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

Concept: Minor scale


The ant genus Pheidole-for all of its hyperdiversity and global ubiquity-is remarkably conservative with regard to morphological disparity. A striking exception to this constrained morphology is the spinescent morphotype, which has evolved multiple times across distantly related lineages of Indoaustralian Pheidole. The Pheidole cervicornis group contains perhaps the most extraordinary spinescent forms of all Pheidole. Here we present a taxonomic revision of the P. cervicornis group, and use microtomographic scanning technology to investigate the internal anatomy of the thoracic spines. Our findings suggest the pronotal spines of Pheidole majors, are possibly skeletomuscular adaptations for supporting their disproportionately large heads. The ‘head support hypothesis’ is an alternative to the mechanical defense hypothesis most often used to explain spinescence in ants. The P. cervicornis group is known only from New Guinea and is represented by the following four species, including two described here as new: P. barumtaun Donisthorpe, P. drogon sp. nov., P. cervicornis Emery, and P. viserion sp. nov. The group is most readily identified by the minor worker caste, which has extremely long pronotal spines and strongly bifurcating propodeal spines. The major and minor workers of all species are illustrated with specimen photographs, with the exception of the major worker of P. cervicornis, which is not known.

Concepts: Evolution, Species, Insect, Major, Ant, Hymenoptera, Minor scale, Minor chord


PurposeThe 2015 American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics-Association for Molecular Pathology (ACMG-AMP) guidelines were a major step toward establishing a common framework for variant classification. In practice, however, several aspects of the guidelines lack specificity, are subject to varied interpretations, or fail to capture relevant aspects of clinical molecular genetics. A simple implementation of the guidelines in their current form is insufficient for consistent and comprehensive variant classification.MethodsWe undertook an iterative process of refining the ACMG-AMP guidelines. We used the guidelines to classify more than 40,000 clinically observed variants, assessed the outcome, and refined the classification criteria to capture exceptions and edge cases. During this process, the criteria evolved through eight major and minor revisions.ResultsOur implementation: (i) separated ambiguous ACMG-AMP criteria into a set of discrete but related rules with refined weights; (ii) grouped certain criteria to protect against the overcounting of conceptually related evidence; and (iii) replaced the “clinical criteria” style of the guidelines with additive, semiquantitative criteria.ConclusionSherloc builds on the strong framework of 33 rules established by the ACMG-AMP guidelines and introduces 108 detailed refinements, which support a more consistent and transparent approach to variant classification.GENETICS in MEDICINE advance online publication, 11 May 2017; doi:10.1038/gim.2017.37.

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Molecular biology, Biology, Minor scale, Key signature, Minor chord


To describe the prevalence, use of antidepressants, and predictors of major and minor depression among nonpregnant women of childbearing age.

Concepts: United States, Poverty in the United States, New York City, Chord, Interval, Minor scale, Minor chord, Major and minor


Prevalence rates of minor and major depression vary from 0.7 to 6.8 (minor) and 3.8 to 10.9 (major) for the general population. Twenty-two percent of older, long-term unemployed people suffer from major depression. However, the prevalence rate of minor depression (depression on a subthreshold level with less than 5, but more than 1 depression symptom) in this population is unknown. The first aim of this study is to identify that prevalence rate, because we already know that minor depression increases the risk of developing a major depression and this in turn reduces the chances of reemployment what increases social and individual costs at the same time. The second aim is to find out whether there are symptoms that distinguish the different groups “no depression”, “minor depression” and “major depression” in this population. In contrast to the general population, the most frequent symptoms within major and minor depression in older, long-term unemployed people are unknown so far.

Concepts: Time, Disease, Symptoms, Fatigue, Prevalence, Minor scale, Key signature, Minor chord


Experimental evidence demonstrates robust cross-modal matches between music and colors that are mediated by emotional associations. US and Mexican participants chose colors that were most/least consistent with 18 selections of classical orchestral music by Bach, Mozart, and Brahms. In both cultures, faster music in the major mode produced color choices that were more saturated, lighter, and yellower whereas slower, minor music produced the opposite pattern (choices that were desaturated, darker, and bluer). There were strong correlations (0.89 < r < 0.99) between the emotional associations of the music and those of the colors chosen to go with the music, supporting an emotional mediation hypothesis in both cultures. Additional experiments showed similarly robust cross-modal matches from emotionally expressive faces to colors and from music to emotionally expressive faces. These results provide further support that music-to-color associations are mediated by common emotional associations.

Concepts: Experiment, Empathy, Emotion, Yellow, Minor scale, Opera


The aim of this study was to develop an audit tool to identify prospectively all peri-operative adverse events during airway management in a cost-effective and reproducible way. All patients at VU University Medical Center who required general anaesthesia for elective and emergency surgical procedures were included during a period of 8 weeks. Daily questionnaires and interviews were taken from anaesthesia trainees and anaesthetic department staff members. A total of 2803 patients underwent general anaesthesia, 1384 men and 1419 women, including 2232 elective patients and 571 emergency procedures, 697 paediatric and 2106 adult surgical procedures. A total of 168 airway-related events were reported. The incidence of severe airway management-related events was 24/2803 (0.86%). There were 12 (0.42%) unanticipated ICU admissions, two patients (0.07%) required a surgical airway. There was one (0.04%) death, one cannot intubate cannot oxygenate (0.04%), one aspiration (0.04%) and eight (0.29%) severe desaturations < Sp O2 50%. We suggest that our method to determine and investigate airway management-related adverse events could be adopted by other hospitals.

Concepts: Medicine, Hospital, Surgery, Physician, Anesthesia, Endotracheal tube, General anaesthesia, Minor scale


OBJECT Detailed risk information is essential for presurgical patient counseling and surgical quality assessments in epilepsy surgery. This study was conducted to investigate major and minor complications related to epilepsy surgery in a large, prospective series. METHODS The Swedish National Epilepsy Surgery Register provides extensive population-based data on all patients who were surgically treated in Sweden since 1990. The authors have analyzed complication data for therapeutic epilepsy surgery procedures performed between 1996 and 2010. Complications are classified as major (affecting daily life and lasting longer than 3 months) or minor (resolving within 3 months). RESULTS A total of 865 therapeutic epilepsy surgery procedures were performed between 1996 and 2010, of which 158 were reoperations. There were no postoperative deaths. Major complications occurred in 26 procedures (3%), and minor complications in 65 (7.5%). In temporal lobe resections (n = 523), there were 15 major (2.9%) and 41 minor complications (7.8%); in extratemporal resections (n = 275) there were 9 major (3.3%) and 22 minor complications (8%); and in nonresective procedures (n = 67) there were 2 major (3%) and 2 minor complications (3%). The risk for any complication increased significantly with age (OR 1.26 per 10-year interval, 95% CI 1.09-1.45). Compared with previously published results from the same register, there is a trend toward lower complication rates, especially in patients older than 50 years. CONCLUSIONS This is the largest reported prospective series of complication data in epilepsy surgery. The complication rates comply well with published results from larger single centers, confirming that epilepsy surgery performed in the 6 Swedish centers is safe. Patient age should be taken into account when counseling patients before surgery.

Concepts: Hospital, Surgery, Physician, Temporal lobe, Interval, Minor scale, Minor chord, Major and minor


To evaluate the association of frailty, a measure of diminished physiologic reserve, with both major and minor surgical complications among patients undergoing urologic surgery.

Concepts: Medicine, Hospital, Surgery, Physician, Surgeon, Minor scale, Edwin Smith Papyrus, Minor chord


Profiling elemental contents in wheat grains and clarifying the underlying genetic systems are important for the breeding of biofortified crops. Our objective was to evaluate the genetic potential of 269 Afghan wheat landraces for increasing elemental contents in wheat cultivars. The contents of three major (Mg, K, and P) and three minor (Mn, Fe, and Zn) elements in wheat grains were measured by energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometry. Large variations in elemental contents were observed among landraces. Marker-based heritability estimates were low to moderate, suggesting that the elemental contents are complex quantitative traits. Genetic correlations between two locations (Japan and Afghanistan) and among the six elements were estimated using a multi-response Bayesian linear mixed model. Low-to-moderate genetic correlations were observed among major elements and among minor elements respectively, but not between major and minor elements. A single-response genome-wide association study detected only one significant marker, which was associated with Zn, suggesting it will be difficult to increase the elemental contents of wheat by conventional marker-assisted selection. Genomic predictions for major elemental contents were moderately or highly accurate, whereas those for minor elements were mostly low or moderate. Our results indicate genomic selection may be useful for the genetic improvement of elemental contents in wheat.

Concepts: Scientific method, X-ray fluorescence, Genetics, Genome-wide association study, Chord, Heritability, Minor scale, Minor chord


Controlled conversion of right-handed B-DNA to left-handed Z-DNA is one of the greatest conformational transitions in biology. Recently, the B-Z transition has been explored from nanotechnological points of view and used as the driving machinery of many nanomechanical devices. Using a combination of CD spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, and PAGE, we demonstrate that low concentration of lanthanum chloride can mediate B-to-Z transition in self-assembled Y-shaped branched DNA (bDNA) structure. The transition is sensitive to the sequence and structure of the bDNA. Thermal melting and competitive dye binding experiments suggest that La(3+) ions are loaded to the major and minor grooves of DNA and stabilize the Z-conformation. Our studies also show that EDTA and EtBr play an active role in reversing the transition from Z-to-B DNA.

Concepts: DNA, Spectroscopy, Molecular biology, Molecule, Ethidium bromide, DNA structure, Minor scale, Minor chord