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

Concept: Map


The human skin is an organ with a surface area of 1.5-2 m(2) that provides our interface with the environment. The molecular composition of this organ is derived from host cells, microbiota, and external molecules. The chemical makeup of the skin surface is largely undefined. Here we advance the technologies needed to explore the topographical distribution of skin molecules, using 3D mapping of mass spectrometry data and microbial 16S rRNA amplicon sequences. Our 3D maps reveal that the molecular composition of skin has diverse distributions and that the composition is defined not only by skin cells and microbes but also by our daily routines, including the application of hygiene products. The technological development of these maps lays a foundation for studying the spatial relationships of human skin with hygiene, the microbiota, and environment, with potential for developing predictive models of skin phenotypes tailored to individual health.

Concepts: DNA, Archaea, Bacteria, Ribosomal RNA, Geography, 16S ribosomal RNA, Skin, Map


In this communication we introduce marmap, a package designed for downloading, plotting and manipulating bathymetric and topographic data in R. marmap can query the ETOPO1 bathymetry and topography database hosted by the NOAA, use simple latitude-longitude-depth data in ascii format, and take advantage of the advanced plotting tools available in R to build publication-quality bathymetric maps. Functions to query data (bathymetry, sampling information…) are available interactively by clicking on marmap maps. Bathymetric and topographic data can also be used to calculate projected surface areas within specified depth/altitude intervals, and constrain the calculation of realistic shortest path distances. Such information can be used in molecular ecology, for example, to evaluate genetic isolation by distance in a spatially-explicit framework.

Concepts: Map, Topography, Contour line, Geomorphology, Cartography, Terrain, Bathymetry, Bathymetric chart


While humans are capable of mentally transcending the here and now, this faculty for mental time travel (MTT) is dependent upon an underlying cognitive representation of time. To this end, linguistic, cognitive and behavioral evidence has revealed that people understand abstract temporal constructs by mapping them to concrete spatial domains (e.g. past = backward, future = forward). However, very little research has investigated factors that may determine the topographical characteristics of these spatiotemporal maps. Guided by the imperative role of episodic content for retrospective and prospective thought (i.e., MTT), here we explored the possibility that the spatialization of time is influenced by the amount of episodic detail a temporal unit contains. In two experiments, participants mapped temporal events along mediolateral (Experiment 1) and anterioposterior (Experiment 2) spatial planes. Importantly, the temporal units varied in self-relevance as they pertained to temporally proximal or distal events in the participant’s own life, the life of a best friend or the life of an unfamiliar other. Converging evidence from both experiments revealed that the amount of space used to represent time varied as a function of target (self, best friend or unfamiliar other) and temporal distance. Specifically, self-time was represented as occupying more space than time pertaining to other targets, but only for temporally proximal events. These results demonstrate the malleability of space-time mapping and suggest that there is a self-specific conceptualization of time that may influence MTT as well as other temporally relevant cognitive phenomena.

Concepts: Time, Physics, General relativity, Space, Spacetime, Map, Universe, Gottfried Leibniz


Only a few genetic maps based on recombinant inbred line (RIL) and backcross (BC) populations have been developed for tetraploid groundnut. The marker density, however, is not very satisfactory especially in the context of large genome size (2800 Mb/1C) and 20 linkage groups (LGs). Therefore, using marker segregation data for 10 RILs and one BC population from the international groundnut community, with the help of common markers across different populations, a reference consensus genetic map has been developed. This map is comprised of 897 marker loci including 895 simple sequence repeat (SSR) and 2 cleaved amplified polymorphic sequence (CAPS) loci distributed on 20 LGs (a01-a10 and b01-b10) spanning a map distance of 3, 863.6 cM with an average map density of 4.4 cM. The highest numbers of markers (70) were integrated on a01 and the least number of markers (21) on b09. The marker density, however, was lowest (6.4 cM) on a08 and highest (2.5 cM) on a01. The reference consensus map has been divided into 20 cM long 203 BINs. These BINs carry 1 (a10_02, a10_08 and a10_09) to 20 (a10_04) loci with an average of 4 marker loci per BIN. Although the polymorphism information content (PIC) value was available for 526 markers in 190 BINs, 36 and 111 BINs have at least one marker with >0.70 and >0.50 PIC values, respectively. This information will be useful for selecting highly informative and uniformly distributed markers for developing new genetic maps, background selection and diversity analysis. Most importantly, this reference consensus map will serve as a reliable reference for aligning new genetic and physical maps, performing QTL analysis in a multi-populations design, evaluating the genetic background effect on QTL expression, and serving other genetic and molecular breeding activities in groundnut.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Genome, Genetic linkage, Map, Peanut, Arachis


Abstract. Evidence shows that malaria risk maps are rarely tailored to address national control program ambitions. Here, we generate a malaria risk map adapted for malaria control in Sudan. Community Plasmodium falciparum parasite rate (PfPR) data from 2000 to 2010 were assembled and were standardized to 2-10 years of age (PfPR(2-10)). Space-time Bayesian geostatistical methods were used to generate a map of malaria risk for 2010. Surfaces of aridity, urbanization, irrigation schemes, and refugee camps were combined with the PfPR(2-10) map to tailor the epidemiological stratification for appropriate intervention design. In 2010, a majority of the geographical area of the Sudan had risk of < 1% PfPR(2-10). Areas of meso- and hyperendemic risk were located in the south. About 80% of Sudan's population in 2011 was in the areas in the desert, urban centers, or where risk was < 1% PfPR(2-10). Aggregated data suggest reducing risks in some high transmission areas since the 1960s.

Concepts: Malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium, United States, Ethiopia, Plasmodium vivax, Map, Darfur


BACKGROUND: A remote sensing technique was developed which combines a Geographic Information System (GIS); Google Earth, and Microsoft Excel to identify home locations for a random sample of households in rural Haiti. The method was used to select homes for ethnographic and water quality research in a region of rural Haiti located within 9 km of a local hospital and source of health education in Deschapelles, Haiti. The technique does not require access to governmental records or ground based surveys to collect household location data and can be performed in a rapid, cost effective manner. METHODS: The random selection of households and the location of these households during field surveys were accomplished using GIS, Google Earth, Microsoft Excel, and handheld Garmin GPSmap 76CSx GPS units. Homes were identified and mapped in Google Earth, exported to ArcMap 10.0, and a random list of homes was generated using Microsoft Excel which was then loaded onto handheld GPS units for field location. The development and use of a remote sensing method was essential to the selection and location of random households. RESULTS: A total of 537 homes initially were mapped and a randomized subset of 96 was identified as potential survey locations. Over 96% of the homes mapped using Google Earth imagery were correctly identified as occupied dwellings. Only 3.6% of the occupants of mapped homes visited declined to be interviewed. 16.4% of the homes visited were not occupied at the time of the visit due to work away from the home or market days. A total of 55 households were located using this method during the 10 days of fieldwork in May and June of 2012. CONCLUSIONS: The method used to generate and field locate random homes for surveys and water sampling was an effective means of selecting random households in a rural environment lacking geolocation infrastructure. The success rate for locating households using a handheld GPS was excellent and only rarely was local knowledge required to identify and locate households. This method provides an important technique that can be applied to other developing countries where a randomized study design is needed but infrastructure is lacking to implement more traditional participant selection methods.

Concepts: Geographic information system, Randomness, Map, Global Positioning System, Remote sensing, Surveying, Geodesy, Google Earth


Rational decision making on malaria control depends on an understanding of the epidemiological risks and control measures. National Malaria Control Programmes across Africa have access to a range of state-of-the-art malaria risk mapping products that might serve their decision-making needs. The use of cartography in planning malaria control has never been methodically reviewed.

Concepts: Decision making, Malaria, Risk, Cognition, Decision theory, Map, Rational choice theory, Flipism


As the deadline for the millennium development goals approaches, it has become clear that the goals linked to maternal and newborn health are the least likely to be achieved by 2015. It is therefore critical to ensure that all possible data, tools and methods are fully exploited to help address this gap. Among the methods that are under-used, mapping has always represented a powerful way to ‘tell the story’ of a health problem in an easily understood way. In addition to this, the advanced analytical methods and models now being embedded into Geographic Information Systems allow a more in-depth analysis of the causes behind adverse maternal and newborn health (MNH) outcomes. This paper examines the current state of the art in mapping the geography of MNH as a starting point to unleashing the potential of these under-used approaches. Using a rapid literature review and the description of the work currently in progress, this paper allows the identification of methods in use and describes a framework for methodological approaches to inform improved decision-making. The paper is aimed at health metrics and geography of health specialists, the MNH community, as well as policy-makers in developing countries and international donor agencies.

Concepts: Geographic information system, Map, World Bank, Maternal death, United Nations, Millennium Development Goals, Maternal health, Poverty reduction


The WHO has established the disability-adjusted life year (DALY) as a metric for measuring the burden of human disease and injury globally. However, most DALY estimates have been calculated as national totals. We mapped spatial variation in the burden of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) in Uganda for the years 2000-2009. This represents the first geographically delimited estimation of HAT disease burden at the sub-country scale.

Concepts: Disease, African trypanosomiasis, Map, Quality-adjusted life year, Tsetse fly, Sleeping sickness, Disability-adjusted life year, Disease burden


Dengue and chikungunya are increasing global public health concerns due to their rapid geographical spread and increasing disease burden. Knowledge of the contemporary distribution of their shared vectors, Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus remains incomplete and is complicated by an ongoing range expansion fuelled by increased global trade and travel. Mapping the global distribution of these vectors and the geographical determinants of their ranges is essential for public health planning. Here we compile the largest contemporary database for both species and pair it with relevant environmental variables predicting their global distribution. We show Aedes distributions to be the widest ever recorded; now extensive in all continents, including North America and Europe. These maps will help define the spatial limits of current autochthonous transmission of dengue and chikungunya viruses. It is only with this kind of rigorous entomological baseline that we can hope to project future health impacts of these viruses.

Concepts: Public health, Future, Chikungunya, Aedes aegypti, Aedes, Dengue fever, Map, North America