SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

937

To assess the associations between the consumption of sugary drinks (such as sugar sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juices), artificially sweetened beverages, and the risk of cancer.

404

Combating climate change requires unified action across all sectors of society. However, this collective action is precluded by the ‘consensus gap’ between scientific knowledge and public opinion. Here, we test the extent to which the iconic cities around the world are likely to shift in response to climate change. By analyzing city pairs for 520 major cities of the world, we test if their climate in 2050 will resemble more closely to their own current climate conditions or to the current conditions of other cities in different bioclimatic regions. Even under an optimistic climate scenario (RCP 4.5), we found that 77% of future cities are very likely to experience a climate that is closer to that of another existing city than to its own current climate. In addition, 22% of cities will experience climate conditions that are not currently experienced by any existing major cities. As a general trend, we found that all the cities tend to shift towards the sub-tropics, with cities from the Northern hemisphere shifting to warmer conditions, on average ~1000 km south (velocity ~20 km.year-1), and cities from the tropics shifting to drier conditions. We notably predict that Madrid’s climate in 2050 will resemble Marrakech’s climate today, Stockholm will resemble Budapest, London to Barcelona, Moscow to Sofia, Seattle to San Francisco, Tokyo to Changsha. Our approach illustrates how complex climate data can be packaged to provide tangible information. The global assessment of city analogues can facilitate the understanding of climate change at a global level but also help land managers and city planners to visualize the climate futures of their respective cities, which can facilitate effective decision-making in response to on-going climate change.

292

Bluehead wrasses undergo dramatic, socially cued female-to-male sex change. We apply transcriptomic and methylome approaches in this wild coral reef fish to identify the primary trigger and subsequent molecular cascade of gonadal metamorphosis. Our data suggest that the environmental stimulus is exerted via the stress axis and that repression of the aromatase gene (encoding the enzyme converting androgens to estrogens) triggers a cascaded collapse of feminizing gene expression and identifies notable sex-specific gene neofunctionalization. Furthermore, sex change involves distinct epigenetic reprogramming and an intermediate state with altered epigenetic machinery expression akin to the early developmental cells of mammals. These findings reveal at a molecular level how a normally committed developmental process remains plastic and is reversed to completely alter organ structures.

164

Background Systemic iron status has been implicated in atherosclerosis and thrombosis. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of genetically determined iron status on carotid intima-media thickness, carotid plaque, and venous thromboembolism using Mendelian randomization. Methods and Results Genetic instrumental variables for iron status were selected from a genome-wide meta-analysis of 48 972 subjects. Genetic association estimates for carotid intima-media thickness and carotid plaque were obtained using data from 71 128 and 48 434 participants, respectively, and estimates for venous thromboembolism were obtained using data from a study incorporating 7507 cases and 52 632 controls. Conventional 2-sample summary data Mendelian randomization was performed for the main analysis. Higher genetically determined iron status was associated with increased risk of venous thromboembolism. Odds ratios per SD increase in biomarker levels were 1.37 (95% CI 1.14-1.66) for serum iron, 1.25 (1.09-1.43) for transferrin saturation, 1.92 (1.28-2.88) for ferritin, and 0.76 (0.63-0.92) for serum transferrin (with higher transferrin levels representing lower iron status). In contrast, higher iron status was associated with lower risk of carotid plaque. Corresponding odds ratios were 0.85 (0.73-0.99) for serum iron and 0.89 (0.80-1.00) for transferrin saturation, with concordant trends for serum transferrin and ferritin that did not reach statistical significance. There was no Mendelian randomization evidence of an effect of iron status on carotid intima-media thickness. Conclusions These findings support previous work to suggest that higher genetically determined iron status is protective against some forms of atherosclerotic disease but increases the risk of thrombosis related to stasis of blood.

139

Xist RNA, the master regulator of X chromosome inactivation, acts in cis to induce chromosome-wide silencing. Whilst recent studies have defined candidate silencing factors, their relative contribution to repressing different genes, and their relationship with one another is poorly understood. Here we describe a systematic analysis of Xist-mediated allelic silencing in mouse embryonic stem cell-based models. Using a machine learning approach we identify distance to the Xist locus and prior gene expression levels as key determinants of silencing efficiency. We go on to show that Spen, recruited through the Xist A-repeat, plays a central role, being critical for silencing of all except a subset of weakly expressed genes. Polycomb, recruited through the Xist B/C-repeat, also plays a key role, favouring silencing of genes with pre-existing H3K27me3 chromatin. LBR and the Rbm15/m6A-methyltransferase complex make only minor contributions to gene silencing. Together our results provide a comprehensive model for Xist-mediated chromosome silencing.

137

To determine whether 30 day mortality, 30 day readmissions, and inpatient spending vary according to whether physicians were exposed to work hour reforms during their residency.

136

Can personality traits be measured and interpreted reliably across the world? While the use of Big Five personality measures is increasingly common across social sciences, their validity outside of western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (WEIRD) populations is unclear. Adopting a comprehensive psychometric approach to analyze 29 face-to-face surveys from 94,751 respondents in 23 low- and middle-income countries, we show that commonly used personality questions generally fail to measure the intended personality traits and show low validity. These findings contrast with the much higher validity of these measures attained in internet surveys of 198,356 self-selected respondents from the same countries. We discuss how systematic response patterns, enumerator interactions, and low education levels can collectively distort personality measures when assessed in large-scale surveys. Our results highlight the risk of misinterpreting Big Five survey data and provide a warning against naïve interpretations of personality traits without evidence of their validity.

133

Hematopoiesis, or the process of blood cell production, is a paradigm of multi-lineage cellular differentiation that has been extensively studied, yet in many aspects remains incompletely understood. Nearly all clinically measured hematopoietic traits exhibit extensive variation and are highly heritable, underscoring the importance of genetic variation in these processes. This review explores how human genetics have illuminated our understanding of hematopoiesis in health and disease. The study of rare mutations in blood and immune disorders has elucidated novel roles for regulators of hematopoiesis and uncovered numerous important molecular pathways, as seen through examples such as Diamond-Blackfan anemia and the GATA2 deficiency syndromes. Additionally, population studies of common genetic variation have revealed mechanisms by which human hematopoiesis can be modulated. We discuss advances in functionally characterizing common variants associated with blood cell traits and discuss therapeutic insights, such as the discovery of BCL11A as a modulator of fetal hemoglobin expression. Finally, as genetic techniques continue to evolve, we discuss the prospects, challenges, and unanswered questions that lie ahead in this burgeoning field.

132

Despite continual progress in the identification and characterization of trait- and disease-associated variants that disrupt transcription factor (TF)-DNA binding, little is known about the distribution of TF binding deactivating mutations (deMs) in enhancer sequences. Here, we focus on elucidating the mechanism underlying the different densities of deMs in human enhancers.

131

Association studies in recently admixed populations are extremely useful to identify the genetic architecture of pigmentation, due to their high genotypic and phenotypic variation. However, to date only four Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) have been carried out in these populations.