosts, signifying that natural selection has a weaker influence than mutational pressure. Additionally, relative dinucleotide frequencies, geographical distribution, and evolutionary processes also influenced the codon usage pattern to some extent.

  19. Diversification of Neoaves: integration of molecular sequence data and fossils

    PubMed Central

    Ericson, Per G.P; Anderson, Cajsa L; Britton, Tom; Elzanowski, Andrzej; Johansson, Ulf S; Källersjö, Mari; Ohlson, Jan I; Parsons, Thomas J; Zuccon, Dario; Mayr, Gerald

    2006-01-01

    Patterns of diversification and timing of evolution within Neoaves, which includes almost 95% of all bird species, are virtually unknown. On the other hand, molecular data consistently indicate a Cretaceous origin of many neoavian lineages and the fossil record seems to support an Early Tertiary diversification. Here, we present the first well-resolved molecular phylogeny for Neoaves, together with divergence time estimates calibrated with a large number of stratigraphically and phylogenetically well-documented fossils. Our study defines several well-supported clades within Neoaves. The calibration results suggest that Neoaves, after an initial split from Galloanseres in Mid-Cretaceous, diversified around or soon after the K/T boundary. Our results thus do not contradict palaeontological data and show that there is no solid molecular evidence for an extensive pre-Tertiary radiation of Neoaves. PMID:17148284

  20. Organic molecules as chemical fossils - The molecular fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Eglinton, G.

    1983-01-01

    The study of biochemical clues to the early earth and the origin of life is discussed. The methods used in such investigation are described, including the extraction, fractionation, and analysis of geolipids and the analysis of kerogen. The occurrence of molecular fossils in the geological record is examined, discussing proposed precursor-product relationships and the molecular assessment of deep sea sediments, ancient sediments, and crude petroleums. Alterations in the molecular record due to diagenesis and catagenesis are considered, and the use of microbial lipids as molecular fossils is discussed. The results of searches for molecular fossils in Precambrian sediments are assessed.

  1. Fossil fuel furnace reactor

    DOEpatents

    Parkinson, William J.

    1987-01-01

    A fossil fuel furnace reactor is provided for simulating a continuous processing plant with a batch reactor. An internal reaction vessel contains a batch of shale oil, with the vessel having a relatively thin wall thickness for a heat transfer rate effective to simulate a process temperature history in the selected continuous processing plant. A heater jacket is disposed about the reactor vessel and defines a number of independent controllable temperature zones axially spaced along the reaction vessel. Each temperature zone can be energized to simulate a time-temperature history of process material through the continuous plant. A pressure vessel contains both the heater jacket and the reaction vessel at an operating pressure functionally selected to simulate the continuous processing plant. The process yield from the oil shale may be used as feedback information to software simulating operation of the continuous plant to provide operating parameters, i.e., temperature profiles, ambient atmosphere, operating pressure, material feed rates, etc., for simulation in the batch reactor.

  2. Fossilization of melanosomes via sulfurization.

    PubMed

    McNamara, Maria E; van Dongen, Bart E; Lockyer, Nick P; Bull, Ian D; Orr, Patrick J

    2016-05-01

    Fossil melanin granules (melanosomes) are an important resource for inferring the evolutionary history of colour and its functions in animals. The taphonomy of melanin and melanosomes, however, is incompletely understood. In particular, the chemical processes responsible for melanosome preservation have not been investigated. As a result, the origins of sulfur-bearing compounds in fossil melanosomes are difficult to resolve. This has implications for interpretations of original colour in fossils based on potential sulfur-rich phaeomelanosomes. Here we use pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry (Py-GCMS), fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) to assess the mode of preservation of fossil microstructures, confirmed as melanosomes based on the presence of melanin, preserved in frogs from the Late Miocene Libros biota (NE Spain). Our results reveal a high abundance of organosulfur compounds and non-sulfurized fatty acid methyl esters in both the fossil tissues and host sediment; chemical signatures in the fossil tissues are inconsistent with preservation of phaeomelanin. Our results reflect preservation via the diagenetic incorporation of sulfur, i.e. sulfurization (natural vulcanization), and other polymerization processes. Organosulfur compounds and/or elevated concentrations of sulfur have been reported from melanosomes preserved in various invertebrate and vertebrate fossils and depositional settings, suggesting that preservation through sulfurization is likely to be widespread. Future studies of sulfur-rich fossil melanosomes require that the geochemistry of the host sediment is tested for evidence of sulfurization in order to constrain interpretations of potential phaeomelanosomes and thus of original integumentary colour in fossils.

  3. Calibration Techniques

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wurz, Peter; Balogh, Andre; Coffey, Victoria; Dichter, Bronislaw K.; Kasprzak, Wayne T.; Lazarus, Alan J.; Lennartsson, Walter; McFadden, James P.

    Calibration and characterization of particle instruments with supporting flight electronics is necessary for the correct interpretation of the returned data. Generally speaking, the instrument will always return a measurement value (typically in form of a digital number), for example a count rate, for the measurement of an external quantity, which could be an ambient neutral gas density, an ion composition (species measured and amount), or electron density. The returned values are used then to derive parameters associated with the distribution such as temperature, bulk flow speed, differential energy flux and others. With the calibration of the instrument the direct relationship between the external quantity and the returned measurement value has to be established so that the data recorded during flight can be correctly interpreted. While calibration and characterization of an instrument are usually done in ground-based laboratories prior to integration of the instrument in the spacecraft, it can also be done in space.

  4. Image Calibration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Peay, Christopher S.; Palacios, David M.

    2011-01-01

    Calibrate_Image calibrates images obtained from focal plane arrays so that the output image more accurately represents the observed scene. The function takes as input a degraded image along with a flat field image and a dark frame image produced by the focal plane array and outputs a corrected image. The three most prominent sources of image degradation are corrected for: dark current accumulation, gain non-uniformity across the focal plane array, and hot and/or dead pixels in the array. In the corrected output image the dark current is subtracted, the gain variation is equalized, and values for hot and dead pixels are estimated, using bicubic interpolation techniques.

  5. Genome-wide prediction of stop codon readthrough during translation in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae

    PubMed Central

    Williams, I.; Richardson, J.; Starkey, A.; Stansfield, I.

    2004-01-01

    In-frame stop codons normally signal termination during mRNA translation, but they can be read as ‘sense’ (readthrough) depending on their context, comprising the 6 nt preceding and following the stop codon. To identify novel contexts directing readthrough, under-represented 5′ and 3′ stop codon contexts from Saccharomyces cerevisiae were identified by genome-wide survey in silico. In contrast with the nucleotide bias 3′ of the stop codon, codon bias in the two codon positions 5′ of the termination codon showed no correlation with known effects on stop codon readthrough. However, individually, poor 5′ and 3′ context elements were equally as effective in promoting stop codon readthrough in vivo, readthrough which in both cases responded identically to changes in release factor concentration. A novel method analysing specific nucleotide combinations in the 3′ context region revealed positions +1,2,3,5 and +1,2,3,6 after the stop codon were most predictive of termination efficiency. Downstream of yeast open reading frames (ORFs), further in-frame stop codons were significantly over-represented at the +1, +2 and +3 codon positions after the ORF, acting to limit readthrough. Thus selection against stop codon readthrough is a dominant force acting on 3′, but not on 5′, nucleotides, with detectable selection on nucleotides as far downstream as +6 nucleotides. The approaches described can be employed to define potential readthrough contexts for any genome. PMID:15602002

  6. Fossilized bioelectric wire – the trace fossil Trichichnus

    PubMed Central

    Kędzierski, M.; Uchman, A.; Sawlowicz, Z.; Briguglio, A.

    2015-01-01

    The trace fossil Trichichnus is proposed as an indicator of fossil bioelectric bacterial activity at the oxic–anoxic interface zone of marine sediments. This fulfils the idea that such processes, commonly found in the modern realm, should be also present in the geological past. Trichichnus is an exceptional trace fossil due to its very thin diameter (mostly less than 1 mm) and common pyritic filling. It is ubiquitous in some fine-grained sediments, where it has been interpreted as a burrow formed deeper than any other trace fossils, below the redox boundary. Trichichnus, formerly referred to as deeply burrowed invertebrates, has been found as remnant of a fossilized intrasediment bacterial mat that is pyritized. As visualized in 3-D by means of X-ray computed microtomography scanner, Trichichnus forms dense filamentous fabric, which reflects that it is produced by modern large, mat-forming, sulfide-oxidizing bacteria, belonging mostly to Thioploca-related taxa, which are able to house a complex bacterial consortium. Several stages of Trichichnus formation, including filamentous, bacterial mat and its pyritization, are proposed to explain an electron exchange between oxic and suboxic/anoxic layers in the sediment. Therefore, Trichichnus can be considered a fossilized “electric wire”. PMID:26290671

  7. Dating Fossil Pollen: A Simulation.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sheridan, Philip

    1992-01-01

    Describes a hands-on simulation in which students determine the age of "fossil" pollen samples based on the pollen types present when examined microscopically. Provides instructions for the preparation of pollen slides. (MDH)

  8. The legacy of fossil fuels.

    PubMed

    Armaroli, Nicola; Balzani, Vincenzo

    2011-03-01

    Currently, over 80% of the energy used by mankind comes from fossil fuels. Harnessing coal, oil and gas, the energy resources contained in the store of our spaceship, Earth, has prompted a dramatic expansion in energy use and a substantial improvement in the quality of life of billions of individuals in some regions of the world. Powering our civilization with fossil fuels has been very convenient, but now we know that it entails severe consequences. We treat fossil fuels as a resource that anyone anywhere can extract and use in any fashion, and Earth's atmosphere, soil and oceans as a dump for their waste products, including more than 30 Gt/y of carbon dioxide. At present, environmental legacy rather than consistence of exploitable reserves, is the most dramatic problem posed by the relentless increase of fossil fuel global demand. Harmful effects on the environment and human health, usually not incorporated into the pricing of fossil fuels, include immediate and short-term impacts related to their discovery, extraction, transportation, distribution, and burning as well as climate change that are spread over time to future generations or over space to the entire planet. In this essay, several aspects of the fossil fuel legacy are discussed, such as alteration of the carbon cycle, carbon dioxide rise and its measurement, greenhouse effect, anthropogenic climate change, air pollution and human health, geoengineering proposals, land and water degradation, economic problems, indirect effects on the society, and the urgent need of regulatory efforts and related actions to promote a gradual transition out of the fossil fuel era. While manufacturing sustainable solar fuels appears to be a longer-time perspective, alternatives energy sources already exist that have the potential to replace fossil fuels as feedstocks for electricity production.

  9. Clustering of classical swine fever virus isolates by codon pair bias

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background The genetic code consists of non-random usage of synonymous codons for the same amino acids, termed codon bias or codon usage. Codon juxtaposition is also non-random, referred to as codon context bias or codon pair bias. The codon and codon pair bias vary among different organisms, as well as with viruses. Reasons for these differences are not completely understood. For classical swine fever virus (CSFV), it was suggested that the synonymous codon usage does not significantly influence virulence, but the relationship between variations in codon pair usage and CSFV virulence is unknown. Virulence can be related to the fitness of a virus: Differences in codon pair usage influence genome translation efficiency, which may in turn relate to the fitness of a virus. Accordingly, the potential of the codon pair bias for clustering CSFV isolates into classes of different virulence was investigated. Results The complete genomic sequences encoding the viral polyprotein of 52 different CSFV isolates were analyzed. This included 49 sequences from the GenBank database (NCBI) and three newly sequenced genomes. The codon usage did not differ among isolates of different virulence or genotype. In contrast, a clustering of isolates based on their codon pair bias was observed, clearly discriminating highly virulent isolates and vaccine strains on one side from moderately virulent strains on the other side. However, phylogenetic trees based on the codon pair bias and on the primary nucleotide sequence resulted in a very similar genotype distribution. Conclusion Clustering of CSFV genomes based on their codon pair bias correlate with the genotype rather than with the virulence of the isolates. PMID:22126254

  10. Codon usage bias in phylum Actinobacteria: relevance to environmental adaptation and host pathogenicity.

    PubMed

    Lal, Devi; Verma, Mansi; Behura, Susanta K; Lal, Rup

    2016-10-01

    Actinobacteria are Gram-positive bacteria commonly found in soil, freshwater and marine ecosystems. In this investigation, bias in codon usages of ninety actinobacterial genomes was analyzed by estimating different indices of codon bias such as Nc (effective number of codons), SCUO (synonymous codon usage order), RSCU (relative synonymous codon usage), as well as sequence patterns of codon contexts. The results revealed several characteristic features of codon usage in Actinobacteria, as follows: 1) C- or G-ending codons are used frequently in comparison with A- and U ending codons; 2) there is a direct relationship of GC content with use of specific amino acids such as alanine, proline and glycine; 3) there is an inverse relationship between GC content and Nc estimates, 4) there is low SCUO value (<0.5) for most genes; and 5) GCC-GCC, GCC-GGC, GCC-GAG and CUC-GAC are the frequent context sequences among codons. This study highlights the fact that: 1) in Actinobacteria, extreme GC content and codon bias are driven by mutation rather than natural selection; (2) traits like aerobicity are associated with effective natural selection and therefore low GC content and low codon bias, demonstrating the role of both mutational bias and translational selection in shaping the habitat and phenotype of actinobacterial species.

  11. Looking into the genome of Thermosynechococcus elongatus (thermophilic cyanobacteria) with codon selection and usage perspective.

    PubMed

    Prabha, Ratna; Singh, Dhananjaya P; Rai, Anil

    2015-01-01

    Genome analysis of thermophilic cyanobacterium, Thermosynechococcus elongatus BP-1 revealed factors ruling choices of codons in this organism. Multiple parameters like Nc, GC3s, RSCU, Codon Adaptation Index (CAI), optimal and rare codons, codon-pair context and amino acid usage were analysed and compositional constraint was identified as major factor. Wide range of Nc values for the same GC3 content suggested the role of translational selection. Mutational bias is suggested at synonymous position. Among optimal codons for translation, most were GC-ending. Seven codons (AGA, AGG, AUA, UAA, UAG, UCA and UGA) were found to have least occurrence in the entire genome and except stop codons all were A-ending (exception AGG). Most widely used codon-pair in the genome are G-ending or C-ending and A-ending or U-ending codons make pair with G-ending or C-ending codons. Amino acids which are largely distributed in T. elongatus tend to use G-ending or C-ending codons most frequently. Findings showed cumulative role of translational selection, translational accuracy and gene expression levels with mutational bias as key player in codon selection pattern of this organism.

  12. Variation in global codon usage bias among prokaryotic organisms is associated with their lifestyles

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background It is widely acknowledged that synonymous codons are used unevenly among genes in a genome. In organisms under translational selection, genes encoding highly expressed proteins are enriched with specific codons. This phenomenon, termed codon usage bias, is common to many organisms and has been recognized as influencing cellular fitness. This suggests that the global extent of codon usage bias of an organism might be associated with its phenotypic traits. Results To test this hypothesis we used a simple measure for assessing the extent of codon bias of an organism, and applied it to hundreds of sequenced prokaryotes. Our analysis revealed a large variability in this measure: there are organisms showing very high degrees of codon usage bias and organisms exhibiting almost no differential use of synonymous codons among different genes. Remarkably, we found that the extent of codon usage bias corresponds to the lifestyle of the organism. Especially, organisms able to live in a wide range of habitats exhibit high extents of codon usage bias, consistent with their need to adapt efficiently to different environments. Pathogenic prokaryotes also demonstrate higher extents of codon usage bias than non-pathogenic prokaryotes, in accord with the multiple environments that many pathogens occupy. Our results show that the previously observed correlation between growth rate and metabolic variability is attributed to their individual associations with codon usage bias. Conclusions Our results suggest that the extent of codon usage bias of an organism plays a role in the adaptation of prokaryotes to their environments. PMID:22032172

  13. Problem-Solving Test: The Effect of Synonymous Codons on Gene Expression

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Szeberenyi, Jozsef

    2009-01-01

    Terms to be familiar with before you start to solve the test: the genetic code, codon, degenerate codons, protein synthesis, aminoacyl-tRNA, anticodon, antiparallel orientation, wobble, unambiguous codons, ribosomes, initiation, elongation and termination of translation, peptidyl transferase, translocation, degenerate oligonucleotides, green…

  14. A revised checklist of Nepticulidae fossils (Lepidoptera) indicates an Early Cretaceous origin.

    PubMed

    Doorenweerd, Camiel; Nieukerken, Erik J Van; Sohn, Jae-Cheon; Labandeira, Conrad C

    2015-05-27

    With phylogenetic knowledge of Lepidoptera rapidly increasing, catalysed by increasingly powerful molecular techniques, the demand for fossil calibration points to estimate an evolutionary timeframe for the order is becoming an increasingly pressing issue. The family Nepticulidae is a species rich, basal branch within the phylogeny of the Lepidoptera, characterized by larval leaf-mining habits, and thereby represents a potentially important lineage whose evolutionary history can be established more thoroughly with the potential use of fossil calibration points. Using our experience with extant global Nepticulidae, we discuss a list of characters that may be used to assign fossil leaf mines to Nepticulidae, and suggest useful methods for classifying relevant fossil material. We present a checklist of 79 records of Nepticulidae representing adult and leaf-mine fossils mentioned in literature, often with multiple exemplars constituting a single record. We provide our interpretation of these fossils. Two species now are included in the collective generic name Stigmellites: Stigmellites resupinata (Krassilov, 2008) comb. nov. (from Ophiheliconoma) and Stigmellites almeidae (Martins-Neto, 1989) comb. nov. (from Nepticula). Eleven records are for the first time attributed to Nepticulidae. After discarding several dubious records, including one possibly placing the family at a latest Jurassic position, we conclude that the oldest fossils likely attributable to Nepticulidae are several exemplars representing a variety of species from the Dakota Formation (USA). The relevant strata containing these earliest fossils are now dated at 102 Ma (million years ago) in age, corresponding to the latest Albian Stage of the Early Cretaceous. Integration of all records in the checklist shows that a continuous presence of nepticulid-like leaf mines preserved as compression-impression fossils and by amber entombment of adults have a fossil record extending to the latest Early Cretaceous.

  15. The identities of stop codon reassignments support ancestral tRNA stop codon decoding activity as a facilitator of gene duplication and evolution of novel function.

    PubMed

    Massey, Steven E

    2017-03-27

    Stop codon reassignments are widely distributed in prokaryotic, eukaryotic and organellar genomes, but are remarkably convergent in terms of the stop codons and amino acids reassigned. Strikingly, the identities of stop codon reassignments are closely matched to the properties of naturally occurring nonsense suppressor (NONS) tRNAs, suggesting that pre-existing nonsense suppression in an ancestral tRNA facilitated the occurrence of stop codon reassignments. Here this idea is expanded, by exploring the mechanism by which the gene duplication of tRNAs has occurred, leading to the reassignment of stop codons. Two types of stop codon reassignment are identified: those that necessitate a tRNA gene duplication, and those that do not because a single tRNA can recognize the reassigned stop codon and the canonical codon(s) for the cognate amino acid. Where tRNA gene duplication has occurred, this implies a multi-functional ancestral NONS tRNA, followed by adaptive mutation in the anticodon of one of the gene duplicates to become complementary to the stop codon, constituting a clear example of escape from adaptive conflict. The best exemplar is the UAA+UAG - >gln reassignment, which has occurred 9 times independently in a diverse range of genomes, and appears to reflect the widespread occurrence of naturally occurring nonsense suppression of the UAA+UAG stop codons by glutamine tRNAs. Consideration of pre-existing tRNA functionality and the mechanism of gene duplication provide new insights into the process of stop codon reassignment.

  16. SNLS calibrations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Regnault, N.

    2015-08-01

    The Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Legacy Survey (CFHTLS) is a massive imaging survey, conducted between 2003 and 2008, with the MegaCam instrument, mounted on the CFHT-3.6-m telescope. With a 1 degree wide focal plane, made of 36 2048 × 4612 sensors totalling 340 megapixels, MegaCam was at the time the largest imager on the sky. The Supernova Legacy Survey (SNLS) uses the cadenced observations of the 4 deg2 wide "DEEP" layer of the CFHTLS to search and follow-up Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) and study the acceleration of the cosmic expansion. The reduction and calibration of the CFHTLS/SNLS datasets has posed a series of challenges. In what follows, we give a brief account of the photometric calibration work that has been performed on the SNLS data over the last decade.

  17. Effect of replication on the third base of codons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cebrat, S.; Dudek, M. R.; Gierlik, A.; Kowalczuk, M.; Mackiewicz, P.

    We have analyzed third position in codons and have observed strong long-range correlations along DNA sequence. We have shown that the correlations are caused mostly by asymmetric replication. In the analysis, we have used a DNA walk (spider analysis Cebrat et al., Microbial Comparative Genomics 2(4) (1997) 259-268) in two-dimensional space [A-T,G-C]. The particular case of the E.coli sequence has been studied in detail.

  18. The Fungus Candida albicans Tolerates Ambiguity at Multiple Codons

    PubMed Central

    Simões, João; Bezerra, Ana R.; Moura, Gabriela R.; Araújo, Hugo; Gut, Ivo; Bayes, Mónica; Santos, Manuel A. S.

    2016-01-01

    The ascomycete Candida albicans is a normal resident of the gastrointestinal tract of humans and other warm-blooded animals. It occurs in a broad range of body sites and has high capacity to survive and proliferate in adverse environments with drastic changes in oxygen, carbon dioxide, pH, osmolarity, nutrients, and temperature. Its biology is unique due to flexible reassignment of the leucine CUG codon to serine and synthesis of statistical proteins. Under standard growth conditions, CUG sites incorporate leucine (3% of the times) and serine (97% of the times) on a proteome wide scale, but leucine incorporation fluctuates in response to environmental stressors and can be artificially increased up to 98%. In order to determine whether such flexibility also exists at other codons, we have constructed several serine tRNAs that decode various non-cognate codons. Expression of these tRNAs had minor effects on fitness, but growth of the mistranslating strains at different temperatures, in medium with different pH and nutrients composition was often enhanced relatively to the wild type (WT) strain, supporting our previous data on adaptive roles of CUG ambiguity in variable growth conditions. Parallel evolution of the recombinant strains (100 generations) followed by full genome resequencing identified various strain specific single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and one SNP in the deneddylase (JAB1) gene in all strains. Since JAB1 is a subunit of the COP9 signalosome complex, which interacts with cullin (Cdc53p) to mediate degradation of a variety of cellular proteins, our data suggest that neddylation plays a key role in tolerance and adaptation to codon ambiguity in C. albicans. PMID:27065968

  19. Synonymous codon usage pattern in mitochondrial CYB gene in pisces, aves, and mammals.

    PubMed

    Uddin, Arif; Chakraborty, Supriyo

    2017-03-01

    Cytochrome b (CYB) protein plays an important role in complex III of the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. Codon usage is the phenomenon of non-uniform usage of synonymous codons. In the present study, we report the pattern of codon usage in MT-CYB gene using various codon usage parameters. Nucleotide composition such as % of C and T was higher than A and G in pisces. In aves, % of A and C was higher than T and G but in mammals, A and T was higher than C and G. Heat map shows that AT-ending codons were mostly negative and GC-ending codons were mostly positive. From the heat map based on RSCU values, it is evident that codon usage prefers A/C at the third codon position and it was less towards T/G in its third codon position. The codons absent in pisces were AGT (except Toxotes chatareus), TGT, and CAG (except Elasma zonatum). The codons such as AGT (except Falco peregrinus), CGT (except Vidua chalybeata), and ACG (except Aythya americana) were absent in aves whereas, in mammals, the absent codons were namely CAG (except Canis familiaris) and ACG (except Rattus norvegicus). Codon usage bias was low in pisces, aves, and mammals. The frequency of leucine was the highest in the amino acid and cysteine was the lowest. Correlation analysis further suggests that mutation pressure is mainly responsible for codon usage pattern. Natural selection might also play a vital role in codon usage pattern but it was weaker than mutation pressure.

  20. Multiple Evolutionary Selections Involved in Synonymous Codon Usages in the Streptococcus agalactiae Genome

    PubMed Central

    Ma, Yan-Ping; Ke, Hao; Liang, Zhi-Ling; Liu, Zhen-Xing; Hao, Le; Ma, Jiang-Yao; Li, Yu-Gu

    2016-01-01

    Streptococcus agalactiae is an important human and animal pathogen. To better understand the genetic features and evolution of S. agalactiae, multiple factors influencing synonymous codon usage patterns in S. agalactiae were analyzed in this study. A- and U-ending rich codons were used in S. agalactiae function genes through the overall codon usage analysis, indicating that Adenine (A)/Thymine (T) compositional constraints might contribute an important role to the synonymous codon usage pattern. The GC3% against the effective number of codon (ENC) value suggested that translational selection was the important factor for codon bias in the microorganism. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed that (i) mutational pressure was the most important factor in shaping codon usage of all open reading frames (ORFs) in the S. agalactiae genome; (ii) strand specific mutational bias was not capable of influencing the codon usage bias in the leading and lagging strands; and (iii) gene length was not the important factor in synonymous codon usage pattern in this organism. Additionally, the high correlation between tRNA adaptation index (tAI) value and codon adaptation index (CAI), frequency of optimal codons (Fop) value, reinforced the role of natural selection for efficient translation in S. agalactiae. Comparison of synonymous codon usage pattern between S. agalactiae and susceptible hosts (human and tilapia) showed that synonymous codon usage of S. agalactiae was independent of the synonymous codon usage of susceptible hosts. The study of codon usage in S. agalactiae may provide evidence about the molecular evolution of the bacterium and a greater understanding of evolutionary relationships between S. agalactiae and its hosts. PMID:26927064

  1. Standard Codon Substitution Models Overestimate Purifying Selection for Nonstationary Data

    PubMed Central

    Yap, Von Bing; Huttley, Gavin A.

    2017-01-01

    Estimation of natural selection on protein-coding sequences is a key comparative genomics approach for de novo prediction of lineage-specific adaptations. Selective pressure is measured on a per-gene basis by comparing the rate of nonsynonymous substitutions to the rate of synonymous substitutions. All published codon substitution models have been time-reversible and thus assume that sequence composition does not change over time. We previously demonstrated that if time-reversible DNA substitution models are applied in the presence of changing sequence composition, the number of substitutions is systematically biased towards overestimation. We extend these findings to the case of codon substitution models and further demonstrate that the ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous rates of substitution tends to be underestimated over three data sets of mammals, vertebrates, and insects. Our basis for comparison is a nonstationary codon substitution model that allows sequence composition to change. Goodness-of-fit results demonstrate that our new model tends to fit the data better. Direct measurement of nonstationarity shows that bias in estimates of natural selection and genetic distance increases with the degree of violation of the stationarity assumption. Additionally, inferences drawn under time-reversible models are systematically affected by compositional divergence. As genomic sequences accumulate at an accelerating rate, the importance of accurate de novo estimation of natural selection increases. Our results establish that our new model provides a more robust perspective on this fundamental quantity. PMID:28175284

  2. Computational codon optimization of synthetic gene for protein expression

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background The construction of customized nucleic acid sequences allows us to have greater flexibility in gene design for recombinant protein expression. Among the various parameters considered for such DNA sequence design, individual codon usage (ICU) has been implicated as one of the most crucial factors affecting mRNA translational efficiency. However, previous works have also reported the significant influence of codon pair usage, also known as codon context (CC), on the level of protein expression. Results In this study, we have developed novel computational procedures for evaluating the relative importance of optimizing ICU and CC for enhancing protein expression. By formulating appropriate mathematical expressions to quantify the ICU and CC fitness of a coding sequence, optimization procedures based on genetic algorithm were employed to maximize its ICU and/or CC fitness. Surprisingly, the in silico validation of the resultant optimized DNA sequences for Escherichia coli, Lactococcus lactis, Pichia pastoris and Saccharomyces cerevisiae suggests that CC is a more relevant design criterion than the commonly considered ICU. Conclusions The proposed CC optimization framework can complement and enhance the capabilities of current gene design tools, with potential applications to heterologous protein production and even vaccine development in synthetic biotechnology. PMID:23083100

  3. Selection of AUG initiation codons differs in plants and animals.

    PubMed Central

    Lütcke, H A; Chow, K C; Mickel, F S; Moss, K A; Kern, H F; Scheele, G A

    1987-01-01

    The influence of the nucleotide at position -3 relative to the AUG initiation codon on the initiation of protein synthesis was studied in two different in vitro translation systems using synthetic mRNAs. The four mRNAs, transcribed from cDNAs directed by an SP6 promoter, were identical except for mutations at nucleotide -3. In each case, translation of mRNAs produced a single protein of Mr = 12,600. Relative translational efficiencies showed a hierarchy in the reticulocyte lysate system (100, 85, 61 and 38% for A, G, U and C in position -3, respectively) but no differences in the wheat germ system. Differential mRNA degradation or polypeptide chain elongation were excluded as causes of the differences observed in translation in the reticulocyte lysate. mRNA competition increased the differences observed in translational efficiencies in reticulocyte lysate but showed no effect in wheat germ. Analysis of 61 plant and 209 animal mRNA sequences revealed qualitative and quantitative differences between the consensus sequences surrounding AUG initiation codons. Whereas the consensus sequence for animals was CACCAUG that for plants was AACAAUGGC. Both the structural and functional findings suggest that the factors which select AUG initiation codons in plants and animals differ significantly. Images Fig. 2. Fig. 3. Fig. 4. Fig. 5. PMID:3556162

  4. Novel small molecules potentiate premature termination codon readthrough by aminoglycosides

    PubMed Central

    Baradaran-Heravi, Alireza; Balgi, Aruna D.; Zimmerman, Carla; Choi, Kunho; Shidmoossavee, Fahimeh S.; Tan, Jason S.; Bergeaud, Célia; Krause, Alexandra; Flibotte, Stéphane; Shimizu, Yoko; Anderson, Hilary J.; Mouly, Vincent; Jan, Eric; Pfeifer, Tom; Jaquith, James B.; Roberge, Michel

    2016-01-01

    Nonsense mutations introduce premature termination codons and underlie 11% of genetic disease cases. High concentrations of aminoglycosides can restore gene function by eliciting premature termination codon readthrough but with low efficiency. Using a high-throughput screen, we identified compounds that potentiate readthrough by aminoglycosides at multiple nonsense alleles in yeast. Chemical optimization generated phthalimide derivative CDX5-1 with activity in human cells. Alone, CDX5-1 did not induce readthrough or increase TP53 mRNA levels in HDQ-P1 cancer cells with a homozygous TP53 nonsense mutation. However, in combination with aminoglycoside G418, it enhanced readthrough up to 180-fold over G418 alone. The combination also increased readthrough at all three nonsense codons in cancer cells with other TP53 nonsense mutations, as well as in cells from rare genetic disease patients with nonsense mutations in the CLN2, SMARCAL1 and DMD genes. These findings open up the possibility of treating patients across a spectrum of genetic diseases caused by nonsense mutations. PMID:27407112

  5. Codon Distribution in Error-Detecting Circular Codes.

    PubMed

    Fimmel, Elena; Strüngmann, Lutz

    2016-03-15

    In 1957, Francis Crick et al. suggested an ingenious explanation for the process of frame maintenance. The idea was based on the notion of comma-free codes. Although Crick's hypothesis proved to be wrong, in 1996, Arquès and Michel discovered the existence of a weaker version of such codes in eukaryote and prokaryote genomes, namely the so-called circular codes. Since then, circular code theory has invariably evoked great interest and made significant progress. In this article, the codon distributions in maximal comma-free, maximal self-complementary C³ and maximal self-complementary circular codes are discussed, i.e., we investigate in how many of such codes a given codon participates. As the main (and surprising) result, it is shown that the codons can be separated into very few classes (three, or five, or six) with respect to their frequency. Moreover, the distribution classes can be hierarchically ordered as refinements from maximal comma-free codes via maximal self-complementary C(3) codes to maximal self-complementary circular codes.

  6. Inducible suppression of global translation by overuse of rare codons.

    PubMed

    Kobayashi, Hideki

    2015-04-01

    Recently, artificial gene networks have been developed in synthetic biology to control gene expression and make organisms as controllable as robots. Here, I present an artificial posttranslational gene-silencing system based on the codon usage bias and low tRNA content corresponding to minor codons. I engineered the green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene to inhibit translation indirectly with the lowest-usage codons to monopolize various minor tRNAs (lgfp). The expression of lgfp interfered nonspecifically with the growth of Escherichia coli, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, human HeLa cervical cancer cells, MCF7 breast cancer cells, and HEK293 kidney cells, as well as phage and adenovirus expansion. Furthermore, insertion of lgfp downstream of a phage response promoter conferred phage resistance on E. coli. Such engineered gene silencers could act as components of biological networks capable of functioning with suitable promoters in E. coli, S. cerevisiae, and human cells to control gene expression. The results presented here show general suppressor artificial genes for live cells and viruses. This robust system provides a gene expression or cell growth control device for artificially synthesized gene networks.

  7. Codon Distribution in Error-Detecting Circular Codes

    PubMed Central

    Fimmel, Elena; Strüngmann, Lutz

    2016-01-01

    In 1957, Francis Crick et al. suggested an ingenious explanation for the process of frame maintenance. The idea was based on the notion of comma-free codes. Although Crick’s hypothesis proved to be wrong, in 1996, Arquès and Michel discovered the existence of a weaker version of such codes in eukaryote and prokaryote genomes, namely the so-called circular codes. Since then, circular code theory has invariably evoked great interest and made significant progress. In this article, the codon distributions in maximal comma-free, maximal self-complementary C3 and maximal self-complementary circular codes are discussed, i.e., we investigate in how many of such codes a given codon participates. As the main (and surprising) result, it is shown that the codons can be separated into very few classes (three, or five, or six) with respect to their frequency. Moreover, the distribution classes can be hierarchically ordered as refinements from maximal comma-free codes via maximal self-complementary C3 codes to maximal self-complementary circular codes. PMID:26999215

  8. Nucleotide sequence conservation in paramyxoviruses; the concept of codon constellation.

    PubMed

    Rima, Bert K

    2015-05-01

    The stability and conservation of the sequences of RNA viruses in the field and the high error rates measured in vitro are paradoxical. The field stability indicates that there are very strong selective constraints on sequence diversity. The nature of these constraints is discussed. Apart from constraints on variation in cis-acting RNA and the amino acid sequences of viral proteins, there are other ones relating to the presence of specific dinucleotides such CpG and UpA as well as the importance of RNA secondary structures and RNA degradation rates. Recent other constraints identified in other RNA viruses, such as effects of secondary RNA structure on protein folding or modification of cellular tRNA complements, are also discussed. Using the family Paramyxoviridae, I show that the codon usage pattern (CUP) is (i) specific for each virus species and (ii) that it is markedly different from the host - it does not vary even in vaccine viruses that have been derived by passage in a number of inappropriate host cells. The CUP might thus be an additional constraint on variation, and I propose the concept of codon constellation to indicate the informational content of the sequences of RNA molecules relating not only to stability and structure but also to the efficiency of translation of a viral mRNA resulting from the CUP and the numbers and position of rare codons.

  9. A Synthetic Approach to Stop-Codon Scanning Mutagenesis

    PubMed Central

    Nie, Lihua; Lavinder, Jason J.; Sarkar, Mohosin; Stephany, Kimberly; Magliery, Thomas J.

    2011-01-01

    A general combinatorial mutagenesis strategy using common DMT-protected mononucleotide phosphoramidites and a single orthogonally-protected trinucleotide phosphoramidite (Fmoc-TAG) was developed to scan a gene with the TAG amber stop codon with complete synthetic control. In combination with stop-codon suppressors that insert natural (e.g., alanine) or unnatural (e.g., p-benzoylphenylalanine or Bpa) amino acids, a single DNA library can be used to incorporate different amino acids for diverse purposes. Here, we scanned TAG codons through part of the gene for a model four-helix bundle protein, Rop, which regulates the copy number of ColE1 plasmids. Alanine was incorporated into Rop for mapping its binding site using an in vivo activity screen, and subtle but important differences from in vitro gel-shift studies of Rop function are evident. As a test, Bpa was incorporated using a Phe14 amber mutant isolated from the scanning library. Surprisingly, Phe14Bpa Rop is weakly active, despite the critical role of Phe14 in Rop activity. Bpa is a photoaffinity label unnatural amino acid that can form covalent bonds with adjacent molecules upon UV irradiation. Irradiation of Phe14Bpa-Rop, which is a dimer in solution like wild-type Rop, results in covalent dimers, trimers and tetramers. This suggests that Phe14Bpa Rop weakly associates as a tetramer in solution and highlights the use of Bpa crosslinking as a means of trapping weak and transient interactions. PMID:21452871

  10. Travels with the Fossil Hunters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whybrow, Peter J.

    2000-04-01

    Whether dodging bullets in West Africa, or rabid dogs in Pakistan, surviving yak-butter tea in Tibet, or eating raw fish in China, the life of a globe-trotting fossil hunter is often hazardous and always filled with surprises. Travels with the Fossil Hunters lets readers share the wonder, joys of discovery, and excitement of these intrepid scientists. Packed with more than 100 beautiful, full-color photographs, the volume takes readers on twelve expeditions to remote parts of the world in search of diverse fossil remains, from those of dinosaurs to human ancestors. Each expedition by paleontologists from London's Natural History Museum reveals the problems and challenges of working in extreme conditions, from the deserts of the Sahara and Yemen to the frozen wastes of Antarctica, from the mountains of India to the forests of Latvia. Along the way they also describe the paleontology and geology of the countries they visit and the scientific reasons for their expeditions. With a foreword from Sir David Attenborough and an introduction from Richard Fortey, this fascinating book will appeal to amateur and professional fossil hunters alike and to readers interested in accounts of exotic locales. Peter Whybrow is a research scientist at the Natural History Museum, London. His research interests include Arabian Miocene vertebrates, paleoclimates, paleogeography, and biotic diversity. He is senior editor with A. Hill of Fossil Vertebrates of Arabia (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1999).

  11. The early eukaryotic fossil record.

    PubMed

    Javaux, Emmanuelle J

    2007-01-01

    The Precambrian era records the evolution of the domain Eucarya. Although the taxonomy of fossils is often impossible to resolve beyond the level of domain, their morphology and chemistry indicate the evolution of major biological innovations. The late Archean record for eukaryotes is limited to trace amounts of biomarkers. Morphological evidence appears in late Paleoproterozoic and early Mesoproterozoic (1800-1300 Ma) rocks. The moderate diversity of preservable eukaryotic organisms includes cell walls without surface ornament (but with complex ultrastructure), with regularly distributed surface ornamentation, and with irregularly or regularly arranged processes. Collectively, these fossils suggest that eukaryotes with flexible membranes and cytoskeletons existed in mid-Proterozoic oceans. The late Mesoproterozoic-early Neoproterozoic (1300-750 Ma) is a time of diversification and evolution when direct evidence for important biological innovations occurs in the fossil record such as multicellularity, sex, photosynthesis, biomineralization, predation, and heterotrophy. Members of extant clades can be recognized and include bangiophyte red algae, xanthophyte algae, cladophorale green algae, euglyphid, lobose, and filose amoebae and possible fungi. In the late Neoproterozoic, besides more diversification of ornamented fossils, florideophyte red algae and brown algae diversify, and animals take the stage. The record of biological innovations documented by the fossils shows that eukaryotes had evolved most cytological and molecular complexities very early in the Proterozoic but environmental conditions delayed their diversification within clades until oxygen level and predation pressure increased significantly.

  12. Codon usage in mammalian genes is biased by sequence slippage mechanisms.

    PubMed

    Bains, W

    1993-01-01

    The codons for some conserved amino acids are found to be the same between homologous genes from different species when the statistics of codon usage would suggest that they should be different. I examine whether this 'coincidence' of codon usage could be due to genetic mechanisms homogenising the DNA around specific sites. This paper describes the further analysis of the coincident codons in 19 genes (a total of 96 homologues) for slippage. Coincident codons arise in contexts of increased sequence simplicity, and have a high chance of occurring within sequences similar to the recombination-prone minisatellite 'core' sequence. This suggests a role of genetic homogenisation in their generation.

  13. Revelation of Influencing Factors in Overall Codon Usage Bias of Equine Influenza Viruses

    PubMed Central

    Bhatia, Sandeep; Sood, Richa; Selvaraj, Pavulraj

    2016-01-01

    Equine influenza viruses (EIVs) of H3N8 subtype are culprits of severe acute respiratory infections in horses, and are still responsible for significant outbreaks worldwide. Adaptability of influenza viruses to a particular host is significantly influenced by their codon usage preference, due to an absolute dependence on the host cellular machinery for their replication. In the present study, we analyzed genome-wide codon usage patterns in 92 EIV strains, including both H3N8 and H7N7 subtypes by computing several codon usage indices and applying multivariate statistical methods. Relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) analysis disclosed bias of preferred synonymous codons towards A/U-ended codons. The overall codon usage bias in EIVs was slightly lower, and mainly affected by the nucleotide compositional constraints as inferred from the RSCU and effective number of codon (ENc) analysis. Our data suggested that codon usage pattern in EIVs is governed by the interplay of mutation pressure, natural selection from its hosts and undefined factors. The H7N7 subtype was found less fit to its host (horse) in comparison to H3N8, by possessing higher codon bias, lower mutation pressure and much less adaptation to tRNA pool of equine cells. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report describing the codon usage analysis of the complete genomes of EIVs. The outcome of our study is likely to enhance our understanding of factors involved in viral adaptation, evolution, and fitness towards their hosts. PMID:27119730

  14. A total-evidence approach to dating with fossils, applied to the early radiation of the hymenoptera.

    PubMed

    Ronquist, Fredrik; Klopfstein, Seraina; Vilhelmsen, Lars; Schulmeister, Susanne; Murray, Debra L; Rasnitsyn, Alexandr P

    2012-12-01

    Phylogenies are usually dated by calibrating interior nodes against the fossil record. This relies on indirect methods that, in the worst case, misrepresent the fossil information. Here, we contrast such node dating with an approach that includes fossils along with the extant taxa in a Bayesian total-evidence analysis. As a test case, we focus on the early radiation of the Hymenoptera, mostly documented by poorly preserved impression fossils that are difficult to place phylogenetically. Specifically, we compare node dating using nine calibration points derived from the fossil record with total-evidence dating based on 343 morphological characters scored for 45 fossil (4--20 complete) and 68 extant taxa. In both cases we use molecular data from seven markers (∼5 kb) for the extant taxa. Because it is difficult to model speciation, extinction, sampling, and fossil preservation realistically, we develop a simple uniform prior for clock trees with fossils, and we use relaxed clock models to accommodate rate variation across the tree. Despite considerable uncertainty in the placement of most fossils, we find that they contribute significantly to the estimation of divergence times in the total-evidence analysis. In particular, the posterior distributions on divergence times are less sensitive to prior assumptions and tend to be more precise than in node dating. The total-evidence analysis also shows that four of the seven Hymenoptera calibration points used in node dating are likely to be based on erroneous or doubtful assumptions about the fossil placement. With respect to the early radiation of Hymenoptera, our results suggest that the crown group dates back to the Carboniferous, ∼309 Ma (95% interval: 291--347 Ma), and diversified into major extant lineages much earlier than previously thought, well before the Triassic. [Bayesian inference; fossil dating; morphological evolution; relaxed clock; statistical phylogenetics.].

  15. A Total-Evidence Approach to Dating with Fossils, Applied to the Early Radiation of the Hymenoptera

    PubMed Central

    Ronquist, Fredrik; Klopfstein, Seraina; Vilhelmsen, Lars; Schulmeister, Susanne; Murray, Debra L.; Rasnitsyn, Alexandr P.

    2012-01-01

    Phylogenies are usually dated by calibrating interior nodes against the fossil record. This relies on indirect methods that, in the worst case, misrepresent the fossil information. Here, we contrast such node dating with an approach that includes fossils along with the extant taxa in a Bayesian total-evidence analysis. As a test case, we focus on the early radiation of the Hymenoptera, mostly documented by poorly preserved impression fossils that are difficult to place phylogenetically. Specifically, we compare node dating using nine calibration points derived from the fossil record with total-evidence dating based on 343 morphological characters scored for 45 fossil (4--20 complete) and 68 extant taxa. In both cases we use molecular data from seven markers (∼5 kb) for the extant taxa. Because it is difficult to model speciation, extinction, sampling, and fossil preservation realistically, we develop a simple uniform prior for clock trees with fossils, and we use relaxed clock models to accommodate rate variation across the tree. Despite considerable uncertainty in the placement of most fossils, we find that they contribute significantly to the estimation of divergence times in the total-evidence analysis. In particular, the posterior distributions on divergence times are less sensitive to prior assumptions and tend to be more precise than in node dating. The total-evidence analysis also shows that four of the seven Hymenoptera calibration points used in node dating are likely to be based on erroneous or doubtful assumptions about the fossil placement. With respect to the early radiation of Hymenoptera, our results suggest that the crown group dates back to the Carboniferous, ∼309 Ma (95% interval: 291--347 Ma), and diversified into major extant lineages much earlier than previously thought, well before the Triassic. [Bayesian inference; fossil dating; morphological evolution; relaxed clock; statistical phylogenetics.] PMID:22723471

  16. ALTEA calibration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zaconte, V.; Altea Team

    The ALTEA project is aimed at studying the possible functional damages to the Central Nervous System (CNS) due to particle radiation in space environment. The project is an international and multi-disciplinary collaboration. The ALTEA facility is an helmet-shaped device that will study concurrently the passage of cosmic radiation through the brain, the functional status of the visual system and the electrophysiological dynamics of the cortical activity. The basic instrumentation is composed by six active particle telescopes, one ElectroEncephaloGraph (EEG), a visual stimulator and a pushbutton. The telescopes are able to detect the passage of each particle measuring its energy, trajectory and released energy into the brain and identifying nuclear species. The EEG and the Visual Stimulator are able to measure the functional status of the visual system, the cortical electrophysiological activity, and to look for a correlation between incident particles, brain activity and Light Flash perceptions. These basic instruments can be used separately or in any combination, permitting several different experiments. ALTEA is scheduled to fly in the International Space Station (ISS) in November, 15th 2004. In this paper the calibration of the Flight Model of the silicon telescopes (Silicon Detector Units - SDUs) will be shown. These measures have been taken at the GSI heavy ion accelerator in Darmstadt. First calibration has been taken out in November 2003 on the SDU-FM1 using C nuclei at different energies: 100, 150, 400 and 600 Mev/n. We performed a complete beam scan of the SDU-FM1 to check functionality and homogeneity of all strips of silicon detector planes, for each beam energy we collected data to achieve good statistics and finally we put two different thickness of Aluminium and Plexiglas in front of the detector in order to study fragmentations. This test has been carried out with a Test Equipment to simulate the Digital Acquisition Unit (DAU). We are scheduled to

  17. Molecular Decay of the Tooth Gene Enamelin (ENAM) Mirrors the Loss of Enamel in the Fossil Record of Placental Mammals

    PubMed Central

    Meredith, Robert W.; Gatesy, John; Murphy, William J.; Ryder, Oliver A.; Springer, Mark S.

    2009-01-01

    Vestigial structures occur at both the anatomical and molecular levels, but studies documenting the co-occurrence of morphological degeneration in the fossil record and molecular decay in the genome are rare. Here, we use morphology, the fossil record, and phylogenetics to predict the occurrence of “molecular fossils” of the enamelin (ENAM) gene in four different orders of placental mammals (Tubulidentata, Pholidota, Cetacea, Xenarthra) with toothless and/or enamelless taxa. Our results support the “molecular fossil” hypothesis and demonstrate the occurrence of frameshift mutations and/or stop codons in all toothless and enamelless taxa. We then use a novel method based on selection intensity estimates for codons (ω) to calculate the timing of iterated enamel loss in the fossil record of aardvarks and pangolins, and further show that the molecular evolutionary history of ENAM predicts the occurrence of enamel in basal representatives of Xenarthra (sloths, anteaters, armadillos) even though frameshift mutations are ubiquitous in ENAM sequences of living xenarthrans. The molecular decay of ENAM parallels the morphological degeneration of enamel in the fossil record of placental mammals and provides manifest evidence for the predictive power of Darwin's theory. PMID:19730686

  18. Palaeobiology: Argentinian unhatched pterosaur fossil.

    PubMed

    Chiappe, Luis M; Codorniú, Laura; Grellet-Tinner, Gerald; Rivarola, David

    2004-12-02

    Our knowledge of the eggs and embryos of pterosaurs, the Mesozoic flying reptiles, is sparse. Until now, the recent discovery of an ornithocheirid embryo from 121-million-year-old rocks in China constituted the only reliable evidence of an unhatched pterosaur. Here we describe an embryonic fossil of a different pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous lacustrine deposits of Loma del Pterodaustro (the Lagarcito Formation, which is about 100 million years old) in central Argentina. This new fossil provides insight into the eggshell morphology, early growth and nesting environments of pterosaurs.

  19. Combining fossil and molecular data to date the diversification of New World Primates.

    PubMed

    Schrago, C G; Mello, B; Soares, A E R

    2013-11-01

    Recent methodological advances in molecular dating associated with the growing availability of sequence data have prompted the study of the evolution of New World Anthropoidea in recent years. Motivated by questions regarding historical biogeography or the mode of evolution, these works aimed to obtain a clearer scenario of Platyrrhini origins and diversification. Although some consensus was found, disputed issues, especially those relating to the evolutionary affinities of fossil taxa, remain. The use of fossil taxa for divergence time analysis is traditionally restricted to the provision of calibration priors. However, new analytical approaches have been developed that incorporate fossils as terminals and, thus, directly assign ages to the fossil tips. In this study, we conducted a combined analysis of molecular and morphological data, including fossils, to derive the timescale of New World anthropoids. Differently from previous studies that conducted total-evidence analysis of molecules and morphology, our approach investigated the morphological clock alone. Our results corroborate the hypothesis that living platyrrhines diversified in the last 20 Ma and that Miocene Patagonian fossils compose an independent evolutionary radiation that diversified in the late Oligocene. When compared to the node ages inferred from the molecular timescale, the inclusion of fossils augmented the precision of the estimates for nodes constrained by the fossil tips. We show that morphological data can be analysed using the same methodological framework applied in relaxed molecular clock studies.

  20. Fossil Groups in the Local Universe

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    OSullivan, Ewan

    2005-01-01

    The two galaxies observed as part of this project were originally selected as fossil group candidates because of their isolation from other galaxies and their apparent high X-ray luminosity and extended X-ray emission. However, the X-ray data available was minimal, being drawn from the ROSAT All-Sky Survey. We have performed an initial analysis of the XMM data from both galaxies and found that their gaseous halos are smaller, cooler, and less luminous than expected. In the case of NGC 57, the RASS estimate of extent and luminosity was biased because of a previously unidentified background group which is visible in the XMM data to one side of the galaxy. In the case of IC 153 1, the contribution from background point sources near the galaxy appears to be to blame. This suggests that both galaxies should be reclassified as isolated ellipticals. Such systems are very rare, and currently poorly understood; for comparison, there are now 6-10 known fossil groups, but only one isolated elliptical with useful X-ray data. We are currently re-analyzing the data for the two galaxies to take advantage of the calibration improvements of SAS 6.1, and to include calculations of the mass profiles of the two systems. A paper is currently in preparation dealing with the X-ray properties and environment of the galaxies, and we expect to submit this to the Astrophysical Journal within the next two months. Multi-band optical imaging of the field surrounding NGC 57 has been acquired to confirm its isolated status and provide more information on the background group. IC 1531 was accepted as a target in Chandra cycle 6 as part of a related proposal, and we intend to add this new observation to our XMM data when it becomes available. A second paper is planned to include the results of this combined analysis.

  1. Rule Fossilization: A Tentative Model

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Vigil, Neddy A.; Oller, John W.

    1976-01-01

    A cybernetic model of factors involved in the fossilization of grammatical and lexical forms in learner grammars is offered. A distinction is made between affective and cognitive dimensions of a multidimensional channel of human communication; and the effect of expected and unexpected feedback on these two dimensions is discussed. (Author/POP)

  2. The colour of fossil feathers.

    PubMed

    Vinther, Jakob; Briggs, Derek E G; Prum, Richard O; Saranathan, Vinodkumar

    2008-10-23

    Feathers are complex integumentary appendages of birds and some other theropod dinosaurs. They are frequently coloured and function in camouflage and display. Previous investigations have concluded that fossil feathers are preserved as carbonized traces composed of feather-degrading bacteria. Here, an investigation of a colour-banded feather from the Lower Cretaceous Crato Formation of Brazil revealed that the dark bands are preserved as elongate, oblate carbonaceous bodies 1-2 microm long, whereas the light bands retain only relief traces on the rock matrix. Energy dispersive X-ray analysis showed that the dark bands preserve a substantial amount of carbon, whereas the light bands show no carbon residue. Comparison of these oblate fossil bodies with the structure of black feathers from a living bird indicates that they are the eumelanin-containing melanosomes. We conclude that most fossil feathers are preserved as melanosomes, and that the distribution of these structures in fossil feathers can preserve the colour pattern in the original feather. The discovery of preserved melanosomes opens up the possibility of interpreting the colour of extinct birds and other dinosaurs.

  3. A detailed comparative analysis of codon usage bias in Zika virus.

    PubMed

    Cristina, Juan; Fajardo, Alvaro; Soñora, Martín; Moratorio, Gonzalo; Musto, Héctor

    2016-09-02

    Zika virus (ZIKV) is a member of the family Flaviviridae and its genome consists of a single-stranded positive sense RNA molecule with 10,794 nucleotides. Clinical manifestations of disease caused by ZIKV infection range from asymptomatic cases to an influenza-like syndrome. There is an increasing concern about the possible relation among microcephaly and ZIKV infection. To get insight into the relation of codon usage among viruses and their hosts is extremely important to understand virus survival, fitness, evasion from host's immune system and evolution. In this study, we performed a comprehensive analysis of codon usage and composition of ZIKV. The overall codon usage among ZIKV strains is similar and slightly biased. Different codon preferences in ZIKV genes in relation to codon usage of human, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus genes were found. Most of the highly frequent codons are A-ending, which strongly suggests that mutational bias is the main force shaping codon usage in this virus. G+C compositional constraint as well as dinucleotide composition also influence the codon usage of ZIKV. The results of these studies suggest that the emergence of ZIKV outside Africa, in the Pacific and the Americas may also be reflected in ZIKV codon usage. No significant differences were found in codon usage among strains isolated from microcephaly cases and the rest of strains from the Asian cluster enrolled in these studies.

  4. Characterization of Codon usage bias in the newly identified DEV UL18 gene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Xiwen; Cheng, Anchun; Wang, Mingshu; Xiang, Jun

    2011-10-01

    In this study, Codon usage bias (CUB) of DEV UL18 gene was analyzed, the results showed that codon usage bias in the DEV UL18 gene was strong bias towards the synonymous codons with A and T at the third codon position. Phylogenetic tree based on the amino acid sequences of the DEV UL18 gene and the 27 other herpesviruses revealed that UL18 gene of the DEV CHv strain and some fowl herpesviruses such as MeHV-1, GaHV-2 and GaHV-3 were clustered within a monophyletic clade and grouped within alphaherpesvirinae. The ENC-GC3S plot indicated that codon usage bias has strong species-specificity between DEV and 27 reference herpesviruses, and suggests that factors other than gene composition, such as translational selection leading to the codon usage variation among genes in different organisms, contribute to the codon usage among the different herpesviruses. Comparison of codon preferences of DEV UL18 gene with those of E. coli , yeast and humans showed that there were 20 codons showing distinct usage differences between DEV UL18 and yeast, 22 between DEV UL18 and humans, 23 between DEV UL18 and E.coli, which indicated the codon usage bias pattern in the DEV UL18 gene was similar to that of yeast. It is infered that the yeast expression system may be more suitable for the DEV UL18 expression.

  5. Comparison of two codon optimization strategies to enhance recombinant protein production in Escherichia coli

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Variations in codon usage between species are one of the major causes affecting recombinant protein expression levels, with a significant impact on the economy of industrial enzyme production processes. The use of codon-optimized genes may overcome this problem. However, designing a gene for optimal expression requires choosing from a vast number of possible DNA sequences and different codon optimization methods have been used in the past decade. Here, a comparative study of the two most common methods is presented using calf prochymosin as a model. Results Seven sequences encoding calf prochymosin have been designed, two using the "one amino acid-one codon" method and five using a "codon randomization" strategy. When expressed in Escherichia coli, the variants optimized by the codon randomization approach produced significantly more proteins than the native sequence including one gene that produced an increase of 70% in the amount of prochymosin accumulated. On the other hand, no significant improvement in protein expression was observed for the variants designed with the one amino acid-one codon method. The use of codon-optimized sequences did not affect the quality of the recovered inclusion bodies. Conclusions The results obtained in this study indicate that the codon randomization method is a superior strategy for codon optimization. A significant improvement in protein expression was obtained for the largely established process of chymosin production, showing the power of this strategy to reduce production costs of industrial enzymes in microbial hosts. PMID:21371320

  6. Analysis of Synonymous Codon Usage Bias of Zika Virus and Its Adaption to the Hosts

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Hongju; Liu, Siqing; Zhang, Bo

    2016-01-01

    Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne virus (arbovirus) in the family Flaviviridae, and the symptoms caused by ZIKV infection in humans include rash, fever, arthralgia, myalgia, asthenia and conjunctivitis. Codon usage bias analysis can reveal much about the molecular evolution and host adaption of ZIKV. To gain insight into the evolutionary characteristics of ZIKV, we performed a comprehensive analysis on the codon usage pattern in 46 ZIKV strains by calculating the effective number of codons (ENc), codon adaptation index (CAI), relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU), and other indicators. The results indicate that the codon usage bias of ZIKV is relatively low. Several lines of evidence support the hypothesis that translational selection plays a role in shaping the codon usage pattern of ZIKV. The results from a correspondence analysis (CA) indicate that other factors, such as base composition, aromaticity, and hydrophobicity may also be involved in shaping the codon usage pattern of ZIKV. Additionally, the results from a comparative analysis of RSCU between ZIKV and its hosts suggest that ZIKV tends to evolve codon usage patterns that are comparable to those of its hosts. Moreover, selection pressure from Homo sapiens on the ZIKV RSCU patterns was found to be dominant compared with that from Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Taken together, both natural translational selection and mutation pressure are important for shaping the codon usage pattern of ZIKV. Our findings contribute to understanding the evolution of ZIKV and its adaption to its hosts. PMID:27893824

  7. DNA and Morphology Unite Two Species and 10 Million Year Old Fossils

    PubMed Central

    Hills, Simon F. K.; Crampton, James S.; Trewick, Steven A.; Morgan-Richards, Mary

    2012-01-01

    Species definition and delimitation is a non-trivial problem in evolutionary biology that is particularly problematic for fossil organisms. This is especially true when considering the continuity of past and present species, because species defined in the fossil record are not necessarily equivalent to species defined in the living fauna. Correctly assigned fossil species are critical for sensitive downstream analysis (e.g., diversification studies and molecular-clock calibration). The marine snail genus Alcithoe exemplifies many of the problems with species identification. The paucity of objective diagnostic characters, prevalence of morphological convergence between species and considerable variability within species that are observed in Alcithoe are typical of a broad range of fossilised organisms. Using a synthesis of molecular and morphometric approaches we show that two taxa currently recognised as distinct are morphological variants of a single species. Furthermore, we validate the fossil record for one of these morphotypes by finding a concordance between the palaeontological record and divergence time of the lineage inferred using molecular-clock analysis. This work demonstrates the utility of living species represented in the fossil record as candidates for molecular-clock calibration, as the veracity of fossil species assignment can be more rigorously tested. PMID:23284880

  8. Codon bias and gene ontology in holometabolous and hemimetabolous insects.

    PubMed

    Carlini, David B; Makowski, Matthew

    2015-12-01

    The relationship between preferred codon use (PCU), developmental mode, and gene ontology (GO) was investigated in a sample of nine insect species with sequenced genomes. These species were selected to represent two distinct modes of insect development, holometabolism and hemimetabolism, with an aim toward determining whether the differences in developmental timing concomitant with developmental mode would be mirrored by differences in PCU in their developmental genes. We hypothesized that the developmental genes of holometabolous insects should be under greater selective pressure for efficient translation, manifest as increased PCU, than those of hemimetabolous insects because holometabolism requires abundant protein expression over shorter time intervals than hemimetabolism, where proteins are required more uniformly in time. Preferred codon sets were defined for each species, from which the frequency of PCU for each gene was obtained. Although there were substantial differences in the genomic base composition of holometabolous and hemimetabolous insects, both groups exhibited a general preference for GC-ending codons, with the former group having higher PCU averaged across all genes. For each species, the biological process GO term for each gene was assigned that of its Drosophila homolog(s), and PCU was calculated for each GO term category. The top two GO term categories for PCU enrichment in the holometabolous insects were anatomical structure development and cell differentiation. The increased PCU in the developmental genes of holometabolous insects may reflect a general strategy to maximize the protein production of genes expressed in bursts over short time periods, e.g., heat shock proteins. J. Exp. Zool. (Mol. Dev. Evol.) 324B: 686-698, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  9. Pandemic influenza A virus codon usage revisited: biases, adaptation and implications for vaccine strain development

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Influenza A virus (IAV) is a member of the family Orthomyxoviridae and contains eight segments of a single-stranded RNA genome with negative polarity. The first influenza pandemic of this century was declared in April of 2009, with the emergence of a novel H1N1 IAV strain (H1N1pdm) in Mexico and USA. Understanding the extent and causes of biases in codon usage is essential to the understanding of viral evolution. A comprehensive study to investigate the effect of selection pressure imposed by the human host on the codon usage of an emerging, pandemic IAV strain and the trends in viral codon usage involved over the pandemic time period is much needed. Results We performed a comprehensive codon usage analysis of 310 IAV strains from the pandemic of 2009. Highly biased codon usage for Ala, Arg, Pro, Thr and Ser were found. Codon usage is strongly influenced by underlying biases in base composition. When correspondence analysis (COA) on relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) is applied, the distribution of IAV ORFs in the plane defined by the first two major dimensional factors showed that different strains are located at different places, suggesting that IAV codon usage also reflects an evolutionary process. Conclusions A general association between codon usage bias, base composition and poor adaptation of the virus to the respective host tRNA pool, suggests that mutational pressure is the main force shaping H1N1 pdm IAV codon usage. A dynamic process is observed in the variation of codon usage of the strains enrolled in these studies. These results suggest a balance of mutational bias and natural selection, which allow the virus to explore and re-adapt its codon usage to different environments. Recoding of IAV taking into account codon bias, base composition and adaptation to host tRNA may provide important clues to develop new and appropriate vaccines. PMID:23134595

  10. Fossil group origins. VII. Galaxy substructures in fossil systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zarattini, S.; Girardi, M.; Aguerri, J. A. L.; Boschin, W.; Barrena, R.; del Burgo, C.; Castro-Rodriguez, N.; Corsini, E. M.; D'Onghia, E.; Kundert, A.; Méndez-Abreu, J.; Sánchez-Janssen, R.

    2016-02-01

    Context. Fossil groups (FG) are expected to be the final product of galaxy merging within galaxy groups. In simulations, they are predicted to assemble their mass at high redshift. This early formation allows for the innermost M∗ galaxies to merge into a massive central galaxy. Then, they are expected to maintain their fossil status because of the few interactions with the large-scale structure. In this context, the magnitude gap between the two brightest galaxies of the system is considered a good indicator of its dynamical status. As a consequence, the systems with the largest gaps should be dynamically relaxed. Aims: In order to examine the dynamical status of these systems, we systematically analyze, for the first time, the presence of galaxy substructures in a sample of 12 spectroscopically-confirmed fossil systems with redshift z ≤ 0.25. Methods: We apply a number of tests to investigate the substructure in fossil systems in the two-dimensional space of projected positions out to R200. Moreover, for a subsample of five systems with at least 30 spectroscopically-confirmed members we also analyze the substructure in the velocity and in the three-dimensional velocity-position spaces. Additionally, we look for signs of recent mergers in the regions around the central galaxies. Results: We find that an important fraction of fossil systems show substructure. The fraction depends critically on the adopted test, since each test is more sensitive to a particular type of substructure. Conclusions: Our interpretation of the results is that fossil systems are not, in general, as relaxed as expected from simulations. Our sample of 12 spectroscopically-confirmed fossil systems need to be extended to compute an accurate fraction, but our conclusion is that this fraction is similar to the fraction of substructure detected in nonfossil clusters. This result points out that the magnitude gap alone is not a good indicator of the dynamical status of a system. However, the

  11. A Biological Time Capsule. Fossil Fish.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dolph, Gary E.; Dolph, Laura L.

    1990-01-01

    Described is an activity where students prepare high-quality fossil specimens to demonstrate the theory of evolution. The technique needed for fossil removal, the geologic and paleoclimatic setting, and the fish morphology are discussed. (KR)

  12. Functional Versatility of AGY Serine Codons in Immunoglobulin Variable Region Genes

    PubMed Central

    Detanico, Thiago; Phillips, Matthew; Wysocki, Lawrence J.

    2016-01-01

    In systemic autoimmunity, autoantibodies directed against nuclear antigens (Ags) often arise by somatic hypermutation (SHM) that converts AGT and AGC (AGY) Ser codons into Arg codons. This can occur by three different single-base changes. Curiously, AGY Ser codons are far more abundant in complementarity-determining regions (CDRs) of IgV-region genes than expected for random codon use or from species-specific codon frequency data. CDR AGY codons are also more abundant than TCN Ser codons. We show that these trends hold even in cartilaginous fishes. Because AGC is a preferred target for SHM by activation-induced cytidine deaminase, we asked whether the AGY abundance was solely due to a selection pressure to conserve high mutability in CDRs regardless of codon context but found that this was not the case. Instead, AGY triplets were selectively enriched in the Ser codon reading frame. Motivated by reports implicating a functional role for poly/autoreactive specificities in antiviral antibodies, we also analyzed mutations at AGY in antibodies directed against a number of different viruses and found that mutations producing Arg codons in antiviral antibodies were indeed frequent. Unexpectedly, however, we also found that AGY codons mutated often to encode nearly all of the amino acids that are reported to provide the most frequent contacts with Ag. In many cases, mutations producing codons for these alternative amino acids in antiviral antibodies were more frequent than those producing Arg codons. Mutations producing each of these key amino acids required only single-base changes in AGY. AGY is the only codon group in which two-thirds of random mutations generate codons for these key residues. Finally, by directly analyzing X-ray structures of immune complexes from the RCSB protein database, we found that Ag-contact residues generated via SHM occurred more often at AGY than at any other codon group. Thus, preservation of AGY codons in antibody genes appears to have been

  13. Fossilization causes organisms to appear erroneously primitive by distorting evolutionary trees

    PubMed Central

    Sansom, Robert S.; Wills, Matthew A.

    2013-01-01

    Fossils are vital for calibrating rates of molecular and morphological change through geological time, and are the only direct source of data documenting macroevolutionary transitions. Many evolutionary studies therefore require the robust phylogenetic placement of extinct organisms. Here, we demonstrate that the inevitable bias of the fossil record to preserve just hard, skeletal morphology systemically distorts phylogeny. Removal of soft part characters from 78 modern vertebrate and invertebrate morphological datasets resulted in significant changes to phylogenetic signal; it caused individual taxa to drift from their original position, predominately downward toward the root of their respective trees. This last bias could systematically inflate evolutionary rates inferred from molecular data because first fossil occurrences will not be recognised as such. Stem-ward slippage, whereby fundamental taphonomic biases cause fossils to be interpreted as erroneously primitive, is therefore a ubiquitous problem for all biologists attempting to infer macroevolutionary rates or sequences. PMID:23985991

  14. Codon recognition during frameshift suppression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

    PubMed Central

    Gaber, R F; Culbertson, M R

    1984-01-01

    A genetic approach has been used to establish the molecular basis of 4-base codon recognition by frameshift suppressor tRNA containing an extra nucleotide in the anticodon. We have isolated all possible base substitution mutations at the position 4 (N) in the 3'-CCCN-5' anticodon of a Saccharomyces cerevisiae frameshift suppressor glycine tRNA encoded by the SUF16 gene. Base substitutions at +1 frameshift sites in the his4 gene have also been obtained such that all possible 4-base 5'-GGGN-3' codons have been identified. By testing for suppression in different strains that collectively represent all 16 possible combinations of position 4 nucleotides, we show that frameshift suppression does not require position 4 base pairing. Nonetheless, position 4 interactions influence the efficiency of suppression. Our results suggest a model in which 4-base translocation of mRNA on the ribosome is directed primarily by the number of nucleotides in the anticodon loop, whereas the resulting efficiency of suppression is dependent on the nature of position 4 nucleotides. Images PMID:6390183

  15. Looking at Fossils in New Ways

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Flannery, Maura C.

    2005-01-01

    Existing fossils could be studied from a different prospective with the use of new methods of analysis for gathering more information. The new techniques of studying fossils binds the new and the old techniques and information and provides another way to look at fossils.

  16. Cycads: Fossil evidence of late paleozoic origin

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mamay, S.H.

    1969-01-01

    Plant fossils from Lower Permian strata of the southwestern United States have been interpreted as cycadalean megasporophylls. They are evidently descended from spermopterid elements of the Pennsylvanian Taeniopteris complex; thus the known fossil history of the cycads is extended from the Late Triassic into the late Paleozoic. Possible implications of the Permian fossils toward evolution of the angiosperm carpel are considered.

  17. Cycads: fossil evidence of late paleozoic origin.

    PubMed

    Mamay, S H

    1969-04-18

    Plant fossils from Lower Permian strata of the southwestern United States have been interpreted as cycadalean megasporophylls. They are evidently descended from spermopterid elements of the Pennsylvanian Taeniopteris complex; thus the known fossil history of the cycads is extended from the Late Triassic into the late Paleozoic. Possible implications of the Permian fossils toward evolution of the angiosperm carpel are considered.

  18. Codes in the codons: construction of a codon/amino acid periodic table and a study of the nature of specific nucleic acid-protein interactions.

    PubMed

    Benyo, B; Biro, J C; Benyo, Z

    2004-01-01

    The theory of "codon-amino acid coevolution" was first proposed by Woese in 1967. It suggests that there is a stereochemical matching - that is, affinity - between amino acids and certain of the base triplet sequences that code for those amino acids. We have constructed a common periodic table of codons and amino acids, where the nucleic acid table showed perfect axial symmetry for codons and the corresponding amino acid table also displayed periodicity regarding the biochemical properties (charge and hydrophobicity) of the 20 amino acids and the position of the stop signals. The table indicates that the middle (2/sup nd/) amino acid in the codon has a prominent role in determining some of the structural features of the amino acids. The possibility that physical contact between codons and amino acids might exist was tested on restriction enzymes. Many recognition site-like sequences were found in the coding sequences of these enzymes and as many as 73 examples of codon-amino acid co-location were observed in the 7 known 3D structures (December 2003) of endonuclease-nucleic acid complexes. These results indicate that the smallest possible units of specific nucleic acid-protein interaction are indeed the stereochemically compatible codons and amino acids.

  19. Selection at the amino acid level can influence synonymous codon usage: implications for the study of codon adaptation in plastid genes.

    PubMed Central

    Morton, B R

    2001-01-01

    A previously employed method that uses the composition of noncoding DNA as the basis of a test for selection between synonymous codons in plastid genes is reevaluated. The test requires the assumption that in the absence of selective differences between synonymous codons the composition of silent sites in coding sequences will match the composition of noncoding sites. It is demonstrated here that this assumption is not necessarily true and, more generally, that using compositional properties to draw inferences about selection on silent changes in coding sequences is much more problematic than commonly assumed. This is so because selection on nonsynonymous changes can influence the composition of synonymous sites (i.e., codon usage) in a complex manner, meaning that the composition biases of different silent sites, including neutral noncoding DNA, are not comparable. These findings also draw into question the commonly utilized method of investigating how selection to increase translation accuracy influences codon usage. The work then focuses on implications for studies that assess codon adaptation, which is selection on codon usage to enhance translation rate, in plastid genes. A new test that does not require the use of noncoding DNA is proposed and applied. The results of this test suggest that far fewer plastid genes display codon adaptation than previously thought. PMID:11560910

  20. Analysis of codon usage patterns in Ginkgo biloba reveals codon usage tendency from A/U-ending to G/C-ending

    PubMed Central

    He, Bing; Dong, Hui; Jiang, Cong; Cao, Fuliang; Tao, Shentong; Xu, Li-an

    2016-01-01

    As one of the most ancient tree species, the codon usage pattern analysis of Ginkgo biloba is a useful way to understand its evolutionary and genetic mechanisms. Several studies have been conducted on angiosperms, but seldom on gymnosperms. Based on RNA-Seq data of the G. biloba transcriptome, amount to 17,579 unigenes longer than 300 bp were selected and analyzed from 68,547 candidates. The codon usage pattern tended towards more frequently use of A/U-ending codons, which showed an obvious gradient progressing from gymnosperms to dicots to monocots. Meanwhile, analysis of high/low-expression unigenes revealed that high-expression unigenes tended to use G/C-ending codons together with more codon usage bias. Variation of unigenes with different functions suggested that unigenes involving in environment adaptation use G/C-ending codons more frequently with more usage bias, and these results were consistent with the conclusion that the formation of G. biloba codon usage bias was dominated by natural selection. PMID:27808241

  1. Clustering fossils in solid inflation

    SciTech Connect

    Akhshik, Mohammad

    2015-05-01

    In solid inflation the single field non-Gaussianity consistency condition is violated. As a result, the long tenor perturbation induces observable clustering fossils in the form of quadrupole anisotropy in large scale structure power spectrum. In this work we revisit the bispectrum analysis for the scalar-scalar-scalar and tensor-scalar-scalar bispectrum for the general parameter space of solid. We consider the parameter space of the model in which the level of non-Gaussianity generated is consistent with the Planck constraints. Specializing to this allowed range of model parameter we calculate the quadrupole anisotropy induced from the long tensor perturbations on the power spectrum of the scalar perturbations. We argue that the imprints of clustering fossil from primordial gravitational waves on large scale structures can be detected from the future galaxy surveys.

  2. FOSSIL SPRINGS ROADLESS AREA, ARIZONA.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Beard, L.S.; Ellis, C.E.

    1984-01-01

    Based on field studies, the Fossil Springs Roadless Area in central Arizona is concluded to have little promise for the occurrence of mineral or energy resources. Rocks in the Supai Formation (Pennsylvanian-Permian) near the central part of the roadless area contain widespread but spotty copper mineralization and trace amounts of uranium. Analyses obtained during the study define geochemical anomalies in two portions of the area that remain unexplained. The suites of anomalous metals suggest the possibility of hydrothermal veins and the presence of ultramafic rocks; neither were found in the field. Although there is little promise for the occurrence of mineral resources in the Fossil Springs Roadless Area, studies to identify the source of the geochemical anomalies could have valuable implications for regional studies and mineral exploration in the surrounding area.

  3. Exploring codon context bias for synthetic gene design of a thermostable invertase in Escherichia coli.

    PubMed

    Pek, Han Bin; Klement, Maximilian; Ang, Kok Siong; Chung, Bevan Kai-Sheng; Ow, Dave Siak-Wei; Lee, Dong-Yup

    2015-01-01

    Various isoforms of invertases from prokaryotes, fungi, and higher plants has been expressed in Escherichia coli, and codon optimisation is a widely-adopted strategy for improvement of heterologous enzyme expression. Successful synthetic gene design for recombinant protein expression can be done by matching its translational elongation rate against heterologous host organisms via codon optimization. Amongst the various design parameters considered for the gene synthesis, codon context bias has been relatively overlooked compared to individual codon usage which is commonly adopted in most of codon optimization tools. In addition, matching the rates of transcription and translation based on secondary structure may lead to enhanced protein folding. In this study, we evaluated codon context fitness as design criterion for improving the expression of thermostable invertase from Thermotoga maritima in Escherichia coli and explored the relevance of secondary structure regions for folding and expression. We designed three coding sequences by using (1) a commercial vendor optimized gene algorithm, (2) codon context for the whole gene, and (3) codon context based on the secondary structure regions. Then, the codon optimized sequences were transformed and expressed in E. coli. From the resultant enzyme activities and protein yield data, codon context fitness proved to have the highest activity as compared to the wild-type control and other criteria while secondary structure-based strategy is comparable to the control. Codon context bias was shown to be a relevant parameter for enhancing enzyme production in Escherichia coli by codon optimization. Thus, we can effectively design synthetic genes within heterologous host organisms using this criterion.

  4. Synonymous codon usage in TTSuV2: analysis and comparison with TTSuV1.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Zhicheng; Dai, Wei; Dai, Dingzhen

    2013-01-01

    Two species of the DNA virus Torque teno sus virus (TTSuV), TTSuV1 and TTSuV2, have become widely distributed in pig-farming countries in recent years. In this study, we performed a comprehensive analysis of synonymous codon usage bias in 41 available TTSuV2 coding sequences (CDS), and compared the codon usage patterns of TTSuV2 and TTSuV1. TTSuV codon usage patterns were found to be phylogenetically conserved. Values for the effective number of codons (ENC) indicated that the overall extent of codon usage bias in both TTSuV2 and TTSuV1 was not significant, the most frequently occurring codons had an A or C at the third codon position. Correspondence analysis (COA) was performed and TTSuV2 and TTSuV1 sequences were located in different quadrants of the first two major axes. A plot of the ENC revealed that compositional constraint was the major factor determining the codon usage bias for TTSuV2. In addition, hierarchical cluster analysis of 41 TTSuV2 isolates based on relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) values suggested that there was no association between geographic distribution and codon bias of TTSuV2 sequences. Finally, the comparison of RSCU for TTSuV2, TTSuV1 and the corresponding host sequence indicated that the codon usage pattern of TTSuV2 was similar to that of TTSuV1. However the similarity was low for each virus and its host. These conclusions provide important insight into the synonymous codon usage pattern of TTSuV2, as well as better understangding of the molecular evolution of TTSuV2 genomes.

  5. Extinction and the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, ,. J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1994-01-01

    The author examines evidence of mass extinctions in the fossil record and searches for reasons for such large extinctions. Five major mass extinctions eliminated at least 40 percent of animal genera in the oceans and from 65 to 95 percent of ocean species. Questions include the occurrence of gradual or catastrophic extinctions, causes, environment, the capacity of a perturbation to cause extinctions each time it happens, and the possibility and identification of complex events leading to a mass extinction.

  6. Prevalent Accumulation of Non-Optimal Codons through Somatic Mutations in Human Cancers

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Xudong; Li, Guohui

    2016-01-01

    Cancer is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth, and the cause of different cancers is generally attributed to checkpoint dysregulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis. Recent studies have shown that non-optimal codons were preferentially adopted by genes to generate cell cycle-dependent oscillations in protein levels. This raises the intriguing question of how dynamic changes of codon usage modulate the cancer genome to cope with a non-controlled proliferative cell cycle. In this study, we comprehensively analyzed the somatic mutations of codons in human cancers, and found that non-optimal codons tended to be accumulated through both synonymous and non-synonymous mutations compared with other types of genomic substitution. We further demonstrated that non-optimal codons were prevalently accumulated across different types of cancers, amino acids, and chromosomes, and genes with accumulation of non-optimal codons tended to be involved in protein interaction/signaling networks and encoded important enzymes in metabolic networks that played roles in cancer-related pathways. This study provides insights into the dynamics of codons in the cancer genome and demonstrates that accumulation of non-optimal codons may be an adaptive strategy for cancerous cells to win the competition with normal cells. This deeper interpretation of the patterns and the functional characterization of somatic mutations of codons will help to broaden the current understanding of the molecular basis of cancers. PMID:27513638

  7. Codon 219 polymorphism of PRNP in healthy caucasians and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease patients

    SciTech Connect

    Petraroli, R.; Pocchiari, M.

    1996-04-01

    A number of point and insert mutations of the PrP gene (PRNP) have been linked to familial Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker disease (GSS). Moreover, the methionine/valine homozygosity at the polymorphic codon 129 of PRNP may cause a predisposition to sporadic and iatrogenic CJD or may control the age at onset of familial cases carrying either the 144-bp insertion or codon 178, codon 198, and codon 210 pathogenic mutations in PRNP. In addition, the association of methionine or valine at codon 129 and the point mutation at codon 178 on the same allele seem to play an important role in determining either fatal familial insomnia or CJD. However, it is noteworthy that a relationship between codon 129 polymorphism and accelerated pathogenesis (early age at onset or shorter duration of the disease) has not been seen in familial CJD patients with codon 200 mutation or in GSS patients with codon 102 mutation, arguing that other, as yet unidentified, gene products or environmental factors, or both, may influence the clinical expression of these diseases. 17 refs.

  8. Codon-specific and general inhibition of protein synthesis by the tRNA-sequestering minigenes.

    PubMed

    Delgado-Olivares, Luis; Zamora-Romo, Efraín; Guarneros, Gabriel; Hernandez-Sanchez, Javier

    2006-07-01

    The expression of minigenes in bacteria inhibits protein synthesis and cell growth. Presumably, the translating ribosomes, harboring the peptides as peptidyl-tRNAs, pause at the last sense codon of the minigene directed mRNAs. Eventually, the peptidyl-tRNAs drop off and, under limiting activity of peptidyl-tRNA hydrolase, accumulate in the cells reducing the concentration of specific aminoacylable tRNA. Therefore, the extent of inhibition is associated with the rate of starvation for a specific tRNA. Here, we used minigenes harboring various last sense codons that sequester specific tRNAs with different efficiency, to inhibit the translation of reporter genes containing, or not, these codons. A prompt inhibition of the protein synthesis directed by genes containing the codons starved for their cognate tRNA (hungry codons) was observed. However, a non-specific in vitro inhibition of protein synthesis, irrespective of the codon composition of the gene, was also evident. The degree of inhibition correlated directly with the number of hungry codons in the gene. Furthermore, a tRNA(Arg4)-sequestering minigene promoted the production of an incomplete beta-galactosidase polypeptide interrupted, during bacterial polypeptide chain elongation at sites where AGA codons were inserted in the lacZ gene suggesting ribosome pausing at the hungry codons.

  9. Are stop codons recognized by base triplets in the large ribosomal RNA subunit?

    PubMed

    Liang, Han; Landweber, Laura F; Fresco, Jacques R

    2005-10-01

    The precise mechanism of stop codon recognition in translation termination is still unclear. A previously published study by Ivanov and colleagues proposed a new model for stop codon recognition in which 3-nucleotide Ter-anticodons within the loops of hairpin helices 69 (domain IV) and 89 (domain V) in large ribosomal subunit (LSU) rRNA recognize stop codons to terminate protein translation in eubacteria and certain organelles. We evaluated this model by extensive bioinformatic analysis of stop codons and their putative corresponding Ter-anticodons across a much wider range of species, and found many cases for which it cannot explain the stop codon usage without requiring the involvement of one or more of the eight possible noncomplementary base pairs. Involvement of such base pairs may not be structurally or thermodynamically damaging to the model. However, if, according to the model, Ter-anticodon interaction with stop codons occurs within the ribosomal A-site, the structural stringency which that site imposes on sense codon.tRNA anticodon interaction should also extend to stop codon.Ter-anticodon interactions. Moreover, with Ter-tRNA in place of an aminoacyl-tRNA, for each of the various Ter-anticodons there is a sense codon that can interact with it preferentially by complementary and wobble base-pairing. Both these considerations considerably weaken the arguments put forth previously.

  10. Control of ribosome traffic by position-dependent choice of synonymous codons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mitarai, Namiko; Pedersen, Steen

    2013-10-01

    Messenger RNA (mRNA) encodes a sequence of amino acids by using codons. For most amino acids, there are multiple synonymous codons that can encode the amino acid. The translation speed can vary from one codon to another, thus there is room for changing the ribosome speed while keeping the amino acid sequence and hence the resulting protein. Recently, it has been noticed that the choice of the synonymous codon, via the resulting distribution of slow- and fast-translated codons, affects not only on the average speed of one ribosome translating the mRNA but also might have an effect on nearby ribosomes by affecting the appearance of ‘traffic jams’ where multiple ribosomes collide and form queues. To test this ‘context effect’ further, we here investigate the effect of the sequence of synonymous codons on the ribosome traffic by using a ribosome traffic model with codon-dependent rates, estimated from experiments. We compare the ribosome traffic on wild-type (WT) sequences and sequences where the synonymous codons were swapped randomly. By simulating translation of 87 genes, we demonstrate that the WT sequences, especially those with a high bias in codon usage, tend to have the ability to reduce ribosome collisions, hence optimizing the cellular investment in the translation apparatus. The magnitude of such reduction of the translation time might have a significant impact on the cellular growth rate and thereby have importance for the survival of the species.

  11. Prion protein gene analysis in three kindreds with fatal familial insomnia (FFI): Codon 178 mutation and codon 129 polymorphism

    SciTech Connect

    Medori, R.; Tritschler, H.J. )

    1993-10-01

    Fatal familial insomnia (FFI) is a disease linked to a GAC(Asp) [yields] AAC(Asn) mutation in codon 178 of the prion protein (PrP) gene. FFI is characterized clinically by untreatable progressive insomnia, dysautonomia, and motor dysfunctions and is characterized pathologically by selective thalamic atrophy. The authors confirmed the 178[sup Asn] mutation in the PrP gene of a third FFI family of French ancestry. Three family members who are under 40 years of age and who inherited the mutation showed only reduced perfusion in the basal ganglia on single photon emission computerized tomography. Some FFI features differ from the clinical and neuropathologic findings associated with 178[sup Asn] reported elsewhere. However, additional intragenic mutations accounting for the phenotypic differences were not observed in two affected individuals. In other sporadic and familial forms of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and Gerstmann-Straeussler syndrome, Met or Val homozygosity at polymorphic codon 129 is associated with a more severe phenotype, younger age at onset, and faster progression. In FFI, young and old individuals at disease onset had 129[sup Met/Val]. Moreover, of five 178[sup Asn] individuals who are above age-at-onset range and who are well, two have 129[sup Met] and three have 129[sup Met/Val], suggesting that polymorphic site 129 does not modulate FFI phenotypic expression. Genetic heterogeneity and environment may play an important role in inter- and intrafamilial variability of the 178[sup Asn] mutation. 32 refs., 5 figs., 1 tab.

  12. Traceable Pyrgeometer Calibrations

    SciTech Connect

    Dooraghi, Mike; Kutchenreiter, Mark; Reda, Ibrahim; Habte, Aron; Sengupta, Manajit; Andreas, Afshin; Newman, Martina

    2016-05-02

    This poster presents the development, implementation, and operation of the Broadband Outdoor Radiometer Calibrations (BORCAL) Longwave (LW) system at the Southern Great Plains Radiometric Calibration Facility for the calibration of pyrgeometers that provide traceability to the World Infrared Standard Group.

  13. THE NATURE OF FOSSIL GALAXY GROUPS: ARE THEY REALLY FOSSILS?

    SciTech Connect

    La Barbera, F.; Sorrentino, G.; De Carvalho, R. R.; De la Rosa, I. G.; Gal, R. R.; Kohl-Moreira, J. L.

    2009-04-15

    We use SDSS-DR4 photometric and spectroscopic data out to redshift z {approx} 0.1 combined with ROSAT All Sky Survey X-ray data to produce a sample of 25 fossil groups (FGs), defined as bound systems dominated by a single, luminous elliptical galaxy with extended X-ray emission. We examine possible biases introduced by varying the parameters used to define the sample, and the main pitfalls are also discussed. The spatial density of FGs, estimated via the V/V {sub MAX} test, is 2.83 x 10{sup -6} h {sup 3} {sub 75} Mpc{sup -3} for L{sub X} > 0.89 x 10{sup 42} h {sup -2} {sub 75} erg s{sup -1} consistent with Vikhlinin et al., who examined an X-ray overluminous elliptical galaxy sample (OLEG). We compare the general properties of FGs identified here with a sample of bright field ellipticals generated from the same data set. These two samples show no differences in the distribution of neighboring faint galaxy density excess, distance from the red sequence in the color-magnitude diagram, and structural parameters such as a {sub 4} and internal color gradients. Furthermore, examination of stellar populations shows that our 25 FGs have similar ages, metallicities, and {alpha}-enhancement as the bright field ellipticals, undermining the idea that these systems represent fossils of a physical mechanism that occurred at high redshift. Our study reveals no difference between FGs and field ellipticals, suggesting that FGs might not be a distinct family of true fossils, but rather the final stage of mass assembly in the universe.

  14. Calibration of sound calibrators: an overview

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Milhomem, T. A. B.; Soares, Z. M. D.

    2016-07-01

    This paper presents an overview of calibration of sound calibrators. Initially, traditional calibration methods are presented. Following, the international standard IEC 60942 is discussed emphasizing parameters, target measurement uncertainty and criteria for conformance to the requirements of the standard. Last, Regional Metrology Organizations comparisons are summarized.

  15. Codon Optimization to Enhance Expression Yields Insights into Chloroplast Translation1[OPEN

    PubMed Central

    Chan, Hui-Ting; Williams-Carrier, Rosalind; Barkan, Alice

    2016-01-01

    Codon optimization based on psbA genes from 133 plant species eliminated 105 (human clotting factor VIII heavy chain [FVIII HC]) and 59 (polio VIRAL CAPSID PROTEIN1 [VP1]) rare codons; replacement with only the most highly preferred codons decreased transgene expression (77- to 111-fold) when compared with the codon usage hierarchy of the psbA genes. Targeted proteomic quantification by parallel reaction monitoring analysis showed 4.9- to 7.1-fold or 22.5- to 28.1-fold increase in FVIII or VP1 codon-optimized genes when normalized with stable isotope-labeled standard peptides (or housekeeping protein peptides), but quantitation using western blots showed 6.3- to 8-fold or 91- to 125-fold increase of transgene expression from the same batch of materials, due to limitations in quantitative protein transfer, denaturation, solubility, or stability. Parallel reaction monitoring, to our knowledge validated here for the first time for in planta quantitation of biopharmaceuticals, is especially useful for insoluble or multimeric proteins required for oral drug delivery. Northern blots confirmed that the increase of codon-optimized protein synthesis is at the translational level rather than any impact on transcript abundance. Ribosome footprints did not increase proportionately with VP1 translation or even decreased after FVIII codon optimization but is useful in diagnosing additional rate-limiting steps. A major ribosome pause at CTC leucine codons in the native gene of FVIII HC was eliminated upon codon optimization. Ribosome stalls observed at clusters of serine codons in the codon-optimized VP1 gene provide an opportunity for further optimization. In addition to increasing our understanding of chloroplast translation, these new tools should help to advance this concept toward human clinical studies. PMID:27465114

  16. Petrographic classification of Middle Ordovician fossil meteorites from Sweden

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bridges, J. C.; Schmitz, B.; Hutchison, R.; Greenwood, R. C.; Tassinari, M.; Franchi, I. A.

    The maximum diameter of chromite (FeCr2O4) grains within L chondrites reflects the petrographic type of the sample. On the basis of our measurements of nine recent L chondrites, L3 chromite Dmax = 34-50 μm, L4 = 87-150 μm, L5 = 76-158 μm, and L6 = 253-638 μm. This variation reflects the crystallization of the chromite grains during parent body thermal metamorphism. We use this calibration to classify six fossil meteorites from the Middle Ordovician in Sweden as type 3 (or 4) to 6. The high flux of L chondrites at 470 Ma contained a range of petrographic types and may have had a higher proportion of lower petrographic type meteorites than are found in recent L chondrite falls. The fossil meteorites have in places preserved recognizable chondrule textures, including porphyritic olivine, barred olivine, and radiating pyroxene. A large relict clast and fusion crust have also been tentatively identified in one fossil meteorite. Apart from chromite, all of the original meteorite minerals have been replaced by carbonate (and sheet silicate and sulfate) during diagenesis within the limestone host. The preservation of chondrule definition has allowed us to measure the mean diameters of relict chondrules. The range (0.4-0.6 mm) is consistent with measurements made in the same way on recent L chondrites.

  17. A comparative analysis on the synonymous codon usage pattern in viral functional genes and their translational initiation region of ASFV.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Jian-Hua; Gao, Zong-Liang; Sun, Dong-Jie; Ding, Yao-Zhong; Zhang, Jie; Stipkovits, Laszlo; Szathmary, Susan; Pejsak, Zygmunt; Liu, Yong-Sheng

    2013-04-01

    The synonymous codon usage pattern of African swine fever virus (ASFV), the similarity degree of the synonymous codon usage between this virus and some organisms and the synonymous codon usage bias for the translation initiation region of viral functional genes in the whole genome of ASFV have been investigated by some simply statistical analyses. Although both GC12% (the GC content at the first and second codon positions) and GC3% (the GC content at the third codon position) of viral functional genes have a large fluctuation, the significant correlations between GC12 and GC3% and between GC3% and the first principal axis of principle component analysis on the relative synonymous codon usage of the viral functional genes imply that mutation pressure of ASFV plays an important role in the synonymous codon usage pattern. Turning to the synonymous codon usage of this virus, the codons with U/A end predominate in the synonymous codon family for the same amino acid and a weak codon usage bias in both leading and lagging strands suggests that strand compositional asymmetry does not take part in the formation of codon usage in ASFV. The interaction between the absolute codon usage bias and GC3% suggests that other selections take part in the formation of codon usage, except for the mutation pressure. It is noted that the similarity degree of codon usage between ASFV and soft tick is higher than that between the virus and the pig, suggesting that the soft tick plays a more important role than the pig in the codon usage pattern of ASFV. The translational initiation region of the viral functional genes generally have a strong tendency to select some synonymous codons with low GC content, suggesting that the synonymous codon usage bias caused by translation selection from the host takes part in modulating the translation initiation efficiency of ASFV functional genes.

  18. Codon optimization of the adenoviral fiber negatively impacts structural protein expression and viral fitness

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Villanueva, Eneko; Martí-Solano, Maria; Fillat, Cristina

    2016-06-01

    Codon usage adaptation of lytic viruses to their hosts is determinant for viral fitness. In this work, we analyzed the codon usage of adenoviral proteins by principal component analysis and assessed their codon adaptation to the host. We observed a general clustering of adenoviral proteins according to their function. However, there was a significant variation in the codon preference between the host-interacting fiber protein and the rest of structural late phase proteins, with a non-optimal codon usage of the fiber. To understand the impact of codon bias in the fiber, we optimized the Adenovirus-5 fiber to the codon usage of the hexon structural protein. The optimized fiber displayed increased expression in a non-viral context. However, infection with adenoviruses containing the optimized fiber resulted in decreased expression of the fiber and of wild-type structural proteins. Consequently, this led to a drastic reduction in viral release. The insertion of an exogenous optimized protein as a late gene in the adenovirus with the optimized fiber further interfered with viral fitness. These results highlight the importance of balancing codon usage in viral proteins to adequately exploit cellular resources for efficient infection and open new opportunities to regulate viral fitness for virotherapy and vaccine development.

  19. Codon optimization of the adenoviral fiber negatively impacts structural protein expression and viral fitness

    PubMed Central

    Villanueva, Eneko; Martí-Solano, Maria; Fillat, Cristina

    2016-01-01

    Codon usage adaptation of lytic viruses to their hosts is determinant for viral fitness. In this work, we analyzed the codon usage of adenoviral proteins by principal component analysis and assessed their codon adaptation to the host. We observed a general clustering of adenoviral proteins according to their function. However, there was a significant variation in the codon preference between the host-interacting fiber protein and the rest of structural late phase proteins, with a non-optimal codon usage of the fiber. To understand the impact of codon bias in the fiber, we optimized the Adenovirus-5 fiber to the codon usage of the hexon structural protein. The optimized fiber displayed increased expression in a non-viral context. However, infection with adenoviruses containing the optimized fiber resulted in decreased expression of the fiber and of wild-type structural proteins. Consequently, this led to a drastic reduction in viral release. The insertion of an exogenous optimized protein as a late gene in the adenovirus with the optimized fiber further interfered with viral fitness. These results highlight the importance of balancing codon usage in viral proteins to adequately exploit cellular resources for efficient infection and open new opportunities to regulate viral fitness for virotherapy and vaccine development. PMID:27278133

  20. New insights into the interplay between codon bias determinants in plants

    PubMed Central

    Camiolo, S.; Melito, S.; Porceddu, A.

    2015-01-01

    Codon bias is the non-random use of synonymous codons, a phenomenon that has been observed in species as diverse as bacteria, plants and mammals. The preferential use of particular synonymous codons may reflect neutral mechanisms (e.g. mutational bias, G|C-biased gene conversion, genetic drift) and/or selection for mRNA stability, translational efficiency and accuracy. The extent to which these different factors influence codon usage is unknown, so we dissected the contribution of mutational bias and selection towards codon bias in genes from 15 eudicots, 4 monocots and 2 mosses. We analysed the frequency of mononucleotides, dinucleotides and trinucleotides and investigated whether the compositional genomic background could account for the observed codon usage profiles. Neutral forces such as mutational pressure and G|C-biased gene conversion appeared to underlie most of the observed codon bias, although there was also evidence for the selection of optimal translational efficiency and mRNA folding. Our data confirmed the compositional differences between monocots and dicots, with the former featuring in general a lower background compositional bias but a higher overall codon bias. PMID:26546225

  1. Enhanced expression of codon optimized Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis antigens in Lactobacillus salivarius

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    We have previously identified the mycobacterial high G+C codon usage bias as a limiting factor in heterologous expression of MAP proteins from Lb.salivarius, and demonstrated that codon optimisation of a synthetic coding gene greatly enhances MAP protein production. Here, we effectively demonstrate ...

  2. Vertebrate codon bias indicates a highly GC-rich ancestral genome.

    PubMed

    Nabiyouni, Maryam; Prakash, Ashwin; Fedorov, Alexei

    2013-04-25

    Two factors are thought to have contributed to the origin of codon usage bias in eukaryotes: 1) genome-wide mutational forces that shape overall GC-content and create context-dependent nucleotide bias, and 2) positive selection for codons that maximize efficient and accurate translation. Particularly in vertebrates, these two explanations contradict each other and cloud the origin of codon bias in the taxon. On the one hand, mutational forces fail to explain GC-richness (~60%) of third codon positions, given the GC-poor overall genomic composition among vertebrates (~40%). On the other hand, positive selection cannot easily explain strict regularities in codon preferences. Large-scale bioinformatic assessment, of nucleotide composition of coding and non-coding sequences in vertebrates and other taxa, suggests a simple possible resolution for this contradiction. Specifically, we propose that the last common vertebrate ancestor had a GC-rich genome (~65% GC). The data suggest that whole-genome mutational bias is the major driving force for generating codon bias. As the bias becomes prominent, it begins to affect translation and can result in positive selection for optimal codons. The positive selection can, in turn, significantly modulate codon preferences.

  3. Codon usage affects the structure and function of the Drosophila circadian clock protein PERIOD

    PubMed Central

    Fu, Jingjing; Murphy, Katherine A.; Zhou, Mian; Li, Ying H.; Lam, Vu H.; Tabuloc, Christine A.; Chiu, Joanna C.; Liu, Yi

    2016-01-01

    Codon usage bias is a universal feature of all genomes, but its in vivo biological functions in animal systems are not clear. To investigate the in vivo role of codon usage in animals, we took advantage of the sensitivity and robustness of the Drosophila circadian system. By codon-optimizing parts of Drosophila period (dper), a core clock gene that encodes a critical component of the circadian oscillator, we showed that dper codon usage is important for circadian clock function. Codon optimization of dper resulted in conformational changes of the dPER protein, altered dPER phosphorylation profile and stability, and impaired dPER function in the circadian negative feedback loop, which manifests into changes in molecular rhythmicity and abnormal circadian behavioral output. This study provides an in vivo example that demonstrates the role of codon usage in determining protein structure and function in an animal system. These results suggest a universal mechanism in eukaryotes that uses a codon usage “code” within genetic codons to regulate cotranslational protein folding. PMID:27542830

  4. Selective Factors Associated with the Evolution of Codon Usage in Natural Populations of Arboviruses

    PubMed Central

    Velazquez-Salinas, Lauro; Zarate, Selene; Eschbaumer, Michael; Pereira Lobo, Francisco; Gladue, Douglas P.; Arzt, Jonathan; Novella, Isabel S.; Rodriguez, Luis L.

    2016-01-01

    Arboviruses (arthropod borne viruses) have life cycles that include both vertebrate and invertebrate hosts with substantial differences in vector and host specificity between different viruses. Most arboviruses utilize RNA for their genetic material and are completely dependent on host tRNAs for their translation, suggesting that virus codon usage could be a target for selection. In the current study we analyzed the relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) patterns of 26 arboviruses together with 25 vectors and hosts, including 8 vertebrates and 17 invertebrates. We used hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) and principal component analysis (PCA) to identify trends in codon usage. HCA demonstrated that the RSCU of arboviruses reflects that of their natural hosts, but not that of dead-end hosts. Of the two major components identified by PCA, the first accounted for 62.1% of the total variance, and among the 59 codons analyzed in this study, the leucine codon CTG had the highest correlation with the first principal component, however isoleucine had the highest correlation during amino acid analysis. Nucleotide and dinucleotide composition were the variables that explained most of the total codon usage variance. The results suggest that the main factors driving the evolution of codon usage in arboviruses is based on the nucleotide and dinucleotide composition present in the host. Comparing codon usage of arboviruses and potential vector hosts can help identifying potential vectors for emerging arboviruses. PMID:27455096

  5. Timing is everything: unifying codon translation rates and nascent proteome behavior.

    PubMed

    Nissley, Daniel A; O'Brien, Edward P

    2014-12-31

    Experiments have demonstrated that changing the rate at which the ribosome translates a codon position in an mRNA molecule's open reading frame can alter the behavior of the newly synthesized protein. That is, codon translation rates can govern nascent proteome behavior. We emphasize that this phenomenon is a manifestation of the nonequilibrium nature of cotranslational processes, and as such, there exist theoretical tools that offer a potential means to quantitatively predict the influence of codon translation rates on the broad spectrum of nascent protein behaviors including cotranslational folding, aggregation, and translocation. We provide a review of the experimental evidence for the impact that codon translation rates can have, followed by a discussion of theoretical methods that can describe this phenomenon. The development and application of these tools are likely to provide fundamental insights into protein maturation and homeostasis, codon usage bias in organisms, the origins of translation related diseases, and new rational design methods for biotechnology and biopharmaceutical applications.

  6. Importance of codon usage for the temporal regulation of viral gene expression

    PubMed Central

    Shin, Young C.; Bischof, Georg F.; Lauer, William A.; Desrosiers, Ronald C.

    2015-01-01

    The glycoproteins of herpesviruses and of HIV/SIV are made late in the replication cycle and are derived from transcripts that use an unusual codon usage that is quite different from that of the host cell. Here we show that the actions of natural transinducers from these two different families of persistent viruses (Rev of SIV and ORF57 of the rhesus monkey rhadinovirus) are dependent on the nature of the skewed codon usage. In fact, the transinducibility of expression of these glycoproteins by Rev and by ORF57 can be flipped simply by changing the nature of the codon usage. Even expression of a luciferase reporter could be made Rev dependent or ORF57 dependent by distinctive changes to its codon usage. Our findings point to a new general principle in which different families of persisting viruses use a poor codon usage that is skewed in a distinctive way to temporally regulate late expression of structural gene products. PMID:26504241

  7. Evolutionary switches between two serine codon sets are driven by selection

    PubMed Central

    Rogozin, Igor B.; Belinky, Frida; Pavlenko, Vladimir; Shabalina, Svetlana A.; Kristensen, David M.; Koonin, Eugene V.

    2016-01-01

    Serine is the only amino acid that is encoded by two disjoint codon sets so that a tandem substitution of two nucleotides is required to switch between the two sets. Previously published evidence suggests that, for the most evolutionarily conserved serines, the codon set switch occurs by simultaneous substitution of two nucleotides. Here we report a genome-wide reconstruction of the evolution of serine codons in triplets of closely related species from diverse prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The results indicate that the great majority of codon set switches proceed by two consecutive nucleotide substitutions, via a threonine or cysteine intermediate, and are driven by selection. These findings imply a strong pressure of purifying selection in protein evolution, which in the case of serine codon set switches occurs via an initial deleterious substitution quickly followed by a second, compensatory substitution. The result is frequent reversal of amino acid replacements and, at short evolutionary distances, pervasive homoplasy. PMID:27799560

  8. Reducing codon redundancy and screening effort of combinatorial protein libraries created by saturation mutagenesis.

    PubMed

    Kille, Sabrina; Acevedo-Rocha, Carlos G; Parra, Loreto P; Zhang, Zhi-Gang; Opperman, Diederik J; Reetz, Manfred T; Acevedo, Juan Pablo

    2013-02-15

    Saturation mutagenesis probes define sections of the vast protein sequence space. However, even if randomization is limited this way, the combinatorial numbers problem is severe. Because diversity is created at the codon level, codon redundancy is a crucial factor determining the necessary effort for library screening. Additionally, due to the probabilistic nature of the sampling process, oversampling is required to ensure library completeness as well as a high probability to encounter all unique variants. Our trick employs a special mixture of three primers, creating a degeneracy of 22 unique codons coding for the 20 canonical amino acids. Therefore, codon redundancy and subsequent screening effort is significantly reduced, and a balanced distribution of codon per amino acid is achieved, as demonstrated exemplarily for a library of cyclohexanone monooxygenase. We show that this strategy is suitable for any saturation mutagenesis methodology to generate less-redundant libraries.

  9. Fossil energy program. Summary document

    SciTech Connect

    1980-05-01

    This program summary document presents a comprehensive overview of the research, development, and demonstration (RD and D) activities that will be performed in FY 1981 by the Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy (ASFE), US Department of Energy (DOE). The ASFE technology programs for the fossil resources of coal, petroleum (including oil shale) and gas have been established with the goal of making substantive contributions to the nation's future supply and efficienty use of energy. On April 29, 1977, the Administration submitted to Congress the National Energy Plan (NEP) and accompanying legislative proposals designed to establish a coherent energy policy structure for the United States. Congress passed the National Energy Act (NEA) on October 15, 1978, which allows implementation of the vital parts of the NEP. The NEP was supplemented by additional energy policy statements culminating in the President's address on July 15, 1979, presenting a program to further reduce dependence on imported petroleum. The passage of the NEA-related energy programs represent specific steps by the Administration and Congress to reorganize, redirect, and clarify the role of the Federal Government in the formulation and execution of national energy policy and programs. The energy technology RD and D prog4rams carried out by ASFE are an important part of the Federal Government's effort to provide the combination and amounts of energy resources needed to ensure national security and continued economic growth.

  10. Evolutionary characterization of Tembusu virus infection through identification of codon usage patterns.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Hao; Yan, Bing; Chen, Shun; Wang, Mingshu; Jia, Renyong; Cheng, Anchun

    2015-10-01

    Tembusu virus (TMUV) is a single-stranded, positive-sense RNA virus. As reported, TMUV infection has resulted in significant poultry losses, and the virus may also pose a threat to public health. To characterize TMUV evolutionarily and to understand the factors accounting for codon usage properties, we performed, for the first time, a comprehensive analysis of codon usage bias for the genomes of 60 TMUV strains. The most recently published TMUV strains were found to be widely distributed in coastal cities of southeastern China. Codon preference among TMUV genomes exhibits a low bias (effective number of codons (ENC)=53.287) and is maintained at a stable level. ENC-GC3 plots and the high correlation between composition constraints and principal component factor analysis of codon usage demonstrated that mutation pressure dominates over natural selection pressure in shaping the TMUV coding sequence composition. The high correlation between the major components of the codon usage pattern and hydrophobicity (Gravy) or aromaticity (Aromo) was obvious, indicating that properties of viral proteins also account for the observed variation in TMUV codon usage. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed that CQW1 isolated from Chongqing may have evolved from GX2013H or GX2013G isolated from Guangxi, thus indicating that TMUV likely disseminated from southeastern China to the mainland. Moreover, the preferred codons encoding eight amino acids were consistent with the optimal codons for human cells, indicating that TMUV may pose a threat to public health due to possible cross-species transmission (birds to birds or birds to humans). The results of this study not only have theoretical value for uncovering the characteristics of synonymous codon usage patterns in TMUV genomes but also have significant meaning with regard to the molecular evolutionary tendencies of TMUV.

  11. Experimental taphonomy and the anatomy and diversity of the earliest fossil vertebrates (Chengjiang Biota, Cambrian, China)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Purnell, Mark; Gabbott, Sarah; Murdock, Duncan; Cong, Peiyun

    2016-04-01

    The oldest fossil vertebrates are from the Lower Cambrian Chengjiang biota of China, which contains four genera of fish-like, primitive vertebrates: Haikouichthys, Myllokunmingia, Zhongjianichthys and Zhongxiniscus. These fossils play key roles in calibrating molecular clocks and informing our view of the anatomy of animals close to the origin of vertebrates, potentially including transitional forms between vertebrates and their nearest relatives. Despite the evident importance of these fossils, the degree to which taphonomic processes have affected their anatomical completeness has not been investigated. For example, some or all might have been affected by stemward slippage - the pattern observed in experimental decay of non-biomineralised chordates in which preferential decay of synapomorphies and retention of plesiomorphic characters would cause fossil taxa to erroneously occupy more basal positions than they should. This hypothesis is based on experimental data derived from decay of non-biomineralised chordates under laboratory conditions. We have expanded this analysis to include a broader range of potentially significant environmental variables; we have also compared and combined the results of experiments from several taxa to identify general patterns of chordate decay. Examination of the Chengjiang vertebrates in the light of these results demonstrates that, contrary to some assertions, experimentally derived models of phylogenetic bias are applicable to fossils. Anatomical and phylogenetic interpretations of early vertebrates that do not take taphonomic biases into account risk overestimating diversity and the evolutionary significance of differences between fossil specimens.

  12. Asc1, homolog of human RACK1, prevents frameshifting in yeast by ribosomes stalled at CGA codon repeats

    PubMed Central

    Wolf, Andrew S.; Grayhack, Elizabeth J.

    2015-01-01

    Quality control systems monitor and stop translation at some ribosomal stalls, but it is unknown if halting translation at such stalls actually prevents synthesis of abnormal polypeptides. In yeast, ribosome stalling occurs at Arg CGA codon repeats, with even two consecutive CGA codons able to reduce translation by up to 50%. The conserved eukaryotic Asc1 protein limits translation through internal Arg CGA codon repeats. We show that, in the absence of Asc1 protein, ribosomes continue translating at CGA codons, but undergo substantial frameshifting with dramatically higher levels of frameshifting occurring with additional repeats of CGA codons. Frameshifting depends upon the slow or inefficient decoding of these codons, since frameshifting is suppressed by increased expression of the native tRNAArg(ICG) that decodes CGA codons by wobble decoding. Moreover, the extent of frameshifting is modulated by the position of the CGA codon repeat relative to the translation start site. Thus, translation fidelity depends upon Asc1-mediated quality control. PMID:25792604

  13. Fossilization Processes in Thermal Springs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Farmer, Jack D.; Cady, Sherry; Desmarais, David J.; Chang, Sherwood (Technical Monitor)

    1995-01-01

    To create a comparative framework for the study of ancient examples, we have been carrying out parallel studies of the microbial biosedimentology, taphonomy and geochemistry of modem and sub-Recent thermal spring deposits. One goal of the research is the development of integrated litho- and taphofacies models for siliceous and travertline sinters. Thermal springs are regarded as important environments for the origin and early evolution of life on Earth, and we seek to utilize information from the fossil record to reconstruct the evolution of high temperature ecosystems. Microbial contributions to the fabric of thermal spring sinters occur when population growth rates keep pace with, or exceed rates of inorganic precipitation, allowing for the development of continuous biofilms or mats. In siliceous thermal springs, microorganisms are typically entombed while viable. Modes of preservation reflect the balance between rates of organic matter degradation, silica precipitation and secondary infilling. Subaerial sinters are initially quite porous and permeable and at temperatures higher than about 20 C, organic materials are usually degraded prior to secondary infilling of sinter frameworks. Thus, organically-preserved microfossils are rare and fossil information consists of characteristic biofabrics formed by the encrustation and underplating of microbial mat surfaces. This probably accounts for the typically low total organic carbon values observed in thermal spring deposits. In mid-temperature, (approx. 35 - 59 C) ponds and outflows, the surface morphology of tufted Phormidium mats is preserved through mat underplating by thin siliceous: crusts. Microbial taxes lead to clumping of ceils and/or preferred filament orientations that together define higher order composite fabrics in thermal spring stromatolites (e.g. network, coniform, and palisade). At lower temperatures (less than 35 C), Calothrix mats cover shallow terracette pools forming flat carpets or pustular

  14. Fossil diatoms and neogene paleolimnology

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Platt, Bradbury J.

    1988-01-01

    Diatoms have played an important role in the development of Neogene continental biostratigraphy and paleolimnology since the mid-19th Century. The history of progress in Quaternary diatom biostratigraphy has developed as a result of improved coring techniques that enable sampling sediments beneath existing lakes coupled with improved chronological control (including radiometric dating and varve enumeration), improved statistical treatment of fossil diatom assemblages (from qualitative description to influx calculations of diatom numbers or volumes), and improved ecological information about analogous living diatom associations. The last factor, diatom ecology, is the most critical in many ways, but progresses slowly. Fortunately, statistical comparison of modern diatom assemblages and insightful studies of the nutrient requirements of some common freshwater species are enabling diatom paleolimnologists to make more detailed interpretations of the Quaternary record than had been possible earlier, and progress in the field of diatom biology and ecology will continue to refine paleolimnological studies. The greater age and geologic setting of Tertiary diatomaceous deposits has prompted their study in the contexts of geologic history, biochronology and evolution. The distribution of diatoms of marine affinities in continental deposits has given geologists insights about tectonism and sea-level change, and the distribution of distinctive (extinct?) diatoms has found utilization both in making stratigraphic correlations between outcrops of diatomaceous deposits and in various types of biochronological studies that involve dating deposits in different areas. A continental diatom biochronologic scheme will rely upon evolution, such as the appearance of new genera within a family, in combination with regional environmental changes that are responsible for the wide distribution of distinctive diatom species. The increased use of the scanning electron microscope for the

  15. A Comparative Analysis of Synonymous Codon Usage Bias Pattern in Human Albumin Superfamily

    PubMed Central

    Mirsafian, Hoda; Mat Ripen, Adiratna; Singh, Aarti; Teo, Phaik Hwan; Merican, Amir Feisal; Mohamad, Saharuddin Bin

    2014-01-01

    Synonymous codon usage bias is an inevitable phenomenon in organismic taxa across the three domains of life. Though the frequency of codon usage is not equal across species and within genome in the same species, the phenomenon is non random and is tissue-specific. Several factors such as GC content, nucleotide distribution, protein hydropathy, protein secondary structure, and translational selection are reported to contribute to codon usage preference. The synonymous codon usage patterns can be helpful in revealing the expression pattern of genes as well as the evolutionary relationship between the sequences. In this study, synonymous codon usage bias patterns were determined for the evolutionarily close proteins of albumin superfamily, namely, albumin, α-fetoprotein, afamin, and vitamin D-binding protein. Our study demonstrated that the genes of the four albumin superfamily members have low GC content and high values of effective number of codons (ENC) suggesting high expressivity of these genes and less bias in codon usage preferences. This study also provided evidence that the albumin superfamily members are not subjected to mutational selection pressure. PMID:24707212

  16. Expanding the amino acid repertoire of ribosomal polypeptide synthesis via the artificial division of codon boxes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Iwane, Yoshihiko; Hitomi, Azusa; Murakami, Hiroshi; Katoh, Takayuki; Goto, Yuki; Suga, Hiroaki

    2016-04-01

    In ribosomal polypeptide synthesis the library of amino acid building blocks is limited by the manner in which codons are used. Of the proteinogenic amino acids, 18 are coded for by multiple codons and therefore many of the 61 sense codons can be considered redundant. Here we report a method to reduce the redundancy of codons by artificially dividing codon boxes to create vacant codons that can then be reassigned to non-proteinogenic amino acids and thereby expand the library of genetically encoded amino acids. To achieve this, we reconstituted a cell-free translation system with 32 in vitro transcripts of transfer RNASNN (tRNASNN) (S = G or C), assigning the initiator and 20 elongator amino acids. Reassignment of three redundant codons was achieved by replacing redundant tRNASNNs with tRNASNNs pre-charged with non-proteinogenic amino acids. As a demonstration, we expressed a 32-mer linear peptide that consists of 20 proteinogenic and three non-proteinogenic amino acids, and a 14-mer macrocyclic peptide that contains more than four non-proteinogenic amino acids.

  17. The CUG codon is decoded in vivo as serine and not leucine in Candida albicans.

    PubMed Central

    Santos, M A; Tuite, M F

    1995-01-01

    Previous studies have shown that the yeast Candida albicans encodes a unique seryl-tRNA(CAG) that should decode the leucine codon CUG as serine. However, in vitro translation of several different CUG-containing mRNAs in the presence of this unusual seryl-tRNA(CAG) result in an apparent increase in the molecular weight of the encoded polypeptides as judged by SDS-PAGE even though the molecular weight of serine is lower than that of leucine. A possible explanation for this altered electrophoretic mobility is that the CUG codon is decoded as modified serine in vitro. To elucidate the nature of CUG decoding in vivo, a reporter system based on the C. albicans gene (RBP1) encoding rapamycin-binding protein (RBP), coupled to the promoter of the C. albicans TEF3 gene, was utilized. Sequencing and mass-spectrometry analysis of the recombinant RBP expressed in C. albicans demonstrated that the CUG codon was decoded exclusively as serine while the related CUU codon was translated as leucine. A database search revealed that 32 out of the 65 C. albicans gene sequences available have CUG codons in their open reading frames. The CUG-containing genes do not belong to any particular gene family. Thus the amino acid specified by the CUG codon has been reassigned within the mRNAs of C. albicans. We argue here that this unique genetic code change in cellular mRNAs cannot be explained by the 'Codon Reassignment Theory'. Images PMID:7784200

  18. Analysis of synonymous codon usage in Aeropyrum pernix K1 and other Crenarchaeota microorganisms.

    PubMed

    Jiang, Peng; Sun, Xiao; Lu, Zuhong

    2007-03-01

    In this study, a comparative analysis of the codon usage bias was performed in Aeropyrum pernix K1 and two other phylogenetically related Crenarchaeota microorganisms (i.e., Pyrobaculum aerophilum str. IM2 and Sulfolobus acidocaldarius DSM 639). The results indicated that the synonymous codon usage in A. pernix K1 was less biased, which was highly correlated with the GC(3S) value. The codon usage patterns were phylogenetically conserved among these Crenarchaeota microorganisms. Comparatively, it is the species function rather than the gene function that determines their gene codon usage patterns. A. pernix K1, P. aerophilum str. IM2, and S. acidocaldarius DSM 639 live in differently extreme conditions. It is presumed that the living environment played an important role in determining the codon usage pattern of these microorganisms. Besides, there was no strain-specific codon usage among these microorganisms. The extent of codon bias in A. pernix K1 and S. acidocaldarius DSM 639 were highly correlated with the gene expression level, but no such association was detected in P. aerophilum str. IM2 genomes.

  19. Genome-Wide Analysis of the Synonymous Codon Usage Patterns in Riemerella anatipestifer

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Jibin; Zhu, Dekang; Ma, Guangpeng; Liu, Mafeng; Wang, Mingshu; Jia, Renyong; Chen, Shun; Sun, Kunfeng; Yang, Qiao; Wu, Ying; Chen, Xiaoyue; Cheng, Anchun

    2016-01-01

    Riemerella anatipestifer (RA) belongs to the Flavobacteriaceae family and can cause a septicemia disease in poultry. The synonymous codon usage patterns of bacteria reflect a series of evolutionary changes that enable bacteria to improve tolerance of the various environments. We detailed the codon usage patterns of RA isolates from the available 12 sequenced genomes by multiple codon and statistical analysis. Nucleotide compositions and relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) analysis revealed that A or U ending codons are predominant in RA. Neutrality analysis found no significant correlation between GC12 and GC3 (p > 0.05). Correspondence analysis and ENc-plot results showed that natural selection dominated over mutation in the codon usage bias. The tree of cluster analysis based on RSCU was concordant with dendrogram based on genomic BLAST by neighbor-joining method. By comparative analysis, about 50 highly expressed genes that were orthologs across all 12 strains were found in the top 5% of high CAI value. Based on these CAI values, we infer that RA contains a number of predicted highly expressed coding sequences, involved in transcriptional regulation and metabolism, reflecting their requirement for dealing with diverse environmental conditions. These results provide some useful information on the mechanisms that contribute to codon usage bias and evolution of RA. PMID:27517915

  20. The Impact of Selection at the Amino Acid Level on the Usage of Synonymous Codons

    PubMed Central

    Błażej, Paweł; Mackiewicz, Dorota; Wnętrzak, Małgorzata; Mackiewicz, Paweł

    2017-01-01

    There are two main forces that affect usage of synonymous codons: directional mutational pressure and selection. The effectiveness of protein translation is usually considered as the main selectional factor. However, biased codon usage can also be a byproduct of a general selection at the amino acid level interacting with nucleotide replacements. To evaluate the validity and strength of such an effect, we superimposed >3.5 billion unrestricted mutational processes on the selection of nonsynonymous substitutions based on the differences in physicochemical properties of the coded amino acids. Using a modified evolutionary optimization algorithm, we determined the conditions in which the effect on the relative codon usage is maximized. We found that the effect is enhanced by mutational processes generating more adenine and thymine than guanine and cytosine, as well as more purines than pyrimidines. Interestingly, this effect is observed only under an unrestricted model of nucleotide substitution, and disappears when the mutational process is time-reversible. Comparison of the simulation results with data for real protein coding sequences indicates that the impact of selection at the amino acid level on synonymous codon usage cannot be neglected. Furthermore, it can considerably interfere, especially in AT-rich genomes, with other selections on codon usage, e.g., translational efficiency. It may also lead to difficulties in the recognition of other effects influencing codon bias, and an overestimation of protein coding sequences whose codon usage is subjected to adaptational selection. PMID:28122952

  1. Gene expression and protein length influence codon usage and rates of sequence evolution in Populus tremula.

    PubMed

    Ingvarsson, Pär K

    2007-03-01

    Codon bias is generally thought to be determined by a balance between mutation, genetic drift, and natural selection on translational efficiency. However, natural selection on codon usage is considered to be a weak evolutionary force and selection on codon usage is expected to be strongest in species with large effective population sizes. In this paper, I study associations between codon usage, gene expression, and molecular evolution at synonymous and nonsynonymous sites in the long-lived, woody perennial plant Populus tremula (Salicaceae). Using expression data for 558 genes derived from expressed sequence tags (EST) libraries from 19 different tissues and developmental stages, I study how gene expression levels within single tissues as well as across tissues affect codon usage and rates sequence evolution at synonymous and nonsynonymous sites. I show that gene expression have direct effects on both codon usage and the level of selective constraint of proteins in P. tremula, although in different ways. Codon usage genes is primarily determined by how highly expressed a genes is, whereas rates of sequence evolution are primarily determined by how widely expressed genes are. In addition to the effects of gene expression, protein length appear to be an important factor influencing virtually all aspects of molecular evolution in P. tremula.

  2. Codon usage in Caenorhabditis elegans: delineation of translational selection and mutational biases.

    PubMed Central

    Stenico, M; Lloyd, A T; Sharp, P M

    1994-01-01

    Synonymous codon usage varies considerably among Caenorhabditis elegans genes. Multivariate statistical analyses reveal a single major trend among genes. At one end of the trend lie genes with relatively unbiased codon usage. These genes appear to be lowly expressed, and their patterns of codon usage are consistent with mutational biases influenced by the neighbouring nucleotide. At the other extreme lie genes with extremely biased codon usage. These genes appear to be highly expressed, and their codon usage seems to have been shaped by selection favouring a limited number of translationally optimal codons. Thus, the frequency of these optimal codons in a gene appears to be correlated with the level of gene expression, and may be a useful indicator in the case of genes (or open reading frames) whose expression levels (or even function) are unknown. A second, relatively minor trend among genes is correlated with the frequency of G at synonymously variable sites. It is not yet clear whether this trend reflects variation in base composition (or mutational biases) among regions of the C.elegans genome, or some other factor. Sequence divergence between C.elegans and C.briggsae has also been studied. PMID:8041603

  3. Discrimination by Escherichia coli initiation factor IF3 against initiation on non-canonical codons relies on complementarity rules.

    PubMed

    Meinnel, T; Sacerdot, C; Graffe, M; Blanquet, S; Springer, M

    1999-07-23

    Translation initiation factor IF3, one of three factors specifically required for translation initiation in Escherichia coli, inhibits initiation on any codon other than the three canonical initiation codons, AUG, GUG, or UUG. This discrimination against initiation on non-canonical codons could be due to either direct recognition of the two last bases of the codon and their cognate bases on the anticodon or to some ability to "feel" codon-anticodon complementarity. To investigate the importance of codon-anticodon complementarity in the discriminatory role of IF3, we constructed a derivative of tRNALeuthat has all the known characteristics of an initiator tRNA except the CAU anticodon. This tRNA is efficiently formylated by methionyl-tRNAfMettransformylase and charged by leucyl-tRNA synthetase irrespective of the sequence of its anticodon. These initiator tRNALeuderivatives (called tRNALI) allow initiation at all the non-canonical codons tested, provided that the complementarity between the codon and the anticodon of the initiator tRNALeuis respected. More remarkably, the discrimination by IF3, normally observed with non-canonical codons, is neutralised if a tRNALIcarrying a complementary anticodon is used for initiation. This suggests that IF3 somehow recognises codon-anticodon complementarity, at least at the second and third position of the codon, rather than some specific bases in either the codon or the anticodon.

  4. The Effect of an Alternate Start Codon on Heterologous Expression of a PhoA Fusion Protein in Mycoplasma gallisepticum.

    PubMed

    Panicker, Indu S; Browning, Glenn F; Markham, Philip F

    2015-01-01

    While the genomes of many Mycoplasma species have been sequenced, there are no collated data on translational start codon usage, and the effects of alternate start codons on gene expression have not been studied. Analysis of the annotated genomes found that ATG was the most prevalent translational start codon among Mycoplasma spp. However in Mycoplasma gallisepticum a GTG start codon is commonly used in the vlhA multigene family, which encodes a highly abundant, phase variable lipoprotein adhesin. Therefore, the effect of this alternate start codon on expression of a reporter PhoA lipoprotein was examined in M. gallisepticum. Mutation of the start codon from ATG to GTG resulted in a 2.5 fold reduction in the level of transcription of the phoA reporter, but the level of PhoA activity in the transformants containing phoA with a GTG start codon was only 63% of that of the transformants with a phoA with an ATG start codon, suggesting that GTG was a more efficient translational initiation codon. The effect of swapping the translational start codon in phoA reporter gene expression was less in M. gallisepticum than has been seen previously in Escherichia coli or Bacillus subtilis, suggesting the process of translational initiation in mycoplasmas may have some significant differences from those used in other bacteria. This is the first study of translational start codon usage in mycoplasmas and the impact of the use of an alternate start codon on expression in these bacteria.

  5. A coordinated codon-dependent regulation of translation by Elongator

    PubMed Central

    Bauer, Fanelie; Hermand, Damien

    2012-01-01

    More than a decade ago, the purification of the form of the RNA polymerase II (PolII) engaged in elongation led to the discovery of an associated, multi-subunit (Elp1-6) complex named “Elongator” by the Svejstrup lab. Although further evidence supported the original notion that Elongator is involved in transcription, Elongator lacked some of the expected features for a regulator of the elongating PolII. The discovery by the Byström lab, based on genetic dissection, that Elongator is pivotal for tRNA modifications, and that all the reported phenotypes of Elongator mutants are suppressed by the overexpression of two tRNAs added to the confusion. The increasing range of both potential substrates and biological processes regulated by Elongator in higher eukaryotes indicates that the major challenge of the field is to determine the biologically relevant function of Elongator. Our recent proteome-wide study in fission yeast supports a coordinated codon-dependent regulation of translation by Elongator. Here we provide additional analyses extending this hypothesis to budding yeast and worm. PMID:23165209

  6. A codon deletion confers resistance to herbicides inhibiting protoporphyrinogen oxidase

    PubMed Central

    Patzoldt, William L.; Hager, Aaron G.; McCormick, Joel S.; Tranel, Patrick J.

    2006-01-01

    Herbicides that act by inhibiting protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) are widely used to control weeds in a variety of crops. The first weed to evolve resistance to PPO-inhibiting herbicides was Amaranthus tuberculatus, a problematic weed in the midwestern United States that previously had evolved multiple resistances to herbicides inhibiting two other target sites. Evaluation of a PPO-inhibitor-resistant A. tuberculatus biotype revealed that resistance was a (incompletely) dominant trait conferred by a single, nuclear gene. Three genes predicted to encode PPO were identified in A. tuberculatus. One gene from the resistant biotype, designated PPX2L, contained a codon deletion that was shown to confer resistance by complementation of a hemG mutant strain of Escherichia coli grown in the presence and absence of the PPO inhibitor lactofen. PPX2L is predicted to encode both plastid- and mitochondria-targeted PPO isoforms, allowing a mutation in a single gene to confer resistance to two herbicide target sites. Unique aspects of the resistance mechanism include an amino acid deletion, rather than a substitution, and the dual-targeting nature of the gene, which may explain why resistance to PPO inhibitors has been rare. PMID:16894159

  7. A codon deletion confers resistance to herbicides inhibiting protoporphyrinogen oxidase.

    PubMed

    Patzoldt, William L; Hager, Aaron G; McCormick, Joel S; Tranel, Patrick J

    2006-08-15

    Herbicides that act by inhibiting protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) are widely used to control weeds in a variety of crops. The first weed to evolve resistance to PPO-inhibiting herbicides was Amaranthus tuberculatus, a problematic weed in the midwestern United States that previously had evolved multiple resistances to herbicides inhibiting two other target sites. Evaluation of a PPO-inhibitor-resistant A. tuberculatus biotype revealed that resistance was a (incompletely) dominant trait conferred by a single, nuclear gene. Three genes predicted to encode PPO were identified in A. tuberculatus. One gene from the resistant biotype, designated PPX2L, contained a codon deletion that was shown to confer resistance by complementation of a hemG mutant strain of Escherichia coli grown in the presence and absence of the PPO inhibitor lactofen. PPX2L is predicted to encode both plastid- and mitochondria-targeted PPO isoforms, allowing a mutation in a single gene to confer resistance to two herbicide target sites. Unique aspects of the resistance mechanism include an amino acid deletion, rather than a substitution, and the dual-targeting nature of the gene, which may explain why resistance to PPO inhibitors has been rare.

  8. NECTAR: a database of codon-centric missense variant annotations.

    PubMed

    Gong, Sungsam; Ware, James S; Walsh, Roddy; Cook, Stuart A

    2014-01-01

    NECTAR (Non-synonymous Enriched Coding muTation ARchive; http://nectarmutation.org) is a database and web application to annotate disease-related and functionally important amino acids in human proteins. A number of tools are available to facilitate the interpretation of DNA variants identified in diagnostic or research sequencing. These typically identify previous reports of DNA variation at a given genomic location, predict its effects on transcript and protein sequence and may predict downstream functional consequences. Previous reports and functional annotations are typically linked by the genomic location of the variant observed. NECTAR collates disease-causing variants and functionally important amino acid residues from a number of sources. Importantly, rather than simply linking annotations by a shared genomic location, NECTAR annotates variants of interest with details of previously reported variation affecting the same codon. This provides a much richer data set for the interpretation of a novel DNA variant. NECTAR also identifies functionally equivalent amino acid residues in evolutionarily related proteins (paralogues) and, where appropriate, transfers annotations between them. As well as accessing these data through a web interface, users can upload batches of variants in variant call format (VCF) for annotation on-the-fly. The database is freely available to download from the ftp site: ftp://ftp.nectarmutation.org.

  9. Improving self-calibration.

    PubMed

    Enßlin, Torsten A; Junklewitz, Henrik; Winderling, Lars; Greiner, Maksim; Selig, Marco

    2014-10-01

    Response calibration is the process of inferring how much the measured data depend on the signal one is interested in. It is essential for any quantitative signal estimation on the basis of the data. Here, we investigate self-calibration methods for linear signal measurements and linear dependence of the response on the calibration parameters. The common practice is to augment an external calibration solution using a known reference signal with an internal calibration on the unknown measurement signal itself. Contemporary self-calibration schemes try to find a self-consistent solution for signal and calibration by exploiting redundancies in the measurements. This can be understood in terms of maximizing the joint probability of signal and calibration. However, the full uncertainty structure of this joint probability around its maximum is thereby not taken into account by these schemes. Therefore, better schemes, in sense of minimal square error, can be designed by accounting for asymmetries in the uncertainty of signal and calibration. We argue that at least a systematic correction of the common self-calibration scheme should be applied in many measurement situations in order to properly treat uncertainties of the signal on which one calibrates. Otherwise, the calibration solutions suffer from a systematic bias, which consequently distorts the signal reconstruction. Furthermore, we argue that nonparametric, signal-to-noise filtered calibration should provide more accurate reconstructions than the common bin averages and provide a new, improved self-calibration scheme. We illustrate our findings with a simplistic numerical example.

  10. Efficient Reassignment of a Frequent Serine Codon in Wild-Type Escherichia coli.

    PubMed

    Ho, Joanne M; Reynolds, Noah M; Rivera, Keith; Connolly, Morgan; Guo, Li-Tao; Ling, Jiqiang; Pappin, Darryl J; Church, George M; Söll, Dieter

    2016-02-19

    Expansion of the genetic code through engineering the translation machinery has greatly increased the chemical repertoire of the proteome. This has been accomplished mainly by read-through of UAG or UGA stop codons by the noncanonical aminoacyl-tRNA of choice. While stop codon read-through involves competition with the translation release factors, sense codon reassignment entails competition with a large pool of endogenous tRNAs. We used an engineered pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetase to incorporate 3-iodo-l-phenylalanine (3-I-Phe) at a number of different serine and leucine codons in wild-type Escherichia coli. Quantitative LC-MS/MS measurements of amino acid incorporation yields carried out in a selected reaction monitoring experiment revealed that the 3-I-Phe abundance at the Ser208AGU codon in superfolder GFP was 65 ± 17%. This method also allowed quantification of other amino acids (serine, 33 ± 17%; phenylalanine, 1 ± 1%; threonine, 1 ± 1%) that compete with 3-I-Phe at both the aminoacylation and decoding steps of translation for incorporation at the same codon position. Reassignments of different serine (AGU, AGC, UCG) and leucine (CUG) codons with the matching tRNA(Pyl) anticodon variants were met with varying success, and our findings provide a guideline for the choice of sense codons to be reassigned. Our results indicate that the 3-iodo-l-phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase (IFRS)/tRNA(Pyl) pair can efficiently outcompete the cellular machinery to reassign select sense codons in wild-type E. coli.

  11. Tryptophan Codon-Dependent Transcription in Chlamydia pneumoniae during Gamma Interferon-Mediated Tryptophan Limitation

    PubMed Central

    Rueden, Kelsey J.; Rucks, Elizabeth A.

    2016-01-01

    In evolving to an obligate intracellular niche, Chlamydia has streamlined its genome by eliminating superfluous genes as it relies on the host cell for a variety of nutritional needs like amino acids. However, Chlamydia can experience amino acid starvation when the human host cell in which the bacteria reside is exposed to interferon gamma (IFN-γ), which leads to a tryptophan (Trp)-limiting environment via induction of the enzyme indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO). The stringent response is used to respond to amino acid starvation in most bacteria but is missing from Chlamydia. Thus, how Chlamydia, a Trp auxotroph, responds to Trp starvation in the absence of a stringent response is an intriguing question. We previously observed that C. pneumoniae responds to this stress by globally increasing transcription while globally decreasing translation, an unusual response. Here, we sought to understand this and hypothesized that the Trp codon content of a given gene would determine its transcription level. We quantified transcripts from C. pneumoniae genes that were either rich or poor in Trp codons and found that Trp codon-rich transcripts were increased, whereas those that lacked Trp codons were unchanged or even decreased. There were exceptions, and these involved operons or large genes with multiple Trp codons: downstream transcripts were less abundant after Trp codon-rich sequences. These data suggest that ribosome stalling on Trp codons causes a negative polar effect on downstream sequences. Finally, reassessing previous C. pneumoniae microarray data based on codon content, we found that upregulated transcripts were enriched in Trp codons, thus supporting our hypothesis. PMID:27400720

  12. A novel nuclear genetic code alteration in yeasts and the evolution of codon reassignment in eukaryotes

    PubMed Central

    Mühlhausen, Stefanie; Findeisen, Peggy; Plessmann, Uwe; Urlaub, Henning; Kollmar, Martin

    2016-01-01

    The genetic code is the cellular translation table for the conversion of nucleotide sequences into amino acid sequences. Changes to the meaning of sense codons would introduce errors into almost every translated message and are expected to be highly detrimental. However, reassignment of single or multiple codons in mitochondria and nuclear genomes, although extremely rare, demonstrates that the code can evolve. Several models for the mechanism of alteration of nuclear genetic codes have been proposed (including “codon capture,” “genome streamlining,” and “ambiguous intermediate” theories), but with little resolution. Here, we report a novel sense codon reassignment in Pachysolen tannophilus, a yeast related to the Pichiaceae. By generating proteomics data and using tRNA sequence comparisons, we show that Pachysolen translates CUG codons as alanine and not as the more usual leucine. The Pachysolen tRNACAG is an anticodon-mutated tRNAAla containing all major alanine tRNA recognition sites. The polyphyly of the CUG-decoding tRNAs in yeasts is best explained by a tRNA loss driven codon reassignment mechanism. Loss of the CUG-tRNA in the ancient yeast is followed by gradual decrease of respective codons and subsequent codon capture by tRNAs whose anticodon is not part of the aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase recognition region. Our hypothesis applies to all nuclear genetic code alterations and provides several testable predictions. We anticipate more codon reassignments to be uncovered in existing and upcoming genome projects. PMID:27197221

  13. Calibration of pneumotachographs using a calibrated syringe.

    PubMed

    Tang, Yongquan; Turner, Martin J; Yem, Johnny S; Baker, A Barry

    2003-08-01

    Pneumotachograph require frequent calibration. Constant-flow methods allow polynomial calibration curves to be derived but are time consuming. The iterative syringe stroke technique is moderately efficient but results in discontinuous conductance arrays. This study investigated the derivation of first-, second-, and third-order polynomial calibration curves from 6 to 50 strokes of a calibration syringe. We used multiple linear regression to derive first-, second-, and third-order polynomial coefficients from two sets of 6-50 syringe strokes. In part A, peak flows did not exceed the specified linear range of the pneumotachograph, whereas flows in part B peaked at 160% of the maximum linear range. Conductance arrays were derived from the same data sets by using a published algorithm. Volume errors of the calibration strokes and of separate sets of 70 validation strokes (part A) and 140 validation strokes (part B) were calculated by using the polynomials and conductance arrays. Second- and third-order polynomials derived from 10 calibration strokes achieved volume variability equal to or better than conductance arrays derived from 50 strokes. We found that evaluation of conductance arrays using the calibration syringe strokes yields falsely low volume variances. We conclude that accurate polynomial curves can be derived from as few as 10 syringe strokes, and the new polynomial calibration method is substantially more time efficient than previously published conductance methods.

  14. The original colours of fossil beetles.

    PubMed

    McNamara, Maria E; Briggs, Derek E G; Orr, Patrick J; Noh, Heeso; Cao, Hui

    2012-03-22

    Structural colours, the most intense, reflective and pure colours in nature, are generated when light is scattered by complex nanostructures. Metallic structural colours are widespread among modern insects and can be preserved in their fossil counterparts, but it is unclear whether the colours have been altered during fossilization, and whether the absence of colours is always real. To resolve these issues, we investigated fossil beetles from five Cenozoic biotas. Metallic colours in these specimens are generated by an epicuticular multi-layer reflector; the fidelity of its preservation correlates with that of other key cuticular ultrastructures. Where these other ultrastructures are well preserved in non-metallic fossil specimens, we can infer that the original cuticle lacked a multi-layer reflector; its absence in the fossil is not a preservational artefact. Reconstructions of the original colours of the fossils based on the structure of the multi-layer reflector show that the preserved colours are offset systematically to longer wavelengths; this probably reflects alteration of the refractive index of the epicuticle during fossilization. These findings will allow the former presence, and original hue, of metallic structural colours to be identified in diverse fossil insects, thus providing critical evidence of the evolution of structural colour in this group.

  15. Forty Years Later: Updating the Fossilization Hypothesis

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Han, ZhaoHong

    2013-01-01

    A founding concept in second language acquisition (SLA) research, fossilization has been fundamental to understanding second language (L2) development. The Fossilization Hypothesis, introduced in Selinker's seminal text (1972), has thus been one of the most influential theories, guiding a significant bulk of SLA research for four decades; 2012…

  16. Do alternative energy sources displace fossil fuels?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    York, Richard

    2012-06-01

    A fundamental, generally implicit, assumption of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports and many energy analysts is that each unit of energy supplied by non-fossil-fuel sources takes the place of a unit of energy supplied by fossil-fuel sources. However, owing to the complexity of economic systems and human behaviour, it is often the case that changes aimed at reducing one type of resource consumption, either through improvements in efficiency of use or by developing substitutes, do not lead to the intended outcome when net effects are considered. Here, I show that the average pattern across most nations of the world over the past fifty years is one where each unit of total national energy use from non-fossil-fuel sources displaced less than one-quarter of a unit of fossil-fuel energy use and, focusing specifically on electricity, each unit of electricity generated by non-fossil-fuel sources displaced less than one-tenth of a unit of fossil-fuel-generated electricity. These results challenge conventional thinking in that they indicate that suppressing the use of fossil fuel will require changes other than simply technical ones such as expanding non-fossil-fuel energy production.

  17. Precambrian biota: protistan origin of trace fossils?

    PubMed

    Pawlowski, Jan; Gooday, Andrew J

    2009-01-13

    Some Precambrian trace fossils have been presented as evidence for the early origin of bilaterians; the recent finding that large amoeboid protists leave macroscopic traces at the bottom of the deep ocean questions the metazoan nature of early trace fossils, stressing the importance of single-cell organisms in Precambrian biota.

  18. Codon frequencies in 119 individual genes confirm consistent choices of degenerate bases according to genome type.

    PubMed Central

    Grantham, R; Gautier, C; Gouy, M

    1980-01-01

    The poor printing of our previous Figure 2 (1) is corrected. Codon usage in mRNA sequences just published is also given. A new correspondence analysis is done, based on simultaneous comparison in all mRNA of use of the 61 codons. This analysis reinforces our claim that most genes in a genome, or genome type, have the same coding strategy; that is, they show similar choices among synonymous codons, or among degenerate bases (2). Like analysis on frequency variation in the amino acids coded reveals an entirely different pattern. PMID:6159596

  19. Treating fossils as terminal taxa in divergence time estimation reveals ancient vicariance patterns in the palpimanoid spiders.

    PubMed

    Wood, Hannah Marie; Matzke, Nicholas J; Gillespie, Rosemary G; Griswold, Charles E

    2013-03-01

    Incorporation of fossils into biogeographic studies can have a profound effect on the conclusions that result, particularly when fossil ranges are nonoverlapping with extant ranges. This is the case in archaeid spiders, where there are known fossils from the Northern Hemisphere, yet all living members are restricted to the Southern Hemisphere. To better understand the biogeographic patterns of archaeid spiders and their palpimanoid relatives, we estimate a dated phylogeny using a relaxed clock on a combined molecular and morphological data set. Dating information is compared with treating the archaeid fossil taxa as both node calibrations and as noncontemporaneous terminal tips, both with and without additional calibration points. Estimation of ancestral biogeographic ranges is then performed, using likelihood and Bayesian methods to take into account uncertainty in phylogeny and in dating. We find that treating the fossils as terminal tips within a Bayesian framework, as opposed to dating the phylogeny based only on molecular data with the dates coming from node calibrations, removes the subjectivity involved in assigning priors, which has not been possible with previous methods. Our analyses suggest that the diversification of the northern and southern archaeid lineages was congruent with the breakup of Pangaea into Laurasia and Gondwanaland. This analysis provides a rare example, and perhaps the most strongly supported, where a dated phylogeny confirms a biogeographical hypothesis based on vicariance due to the breakup of the ancient continental plates.

  20. The Importance of Fossils in Understanding the Evolution of Parasites and Their Vectors.

    PubMed

    De Baets, Kenneth; Littlewood, D Timothy J

    2015-01-01

    Knowledge concerning the diversity of parasitism and its reach across our current understanding of the tree of life has benefitted considerably from novel molecular phylogenetic methods. However, the timing of events and the resolution of the nature of the intimate relationships between parasites and their hosts in deep time remain problematic. Despite its vagaries, the fossil record provides the only direct evidence of parasites and parasitism in the fossil record of extant and extinct lineages. Here, we demonstrate the potential of the fossil record and other lines of geological evidence to calibrate the origin and evolution of parasitism by combining different kinds of dating evidence with novel molecular clock methodologies. Other novel methods promise to provide additional evidence for the presence or the life habit of pathogens and their vectors, including the discovery and analysis of ancient DNA and other biomolecules, as well as computed tomographic methods.

  1. Atomic force microscopy of Precambrian microscopic fossils.

    PubMed

    Kempe, André; Schopf, J William; Altermann, Wladyslaw; Kudryavtsev, Anatoliy B; Heckl, Wolfgang M

    2002-07-09

    Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a technique used routinely in material science to image substances at a submicron (including nm) scale. We apply this technique to analysis of the fine structure of organic-walled Precambrian fossils, microscopic sphaeromorph acritarchs (cysts of planktonic unicellular protists) permineralized in approximately 650-million-year-old cherts of the Chichkan Formation of southern Kazakhstan. AFM images, backed by laser-Raman spectroscopic analysis of individual specimens, demonstrate that the walls of these petrified fossils are composed of stacked arrays of approximately 200-nm-sized angular platelets of polycyclic aromatic kerogen. Together, AFM and laser-Raman spectroscopy provide means by which to elucidate the submicron-scale structure of individual microscopic fossils, investigate the geochemical maturation of ancient organic matter, and, potentially, distinguish true fossils from pseudofossils and probe the mechanisms of fossil preservation by silica permineralization.

  2. Atomic force microscopy of Precambrian microscopic fossils

    PubMed Central

    Kempe, André; Schopf, J. William; Altermann, Wladyslaw; Kudryavtsev, Anatoliy B.; Heckl, Wolfgang M.

    2002-01-01

    Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a technique used routinely in material science to image substances at a submicron (including nm) scale. We apply this technique to analysis of the fine structure of organic-walled Precambrian fossils, microscopic sphaeromorph acritarchs (cysts of planktonic unicellular protists) permineralized in ≈650-million-year-old cherts of the Chichkan Formation of southern Kazakhstan. AFM images, backed by laser-Raman spectroscopic analysis of individual specimens, demonstrate that the walls of these petrified fossils are composed of stacked arrays of ≈200-nm-sized angular platelets of polycyclic aromatic kerogen. Together, AFM and laser-Raman spectroscopy provide means by which to elucidate the submicron-scale structure of individual microscopic fossils, investigate the geochemical maturation of ancient organic matter, and, potentially, distinguish true fossils from pseudofossils and probe the mechanisms of fossil preservation by silica permineralization. PMID:12089337

  3. Radio properties of fossil galaxy groups

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miraghaei, H.; Khosroshahi, H. G.

    2016-09-01

    We study 1.4 GHz radio properties of a sample of fossil galaxy groups using GMRT radio observations and the FIRST survey catalog. Fossil galaxy groups, having no recent major mergers in their dominant galaxies and also group scale mergers, give us the opportunity to investigate the effect of galaxy merger on AGN activity. In this work, we compare the radio properties of a rich sample of fossil groups with a sample of normal galaxy groups and clusters and show that the brightest group galaxies in fossil groups are under luminous at 1.4 GHz, relative to the general population of the brightest group galaxies, indicating that the dynamically relaxed nature of fossil groups has influenced the AGN activity in their dominant galaxy.

  4. Enhancing functional expression of codon-optimized heterologous enzymes in Escherichia coli BL21(DE3) by selective introduction of synonymous rare codons.

    PubMed

    Zhong, Chao; Wei, Ping; Zhang, Yi-Heng Percival

    2017-05-01

    Rare codon in a heterologous gene may cause premature termination of protein synthesis, misincorporation of amino acids, and/or slow translation of mRNA, decreasing the heterologous protein expression. However, its hypothetical function pertaining to functional protein folding has been barely reported. Here, we investigated the effects of selective introduction of synonymous rare codons (SRCs) to two codon-optimized (i.e., rare codon-free) genes sucrose phosphorylase (SP) gene from Thermoanaerobacterium thermosaccharolyticum and amidohydrolase gene from Streptomyces caatingaensis on their expression levels in Escherichia coli BL21(DE3). We investigated the introduction of a single SRC to the coding regions of alpha-helix, beta-strand, or linker in the first half of rare codon-free sp and ah gene. The introduction of a single SRC in the beginning of the coding regions of beta-strand greatly enhanced their soluble expression levels as compared to the other regions. Also, we applied directed evolution to test multi-SRC-containing sp gene mutants for enhanced soluble SP expression levels. To easily identify the soluble SP expression level of colonies growing on Petri dishes, mCherry fluorescent protein was used as a SP-folding reporter when it was fused to the 3' end of the sp gene mutant libraries. After three rounds of screening, the best sp gene mutant containing nine SRCs exhibited an approximately six-fold enhancement in soluble protein expression level as compared to the wild-type and rare codon-free sp control. This study suggests that the selective introduction of SRCs can attenuate translation at specific points and such discontinuous attenuation can temporally separate the translation of segments of the peptide chains and actively coordinates their co-translational folding, resulting in enhanced functional protein expression. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2017;114: 1054-1064. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  5. Methods for the quantitative comparison of molecular estimates of clade age and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Clarke, Julia A; Boyd, Clint A

    2015-01-01

    together to describe the relationship between time trees and a set of fossil data, which we recommend be phylogenetically vetted and referred on the basis of apomorphy. Differences from previously proposed metrics and the utility of MDI and DIG range are illustrated in three empirical case studies from angiosperms, ostracods, and birds. These case studies also illustrate the ways in which MDI and DIG range may be used to assess time trees resultant from analyses varying in calibration regime, divergence dating approach or molecular sequence data analyzed.

  6. Estimating the Phanerozoic history of the Ascomycota lineages: combining fossil and molecular data.

    PubMed

    Beimforde, Christina; Feldberg, Kathrin; Nylinder, Stephan; Rikkinen, Jouko; Tuovila, Hanna; Dörfelt, Heinrich; Gube, Matthias; Jackson, Daniel J; Reitner, Joachim; Seyfullah, Leyla J; Schmidt, Alexander R

    2014-09-01

    The phylum Ascomycota is by far the largest group in the fungal kingdom. Ecologically important mutualistic associations such as mycorrhizae and lichens have evolved in this group, which are regarded as key innovations that supported the evolution of land plants. Only a few attempts have been made to date the origin of Ascomycota lineages by using molecular clock methods, which is primarily due to the lack of satisfactory fossil calibration data. For this reason we have evaluated all of the oldest available ascomycete fossils from amber (Albian to Miocene) and chert (Devonian and Maastrichtian). The fossils represent five major ascomycete classes (Coniocybomycetes, Dothideomycetes, Eurotiomycetes, Laboulbeniomycetes, and Lecanoromycetes). We have assembled a multi-gene data set (18SrDNA, 28SrDNA, RPB1 and RPB2) from a total of 145 taxa representing most groups of the Ascomycota and utilized fossil calibration points solely from within the ascomycetes to estimate divergence times of Ascomycota lineages with a Bayesian approach. Our results suggest an initial diversification of the Pezizomycotina in the Ordovician, followed by repeated splits of lineages throughout the Phanerozoic, and indicate that this continuous diversification was unaffected by mass extinctions. We suggest that the ecological diversity within each lineage ensured that at least some taxa of each group were able to survive global crises and rapidly recovered.

  7. Analytical multicollimator camera calibration

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tayman, W.P.

    1978-01-01

    Calibration with the U.S. Geological survey multicollimator determines the calibrated focal length, the point of symmetry, the radial distortion referred to the point of symmetry, and the asymmetric characteristiecs of the camera lens. For this project, two cameras were calibrated, a Zeiss RMK A 15/23 and a Wild RC 8. Four test exposures were made with each camera. Results are tabulated for each exposure and averaged for each set. Copies of the standard USGS calibration reports are included. ?? 1978.

  8. ORNL calibrations facility

    SciTech Connect

    Berger, C.D.; Gupton, E.D.; Lane, B.H.; Miller, J.H.; Nichols, S.W.

    1982-08-01

    The ORNL Calibrations Facility is operated by the Instrumentation Group of the Industrial Safety and Applied Health Physics Division. Its primary purpose is to maintain radiation calibration standards for calibration of ORNL health physics instruments and personnel dosimeters. This report includes a discussion of the radioactive sources and ancillary equipment in use and a step-by-step procedure for calibration of those survey instruments and personnel dosimeters in routine use at ORNL.

  9. HIV-1 gag expression is quantitatively dependent on the ratio of native and optimized codons.

    PubMed

    Kofman, Alexander; Graf, Marcus; Bojak, Alexandra; Deml, Ludwig; Bieler, Kurt; Kharazova, Alexandra; Wolf, Hans; Wagner, Ralf

    2003-01-01

    There is a significant variation of codon usage bias among different species and even among genes within the same organisms. Codon optimization, this is, gene redesigning with the use of codons preferred for the specific expression system, results in improved expression of heterologous genes in bacteria, plants, yeast, mammalian cells, and transgenic animals. The mechanisms preventing expression of genes with rare or low-usage codons at adequate levels are not completely elucidated. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) represents an interesting model for studying how differences in codon usage affect gene expression in heterologous systems. Construction of synthetic genes with optimized codons demonstrated that the codon-usage effects might be a major impediment to the efficient expression of HIV gag/pol and env gene products in mammalian cells. According to another hypothesis, the poor expression of HIV structural proteins even without HIV context is attributed to the so-called cis-acting inhibitory elements (INS), which are located within the protein-coding region. They consist of AU-rich sequences and may be inactivated through the introduction of multiple mutations over the large regions of gag gene. In our work, we evaluated expression of hybrid HIV-1 gag mRNAs where wild-type (A-rich) gag sequences were combined with artificial sequences. In such "humanized" gag fragments with adapted codon usage, AT-content was significantly reduced in favor of G and C nucleotides without any changes in protein sequence. We show that wild-type gag sequences negatively influence expression of gag-reporter, and the addition of fragments with optimized codons to gag mRNA partially rescues its expression. The results demonstrate that the expression of HIV-1 gag is determined by the ratio of optimized and rare codons within mRNA. Our data also indicates that some wtgag fragments counteract the influence of the other wtgag sequences, which cause the inhibition of gag expression. The

  10. Understanding the influence of codon translation rates on cotranslational protein folding.

    PubMed

    O'Brien, Edward P; Ciryam, Prajwal; Vendruscolo, Michele; Dobson, Christopher M

    2014-05-20

    Protein domains can fold into stable tertiary structures while they are synthesized by the ribosome in a process known as cotranslational folding. If a protein does not fold cotranslationally, however, it has the opportunity to do so post-translationally, that is, after the nascent chain has been fully synthesized and released from the ribosome. The rate at which a ribosome adds an amino acid encoded by a particular codon to the elongating nascent chain can vary significantly and is called the codon translation rate. Recent experiments have illustrated the profound impact that codon translation rates can have on the cotranslational folding process and the acquisition of function by nascent proteins. Synonymous codon mutations in an mRNA molecule change the chemical identity of a codon and its translation rate without changing the sequence of the synthesized protein. This change in codon translation rate can, however, cause a nascent protein to malfunction as a result of cotranslational misfolding. In some situations, such dysfunction can have profound implications; for example, it can alter the substrate specificity of an ABC transporter protein, resulting in patients who are nonresponsive to chemotherapy treatment. Thus, codon translation rates are crucial in coordinating protein folding in a cellular environment and can affect downstream cellular processes that depend on the proper functioning of newly synthesized proteins. As the importance of codon translation rates makes clear, a necessary aspect of fully understanding cotranslational folding lies in considering the kinetics of the process in addition to its thermodynamics. In this Account, we examine the contributions that have been made to elucidating the mechanisms of cotranslational folding by using the theoretical and computational tools of chemical kinetics, molecular simulations, and systems biology. These efforts have extended our ability to understand, model, and predict the influence of codon

  11. Clean Fossil Energy Conversion Processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fan, L.-S.

    2007-03-01

    Absolute and per-capita energy consumption is bound to increase globally, leading to a projected increase in energy requirements of 50% by 2020. The primary source for providing a majority of the energy will continue to be fossil fuels. However, an array of enabling technologies needs to be proven for the realization of a zero emission power, fuel or chemical plants in the near future. Opportunities to develop new processes, driven by the regulatory requirements for the reduction or elimination of gaseous and particulate pollutant abound. This presentation describes the chemistry, reaction mechanisms, reactor design, system engineering, economics, and regulations that surround the utilization of clean coal energy. The presentation will cover the salient features of the fundamental and process aspects of the clean coal technologies in practice as well as in development. These technologies include those for the cleaning of SO2, H2S, NOx, and heavy metals, and separation of CO2 from the flue gas or the syngas. Further, new combustion and gasification processes based on the chemical looping concepts will be illustrated in the context of the looping particle design, process heat integration, energy conversion efficiency, and economics.

  12. Molecular Phylogeny of Sequenced Saccharomycetes Reveals Polyphyly of the Alternative Yeast Codon Usage

    PubMed Central

    Mühlhausen, Stefanie; Kollmar, Martin

    2014-01-01

    The universal genetic code defines the translation of nucleotide triplets, called codons, into amino acids. In many Saccharomycetes a unique alteration of this code affects the translation of the CUG codon, which is normally translated as leucine. Most of the species encoding CUG alternatively as serine belong to the Candida genus and were grouped into a so-called CTG clade. However, the “Candida genus” is not a monophyletic group and several Candida species are known to use the standard CUG translation. The codon identity could have been changed in a single branch, the ancestor of the Candida, or to several branches independently leading to a polyphyletic alternative yeast codon usage (AYCU). In order to resolve the monophyly or polyphyly of the AYCU, we performed a phylogenomics analysis of 26 motor and cytoskeletal proteins from 60 sequenced yeast species. By investigating the CUG codon positions with respect to sequence conservation at the respective alignment positions, we were able to unambiguously assign the standard code or AYCU. Quantitative analysis of the highly conserved leucine and serine alignment positions showed that 61.1% and 17% of the CUG codons coding for leucine and serine, respectively, are at highly conserved positions, whereas only 0.6% and 2.3% of the CUG codons, respectively, are at positions conserved in the respective other amino acid. Plotting the codon usage onto the phylogenetic tree revealed the polyphyly of the AYCU with Pachysolen tannophilus and the CTG clade branching independently within a time span of 30–100 Ma. PMID:25646540

  13. Fossil oak galls preserve ancient multitrophic interactions.

    PubMed

    Stone, Graham N; van der Ham, Raymond W J M; Brewer, Jan G

    2008-10-07

    Trace fossils of insect feeding have contributed substantially to our understanding of the evolution of insect-plant interactions. The most complex phenotypes of herbivory are galls, whose diagnostic morphologies often allow the identification of the gall inducer. Although fossil insect-induced galls over 300Myr old are known, most are two-dimensional impressions lacking adequate morphological detail either for the precise identification of the causer or for detection of the communities of specialist parasitoids and inquilines inhabiting modern plant galls. Here, we describe the first evidence for such multitrophic associations in Pleistocene fossil galls from the Eemian interglacial (130000-115000 years ago) of The Netherlands. The exceptionally well-preserved fossils can be attributed to extant species of Andricus gallwasps (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) galling oaks (Quercus), and provide the first fossil evidence of gall attack by herbivorous inquiline gallwasps. Furthermore, phylogenetic placement of one fossil in a lineage showing obligate host plant alternation implies the presence of a second oak species, Quercus cerris, currently unknown from Eemian fossils in northwestern Europe. This contrasts with the southern European native range of Q. cerris in the current interglacial and suggests that gallwasp invasions following human planting of Q. cerris in northern Europe may represent a return to preglacial distribution limits.

  14. Selective Preservation of Fossil Ghost Fish

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meacham, Amanda

    2016-04-01

    A unique type of fossil fish preservation has been discovered in the Angelo Member (Fossil Lake) of the Green River Formation. The Angelo Member is a predominately evaporative deposit dominated by dolomite, but contains facies of fossiliferous laminated calcimicrite. Fossil fish occurring in two beds conspicuously lack bones. Fish in the lower bed are only preserved as organic material, including skin, pigments, and eyes. Fish in the upper bed have three-dimensional etching where bones once existed but also contain skin, pigments, and eyes. The top third of the upper bed often contains calcite crystals that are pseudomorphs after trona and possibly halite. Preliminary mineralogical analysis and mapping of evaporate facies suggests that this unique preservation may be related to lake geochemical conditions, such as high pH and alkalinity. To our knowledge, this is the first time this type of preservation has been observed and studied. Fossils and sediments within these beds are being studied both vertically and laterally through the one-meter thick sequence containing the fossil fish using XRD, isotopic, SEM, thin section, and total organic carbon analysis. Nine quarries, 0.5-1 meter square, were excavated for both fossils and rock samples along with 17 additional rock sample locations across an approximately 25-kilometer square region. This investigation has the capability of reconstructing the paleoenvironment and lake chemistry of Fossil Lake during the deposition of the "ghost-fish" beds and solving the mystery of the "missing bones" and the unusual process of preservation.

  15. Statistical Models for Inferring Vegetation Composition from Fossil Pollen

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paciorek, C.; McLachlan, J. S.; Shang, Z.

    2011-12-01

    Fossil pollen provide information about vegetation composition that can be used to help understand how vegetation has changed over the past. However, these data have not traditionally been analyzed in a way that allows for statistical inference about spatio-temporal patterns and trends. We build a Bayesian hierarchical model called STEPPS (Spatio-Temporal Empirical Prediction from Pollen in Sediments) that predicts forest composition in southern New England, USA, over the last two millenia based on fossil pollen. The critical relationships between abundances of tree taxa in the pollen record and abundances in actual vegetation are estimated using modern (Forest Inventory Analysis) data and (witness tree) data from colonial records. This gives us two time points at which both pollen and direct vegetation data are available. Based on these relationships, and incorporating our uncertainty about them, we predict forest composition using fossil pollen. We estimate the spatial distribution and relative abundances of tree species and draw inference about how these patterns have changed over time. Finally, we describe ongoing work to extend the modeling to the upper Midwest of the U.S., including an approach to infer tree density and thereby estimate the prairie-forest boundary in Minnesota and Wisconsin. This work is part of the PalEON project, which brings together a team of ecosystem modelers, paleoecologists, and statisticians with the goal of reconstructing vegetation responses to climate during the last two millenia in the northeastern and midwestern United States. The estimates from the statistical modeling will be used to assess and calibrate ecosystem models that are used to project ecological changes in response to global change.

  16. The fossil record of evolution: Data on diversification and extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J., Jr.

    1991-01-01

    Understanding of the evolution of complex life, and of the roles that changing terrestrial and extraterrestrial environments played in life's history, is dependent upon synthetic knowledge of the fossil record. Paleontologists have been describing fossils for more that two centuries. However, much of this information is dispersed in monographs and journal articles published throughout the world. Over the past several years, this literature was surveyed, and a data base on times of origination and extinction of fossil genera was compiled. The data base, which now holds approximately 32,000 genera, covers all taxonomic groups of marine animals, incorporates the most recent taxonomic assignments, and uses a detailed global time framework that can resolve originations and extinctions to intervals averaging three million years in duration. These data can be used to compile patterns of global biodiversity, measure rates of taxic evolution, and test hypotheses concerning adaptive radiations, mass extinctions, etc. Thus far, considerable effort was devoted to using the data to test the hypothesis of periodicity of mass extinction. Rates of extinction measured from the data base have also been used to calibrate models of evolutionary radiations in marine environments. It was observed that new groups, or clades of animals (i.e., orders and classes) tend to reach appreciable diversity first in nearshore environments and then to radiate in more offshore environments; during decline, these clades may disappear from the nearshore while persisting in offshore, deep water habitats. These observations have led to suggestions that there is something special about stressful or perturbed environments that promotes the evolution of novel kinds of animals that can rapidly replace their predecessors. The numerical model that is being investigated to study this phenomenon treats environments along onshore-offshore gradients as if they were discrete habitats. Other aspects of this

  17. Bayesian phylogenetic estimation of fossil ages

    PubMed Central

    Drummond, Alexei J.; Stadler, Tanja

    2016-01-01

    Recent advances have allowed for both morphological fossil evidence and molecular sequences to be integrated into a single combined inference of divergence dates under the rule of Bayesian probability. In particular, the fossilized birth–death tree prior and the Lewis-Mk model of discrete morphological evolution allow for the estimation of both divergence times and phylogenetic relationships between fossil and extant taxa. We exploit this statistical framework to investigate the internal consistency of these models by producing phylogenetic estimates of the age of each fossil in turn, within two rich and well-characterized datasets of fossil and extant species (penguins and canids). We find that the estimation accuracy of fossil ages is generally high with credible intervals seldom excluding the true age and median relative error in the two datasets of 5.7% and 13.2%, respectively. The median relative standard error (RSD) was 9.2% and 7.2%, respectively, suggesting good precision, although with some outliers. In fact, in the two datasets we analyse, the phylogenetic estimate of fossil age is on average less than 2 Myr from the mid-point age of the geological strata from which it was excavated. The high level of internal consistency found in our analyses suggests that the Bayesian statistical model employed is an adequate fit for both the geological and morphological data, and provides evidence from real data that the framework used can accurately model the evolution of discrete morphological traits coded from fossil and extant taxa. We anticipate that this approach will have diverse applications beyond divergence time dating, including dating fossils that are temporally unconstrained, testing of the ‘morphological clock', and for uncovering potential model misspecification and/or data errors when controversial phylogenetic hypotheses are obtained based on combined divergence dating analyses. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Dating species divergences

  18. Evolution of codon usage in Zika virus genomes is host and vector specific.

    PubMed

    Butt, Azeem Mehmood; Nasrullah, Izza; Qamar, Raheel; Tong, Yigang

    2016-10-12

    The codon usage patterns of viruses reflect the evolutionary changes that allow them to optimize their survival and adapt their fitness to the external environment and, most importantly, their hosts. Here we report the genotype-specific codon usage patterns of Zika virus (ZIKV) strains from the current and previous outbreaks. Several genotype-specific and common codon usage traits were noted in the ZIKV coding sequences, indicating their independent evolutionary origins from a common ancestor. The overall influence of natural selection was more profound than that of mutation pressure, acting on a specific set of viral genes in the Asian-genotype ZIKV strains from the recent outbreak. An interplay between codon adaptation and deoptimization may have allowed the virus to adapt to multiple host and vectors and is reported for the first time in ZIKV genomes. Combining our codon analysis with geographical data on Aedes populations in the Americas suggested that ZIKV has evolved host- and vector-specific codon usage patterns to maintain successful replication and transmission chains within multiple hosts and vectors.

  19. Evolution of codon usage in Zika virus genomes is host and vector specific

    PubMed Central

    Butt, Azeem Mehmood; Nasrullah, Izza; Qamar, Raheel; Tong, Yigang

    2016-01-01

    The codon usage patterns of viruses reflect the evolutionary changes that allow them to optimize their survival and adapt their fitness to the external environment and, most importantly, their hosts. Here we report the genotype-specific codon usage patterns of Zika virus (ZIKV) strains from the current and previous outbreaks. Several genotype-specific and common codon usage traits were noted in the ZIKV coding sequences, indicating their independent evolutionary origins from a common ancestor. The overall influence of natural selection was more profound than that of mutation pressure, acting on a specific set of viral genes in the Asian-genotype ZIKV strains from the recent outbreak. An interplay between codon adaptation and deoptimization may have allowed the virus to adapt to multiple host and vectors and is reported for the first time in ZIKV genomes. Combining our codon analysis with geographical data on Aedes populations in the Americas suggested that ZIKV has evolved host- and vector-specific codon usage patterns to maintain successful replication and transmission chains within multiple hosts and vectors. PMID:27729643

  20. The TP53 Codon 72 Polymorphism and Risk of Sporadic Prostate Cancer among Iranian Patients

    PubMed Central

    BABAEI, Farhad; AHMADI, Seyed Ali; ABIRI, Ramin; REZAEI, Farhad; NASERI, Maryam; MAHMOUDI, Mahmoud; NATEGH, Rakhshande; MOKHTARI AZAD, Talat

    2014-01-01

    Abstract Background The TP53 gene is one of the most frequently mutated genes amongst human malignancies, particularly TP53 codon 72 polymorphism. Furthermore, an association between the TP53 codon 72 variants and prostate cancer has been reported in several studies. Although some studies have indicated an association between the TP53 Arg/Arg variant and an increased risk for prostate cancer, other studies have shown a positive correlation between the TP53 Pro/Pro genotype instead. Therefore, to clarify if this polymorphism is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer in Iranian men, we conducted a case-control study of 40 sporadic prostate cancer patients and 80 benign prostate hyperplasia cases. Methods The TP53 codon 72 was genotyped using an allele specific PCR. Results A significant association between the TP53 codon 72 genotype and prostate cancer risk was found (OR = 6.8, 95% CI = [1.8-25.1], P = 0.005). However, the results of this study did not support an association between age, the Gleason score nor TP53 genotype at codon 72 in prostate cancer patients. Conclusions TP53 codon 72 polymorphism may have a great impact in the development of prostate cancer. PMID:26005655

  1. Variation in synonymous codon usage in Paenibacillus sp. 32O-W genome

    PubMed Central

    Deb, Sushanta; Basak, Surajit

    2016-01-01

    Paenibacillus sp. 32O-W, which is attributed for biodesulfurization of petroleum, has 56.34% genomic G+C content. Correspondence analysis on Relative Synonymous Codon Usage (RSCU) of the Paenibacillus sp. 32O-W genome has revealed the two different trends of codon usage variation. Two sets of genes have been identified representing the two distinct pattern of codon usage in this bacterial genome. We have measured several codon usage indices to understand the influencing factors governing the differential pattern of codon usage variation in this bacterial genome. We also observed significant differences in many protein properties between the two gene sets (e.g., hydrophobicity, protein biosynthetic cost, protein aggregation propensity). The compositional difference between the two sets of genes and the difference in their potential gene expressivity are the driving force for the differences in protein biosynthetic cost and aggregation propensity. Based on our results we argue that codon usage variation in Paenibacillus sp. 32O-W genome is actually influenced by both mutational bias and translational selection. PMID:28293070

  2. tRNA-mediated codon-biased translation in mycobacterial hypoxic persistence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chionh, Yok Hian; McBee, Megan; Babu, I. Ramesh; Hia, Fabian; Lin, Wenwei; Zhao, Wei; Cao, Jianshu; Dziergowska, Agnieszka; Malkiewicz, Andrzej; Begley, Thomas J.; Alonso, Sylvie; Dedon, Peter C.

    2016-11-01

    Microbial pathogens adapt to the stress of infection by regulating transcription, translation and protein modification. We report that changes in gene expression in hypoxia-induced non-replicating persistence in mycobacteria--which models tuberculous granulomas--are partly determined by a mechanism of tRNA reprogramming and codon-biased translation. Mycobacterium bovis BCG responded to each stage of hypoxia and aerobic resuscitation by uniquely reprogramming 40 modified ribonucleosides in tRNA, which correlate with selective translation of mRNAs from families of codon-biased persistence genes. For example, early hypoxia increases wobble cmo5U in tRNAThr(UGU), which parallels translation of transcripts enriched in its cognate codon, ACG, including the DosR master regulator of hypoxic bacteriostasis. Codon re-engineering of dosR exaggerates hypoxia-induced changes in codon-biased DosR translation, with altered dosR expression revealing unanticipated effects on bacterial survival during hypoxia. These results reveal a coordinated system of tRNA modifications and translation of codon-biased transcripts that enhance expression of stress response proteins in mycobacteria.

  3. SYNONYMOUS CODONS DIRECT CO-TRANSLATIONAL FOLDING TOWARDS DIFFERENT PROTEIN CONFORMATIONS

    PubMed Central

    Mittelstaet, Joerg; Kutz, Felicitas; Schwalbe, Harald; Rodnina, Marina V.; Komar, Anton A.

    2016-01-01

    SUMMARY In all genomes, most amino acids are encoded by more than one codon. Synonymous codons can modulate protein production and folding, but the mechanism connecting codon usage to protein homeostasis is not known. Here we show that synonymous codon variants in the gene encoding gamma-B crystallin, a mammalian eye lens protein, modulate the rates of translation and co-translational folding of protein domains monitored in real time by Förster resonance energy transfer and fluorescence intensity changes. Gamma-B crystallins produced from mRNAs with changed codon bias have the same amino acid sequence, but attain different conformations as indicated by altered in vivo stability and in vitro protease resistance. 2D NMR spectroscopic data suggest that structural differences are associated with different cysteine oxidation states of the purified proteins, providing a link between translation, folding, and the structures of isolated proteins. Thus, synonymous codons provide a secondary code for protein folding in the cell. PMID:26849192

  4. Reassignment of a rare sense codon to a non-canonical amino acid in Escherichia coli

    PubMed Central

    Mukai, Takahito; Yamaguchi, Atsushi; Ohtake, Kazumasa; Takahashi, Mihoko; Hayashi, Akiko; Iraha, Fumie; Kira, Satoshi; Yanagisawa, Tatsuo; Yokoyama, Shigeyuki; Hoshi, Hiroko; Kobayashi, Takatsugu; Sakamoto, Kensaku

    2015-01-01

    The immutability of the genetic code has been challenged with the successful reassignment of the UAG stop codon to non-natural amino acids in Escherichia coli. In the present study, we demonstrated the in vivo reassignment of the AGG sense codon from arginine to l-homoarginine. As the first step, we engineered a novel variant of the archaeal pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetase (PylRS) able to recognize l-homoarginine and l-N6-(1-iminoethyl)lysine (l-NIL). When this PylRS variant or HarRS was expressed in E. coli, together with the AGG-reading tRNAPylCCU molecule, these arginine analogs were efficiently incorporated into proteins in response to AGG. Next, some or all of the AGG codons in the essential genes were eliminated by their synonymous replacements with other arginine codons, whereas the majority of the AGG codons remained in the genome. The bacterial host's ability to translate AGG into arginine was then restricted in a temperature-dependent manner. The temperature sensitivity caused by this restriction was rescued by the translation of AGG to l-homoarginine or l-NIL. The assignment of AGG to l-homoarginine in the cells was confirmed by mass spectrometric analyses. The results showed the feasibility of breaking the degeneracy of sense codons to enhance the amino-acid diversity in the genetic code. PMID:26240376

  5. tRNA-mediated codon-biased translation in mycobacterial hypoxic persistence

    PubMed Central

    Chionh, Yok Hian; McBee, Megan; Babu, I. Ramesh; Hia, Fabian; Lin, Wenwei; Zhao, Wei; Cao, Jianshu; Dziergowska, Agnieszka; Malkiewicz, Andrzej; Begley, Thomas J.; Alonso, Sylvie; Dedon, Peter C.

    2016-01-01

    Microbial pathogens adapt to the stress of infection by regulating transcription, translation and protein modification. We report that changes in gene expression in hypoxia-induced non-replicating persistence in mycobacteria—which models tuberculous granulomas—are partly determined by a mechanism of tRNA reprogramming and codon-biased translation. Mycobacterium bovis BCG responded to each stage of hypoxia and aerobic resuscitation by uniquely reprogramming 40 modified ribonucleosides in tRNA, which correlate with selective translation of mRNAs from families of codon-biased persistence genes. For example, early hypoxia increases wobble cmo5U in tRNAThr(UGU), which parallels translation of transcripts enriched in its cognate codon, ACG, including the DosR master regulator of hypoxic bacteriostasis. Codon re-engineering of dosR exaggerates hypoxia-induced changes in codon-biased DosR translation, with altered dosR expression revealing unanticipated effects on bacterial survival during hypoxia. These results reveal a coordinated system of tRNA modifications and translation of codon-biased transcripts that enhance expression of stress response proteins in mycobacteria. PMID:27834374

  6. Decoding Mechanisms by which Silent Codon Changes Influence Protein Biogenesis and Function

    PubMed Central

    Bali, Vedrana; Bebok, Zsuzsanna

    2015-01-01

    Scope Synonymous codon usage has been a focus of investigation since the discovery of the genetic code and its redundancy. The occurrences of synonymous codons vary between species and within genes of the same genome, known as codon usage bias. Today, bioinformatics and experimental data allow us to compose a global view of the mechanisms by which the redundancy of the genetic code contributes to the complexity of biological systems from affecting survival in prokaryotes, to fine tuning the structure and function of proteins in higher eukaryotes. Studies analyzing the consequences of synonymous codon changes in different organisms have revealed that they impact nucleic acid stability, protein levels, structure and function without altering amino acid sequence. As such, synonymous mutations inevitably contribute to the pathogenesis of complex human diseases. Yet, fundamental questions remain unresolved regarding the impact of silent mutations in human disorders. In the present review we describe developments in this area concentrating on mechanisms by which synonymous mutations may affect protein function and human health. Purpose This synopsis illustrates the significance of synonymous mutations in disease pathogenesis. We review the different steps of gene expression affected by silent mutations, and assess the benefits and possible harmful effects of codon optimization applied in the development of therapeutic biologics. Physiological and medical relevance Understanding mechanisms by which synonymous mutations contribute to complex diseases such as cancer, neurodegeneration and genetic disorders, including the limitations of codon-optimized biologics, provides insight concerning interpretation of silent variants and future molecular therapies. PMID:25817479

  7. Quantification of large uncertainties in fossil leaf paleoaltimetry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peppe, Daniel J.; Royer, Dana L.; Wilf, Peter; Kowalski, Elizabeth A.

    2010-06-01

    Estimates of paleoelevation potentially constrain geodynamic models of continental deformation and inform interpretations of landscape and climate evolution. One widely used, paleobotanical approach reconstructs paleoelevation from the difference in estimated atmospheric enthalpy between a known sea level and a targeted, coeval, elevated fossil floral site. Enthalpy is estimated using Climate-Leaf Analysis Multivariate Program (CLAMP) on 31 leaf size and shape variables that have been calibrated in living forests. Errors related to CLAMP are significantly greater than often reported, and there are many sources of large potential error related to this method that are either difficult to quantify or unquantifiable and are thus not documented. Here, we quantify one significant bias, toward underestimation of leaf area in the CLAMP data set (˜50%), that affects all CLAMP climate estimates, including enthalpy. Crucially, errors in paleoelevation when the leaf size bias is included are in the range of ±2 km or more, at least 2 times the previous estimates, and exceeding the plausible paleoelevations of many fossil sites. Previously published paleoelevations derived from this technique are unlikely to be accurate either in magnitude or in estimated error.

  8. SUMS calibration test report

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Robertson, G.

    1982-01-01

    Calibration was performed on the shuttle upper atmosphere mass spectrometer (SUMS). The results of the calibration and the as run test procedures are presented. The output data is described, and engineering data conversion factors, tables and curves, and calibration on instrument gauges are included. Static calibration results which include: instrument sensitive versus external pressure for N2 and O2, data from each scan of calibration, data plots from N2 and O2, and sensitivity of SUMS at inlet for N2 and O2, and ratios of 14/28 for nitrogen and 16/32 for oxygen are given.

  9. Assessing the fidelity of the fossil record by using marine bivalves

    PubMed Central

    Valentine, James W.; Jablonski, David; Kidwell, Susan; Roy, Kaustuv

    2006-01-01

    Taxa that fail to become incorporated into the fossil record can reveal much about the biases of this record and provide the information needed to correct such biases in empirical analyses of the history of life. Yet little is known about the characteristics of taxa missing from the fossil record. For the marine Bivalvia, which have become a model system for macroevolutionary and macroecological analysis in the fossil record, 308 of the 1,292 living genera and subgenera (herein termed “taxa”) are not recorded as fossils. These missing taxa are not a random sample of the clade, but instead tend to have small body size, reactive shell structures, commensal or parasitic habit, deep-sea distribution, narrow geographic range, restriction to regions exposing few Neogene marine sediments, or recent date of formal taxonomic description in the neontological literature. Most missing taxa show two or more of these features and tend to be concentrated in particular families. When we exclude the smallest taxa (<1 cm) and deep-sea endemics, date of published description and geographic range become the strongest predictors of the missing taxa; other factors are statistically insignificant or have relatively small effects. These biases might influence a variety of analyses including the use of fossil data in support of phylogenetic analyses, molecular clock calibrations, and analyses of spatial and temporal dynamics of clades and biotas. Clade inventories such as these can be used to develop protocols that minimize the biases imposed by sampling and preservation. PMID:16617108

  10. Spitzer Digs Up Galactic Fossil

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Figure 1

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Figure 2

    This false-color image taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows a globular cluster previously hidden in the dusty plane of our Milky Way galaxy. Globular clusters are compact bundles of old stars that date back to the birth of our galaxy, 13 or so billion years ago. Astronomers use these galactic 'fossils' as tools for studying the age and formation of the Milky Way.

    Most clusters orbit around the center of the galaxy well above its dust-enshrouded disc, or plane, while making brief, repeated passes through the plane that each last about a million years. Spitzer, with infrared eyes that can see into the dusty galactic plane, first spotted the newfound cluster during its current pass. A visible-light image (inset of Figure 1) shows only a dark patch of sky.

    The red streak behind the core of the cluster is a dust cloud, which may indicate the cluster's interaction with the Milky Way. Alternatively, this cloud may lie coincidentally along Spitzer's line of sight.

    Follow-up observations with the University of Wyoming Infrared Observatory helped set the distance of the new cluster at about 9,000 light-years from Earth - closer than most clusters - and set the mass at the equivalent of 300,000 Suns. The cluster's apparent size, as viewed from Earth, is comparable to a grain of rice held at arm's length. It is located in the constellation Aquila.

    Astronomers believe that this cluster may be one of the last in our galaxy to be uncovered.

    This image composite was taken on April 21, 2004, by Spitzer's infrared array camera. It is composed of images obtained at four wavelengths: 3.6 microns (blue), 4.5 microns (green), 5.8 microns (orange) and 8 microns (red).

    Galactic Fossil Found Behind Curtain of Dust In Figure 2, the image mosaic shows the same patch of sky in various wavelengths of light. While the

  11. A Fossil Group in Formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, Eric D.; Rappaport, Saul A.; McDonald, Michael; Bautz, Mark W.; Grant, Catherine E.; Veilleux, Sylvain

    2016-04-01

    In the current picture of hierarchical structure formation, galaxy groups play a vital role as the seeds from which large assemblies of matter form. Compact groups are also important environments in which to watch the fueling of star formation and AGN activity, as the conditions are ideal for galaxy-galaxy interactions. We have identified a galaxy system that may represent an intermediate or transition stage in group evolution. Shakhbazyan 1 (or SHK 1) is a remarkably compact collection of about ten massive, red-sequence galaxies within a region 100 kpc across. Several of these galaxies show signs of AGN activity, and new, deep optical observations with the Discovery Channel Telescope reveal an extended stellar envelope surrounding the galaxies. This envelope is much more extended than what would be expected from a superposition of normal galaxy envelopes, and it indicates a large amount of intra-group starlight, evidence that the galaxies in SHK 1 are dynamically interacting.We here present new Chandra spectral imaging observations of this unusual system that confirm the presence of an X-ray-emitting diffuse intra-group medium (IGM), with a temperature of 1.5 keV and X-ray luminosity of 1043 erg/s. Assuming hydrostatic equilibrium, the system is about 1/3 as massive as expected from the optical richness. In addition, three of the ten central galaxies exhibit signatures of X-ray AGN. The under-luminous IGM, high density of bright galaxies, and evidence for galaxy-galaxy interaction indicate that this system may be in a transition stage of galaxy merging, similar to that expected in the formation of a fossil group. Alternatively, SHK 1 may consist of multiple poor groups in the final stages of merging along our line of sight. We explore these scenarios and outline paths of future study for this enigmatic system.

  12. Coupling between protein level selection and codon usage optimization in the evolution of bacteria and archaea.

    PubMed

    Ran, Wenqi; Kristensen, David M; Koonin, Eugene V

    2014-03-25

    The relationship between the selection affecting codon usage and selection on protein sequences of orthologous genes in diverse groups of bacteria and archaea was examined by using the Alignable Tight Genome Clusters database of prokaryote genomes. The codon usage bias is generally low, with 57.5% of the gene-specific optimal codon frequencies (Fopt) being below 0.55. This apparent weak selection on codon usage contrasts with the strong purifying selection on amino acid sequences, with 65.8% of the gene-specific dN/dS ratios being below 0.1. For most of the genomes compared, a limited but statistically significant negative correlation between Fopt and dN/dS was observed, which is indicative of a link between selection on protein sequence and selection on codon usage. The strength of the coupling between the protein level selection and codon usage bias showed a strong positive correlation with the genomic GC content. Combined with previous observations on the selection for GC-rich codons in bacteria and archaea with GC-rich genomes, these findings suggest that selection for translational fine-tuning could be an important factor in microbial evolution that drives the evolution of genome GC content away from mutational equilibrium. This type of selection is particularly pronounced in slowly evolving, "high-status" genes. A significantly stronger link between the two aspects of selection is observed in free-living bacteria than in parasitic bacteria and in genes encoding metabolic enzymes and transporters than in informational genes. These differences might reflect the special importance of translational fine-tuning for the adaptability of gene expression to environmental changes. The results of this work establish the coupling between protein level selection and selection for translational optimization as a distinct and potentially important factor in microbial evolution. IMPORTANCE Selection affects the evolution of microbial genomes at many levels, including both

  13. Fossil Finds Expand Early Hominid Anatomy.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bower, B.

    1991-01-01

    Hominid fossils found in late 1990 in Ethiopia are reported. A controversy surrounding these remains and those of earlier expeditions, including Lucy, over whether more than one species of hominid are represented is discussed. (CW)

  14. Evolution: Fossil Ears and Underwater Sonar.

    PubMed

    Lambert, Olivier

    2016-08-22

    A key innovation in the history of whales was the evolution of a sonar system together with high-frequency hearing. Fossils of an archaic toothed whale's inner ear bones provide clues for a stepwise emergence of underwater echolocation ability.

  15. Fossil energy program. Progress report, July 1980

    SciTech Connect

    McNeese, L. E.

    1980-10-01

    This report - the seventy-second of a series - is a compendium of monthly progress reports for the ORNL research and development programs that are in support of the increased utilization of coal and other fossil fuel alternatives to oil and gas as sources of clean energy. The projects reported this month include those for coal conversion development, chemical research and development, materials technology, component development and process evaluation, technical support to major liquefaction projects, process and program analysis, fossil energy environmental analysis, coal preparation and waste utilization, coal preparation plant automation, atmospheric fluidized bed coal combustor for cogeneration, technical support to the TVA fluidized bed combustion demonstration plant program, fossil energy applications assessments, performance assurance system support for fossil energy projects, international assessment of atmospheric fluidized bed combustion technology, and PFBC systems analysis.

  16. The fossil record of the sixth extinction.

    PubMed

    Plotnick, Roy E; Smith, Felisa A; Lyons, S Kathleen

    2016-05-01

    Comparing the magnitude of the current biodiversity crisis with those in the fossil record is difficult without an understanding of differential preservation. Integrating data from palaeontological databases with information on IUCN status, ecology and life history characteristics of contemporary mammals, we demonstrate that only a small and biased fraction of threatened species (< 9%) have a fossil record, compared with 20% of non-threatened species. We find strong taphonomic biases related to body size and geographic range. Modern species with a fossil record tend to be large and widespread and were described in the 19(th) century. The expected magnitude of the current extinction based only on species with a fossil record is about half of that of one based on all modern species; values for genera are similar. The record of ancient extinctions may be similarly biased, with many species having originated and gone extinct without leaving a tangible record.

  17. Development incentives for fossil fuel subsidy reform

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jakob, Michael; Chen, Claudine; Fuss, Sabine; Marxen, Annika; Edenhofer, Ottmar

    2015-08-01

    Reforming fossil fuel subsidies could free up enough funds to finance universal access to water, sanitation, and electricity in many countries, as well as helping to cut global greenhouse-gas emissions.

  18. Identification of immunoreactive material in mammoth fossils.

    PubMed

    Schweitzer, Mary; Hill, Christopher L; Asara, John M; Lane, William S; Pincus, Seth H

    2002-12-01

    The fossil record represents a history of life on this planet. Attempts to obtain molecular information from this record by analysis of nucleic acids found within fossils of extreme age have been unsuccessful or called into question. However, previous studies have demonstrated the long-term persistence of peptides within fossils and have used antibodies to extant proteins to demonstrate antigenic material. In this study we address two questions: Do immunogenic/antigenic materials persist in fossils? and; Can fossil material be used to raise antibodies that will cross-react with extant proteins? We have used material extracted from a well-preserved 100000-300000-year-old mammoth skull to produce antisera. The specificity of the antisera was tested by ELISA, western blotting, and immunohistochemistry. It was demonstrated that antisera reacted specifically with the fossils and not the surrounding sediments. Reactivity of antisera with modern proteins and tissues was also demonstrated, as was the ability to detect evolutionary relationships via antibody-antigen interactions. Mass spectrometry demonstrated the presence of amino acids and specific peptides within the fossil. Peptides were purified by anion-exchange chromatography and sequenced by tandem mass spectrometry. The collagen-derived peptides may have been the source of at least some of the immunologic reactivity, but the antisera identified molecules that were not observed by mass spectrometry, indicating that immunologic methods may have greater sensitivity. Although the presence of peptides and amino acids was demonstrated, the exact nature of the antigenic material was not fully clarified. This report demonstrates that antibodies may be used to obtain information from the fossil record.

  19. Fossil fuels in the 21st century.

    PubMed

    Lincoln, Stephen F

    2005-12-01

    An overview of the importance of fossil fuels in supplying the energy requirements of the 21st century, their future supply, and the impact of their use on global climate is presented. Current and potential alternative energy sources are considered. It is concluded that even with substantial increases in energy derived from other sources, fossil fuels will remain a major energy source for much of the 21st century and the sequestration of CO2 will be an increasingly important requirement.

  20. The Characteristics of Rare Codon Clusters in the Genome and Proteins of Hepatitis C Virus; a Bioinformatics Look

    PubMed Central

    Fattahi, Mohammadreza; Malekpour, Abdorrasoul; Mortazavi, Mojtaba; Safarpour, Alireza; Naseri, Nasrin

    2014-01-01

    BACKGROUND Recent studies suggest that rare codon clusters are functionally important for protein activity. METHODS Here, for the first time we analyzed and reported rare codon clusters in Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) genome and then identified the location of these rare codon clusters in the structure of HCV protein. This analysis was performed using the Sherlocc program that detects statistically relevant conserved rare codon clusters. RESULTS By this program, we identified the rare codon cluster in three regions of HCV genome; NS2, NS3, and NS5A coding sequence of HCV genome. For further understanding of the role of these rare codon clusters, we studied the location of these rare codon clusters and critical residues in the structure of NS2, NS3 and NS5A proteins. We identified some critical residues near or within rare codon clusters. It should be mentioned that characteristics of these critical residues such as location and situation of side chains are important in assurance of the HCV life cycle. CONCLUSION The characteristics of these residues and their relative status showed that these rare codon clusters play an important role in proper folding of these proteins. Thus, it is likely that these rare codon clusters may have an important role in the function of HCV proteins. This information is helpful in development of new avenues for vaccine and treatment protocols. PMID:25349685

  1. New insights into the incorporation of natural suppressor tRNAs at stop codons in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

    PubMed Central

    Blanchet, Sandra; Cornu, David; Argentini, Manuela; Namy, Olivier

    2014-01-01

    Stop codon readthrough may be promoted by the nucleotide environment or drugs. In such cases, ribosomes incorporate a natural suppressor tRNA at the stop codon, leading to the continuation of translation in the same reading frame until the next stop codon and resulting in the expression of a protein with a new potential function. However, the identity of the natural suppressor tRNAs involved in stop codon readthrough remains unclear, precluding identification of the amino acids incorporated at the stop position. We established an in vivo reporter system for identifying the amino acids incorporated at the stop codon, by mass spectrometry in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We found that glutamine, tyrosine and lysine were inserted at UAA and UAG codons, whereas tryptophan, cysteine and arginine were inserted at UGA codon. The 5′ nucleotide context of the stop codon had no impact on the identity or proportion of amino acids incorporated by readthrough. We also found that two different glutamine tRNAGln were used to insert glutamine at UAA and UAG codons. This work constitutes the first systematic analysis of the amino acids incorporated at stop codons, providing important new insights into the decoding rules used by the ribosome to read the genetic code. PMID:25056309

  2. Forced Ambiguity of the Leucine Codons for Multiple-Site-Specific Incorporation of a Noncanonical Amino Acid

    PubMed Central

    Kwon, Inchan; Choi, Eun Sil

    2016-01-01

    Multiple-site-specific incorporation of a noncanonical amino acid into a recombinant protein would be a very useful technique to generate multiple chemical handles for bioconjugation and multivalent binding sites for the enhanced interaction. Previously combination of a mutant yeast phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase variant and the yeast phenylalanyl-tRNA containing the AAA anticodon was used to incorporate a noncanonical amino acid into multiple UUU phenylalanine (Phe) codons in a site-specific manner. However, due to the less selective codon recognition of the AAA anticodon, there was significant misincorporation of a noncanonical amino acid into unwanted UUC Phe codons. To enhance codon selectivity, we explored degenerate leucine (Leu) codons instead of Phe degenerate codons. Combined use of the mutant yeast phenylalanyl-tRNA containing the CAA anticodon and the yPheRS_naph variant allowed incorporation of a phenylalanine analog, 2-naphthylalanine, into murine dihydrofolate reductase in response to multiple UUG Leu codons, but not to other Leu codon sites. Despite the moderate UUG codon occupancy by 2-naphthylalaine, these results successfully demonstrated that the concept of forced ambiguity of the genetic code can be achieved for the Leu codons, available for multiple-site-specific incorporation. PMID:27028506

  3. Fossil group origins - VI. Global X-ray scaling relations of fossil galaxy clusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kundert, A.; Gastaldello, F.; D'Onghia, E.; Girardi, M.; Aguerri, J. A. L.; Barrena, R.; Corsini, E. M.; De Grandi, S.; Jiménez-Bailón, E.; Lozada-Muñoz, M.; Méndez-Abreu, J.; Sánchez-Janssen, R.; Wilcots, E.; Zarattini, S.

    2015-11-01

    We present the first pointed X-ray observations of 10 candidate fossil galaxy groups and clusters. With these Suzaku observations, we determine global temperatures and bolometric X-ray luminosities of the intracluster medium (ICM) out to r500 for six systems in our sample. The remaining four systems show signs of significant contamination from non-ICM sources. For the six objects with successfully determined r500 properties, we measure global temperatures in the range 2.8 ≤ TX ≤ 5.3 keV, bolometric X-ray luminosities of 0.8 × 1044 ≤ LX, bol ≤ 7.7 × 1044 erg s-1, and estimate masses, as derived from TX, of M500 ≳ 1014 M⊙. Fossil cluster scaling relations are constructed for a sample that combines our Suzaku observed fossils with fossils in the literature. Using measurements of global X-ray luminosity, temperature, optical luminosity, and velocity dispersion, scaling relations for the fossil sample are then compared with a control sample of non-fossil systems. We find the fits of our fossil cluster scaling relations are consistent with the relations for normal groups and clusters, indicating fossil clusters have global ICM X-ray properties similar to those of comparable mass non-fossil systems.

  4. SAR calibration technology review

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Walker, J. L.; Larson, R. W.

    1981-01-01

    Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) calibration technology including a general description of the primary calibration techniques and some of the factors which affect the performance of calibrated SAR systems are reviewed. The use of reference reflectors for measurement of the total system transfer function along with an on-board calibration signal generator for monitoring the temporal variations of the receiver to processor output is a practical approach for SAR calibration. However, preliminary error analysis and previous experimental measurements indicate that reflectivity measurement accuracies of better than 3 dB will be difficult to achieve. This is not adequate for many applications and, therefore, improved end-to-end SAR calibration techniques are required.

  5. On the age of eukaryotes: evaluating evidence from fossils and molecular clocks.

    PubMed

    Eme, Laura; Sharpe, Susan C; Brown, Matthew W; Roger, Andrew J

    2014-08-01

    Our understanding of the phylogenetic relationships among eukaryotic lineages has improved dramatically over the few past decades thanks to the development of sophisticated phylogenetic methods and models of evolution, in combination with the increasing availability of sequence data for a variety of eukaryotic lineages. Concurrently, efforts have been made to infer the age of major evolutionary events along the tree of eukaryotes using fossil-calibrated molecular clock-based methods. Here, we review the progress and pitfalls in estimating the age of the last eukaryotic common ancestor (LECA) and major lineages. After reviewing previous attempts to date deep eukaryote divergences, we present the results of a Bayesian relaxed-molecular clock analysis of a large dataset (159 proteins, 85 taxa) using 19 fossil calibrations. We show that for major eukaryote groups estimated dates of divergence, as well as their credible intervals, are heavily influenced by the relaxed molecular clock models and methods used, and by the nature and treatment of fossil calibrations. Whereas the estimated age of LECA varied widely, ranging from 1007 (943-1102) Ma to 1898 (1655-2094) Ma, all analyses suggested that the eukaryotic supergroups subsequently diverged rapidly (i.e., within 300 Ma of LECA). The extreme variability of these and previously published analyses preclude definitive conclusions regarding the age of major eukaryote clades at this time. As more reliable fossil data on eukaryotes from the Proterozoic become available and improvements are made in relaxed molecular clock modeling, we may be able to date the age of extant eukaryotes more precisely.

  6. Evolution of the angiosperms: calibrating the family tree.

    PubMed Central

    Wikström, N.; Savolainen, V.; Chase, M. W.

    2001-01-01

    Growing evidence of morphological diversity in angiosperm flowers, seeds and pollen from the mid Cretaceous and the presence of derived lineages from increasingly older geological deposits both imply that the timing of early angiosperm cladogenesis is older than fossil-based estimates have indicated. An alternative to fossils for calibrating the phylogeny comes from divergence in DNA sequence data. Here, angiosperm divergence times are estimated using non-parametric rate smoothing and a three-gene dataset covering ca. 75% of all angiosperm families recognized in recent classifications. The results provide an initial hypothesis of angiosperm diversification times. Using an internal calibration point, an independent evaluation of angiosperm and eudicot origins is performed. The origin of the crown group of extant angiosperms is indicated to be Early to Middle Jurassic (179-158 Myr), and the origin of eudicots is resolved as Late Jurassic to mid Cretaceous (147-131 Myr). Both estimates, despite a conservative calibration point, are older than current fossil-based estimates. PMID:11674868

  7. Comparative study of codon substitution patterns in foot-and-mouth disease virus (serotype O)

    PubMed Central

    Ahn, Insung; Bae, Se-Eun

    2011-01-01

    We compared genetic variations in the VP1 gene of foot-and-mouth disease viruses (FMDVs) isolated since 2000 from various region of the world. We analyzed relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU) and phylogenetic relationship between geographical regions, and calculated the genetic substitution patterns between Korean isolate and those from other countries. We calculated the ratios of synonymously substituted codons (SSC) to all observed substitutions and developed a new analytical parameter, EMC (the ratio of exact matching codons within each synonymous substitution group) to investigate more detailed substitution patterns within each synonymous codon group. We observed that FMDVs showed distinct RSCU patterns according to phylogenetic relationships in the same serotype (serotype O). Moreover, while the SSC and EMC values of FMDVs decreased according to phylogenetic distance, G + C composition at the third codon position was strictly conserved. Although there was little variation among the SSC values of 18 amino acids, more dynamic differences were observed in EMC values. The EMC values of 4- and 6-fold degenerate amino acids showed significantly lower values while most 2-fold degenerate amino acids showed no significant difference. Our findings suggest that different EMC patterns among the 18 amino acids might be an important factor in determining the direction of evolution in FMDV. PMID:21825834

  8. Hydroxylation and translational adaptation to stress: some answers lie beyond the STOP codon.

    PubMed

    Katz, M J; Gándara, L; De Lella Ezcurra, A L; Wappner, P

    2016-05-01

    Regulation of protein synthesis contributes to maintenance of homeostasis and adaptation to environmental changes. mRNA translation is controlled at various levels including initiation, elongation and termination, through post-transcriptional/translational modifications of components of the protein synthesis machinery. Recently, protein and RNA hydroxylation have emerged as important enzymatic modifications of tRNAs, elongation and termination factors, as well as ribosomal proteins. These modifications enable a correct STOP codon recognition, ensuring translational fidelity. Recent studies are starting to show that STOP codon read-through is related to the ability of the cell to cope with different types of stress, such as oxidative and chemical insults, while correlations between defects in hydroxylation of protein synthesis components and STOP codon read-through are beginning to emerge. In this review we will discuss our current knowledge of protein synthesis regulation through hydroxylation of components of the translation machinery, with special focus on STOP codon recognition. We speculate on the possibility that programmed STOP codon read-through, modulated by hydroxylation of components of the protein synthesis machinery, is part of a concerted cellular response to stress.

  9. Codon expansion and systematic transcriptional deletions produce tetra-, pentacoded mitochondrial peptides.

    PubMed

    Seligmann, Hervé

    2015-12-21

    Genes include occasionally isolated codons with a fourth (and fifth) silent nucleotide(s). Assuming tetracodons, translated hypothetical peptides align with regular GenBank proteins; predicted tetracodons coevolve with predicted tRNAs with expanded anticodons in each mammal, Drosophila and Lepidosauria mitogenomes, GC contents and with lepidosaurian body temperatures, suggesting that expanded codons are an adaptation of translation to high temperature. Hypothetically, continuous stretches of tetra- and pentacodons code for peptides. Both systematic nucleotide deletions during transcription, and translation by tRNAs with expanded anticodons could produce these peptides. Reanalyses of human nanoLc mass spectrometry peptidome data detect numerous tetra- and pentapeptides translated from the human mitogenome. These map preferentially on (BLAST-detected) human RNAs matching the human mitogenome, assuming systematic mono- and dinucleotide deletions after each third nucleotide (delRNAs). Translation by expanded anticodons is incompatible with silent nucleotides in the midst rather than at codon 3' extremity. More than 1/3 of detected tetra- and pentapeptides assume silent positions at codon extremity, suggesting that both mechanisms, regular translation of delRNAs and translation of regular RNAs by expanded anticodons, produce this peptide subgroup. Results show that systematically deleting polymerization occurs, and confirm serial translation of expanded codons. Non-canonical transcriptions and translations considerably expand the coding potential of DNA and RNA sequences.

  10. p53 codon 72 polymorphism and breast cancer risk: A meta-analysis

    PubMed Central

    HOU, JING; JIANG, YUAN; TANG, WENRU; JIA, SHUTING

    2013-01-01

    p53 is a tumor suppressor gene and plays important roles in the etiology of breast cancer. Studies have produced conflicting results concerning the role of p53 codon 72 polymorphism (G>C) on the risk of breast cancer; therefore, a meta-analysis was performed to estimate the association between the p53 codon 72 polymorphism and breast cancer. Screening of the PubMed database was conducted to identify relevant studies. Studies containing available genotype frequencies of the p53 codon 72 polymorphism were selected and a pooled odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI) was used to assess the association. Sixty-one published studies, including 28,539 breast cancer patients and 32,788 controls were identified. The results suggest that variant genotypes are not associated with breast cancer risk (Pro/Pro + Arg/Pro vs. Arg/Arg: OR=1.016, 95% CI=0.931–1.11, P=0.722). The symmetric funnel plot, Egger’s test (P=0.506) and Begg’s test (P=0.921) were all suggestive of the lack of publication bias. This meta-analysis suggests that the p53 codon 72 Pro/Pro + Arg/Pro genotypes are not associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. To validate the association between the p53 codon 72 polymorphism and breast cancer, further studies with larger numbers of participants worldwide are required. PMID:23737888

  11. Non-universal decoding of the leucine codon CUG in several Candida species.

    PubMed Central

    Ohama, T; Suzuki, T; Mori, M; Osawa, S; Ueda, T; Watanabe, K; Nakase, T

    1993-01-01

    It has been reported that CUG, a universal leucine codon, is read as serine in an asporogenic yeast, Candida cylindracea. The distribution of this non-universal genetic code in various yeast species was studied using an in vitro translation assay system with a synthetic messenger RNA containing CUG codons in-frame. It was found that CUG is used as a serine codon in six out of the fourteen species examined, while it is used for leucine in the remaining eight. The tRNA species responsible for the translation of codon CUG as serine was detected in all the six species in which CUG is translated as serine. The grouping according to the CUG codon assignments in these yeast species shows a good correlation with physiological classification by the chain lengths of the isoprenoid moiety of ubiquinone and the cell-wall sugar contained in the yeasts. The six Candida species examined in which CUG is used as serine belong to one distinct group in Hemiascomycetes. PMID:8371978

  12. Analysis of synonymous codon usage patterns in sixty-four different bivalve species

    PubMed Central

    De Moro, Gianluca; Venier, Paola; Pallavicini, Alberto

    2015-01-01

    Synonymous codon usage bias (CUB) is a defined as the non-random usage of codons encoding the same amino acid across different genomes. This phenomenon is common to all organisms and the real weight of the many factors involved in its shaping still remains to be fully determined. So far, relatively little attention has been put in the analysis of CUB in bivalve mollusks due to the limited genomic data available. Taking advantage of the massive sequence data generated from next generation sequencing projects, we explored codon preferences in 64 different species pertaining to the six major evolutionary lineages in Bivalvia. We detected remarkable differences across species, which are only partially dependent on phylogeny. While the intensity of CUB is mild in most organisms, a heterogeneous group of species (including Arcida and Mytilida, among the others) display higher bias and a strong preference for AT-ending codons. We show that the relative strength and direction of mutational bias, selection for translational efficiency and for translational accuracy contribute to the establishment of synonymous codon usage in bivalves. Although many aspects underlying bivalve CUB still remain obscure, we provide for the first time an overview of this phenomenon in this large, commercially and environmentally important, class of marine invertebrates. PMID:26713259

  13. Analysis of synonymous codon usage patterns in sixty-four different bivalve species.

    PubMed

    Gerdol, Marco; De Moro, Gianluca; Venier, Paola; Pallavicini, Alberto

    2015-01-01

    Synonymous codon usage bias (CUB) is a defined as the non-random usage of codons encoding the same amino acid across different genomes. This phenomenon is common to all organisms and the real weight of the many factors involved in its shaping still remains to be fully determined. So far, relatively little attention has been put in the analysis of CUB in bivalve mollusks due to the limited genomic data available. Taking advantage of the massive sequence data generated from next generation sequencing projects, we explored codon preferences in 64 different species pertaining to the six major evolutionary lineages in Bivalvia. We detected remarkable differences across species, which are only partially dependent on phylogeny. While the intensity of CUB is mild in most organisms, a heterogeneous group of species (including Arcida and Mytilida, among the others) display higher bias and a strong preference for AT-ending codons. We show that the relative strength and direction of mutational bias, selection for translational efficiency and for translational accuracy contribute to the establishment of synonymous codon usage in bivalves. Although many aspects underlying bivalve CUB still remain obscure, we provide for the first time an overview of this phenomenon in this large, commercially and environmentally important, class of marine invertebrates.

  14. Macroevolutionary developmental biology: Embryos, fossils, and phylogenies.

    PubMed

    Organ, Chris L; Cooper, Lisa Noelle; Hieronymus, Tobin L

    2015-10-01

    The field of evolutionary developmental biology is broadly focused on identifying the genetic and developmental mechanisms underlying morphological diversity. Connecting the genotype with the phenotype means that evo-devo research often considers a wide range of evidence, from genetics and morphology to fossils. In this commentary, we provide an overview and framework for integrating fossil ontogenetic data with developmental data using phylogenetic comparative methods to test macroevolutionary hypotheses. We survey the vertebrate fossil record of preserved embryos and discuss how phylogenetic comparative methods can integrate data from developmental genetics and paleontology. Fossil embryos provide limited, yet critical, developmental data from deep time. They help constrain when developmental innovations first appeared during the history of life and also reveal the order in which related morphologies evolved. Phylogenetic comparative methods provide a powerful statistical approach that allows evo-devo researchers to infer the presence of nonpreserved developmental traits in fossil species and to detect discordant evolutionary patterns and processes across levels of biological organization.

  15. Major Radiations in the Evolution of Caviid Rodents: Reconciling Fossils, Ghost Lineages, and Relaxed Molecular Clocks

    PubMed Central

    Pérez, María Encarnación; Pol, Diego

    2012-01-01

    Background Caviidae is a diverse group of caviomorph rodents that is broadly distributed in South America and is divided into three highly divergent extant lineages: Caviinae (cavies), Dolichotinae (maras), and Hydrochoerinae (capybaras). The fossil record of Caviidae is only abundant and diverse since the late Miocene. Caviids belongs to Cavioidea sensu stricto (Cavioidea s.s.) that also includes a diverse assemblage of extinct taxa recorded from the late Oligocene to the middle Miocene of South America (“eocardiids”). Results A phylogenetic analysis combining morphological and molecular data is presented here, evaluating the time of diversification of selected nodes based on the calibration of phylogenetic trees with fossil taxa and the use of relaxed molecular clocks. This analysis reveals three major phases of diversification in the evolutionary history of Cavioidea s.s. The first two phases involve two successive radiations of extinct lineages that occurred during the late Oligocene and the early Miocene. The third phase consists of the diversification of Caviidae. The initial split of caviids is dated as middle Miocene by the fossil record. This date falls within the 95% higher probability distribution estimated by the relaxed Bayesian molecular clock, although the mean age estimate ages are 3.5 to 7 Myr older. The initial split of caviids is followed by an obscure period of poor fossil record (refered here as the Mayoan gap) and then by the appearance of highly differentiated modern lineages of caviids, which evidentially occurred at the late Miocene as indicated by both the fossil record and molecular clock estimates. Conclusions The integrated approach used here allowed us identifying the agreements and discrepancies of the fossil record and molecular clock estimates on the timing of the major events in cavioid evolution, revealing evolutionary patterns that would not have been possible to gather using only molecular or paleontological data alone. PMID

  16. Proximity of AUG sequences to initiation codon in genomic 5' UTR regulates mammalian protein expression.

    PubMed

    Al-Ali, Ruslan; González-Sarmiento, Rogelio

    2016-12-15

    Protein expression can be controlled via AUG sequences located upstream to the initiation codon in the 5' end untranslated region (5' UTR). Our study was focused on the effect of distance between the initiation codon and the first upstream AUG. An inhibitory effect on protein expression was established when AUG exists in 5' UTR, and this effect is increased when multiple AUG sequences occur there. The study was performed with ATG16L2, a non-lethal gene with no introns or upstream AUG sequence to avoid any interference. New mutations were generated at different locations within the promoter region of ATG16L2 gene and added to a plasmid construct containing a luciferase gene reporter gene. The results show a clear relationship between the distance of the novel AUGs from initiation codon and protein expression. The inhibitory effect was even stronger when multiple AUG sequences were present in 5' UTR.

  17. Combinatorial codon scrambling enables scalable gene synthesis and amplification of repetitive proteins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tang, Nicholas C.; Chilkoti, Ashutosh

    2016-04-01

    Most genes are synthesized using seamless assembly methods that rely on the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). However, PCR of genes encoding repetitive proteins either fails or generates nonspecific products. Motivated by the need to efficiently generate new protein polymers through high-throughput gene synthesis, here we report a codon-scrambling algorithm that enables the PCR-based gene synthesis of repetitive proteins by exploiting the codon redundancy of amino acids and finding the least-repetitive synonymous gene sequence. We also show that the codon-scrambling problem is analogous to the well-known travelling salesman problem, and obtain an exact solution to it by using De Bruijn graphs and a modern mixed integer linear programme solver. As experimental proof of the utility of this approach, we use it to optimize the synthetic genes for 19 repetitive proteins, and show that the gene fragments are amenable to PCR-based gene assembly and recombinant expression.

  18. Translational selection frequently overcomes genetic drift in shaping synonymous codon usage patterns in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Doherty, Aoife; McInerney, James O

    2013-10-01

    Synonymous codon usage patterns are shaped by a balance between mutation, drift, and natural selection. To date, detection of translational selection in vertebrates has proven to be a challenging task, obscured by small long-term effective population sizes in larger animals and the existence of isochores in some species. The consensus is that, in such species, natural selection is either completely ineffective at overcoming mutational pressures and genetic drift or perhaps is effective but so weak that it is not detectable. The aim of this research is to understand the interplay between mutation, selection, and genetic drift in vertebrates. We observe that although variation in mutational bias is undoubtedly the dominant force influencing codon usage, translational selection acts as a weak additional factor influencing synonymous codon usage. These observations indicate that translational selection is a widespread phenomenon in vertebrates and is not limited to a few species.

  19. Ribosome bypassing at serine codons as a test of the model of selective transfer RNA charging

    PubMed Central

    Lindsley, Dale; Bonthuis, Paul; Gallant, Jonathan; Tofoleanu, Teodora; Elf, Johan; Ehrenberg, Måns

    2005-01-01

    Recently, a model of the flux of amino acids through transfer RNAs (tRNAs) and into protein has been developed. The model predicts that the charging level of different isoacceptors carrying the same amino acid respond very differently to variation in supply of the amino acid or of the rate of charging. It has also been shown that ribosome bypassing is specifically stimulated at ‘hungry' codons calling for an aminoacyl-tRNA in short supply. We have constructed two reporters of bypassing, which differ only in the identity of the serine codon subjected to starvation. The stimulation of bypassing as a function of starvation differed greatly between the two serine codons, in good agreement with the quantitative predictions of the model. PMID:15678161

  20. Photogrammetric camera calibration

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Tayman, W.P.; Ziemann, H.

    1984-01-01

    Section 2 (Calibration) of the document "Recommended Procedures for Calibrating Photogrammetric Cameras and Related Optical Tests" from the International Archives of Photogrammetry, Vol. XIII, Part 4, is reviewed in the light of recent practical work, and suggestions for changes are made. These suggestions are intended as a basis for a further discussion. ?? 1984.

  1. OLI Radiometric Calibration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Markham, Brian; Morfitt, Ron; Kvaran, Geir; Biggar, Stuart; Leisso, Nathan; Czapla-Myers, Jeff

    2011-01-01

    Goals: (1) Present an overview of the pre-launch radiance, reflectance & uniformity calibration of the Operational Land Imager (OLI) (1a) Transfer to orbit/heliostat (1b) Linearity (2) Discuss on-orbit plans for radiance, reflectance and uniformity calibration of the OLI

  2. Calibration facility safety plan

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fastie, W. G.

    1971-01-01

    A set of requirements is presented to insure the highest practical standard of safety for the Apollo 17 Calibration Facility in terms of identifying all critical or catastrophic type hazard areas. Plans for either counteracting or eliminating these areas are presented. All functional operations in calibrating the ultraviolet spectrometer and the testing of its components are described.

  3. Sandia WIPP calibration traceability

    SciTech Connect

    Schuhen, M.D.; Dean, T.A.

    1996-05-01

    This report summarizes the work performed to establish calibration traceability for the instrumentation used by Sandia National Laboratories at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) during testing from 1980-1985. Identifying the calibration traceability is an important part of establishing a pedigree for the data and is part of the qualification of existing data. In general, the requirement states that the calibration of Measuring and Test equipment must have a valid relationship to nationally recognized standards or the basis for the calibration must be documented. Sandia recognized that just establishing calibration traceability would not necessarily mean that all QA requirements were met during the certification of test instrumentation. To address this concern, the assessment was expanded to include various activities.

  4. Education Program on Fossil Resources Including Coal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Usami, Masahiro

    Fossil fuels including coal play a key role as crucial energies in contributing to economic development in Asia. On the other hand, its limited quantity and the environmental problems causing from its usage have become a serious global issue and a countermeasure to solve such problems is very much demanded. Along with the pursuit of sustainable development, environmentally-friendly use of highly efficient fossil resources should be therefore, accompanied. Kyushu-university‧s sophisticated research through long years of accumulated experience on the fossil resources and environmental sectors together with the advanced large-scale commercial and empirical equipments will enable us to foster cooperative research and provide internship program for the future researchers. Then, this program is executed as a consignment business from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry from 2007 fiscal year to 2009 fiscal year. The lecture that uses the textbooks developed by this program is scheduled to be started a course in fiscal year 2010.

  5. Effect of sequence context at stop codons on efficiency of reinitiation in GCN4 translational control.

    PubMed Central

    Grant, C M; Hinnebusch, A G

    1994-01-01

    Translational control of the GCN4 gene involves two short open reading frames in the mRNA leader (uORF1 and uORF4) that differ greatly in the ability to allow reinitiation at GCN4 following their own translation. The low efficiency of reinitiation characteristic of uORF4 can be reconstituted in a hybrid element in which the last codon of uORF1 and 10 nucleotides 3' to its stop codon (the termination region) are substituted with the corresponding nucleotides from uORF4. To define the features of these 13 nucleotides that determine their effects on reinitiation, we separately randomized the sequence of the third codon and termination region of the uORF1-uORF4 hybrid and selected mutant alleles with the high-level reinitiation that is characteristic of uORF1. The results indicate that many different A+U-rich triplets present at the third codon of uORF1 can overcome the inhibitory effect of the termination region derived from uORF4 on the efficiency of reinitiation at GCN4. Efficient reinitiation is not associated with codons specifying a particular amino acid or isoacceptor tRNA. Similarly, we found that a diverse collection of A+U-rich sequences present in the termination region of uORF1 could restore efficient reinitiation at GCN4 in the presence of the third codon derived from uORF4. To explain these results, we propose that reinitiation can be impaired by stable base pairing between nucleotides flanking the uORF1 stop codon and either the tRNA which pairs with the third codon, the rRNA, or sequences located elsewhere in GCN4 mRNA. We suggest that these interactions delay the resumption of scanning following peptide chain termination at the uORF and thereby lead to ribosome dissociation from the mRNA. Images PMID:8264629

  6. Cerium anomaly at microscale in fossils.

    PubMed

    Gueriau, Pierre; Mocuta, Cristian; Bertrand, Loïc

    2015-09-01

    Patterns in rare earth element (REE) concentrations are essential instruments to assess geochemical processes in Earth and environmental sciences. Excursions in the "cerium anomaly" are widely used to inform on past redox conditions in sediments. This proxy resources to the specificity of cerium to adopt both the +III and +IV oxidation states, while most rare earths are purely trivalent and share very similar reactivity and transport properties. In practical terms, the level of cerium anomaly is established through elemental point quantification and profiling. All these models rely on a supposed homogeneity of the cerium oxidation state within the samples. However, this has never been demonstrated, whereas the cerium concentration can significantly vary within a sample, as shown for fossils, which would vastly complicate interpretation of REE patterns. Here, we report direct micrometric mapping of Ce speciation through synchrotron X-ray absorption spectroscopy and production of local rare earth patterns in paleontological fossil tissues through X-ray fluorescence mapping. The sensitivity of the approach is demonstrated on well-preserved fishes and crustaceans from the Late Cretaceous (ca. 95 million years (Myr) old). The presence of Ce under the +IV form within the fossil tissues is attributed to slightly oxidative local conditions of burial and agrees well with the limited negative cerium anomaly observed in REE patterns. The [Ce(IV)]/[Ce(tot)] ratio appears remarkably stable at the microscale within each fossil and is similar between fossils from the locality. Speciation maps were obtained from an original combination of synchrotron microbeam X-ray fluorescence, absorption spectroscopy, and diffraction, together with light and electron microscopy. This work also highlights the need for more systematic studies of cerium geochemistry at the microscale in paleontological contexts, in particular across fossil histologies.

  7. Fossils of parasites: what can the fossil record tell us about the evolution of parasitism?

    PubMed

    Leung, Tommy L F

    2017-02-01

    Parasites are common in many ecosystems, yet because of their nature, they do not fossilise readily and are very rare in the geological record. This makes it challenging to study the evolutionary transition that led to the evolution of parasitism in different taxa. Most studies on the evolution of parasites are based on phylogenies of extant species that were constructed based on morphological and molecular data, but they give us an incomplete picture and offer little information on many important details of parasite-host interactions. The lack of fossil parasites also means we know very little about the roles that parasites played in ecosystems of the past even though it is known that parasites have significant influences on many ecosystems. The goal of this review is to bring attention to known fossils of parasites and parasitism, and provide a conceptual framework for how research on fossil parasites can develop in the future. Despite their rarity, there are some fossil parasites which have been described from different geological eras. These fossils include the free-living stage of parasites, parasites which became fossilised with their hosts, parasite eggs and propagules in coprolites, and traces of pathology inflicted by parasites on the host's body. Judging from the fossil record, while there were some parasite-host relationships which no longer exist in the present day, many parasite taxa which are known from the fossil record seem to have remained relatively unchanged in their general morphology and their patterns of host association over tens or even hundreds of millions of years. It also appears that major evolutionary and ecological transitions throughout the history of life on Earth coincided with the appearance of certain parasite taxa, as the appearance of new host groups also provided new niches for potential parasites. As such, fossil parasites can provide additional data regarding the ecology of their extinct hosts, since many parasites have

  8. Insect diversity in the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Labandeira, C. C.; Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1993-01-01

    Insects possess a surprisingly extensive fossil record. Compilation of the geochronologic ranges of insect families demonstrates that their diversity exceeds that of preserved vertebrate tetrapods through 91 percent of their evolutionary history. The great diversity of insects was achieved not by high origination rates but rather by low extinction rates comparable to the low rates of slowly evolving marine invertebrate groups. The great radiation of modern insects began 245 million years ago and was not accelerated by the expansion of angiosperms during the Cretaceous period. The basic trophic machinery of insects was in place nearly 100 million years before angiosperms appeared in the fossil record.

  9. Microbial Fossils Detected in Desert Varnish

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Flood, B. E.; Allen, C.; Longazo, T.

    2003-01-01

    Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer data indicate regions with significant levels of hematite (_Fe2O3). Fe-oxides, like hematite, can form as aqueous mineral precipitates and as such may preserve microscopic fossils or other biosignatures. Several potential terrestrial analogues to martian hematite like hydrothermal vents have preserved microfossils. Microbial fossilization in Fe-oxides is often a function of biomineralization. For example, goethite (FeO2H) encrustation of fungal mycelia from the mid-Tertiary preserved fungal morphologies such that their genera could be determined.

  10. Aquatic ape theory and fossil hominids.

    PubMed

    Verhaegen, M J

    1991-06-01

    While most older palaeo-anthropological studies emphasise the similarities of the fossil hominids with modern man, recent studies often stress the unique and the apelike features of the australopithecine dentitions, skulls and postcranial bones. It is worth reconsidering the features of Australopithecus, Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis in the light of the so-called Aquatic Ape Theory (AAT) of Hardy and Morgan, and to compare the skeletal parts of our fossil relatives with those of (semi)aquatic animals. Possible convergences are observed with proboscis monkeys, beavers, sea-otters, hippopotamuses, seals, sea-lions, walruses, sea-cows, whales, dolphins, porpoises, penguins and crocodiles.

  11. Fossils, Genes and The Origin of Organs

    SciTech Connect

    Shubin, Neil

    2011-04-20

    A toolkit of experimental and comparative biology can be applied to understand the great transformations in the history of life. Expeditionary paleontology can be used to target key nodes of the tree of life for which new fossils can provide insights into major morphological transformations. These fossils often have intermediate conditions that allow extant creatures to be compared in new ways. The tools of developmental genetics can then be used to explore these new comparisons to understand the genetic basis for macroevolutionary change. These different approaches can be used to predict new discoveries and this is only possible because of the empirical content of the tree of life.

  12. Divergence time estimation using fossils as terminal taxa and the origins of Lissamphibia.

    PubMed

    Pyron, R Alexander

    2011-07-01

    Were molecular data available for extinct taxa, questions regarding the origins of many groups could be settled in short order. As this is not the case, various strategies have been proposed to combine paleontological and neontological data sets. The use of fossil dates as node age calibrations for divergence time estimation from molecular phylogenies is commonplace. In addition, simulations suggest that the addition of morphological data from extinct taxa may improve phylogenetic estimation when combined with molecular data for extant species, and some studies have merged morphological and molecular data to estimate combined evidence phylogenies containing both extinct and extant taxa. However, few, if any, studies have attempted to estimate divergence times using phylogenies containing both fossil and living taxa sampled for both molecular and morphological data. Here, I infer both the phylogeny and the time of origin for Lissamphibia and a number of stem tetrapods using Bayesian methods based on a data set containing morphological data for extinct taxa, molecular data for extant taxa, and molecular and morphological data for a subset of extant taxa. The results suggest that Lissamphibia is monophyletic, nested within Lepospondyli, and originated in the late Carboniferous at the earliest. This research illustrates potential pitfalls for the use of fossils as post hoc age constraints on internal nodes and highlights the importance of explicit phylogenetic analysis of extinct taxa. These results suggest that the application of fossils as minima or maxima on molecular phylogenies should be supplemented or supplanted by combined evidence analyses whenever possible.

  13. Phylogeny and Divergence Times of Lemurs Inferred with Recent and Ancient Fossils in the Tree.

    PubMed

    Herrera, James P; Dávalos, Liliana M

    2016-09-01

    Paleontological and neontological systematics seek to answer evolutionary questions with different data sets. Phylogenies inferred for combined extant and extinct taxa provide novel insights into the evolutionary history of life. Primates have an extensive, diverse fossil record and molecular data for living and extinct taxa are rapidly becoming available. We used two models to infer the phylogeny and divergence times for living and fossil primates, the tip-dating (TD) and fossilized birth-death process (FBD). We collected new morphological data, especially on the living and extinct endemic lemurs of Madagascar. We combined the morphological data with published DNA sequences to infer near-complete (88% of lemurs) time-calibrated phylogenies. The results suggest that primates originated around the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, slightly earlier than indicated by the fossil record and later than previously inferred from molecular data alone. We infer novel relationships among extinct lemurs, and strong support for relationships that were previously unresolved. Dates inferred with TD were significantly older than those inferred with FBD, most likely related to an assumption of a uniform branching process in the TD compared with a birth-death process assumed in the FBD. This is the first study to combine morphological and DNA sequence data from extinct and extant primates to infer evolutionary relationships and divergence times, and our results shed new light on the tempo of lemur evolution and the efficacy of combined phylogenetic analyses.

  14. Optimal codons in Tremella fuciformis end in C/G, a strong difference with known Tremella species.

    PubMed

    Deng, Youjin; Huang, Xiaoxing; Ruan, Banzhan; Xie, Baogui; van Peer, Arend Frans; Jiang, Yuji

    2015-11-01

    Tremella fuciformis is a popular edible fungus with fruiting bodies that can be produced in large quantities at low costs, while it is easy to transform and cultivate as yeast. This makes it an attractive potential bioreactor. Enhanced heterologous gene expression through codon optimization would be useful, but until now codon usage preferences in T. fuciformis remain unknown. To precisely determine the preferred codon usage of T. fuciformis we sequenced the genome of strain Tr26 resulting in a 24.2 Mb draft genome with 10,040 predicted genes. 3288 of the derived predicted proteins matched the UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot databases with 40% or more similarity. Corresponding gene models of this subset were subsequently optimized through repetitive comparison of alternative start codons and selection of best length matching gene models. For experimental confirmation of gene models, 96 random clones from an existing T. fuciformis cDNA library were sequenced, generating 80 complete CDSs. Calculated optimal codons for the 3288 predicted and the 80 cloned CDSs were highly similar, indicating sufficient accuracy of predicted gene models for codon usage analysis. T. fuciformis showed a strong preference for C and then G at the third base pair position of used codons, while average GC content of predicted genes was slightly higher than the total genome sequence average. Most optimal codons ended in C or G except for one, and an increased frequency of C ending codons was observed in genes with higher expression levels. Surprisingly, the preferred codon usage in T. fuciformis strongly differed from T. mesenterica and C. neoformans. Instead, optimal codon usage was similar to more distant related species such as Ustilago maydis and Neurospora crassa. Despite much higher overall sequence homology between T. fuciformis and T. mesenterica, only 7 out of 21 optimal codons were equal, whereas T. fuciformis shared up to 20 out of 21 optimal codons with other species. Clearly, codon usage in

  15. Fossil struthionid eggshells from Laetoli, Tanzania: Taxonomic and biostratigraphic significance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harrison, Terry; Msuya, Charles P.

    2005-04-01

    Recent paleontological investigations at Laetoli and neighboring localities in northern Tanzania have produced a large collection of fossil ostrich eggshells from the Pliocene-aged Laetolil Beds (˜3.5-4.5 Ma) and Ndolanya Beds (˜2.6-2.7 Ma). A detailed analysis of the morphology of the eggshells and their taxonomic affinities indicates that two different species of Struthio are represented. In the Lower Laetolil Beds and in the Upper Laetolil Beds below Tuff 3 a new species is recognized— Struthio kakesiensis. This is replaced in the Upper Laetolil Beds by Struthio camelus, the modern species of ostrich. Since radiometric age determinations are available for the stratigraphic sequence at Laetoli, it is possible to precisely date the first appearance of S. camelus at ˜3.6-3.8 Ma. Comparisons of the Laetoli material with specimens from the well-dated sequences at Lothagam and Kanapoi in northern Kenya, allow the taxonomic and biochronological analysis to be extended back in time to the late Miocene. At about 6.5 Ma, Diamantornis and elephant birds were replaced in East Africa by ostriches belonging to the genus Struthio. Three time-successive species of ostriches are identified in the fossil record of East Africa, beginning with Struthio. cf. karingarabensis (˜6.5-4.2 Ma), followed by S. kakesiensis (˜4.5-3.6 Ma) and then S. camelus (˜3.8 Ma onwards). A similar sequence of taxa has previously been recorded from localities in Namibia, but at these sites there is no possibility to precisely calibrate the ages of the different species using radiometric dating. Nevertheless, the broadly similar evolutionary sequence and the close correspondence in inferred ages for the succession of species in East Africa and Namibia suggest that ostrich eggshells are a very useful tool for biochronological correlation of paleontological sites in sub-Saharan Africa.

  16. Compact radiometric microwave calibrator

    SciTech Connect

    Fixsen, D. J.; Wollack, E. J.; Kogut, A.; Limon, M.; Mirel, P.; Singal, J.; Fixsen, S. M.

    2006-06-15

    The calibration methods for the ARCADE II instrument are described and the accuracy estimated. The Steelcast coated aluminum cones which comprise the calibrator have a low reflection while maintaining 94% of the absorber volume within 5 mK of the base temperature (modeled). The calibrator demonstrates an absorber with the active part less than one wavelength thick and only marginally larger than the mouth of the largest horn and yet black (less than -40 dB or 0.01% reflection) over five octaves in frequency.

  17. Dynamic Pressure Calibration Standard

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schutte, P. C.; Cate, K. H.; Young, S. D.

    1986-01-01

    Vibrating columns of fluid used to calibrate transducers. Dynamic pressure calibration standard developed for calibrating flush diaphragm-mounted pressure transducers. Pressures up to 20 kPa (3 psi) accurately generated over frequency range of 50 to 1,800 Hz. System includes two conically shaped aluminum columns one 5 cm (2 in.) high for low pressures and another 11 cm (4.3 in.) high for higher pressures, each filled with viscous fluid. Each column mounted on armature of vibration exciter, which imparts sinusoidally varying acceleration to fluid column. Signal noise low, and waveform highly dependent on quality of drive signal in vibration exciter.

  18. DIRBE External Calibrator (DEC)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wyatt, Clair L.; Thurgood, V. Alan; Allred, Glenn D.

    1987-01-01

    Under NASA Contract No. NAS5-28185, the Center for Space Engineering at Utah State University has produced a calibration instrument for the Diffuse Infrared Background Experiment (DIRBE). DIRBE is one of the instruments aboard the Cosmic Background Experiment Observatory (COBE). The calibration instrument is referred to as the DEC (Dirbe External Calibrator). DEC produces a steerable, infrared beam of controlled spectral content and intensity and with selectable point source or diffuse source characteristics, that can be directed into the DIRBE to map fields and determine response characteristics. This report discusses the design of the DEC instrument, its operation and characteristics, and provides an analysis of the systems capabilities and performance.

  19. Airdata Measurement and Calibration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Haering, Edward A., Jr.

    1995-01-01

    This memorandum provides a brief introduction to airdata measurement and calibration. Readers will learn about typical test objectives, quantities to measure, and flight maneuvers and operations for calibration. The memorandum informs readers about tower-flyby, trailing cone, pacer, radar-tracking, and dynamic airdata calibration maneuvers. Readers will also begin to understand how some data analysis considerations and special airdata cases, including high-angle-of-attack flight, high-speed flight, and nonobtrusive sensors are handled. This memorandum is not intended to be all inclusive; this paper contains extensive reference and bibliography sections.

  20. Lidar Calibration Centre

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pappalardo, Gelsomina; Freudenthaler, Volker; Nicolae, Doina; Mona, Lucia; Belegante, Livio; D'Amico, Giuseppe

    2016-06-01

    This paper presents the newly established Lidar Calibration Centre, a distributed infrastructure in Europe, whose goal is to offer services for complete characterization and calibration of lidars and ceilometers. Mobile reference lidars, laboratories for testing and characterization of optics and electronics, facilities for inspection and debugging of instruments, as well as for training in good practices are open to users from the scientific community, operational services and private sector. The Lidar Calibration Centre offers support for trans-national access through the EC HORIZON2020 project ACTRIS-2.

  1. A new African fossil caprin and a combined molecular and morphological Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of caprini (Mammalia: Bovidae).

    PubMed

    Bibi, F; Vrba, E; Fack, F

    2012-09-01

    Given that most species that have ever existed on Earth are extinct, no evolutionary history can ever be complete without the inclusion of fossil taxa. Bovids (antelopes and relatives) are one of the most diverse clades of large mammals alive today, with over a hundred living species and hundreds of documented fossil species. With the advent of molecular phylogenetics, major advances have been made in the phylogeny of this clade; however, there has been little attempt to integrate the fossil record into the developing phylogenetic picture. We here describe a new large fossil caprin species from ca. 1.9-Ma deposits from the Middle Awash, Ethiopia. To place the new species phylogenetically, we perform a Bayesian analysis of a combined molecular (cytochrome b) and morphological (osteological) character supermatrix. We include all living species of Caprini, the new fossil species, a fossil takin from the Pliocene of Ethiopia (Budorcas churcheri), and the insular subfossil Myotragus balearicus. The combined analysis demonstrates successful incorporation of both living and fossil species within a single phylogeny based on both molecular and morphological evidence. Analysis of the combined supermatrix produces superior resolution than with either the molecular or morphological data sets considered alone. Parsimony and Bayesian analyses of the data set are also compared and shown to produce similar results. The combined phylogenetic analysis indicates that the new fossil species is nested within Capra, making it one of the earliest representatives of this clade, with implications for molecular clock calibration. Geographical optimization indicates no less than four independent dispersals into Africa by caprins since the Pliocene.

  2. Calibration Fixture For Anemometer Probes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lewis, Charles R.; Nagel, Robert T.

    1993-01-01

    Fixture facilitates calibration of three-dimensional sideflow thermal anemometer probes. With fixture, probe oriented at number of angles throughout its design range. Readings calibrated as function of orientation in airflow. Calibration repeatable and verifiable.

  3. Dating placentalia: Morphological clocks fail to close the molecular fossil gap

    PubMed Central

    Puttick, Mark N.; Thomas, Gavin H.; Benton, Michael J.

    2016-01-01

    Dating the origin of Placentalia has been a contentious issue for biologists and paleontologists. Although it is likely that crown‐group placentals originated in the Late Cretaceous, nearly all molecular clock estimates point to a deeper Cretaceous origin. An approach with the potential to reconcile this discrepancy could be the application of a morphological clock. This would permit the direct incorporation of fossil data in node dating, and would break long internal branches of the tree, so leading to improved estimates of node ages. Here, we use a large morphological dataset and the tip‐calibration approach of MrBayes. We find that the estimated date for the origin of crown mammals is much older, ∼130–145 million years ago (Ma), than fossil and molecular clock data (∼80–90 Ma). Our results suggest that tip calibration may result in estimated dates that are more ancient than those obtained from other sources of data. This can be partially overcome by constraining the ages of internal nodes on the tree; however, when this was applied to our dataset, the estimated dates were still substantially more ancient than expected. We recommend that results obtained using tip calibration, and possibly morphological dating more generally, should be treated with caution. PMID:26990798

  4. Fossil Cores In The Kepler Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jackson, Brian

    Most gas giant exoplanets with orbital periods < few days are unstable against tidal decay and may be tidally disrupted before their host stars leave the main sequence. These gas giants probably contain rocky/icy cores, and so their cores will be stranded near their progenitor's Roche limit (few hours orbital period). These fossil cores will evade the Kepler mission's transit search because it is focused on periods > 0.5 days, but finding these fossil cores would provide unprecedented insights into planetary interiors and formation ? e.g., they would be a smoking gun favoring formation of gas giants via core accretion. We propose to search for and characterize fossil cores in the Kepler dataset. We will vet candidates using the Kepler photometry and auxiliary data, collect ground-based spectra of the host stars and radial-velocity (RV) and adaptive optics (AO) data to corroborate candidates. We will also constrain stellar tidal dissipation efficiencies (parameterized by Q) by determining our survey's completeness, elucidating dynamical origins and evolution of exoplanets even if we find no fossil cores. Our preliminary search has already found several dozen candidates, so the proposed survey has a high likelihood of success.

  5. Fossil Crustaceans as Parasites and Hosts.

    PubMed

    Klompmaker, Adiël A; Boxshall, Geoff A

    2015-01-01

    Numerous crustacean lineages have independently moved into parasitism as a mode of life. In modern marine ecosystems, parasitic crustaceans use representatives from many metazoan phyla as hosts. Crustaceans also serve as hosts to a rich diversity of parasites, including other crustaceans. Here, we show that the fossil record of such parasitic interactions is sparse, with only 11 examples, one dating back to the Cambrian. This may be due to the limited preservation potential and small size of parasites, as well as to problems with ascribing traces to parasitism with certainty, and to a lack of targeted research. Although the confirmed stratigraphic ranges are limited for nearly every example, evidence of parasitism related to crustaceans has become increasingly more complete for isopod-induced swellings in decapods so that quantitative analyses can be carried out. Little attention has yet been paid to the origin of parasitism in deep time, but insight can be generated by integrating data on fossils with molecular studies on modern parasites. In addition, there are other traces left by parasites that could fossilize, but have not yet been recognized in the fossil record.

  6. Fossils of reionization in the local group

    SciTech Connect

    Gnedin, Nickolay Y.; Kravtsov, Andrey V.; /KICP, Chicago /Chicago U., EFI /Chicago U., Astron. Astrophys. Ctr.

    2006-01-01

    We use a combination of high-resolution gas dynamics simulations of high-redshift dwarf galaxies and dissipationless simulations of a Milky Way sized halo to estimate the expected abundance and spatial distribution of the dwarf satellite galaxies that formed most of their stars around z {approx} 8 and evolved only little since then. Such galaxies can be considered as fossils of the reionization era, and studying their properties could provide a direct window into the early, pre-reionization stages of galaxy formation. We show that 5-15% of the objects existing at z {approx} 8 do indeed survive until the present in the MW like environment without significant evolution. This implies that it is plausible that the fossil dwarf galaxies do exist in the Local Group. Because such galaxies form their stellar systems early during the period of active merging and accretion, they should have spheroidal morphology regardless of their current distance from the host galaxy. We show that both the expected luminosity function and spatial distribution of dark matter halos which are likely to host fossil galaxies agree reasonably well with the observed distributions of the luminous (L{sub V} > 10{sup 6} Lsun) Local Group fossil candidates near the host galaxy (d<200 kpc). However, the predicted abundance is substantially larger (by a factor of 2-3) for fainter galaxies (L{sub V} < 10{sup 6} Lsun) at larger distances (d>300 kpc). We discuss several possible explanations for this discrepancy.

  7. The Fascinating Story of Fossil Fuels

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Asimov, Isaac

    1973-01-01

    How this energy source was created, its meaning to mankind, our drastically reduced supply, and why we cannot wait for nature to make more are considered. Today fossil fuels supply 96 percent of the energy used but we must find alternate energy options if we are to combat the energy crisis. (BL)

  8. Fossil Energy Materials Program conference proceedings

    SciTech Connect

    Judkins, R.R.

    1987-08-01

    The US Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy has recognized the need for materials research and development to assure the adequacy of materials of construction for advanced fossil energy systems. The principal responsibility for identifying needed materials research and for establishing a program to address these needs resides within the Office of Technical Coordination. That office has established the Advanced Research and Technology Development (AR and TD) Fossil Energy Materials Program to fulfill that responsibility. In addition to the AR and TD Materials Program, which is designed to address in a generic way the materials needs of fossil energy systems, specific materials support activities are also sponsored by the various line organizations such as the Office of Coal Gasification. A conference was held at Oak Ridge, Tennessee on May 19-21, 1987, to present and discuss the results of program activities during the past year. The conference program was organized in accordance with the research thrust areas we have established. These research thrust areas include structural ceramics (particularly fiber-reinforced ceramic composites), corrosion and erosion, and alloy development and mechanical properties. Eighty-six people attended the conference. Papers have been entered individually into EDB and ERA. (LTN)

  9. Paranasal pneumatization in extant and fossil Cercopithecoidea.

    PubMed

    Rae, Todd C

    2008-03-01

    Unlike most primates, extant cercopithecoids lack maxillary sinuses, which are pneumatic spaces in the facial skeleton lateral of the nasal cavity proper. Character state analysis of living cercopithecoids across well-supported topologies suggests that the sinus was lost at the origin of the superfamily, only to have evolved again convergently in extant macaques. Recent work has shown that a) the 'early loss' hypothesis is supported by the lack of any pneumatization in Victoriapithecus, a stem cercopithecoid, b) like extant macaques, the fossil cercopithecine Paradolichopithecus shows evidence of presence of the maxillary sinus (MS), and c) unlike extant colobines, the fossil colobine Libypithecus also possesses a maxillary sinus. To more fully assess the pattern of cercopithecoid sinus evolution, fossil taxa from both subfamilies (Colobinae, Cercopithecinae) were examined both visually and by computed tomography (CT). The observations were evaluated according to standard anatomical criteria for defining sinus spaces, and compared with data from all extant Old World monkey genera. Most taxa examined conformed to the pattern already discerned from extant cercopithecoids. Maxillary sinus absence in Theropithecus oswaldi, Mesopithecus, and Rhinocolobus is typical for all extant cercopithecids except Macaca. The fossil macaque Macaca majori possesses a well-developed maxillary sinus, as do all living species of the genus. Cercopithecoides, on the other hand, differs from all extant colobines in possessing a maxillary sinus. Thus, paranasal pneumatization has reemerged a minimum of two and possibly three times in cercopithecoids. The results suggest that maxillary sinus absence in cercopithecoids is due to suppression, rather than complete loss.

  10. Solid modeling of fossil small mammal teeth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marschallinger, Robert; Hofmann, Peter; Daxner-Höck, Gudrun; Ketcham, Richard A.

    2011-09-01

    This paper presents an approach to create solid models of fossil small mammal teeth using a combination of microcomputed tomography, object based image analysis and voxel modeling. Small mammal teeth, because of their durability, are widely found in Cenozioc sediments the world over and play a key role in stratigraphy as well as in researching the rapid evolution and the paleogeographic spreading of small mammals. Recent advances in microcomputed tomography make this non-destructive analysis method an ideal data source for high-resolution 3D models of fossil small animal teeth. To derive internally consistent solid models of such fossils from micro-CT imagery, we propose a combination of 3D object based image analysis and solid modeling. Incorporating paleontological expert knowledge in the image processing cycle, object based image analysis yields topologically consistent image stacks classified by the main tooth components—enamel, dentine and pulp. Forwarding these data to a voxel modeling system, they can be quantitatively analyzed in an unprecedented manner: going beyond the possibilities of the state-of-art surface models, solid models are capable of unambiguously portraying the entire object volume—teeth can be peeled by material properties, subvolumes can be extracted and automatically analyzed by Boolean operations. The proposed method, which can be flexibly extended to handle a range of paleontological and geological micro-objects, is demonstrated with two typical fossil small mammal teeth.

  11. Geoscience: Fossil raindrops and ancient air

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cassata, William S.; Renne, Paul R.

    2012-04-01

    An analysis of fossil imprints of ancient raindrops suggests that the density of the atmosphere 2.7 billion years ago was much the same as that today. This result casts fresh light on a long-standing palaeoclimate paradox. See Letter p.359

  12. Learning about Fossil Formation by Classroom Simulation.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Schlenker, Richard M.; Yoshida, Sarah J.

    1991-01-01

    Activities in which students build their own simulations of fossils, using seashells, chicken bones, toy dinosaurs, or leaves as models and plaster of paris, sand, mud, clay, or a mixture of gravel and clay as a matrix are presented. Curriculum extensions are included. (KR)

  13. Thermal dissolution of solid fossil fuels

    SciTech Connect

    E.G. Gorlov

    2007-10-15

    The use of oil shales and coals in the processes of thermal dissolution is considered. It is shown that thermal dissolution is a mode of liquefaction of solid fossil fuels and can be used both independently and in combination with liquefaction of coals and processing of heavy petroleum residues.

  14. Fossil fuels supplies modeling and research

    SciTech Connect

    Leiby, P.N.

    1996-06-01

    The fossil fuel supplies modeling and research effort focuses on models for US Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) planning and management. Topics covered included new SPR oil valuation models, updating models for SPR risk analysis, and fill-draw planning. Another task in this program area is the development of advanced computational tools for three-dimensional seismic analysis.

  15. Genes adopt non-optimal codon usage to generate cell cycle-dependent oscillations in protein levels

    PubMed Central

    Frenkel-Morgenstern, Milana; Danon, Tamar; Christian, Thomas; Igarashi, Takao; Cohen, Lydia; Hou, Ya-Ming; Jensen, Lars Juhl

    2012-01-01

    The cell cycle is a temporal program that regulates DNA synthesis and cell division. When we compared the codon usage of cell cycle-regulated genes with that of other genes, we discovered that there is a significant preference for non-optimal codons. Moreover, genes encoding proteins that cycle at the protein level exhibit non-optimal codon preferences. Remarkably, cell cycle-regulated genes expressed in different phases display different codon preferences. Here, we show empirically that transfer RNA (tRNA) expression is indeed highest in the G2 phase of the cell cycle, consistent with the non-optimal codon usage of genes expressed at this time, and lowest toward the end of G1, reflecting the optimal codon usage of G1 genes. Accordingly, protein levels of human glycyl-, threonyl-, and glutamyl-prolyl tRNA synthetases were found to oscillate, peaking in G2/M phase. In light of our findings, we propose that non-optimal (wobbly) matching codons influence protein synthesis during the cell cycle. We describe a new mathematical model that shows how codon usage can give rise to cell-cycle regulation. In summary, our data indicate that cells exploit wobbling to generate cell cycle-dependent dynamics of proteins. PMID:22373820

  16. PCR-RFLP to Detect Codon 248 Mutation in Exon 7 of "p53" Tumor Suppressor Gene

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ouyang, Liming; Ge, Chongtao; Wu, Haizhen; Li, Suxia; Zhang, Huizhan

    2009-01-01

    Individual genome DNA was extracted fast from oral swab and followed up with PCR specific for codon 248 of "p53" tumor suppressor gene. "Msp"I restriction mapping showed the G-C mutation in codon 248, which closely relates to cancer susceptibility. Students learn the concepts, detection techniques, and research significance of point mutations or…

  17. Effective population size does not predict codon usage bias in mammals

    PubMed Central

    Kessler, Michael D; Dean, Matthew D

    2014-01-01

    Synonymous codons are not used at equal frequency throughout the genome, a phenomenon termed codon usage bias (CUB). It is often assumed that interspecific variation in the intensity of CUB is related to species differences in effective population sizes (Ne), with selection on CUB operating less efficiently in species with small Ne. Here, we specifically ask whether variation in Ne predicts differences in CUB in mammals and report two main findings. First, across 41 mammalian genomes, CUB was not correlated with two indirect proxies of Ne (body mass and generation time), even though there was statistically significant evidence of selection shaping CUB across all species. Interestingly, autosomal genes showed higher codon usage bias compared to X-linked genes, and high-recombination genes showed higher codon usage bias compared to low recombination genes, suggesting intraspecific variation in Ne predicts variation in CUB. Second, across six mammalian species with genetic estimates of Ne (human, chimpanzee, rabbit, and three mouse species: Mus musculus, M. domesticus, and M. castaneus), Ne and CUB were weakly and inconsistently correlated. At least in mammals, interspecific divergence in Ne does not strongly predict variation in CUB. One hypothesis is that each species responds to a unique distribution of selection coefficients, confounding any straightforward link between Ne and CUB. PMID:25505518

  18. Characterization of the stop codon readthrough signal of Colorado tick fever virus segment 9 RNA.

    PubMed

    Napthine, Sawsan; Yek, Christina; Powell, Michael L; Brown, T David K; Brierley, Ian

    2012-02-01

    Termination codon readthrough is utilized as a mechanism of expression of a growing number of viral and cellular proteins, but in many cases the mRNA signals that promote readthrough are poorly characterized. Here, we investigated the readthrough signal of Colorado tick fever virus (CTFV) segment 9 RNA (Seg-9). CTFV is the type-species of the genus Coltivirus within the family Reoviridae and is a tick-borne, double-stranded, segmented RNA virus. Seg-9 encodes a 36-kDa protein VP9, and by readthrough of a UGA stop codon, a 65-kDa product, VP9'. Using a reporter system, we defined the minimal sequence requirements for readthrough and confirmed activity in both mammalian and insect cell-free translation systems, and in transfected mammalian cells. Mutational analysis revealed that readthrough was UGA specific, and that the local sequence context around the UGA influenced readthrough efficiency. Readthrough was also dependent upon a stable RNA stem-loop structure beginning eight bases downstream from the UGA codon. Mutational analysis of this stem-loop revealed a requirement for the stem region but not for substructures identified within the loop. Unexpectedly, we were unable to detect a ribosomal pause during translation of the CTFV signal, suggesting that the mechanism of readthrough, at least at this site, is unlikely to be dependent upon RNA secondary-structure induced ribosomal pausing at the recoded stop codon.

  19. p53 codon 72 polymorphism in vulval cancer and vulval intraepithelial neoplasia

    PubMed Central

    Rosenthal, A N; Ryan, A; Hopster, D; Jacobs, I J

    2000-01-01

    p53 codon 72 polymorphism was analysed in UK women with human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated vulval intraepithelial neoplasia and vulval squamous cell carcinoma. Arginine homozygotes were significantly less common in either group compared with controls. We conclude that the arginine polymorphism may confer protection against the development of HPV-associated vulval neoplasia. © 2000 Cancer Research Campaign PMID:11044351

  20. Predicting Gene Expression Level from Relative Codon Usage Bias: An Application to Escherichia coli Genome

    PubMed Central

    Roymondal, Uttam; Das, Shibsankar; Sahoo, Satyabrata

    2009-01-01

    We present an expression measure of a gene, devised to predict the level of gene expression from relative codon bias (RCB). There are a number of measures currently in use that quantify codon usage in genes. Based on the hypothesis that gene expressivity and codon composition is strongly correlated, RCB has been defined to provide an intuitively meaningful measure of an extent of the codon preference in a gene. We outline a simple approach to assess the strength of RCB (RCBS) in genes as a guide to their likely expression levels and illustrate this with an analysis of Escherichia coli (E. coli) genome. Our efforts to quantitatively predict gene expression levels in E. coli met with a high level of success. Surprisingly, we observe a strong correlation between RCBS and protein length indicating natural selection in favour of the shorter genes to be expressed at higher level. The agreement of our result with high protein abundances, microarray data and radioactive data demonstrates that the genomic expression profile available in our method can be applied in a meaningful way to the study of cell physiology and also for more detailed studies of particular genes of interest. PMID:19131380

  1. System analysis of synonymous codon usage biases in archaeal virus genomes.

    PubMed

    Li, Sen; Yang, Jie

    2014-08-21

    Recent studies of geothermally heated aquatic ecosystems have found widely divergent viruses with unusual morphotypes. Archaeal viruses isolated from these hot habitats usually have double-stranded DNA genomes, linear or circular, and can infect members of the Archaea domain. In this study, the synonymous codon usage bias (SCUB) and dinucleotide composition in the available complete archaeal virus genome sequences have been investigated. It was found that there is a significant variation in SCUB among different Archaeal virus species, which is mainly determined by the base composition. The outcome of correspondence analysis (COA) and Spearman׳s rank correlation analysis shows that codon usage of selected archaeal virus genes depends mainly on GC richness of genome, and the gene׳s function, albeit with smaller effects, also contributes to codon usage in this virus. Furthermore, this investigation reveals that aromaticity of each protein is also critical in affecting SCUB of these viral genes although it was less important than that of the mutational bias. Especially, mutational pressure may influence SCUB in SIRV1, SIRV2, ARV1, AFV1, and PhiCh1 viruses, whereas translational selection could play a leading role in HRPV1׳s SCUB. These conclusions not only can offer an insight into the codon usage biases of archaeal virus and subsequently the possible relationship between archaeal viruses and their host, but also may help in understanding the evolution of archaeal viruses and their gene classification, and more helpful to explore the origin of life and the evolution of biology.

  2. Genetic analysis of diversity within a Chinese local sugarcane germplasm based on start codon targeted polymorphism

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In-depth information on sugarcane germplasm is the basis for its conservation and utilization. Data on sugarcane molecular markers are limited for the Chinese sugarcane germplasm collections. In the present study, 20 start codon targeted (SCoT) marker primers were designed to assess the genetic dive...

  3. Conservation of CFTR codon frequency through primates suggests synonymous mutations could have a functional effect.

    PubMed

    Pizzo, Lucilla; Iriarte, Andrés; Alvarez-Valin, Fernando; Marín, Mónica

    2015-05-01

    Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system, with a prevalence of about 1:3000 people. Cystic fibrosis is caused by mutations in CFTR gene, which lead to a defective function of the chloride channel, the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). Up-to-date, more than 1900 mutations have been reported in CFTR. However for an important proportion of them, their functional effects and the relation to disease are still not understood. Many of these mutations are silent (or synonymous), namely they do not alter the encoded amino acid. These synonymous mutations have been considered as neutral to protein function. However, more recent evidence in bacterial and human proteins has put this concept under revision. With the aim of understanding possible functional effects of synonymous mutations in CFTR, we analyzed human and primates CFTR codon usage and divergence patterns. We report the presence of regions enriched in rare and frequent codons. This spatial pattern of codon preferences is conserved in primates, but this cannot be explained by sequence conservation alone. In sum, the results presented herein suggest a functional implication of these regions of the gene that may be maintained by purifying selection acting to preserve a particular codon usage pattern along the sequence. Overall these results support the idea that several synonymous mutations in CFTR may have functional importance, and could be involved in the disease.

  4. Four-base codons ACCA, ACCU and ACCC are recognized by frameshift suppressor sufJ.

    PubMed

    Bossi, L; Roth, J R

    1981-08-01

    The frameshift suppressor sufJ acts to correct a set of +1 frameshift mutations having very different sequences at their mutant sites. This suppressor acts by reading a 4 base codon located near, but not at, the site of each suppressible mutation. Suppression thus necessitates out-of-phase translation of the short stretch of mRNA between the site of action of the suppressor tRNA and the site of the frameshift mutation. We have identified the site read by sufJ by mutationally creating a series of such sites in the neighborhood of a previously nonsuppressible frameshift mutation. Each of the newly generated sites was formed by base substitution. Four independently generated sites were analyzed by DNA sequencing. At each site the quadruplet codon ACCX was generated (where X is A, U or C). Thus sufJ is able to read a 4 base codon in which any of three bases is acceptable in the fourth position. This is the first frameshift suppressor that does not read a run of three repeated bases in the first three positions of its codon.

  5. Cryo-EM study of start codon selection during archaeal translation initiation

    PubMed Central

    Coureux, Pierre-Damien; Lazennec-Schurdevin, Christine; Monestier, Auriane; Larquet, Eric; Cladière, Lionel; Klaholz, Bruno P.; Schmitt, Emmanuelle; Mechulam, Yves

    2016-01-01

    Eukaryotic and archaeal translation initiation complexes have a common structural core comprising e/aIF1, e/aIF1A, the ternary complex (TC, e/aIF2-GTP-Met-tRNAiMet) and mRNA bound to the small ribosomal subunit. e/aIF2 plays a crucial role in this process but how this factor controls start codon selection remains unclear. Here, we present cryo-EM structures of the full archaeal 30S initiation complex showing two conformational states of the TC. In the first state, the TC is bound to the ribosome in a relaxed conformation with the tRNA oriented out of the P site. In the second state, the tRNA is accommodated within the peptidyl (P) site and the TC becomes constrained. This constraint is compensated by codon/anticodon base pairing, whereas in the absence of a start codon, aIF2 contributes to swing out the tRNA. This spring force concept highlights a mechanism of codon/anticodon probing by the initiator tRNA directly assisted by aIF2. PMID:27819266

  6. Roundness calibration standard

    DOEpatents

    Burrus, Brice M.

    1984-01-01

    A roundness calibration standard is provided with a first arc constituting the major portion of a circle and a second arc lying between the remainder of the circle and the chord extending between the ends of said first arc.

  7. Traceable Pyrgeometer Calibrations

    SciTech Connect

    Dooraghi, Mike; Kutchenreiter, Mark; Reda, Ibrahim; Habte, Aron; Sengupta, Manajit; Andreas, Afshin; Newman, Martina; Webb, Craig

    2016-05-02

    This presentation provides a high-level overview of the progress on the Broadband Outdoor Radiometer Calibrations for all shortwave and longwave radiometers that are deployed by the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program.

  8. Analysis of Low Frequency Protein Truncating Stop-Codon Variants and Fasting Concentration of Growth Hormone

    PubMed Central

    Hallengren, Erik; Almgren, Peter; Engström, Gunnar; Persson, Margaretha; Melander, Olle

    2015-01-01

    Background The genetic background of Growth Hormone (GH) secretion is not well understood. Mutations giving rise to a stop codon have a high likelihood of affecting protein function. Objectives To analyze likely functional stop codon mutations that are associated with fasting plasma concentration of Growth Hormone. Methods We analyzed stop codon mutations in 5451 individuals in the Malmö Diet and Cancer study by genotyping the Illumina Exome Chip. To enrich for stop codon mutations with likely functional effects on protein function, we focused on those disrupting >80% of the predicted amino acid sequence, which were carried by ≥10 individuals. Such mutations were related to GH concentration, measured with a high sensitivity assay (hs-GH) and, if nominally significant, to GH related phenotypes, using linear regression analysis. Results Two stop codon mutations were associated with the fasting concentration of hs-GH. rs121909305 (NP_005370.1:p.R93*) [Minor Allele Frequency (MAF) = 0.8%] in the Myosin 1A gene (MYO1A) was associated with a 0.36 (95%CI, 0.04 to 0.54; p=0.02) increment of the standardized value of the natural logarithm of hs-GH per 1 minor allele and rs35699176 (NP_067040.1:p.Q100*) in the Zink Finger protein 77 gene (ZNF77) (MAF = 4.8%) was associated with a 0.12 (95%CI, 0.02 to 0.22; p = 0.02) increase of hs-GH. The mutated high hs-GH associated allele of MYO1A was related to lower BMI (β-coefficient, -0.22; p = 0.05), waist (β-coefficient, -0.22; p = 0.04), body fat percentage (β-coefficient, -0.23; p = 0.03) and with higher HDL (β-coefficient, 0.23; p = 0.04). The ZNF77 stop codon was associated with height (β-coefficient, 0.11; p = 0.02) but not with cardiometabolic risk factors. Conclusion We here suggest that a stop codon of MYO1A, disrupting 91% of the predicted amino acid sequence, is associated with higher hs-GH and GH-related traits suggesting that MYO1A is involved in GH metabolism and possibly body fat distribution. However, our

  9. Exceptional fossil preservation and the cambrian explosion.

    PubMed

    Butterfield, Nicholas J

    2003-02-01

    Exceptionally preserved, non-biomineralizing fossils contribute importantly to resolving details of the Cambrian explosion, but little to its overall patterns. Six distinct "types" of exceptional preservation are identified for the terminal Proterozoic-Cambrian interval, each of which is dependent on particular taphonomic circumstances, typically restricted both in space and time. Taphonomic pathways yielding exceptional preservation were particularly variable through the Proterozoic-Cambrian transition, at least in part a consequence of contemporaneous evolutionary innovations. Combined with the reasonably continuous record of "Doushantuo-type preservation," and the fundamentally more robust records of shelly fossils, phytoplankton cysts and trace fossils, these taphonomic perturbations contribute to the documentation of major evolutionary and biogeochemical shifts through the terminal Proterozoic and early Cambrian.Appreciation of the relationship between taphonomic pathway and fossil expression serves as a useful tool for interpreting exceptionally preserved, often problematic, early Cambrian fossils. In shale facies, for example, flattened non-biomineralizing structures typically represent the remains of degradation-resistant acellular and extracellular "tissues" such as chaetae and cuticles, whereas three-dimensional preservation represents labile cellular tissues with a propensity for attracting and precipitating early diagenetic minerals. Such distinction helps to identify the acuticular integument of hyolithids, the chaetae-like nature of Wiwaxia sclerites, the chaetognath-like integument of Amiskwia, the midgut glands of various Burgess Shale arthropods, and the misidentification of deposit-feeding arthropods in the Chengjiang biota. By the same reasoning, putative lobopods in the Sirius Passet biota and putative deuterostomes in the Chengiang biota are better interpreted as arthropods.

  10. Structural characterization of eRF1 mutants indicate a complex mechanism of stop codon recognition

    PubMed Central

    Pillay, Shubhadra; Li, Yan; Wong, Leo E; Pervushin, Konstantin

    2016-01-01

    Eukarya translation termination requires the stop codon recognizing protein eRF1. In contrast to the multiple proteins required for translation termination in Bacteria, eRF1 retains the ability to recognize all three of the stop codons. The details of the mechanism that eRF1 uses to recognize stop codons has remained elusive. This study describes the structural effects of mutations in the eRF1 N-domain that have previously been shown to alter stop codon recognition specificity. Here, we propose a model of eRF1 binding to the pre-translation termination ribosomal complex that is based in part on our solution NMR structures of the wild-type and mutant eRF1 N-domains. Since structural perturbations induced by these mutations were spread throughout the protein structure, residual dipolar coupling (RDC) data were recorded to establish the long-range effects of the specific mutations, E55Q, Y125F, Q122FM(Y)F126. RDCs were recorded on 15N-labeled eRF1 N-domain weakly aligned in either 5% w/v n-octyl-penta (ethylene glycol)/octanol (C8E5) or the filamentous phage Pf1. These data indicate that the mutations alter the conformation and dynamics of the GTS loop that is distant from the mutation sites. We propose that the GTS loop forms a switch that is key for the multiple codon recognition capability of eRF1. PMID:26725946

  11. UGA is an additional glycine codon in uncultured SR1 bacteria from the human microbiota

    PubMed Central

    Campbell, James H.; O’Donoghue, Patrick; Campbell, Alisha G.; Schwientek, Patrick; Sczyrba, Alexander; Woyke, Tanja; Söll, Dieter; Podar, Mircea

    2013-01-01

    The composition of the human microbiota is recognized as an important factor in human health and disease. Many of our cohabitating microbes belong to phylum-level divisions for which there are no cultivated representatives and are only represented by small subunit rRNA sequences. For one such taxon (SR1), which includes bacteria with elevated abundance in periodontitis, we provide a single-cell genome sequence from a healthy oral sample. SR1 bacteria use a unique genetic code. In-frame TGA (opal) codons are found in most genes (85%), often at loci normally encoding conserved glycine residues. UGA appears not to function as a stop codon and is in equilibrium with the canonical GGN glycine codons, displaying strain-specific variation across the human population. SR1 encodes a divergent tRNAGlyUCA with an opal-decoding anticodon. SR1 glycyl-tRNA synthetase acylates tRNAGlyUCA with glycine in vitro with similar activity compared with normal tRNAGlyUCC. Coexpression of SR1 glycyl-tRNA synthetase and tRNAGlyUCA in Escherichia coli yields significant β-galactosidase activity in vivo from a lacZ gene containing an in-frame TGA codon. Comparative genomic analysis with Human Microbiome Project data revealed that the human body harbors a striking diversity of SR1 bacteria. This is a surprising finding because SR1 is most closely related to bacteria that live in anoxic and thermal environments. Some of these bacteria share common genetic and metabolic features with SR1, including UGA to glycine reassignment and an archaeal-type ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase (RubisCO) involved in AMP recycling. UGA codon reassignment renders SR1 genes untranslatable by other bacteria, which impacts horizontal gene transfer within the human microbiota. PMID:23509275

  12. Codon reassignment to facilitate genetic engineering and biocontainment in the chloroplast of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.

    PubMed

    Young, Rosanna E B; Purton, Saul

    2016-05-01

    There is a growing interest in the use of microalgae as low-cost hosts for the synthesis of recombinant products such as therapeutic proteins and bioactive metabolites. In particular, the chloroplast, with its small, genetically tractable genome (plastome) and elaborate metabolism, represents an attractive platform for genetic engineering. In Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, none of the 69 protein-coding genes in the plastome uses the stop codon UGA, therefore this spare codon can be exploited as a useful synthetic biology tool. Here, we report the assignment of the codon to one for tryptophan and show that this can be used as an effective strategy for addressing a key problem in chloroplast engineering: namely, the assembly of expression cassettes in Escherichia coli when the gene product is toxic to the bacterium. This problem arises because the prokaryotic nature of chloroplast promoters and ribosome-binding sites used in such cassettes often results in transgene expression in E. coli, and is a potential issue when cloning genes for metabolic enzymes, antibacterial proteins and integral membrane proteins. We show that replacement of tryptophan codons with the spare codon (UGG→UGA) within a transgene prevents functional expression in E. coli and in the chloroplast, and that co-introduction of a plastidial trnW gene carrying a modified anticodon restores function only in the latter by allowing UGA readthrough. We demonstrate the utility of this system by expressing two genes known to be highly toxic to E. coli and discuss its value in providing an enhanced level of biocontainment for transplastomic microalgae.

  13. Gene Composer: database software for protein construct design, codon engineering, and gene synthesis

    PubMed Central

    Lorimer, Don; Raymond, Amy; Walchli, John; Mixon, Mark; Barrow, Adrienne; Wallace, Ellen; Grice, Rena; Burgin, Alex; Stewart, Lance

    2009-01-01

    Background To improve efficiency in high throughput protein structure determination, we have developed a database software package, Gene Composer, which facilitates the information-rich design of protein constructs and their codon engineered synthetic gene sequences. With its modular workflow design and numerous graphical user interfaces, Gene Composer enables researchers to perform all common bio-informatics steps used in modern structure guided protein engineering and synthetic gene engineering. Results An interactive Alignment Viewer allows the researcher to simultaneously visualize sequence conservation in the context of known protein secondary structure, ligand contacts, water contacts, crystal contacts, B-factors, solvent accessible area, residue property type and several other useful property views. The Construct Design Module enables the facile design of novel protein constructs with altered N- and C-termini, internal insertions or deletions, point mutations, and desired affinity tags. The modifications can be combined and permuted into multiple protein constructs, and then virtually cloned in silico into defined expression vectors. The Gene Design Module uses a protein-to-gene algorithm that automates the back-translation of a protein amino acid sequence into a codon engineered nucleic acid gene sequence according to a selected codon usage table with minimal codon usage threshold, defined G:C% content, and desired sequence features achieved through synonymous codon selection that is optimized for the intended expression system. The gene-to-oligo algorithm of the Gene Design Module plans out all of the required overlapping oligonucleotides and mutagenic primers needed to synthesize the desired gene constructs by PCR, and for physically cloning them into selected vectors by the most popular subcloning strategies. Conclusion We present a complete description of Gene Composer functionality, and an efficient PCR-based synthetic gene assembly procedure with mis

  14. Terminating eukaryote translation: domain 1 of release factor eRF1 functions in stop codon recognition.

    PubMed Central

    Bertram, G; Bell, H A; Ritchie, D W; Fullerton, G; Stansfield, I

    2000-01-01

    Eukaryote ribosomal translation is terminated when release factor eRF1, in a complex with eRF3, binds to one of the three stop codons. The tertiary structure and dimensions of eRF1 are similar to that of a tRNA, supporting the hypothesis that release factors may act as molecular mimics of tRNAs. To identify the yeast eRF1 stop codon recognition domain (analogous to a tRNA anticodon), a genetic screen was performed to select for mutants with disabled recognition of only one of the three stop codons. Nine out of ten mutations isolated map to conserved residues within the eRF1 N-terminal domain 1. A subset of these mutants, although wild-type for ribosome and eRF3 interaction, differ in their respective abilities to recognize each of the three stop codons, indicating codon-specific discrimination defects. Five of six of these stop codon-specific mutants define yeast domain 1 residues (I32, M48, V68, L123, and H129) that locate at three pockets on the eRF1 domain 1 molecular surface into which a stop codon can be modeled. The genetic screen results and the mutant phenotypes are therefore consistent with a role for domain 1 in stop codon recognition; the topology of this eRF1 domain, together with eRF1-stop codon complex modeling further supports the proposal that this domain may represent the site of stop codon binding itself. PMID:10999601

  15. Quantifying Uncertainty in Spatio-temporal Forest Composition Changes Inferred from Fossil Pollen Records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dawson, A.; Paciorek, C. J.; McLachlan, J. S.; Goring, S. J.; Williams, J. W.; Jackson, S. T.

    2014-12-01

    Understanding past compositional changes in vegetation provides insight about ecosystem dynamics in response to changing environments. Past vegetation reconstructions rely predominantly on fossil pollen data from sedimentary lake cores, which acts as a proxy record for the surrounding vegetation. Stratigraphic changes in these pollen records allow us to infer changes in composition and species distributions. Pollen records collected from a network of sites allow us to make inference about the spatio-temporal changes in vegetation over thousands of years. However, the complexity of the relationship between pollen deposits and surrounding vegetation, as well as the spatially sparse set of fossil pollen sites are important sources of uncertainty. In addition, uncertainty arises from the carbon dating and age-depth modelling processes. To reconstruct vegetation composition including uncertainty for the Upper Midwestern USA, we build a Bayesian hierarchical model that links vegetation composition to fossil pollen data via a dispersal model. In the calibration phase, we estimate the relationship between vegetation and pollen for the settlement era using Public Land Survey data and a network of pollen records. In the prediction phase, parameter estimates obtained during the calibration phase are used to estimate latent species distributions and relative abundances over the last 2500 years. We account for additional uncertainty in the pollen records by: allowing expert palynologists to identify pre-settlement pollen samples to be included in our calibration data, and through the incorporation of age uncertainty obtained from the Bayesian age-depth model BACON in our prediction data. Resulting spatio-temporal composition and abundance estimates will be used to improve forecasting capabilities of ecosystem models.

  16. Integrated calibration sphere and calibration step fixture for improved coordinate measurement machine calibration

    DOEpatents

    Clifford, Harry J [Los Alamos, NM

    2011-03-22

    A method and apparatus for mounting a calibration sphere to a calibration fixture for Coordinate Measurement Machine (CMM) calibration and qualification is described, decreasing the time required for such qualification, thus allowing the CMM to be used more productively. A number of embodiments are disclosed that allow for new and retrofit manufacture to perform as integrated calibration sphere and calibration fixture devices. This invention renders unnecessary the removal of a calibration sphere prior to CMM measurement of calibration features on calibration fixtures, thereby greatly reducing the time spent qualifying a CMM.

  17. An early Oligocene fossil demonstrates treeshrews are slowly evolving "living fossils".

    PubMed

    Li, Qiang; Ni, Xijun

    2016-01-14

    Treeshrews are widely considered a "living model" of an ancestral primate, and have long been called "living fossils". Actual fossils of treeshrews, however, are extremely rare. We report a new fossil species of Ptilocercus treeshrew recovered from the early Oligocene (~34 Ma) of China that represents the oldest definitive fossil record of the crown group of treeshrews and nearly doubles the temporal length of their fossil record. The fossil species is strikingly similar to the living Ptilocercus lowii, a species generally recognized as the most plesiomorphic extant treeshrew. It demonstrates that Ptilocercus treeshrews have undergone little evolutionary change in their morphology since the early Oligocene. Morphological comparisons and phylogenetic analysis support the long-standing idea that Ptilocercus treeshrews are morphologically conservative and have probably retained many characters present in the common stock that gave rise to archontans, which include primates, flying lemurs, plesiadapiforms and treeshrews. This discovery provides an exceptional example of slow morphological evolution in a mammalian group over a period of 34 million years. The persistent and stable tropical environment in Southeast Asia through the Cenozoic likely played a critical role in the survival of such a morphologically conservative lineage.

  18. [Raman spectra of fossil dinosaurs from different regions].

    PubMed

    Yang, Qun; Wang, Yi-lin

    2007-12-01

    Raman microscopic spectra in the higher wave number region were obtained from 7 fossil dinosaurs specimens from different regions. The specimens of fossil dinosaurs are different parts of bone. The Raman spectra of fossil dinosaurs indicate the high similarity among peak positions of different fossil dinosaurs; but important differences exist in the spectral peak figures. In the wave number region of 1000-1800 cm(-1) the Raman spectra of the same bone part fossils from different regions are very similar, example similarities between spectra of Lufeing backbone head and Yua nmou backbone head; Lufeng limb bone and Wuding limb bone. There are relations between the same bone part spectra of different fossil dinosaurs. The characteristic does not relate to regions. Raman spectra of fossil dinosaurs cannot be used to distinguish fossil source, although the part of bone can be used as an indicator to narrow the range of possible geographical origins.

  19. Towards the development of a fossil bone geochemical standard: an inter-laboratory study.

    PubMed

    Chavagnac, V; Milton, J A; Green, D R H; Breuer, J; Bruguier, O; Jacob, D E; Jong, T; Kamenov, G D; Le Huray, J; Liu, Y; Palmer, M R; Pourtalès, S; Roduhskin, I; Soldati, A; Trueman, C N; Yuan, H

    2007-09-19

    Ten international laboratories participated in an inter-laboratory comparison of a fossil bone composite with the objective of producing a matrix and structure-matched reference material for studies of the bio-mineralization of ancient fossil bone. We report the major and trace element compositions of the fossil bone composite, using in-situ method as well as various wet chemical digestion techniques. For major element concentrations, the intra-laboratory analytical precision (%RSD(r)) ranges from 7 to 18%, with higher percentages for Ti and K. The %RSD(r) are smaller than the inter-laboratory analytical precision (%RSD(R); <15-30%). Trace element concentrations vary by approximately 5 orders of magnitude (0.1 mg kg(-1) for Th to 10,000 mg kg(-1) for Ba). The intra-laboratory analytical precision %RSD(r) varies between 8 and 45%. The reproducibility values (%RSD(R)) range from 13 to <50%, although extreme value >100% was found for the high field strength elements (Hf, Th, Zr, Nb). The rare earth element (REE) concentrations, which vary over 3 orders of magnitude, have %RSD(r) and %RSD(R) values at 8-15% and 20-32%, respectively. However, the REE patterns (which are very important for paleo-environmental, taphonomic and paleo-oceanographic analyses) are much more consistent. These data suggest that the complex and unpredictable nature of the mineralogical and chemical composition of fossil bone makes it difficult to set-up and calibrate analytical instruments using conventional standards, and may result in non-spectral matrix effects. We propose an analytical protocol that can be employed in future inter-laboratory studies to produce a certified fossil bone geochemical standard.

  20. Separation of fossil resin from northeast China coal

    SciTech Connect

    Xie, H.; Cao, J.; Huang, B.; Zhang, R.Z.; Xia, Q.

    1997-12-31

    Some coalfields in China contain macroscopic fossil resins. These fossil resins have not been recovered commercially. The distribution of fossil resin in coal from northeast China was characterized before recovering it by flotation and gravity separation. The fossil resin particles whose weight accounted for more than 99% of all fossil resin in the sample were larger than 0.125mm. A concentrate product that contained almost 100% fossil resin at a recovery of more than 88% was obtained from a feed containing 1.72% fossil resin using a shaking table followed by float-sink separation with a sodium chloride solution (1.1g/ml). By conventional single stage flotation, a fossil resin concentrate containing 48% fossil resin at a recovery of 95% was obtained from a feed containing 11.4% fossil resin. Adjusting the pH of the slurry with HCl or CaO before flotation did not improve the selectivity of flotation for fossil resin appreciably. Treating the feed with H{sub 2}O{sub 2} solution before flotation increased the grade of the concentrate to a certain extent, but decreased the recovery of fossil resin greatly.

  1. Identification of Common Fossil Organisms for Introductory Geology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Davis, Larry Eugene; Eves, Robert Leo

    1988-01-01

    Provides a format for the identification of fossils when introducing geologic time in the laboratory. Presents an organization of fossils into three major groups based on radial, bilateral, and no apparent symmetry. States that this method reinforces student learning and provides for an orderly approach to fossils. (RT)

  2. GTC Photometric Calibration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    di Cesare, M. A.; Hammersley, P. L.; Rodriguez Espinosa, J. M.

    2006-06-01

    We are currently developing the calibration programme for GTC using techniques similar to the ones use for the space telescope calibration (Hammersley et al. 1998, A&AS, 128, 207; Cohen et al. 1999, AJ, 117, 1864). We are planning to produce a catalogue with calibration stars which are suitable for a 10-m telescope. These sources will be not variable, non binary and do not have infrared excesses if they are to be used in the infrared. The GTC science instruments require photometric calibration between 0.35 and 2.5 microns. The instruments are: OSIRIS (Optical System for Imaging low Resolution Integrated Spectroscopy), ELMER and EMIR (Espectrógrafo Multiobjeto Infrarrojo) and the Acquisition and Guiding boxes (Di Césare, Hammersley, & Rodriguez Espinosa 2005, RevMexAA Ser. Conf., 24, 231). The catalogue will consist of 30 star fields distributed in all of North Hemisphere. We will use fields containing sources over the range 12 to 22 magnitude, and spanning a wide range of spectral types (A to M) for the visible and near infrared. In the poster we will show the method used for selecting these fields and we will present the analysis of the data on the first calibration fields observed.

  3. Polarimetric Palsar Calibration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Touzi, R.; Shimada, M.

    2008-11-01

    Polarimetric PALSAR system parameters are assessed using data sets collected over various calibration sites. The data collected over the Amazonian forest permits validating the zero Faraday rotation hypotheses near the equator. The analysis of the Amazonian forest data and the response of the corner reflectors deployed during the PALSAR acquisitions lead to the conclusion that the antenna is highly isolated (better than -35 dB). Theses results are confirmed using data collected over the Sweden and Ottawa calibration sites. The 5-m height trihedrals deployed in the Sweden calibration site by the Chalmers University of technology permits accurate measurement of antenna parameters, and detection of 2-3 degree Faraday rotation during day acquisition, whereas no Faraday rotation was noted during night acquisition. Small Faraday rotation angles (2-3 degree) have been measured using acquisitions over the DLR Oberpfaffenhofen and the Ottawa calibration sites. The presence of small but still significant Faraday rotation (2-3 degree) induces a CR return at the cross-polarization HV and VH that should not be interpreted as the actual antenna cross-talk. PALSAR antenna is highly isolated (better than -35 dB), and diagonal antenna distortion matrices (with zero cross-talk terms) can be used for accurate calibration of PALSAR polarimetric data.

  4. STIS Calibration Pipeline

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hulbert, S.; Hodge, P.; Lindler, D.; Shaw, R.; Goudfrooij, P.; Katsanis, R.; Keener, S.; McGrath, M.; Bohlin, R.; Baum, S.

    1997-05-01

    Routine calibration of STIS observations in the HST data pipeline is performed by the CALSTIS task. CALSTIS can: subtract the over-scan region and a bias image from CCD observations; remove cosmic ray features from CCD observations; correct global nonlinearities for MAMA observations; subtract a dark image; and, apply flat field corrections. In the case of spectral data, CALSTIS can also: assign a wavelength to each pixel; apply a heliocentric correction to the wavelengths; convert counts to absolute flux; process the automatically generated spectral calibration lamp observations to improve the wavelength solution; rectify two-dimensional (longslit) spectra; subtract interorder and sky background; and, extract one-dimensional spectra. CALSTIS differs in significant ways from the current HST calibration tasks. The new code is written in ANSI C and makes use of a new C interface to IRAF. The input data, reference data, and output calibrated data are all in FITS format, using IMAGE or BINTABLE extensions. Error estimates are computed and include contributions from the reference images. The entire calibration can be performed by one task, but many steps can also be performed individually.

  5. Psychophysical contrast calibration

    PubMed Central

    To, Long; Woods, Russell L; Goldstein, Robert B; Peli, Eli

    2013-01-01

    Electronic displays and computer systems offer numerous advantages for clinical vision testing. Laboratory and clinical measurements of various functions and in particular of (letter) contrast sensitivity require accurately calibrated display contrast. In the laboratory this is achieved using expensive light meters. We developed and evaluated a novel method that uses only psychophysical responses of a person with normal vision to calibrate the luminance contrast of displays for experimental and clinical applications. Our method combines psychophysical techniques (1) for detection (and thus elimination or reduction) of display saturating nonlinearities; (2) for luminance (gamma function) estimation and linearization without use of a photometer; and (3) to measure without a photometer the luminance ratios of the display’s three color channels that are used in a bit-stealing procedure to expand the luminance resolution of the display. Using a photometer we verified that the calibration achieved with this procedure is accurate for both LCD and CRT displays enabling testing of letter contrast sensitivity to 0.5%. Our visual calibration procedure enables clinical, internet and home implementation and calibration verification of electronic contrast testing. PMID:23643843

  6. Calibration Under Uncertainty.

    SciTech Connect

    Swiler, Laura Painton; Trucano, Timothy Guy

    2005-03-01

    This report is a white paper summarizing the literature and different approaches to the problem of calibrating computer model parameters in the face of model uncertainty. Model calibration is often formulated as finding the parameters that minimize the squared difference between the model-computed data (the predicted data) and the actual experimental data. This approach does not allow for explicit treatment of uncertainty or error in the model itself: the model is considered the %22true%22 deterministic representation of reality. While this approach does have utility, it is far from an accurate mathematical treatment of the true model calibration problem in which both the computed data and experimental data have error bars. This year, we examined methods to perform calibration accounting for the error in both the computer model and the data, as well as improving our understanding of its meaning for model predictability. We call this approach Calibration under Uncertainty (CUU). This talk presents our current thinking on CUU. We outline some current approaches in the literature, and discuss the Bayesian approach to CUU in detail.

  7. Research and development entitled smart structures for fossil energy applications

    SciTech Connect

    Claus, R.O.

    1990-12-01

    Two different fiber optic sensors were considered for use in ceramic cross flow filters. The intensity-based sensor was tested with a great degree of success. Even with a computerized data acquisition system, the intensity-based sensor was unable to achieve the resolution of the Fabry-Perot sensor. Another drawback of the intensity sensor is the hysteresis behavior observed over cyclic variation of temperature. We have determined that extrinsic Fabry-Perot fiber optic sensors can be used to measure thermal strains in ceramic cross-flow filters with accuracies of 0.1 {mu}m/m. The single ended approach of the reflective Fabry-Perot sensors is well suited for high thermal strain measurements; the results obtained show that the output of the fiber sensor tracks the temperature changes exactly as expected and shows no noticeable time lag between the measurand and the output signal. Sapphire fibers were manufactured with silica claddings and their spectral attenuation was measured. An intensity based sensor using sapphire fibers was fabricated and its performance calibrated. The success of the Fabry-Perot sensor has proved that such fiber optic sensors are ideally suited for smart structures'' in fossil energy applications. 11 refs., 43 figs.

  8. A phylogeny of Cenozoic macroperforate planktonic foraminifera from fossil data.

    PubMed

    Aze, Tracy; Ezard, Thomas H G; Purvis, Andy; Coxall, Helen K; Stewart, Duncan R M; Wade, Bridget S; Pearson, Paul N

    2011-11-01

    We present a complete phylogeny of macroperforate planktonic foraminifer species of the Cenozoic Era (∼65 million years ago to present). The phylogeny is developed from a large body of palaeontological work that details the evolutionary relationships and stratigraphic (time) distributions of species-level taxa identified from morphology ('morphospecies'). Morphospecies are assigned to morphogroups and ecogroups depending on test morphology and inferred habitat, respectively. Because gradual evolution is well documented in this clade, we have identified many instances of morphospecies intergrading over time, allowing us to eliminate 'pseudospeciation' and 'pseudoextinction' from the record and thereby permit the construction of a more natural phylogeny based on inferred biological lineages. Each cladogenetic event is determined as either budding or bifurcating depending on the pattern of morphological change at the time of branching. This lineage phylogeny provides palaeontologically calibrated ages for each divergence that are entirely independent of molecular data. The tree provides a model system for macroevolutionary studies in the fossil record addressing questions of speciation, extinction, and rates and patterns of evolution.

  9. Diatoms: a fossil fuel of the future.

    PubMed

    Levitan, Orly; Dinamarca, Jorge; Hochman, Gal; Falkowski, Paul G

    2014-03-01

    Long-term global climate change, caused by burning petroleum and other fossil fuels, has motivated an urgent need to develop renewable, carbon-neutral, economically viable alternatives to displace petroleum using existing infrastructure. Algal feedstocks are promising candidate replacements as a 'drop-in' fuel. Here, we focus on a specific algal taxon, diatoms, to become the fossil fuel of the future. We summarize past attempts to obtain suitable diatom strains, propose future directions for their genetic manipulation, and offer biotechnological pathways to improve yield. We calculate that the yields obtained by using diatoms as a production platform are theoretically sufficient to satisfy the total oil consumption of the US, using between 3 and 5% of its land area.

  10. FOSSIL RIDGE WILDERNESS STUDY AREA, COLORADO.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DeWitt, Ed; Kluender, Steven E.

    1984-01-01

    The Fossil Ridge Wilderness Study Area, approximately 20 mi northeast of Gunnison in central Colorado, was studied and its mineral-resource potential assessed. Portions of the study area have substantiated resource potential for gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, molybdenum, uranium, thorium, rare-earth elements, and high-calcium limestone. Much of the area has a probable resource potential for the preceeding commodities as well as for tin. Various other elements are found in anomalous concentrations within the study area, but there is likelihood for their occurrence in amounts sufficient to constitute resources. Exploration, especially for molybdenum, gold, and uranium, has been active in the past and is expected to continue in the future. No potential for fossil fuel resources was identified in this study.

  11. Structural coloration in a fossil feather

    PubMed Central

    Vinther, Jakob; Briggs, Derek E. G.; Clarke, Julia; Mayr, Gerald; Prum, Richard O.

    2010-01-01

    Investigation of feathers from the famous Middle Eocene Messel Oil Shale near Darmstadt, Germany shows that they are preserved as arrays of fossilized melanosomes, the surrounding beta-keratin having degraded. The majority of feathers are preserved as aligned rod-shaped eumelanosomes. In some, however, the barbules of the open pennaceous, distal portion of the feather vane are preserved as a continuous external layer of closely packed melanosomes enclosing loosely aligned melanosomes. This arrangement is similar to the single thin-film nanostructure that generates an iridescent, structurally coloured sheen on the surface of black feathers in many lineages of living birds. This is, to our knowledge, the first evidence of preservation of a colour-producing nanostructure in a fossil feather and confirms the potential for determining colour differences in ancient birds and other dinosaurs. PMID:19710052

  12. Fossil energy waste management. Technology status report

    SciTech Connect

    Bossart, S.J.; Newman, D.A.

    1995-02-01

    This report describes the current status and recent accomplishments of the Fossil Energy Waste Management (FE WM) projects sponsored by the Morgantown Energy Technology Center (METC) of the US Department of Energy (DOE). The primary goal of the Waste Management Program is to identify and develop optimal strategies to manage solid by-products from advanced coal technologies for the purpose of ensuring the competitiveness of advanced coal technologies as a future energy source. The projects in the Fossil Energy Waste Management Program are divided into three types of activities: Waste Characterization, Disposal Technologies, and Utilization Technologies. This technology status report includes a discussion on barriers to increased use of coal by-products. Also, the major technical and nontechnical challenges currently being addressed by the FE WM program are discussed. A bibliography of 96 citations and a list of project contacts is included if the reader is interested in obtaining additional information about the FE WM program.

  13. Association between the p53 codon 72 Arg/Pro polymorphism and hepatocellular carcinoma risk.

    PubMed

    Lv, Long; Wang, Ping; Zhou, Xiaoqing; Sun, Beicheng

    2013-06-01

    Previous studies regarding the association of p53 codon 72 Arg/Pro polymorphism with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) risk have provided conflicting and inconclusive findings. Thus, a meta-analysis of all currently available publications was performed to address this issue. Eleven individual case-control studies involving a total of 2,718 cases and 3,752 controls were identified after a systematic search of the PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Wanfang databases. The strength of the association of p53 codon 72 Arg/Pro polymorphism with HCC risk was estimated by the pooled odds ratio (OR) with its corresponding 95 % confidence interval (95 % CI). Subgroup analyses stratified by ethnicity, source of controls, gender, hepatitis virus infection status, and family history of HCC were also conducted to assess the association. Overall, significantly increased risk of HCC was identified among carriers of the homozygous genotype ProPro (ORProPro vs. ArgArg=1.38 (95 % CI, 1.03-1.85), P OR=0.033; ORProPro vs. ArgArg + ArgPro =1.28 (95 % CI, 1.03-1.59), P OR=0.026). In subgroup analysis by ethnicity, the pooled results suggested that the p53 codon 72 Arg/Pro polymorphism was associated with an increased risk of HCC in Asians and Caucasians (for Asians, ORProPro vs. ArgArg + ArgPro=1.17 (95 % CI, 1.02-1.34), P OR=0.025; for Caucasians, ORProPro vs. ArgArg = 1.65 (95 % CI, 1.07-2.56), P OR=0.025; ORProPro vs. ArgArg + ArgPro=1.74 (95 % CI, 1.14-2.66), P OR=0.010). Subgroup analyses by source of controls and hepatitis virus infection status further demonstrated the significant association, whereas stratification factors involving gender and family history of HCC did not modify the association between p53 codon 72 Arg/Pro polymorphism and HCC risk. This meta-analysis suggests that the p53 codon 72 Arg/Pro polymorphism may play a critical role in the development of HCC, and gender and family history of HCC may not modulate the effect of p53 codon 72 Arg/Pro in HCC risk.

  14. P53 codon 72 Arg/Pro polymorphism and glioma risk: an updated meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    He, Fang; Xia, Yi; Liu, Huafeng; Li, Jin; Wang, Chao

    2013-10-01

    P53 codon 72 Arg/Pro is a C/G variation upstream of the p53 gene on human chromosome 17p13. Many case-control studies have investigated the association between p53 codon 72 Arg/Pro polymorphism and glioma risk but provided inconsistent findings. To better understand the pathogenesis of glioma, we performed the current meta-analysis by pooling data from all available individual studies. According to the inclusion criteria, ten independent publications with 11 case-control studies were included into this meta-analysis. The pooled odds ratio (OR) with 95 % confidence interval (95 % CI) was calculated to estimate the effect of p53 codon 72 Arg/Pro variant on the development of glioma. Overall, no appreciable correlation was observed among the total studies in all gene models (ORPro allele vs. Arg allele = 1.04, 95 % CI = 0.90-1.20, P OR = 0.581; ORPro/Pro vs. Arg/Arg = 0.95, 95 % CI = 0.80-1.14, P OR = 0.614; ORPro/Arg vs. Arg/Arg = 1.01, 95 % CI = 0.79-1.29, P OR = 0.993; ORPro/Arg + Pro/Pro vs. Arg/Arg = 1.03, 95 % CI = 0.82-1.29, P OR = 0.799; ORPro/Pro vs. Arg/Arg + Pro/Arg = 1.02, 95 % CI = 0.86-1.22, P OR = 0.785). In stratified analyses by ethnicity, source of controls, and glioma subtypes, the p53 codon 72 Arg/Pro polymorphism did not alter the risk for glioma in population-based, hospital-based, astrocytoma, and oligodendroglioma studies among Caucasian. Interestingly, the Pro/Pro genotype seemed to be negatively associated with the glioma risk among patients with glioblastoma (ORPro/Pro vs. Arg/Arg = 0.68, 95 % CI = 0.48-0.95, P OR = 0.026). Our study suggests that the polymorphism of p53 codon 72 Arg/Pro may play a protective role in the development of glioblastoma. The relationship of p53 codon 72 Arg/Pro polymorphism with the susceptibility to glioma needs further estimation by more individual studies with high quality across ethnicities.

  15. Adaptation, plant evolution, and the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knoll, A. H.; Niklas, K. J.

    1987-01-01

    The importance of adaptation in determining patterns of evolution has become an important focus of debate in evolutionary biology. As it pertains to paleobotany, the issue is whether or not adaptive evolution mediated by natural selection is sufficient to explain the stratigraphic distributions of taxa and character states observed in the plant fossil record. One means of addressing this question is the functional evaluation of stratigraphic series of plant organs set in the context of paleoenvironmental change and temporal patterns of floral composition within environments. For certain organ systems, quantitative estimates of biophysical performance can be made on the basis of structures preserved in the fossil record. Performance estimates for plants separated in time or space can be compared directly. Implicit in different hypotheses of the forces that shape the evolutionary record (e.g. adaptation, mass extinction, rapid environmental change, chance) are predictions about stratigraphic and paleoenvironmental trends in the efficacy of functional performance. Existing data suggest that following the evolution of a significant structural innovation, adaptation for improved functional performance can be a major determinant of evolutionary changes in plants; however, there are structural and development limits to functional improvement, and once these are reached, the structure in question may no longer figure strongly in selection until and unless a new innovation evolves. The Silurian-Devonian paleobotanical record is consistent with the hypothesis that the succession of lowland floodplain dominants preserved in the fossil record of this interval was determined principally by the repeated evolution of new taxa that rose to ecological importance because of competitive advantages conferred by improved biophysical performance. This does not seem to be equally true for Carboniferous-Jurassic dominants of swamp and lowland floodplain environments. In these cases

  16. Identifying Fossil Bacteria in Martian Materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Westall, F.; McKay, D. S.; Gibson, E. K., Jr.

    1999-01-01

    Within the next decade, robotic missions are going to Mars with the search for evidence for extant and extinct life as at least one of the mission objectives. Moreover, the first Martian samples will be returned to Earth in 2008. It is therefore imperative that we can be certain that we can identify life in Martian rocks. In this paper we will not be discussing extant life but will concentrate on fossil life.

  17. The Cambrian radiation of shelly fossils.

    PubMed

    Rozanov, A Y

    1992-03-01

    One of the most significant events in the history of the organic world was the acquisition by animals of the ability to build a skeleton. This is of special interest because the overwhelming majority of known major groups (phyla) acquired that ability during a very short period (five to seven million years), early in the Cambrian. Recent fossil finds, especially in northern Asia, are adding much detail to our knowledge of this period.

  18. Precambrian ``fossil'' Vermiforma is a tectograph

    SciTech Connect

    Seilacher, A.; Meschede, M.; Bolton, E.W.; Luginsland, H.

    2000-03-01

    Vermiforma antiqua Cloud 1976, once celebrated as the earliest animal fossil of the US, is actually a tectonic artifact. The main argument is that the congruence and equal orientation of multiple patterns on the same bedding plane are incompatible with swaying worm bodies of worm burrows. As shown by analog and numerical simulations, these structures can be explained as tracks of particles that broke out from the base of an overlying turbidite and became rolled between beds during bed-to-bed shearing.

  19. Adaptation, plant evolution, and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Knoll, A H; Niklas, K J

    1987-01-01

    The importance of adaptation in determining patterns of evolution has become an important focus of debate in evolutionary biology. As it pertains to paleobotany, the issue is whether or not adaptive evolution mediated by natural selection is sufficient to explain the stratigraphic distributions of taxa and character states observed in the plant fossil record. One means of addressing this question is the functional evaluation of stratigraphic series of plant organs set in the context of paleoenvironmental change and temporal patterns of floral composition within environments. For certain organ systems, quantitative estimates of biophysical performance can be made on the basis of structures preserved in the fossil record. Performance estimates for plants separated in time or space can be compared directly. Implicit in different hypotheses of the forces that shape the evolutionary record (e.g. adaptation, mass extinction, rapid environmental change, chance) are predictions about stratigraphic and paleoenvironmental trends in the efficacy of functional performance. Existing data suggest that following the evolution of a significant structural innovation, adaptation for improved functional performance can be a major determinant of evolutionary changes in plants; however, there are structural and development limits to functional improvement, and once these are reached, the structure in question may no longer figure strongly in selection until and unless a new innovation evolves. The Silurian-Devonian paleobotanical record is consistent with the hypothesis that the succession of lowland floodplain dominants preserved in the fossil record of this interval was determined principally by the repeated evolution of new taxa that rose to ecological importance because of competitive advantages conferred by improved biophysical performance. This does not seem to be equally true for Carboniferous-Jurassic dominants of swamp and lowland floodplain environments. In these cases

  20. Fossil dust shells around luminous supergiants

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stothers, R.

    1975-01-01

    The observed frequency with which infrared excesses appear in F, G, and K supergiants of luminosity class Ia supports the idea that these excesses arise in a 'fossil' circumstellar dust shell that was formed during a prior M-super-giant phase of evolution. The required leftward evolution of the star on the H-R diagram would then imply that the Ledoux, rather than the Schwarzschild, criterion for convective mixing is the correct criterion to use in stellar evolution calculations.

  1. Calibration of fossil scleraxonian Southern Ocean deep-sea corals for U-series dating

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gutjahr, M.; Vance, D.; Hoffmann, D.; Hillenbrand, C.; Kuhn, G.

    2008-12-01

    The deep Southern Ocean has been pinpointed as candidate reservoir capable of storing the additional respired carbon that was drawn from the atmosphere during the Last Glacial Maximum compared with the present-day. In this context the determination of deep ocean ventilation ages is a commonly applied tool, potentially identifying radiocarbon depletion in glacial deep water and enhanced ocean stratification. In order to derive deep-sea ventilation ages most studies to date have used either radiocarbon age differences between paired planktic and benthic foraminifera samples or coupled U-Th and radiocarbon dates obtained from aragonitic deep-sea corals. Results from both these approaches are, however, as yet very scarce for the Southern Ocean. We present calendar ages for a set of deep-sea scleraxonian corals from the Marie Byrd Seamounts in the Amundsen Sea sector of the Southern Ocean (~123°W, ~69°S, 2500 m to 1430 m water depth) employing the 230Th/U-dating method. The aim of our study is to evaluate whether these calcitic octocorals can be used for ventilation age determinations. Our corals have significantly lower uranium concentrations than aragonitic deep-sea corals, ranging from 80 to 250 ng/g. Most corals of Holocene age reproduced the present-day seawater 234U/238U. Pre-Holocene corals, however, show a systematic enrichment of 234U, leading to slightly elevated deglacial initial 234U/238U and significantly higher 234U/238U for ~MIS5 sub-samples. These corals also appear to grow very slowly, on the order of only few μm/year, making it essential to sample as little coral material as possible for combined 230Th/U- and radiocarbon dating purposes. One coral, sampled at high-resolution in various sections returned ages that scatter around 10 ka BP and the early deglaciation, though several significantly older ages were obtained as well. The present-day (234U/238U) ACT in different sections of this coral is very homogenous (1.155 ± 0.003) and more or less independent of apparent age, suggesting effective preferential 234U diffusion throughout the coral. Strikingly this composition is also higher than the present-day seawater (234U/238U) ACT of 1.147. We show the apparent 230Th/U coral ages and 234U/238U results alongside coral major and trace element ratios obtained by laser ablation along selected transects, to better characterize U diffusion pathways and mechanisms, to identify internal diagenetic alteration rims and to evaluate the presence of coral paleo- surfaces.

  2. Antagonistic relationships between intron content and codon usage bias of genes in three mosquito species: functional and evolutionary implications

    PubMed Central

    Behura, Susanta K; Singh, Brajendra K; Severson, David W

    2013-01-01

    Genome biology of mosquitoes holds potential in developing knowledge-based control strategies against vectorborne diseases such as malaria, dengue, West Nile, and others. Although the genomes of three major vector mosquitoes have been sequenced, attempts to elucidate the relationship between intron and codon usage bias across species in phylogenetic contexts are limited. In this study, we investigated the relationship between intron content and codon bias of orthologous genes among three vector mosquito species. We found an antagonistic relationship between codon usage bias and the intron number of genes in each mosquito species. The pattern is further evident among the intronless and the intron-containing orthologous genes associated with either low or high codon bias among the three species. Furthermore, the covariance between codon bias and intron number has a directional component associated with the species phylogeny when compared with other nonmosquito insects. By applying a maximum likelihood–based continuous regression method, we show that codon bias and intron content of genes vary among the insects in a phylogeny-dependent manner, but with no evidence of adaptive radiation or species-specific adaptation. We discuss the functional and evolutionary significance of antagonistic relationships between intron content and codon bias. PMID:24187589

  3. Insight into pattern of codon biasness and nucleotide base usage in serotonin receptor gene family from different mammalian species.

    PubMed

    Dass, J Febin Prabhu; Sudandiradoss, C

    2012-07-15

    5-HT (5-Hydroxy-tryptamine) or serotonin receptors are found both in central and peripheral nervous system as well as in non-neuronal tissues. In the animal and human nervous system, serotonin produces various functional effects through a variety of membrane bound receptors. In this study, we focus on 5-HT receptor family from different mammals and examined the factors that account for codon and nucleotide usage variation. A total of 110 homologous coding sequences from 11 different mammalian species were analyzed using relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU), correspondence analysis (COA) and hierarchical cluster analysis together with nucleotide base usage frequency of chemically similar amino acid codons. The mean effective number of codon (ENc) value of 37.06 for 5-HT(6) shows very high codon bias within the family and may be due to high selective translational efficiency. The COA and Spearman's rank correlation reveals that the nucleotide compositional mutation bias as the major factors influencing the codon usage in serotonin receptor genes. The hierarchical cluster analysis suggests that gene function is another dominant factor that affects the codon usage bias, while species is a minor factor. Nucleotide base usage was reported using Goldman, Engelman, Stietz (GES) scale reveals the presence of high uracil (>45%) content at functionally important hydrophobic regions. Our in silico approach will certainly help for further investigations on critical inference on evolution, structure, function and gene expression aspects of 5-HT receptors family which are potential antipsychotic drug targets.

  4. New insights into the codon usage patterns of the bactericidal/permeability-increasing (BPI) gene across nine species.

    PubMed

    Qin, Wei-Yun; Gan, Li-Na; Xia, Ri-Wei; Sun, Shou-Yong; Zhu, Guo-Qiang; Wu, Sheng-Long; Bao, Wen-Bin

    2017-03-20

    Bactericidal/permeability-increasing (BPI) protein is a member of a new generation of proteins known as super-antibiotics that are implicated as endotoxin neutralising agents. Non-uniform usage of synonymous codons for a specific amino acid during translation of a protein is known as codon usage bias (CUB). Analysis of CUB and compositional dynamics of coding sequences could contribute to a better understanding of the molecular mechanism and the evolution of a particular gene. In this study, we performed CUB analysis of the complete coding sequences of the BPI gene from nine different species. The codon usage patterns of BPI across different species were found to be influenced by GC bias, particularly GC3s, with a moderate bias in the codon usage of BPI. We found significant similarities in the codon usage patterns in BPI gene among closely related species, such as Sus_scrofa and Bos_taurus. Moreover, we observed evolutionary conservation of the most over-represented codon CUG for the amino acid leucine in the BPI gene across all species. In conclusion, our analysis provides a novel insight into the codon usage patterns of BPI. This information facilitates an improved understanding of the structural, functional and evolutionary significance of BPI gene among species, and provides a theoretical reference for developing antiseptic drug proteins with high efficiency across species.

  5. Expression of varied GFPs in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: codon optimization yields stronger than expected expression and fluorescence intensity

    PubMed Central

    Kaishima, Misato; Ishii, Jun; Matsuno, Toshihide; Fukuda, Nobuo; Kondo, Akihiko

    2016-01-01

    Green fluorescent protein (GFP), which was originally isolated from jellyfish, is a widely used tool in biological research, and homologs from other organisms are available. However, researchers must determine which GFP is the most suitable for a specific host. Here, we expressed GFPs from several sources in codon-optimized and non-codon-optimized forms in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which represents an ideal eukaryotic model. Surprisingly, codon-optimized mWasabi and mNeonGreen, which are typically the brightest GFPs, emitted less green fluorescence than did the other five codon-optimized GFPs tested in S. cerevisiae. Further, commercially available GFPs that have been optimized for mammalian codon usage (e.g., EGFP, AcGFP1 and TagGFP2) unexpectedly exhibited extremely low expression levels in S. cerevisiae. In contrast, codon-optimization of the GFPs for S. cerevisiae markedly increased their expression levels, and the fluorescence intensity of the cells increased by a maximum of 101-fold. Among the tested GFPs, the codon-optimized monomeric mUkG1 from soft coral showed the highest levels of both expression and fluorescence. Finally, the expression of this protein as a fusion-tagged protein successfully improved the reporting system’s ability to sense signal transduction and protein–protein interactions in S. cerevisiae and increased the detection rates of target cells using flow cytometry. PMID:27782154

  6. BATSE spectroscopy detector calibration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Band, D.; Ford, L.; Matteson, J.; Lestrade, J. P.; Teegarden, B.; Schaefer, B.; Cline, T.; Briggs, M.; Paciesas, W.; Pendleton, G.

    1992-01-01

    We describe the channel-to-energy calibration of the Spectroscopy Detectors of the Burst and Transient Source Experiment (BATSE) on the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (GRO). These detectors consist of NaI(TI) crystals viewed by photomultiplier tubes whose output in turn is measured by a pulse height analyzer. The calibration of these detectors has been complicated by frequent gain changes and by nonlinearities specific to the BATSE detectors. Nonlinearities in the light output from the NaI crystal and in the pulse height analyzer are shifted relative to each other by changes in the gain of the photomultiplier tube. We present the analytical model which is the basis of our calibration methodology, and outline how the empirical coefficients in this approach were determined. We also describe the complications peculiar to the Spectroscopy Detectors, and how our understanding of the detectors' operation led us to a solution to these problems.

  7. Calibration Systems Final Report

    SciTech Connect

    Myers, Tanya L.; Broocks, Bryan T.; Phillips, Mark C.

    2006-02-01

    The Calibration Systems project at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is aimed towards developing and demonstrating compact Quantum Cascade (QC) laser-based calibration systems for infrared imaging systems. These on-board systems will improve the calibration technology for passive sensors, which enable stand-off detection for the proliferation or use of weapons of mass destruction, by replacing on-board blackbodies with QC laser-based systems. This alternative technology can minimize the impact on instrument size and weight while improving the quality of instruments for a variety of missions. The potential of replacing flight blackbodies is made feasible by the high output, stability, and repeatability of the QC laser spectral radiance.

  8. TA489A calibrator: SANDUS

    SciTech Connect

    LeBlanc, R.

    1987-08-01

    The TA489A Calibrator, designed to operate in the MA164 Digital Data Acquisition System, is used to calibrate up to 128 analog-to-digital recording channels. The TA489A calibrates using a dc Voltage Source or any of several special calibration modes. Calibration schemes are stored in the TA489A memory and are initiated locally or remotely through a Command Link.

  9. Replacement of fossil fuels by hydrogen

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dahlberg, R.

    The replacement of fossil fuels by solar hydrogen plantations is considered. A model is proposed in which ten plantation families, situated in suitable deserted zones of the world after the year 2000, would generate enough electrical energy to produce solar cells and materials for the construction of ten new plantations within a decade. The technological growth process for identical solar plantation units could be completed about 50 years after construction of the first plantation. All ten plantation families would, by using their electrical energy for the electrolysis of water, generate an amount of hydrogen per year which is four to five times the energy of the world's present annual consumption of oil. This concept envisions the global replacement of fossil fuels by hydrogen within a period consistent with the remaining time span of fossil fuel availability. Storage and transportation of hydrogen would be economical, and the energy produced would not present any environmental problems. Advantages with respect to gains in international cooperation, world peace, and world economy are also discussed.

  10. Exploring macroevolution using modern and fossil data

    PubMed Central

    Benton, Michael J.

    2015-01-01

    Macroevolution, encompassing the deep-time patterns of the origins of modern biodiversity, has been discussed in many contexts. Non-Darwinian models such as macromutations have been proposed as a means of bridging seemingly large gaps in knowledge, or as a means to explain the origin of exquisitely adapted body plans. However, such gaps can be spanned by new fossil finds, and complex, integrated organisms can be shown to have evolved piecemeal. For example, the fossil record between dinosaurs and Archaeopteryx has now filled up with astonishing fossil intermediates that show how the unique plexus of avian adaptations emerged step by step over 60 Myr. New numerical approaches to morphometrics and phylogenetic comparative methods allow palaeontologists and biologists to work together on deep-time questions of evolution, to explore how diversity, morphology and function have changed through time. Patterns are more complex than sometimes expected, with frequent decoupling of species diversity and morphological diversity, pointing to the need for some new generalizations about the processes that lie behind such patterns. PMID:26063844

  11. Exploring macroevolution using modern and fossil data.

    PubMed

    Benton, Michael J

    2015-07-07

    Macroevolution, encompassing the deep-time patterns of the origins of modern biodiversity, has been discussed in many contexts. Non-Darwinian models such as macromutations have been proposed as a means of bridging seemingly large gaps in knowledge, or as a means to explain the origin of exquisitely adapted body plans. However, such gaps can be spanned by new fossil finds, and complex, integrated organisms can be shown to have evolved piecemeal. For example, the fossil record between dinosaurs and Archaeopteryx has now filled up with astonishing fossil intermediates that show how the unique plexus of avian adaptations emerged step by step over 60 Myr. New numerical approaches to morphometrics and phylogenetic comparative methods allow palaeontologists and biologists to work together on deep-time questions of evolution, to explore how diversity, morphology and function have changed through time. Patterns are more complex than sometimes expected, with frequent decoupling of species diversity and morphological diversity, pointing to the need for some new generalizations about the processes that lie behind such patterns.

  12. Tool making, hand morphology and fossil hominins

    PubMed Central

    Marzke, Mary W.

    2013-01-01

    Was stone tool making a factor in the evolution of human hand morphology? Is it possible to find evidence in fossil hominin hands for this capability? These questions are being addressed with increasingly sophisticated studies that are testing two hypotheses; (i) that humans have unique patterns of grip and hand movement capabilities compatible with effective stone tool making and use of the tools and, if this is the case, (ii) that there exist unique patterns of morphology in human hands that are consistent with these capabilities. Comparative analyses of human stone tool behaviours and chimpanzee feeding behaviours have revealed a distinctive set of forceful pinch grips by humans that are effective in the control of stones by one hand during manufacture and use of the tools. Comparative dissections, kinematic analyses and biomechanical studies indicate that humans do have a unique pattern of muscle architecture and joint surface form and functions consistent with the derived capabilities. A major remaining challenge is to identify skeletal features that reflect the full morphological pattern, and therefore may serve as clues to fossil hominin manipulative capabilities. Hominin fossils are evaluated for evidence of patterns of derived human grip and stress-accommodation features. PMID:24101624

  13. Fossil avian eggshell preserves ancient DNA.

    PubMed

    Oskam, Charlotte L; Haile, James; McLay, Emma; Rigby, Paul; Allentoft, Morten E; Olsen, Maia E; Bengtsson, Camilla; Miller, Gifford H; Schwenninger, Jean-Luc; Jacomb, Chris; Walter, Richard; Baynes, Alexander; Dortch, Joe; Parker-Pearson, Michael; Gilbert, M Thomas P; Holdaway, Richard N; Willerslev, Eske; Bunce, Michael

    2010-07-07

    Owing to exceptional biomolecule preservation, fossil avian eggshell has been used extensively in geochronology and palaeodietary studies. Here, we show, to our knowledge, for the first time that fossil eggshell is a previously unrecognized source of ancient DNA (aDNA). We describe the successful isolation and amplification of DNA from fossil eggshell up to 19 ka old. aDNA was successfully characterized from eggshell obtained from New Zealand (extinct moa and ducks), Madagascar (extinct elephant birds) and Australia (emu and owl). Our data demonstrate excellent preservation of the nucleic acids, evidenced by retrieval of both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA from many of the samples. Using confocal microscopy and quantitative PCR, this study critically evaluates approaches to maximize DNA recovery from powdered eggshell. Our quantitative PCR experiments also demonstrate that moa eggshell has approximately 125 times lower bacterial load than bone, making it a highly suitable substrate for high-throughput sequencing approaches. Importantly, the preservation of DNA in Pleistocene eggshell from Australia and Holocene deposits from Madagascar indicates that eggshell is an excellent substrate for the long-term preservation of DNA in warmer climates. The successful recovery of DNA from this substrate has implications in a number of scientific disciplines; most notably archaeology and palaeontology, where genotypes and/or DNA-based species identifications can add significantly to our understanding of diets, environments, past biodiversity and evolutionary processes.

  14. Mutations to Less-Preferred Synonymous Codons in a Highly Expressed Gene of Escherichia coli: Fitness and Epistatic Interactions.

    PubMed

    Hauber, David J; Grogan, Dennis W; DeBry, Ronald W

    2016-01-01

    Codon-tRNA coevolution to maximize protein production has been, until recently, the dominant hypothesis to explain codon-usage bias in highly expressed bacterial genes. Two predictions of this hypothesis are 1) selection is weak; and 2) similar silent replacements at different codons should have similar fitness consequence. We used an allele-replacement strategy to change five specific 3rd-codon-position (silent) sites in the highly expressed Escherichia coli ribosomal protein gene rplQ from the wild type to a less-preferred alternative. We introduced the five mutations within a 10-codon region. Four of the silent sites were chosen to test the second prediction, with a CTG to CTA mutation being introduced at two closely linked leucine codons and an AAA to AAG mutation being introduced at two closely linked lysine codons. We also introduced a fifth silent mutation, a GTG to GTA mutation at a valine codon in the same genic region. We measured the fitness effect of the individual mutations by competing each single-mutant strain against the parental wild-type strain, using a disrupted form of the araA gene as a selectively neutral phenotypic marker to distinguish between strains in direct competition experiments. Three of the silent mutations had a fitness effect of |s| > 0.02, which is contradictory to the prediction that selection will be weak. The two leucine mutations had significantly different fitness effects, as did the two lysine mutations, contradictory to the prediction that similar mutations at different codons should have similar fitness effects. We also constructed a strain carrying all five silent mutations in combination. Its fitness effect was greater than that predicted from the individual fitness values, suggesting that negative synergistic epistasis acts on the combination allele.

  15. Large-scale analysis of conserved rare codon clusters suggests an involvement in co-translational molecular recognition events

    PubMed Central

    Chartier, Matthieu; Gaudreault, Francis; Najmanovich, Rafael

    2012-01-01

    Motivation: An increasing amount of evidence from experimental and computational analysis suggests that rare codon clusters are functionally important for protein activity. Most of the studies on rare codon clusters were performed on a limited number of proteins or protein families. In the present study, we present the Sherlocc program and how it can be used for large scale protein family analysis of evolutionarily conserved rare codon clusters and their relation to protein function and structure. This large-scale analysis was performed using the whole Pfam database covering over 70% of the known protein sequence universe. Our program Sherlocc, detects statistically relevant conserved rare codon clusters and produces a user-friendly HTML output. Results: Statistically significant rare codon clusters were detected in a multitude of Pfam protein families. The most statistically significant rare codon clusters were predominantly identified in N-terminal Pfam families. Many of the longest rare codon clusters are found in membrane-related proteins which are required to interact with other proteins as part of their function, for example in targeting or insertion. We identified some cases where rare codon clusters can play a regulating role in the folding of catalytically important domains. Our results support the existence of a widespread functional role for rare codon clusters across species. Finally, we developed an online filter-based search interface that provides access to Sherlocc results for all Pfam families. Availability: The Sherlocc program and search interface are open access and are available at http://bcb.med.usherbrooke.ca Contact: rafael.najmanovich@usherbrooke.ca Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online. PMID:22467916

  16. Numeral series hidden in the distribution of atomic mass of amino acids to codon domains in the genetic code.

    PubMed

    Wohlin, Åsa

    2015-03-21

    The distribution of codons in the nearly universal genetic code is a long discussed issue. At the atomic level, the numeral series 2x(2) (x=5-0) lies behind electron shells and orbitals. Numeral series appear in formulas for spectral lines of hydrogen. The question here was if some similar scheme could be found in the genetic code. A table of 24 codons was constructed (synonyms counted as one) for 20 amino acids, four of which have two different codons. An atomic mass analysis was performed, built on common isotopes. It was found that a numeral series 5 to 0 with exponent 2/3 times 10(2) revealed detailed congruency with codon-grouped amino acid side-chains, simultaneously with the division on atom kinds, further with main 3rd base groups, backbone chains and with codon-grouped amino acids in relation to their origin from glycolysis or the citrate cycle. Hence, it is proposed that this series in a dynamic way may have guided the selection of amino acids into codon domains. Series with simpler exponents also showed noteworthy correlations with the atomic mass distribution on main codon domains; especially the 2x(2)-series times a factor 16 appeared as a conceivable underlying level, both for the atomic mass and charge distribution. Furthermore, it was found that atomic mass transformations between numeral systems, possibly interpretable as dimension degree steps, connected the atomic mass of codon bases with codon-grouped amino acids and with the exponent 2/3-series in several astonishing ways. Thus, it is suggested that they may be part of a deeper reference system.

  17. Iterative Magnetometer Calibration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sedlak, Joseph

    2006-01-01

    This paper presents an iterative method for three-axis magnetometer (TAM) calibration that makes use of three existing utilities recently incorporated into the attitude ground support system used at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. The method combines attitude-independent and attitude-dependent calibration algorithms with a new spinning spacecraft Kalman filter to solve for biases, scale factors, nonorthogonal corrections to the alignment, and the orthogonal sensor alignment. The method is particularly well-suited to spin-stabilized spacecraft, but may also be useful for three-axis stabilized missions given sufficient data to provide observability.

  18. Consequences of Secondary Calibrations on Divergence Time Estimates

    PubMed Central

    Schenk, John J.

    2016-01-01

    Secondary calibrations (calibrations based on the results of previous molecular dating studies) are commonly applied in divergence time analyses in groups that lack fossil data; however, the consequences of applying secondary calibrations in a relaxed-clock approach are not fully understood. I tested whether applying the posterior estimate from a primary study as a prior distribution in a secondary study results in consistent age and uncertainty estimates. I compared age estimates from simulations with 100 randomly replicated secondary trees. On average, the 95% credible intervals of node ages for secondary estimates were significantly younger and narrower than primary estimates. The primary and secondary age estimates were significantly different in 97% of the replicates after Bonferroni corrections. Greater error in magnitude was associated with deeper than shallower nodes, but the opposite was found when standardized by median node age, and a significant positive relationship was determined between the number of tips/age of secondary trees and the total amount of error. When two secondary calibrated nodes were analyzed, estimates remained significantly different, and although the minimum and median estimates were associated with less error, maximum age estimates and credible interval widths had greater error. The shape of the prior also influenced error, in which applying a normal, rather than uniform, prior distribution resulted in greater error. Secondary calibrations, in summary, lead to a false impression of precision and the distribution of age estimates shift away from those that would be inferred by the primary analysis. These results suggest that secondary calibrations should not be applied as the only source of calibration in divergence time analyses that test time-dependent hypotheses until the additional error associated with secondary calibrations is more properly modeled to take into account increased uncertainty in age estimates. PMID:26824760

  19. [BIG-H3 protein: mutation of codon 124 and corneal amyloidosis].

    PubMed

    Schmitt-Bernard, C-F; Pouliquen, Y; Argilès, A

    2004-05-01

    In 1997, a group of hereditary corneal dystrophies was related to mutations in the TGFBI (BIGH3) gene. Within this group, some corneal dystrophies present particular biochemical features in that they are characterized by corneal amyloid deposition. Contrary to clinical and genetic knowledge, the biochemical characteristics of the encoded protein (Big-h3) and the mechanisms of its amyloid conversion remain unclear. We review the current knowledge on the Big-h3 protein and focus on the behavior of the codon 124 region. We discuss this protein's mechanisms of amyloid conversion from our results and previous reports as well as from other types of amyloidosis. These data provide a better understanding of the putative processes leading to the phenotypic variations linked with their respective codon 124 mutation.

  20. Key for protein coding sequences identification: computer analysis of codon strategy.

    PubMed Central

    Rodier, F; Gabarro-Arpa, J; Ehrlich, R; Reiss, C

    1982-01-01

    The signal qualifying an AUG or GUG as an initiator in mRNAs processed by E. coli ribosomes is not found to be a systematic, literal homology sequence. In contrast, stability analysis reveals that initiators always occur within nucleic acid domains of low stability, for which a high A/U content is observed. Since no aminoacid selection pressure can be detected at N-termini of the proteins, the A/U enrichment results from a biased usage of the code degeneracy. A computer analysis is presented which allows easy detection of the codon strategy. N-terminal codons carry rather systematically A or U in third position, which suggests a mechanism for translation initiation and helps to detect protein coding sequences in sequenced DNA. PMID:7038623

  1. Development of the genetic code: insights from a fungal codon reassignment.

    PubMed

    Moura, Gabriela R; Paredes, João A; Santos, Manuel A S

    2010-01-21

    The high conservation of the genetic code and its fundamental role in genome decoding suggest that its evolution is highly restricted or even frozen. However, various prokaryotic and eukaryotic genetic code alterations, several alternative tRNA-dependent amino acid biosynthesis pathways, regulation of tRNA decoding by diverse nucleoside modifications and recent in vivo incorporation of non-natural amino acids into prokaryotic and eukaryotic proteins, show that the code evolves and is surprisingly flexible. The cellular mechanisms and the proteome buffering capacity that support such evolutionary processes remain unclear. Here we explore the hypothesis that codon misreading and reassignment played fundamental roles in the development of the genetic code and we show how a fungal codon reassignment is enlightening its evolution.

  2. Lack of IRS-1 codon 513 and 972 polymorphism in Pima Indians

    SciTech Connect

    Celi, F.S.; Silver, K.; Walston, J.

    1995-09-01

    Insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1), a 1242 amino acid protein, an endogenous substrate for the insulin receptor tyrosine kinase, mediates many or all of the metabolic actions of insulin. Recently, polymorphism at codons 513 and 972 of the IRS-1 gene resulting in 2 amino acid substitutions that were associated with type II diabetes were found in a Caucasian population. Using allele specific oligonucleotide (ASO) hybridization, we screened 242 diabetic and 190 nondiabetic Pima Indians, a population with a very high prevalence of type II diabetes. Neither of the two mutations was present in either diabetic or nondiabetic subjects. We conclude that polymorphism at codons 513 and 972 of the IRS-1 gene observed in certain Caucasian populations is very rare or absent in Pima Indians. 20 refs., 2 figs., 1 tab.

  3. Traversing the mountaintop: world fossil fuel production to 2050.

    PubMed

    Nehring, Richard

    2009-10-27

    During the past century, fossil fuels--petroleum liquids, natural gas and coal--were the dominant source of world energy production. From 1950 to 2005, fossil fuels provided 85-93% of all energy production. All fossil fuels grew substantially during this period, their combined growth exceeding the increase in world population. This growth, however, was irregular, providing for rapidly growing per capita production from 1950 to 1980, stable per capita production from 1980 to 2000 and rising per capita production again after 2000. During the past half century, growth in fossil fuel production was essentially limited by energy demand. During the next half century, fossil fuel production will be limited primarily by the amount and characteristics of remaining fossil fuel resources. Three possible scenarios--low, medium and high--are developed for the production of each of the fossil fuels to 2050. These scenarios differ primarily by the amount of ultimate resources estimated for each fossil fuel. Total fossil fuel production will continue to grow, but only slowly for the next 15-30 years. The subsequent peak plateau will last for 10-15 years. These production peaks are robust; none of the fossil fuels, even with highly optimistic resource estimates, is projected to keep growing beyond 2050. World fossil fuel production per capita will thus begin an irreversible decline between 2020 and 2030.

  4. Traversing the mountaintop: world fossil fuel production to 2050

    PubMed Central

    Nehring, Richard

    2009-01-01

    During the past century, fossil fuels—petroleum liquids, natural gas and coal—were the dominant source of world energy production. From 1950 to 2005, fossil fuels provided 85–93% of all energy production. All fossil fuels grew substantially during this period, their combined growth exceeding the increase in world population. This growth, however, was irregular, providing for rapidly growing per capita production from 1950 to 1980, stable per capita production from 1980 to 2000 and rising per capita production again after 2000. During the past half century, growth in fossil fuel production was essentially limited by energy demand. During the next half century, fossil fuel production will be limited primarily by the amount and characteristics of remaining fossil fuel resources. Three possible scenarios—low, medium and high—are developed for the production of each of the fossil fuels to 2050. These scenarios differ primarily by the amount of ultimate resources estimated for each fossil fuel. Total fossil fuel production will continue to grow, but only slowly for the next 15–30 years. The subsequent peak plateau will last for 10–15 years. These production peaks are robust; none of the fossil fuels, even with highly optimistic resource estimates, is projected to keep growing beyond 2050. World fossil fuel production per capita will thus begin an irreversible decline between 2020 and 2030. PMID:19770156

  5. Fossil Energy Program semiannual progress report, October 1990--March 1991

    SciTech Connect

    Judkins, R.R.

    1992-07-01

    This report covers progress made during the period October 1, 1990, through March 31, 1991, for research and development projects that contribute to the advancement of various fossil energy technologies. Projects on the Fossil Energy Program are supported by the DOE Office of Fossil Energy, the DOE Morgantown Energy Technology Center, the DOE Pittsburgh Energy Technology Center, the DOE Fossil Energy Clean Coal Technology Program, the DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences, the DOE Fossil Energy Office of Petroleum Reserves, the DOE Fossil Energy Naval Petroleum and Oil Shale Reserves, and the US Agency for International Development. The Fossil, Energy Program organization chart is shown in the appendix. Topics include: alloys, ceramics and composite research and development; corrosion and erosion research; environmental analysis and information systems; coal conversion development; mild gasification product characterization; coal combustion research; strategic petroleum reserve planning and modeling; and coal structure and chemistry.

  6. Distinguishing heat from light in debate over controversial fossils.

    PubMed

    Donoghue, Philip C J; Purnell, Mark A

    2009-02-01

    Fossil organisms offer our only direct insight into how the distinctive body plans of extant organisms were assembled. However, realizing the potential evolutionary significance of fossils can be hampered by controversy over their interpretation. Here, as a guide to evaluating palaeontological debates, we outline the process and pitfalls of fossil interpretation. The physical remains of controversial fossils should be reconstructed before interpreting homologies, and choice of interpretative model should be explicit and justified. Extinct taxa lack characters diagnostic of extant clades because the characters had not yet evolved, because of secondary loss, or because they have rotted away. The latter, if not taken into account, will lead to the spurious assignment of fossils to basally branching clades. Conflicting interpretations of fossils can often be resolved by considering all the steps in the process of anatomical analysis and phylogenetic placement, although we must accept that some fossil organisms are simply too incompletely preserved for their evolutionary significance to be realized.

  7. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging for the study of fossils.

    PubMed

    Giovannetti, Giulio; Guerrini, Andrea; Salvadori, Piero A

    2016-07-01

    Computed tomography (CT) has long been used for investigating palaeontological specimens, as it is a nondestructive technique which avoids the need to dissolve or ionize the fossil sample. However, magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have recently gained ground as analytical tools for examination of palaeontological samples, by nondestructively providing information about the structure and composition of fossils. While MRI techniques are able to reveal the three-dimensional geometry of the trace fossil, MRS can provide information on the chemical composition of the samples. The multidimensional nature of MR (magnetic resonance) signals has potential to provide rich three-dimensional data on the palaeontological specimens and also to help in elucidating paleopathological and paleoecological questions. In this work the verified applications and the emerging uses of MRI and MRS in paleontology are reviewed, with particular attention to fossil spores, fossil plants, ambers, fossil invertebrates, and fossil vertebrate studies.

  8. Aestivation in the fossil record: evidence from ichnology.

    PubMed

    Hembree, Daniel I

    2010-01-01

    Aestivation is a physiological and behavioral response to high temperature or low moisture conditions. Therefore, it is typically not considered to be capable of being preserved in the fossil record. However, most aestivating organisms produce a burrow to protect themselves from the harmful environmental conditions that trigger aestivation. These structures can be preserved in the rock record as trace fossils. While trace fossils are abundant in the continental fossil record, few are definitively associated with aestivation. Interpreting aestivation behavior from fossil burrows requires a detailed examination and interpretation of the surrounding sedimentary rocks and comparisons with taxonomically and ecologically similar extant organisms. Currently, only four types of aestivation structures are recognized in the fossil record: Pleistocene earthworm chambers, Devonian to Cretaceous lungfish burrows, Permian lysorophid burrows, and Permian to Triassic dicynodont burrows. The trace fossil evidence suggests that aestivation evolved independently among continental organisms in several clades during the middle to late Paleozoic.

  9. Mammalian nonsense codons can be cis effectors of nuclear mRNA half-life.

    PubMed Central

    Belgrader, P; Cheng, J; Zhou, X; Stephenson, L S; Maquat, L E

    1994-01-01

    Frameshift and nonsense mutations within the gene for human triosephosphate isomerase (TPI) that generate a nonsense codon within the first three-fourths of the protein coding region have been found to reduce the abundance of the product mRNA that copurifies with nuclei. The cellular process and location of the nonsense codon-mediated reduction have proven difficult to elucidate for technical reasons. We show here, using electron microscopy to judge the purity of isolated nuclei, that the previously established reduction to 25% of the normal mRNA level is evident for nuclei that are free of detectable cytoplasmic contamination. Therefore, the reduction is likely to be characteristic of bona fide nuclear RNA. Fully spliced nuclear mRNA is identified by Northern (RNA) blot hybridization and a reverse transcription-PCR assay as the species that undergoes decay in experiments that used the human c-fos promoter to elicit a burst and subsequent shutoff of TPI gene transcription upon the addition of serum to serum-deprived cells. Finally, the finding that deletion of a 5' splice site of the TPI gene results predominantly but not exclusively in the removal by splicing (i.e., skipping) of the upstream exon as a part of the flanking introns has been used to demonstrate that decay is specific to those mRNA products that maintain the nonsense codon. This result, together with our previous results that implicate translation by ribosomes and charged tRNAs in the decay mechanism, indicate that nonsense codon recognition takes place after splicing and triggers decay solely in cis. The possibility that decay takes place during the process of mRNA export from the nucleus to the cytoplasm is discussed. Images PMID:7969159

  10. [Genetic code: codon bases--the symbols of amino acid synthesis and catabolism pathways].

    PubMed

    Konyshev, V A

    1983-01-01

    The correlations between genetic codes of amino acids and pathways of synthesis and catabolism of carbon backbone of amino acids are considered. Codes of amino acids which are synthesized from oxoacids of glycolysis, the Krebs cycle and glyoxalic cycle via transamination without any additional chemical reactions, are initiated with guanine (alanine, glutamic and aspartic acids, glycine). Codons of amino acids which are formed on the branches of glycolysis at the level of compounds with three carbon atoms, begin with uracil (phenylalanine, serine, leucine, tyrosine, cysteine, tryptophan). Codes of amino acids formed from aspartate begin with adenine (methionine, isoleucine, threonine, asparagine, lysine, serine), while those of the amino acids formed from the compounds with five carbon atoms (glutamic acid and phosphoribosyl pyrophosphate) begin with cytosine (arginine, proline, glutamine, histidine). The second letter of codons is linked to catabolic pathways of amino acids: most of amino acids entering glycolysis and the Krebs cycle through even-numbered carbon compounds, have adenine and uracil at the second position of codes (A-U type); most of amino acids entering the glycolysis and the Krebs cycle via odd-numbered carbon compounds, have codons with guanine and cytidine at the second position (G-C type). The usage of purine and pyrimidine as the third letter of weak codones in most of amino acids is linked to the enthropy of amino acid formation. A hypothesis claiming that the linear genetic code was assembled from the purine and pyrimidine derivatives which have acted as participants of primitive control of amino acid synthesis and catabolism, is suggested.

  11. Translation of CGA codon repeats in yeast involves quality control components and ribosomal protein L1.

    PubMed

    Letzring, Daniel P; Wolf, Andrew S; Brule, Christina E; Grayhack, Elizabeth J

    2013-09-01

    Translation of CGA codon repeats in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is inefficient, resulting in dose-dependent reduction in expression and in production of an mRNA cleavage product, indicative of a stalled ribosome. Here, we use genetics and translation inhibitors to understand how ribosomes respond to CGA repeats. We find that CGA codon repeats result in a truncated polypeptide that is targeted for degradation by Ltn1, an E3 ubiquitin ligase involved in nonstop decay, although deletion of LTN1 does not improve expression downstream from CGA repeats. Expression downstream from CGA codons at residue 318, but not at residue 4, is improved by deletion of either ASC1 or HEL2, previously implicated in inhibition of translation by polybasic sequences. Thus, translation of CGA repeats likely causes ribosomes to stall and exploits known quality control systems. Expression downstream from CGA repeats at amino acid 4 is improved by paromomycin, an aminoglycoside that relaxes decoding specificity. Paromomycin has no effect if native tRNA(Arg(ICG)) is highly expressed, consistent with the idea that failure to efficiently decode CGA codons might occur in part due to rejection of the cognate tRNA(Arg(ICG)). Furthermore, expression downstream from CGA repeats is improved by inactivation of RPL1B, one of two genes encoding the universally conserved ribosomal protein L1. The effects of rpl1b-Δ and of either paromomycin or tRNA(Arg(ICG)) on CGA decoding are additive, suggesting that the rpl1b-Δ mutant suppresses CGA inhibition by means other than increased acceptance of tRNA(Arg(ICG)). Thus, inefficient decoding of CGA likely involves at least two independent defects in translation.

  12. Hepatocellular carcinoma p53 G > T transversions at codon 249: the fingerprint of aflatoxin exposure?

    PubMed

    Lasky, T; Magder, L

    1997-04-01

    The molecular epidemiology of p53 mutations allows the possibility of correlating particular mutations with specific environmental carcinogens and establishing one step in the causal pathway between exposure to carcinogens and the development of cancer. A striking example is the G > T transversion at the third base pair of codon 249 observed in liver cancer patients possibly exposed to high levels of aflatoxins in their agricultural products. In this paper, we describe a systematic review of the literature and access the quality of the available data. We found methodologic limitations in the studies. In particular, the key independent variable, aflatoxin exposure, was not assessed in these studies, with the exception of one study that measured a marker of exposure. Instead, nationality, geographic residence, or geographic site of hospital were used as surrogate markers for exposure. Patients from areas with high aflatoxin levels were more likely to have p53 mutations than were patients from areas with low aflatoxin levels. In the group with p53 mutations, patients from areas with high aflatoxin levels had higher proportions of mutations with codon 249 G > T transversions. The differences in proportions with p53 mutations were significant, as were the differences in proportions of codon 249 G > T transversions among patients with p53 mutations. Aflatoxin may increase the proportion of p53 mutations by causing a single mutation, the codon 249 G > T transversion, thus explaining some of the excess liver cancer associated with aflatoxin exposure. However, it is premature to conclude that p53 mutations are established markers for environmental carcinogens.

  13. Calibrating Communication Competencies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Surges Tatum, Donna

    2016-11-01

    The Many-faceted Rasch measurement model is used in the creation of a diagnostic instrument by which communication competencies can be calibrated, the severity of observers/raters can be determined, the ability of speakers measured, and comparisons made between various groups.

  14. TWSTFT Link Calibration Report

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2015-09-01

    Serrano, G. Brunetti (2013) Relative Calibration of the Time Transfer Link between CERN and LNGS for Precise Neutrino Time of Flight Measurements. Proc...Esteban, M. Pallavicini, Va. Pettiti, C. Plantard, A. Razeto (2012) Measurement of CNGS Muon Neutrinos Speed with Borexino: INRIM and ROA Contribution

  15. Computerized tomography calibrator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Engel, Herbert P. (Inventor)

    1991-01-01

    A set of interchangeable pieces comprising a computerized tomography calibrator, and a method of use thereof, permits focusing of a computerized tomographic (CT) system. The interchangeable pieces include a plurality of nestable, generally planar mother rings, adapted for the receipt of planar inserts of predetermined sizes, and of predetermined material densities. The inserts further define openings therein for receipt of plural sub-inserts. All pieces are of known sizes and densities, permitting the assembling of different configurations of materials of known sizes and combinations of densities, for calibration (i.e., focusing) of a computerized tomographic system through variation of operating variables thereof. Rather than serving as a phanton, which is intended to be representative of a particular workpiece to be tested, the set of interchangeable pieces permits simple and easy standardized calibration of a CT system. The calibrator and its related method of use further includes use of air or of particular fluids for filling various openings, as part of a selected configuration of the set of pieces.

  16. Optical detector calibrator system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Strobel, James P. (Inventor); Moerk, John S. (Inventor); Youngquist, Robert C. (Inventor)

    1996-01-01

    An optical detector calibrator system simulates a source of optical radiation to which a detector to be calibrated is responsive. A light source selected to emit radiation in a range of wavelengths corresponding to the spectral signature of the source is disposed within a housing containing a microprocessor for controlling the light source and other system elements. An adjustable iris and a multiple aperture filter wheel are provided for controlling the intensity of radiation emitted from the housing by the light source to adjust the simulated distance between the light source and the detector to be calibrated. The geared iris has an aperture whose size is adjustable by means of a first stepper motor controlled by the microprocessor. The multiple aperture filter wheel contains neutral density filters of different attenuation levels which are selectively positioned in the path of the emitted radiation by a second stepper motor that is also controlled by the microprocessor. An operator can select a number of detector tests including range, maximum and minimum sensitivity, and basic functionality. During the range test, the geared iris and filter wheel are repeatedly adjusted by the microprocessor as necessary to simulate an incrementally increasing simulated source distance. A light source calibration subsystem is incorporated in the system which insures that the intensity of the light source is maintained at a constant level over time.

  17. Improved Regression Calibration

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Skrondal, Anders; Kuha, Jouni

    2012-01-01

    The likelihood for generalized linear models with covariate measurement error cannot in general be expressed in closed form, which makes maximum likelihood estimation taxing. A popular alternative is regression calibration which is computationally efficient at the cost of inconsistent estimation. We propose an improved regression calibration…

  18. Commodity-Free Calibration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    Commodity-free calibration is a reaction rate calibration technique that does not require the addition of any commodities. This technique is a specific form of the reaction rate technique, where all of the necessary reactants, other than the sample being analyzed, are either inherent in the analyzing system or specifically added or provided to the system for a reason other than calibration. After introduction, the component of interest is exposed to other reactants or flow paths already present in the system. The instrument detector records one of the following to determine the rate of reaction: the increase in the response of the reaction product, a decrease in the signal of the analyte response, or a decrease in the signal from the inherent reactant. With this data, the initial concentration of the analyte is calculated. This type of system can analyze and calibrate simultaneously, reduce the risk of false positives and exposure to toxic vapors, and improve accuracy. Moreover, having an excess of the reactant already present in the system eliminates the need to add commodities, which further reduces cost, logistic problems, and potential contamination. Also, the calculations involved can be simplified by comparison to those of the reaction rate technique. We conducted tests with hypergols as an initial investigation into the feasiblility of the technique.

  19. NVLAP calibration laboratory program

    SciTech Connect

    Cigler, J.L.

    1993-12-31

    This paper presents an overview of the progress up to April 1993 in the development of the Calibration Laboratories Accreditation Program within the framework of the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

  20. Non-AUG start codons responsible for ABO weak blood group alleles on initiation mutant backgrounds

    PubMed Central

    Cid, Emili; Yamamoto, Miyako; Yamamoto, Fumiichiro

    2017-01-01

    Histo-blood group ABO gene polymorphism is crucial in transfusion medicine. We studied the activity and subcellular distribution of ABO gene-encoded A glycosyltransferases with N-terminal truncation. We hypothesized that truncated enzymes starting at internal methionines drove the synthesis of oligosaccharide A antigen in those already described alleles that lack a proper translation initiation codon. Not only we tested the functionality of the mutant transferases by expressing them and assessing their capacity to drive the appearance of A antigen on the cell surface, but we also analyzed their subcellullar localization, which has not been described before. The results highlight the importance of the transmembrane domain because proteins deprived of it are not able to localize properly and deliver substantial amounts of antigen on the cell surface. Truncated proteins with their first amino acid well within the luminal domain are not properly localized and lose their enzymatic activity. Most importantly, we demonstrated that other codons than AUG might be used to start the protein synthesis rather than internal methionines in translation-initiation mutants, explaining the molecular mechanism by which transferases lacking a classical start codon are able to synthesize A/B antigens. PMID:28139731

  1. Codon-based phylogenetics introduces novel flagellar gene markers to oomycete systematics.

    PubMed

    Robideau, Gregg P; Rodrigue, Nicolas; André Lévesque, C

    2014-10-01

    Oomycete systematics has traditionally been reliant on ribosomal RNA and mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase sequences. Here we report the use of two single-copy protein-coding flagellar genes, PF16 and OCM1, in oomycete systematics, showing their utility in phylogenetic reconstruction and species identification. Applying a recently proposed mutation-selection model of codon substitution, the phylogenetic relationships inferred by flagellar genes are largely in agreement with the current views of oomycete evolution, whereas nucleotide- and amino acid-level models produce biologically implausible reconstructions. Interesting parallels exist between the phylogeny inferred from the flagellar genes and zoospore ontology, providing external support for the tree obtained using the codon model. The resolution achieved for species identification is ample using PF16, and quite robust using OCM1, and the described PCR primers are able to amplify both genes for a range of oomycete genera. Altogether, when analyzed with a rich codon substitution model, these flagellar genes provide useful markers for the oomycete molecular toolbox.

  2. Evolution of codon usage in the smallest photosynthetic eukaryotes and their giant viruses.

    PubMed

    Michely, Stephanie; Toulza, Eve; Subirana, Lucie; John, Uwe; Cognat, Valérie; Maréchal-Drouard, Laurence; Grimsley, Nigel; Moreau, Hervé; Piganeau, Gwenaël

    2013-01-01

    Prasinoviruses are among the largest viruses (>200 kb) and encode several hundreds of protein coding genes, including most genes of the DNA replication machinery and several genes involved in transcription and translation, as well as transfer RNAs (tRNAs). They can infect and lyse small eukaryotic planktonic marine green algae, thereby affecting global algal population dynamics. Here, we investigate the causes of codon usage bias (CUB) in one prasinovirus, OtV5, and its host Ostreococcus tauri, during a viral infection using microarray expression data. We show that 1) CUB in the host and in the viral genes increases with expression levels and 2) optimal codons use those tRNAs encoded by the most abundant host tRNA genes, supporting the notion of translational optimization by natural selection. We find evidence that viral tRNA genes complement the host tRNA pool for those viral amino acids whose host tRNAs are in short supply. We further discuss the coevolution of CUB in hosts and prasinoviruses by comparing optimal codons in three evolutionary diverged host-virus-specific pairs whose complete genome sequences are known.

  3. Codon Optimization Significantly Improves the Expression Level of a Keratinase Gene in Pichia pastoris

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Hong; Gao, Jie; He, Jun; Yu, Bing; Zheng, Ping; Huang, Zhiqing; Mao, Xiangbing; Yu, Jie; Han, Guoquan; Chen, Daiwen

    2013-01-01

    The main keratinase (kerA) gene from the Bacillus licheniformis S90 was optimized by two codon optimization strategies and expressed in Pichia pastoris in order to improve the enzyme production compared to the preparations with the native kerA gene. The results showed that the corresponding mutations (synonymous codons) according to the codon bias in Pichia pastoris were successfully introduced into keratinase gene. The highest keratinase activity produced by P. pastoris pPICZαA-kerAwt, pPICZαA-kerAopti1 and pPICZαA-kerAopti2 was 195 U/ml, 324 U/ml and 293 U/ml respectively. In addition, there was no significant difference in biomass concentration, target gene copy numbers and relative mRNA expression levels of every positive strain. The molecular weight of keratinase secreted by recombinant P. pastori was approx. 39 kDa. It was optimally active at pH 7.5 and 50°C. The recombinant keratinase could efficiently degrade both α-keratin (keratin azure) and β-keratin (chicken feather meal). These properties make the P. pastoris pPICZαA-kerAopti1 a suitable candidate for industrial production of keratinases. PMID:23472192

  4. Mismatch repair at stop codons is directed independent of GATC methylation on the Escherichia coli chromosome.

    PubMed

    Sneppen, Kim; Semsey, Szabolcs

    2014-12-05

    The mismatch repair system (MMR) corrects replication errors that escape proofreading. Previous studies on extrachromosomal DNA in Escherichia coli suggested that MMR uses hemimethylated GATC sites to identify the newly synthesized strand. In this work we asked how the distance of GATC sites and their methylation status affect the occurrence of single base substitutions on the E. coli chromosome. As a reporter system we used a lacZ gene containing an early TAA stop codon. We found that occurrence of point mutations at this stop codon is unaffected by GATC sites located more than 115 base pairs away. However, a GATC site located about 50 base pairs away resulted in a decreased mutation rate. This effect was independent of Dam methylation. The reversion rate of the stop codon increased only slightly in dam mutants compared to mutL and mutS mutants. We suggest that unlike on extrachromosomal DNA, GATC methylation is not the only strand discrimination signal for MMR on the E. coli chromosome.

  5. Structural Changes Enable Start Codon Recognition by the Eukaryotic Translation Initiation Complex

    PubMed Central

    Hussain, Tanweer; Llácer, Jose L.; Fernández, Israel S.; Munoz, Antonio; Martin-Marcos, Pilar; Savva, Christos G.; Lorsch, Jon R.; Hinnebusch, Alan G.; Ramakrishnan, V.

    2014-01-01

    Summary During eukaryotic translation initiation, initiator tRNA does not insert fully into the P decoding site on the 40S ribosomal subunit. This conformation (POUT) is compatible with scanning mRNA for the AUG start codon. Base pairing with AUG is thought to promote isomerization to a more stable conformation (PIN) that arrests scanning and promotes dissociation of eIF1 from the 40S subunit. Here, we present a cryoEM reconstruction of a yeast preinitiation complex at 4.0 Å resolution with initiator tRNA in the PIN state, prior to eIF1 release. The structure reveals stabilization of the codon-anticodon duplex by the N-terminal tail of eIF1A, changes in the structure of eIF1 likely instrumental in its subsequent release, and changes in the conformation of eIF2. The mRNA traverses the entire mRNA cleft and makes connections to the regulatory domain of eIF2α, eIF1A, and ribosomal elements that allow recognition of context nucleotides surrounding the AUG codon. PMID:25417110

  6. Mismatch repair at stop codons is directed independent of GATC methylation on the Escherichia coli chromosome

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sneppen, Kim; Semsey, Szabolcs

    2014-12-01

    The mismatch repair system (MMR) corrects replication errors that escape proofreading. Previous studies on extrachromosomal DNA in Escherichia coli suggested that MMR uses hemimethylated GATC sites to identify the newly synthesized strand. In this work we asked how the distance of GATC sites and their methylation status affect the occurrence of single base substitutions on the E. coli chromosome. As a reporter system we used a lacZ gene containing an early TAA stop codon. We found that occurrence of point mutations at this stop codon is unaffected by GATC sites located more than 115 base pairs away. However, a GATC site located about 50 base pairs away resulted in a decreased mutation rate. This effect was independent of Dam methylation. The reversion rate of the stop codon increased only slightly in dam mutants compared to mutL and mutS mutants. We suggest that unlike on extrachromosomal DNA, GATC methylation is not the only strand discrimination signal for MMR on the E. coli chromosome.

  7. Mismatch repair at stop codons is directed independent of GATC methylation on the Escherichia coli chromosome

    PubMed Central

    Sneppen, Kim; Semsey, Szabolcs

    2014-01-01

    The mismatch repair system (MMR) corrects replication errors that escape proofreading. Previous studies on extrachromosomal DNA in Escherichia coli suggested that MMR uses hemimethylated GATC sites to identify the newly synthesized strand. In this work we asked how the distance of GATC sites and their methylation status affect the occurrence of single base substitutions on the E. coli chromosome. As a reporter system we used a lacZ gene containing an early TAA stop codon. We found that occurrence of point mutations at this stop codon is unaffected by GATC sites located more than 115 base pairs away. However, a GATC site located about 50 base pairs away resulted in a decreased mutation rate. This effect was independent of Dam methylation. The reversion rate of the stop codon increased only slightly in dam mutants compared to mutL and mutS mutants. We suggest that unlike on extrachromosomal DNA, GATC methylation is not the only strand discrimination signal for MMR on the E. coli chromosome. PMID:25475788

  8. Enhanced expression of codon optimized Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis antigens in Lactobacillus salivarius

    PubMed Central

    Johnston, Christopher D.; Bannantine, John P.; Govender, Rodney; Endersen, Lorraine; Pletzer, Daniel; Weingart, Helge; Coffey, Aidan; O'Mahony, Jim; Sleator, Roy D.

    2014-01-01

    It is well documented that open reading frames containing high GC content show poor expression in A+T rich hosts. Specifically, G+C-rich codon usage is a limiting factor in heterologous expression of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) proteins using Lactobacillus salivarius. However, re-engineering opening reading frames through synonymous substitutions can offset codon bias and greatly enhance MAP protein production in this host. In this report, we demonstrate that codon-usage manipulation of MAP2121c can enhance the heterologous expression of the major membrane protein (MMP), analogous to the form in which it is produced natively by MAP bacilli. When heterologously over-expressed, antigenic determinants were preserved in synthetic MMP proteins as shown by monoclonal antibody mediated ELISA. Moreover, MMP is a membrane protein in MAP, which is also targeted to the cellular surface of recombinant L. salivarius at levels comparable to MAP. Additionally, we previously engineered MAP3733c (encoding MptD) and show herein that MptD displays the tendency to associate with the cytoplasmic membrane boundary under confocal microscopy and the intracellularly accumulated protein selectively adheres to the MptD-specific bacteriophage fMptD. This work demonstrates there is potential for L. salivarius as a viable antigen delivery vehicle for MAP, which may provide an effective mucosal vaccine against Johne's disease. PMID:25237653

  9. Comparison of two codon optimization strategies enhancing recombinant Sus scrofa lysozyme production in Pichia pastoris.

    PubMed

    Zhu, D; Cai, G; Wu, D; Lu, J

    2015-05-16

    Lysozyme has played an important role in animal feed additive industry, food additive industry and biological engineering. For improving expression efficiency of recombinant lysozyme from Sus scrofa, two genes respectively designed by the most used codon optimization strategies, "one amino acid one codon" and "codon randomization", were synthesized and expressed in Pichia pastoris X—33. At shaking flask level, Sus scrofa lysozyme (SSL) under two conditions had a highest activity of 153.33±10.41 and 538.33±15.18 U/mL after a 5 days induction of 1% methanol, with secreted protein concentration 80.03±1.94 and 239.60±4.16 mg/L, respectively. Compared with the original SSL gene, the expression of optimized SSL gene by the second strategy showed a 2.6 fold higher level, while the first method had no obvious improvement in production. In total secreted protein, the proportions of recombinant SSL encoded by the original gene, first method optimized gene and the second—strategy optimized one were 75.06±0.25%, 74.56±0.14% and 79.00±0.14%, respectively, with the same molecular weight about 18 kDa, optimum acidity pH 6.0 and optimum temperature 35degC.

  10. Recognition of the amber UAG stop codon by release factor RF1

    SciTech Connect

    Korostelev, Andrei; Zhu, Jianyu; Asahara, Haruichi; Noller, Harry F.

    2010-08-23

    We report the crystal structure of a termination complex containing release factor RF1 bound to the 70S ribosome in response to an amber (UAG) codon at 3.6-{angstrom} resolution. The amber codon is recognized in the 30S subunit-decoding centre directly by conserved elements of domain 2 of RF1, including T186 of the PVT motif. Together with earlier structures, the mechanisms of recognition of all three stop codons by release factors RF1 and RF2 can now be described. Our structure confirms that the backbone amide of Q230 of the universally conserved GGQ motif is positioned to contribute directly to the catalysis of the peptidyl-tRNA hydrolysis reaction through stabilization of the leaving group and/or transition state. We also observe synthetic-negative interactions between mutations in the switch loop of RF1 and in helix 69 of 23S rRNA, revealing that these structural features interact functionally in the termination process. These findings are consistent with our proposal that structural rearrangements of RF1 and RF2 are critical to accurate translation termination.

  11. The HCV IRES pseudoknot positions the initiation codon on the 40S ribosomal subunit.

    PubMed

    Berry, Katherine E; Waghray, Shruti; Doudna, Jennifer A

    2010-08-01

    The hepatitis C virus (HCV) genomic RNA contains an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) in its 5' untranslated region, the structure of which is essential for viral protein translation. The IRES includes a predicted pseudoknot interaction near the AUG start codon, but the results of previous studies of its structure have been conflicting. Using mutational analysis coupled with activity and functional assays, we verified the importance of pseudoknot base pairings for IRES-mediated translation and, using 35 mutants, conducted a comprehensive study of the structural tolerance and functional contributions of the pseudoknot. Ribosomal toeprinting experiments show that the entirety of the pseudoknot element positions the initiation codon in the mRNA binding cleft of the 40S ribosomal subunit. Optimal spacing between the pseudoknot and the start site AUG resembles that between the Shine-Dalgarno sequence and the initiation codon in bacterial mRNAs. Finally, we validated the HCV IRES pseudoknot as a potential drug target using antisense 2'-OMe oligonucleotides.

  12. Simplified Vicarious Radiometric Calibration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stanley, Thomas; Ryan, Robert; Holekamp, Kara; Pagnutti, Mary

    2010-01-01

    A measurement-based radiance estimation approach for vicarious radiometric calibration of spaceborne multispectral remote sensing systems has been developed. This simplified process eliminates the use of radiative transfer codes and reduces the number of atmospheric assumptions required to perform sensor calibrations. Like prior approaches, the simplified method involves the collection of ground truth data coincident with the overpass of the remote sensing system being calibrated, but this approach differs from the prior techniques in both the nature of the data collected and the manner in which the data are processed. In traditional vicarious radiometric calibration, ground truth data are gathered using ground-viewing spectroradiometers and one or more sun photometer( s), among other instruments, located at a ground target area. The measured data from the ground-based instruments are used in radiative transfer models to estimate the top-of-atmosphere (TOA) target radiances at the time of satellite overpass. These TOA radiances are compared with the satellite sensor readings to radiometrically calibrate the sensor. Traditional vicarious radiometric calibration methods require that an atmospheric model be defined such that the ground-based observations of solar transmission and diffuse-to-global ratios are in close agreement with the radiative transfer code estimation of these parameters. This process is labor-intensive and complex, and can be prone to errors. The errors can be compounded because of approximations in the model and inaccurate assumptions about the radiative coupling between the atmosphere and the terrain. The errors can increase the uncertainty of the TOA radiance estimates used to perform the radiometric calibration. In comparison, the simplified approach does not use atmospheric radiative transfer models and involves fewer assumptions concerning the radiative transfer properties of the atmosphere. This new technique uses two neighboring uniform

  13. Hawaii energy strategy project 2: Fossil energy review. Task 1: World and regional fossil energy dynamics

    SciTech Connect

    Breazeale, K.; Isaak, D.T.; Yamaguchi, N.; Fridley, D.; Johnson, C.; Long, S.

    1993-12-01

    This report in the Hawaii Energy Strategy Project examines world and regional fossil energy dynamics. The topics of the report include fossil energy characteristics, the world oil industry including reserves, production, consumption, exporters, importers, refining, products and their uses, history and trends in the global oil market and the Asia-Pacific market; world gas industry including reserves, production, consumption, exporters, importers, processing, gas-based products, international gas market and the emerging Asia-Pacific gas market; the world coal industry including reserves, classification and quality, utilization, transportation, pricing, world coal market, Asia-Pacific coal outlook, trends in Europe and the Americas; and environmental trends affecting fossil fuels. 132 figs., 46 tabs.

  14. Mercury CEM Calibration

    SciTech Connect

    John F. Schabron; Joseph F. Rovani; Susan S. Sorini

    2007-03-31

    The Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) which was published in the Federal Register on May 18, 2005, requires that calibration of mercury continuous emissions monitors (CEMs) be performed with NIST-traceable standards. Western Research Institute (WRI) is working closely with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to facilitate the development of the experimental criteria for a NIST traceability protocol for dynamic elemental mercury vapor generators. The traceability protocol will be written by EPA. Traceability will be based on the actual analysis of the output of each calibration unit at several concentration levels ranging from about 2-40 ug/m{sup 3}, and this analysis will be directly traceable to analyses by NIST using isotope dilution inductively coupled plasma/mass spectrometry (ID ICP/MS) through a chain of analyses linking the calibration unit in the power plant to the NIST ID ICP/MS. Prior to this project, NIST did not provide a recommended mercury vapor pressure equation or list mercury vapor pressure in its vapor pressure database. The NIST Physical and Chemical Properties Division in Boulder, Colorado was subcontracted under this project to study the issue in detail and to recommend a mercury vapor pressure equation that the vendors of mercury vapor pressure calibration units can use to calculate the elemental mercury vapor concentration in an equilibrium chamber at a particular temperature. As part of this study, a preliminary evaluation of calibration units from five vendors was made. The work was performed by NIST in Gaithersburg, MD and Joe Rovani from WRI who traveled to NIST as a Visiting Scientist.

  15. Dysaerobic trace fossils and ichnofabrics in the upper Jurassic Kimmeridge Clay of southern England

    SciTech Connect

    Wignall, P.B. )

    1991-06-01

    The trace fossil suite from the Kimmeridge Clay is calibrated against an oxygen gradient derived from previous geochemical, lithological and shelly macrofaunal studies. Several soft-bodied trace markers appear to have tolerated lower oxygen tensions than even the hardiest shelly benthic macrofauna-a common occurrence in both recent and ancient dysaerobic settings. Lowest diversity trace fossil assemblages consist of Astacimorphichnus etchesi (new ichnotaxon), a small endostratal pascichnial trace attributed to pioneering polychaete populations. Ekdale and Masons' (1988) contention that fodinichnia dominate the lowest diversity and lowest oxygen settings is not substantiated as the only example of this feeding strategy, Rhizocorallium irregulare, is encountered in moderately diverse trace fossil assemblages associated with a low diversity shelly macrofauna. Upper dysaerobic conditions are characterized by the development of a surface mixed layer and the consequent destruction of fine lamination. Tiering is only developed under normal oxygen conditions with Chondrites as the deepest trace. In contrast to many previous studies, Chondrites is never found in dysaerobic facies.

  16. Empirical and Bayesian approaches to fossil-only divergence times: A study across three reptile clades

    PubMed Central

    Turner, Alan H.; Pritchard, Adam C.; Matzke, Nicholas J.

    2017-01-01

    Estimating divergence times on phylogenies is critical in paleontological and neontological studies. Chronostratigraphically-constrained fossils are the only direct evidence of absolute timing of species divergence. Strict temporal calibration of fossil-only phylogenies provides minimum divergence estimates, and various methods have been proposed to estimate divergences beyond these minimum values. We explore the utility of simultaneous estimation of tree topology and divergence times using BEAST tip-dating on datasets consisting only of fossils by using relaxed morphological clocks and birth-death tree priors that include serial sampling (BDSS) at a constant rate through time. We compare BEAST results to those from the traditional maximum parsimony (MP) and undated Bayesian inference (BI) methods. Three overlapping datasets were used that span 250 million years of archosauromorph evolution leading to crocodylians. The first dataset focuses on early Sauria (31 taxa, 240 chars.), the second on early Archosauria (76 taxa, 400 chars.) and the third on Crocodyliformes (101 taxa, 340 chars.). For each dataset three time-calibrated trees (timetrees) were calculated: a minimum-age timetree with node ages based on earliest occurrences in the fossil record; a ‘smoothed’ timetree using a range of time added to the root that is then averaged over zero-length internodes; and a tip-dated timetree. Comparisons within datasets show that the smoothed and tip-dated timetrees provide similar estimates. Only near the root node do BEAST estimates fall outside the smoothed timetree range. The BEAST model is not able to overcome limited sampling to correctly estimate divergences considerably older than sampled fossil occurrence dates. Conversely, the smoothed timetrees consistently provide node-ages far older than the strict dates or BEAST estimates for morphologically conservative sister-taxa when they sit on long ghost lineages. In this latter case, the relaxed-clock model appears

  17. Empirical and Bayesian approaches to fossil-only divergence times: A study across three reptile clades.

    PubMed

    Turner, Alan H; Pritchard, Adam C; Matzke, Nicholas J

    2017-01-01

    Estimating divergence times on phylogenies is critical in paleontological and neontological studies. Chronostratigraphically-constrained fossils are the only direct evidence of absolute timing of species divergence. Strict temporal calibration of fossil-only phylogenies provides minimum divergence estimates, and various methods have been proposed to estimate divergences beyond these minimum values. We explore the utility of simultaneous estimation of tree topology and divergence times using BEAST tip-dating on datasets consisting only of fossils by using relaxed morphological clocks and birth-death tree priors that include serial sampling (BDSS) at a constant rate through time. We compare BEAST results to those from the traditional maximum parsimony (MP) and undated Bayesian inference (BI) methods. Three overlapping datasets were used that span 250 million years of archosauromorph evolution leading to crocodylians. The first dataset focuses on early Sauria (31 taxa, 240 chars.), the second on early Archosauria (76 taxa, 400 chars.) and the third on Crocodyliformes (101 taxa, 340 chars.). For each dataset three time-calibrated trees (timetrees) were calculated: a minimum-age timetree with node ages based on earliest occurrences in the fossil record; a 'smoothed' timetree using a range of time added to the root that is then averaged over zero-length internodes; and a tip-dated timetree. Comparisons within datasets show that the smoothed and tip-dated timetrees provide similar estimates. Only near the root node do BEAST estimates fall outside the smoothed timetree range. The BEAST model is not able to overcome limited sampling to correctly estimate divergences considerably older than sampled fossil occurrence dates. Conversely, the smoothed timetrees consistently provide node-ages far older than the strict dates or BEAST estimates for morphologically conservative sister-taxa when they sit on long ghost lineages. In this latter case, the relaxed-clock model appears to

  18. Abstracts: Eighth Annual Conference on Fossil Energy Materials. Fossil Energy Program

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1994-07-01

    Abstracts are presented for about 40 papers. The Fossil Energy Advanced Research and Technology Development Materials program is an integrated materials research activity of the fossil energy coal program, whose objective is to conduct R and D for all advanced coal conversion and utilization technologies. The program is aimed at understanding materials behavior in coal system environments and the development of new materials for improving plant operations and reliability. A generic approach is used for addressing multiple coal technologies; for example, the hot-gas particulate filter development is applicable to pressurized fluidized bed combustion, integrated coal gasification combined-cycle, coal combustion, and indirectly fired combined-cycle systems.

  19. Comparative evaluation of solar, fission, fusion, and fossil energy resources. Part 4: Energy from fossil fuels

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Williams, J. R.

    1974-01-01

    The conversion of fossil-fired power plants now burning oil or gas to burn coal is discussed along with the relaxation of air quality standards and the development of coal gasification processes to insure a continued supply of gas from coal. The location of oil fields, refining areas, natural gas fields, and pipelines in the U.S. is shown. The technologies of modern fossil-fired boilers and gas turbines are defined along with the new technologies of fluid-bed boilers and MHD generators.

  20. Self-catalytic DNA Depurination Underlies Human β-Globin Gene Mutations at Codon 6 That Cause Anemias and Thalassemias*

    PubMed Central

    Alvarez-Dominguez, Juan R.; Amosova, Olga; Fresco, Jacques R.

    2013-01-01

    The human β-globin gene contains an 18-nucleotide coding strand sequence centered at codon 6 and capable of forming a stem-loop structure that can self-catalyze depurination of the 5′G residue of that codon. The resultant apurinic lesion is subject to error-prone repair, consistent with the occurrence about this codon of mutations responsible for 6 anemias and β-thalassemias and additional substitutions without clinical consequences. The 4-residue loop of this stem-loop-forming sequence shows the highest incidence of mutation across the gene. The loop and first stem base pair-forming residues appeared early in the mammalian clade. The other stem-forming segments evolved more recently among primates, thereby conferring self-depurination capacity at codon 6. These observations indicate a conserved molecular mechanism leading to β-globin variants underlying phenotypic diversity and disease. PMID:23457306

  1. Self-catalytic DNA depurination underlies human β-globin gene mutations at codon 6 that cause anemias and thalassemias.

    PubMed

    Alvarez-Dominguez, Juan R; Amosova, Olga; Fresco, Jacques R

    2013-04-19

    The human β-globin gene contains an 18-nucleotide coding strand sequence centered at codon 6 and capable of forming a stem-loop structure that can self-catalyze depurination of the 5'G residue of that codon. The resultant apurinic lesion is subject to error-prone repair, consistent with the occurrence about this codon of mutations responsible for 6 anemias and β-thalassemias and additional substitutions without clinical consequences. The 4-residue loop of this stem-loop-forming sequence shows the highest incidence of mutation across the gene. The loop and first stem base pair-forming residues appeared early in the mammalian clade. The other stem-forming segments evolved more recently among primates, thereby conferring self-depurination capacity at codon 6. These observations indicate a conserved molecular mechanism leading to β-globin variants underlying phenotypic diversity and disease.

  2. XPD codon 312 and 751 polymorphisms, and AFB1 exposure, and hepatocellular carcinoma risk

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Background Genetic polymorphisms in DNA repair genes may influence individual variation in DNA repair capacity, which may be associated with risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) related to the exposure of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1). In this study, we have focused on the polymorphisms of xeroderma pigmentosum complementation group D (XPD) codon 312 and 751 (namely Asp312Asn and Lys751Gln), involved in nucleotide excision repair. Methods We conducted a case-control study including 618 HCC cases and 712 controls to evaluate the associations between these two polymorphisms and HCC risk for Guangxi population by means of TaqMan-PCR and PCR-RFLP analysis. Results We found that individuals featuring the XPD genotypes with codon 751 Gln alleles (namely XPD-LG or XPD-GG) were related to an elevated risk of HCC compared to those with the homozygote of XPD codon 751 Lys alleles [namely XPD-LL, adjusted odds ratios (ORs) were 1.75 and 2.47; 95% confidence interval (CIs) were 1.30-2.37 and 1.62-3.76, respectively]. A gender-specific role was evident that showed an higher risk for women (adjusted OR was 8.58 for XPD-GG) than for men (adjusted OR = 2.90 for XPD-GG). Interestingly, the interactive effects of this polymorphism and AFB1-exposure information showed the codon 751 Gln alleles increase the risk of HCC for individuals facing longer exposure years (Pinteraction = 0.011, OR = 0.85). For example, long-exposure-years (> 48 years) individuals who carried XDP-GG had an adjusted OR of 470.25, whereas long-exposure-years people with XDP-LL were at lower risk (adjusted OR = 149.12). However, we did not find that XPD codon 312 polymorphism was significantly associated with HCC risk. Conclusion These findings suggest that XPD Lys751Gln polymorphism is an important modulator of AFB1 related-HCC development in Guangxi population. PMID:19919686

  3. Alternative Translation Initiation of a Haloarchaeal Serine Protease Transcript Containing Two In-Frame Start Codons

    PubMed Central

    Tang, Wei; Wu, Yufeng; Li, Moran; Wang, Jian; Mei, Sha

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Recent studies have shown that haloarchaea employ leaderless and Shine-Dalgarno (SD)-less mechanisms for translation initiation of leaderless transcripts with a 5′ untranslated region (5′ UTR) of <10 nucleotides (nt) and leadered transcripts with a 5′ UTR of ≥10 nt, respectively. However, whether the two mechanisms can operate on the same naturally occurring haloarchaeal transcript carrying multiple potential start codons is unknown. In this study, the transcript of the sptA gene (encoding an extracellular serine protease of Natrinema sp. strain J7-2) was experimentally determined and found to contain two potential in-frame AUG codons (AUG1 and AUG2) located 5 and 29 nt, respectively, downstream of the transcription start site. Mutational analysis revealed that both AUGs can function as the translation start codon for production of active SptA, although AUG1 is more efficient than AUG2 for translation initiation. Insertion of a stable stem-loop structure between the two AUGs completely abolished initiation at AUG1 but did not affect initiation at AUG2, indicating that AUG2-initiated translation does not involve ribosome scanning from the 5′ end of the transcript. Furthermore, the efficiency of AUG2-initiated translation was not influenced by an upstream SD-like sequence. In addition, both AUG1 and AUG2 contribute to transcript stability, probably by recruiting ribosomes to protect the transcript against degradation. These data suggest that depending on which of two in-frame start codons is used, the sptA transcript can act as either a leaderless or a leadered transcript for SptA production in haloarchaea. IMPORTANCE In eukaryotes and bacteria, alternative translation start sites contribute to proteome complexity and can be used as a functional mechanism to increase translation efficiency. However, little is known about alternative translation initiation in archaea. Our results demonstrate that leaderless and SD-less mechanisms can be used for

  4. Comparative genome sequence analysis of Sulfolobus acidocaldarius and 9 other isolates of its genus for factors influencing codon and amino acid usage.

    PubMed

    Nayak, Kinshuk Chandra

    2013-01-15

    In the present study, major constraints for codon and amino acid usage of Sulfolobus acidocaldarius, Sulfolobus solfataricus, Sulfolobus tokodali, Sulfolobus islandis and 6 other isolates from islandicus species of genus Sulfolobus were investigated. Correspondence analysis revealed high significant correlation between the major trend of synonymous codon usage and gene expression level, as assessed by the "Codon Adaptation Index" (CAI). There is a significant negative correlation between Nc (Effective number of codons) and CAI demonstrating role of codon bias as an important determinant of codon usage. The significant correlation between major trend of synonymous codon usage and GC3s (G+C at third synonymous position) indicated dominant role of mutational bias in codon usage pattern. The result was further supported from SCUO (synonymous codon usage order) analysis. The amino acid usage was found to be significantly influenced by aromaticity and hydrophobicity of proteins. However, translational selection which causes a preference for codons that are most rapidly translated by current tRNA with multiple copy numbers was not found to be highly dominating for all studied isolates. Notably, 26 codons that were found to be optimally used by genes of S. acidocaldarius at higher expression level and its comparative analysis with 9 other isolates may provide some useful clues for further in vivo genetic studies on this genus.

  5. Mercury Calibration System

    SciTech Connect

    John Schabron; Eric Kalberer; Joseph Rovani; Mark Sanderson; Ryan Boysen; William Schuster

    2009-03-11

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Performance Specification 12 in the Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) states that a mercury CEM must be calibrated with National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST)-traceable standards. In early 2009, a NIST traceable standard for elemental mercury CEM calibration still does not exist. Despite the vacature of CAMR by a Federal appeals court in early 2008, a NIST traceable standard is still needed for whatever regulation is implemented in the future. Thermo Fisher is a major vendor providing complete integrated mercury continuous emissions monitoring (CEM) systems to the industry. WRI is participating with EPA, EPRI, NIST, and Thermo Fisher towards the development of the criteria that will be used in the traceability protocols to be issued by EPA. An initial draft of an elemental mercury calibration traceability protocol was distributed for comment to the participating research groups and vendors on a limited basis in early May 2007. In August 2007, EPA issued an interim traceability protocol for elemental mercury calibrators. Various working drafts of the new interim traceability protocols were distributed in late 2008 and early 2009 to participants in the Mercury Standards Working Committee project. The protocols include sections on qualification and certification. The qualification section describes in general terms tests that must be conducted by the calibrator vendors to demonstrate that their calibration equipment meets the minimum requirements to be established by EPA for use in CAMR monitoring. Variables to be examined include linearity, ambient temperature, back pressure, ambient pressure, line voltage, and effects of shipping. None of the procedures were described in detail in the draft interim documents; however they describe what EPA would like to eventually develop. WRI is providing the data and results to EPA for use in developing revised experimental procedures and realistic acceptance criteria based on

  6. HER2 codon 655 polymorphism and breast cancer: results from kin-cohort and case-control analyses.

    PubMed

    Millikan, Robert C; Hummer, Amanda J; Wolff, Mary S; Hishida, Asahi; Begg, Colin B

    2005-02-01

    Several published epidemiologic studies show increased breast cancer risk for carriers of the Val-allele at codon 655 of the HER2 gene. We conducted additional analyses using data from three studies, including case-control analyses stratified on age and kin-cohort analyses using relatives of cases and controls. The results provide additional evidence that HER2 codon 655 genotype may predispose to early-onset breast cancer.

  7. Comparing amber fossil assemblages across the Cenozoic

    PubMed Central

    Penney, David; Langan, A. Mark

    2006-01-01

    To justify faunistic comparisons of ambers that differ botanically, geographically and by age, we need to determine that resins sampled uniformly. Our pluralistic approach, analysing size distributions of 671 fossilized spider species from different behavioural guilds, demonstrates that ecological information about the communities of two well-studied ambers is retained. Several lines of evidence show that greater structural complexity of Baltic compared to Dominican amber trees explains the presence of larger web-spinners. No size differences occur in active hunters. Consequently, we demonstrate for the first time that resins were trapping organisms uniformly and that comparisons of amber palaeoecosystem structure across deep time are possible. PMID:17148379

  8. Recent developments in biodesulfurization of fossil fuels.

    PubMed

    Xu, Ping; Feng, Jinhui; Yu, Bo; Li, Fuli; Ma, Cuiqing

    2009-01-01

    The emission of sulfur oxides can have adverse effects on the environment. Biodesulfurization of fossil fuels is attracting more and more attention because such a bioprocess is environmentally friendly. Some techniques of desulfurization have been used or studied to meet the stricter limitation on sulfur content in China. Recent advances have demonstrated the mechanism and developments for biodesulfurization of gasoline, diesel and crude oils by free cells or immobilized cells. Genetic technology was also used to improve sulfur removal efficiencies. In this review, we summarize recent progress mainly in China on petroleum biodesulfurization.

  9. Comparing amber fossil assemblages across the Cenozoic.

    PubMed

    Penney, David; Langan, A Mark

    2006-06-22

    To justify faunistic comparisons of ambers that differ botanically, geographically and by age, we need to determine that resins sampled uniformly. Our pluralistic approach, analysing size distributions of 671 fossilized spider species from different behavioural guilds, demonstrates that ecological information about the communities of two well-studied ambers is retained. Several lines of evidence show that greater structural complexity of Baltic compared to Dominican amber trees explains the presence of larger web-spinners. No size differences occur in active hunters. Consequently, we demonstrate for the first time that resins were trapping organisms uniformly and that comparisons of amber palaeoecosystem structure across deep time are possible.

  10. Atmospheric CO2 from fossil plant cuticles.

    PubMed

    Kerp, Hans

    2002-01-03

    Plants respond to changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels by regulating the number of stomata in their leaves. In his reconstruction of a continuous, 300-million-year record of atmospheric CO2, Retallack bases his curve on stomatal counts of fossil plant cuticles taken from published micrographs. However, the preservation of cuticles from Permian times is generally too fragmentary for the stomatal index to be reliably determined, the micrographs used could have biased the results, and there are important errors in the supplementary data - all of which cast doubt on the Permian part of Retallack's record.

  11. Fossil Diatoms in a New Carbonaceous Meteorite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wickramasinghe, N. C.; Wallis, J.; Wallis, D. H.; Samaranayake, Anil

    2013-01-01

    We report the discovery for the first time of diatom frustules in a carbonaceous meteorite that fell in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka on 29 December 2012. Contamination is excluded by the circumstance that the elemental abundances within the structures match closely with those of the surrounding matrix. There is also evidence of structures morphologically similar to red rain cells that may have contributed to the episode of red rain that followed within days of the meteorite fall. The new data on "fossil" diatoms provide strong evidence to support the theory of cometary panspermia.

  12. Modeling of advanced fossil fuel power plants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zabihian, Farshid

    The first part of this thesis deals with greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fossil fuel-fired power stations. The GHG emission estimation from fossil fuel power generation industry signifies that emissions from this industry can be significantly reduced by fuel switching and adaption of advanced power generation technologies. In the second part of the thesis, steady-state models of some of the advanced fossil fuel power generation technologies are presented. The impacts of various parameters on the solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) overpotentials and outputs are investigated. The detail analyses of operation of the hybrid SOFC-gas turbine (GT) cycle when fuelled with methane and syngas demonstrate that the efficiencies of the cycles with and without anode exhaust recirculation are close, but the specific power of the former is much higher. The parametric analysis of the performance of the hybrid SOFC-GT cycle indicates that increasing the system operating pressure and SOFC operating temperature and fuel utilization factor improves cycle efficiency, but the effects of the increasing SOFC current density and turbine inlet temperature are not favourable. The analysis of the operation of the system when fuelled with a wide range of fuel types demonstrates that the hybrid SOFC-GT cycle efficiency can be between 59% and 75%, depending on the inlet fuel type. Then, the system performance is investigated when methane as a reference fuel is replaced with various species that can be found in the fuel, i.e., H2, CO2, CO, and N 2. The results point out that influence of various species can be significant and different for each case. The experimental and numerical analyses of a biodiesel fuelled micro gas turbine indicate that fuel switching from petrodiesel to biodiesel can influence operational parameters of the system. The modeling results of gas turbine-based power plants signify that relatively simple models can predict plant performance with acceptable accuracy. The unique

  13. The Quaternary fossil-pollen record and global change

    SciTech Connect

    Grimm, E.C. . Research and Collections Center)

    1993-03-01

    Fossil pollen provide one of the most valuable records of vegetation and climate change during the recent geological past. Advantages of the fossil-pollen record are that deposits containing fossil pollen are widespread, especially in areas having natural lakes, that fossil pollen occurs in continuous stratigraphic sequences spanning millennia, and that fossil pollen occurs in quantitative assemblages permitting a multivariate approach for reconstructing past vegetation and climates. Because of stratigraphic continuity, fossil pollen records climate cycles on a wide range of scales, from annual to the 100 ka Milankovitch cycles. Receiving particular emphasis recently are decadal to century scale changes, possible from the sediments of varved lakes, and late Pleistocene events on a 5--10 ka scale possibly correlating with the Heinrich events in the North Atlantic marine record or the Dansgaard-Oeschger events in the Greenland ice-core record. Researchers have long reconstructed vegetation and climate by qualitative interpretation of the fossil-pollen record. Recently quantitative interpretation has developed with the aid of large fossil-pollen databases and sophisticated numerical models. In addition, fossil pollen are important climate proxy data for validating General Circulation Models, which are used for predicting the possible magnitude future climate change. Fossil-pollen data also contribute to an understanding of ecological issues associated with global climate change, including questions of how and how rapidly ecosystems might respond to abrupt climate change.

  14. Evaluation of Codon Biology in Citrus and Poncirus trifoliata Based on Genomic Features and Frame Corrected Expressed Sequence Tags

    PubMed Central

    Ahmad, Touqeer; Sablok, Gaurav; Tatarinova, Tatiana V.; Xu, Qiang; Deng, Xiu-Xin; Guo, Wen-Wu

    2013-01-01

    Citrus, as one of the globally important fruit trees, has been an object of interest for understanding genetics and evolutionary process in fruit crops. Meta-analyses of 19 Citrus species, including 4 globally and economically important Citrus sinensis, Citrus clementina, Citrus reticulata, and 1 Citrus relative Poncirus trifoliata, were performed. We observed that codons ending with A- or T- at the wobble position were preferred in contrast to C- or G- ending codons, indicating a close association with AT richness of Citrus species and P. trifoliata. The present study postulates a large repertoire of a set of optimal codons for the Citrus genus and P. trifoliata and demonstrates that GCT and GGT are evolutionary conserved optimal codons. Our observation suggested that mutational bias is the dominating force in shaping the codon usage bias (CUB) in Citrus and P. trifoliata. Correspondence analysis (COA) revealed that the principal axis [axis 1; COA/relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU)] contributes only a minor portion (∼10.96%) of the recorded variance. In all analysed species, except P. trifoliata, Gravy and aromaticity played minor roles in resolving CUB. Compositional constraints were found to be strongly associated with the amino acid signatures in Citrus species and P. trifoliata. Our present analysis postulates compositional constraints in Citrus species and P. trifoliata and plausible role of the stress with GC3 and coevolution pattern of amino acid. PMID:23315666

  15. Synonymous codon bias and functional constraint on GC3-related DNA backbone dynamics in the prokaryotic nucleoid

    PubMed Central

    Babbitt, Gregory A.; Alawad, Mohammed A.; Schulze, Katharina V.; Hudson, André O.

    2014-01-01

    While mRNA stability has been demonstrated to control rates of translation, generating both global and local synonymous codon biases in many unicellular organisms, this explanation cannot adequately explain why codon bias strongly tracks neighboring intergene GC content; suggesting that structural dynamics of DNA might also influence codon choice. Because minor groove width is highly governed by 3-base periodicity in GC, the existence of triplet-based codons might imply a functional role for the optimization of local DNA molecular dynamics via GC content at synonymous sites (≈GC3). We confirm a strong association between GC3-related intrinsic DNA flexibility and codon bias across 24 different prokaryotic multiple whole-genome alignments. We develop a novel test of natural selection targeting synonymous sites and demonstrate that GC3-related DNA backbone dynamics have been subject to moderate selective pressure, perhaps contributing to our observation that many genes possess extreme DNA backbone dynamics for their given protein space. This dual function of codons may impose universal functional constraints affecting the evolution of synonymous and non-synonymous sites. We propose that synonymous sites may have evolved as an ‘accessory’ during an early expansion of a primordial genetic code, allowing for multiplexed protein coding and structural dynamic information within the same molecular context. PMID:25200075

  16. Synonymous codon bias and functional constraint on GC3-related DNA backbone dynamics in the prokaryotic nucleoid.

    PubMed

    Babbitt, Gregory A; Alawad, Mohammed A; Schulze, Katharina V; Hudson, André O

    2014-01-01

    While mRNA stability has been demonstrated to control rates of translation, generating both global and local synonymous codon biases in many unicellular organisms, this explanation cannot adequately explain why codon bias strongly tracks neighboring intergene GC content; suggesting that structural dynamics of DNA might also influence codon choice. Because minor groove width is highly governed by 3-base periodicity in GC, the existence of triplet-based codons might imply a functional role for the optimization of local DNA molecular dynamics via GC content at synonymous sites (≈GC3). We confirm a strong association between GC3-related intrinsic DNA flexibility and codon bias across 24 different prokaryotic multiple whole-genome alignments. We develop a novel test of natural selection targeting synonymous sites and demonstrate that GC3-related DNA backbone dynamics have been subject to moderate selective pressure, perhaps contributing to our observation that many genes possess extreme DNA backbone dynamics for their given protein space. This dual function of codons may impose universal functional constraints affecting the evolution of synonymous and non-synonymous sites. We propose that synonymous sites may have evolved as an 'accessory' during an early expansion of a primordial genetic code, allowing for multiplexed protein coding and structural dynamic information within the same molecular context.

  17. Evaluation of codon biology in citrus and Poncirus trifoliata based on genomic features and frame corrected expressed sequence tags.

    PubMed

    Ahmad, Touqeer; Sablok, Gaurav; Tatarinova, Tatiana V; Xu, Qiang; Deng, Xiu-Xin; Guo, Wen-Wu

    2013-04-01

    Citrus, as one of the globally important fruit trees, has been an object of interest for understanding genetics and evolutionary process in fruit crops. Meta-analyses of 19 Citrus species, including 4 globally and economically important Citrus sinensis, Citrus clementina, Citrus reticulata, and 1 Citrus relative Poncirus trifoliata, were performed. We observed that codons ending with A- or T- at the wobble position were preferred in contrast to C- or G- ending codons, indicating a close association with AT richness of Citrus species and P. trifoliata. The present study postulates a large repertoire of a set of optimal codons for the Citrus genus and P. trifoliata and demonstrates that GCT and GGT are evolutionary conserved optimal codons. Our observation suggested that mutational bias is the dominating force in shaping the codon usage bias (CUB) in Citrus and P. trifoliata. Correspondence analysis (COA) revealed that the principal axis [axis 1; COA/relative synonymous codon usage (RSCU)] contributes only a minor portion (∼10.96%) of the recorded variance. In all analysed species, except P. trifoliata, Gravy and aromaticity played minor roles in resolving CUB. Compositional constraints were found to be strongly associated with the amino acid signatures in Citrus species and P. trifoliata. Our present analysis postulates compositional constraints in Citrus species and P. trifoliata and plausible role of the stress with GC3 and coevolution pattern of amino acid.

  18. Stop codons in the hepatitis B surface proteins are enriched during antiviral therapy and are associated with host cell apoptosis.

    PubMed

    Colledge, Danielle; Soppe, Sally; Yuen, Lilly; Selleck, Lucy; Walsh, Renae; Locarnini, Stephen; Warner, Nadia

    2017-01-15

    Premature stop codons in the hepatitis B virus (HBV) surface protein can be associated with nucleos(t)ide analogue resistance due to overlap of the HBV surface and polymerase genes. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of the replication of three common surface stop codon variants on the hepatocyte. Cell lines were transfected with infectious HBV clones encoding surface stop codons rtM204I/sW196*, rtA181T/sW172*, rtV191I/sW182*, and a panel of substitutions in the surface proteins. HBsAg was measured by Western blotting. Proliferation and apoptosis were measured using flow cytometry. All three surface stop codon variants were defective in HBsAg secretion. Cells transfected with these variants were less proliferative and had higher levels of apoptosis than those transfected with variants that did not encode surface stop codons. The most cytopathic variant was rtM204I/sW196*. Replication of HBV encoding surface stop codons was toxic to the cell and promoted apoptosis, exacerbating disease progression.

  19. Accuracy of initial codon selection by aminoacyl-tRNAs on the mRNA-programmed bacterial ribosome

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Jingji; Ieong, Ka-Weng; Johansson, Magnus; Ehrenberg, Måns

    2015-01-01

    We used a cell-free system with pure Escherichia coli components to study initial codon selection of aminoacyl-tRNAs in ternary complex with elongation factor Tu and GTP on messenger RNA-programmed ribosomes. We took advantage of the universal rate-accuracy trade-off for all enzymatic selections to determine how the efficiency of initial codon readings decreased linearly toward zero as the accuracy of discrimination against near-cognate and wobble codon readings increased toward the maximal asymptote, the d value. We report data on the rate-accuracy variation for 7 cognate, 7 wobble, and 56 near-cognate codon readings comprising about 15% of the genetic code. Their d values varied about 400-fold in the 200–80,000 range depending on type of mismatch, mismatch position in the codon, and tRNA isoacceptor type. We identified error hot spots (d = 200) for U:G misreading in second and U:U or G:A misreading in third codon position by His-tRNAHis and, as also seen in vivo, Glu-tRNAGlu. We suggest that the proofreading mechanism has evolved to attenuate error hot spots in initial selection such as those found here. PMID:26195797

  20. Accuracy of initial codon selection by aminoacyl-tRNAs on the mRNA-programmed bacterial ribosome.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jingji; Ieong, Ka-Weng; Johansson, Magnus; Ehrenberg, Måns

    2015-08-04

    We used a cell-free system with pure Escherichia coli components to study initial codon selection of aminoacyl-tRNAs in ternary complex with elongation factor Tu and GTP on messenger RNA-programmed ribosomes. We took advantage of the universal rate-accuracy trade-off for all enzymatic selections to determine how the efficiency of initial codon readings decreased linearly toward zero as the accuracy of discrimination against near-cognate and wobble codon readings increased toward the maximal asymptote, the d value. We report data on the rate-accuracy variation for 7 cognate, 7 wobble, and 56 near-cognate codon readings comprising about 15% of the genetic code. Their d values varied about 400-fold in the 200-80,000 range depending on type of mismatch, mismatch position in the codon, and tRNA isoacceptor type. We identified error hot spots (d = 200) for U:G misreading in second and U:U or G:A misreading in third codon position by His-tRNA(His) and, as also seen in vivo, Glu-tRNA(Glu). We suggest that the proofreading mechanism has evolved to attenuate error hot spots in initial selection such as those found here.

  1. Genome-wide survey of codons under diversifying selection in a highly recombining bacterial species, Helicobacter pylori

    PubMed Central

    Yahara, Koji; Furuta, Yoshikazu; Morimoto, Shinpei; Kikutake, Chie; Komukai, Sho; Matelska, Dorota; Dunin-Horkawicz, Stanisław; Bujnicki, Janusz M.; Uchiyama, Ikuo; Kobayashi, Ichizo

    2016-01-01

    Selection has been a central issue in biology in eukaryotes as well as prokaryotes. Inference of selection in recombining bacterial species, compared with clonal ones, has been a challenge. It is not known how codons under diversifying selection are distributed along the chromosome or among functional categories or how frequently such codons are subject to mutual homologous recombination. Here, we explored these questions by analysing genes present in >90% among 29 genomes of Helicobacter pylori, one of the bacterial species with the highest mutation and recombination rates. By a method for recombining sequences, we identified codons under diversifying selection (dN/dS > 1), which were widely distributed and accounted for ∼0.2% of all the codons of the genome. The codons were enriched in genes of host interaction/cell surface and genome maintenance (DNA replication, recombination, repair, and restriction modification system). The encoded amino acid residues were sometimes found adjacent to critical catalytic/binding residues in protein structures. Furthermore, by estimating the intensity of homologous recombination at a single nucleotide level, we found that these codons appear to be more frequently subject to recombination. We expect that the present study provides a new approach to population genomics of selection in recombining prokaryotes. PMID:26961370

  2. Origin of noncoding DNA sequences: molecular fossils of genome evolution.

    PubMed

    Naora, H; Miyahara, K; Curnow, R N

    1987-09-01

    The total amount of noncoding sequences on chromosomes of contemporary organisms varies significantly from species to species. We propose a hypothesis for the origin of these noncoding sequences that assumes that (i) an approximately equal to 0.55-kilobase (kb)-long reading frame composed the primordial gene and (ii) a 20-kb-long single-stranded polynucleotide is the longest molecule (as a genome) that was polymerized at random and without a specific template in the primordial soup/cell. The statistical distribution of stop codons allows examination of the probability of generating reading frames of approximately equal to 0.55 kb in this primordial polynucleotide. This analysis reveals that with three stop codons, a run of at least 0.55-kb equivalent length of nonstop codons would occur in 4.6% of 20-kb-long polynucleotide molecules. We attempt to estimate the total amount of noncoding sequences that would be present on the chromosomes of contemporary species assuming that present-day chromosomes retain the prototype primordial genome structure. Theoretical estimates thus obtained for most eukaryotes do not differ significantly from those reported for these specific organisms, with only a few exceptions. Furthermore, analysis of possible stop-codon distributions suggests that life on earth would not exist, at least in its present form, had two or four stop codons been selected early in evolution.

  3. Phase calibration generator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sigman, E. H.

    1988-01-01

    A phase calibration system was developed for the Deep Space Stations to generate reference microwave comb tones which are mixed in with signals received by the antenna. These reference tones are used to remove drifts of the station's receiving system from the detected data. This phase calibration system includes a cable stabilizer which transfers a 20 MHz reference signal from the control room to the antenna cone. The cable stabilizer compensates for delay changes in the long cable which connects its control room subassembly to its antenna cone subassembly in such a way that the 20 MHz is transferred to the cone with no significant degradation of the hydrogen maser atomic clock stability. The 20 MHz reference is used by the comb generator and is also available for use as a reference for receiver LO's in the cone.

  4. Pipeline Calibration for STIS

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hodge, P. E.; Hulbert, S. J.; Lindler, D.; Busko, I.; Hsu, J.-C.; Baum, S.; McGrath, M.; Goudfrooij, P.; Shaw, R.; Katsanis, R.; Keener, S.; Bohlin, R.

    The CALSTIS program for calibration of Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph data in the OPUS pipeline differs in several significant ways from calibration for earlier HST instruments, such as the use of FITS format, computation of error estimates, and association of related exposures. Several steps are now done in the pipeline that previously had to be done off-line by the user, such as cosmic ray rejection and extraction of 1-D spectra. Although the program is linked with IRAF for image and table I/O, it is written in ANSI C rather than SPP, which should make the code more accessible. FITS extension I/O makes use of the new IRAF FITS kernel for images and the HEASARC FITSIO package for tables.

  5. MIRO Calibration Switch Mechanism

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Suchman, Jason; Salinas, Yuki; Kubo, Holly

    2001-01-01

    The Jet Propulsion Laboratory has designed, analyzed, built, and tested a calibration switch mechanism for the MIRO instrument on the ROSETTA spacecraft. MIRO is the Microwave Instrument for the Rosetta Orbiter; this instrument hopes to investigate the origin of the solar system by studying the origin of comets. Specifically, the instrument will be the first to use submillimeter and millimeter wave heterodyne receivers to remotely examine the P-54 Wirtanen comet. In order to calibrate the instrument, it needs to view a hot and cold target. The purpose of the mechanism is to divert the instrument's field of view from the hot target, to the cold target, and then back into space. This cycle is to be repeated every 30 minutes for the duration of the 1.5 year mission. The paper describes the development of the mechanism, as well as analysis and testing techniques.

  6. Calibrated vapor generator source

    DOEpatents

    Davies, J.P.; Larson, R.A.; Goodrich, L.D.; Hall, H.J.; Stoddard, B.D.; Davis, S.G.; Kaser, T.G.; Conrad, F.J.

    1995-09-26

    A portable vapor generator is disclosed that can provide a controlled source of chemical vapors, such as, narcotic or explosive vapors. This source can be used to test and calibrate various types of vapor detection systems by providing a known amount of vapors to the system. The vapor generator is calibrated using a reference ion mobility spectrometer. A method of providing this vapor is described, as follows: explosive or narcotic is deposited on quartz wool, placed in a chamber that can be heated or cooled (depending on the vapor pressure of the material) to control the concentration of vapors in the reservoir. A controlled flow of air is pulsed over the quartz wool releasing a preset quantity of vapors at the outlet. 10 figs.

  7. Calibrated vapor generator source

    DOEpatents

    Davies, John P.; Larson, Ronald A.; Goodrich, Lorenzo D.; Hall, Harold J.; Stoddard, Billy D.; Davis, Sean G.; Kaser, Timothy G.; Conrad, Frank J.

    1995-01-01

    A portable vapor generator is disclosed that can provide a controlled source of chemical vapors, such as, narcotic or explosive vapors. This source can be used to test and calibrate various types of vapor detection systems by providing a known amount of vapors to the system. The vapor generator is calibrated using a reference ion mobility spectrometer. A method of providing this vapor is described, as follows: explosive or narcotic is deposited on quartz wool, placed in a chamber that can be heated or cooled (depending on the vapor pressure of the material) to control the concentration of vapors in the reservoir. A controlled flow of air is pulsed over the quartz wool releasing a preset quantity of vapors at the outlet.

  8. Specimen-level phylogenetics in paleontology using the Fossilized Birth-Death model with sampled ancestors

    PubMed Central

    2017-01-01

    Bayesian phylogenetic methods integrating simultaneously morphological and stratigraphic information have been applied increasingly among paleontologists. Most of these studies have used Bayesian methods as an alternative to the widely-used parsimony analysis, to infer macroevolutionary patterns and relationships among species-level or higher taxa. Among recently introduced Bayesian methodologies, the Fossilized Birth-Death (FBD) model allows incorporation of hypotheses on ancestor-descendant relationships in phylogenetic analyses including fossil taxa. Here, the FBD model is used to infer the relationships among an ingroup formed exclusively by fossil individuals, i.e., dipnoan tooth plates from four localities in the Ain el Guettar Formation of Tunisia. Previous analyses of this sample compared the results of phylogenetic analysis using parsimony with stratigraphic methods, inferred a high diversity (five or more genera) in the Ain el Guettar Formation, and interpreted it as an artifact inflated by depositional factors. In the analysis performed here, the uncertainty on the chronostratigraphic relationships among the specimens was included among the prior settings. The results of the analysis confirm the referral of most of the specimens to the taxa Asiatoceratodus, Equinoxiodus, Lavocatodus and Neoceratodus, but reject those to Ceratodus and Ferganoceratodus. The resulting phylogeny constrained the evolution of the Tunisian sample exclusively in the Early Cretaceous, contrasting with the previous scenario inferred by the stratigraphically-calibrated topology resulting from parsimony analysis. The phylogenetic framework also suggests that (1) the sampled localities are laterally equivalent, (2) but three localities are restricted to the youngest part of the section; both results are in agreement with previous stratigraphic analyses of these localities. The FBD model of specimen-level units provides a novel tool for phylogenetic inference among fossils but also

  9. Specimen-level phylogenetics in paleontology using the Fossilized Birth-Death model with sampled ancestors.

    PubMed

    Cau, Andrea

    2017-01-01

    Bayesian phylogenetic methods integrating simultaneously morphological and stratigraphic information have been applied increasingly among paleontologists. Most of these studies have used Bayesian methods as an alternative to the widely-used parsimony analysis, to infer macroevolutionary patterns and relationships among species-level or higher taxa. Among recently introduced Bayesian methodologies, the Fossilized Birth-Death (FBD) model allows incorporation of hypotheses on ancestor-descendant relationships in phylogenetic analyses including fossil taxa. Here, the FBD model is used to infer the relationships among an ingroup formed exclusively by fossil individuals, i.e., dipnoan tooth plates from four localities in the Ain el Guettar Formation of Tunisia. Previous analyses of this sample compared the results of phylogenetic analysis using parsimony with stratigraphic methods, inferred a high diversity (five or more genera) in the Ain el Guettar Formation, and interpreted it as an artifact inflated by depositional factors. In the analysis performed here, the uncertainty on the chronostratigraphic relationships among the specimens was included among the prior settings. The results of the analysis confirm the referral of most of the specimens to the taxa Asiatoceratodus, Equinoxiodus, Lavocatodus and Neoceratodus, but reject those to Ceratodus and Ferganoceratodus. The resulting phylogeny constrained the evolution of the Tunisian sample exclusively in the Early Cretaceous, contrasting with the previous scenario inferred by the stratigraphically-calibrated topology resulting from parsimony analysis. The phylogenetic framework also suggests that (1) the sampled localities are laterally equivalent, (2) but three localities are restricted to the youngest part of the section; both results are in agreement with previous stratigraphic analyses of these localities. The FBD model of specimen-level units provides a novel tool for phylogenetic inference among fossils but also

  10. Calibration of Germanium Resistance Thermometers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ladner, D.; Urban, E.; Mason, F. C.

    1987-01-01

    Largely completed thermometer-calibration cryostat and probe allows six germanium resistance thermometers to be calibrated at one time at superfluid-helium temperatures. In experiments involving several such thermometers, use of this calibration apparatus results in substantial cost savings. Cryostat maintains temperature less than 2.17 K through controlled evaporation and removal of liquid helium from Dewar. Probe holds thermometers to be calibrated and applies small amount of heat as needed to maintain precise temperature below 2.17 K.

  11. Fast calibration of gas flowmeters

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lisle, R. V.; Wilson, T. L.

    1981-01-01

    Digital unit automates calibration sequence using calculator IC and programmable read-only memory to solve calibration equations. Infrared sensors start and stop calibration sequence. Instrument calibrates mass flowmeters or rotameters where flow measurement is based on mass or volume. This automatic control reduces operator time by 80 percent. Solid-state components are very reliable, and digital character allows system accuracy to be determined primarily by accuracy of transducers.

  12. Calibrated Properties Model

    SciTech Connect

    H. H. Liu

    2003-02-14

    This report has documented the methodologies and the data used for developing rock property sets for three infiltration maps. Model calibration is necessary to obtain parameter values appropriate for the scale of the process being modeled. Although some hydrogeologic property data (prior information) are available, these data cannot be directly used to predict flow and transport processes because they were measured on scales smaller than those characterizing property distributions in models used for the prediction. Since model calibrations were done directly on the scales of interest, the upscaling issue was automatically considered. On the other hand, joint use of data and the prior information in inversions can further increase the reliability of the developed parameters compared with those for the prior information. Rock parameter sets were developed for both the mountain and drift scales because of the scale-dependent behavior of fracture permeability. Note that these parameter sets, except those for faults, were determined using the 1-D simulations. Therefore, they cannot be directly used for modeling lateral flow because of perched water in the unsaturated zone (UZ) of Yucca Mountain. Further calibration may be needed for two- and three-dimensional modeling studies. As discussed above in Section 6.4, uncertainties for these calibrated properties are difficult to accurately determine, because of the inaccuracy of simplified methods for this complex problem or the extremely large computational expense of more rigorous methods. One estimate of uncertainty that may be useful to investigators using these properties is the uncertainty used for the prior information. In most cases, the inversions did not change the properties very much with respect to the prior information. The Output DTNs (including the input and output files for all runs) from this study are given in Section 9.4.

  13. Calibration of hydrometers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lorefice, Salvatore; Malengo, Andrea

    2006-10-01

    After a brief description of the different methods employed in periodic calibration of hydrometers used in most cases to measure the density of liquids in the range between 500 kg m-3 and 2000 kg m-3, particular emphasis is given to the multipoint procedure based on hydrostatic weighing, known as well as Cuckow's method. The features of the calibration apparatus and the procedure used at the INRiM (formerly IMGC-CNR) density laboratory have been considered to assess all relevant contributions involved in the calibration of different kinds of hydrometers. The uncertainty is strongly dependent on the kind of hydrometer; in particular, the results highlight the importance of the density of the reference buoyant liquid, the temperature of calibration and the skill of operator in the reading of the scale in the whole assessment of the uncertainty. It is also interesting to realize that for high-resolution hydrometers (division of 0.1 kg m-3), the uncertainty contribution of the density of the reference liquid is the main source of the total uncertainty, but its importance falls under about 50% for hydrometers with a division of 0.5 kg m-3 and becomes somewhat negligible for hydrometers with a division of 1 kg m-3, for which the reading uncertainty is the predominant part of the total uncertainty. At present the best INRiM result is obtained with commercially available hydrometers having a scale division of 0.1 kg m-3, for which the relative uncertainty is about 12 × 10-6.

  14. Mesoscale hybrid calibration artifact

    DOEpatents

    Tran, Hy D.; Claudet, Andre A.; Oliver, Andrew D.

    2010-09-07

    A mesoscale calibration artifact, also called a hybrid artifact, suitable for hybrid dimensional measurement and the method for make the artifact. The hybrid artifact has structural characteristics that make it suitable for dimensional measurement in both vision-based systems and touch-probe-based systems. The hybrid artifact employs the intersection of bulk-micromachined planes to fabricate edges that are sharp to the nanometer level and intersecting planes with crystal-lattice-defined angles.

  15. Calibration Chamber Testing

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1992-01-30

    penetrometers of different designs, (iii) the effect of rod friction, (iv) the effect of discontinuous operation, and (v) sensing an interface between two sand...layers. Other test results on two designs of 10 cm2 Fugro penetrometers, each with a different position of friction sleeve, assisted in the selection...at different stages in the penetration of a specimen. The calibration tests had the prime purpose of establishing correlations between the penetration

  16. Earth's early fossil record: Why not look for similar fossils on Mars?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Awramik, Stanley M.

    1989-01-01

    The oldest evidence of life on Earth is discussed with attention being given to the structure and formation of stromatolites and microfossils. Fossilization of microbes in calcium carbonate or chert media is discussed. In searching for fossil remains on Mars, some lessons learned from the study of Earth's earliest fossil record can be applied. Certain sedimentary rock types and sedimentary rock configurations should be targeted for investigation and returned by the Martian rover and ultimately by human explorers. Domical, columnar to wavy laminated stratiform sedimentary rocks that resemble stromatolites should be actively sought. Limestone, other carbonates, and chert are the favored lithology. Being macroscopic, stromatolites might be recognized by an intelligent unmanned rover. In addition, black, waxy chert with conchoidal fracture should be sought. Chert is by far the preferred lithology for the preservation of microbes and chemical fossils. Even under optimal geological conditions (little or no metamorphism or tectonic alteration, excellent outcrops, and good black chert) and using experienced field biogeologists, the chances of finding well preserved microbial remains in chert are very low.

  17. TIME CALIBRATED OSCILLOSCOPE SWEEP

    DOEpatents

    Owren, H.M.; Johnson, B.M.; Smith, V.L.

    1958-04-22

    The time calibrator of an electric signal displayed on an oscilloscope is described. In contrast to the conventional technique of using time-calibrated divisions on the face of the oscilloscope, this invention provides means for directly superimposing equal time spaced markers upon a signal displayed upon an oscilloscope. More explicitly, the present invention includes generally a generator for developing a linear saw-tooth voltage and a circuit for combining a high-frequency sinusoidal voltage of a suitable amplitude and frequency with the saw-tooth voltage to produce a resultant sweep deflection voltage having a wave shape which is substantially linear with respect to time between equal time spaced incremental plateau regions occurring once each cycle of the sinusoidal voltage. The foregoing sweep voltage when applied to the horizontal deflection plates in combination with a signal to be observed applied to the vertical deflection plates of a cathode ray oscilloscope produces an image on the viewing screen which is essentially a display of the signal to be observed with respect to time. Intensified spots, or certain other conspicuous indications corresponding to the equal time spaced plateau regions of said sweep voltage, appear superimposed upon said displayed signal, which indications are therefore suitable for direct time calibration purposes.

  18. Calibrated Properties Model

    SciTech Connect

    T. Ghezzehej

    2004-10-04

    The purpose of this model report is to document the calibrated properties model that provides calibrated property sets for unsaturated zone (UZ) flow and transport process models (UZ models). The calibration of the property sets is performed through inverse modeling. This work followed, and was planned in, ''Technical Work Plan (TWP) for: Unsaturated Zone Flow Analysis and Model Report Integration'' (BSC 2004 [DIRS 169654], Sections 1.2.6 and 2.1.1.6). Direct inputs to this model report were derived from the following upstream analysis and model reports: ''Analysis of Hydrologic Properties Data'' (BSC 2004 [DIRS 170038]); ''Development of Numerical Grids for UZ Flow and Transport Modeling'' (BSC 2004 [DIRS 169855]); ''Simulation of Net Infiltration for Present-Day and Potential Future Climates'' (BSC 2004 [DIRS 170007]); ''Geologic Framework Model'' (GFM2000) (BSC 2004 [DIRS 170029]). Additionally, this model report incorporates errata of the previous version and closure of the Key Technical Issue agreement TSPAI 3.26 (Section 6.2.2 and Appendix B), and it is revised for improved transparency.

  19. Radiation calibration targets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1997-01-01

    Several prominent features of Mars Pathfinder and surrounding terrain are seen in this image, taken by the Imager for Mars Pathfinder on July 4 (Sol 1), the spacecraft's first day on the Red Planet. Portions of a lander petal are at the lower part of the image. At the left, the mechanism for the high-gain antenna can be seen. The dark area along the right side of the image represents a portion of the low-gain antenna. The radiation calibration target is at the right. The calibration target is made up of a number of materials with well-characterized colors. The known colors of the calibration targets allow scientists to determine the true colors of the rocks and soils of Mars. Three bull's-eye rings provide a wide range of brightness for the camera, similar to a photographer's grayscale chart. In the middle of the bull's-eye is a 5-inch tall post that casts a shadow, which is distorted in this image due to its location with respect to the lander camera.

    A large rock is located at the near center of the image. Smaller rocks and areas of soil are strewn across the Martian terrain up to the horizon line.

    Mars Pathfinder is the second in NASA's Discovery program of low-cost spacecraft with highly focused science goals. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, developed and manages the Mars Pathfinder mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C.

  20. Taxonomy and fossils: a critical appraisal.

    PubMed Central

    Forey, Peter L; Fortey, Richard A; Kenrick, Paul; Smith, Andrew B

    2004-01-01

    Many compendia at the species, genus and family levels document the fossil record, but these are not standardized, nor usually critical in content, and few are available on the World Wide Web. The sampling of the available record is good for organisms with fossilizable parts, but preservational constraints on the entire morphology, life history and geographical distribution lead to difficulties in recognizing and naming species. We recommend abandoning some of the palaeontological species concepts such as chronospecies and stratospecies, and we advocate species recognition based on unique combinations of characters. The compilation of species lists is extremely time consuming, and given the inherent problems we suggest that compilation of generic lists is a more achievable goal because genera are recognized by definitive morphological characters. In calculating taxon duration, care must be taken to distinguish between mono-, para- and polyphyletic groups, the first being the only reliable unit for use in calculating diversity curves. We support the inclusion of fossils into classifications based on Recent organisms, but we recognize some of the problems this may pose for standard Linnaean classifications. Web-based taxonomy is the way forward, having the advantages of speed and currency of information dissemination, universal access with links to primary literature and increasingly sophisticated imagery. These advantages over conventional outlets will only be realized with careful Web design and a commitment to maintenance. PMID:15253350

  1. Species longevity in North American fossil mammals.

    PubMed

    Prothero, Donald R

    2014-08-01

    Species longevity in the fossil record is related to many paleoecological variables and is important to macroevolutionary studies, yet there are very few reliable data on average species durations in Cenozoic fossil mammals. Many of the online databases (such as the Paleobiology Database) use only genera of North American Cenozoic mammals and there are severe problems because key groups (e.g. camels, oreodonts, pronghorns and proboscideans) have no reliable updated taxonomy, with many invalid genera and species and/or many undescribed genera and species. Most of the published datasets yield species duration estimates of approximately 2.3-4.3 Myr for larger mammals, with small mammals tending to have shorter species durations. My own compilation of all the valid species durations in families with updated taxonomy (39 families, containing 431 genera and 998 species, averaging 2.3 species per genus) yields a mean duration of 3.21 Myr for larger mammals. This breaks down to 4.10-4.39 Myr for artiodactyls, 3.14-3.31 Myr for perissodactyls and 2.63-2.95 Myr for carnivorous mammals (carnivorans plus creodonts). These averages are based on a much larger, more robust dataset than most previous estimates, so they should be more reliable for any studies that need species longevity to be accurately estimated.

  2. Shotgun microbial profiling of fossil remains.

    PubMed

    Der Sarkissian, C; Ermini, L; Jónsson, H; Alekseev, A N; Crubezy, E; Shapiro, B; Orlando, L

    2014-04-01

    Millions to billions of DNA sequences can now be generated from ancient skeletal remains thanks to the massive throughput of next-generation sequencing platforms. Except in cases of exceptional endogenous DNA preservation, most of the sequences isolated from fossil material do not originate from the specimen of interest, but instead reflect environmental organisms that colonized the specimen after death. Here, we characterize the microbial diversity recovered from seven c. 200- to 13 000-year-old horse bones collected from northern Siberia. We use a robust, taxonomy-based assignment approach to identify the microorganisms present in ancient DNA extracts and quantify their relative abundance. Our results suggest that molecular preservation niches exist within ancient samples that can potentially be used to characterize the environments from which the remains are recovered. In addition, microbial community profiling of the seven specimens revealed site-specific environmental signatures. These microbial communities appear to comprise mainly organisms that colonized the fossils recently. Our approach significantly extends the amount of useful data that can be recovered from ancient specimens using a shotgun sequencing approach. In future, it may be possible to correlate, for example, the accumulation of postmortem DNA damage with the presence and/or abundance of particular microbes.

  3. Cladistics and the hominid fossil record.

    PubMed

    Trinkaus, E

    1990-09-01

    Cladistic methodology has become common in phylogenetic analyses of the hominid fossil record. Even though it has correctly placed emphasis on morphology for the primary determination of affinities between groups and on explicit statements regarding traits and methods employed in making phylogenetic assessments, cladistics nonetheless has limitations when applied to the hominid fossil record. These include 1) the uncritical assumption of parsimony, 2) uncertainties in the identification of homoplasies, 3) difficulties in the appropriate delimitation of samples for analysis, 4) failure to account for normal patterns of variation, 5) methodological problems with the appropriate identification of morphological traits involving issues of biological relevance, intercorrelation, primary versus secondary characters, and the use of continuous variables, 6) issues of polarity identification, and 7) problems in hypothesis testing. While cladistics has focused attention on alternative phylogenetic reconstructions in hominid paleontology and on explicit statements regarding their morphological and methodological underpinnings, its biological limitations are too abundant for it to be more than a heuristic device for the preliminary ordering of complex human paleontological and neonatological data.

  4. The environmental dilemma of fossil fuels

    SciTech Connect

    MacCracken, M.C.

    1992-04-01

    The increasing atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide poses an environmental dilemma for fossil fuel energy generation that, unlike other related emissions, cannot be resolved by control technologies alone. Although fossil fuels presently provide the most cost-effective global energy source, and model projections suggest that their use is initiating climatic changes which, while quite uncertain, may induce significant, counter-balancing impacts to water resources, coastal resources, ecological systems, and possibly agricultural production. The climate model indicate that the warming should have begun, and there is some evidence for this occurring, but at a less rapid and more uneven rate than projected. In addition, different climate models are not yet in agreement in their latitudinal or regional predictions, and it will likely require a decade or more for such agreement to develop as high performance computers become available for addressing this grand challenge'' problem. Thus, in addition to the prospect for climatic change, the uncertainties of the changes and associated impacts contribute to the dilemma of dealing with the issue. Further, the problem is pervasive and international scope, with different countries and peoples having differing perspectives of technology, development, and environmental responsibility. Dealing with this issue will thus require creativity, commitment, and flexibility.

  5. The environmental dilemma of fossil fuels

    SciTech Connect

    MacCracken, M.C.

    1992-04-01

    The increasing atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide poses an environmental dilemma for fossil fuel energy generation that, unlike other related emissions, cannot be resolved by control technologies alone. Although fossil fuels presently provide the most cost-effective global energy source, and model projections suggest that their use is initiating climatic changes which, while quite uncertain, may induce significant, counter-balancing impacts to water resources, coastal resources, ecological systems, and possibly agricultural production. The climate model indicate that the warming should have begun, and there is some evidence for this occurring, but at a less rapid and more uneven rate than projected. In addition, different climate models are not yet in agreement in their latitudinal or regional predictions, and it will likely require a decade or more for such agreement to develop as high performance computers become available for addressing this ``grand challenge`` problem. Thus, in addition to the prospect for climatic change, the uncertainties of the changes and associated impacts contribute to the dilemma of dealing with the issue. Further, the problem is pervasive and international scope, with different countries and peoples having differing perspectives of technology, development, and environmental responsibility. Dealing with this issue will thus require creativity, commitment, and flexibility.

  6. Fossil Fuel Biomarkers in Sewage Sludges: Environmental Significance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Payet, C.; Bryselbout, C.; Morel, J.-L.; Lichtfouse, E.

    Fossil fuel biomarkers, or "molecular fossils," are specific organic substances found in coals, petroleums, and sedimentary rocks. They are formed during millions of years of sedimentary burial by geochemical alteration of biological molecules, such as cholesterol, under the effect of biodegradation, temperature, pressure, and mineral catalysis, to produce geochemically mature molecules, for example, aromatic steroids (Fig. 1). Since fossil fuel biomarkers have a very specific molecular structure betraying fossil fuel sources, such markers should be useful in assessing the fossil fuel contamination of various modern media such as soils, plants, waters, and modern sediments. Here the identification of fossil fuel biomarkers of high geothermal maturity in sewage sludges provides evidence of the contamination of sludges by petroleum products. The most likely sources of contamination are contaminated vegetal food, road dust, and soil particles carried by rain water.

  7. Fossil energy biotechnology: A research needs assessment. Final report

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1993-11-01

    The Office of Program Analysis of the US Department of Energy commissioned this study to evaluate and prioritize research needs in fossil energy biotechnology. The objectives were to identify research initiatives in biotechnology that offer timely and strategic options for the more efficient and effective uses of the Nation`s fossil resource base, particularly the early identification of new and novel applications of biotechnology for the use or conversion of domestic fossil fuels. Fossil energy biotechnology consists of a number of diverse and distinct technologies, all related by the common denominator -- biocatalysis. The expert panel organized 14 technical subjects into three interrelated biotechnology programs: (1) upgrading the fuel value of fossil fuels; (2) bioconversion of fossil feedstocks and refined products to added value chemicals; and, (3) the development of environmental management strategies to minimize and mitigate the release of toxic and hazardous petrochemical wastes.

  8. Internet-Based Calibration of a Multifunction Calibrator

    SciTech Connect

    BUNTING BACA,LISA A.; DUDA JR.,LEONARD E.; WALKER,RUSSELL M.; OLDHAM,NILE; PARKER,MARK

    2000-12-19

    A new way of providing calibration services is evolving which employs the Internet to expand present capabilities and make the calibration process more interactive. Sandia National Laboratories and the National Institute of Standards and Technology are collaborating to set up and demonstrate a remote calibration of multijunction calibrators using this Internet-based technique that is becoming known as e-calibration. This paper describes the measurement philosophy and the Internet resources that can provide real-time audio/video/data exchange, consultation and training, as well as web-accessible test procedures, software and calibration reports. The communication system utilizes commercial hardware and software that should be easy to integrate into most calibration laboratories.

  9. Internet-based calibration of a multifunction calibrator

    SciTech Connect

    BUNTING BACA,LISA A.; DUDA JR.,LEONARD E.; WALKER,RUSSELL M.; OLDHAM,NILE; PARKER,MARK

    2000-04-17

    A new way of providing calibration services is evolving which employs the Internet to expand present capabilities and make the calibration process more interactive. Sandia National Laboratories and the National Institute of Standards and Technology are collaborating to set up and demonstrate a remote calibration of multifunction calibrators using this Internet-based technique that is becoming known as e-calibration. This paper describes the measurement philosophy and the Internet resources that can provide real-time audio/video/data exchange, consultation and training, as well as web-accessible test procedures, software and calibration reports. The communication system utilizes commercial hardware and software that should be easy to integrate into most calibration laboratories.

  10. Individuals’ Decision to Co-Donate or Donate Alone: An Archival Study of Married Whole Body Donors in Hawaii

    PubMed Central

    Anteby, Michel; Garip, Filiz; Martorana, Paul V.; Lozanoff, Scott

    2012-01-01

    Background Human cadavers are crucial to numerous aspects of health care, including initial and continuing training of medical doctors and advancement of medical research. Concerns have periodically been raised about the limited number of whole body donations. Little is known, however, about a unique form of donation, namely co-donations or instances when married individuals decide to register at the same time as their spouse as whole body donors. Our study aims to determine the extent of whole body co-donation and individual factors that might influence co-donation. Methods and Findings We reviewed all records of registrants to the University of Hawaii Medical School’s whole body donation program from 1967 through 2006 to identify married registrants. We then examined the 806 married individuals’ characteristics to understand their decision to register alone or with their spouse. We found that married individuals who registered at the same time as their spouse accounted for 38.2 percent of married registrants. Sex differences provided an initial lens to understand co-donation. Wives were more likely to co-donate than to register alone (p = 0.002). Moreover, registrants’ main occupational background had a significant effect on co-donations (p = 0.001). Married registrants (regardless of sex) in female-gendered occupations were more likely to co-donate than to donate alone (p = 0.014). Female-gendered occupations were defined as ones in which women represented more than 55 percent of the workforce (e.g., preschool teachers). Thus, variations in donors’ occupational backgrounds explained co-donation above and beyond sex differences. Conclusions Efforts to secure whole body donations have historically focused on individual donations regardless of donors’ marital status. More attention needs to be paid, however, to co-donations since they represent a non-trivial number of total donations. Also, targeted outreach efforts to male and female members

  11. Energy properties of solid fossil fuels and solid biofuels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holubcik, Michal; Kolkova, Zuzana; Jandacka, Jozef

    2016-06-01

    The paper deals about the problematic of energy properties of solid biofuels in comparison with solid fossil fuels. Biofuels are alternative to fossil fuels and their properties are very similar. During the experiments were done in detail experiments to obtain various properties of spruce wood pellets and wheat straw pellets like biofuels in comparison with brown coal and black coal like fossil fuels. There were tested moisture content, volatile content, fixed carbon content, ash content, elementary analysis (C, H, N, S content) and ash fusion temperatures. The results show that biofuels have some advantages and also disadvantages in comparison with solid fossil fuels.

  12. Reconstructing Carotenoid-Based and Structural Coloration in Fossil Skin.

    PubMed

    McNamara, Maria E; Orr, Patrick J; Kearns, Stuart L; Alcalá, Luis; Anadón, Pere; Peñalver, Enrique

    2016-04-25

    Evidence of original coloration in fossils provides insights into the visual communication strategies used by ancient animals and the functional evolution of coloration over time [1-7]. Hitherto, all reconstructions of the colors of reptile integument and the plumage of fossil birds and feathered dinosaurs have been of melanin-based coloration [1-6]. Extant animals also use other mechanisms for producing color [8], but these have not been identified in fossils. Here we report the first examples of carotenoid-based coloration in the fossil record, and of structural coloration in fossil integument. The fossil skin, from a 10 million-year-old colubrid snake from the Late Miocene Libros Lagerstätte (Teruel, Spain) [9, 10], preserves dermal pigment cells (chromatophores)-xanthophores, iridophores, and melanophores-in calcium phosphate. Comparison with chromatophore abundance and position in extant reptiles [11-15] indicates that the fossil snake was pale-colored in ventral regions; dorsal and lateral regions were green with brown-black and yellow-green transverse blotches. Such coloration most likely functioned in substrate matching and intraspecific signaling. Skin replicated in authigenic minerals is not uncommon in exceptionally preserved fossils [16, 17], and dermal pigment cells generate coloration in numerous reptile, amphibian, and fish taxa today [18]. Our discovery thus represents a new means by which to reconstruct the original coloration of exceptionally preserved fossil vertebrates.

  13. Primary calibration in acoustics metrology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bacelar Milhomem, T. A.; Defilippo Soares, Z. M.

    2015-01-01

    SI unit in acoustics is realized by the reciprocity calibrations of laboratory standard microphones in pressure field, free field and diffuse field. Calibrations in pressure field and in free field are already consolidated and the Inmetro already done them. Calibration in diffuse field is not yet consolidated, however, some national metrology institutes, including Inmetro, are conducting researches on this subject. This paper presents the reciprocity calibration, the results of Inmetro in recent key comparisons and the research that is being developed for the implementation of reciprocity calibration in diffuse field.

  14. Calibration of triaxial fluxgate gradiometer

    SciTech Connect

    Vcelak, Jan

    2006-04-15

    The description of simple and fast calibration procedures used for double-probe triaxial fluxgate gradiometer is provided in this paper. The calibration procedure consists of three basic steps. In the first step both probes are calibrated independently in order to reach constant total field reading in every position. Both probes are numerically aligned in the second step in order that the gradient reading is zero in homogenous magnetic field. The third step consists of periodic drift calibration during measurement. The results and detailed description of each calibration step are presented and discussed in the paper. The gradiometer is finally verified during the detection of the metal object in the measuring grid.

  15. Synonymous codon usage, GC(3), and evolutionary patterns across plastomes of three pooid model species: emerging grass genome models for monocots.

    PubMed

    Sablok, Gaurav; Nayak, Kinshuk Chandra; Vazquez, Franck; Tatarinova, Tatiana V

    2011-10-01

    We have analyzed factors affecting the codon usage pattern of the chloroplasts genomes of representative species of pooid grass family. Correspondence analysis of relative synonymous codon usages (RSCU) showed that genes on secondary axis were correlated with their GC(3S) values (all r > 0.3, p < 0.05), indicating mutational bias as an important selective force that shaped the variation in the codon usage among chloroplast genes. The Nc-plot showed that although a majority of the points with low-Nc values were lying below the expected curve, a few genes lied on the expected curve. Nc plot clearly showed that mutational bias plays a major role in codon biology across the monocot plastomes. The hydrophobicity and aromaticity of encoded proteins of each species were found to be other factors of codon usage variation. In the view of above light, besides natural selection, several other factors also likely to be involved in determining the selective constraints on codon bias in plastomes of pooid grass genomes. In addition, five codons (B. distachyon), seven codons (H. vulgare), and four codons (T. aestivum) were identified as optimal codons of the three grass chloroplasts. To identify genes evolving under positive selection, rates of nonsynonymous substitutions (Ka) and synonymous substitutions (Ks) were computed for all groups of orthologous gene pairs.

  16. Mercury CEM Calibration

    SciTech Connect

    John Schabron; Joseph Rovani; Mark Sanderson

    2008-02-29

    Mercury continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS) are being implemented in over 800 coal-fired power plant stacks. The power industry desires to conduct at least a full year of monitoring before the formal monitoring and reporting requirement begins on January 1, 2009. It is important for the industry to have available reliable, turnkey equipment from CEM vendors. Western Research Institute (WRI) is working closely with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to facilitate the development of the experimental criteria for a NIST traceability protocol for dynamic elemental mercury vapor generators. The generators are used to calibrate mercury CEMs at power plant sites. The Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) which was published in the Federal Register on May 18, 2005 requires that calibration be performed with NIST-traceable standards (Federal Register 2007). Traceability procedures will be defined by EPA. An initial draft traceability protocol was issued by EPA in May 2007 for comment. In August 2007, EPA issued an interim traceability protocol for elemental mercury generators (EPA 2007). The protocol is based on the actual analysis of the output of each calibration unit at several concentration levels ranging initially from about 2-40 {micro}g/m{sup 3} elemental mercury, and in the future down to 0.2 {micro}g/m{sup 3}, and this analysis will be directly traceable to analyses by NIST. The document is divided into two separate sections. The first deals with the qualification of generators by the vendors for use in mercury CEM calibration. The second describes the procedure that the vendors must use to certify the generator models that meet the qualification specifications. The NIST traceable certification is performance based, traceable to analysis using isotope dilution inductively coupled plasma/mass spectrometry performed by NIST in Gaithersburg, MD. The

  17. Functional polypeptides can be synthesized from human mitochondrial transcripts lacking termination codons.

    PubMed Central

    Chrzanowska-Lightowlers, Zofia M A; Temperley, Richard J; Smith, Paul M; Seneca, Sara H; Lightowlers, Robert N

    2004-01-01

    The human mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) is a small, circular DNA duplex found in multi-copy in the mitochondrial matrix. It is almost fully transcribed from both strands to produce large polycistronic RNA units that are processed and matured. The 13 mtDNA-encoded polypeptides are translated from mt-mRNAs that have been matured by polyadenylation of their free 3'-termini. A patient with clinical features consistent with an mtDNA disorder was recently shown to carry a microdeletion, resulting in the loss of the termination codon for MTATP6 and in its juxtaposition with MTCO3. Cell lines from this patient exhibited low steady-state levels of RNA14, the bi-cistronic transcript encoding subunits 6 and 8 of the F(o)F(1)-ATP synthase, complex V, consistent with a decreased stability. Recent reports of 'non-stop' mRNA decay systems in the cytosol have failed to determine the fate of gene products derived from transcripts lacking termination codons, although enhanced decay clearly required the 'non-stop' transcripts to be translated. We wished to determine whether functional translation products could still be expressed from non-stop transcripts in the human mitochondrion. Although a minor defect in complex V assembly was noted in the patient-derived cell lines, the steady-state level of ATPase 6 was similar to controls, consistent with the pattern of de novo mitochondrial protein synthesis. Moreover, no significant difference in ATP synthase activity could be detected. We conclude that, in the absence of a functional termination codon,