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

Concept: Origin


There are nearly 400 modern domestic dog breeds with a unique histories and genetic profiles. To track the genetic signatures of breed development, we have assembled the most diverse dataset of dog breeds, reflecting their extensive phenotypic variation and heritage. Combining genetic distance, migration, and genome-wide haplotype sharing analyses, we uncover geographic patterns of development and independent origins of common traits. Our analyses reveal the hybrid history of breeds and elucidate the effects of immigration, revealing for the first time a suggestion of New World dog within some modern breeds. Finally, we used cladistics and haplotype sharing to show that some common traits have arisen more than once in the history of the dog. These analyses characterize the complexities of breed development, resolving longstanding questions regarding individual breed origination, the effect of migration on geographically distinct breeds, and, by inference, transfer of trait and disease alleles among dog breeds.

Concepts: Gene, Selective breeding, Dog, Dog breed, Dog type, Purebred, Origin, Landrace


Fast radio bursts are astronomical radio flashes of unknown physical nature with durations of milliseconds. Their dispersive arrival times suggest an extragalactic origin and imply radio luminosities that are orders of magnitude larger than those of all known short-duration radio transients. So far all fast radio bursts have been detected with large single-dish telescopes with arcminute localizations, and attempts to identify their counterparts (source or host galaxy) have relied on the contemporaneous variability of field sources or the presence of peculiar field stars or galaxies. These attempts have not resulted in an unambiguous association with a host or multi-wavelength counterpart. Here we report the subarcsecond localization of the fast radio burst FRB 121102, the only known repeating burst source, using high-time-resolution radio interferometric observations that directly image the bursts. Our precise localization reveals that FRB 121102 originates within 100 milliarcseconds of a faint 180-microJansky persistent radio source with a continuum spectrum that is consistent with non-thermal emission, and a faint (twenty-fifth magnitude) optical counterpart. The flux density of the persistent radio source varies by around ten per cent on day timescales, and very long baseline radio interferometry yields an angular size of less than 1.7 milliarcseconds. Our observations are inconsistent with the fast radio burst having a Galactic origin or its source being located within a prominent star-forming galaxy. Instead, the source appears to be co-located with a low-luminosity active galactic nucleus or a previously unknown type of extragalactic source. Localization and identification of a host or counterpart has been essential to understanding the origins and physics of other kinds of transient events, including gamma-ray bursts and tidal disruption events. However, if other fast radio bursts have similarly faint radio and optical counterparts, our findings imply that direct subarcsecond localizations may be the only way to provide reliable associations.

Concepts: Galaxy, Active galactic nucleus, Origin, Interferometry, Quasar, Relativistic jet, Host galaxy, Active galaxies


Fast radio bursts are millisecond-duration astronomical radio pulses of unknown physical origin that appear to come from extragalactic distances. Previous follow-up observations have failed to find additional bursts at the same dispersion measure (that is, the integrated column density of free electrons between source and telescope) and sky position as the original detections. The apparent non-repeating nature of these bursts has led to the suggestion that they originate in cataclysmic events. Here we report observations of ten additional bursts from the direction of the fast radio burst FRB 121102. These bursts have dispersion measures and sky positions consistent with the original burst. This unambiguously identifies FRB 121102 as repeating and demonstrates that its source survives the energetic events that cause the bursts. Additionally, the bursts from FRB 121102 show a wide range of spectral shapes that appear to be predominantly intrinsic to the source and which vary on timescales of minutes or less. Although there may be multiple physical origins for the population of fast radio bursts, these repeat bursts with high dispersion measure and variable spectra specifically seen from the direction of FRB 121102 support an origin in a young, highly magnetized, extragalactic neutron star.

Concepts: Fundamental physics concepts, Neutron, White dwarf, Star, Original sin, Origin, Neutron star, Pulsar


Despite the extensive interest in structurally explaining the photophysics of DNA-bound [Ru(phen)(2)dppz](2+) and [Ru(bpy)(2)dppz](2+), the origin of the two distinct emission lifetimes of the pure enantiomers when intercalated into DNA has remained elusive. In this report, we have combined a photophysical characterization with a detailed isothermal titration calorimetry study to investigate the binding of the pure Δ and Λ enantiomers of both complexes with [poly(dAdT)](2). We find that a binding model with two different binding geometries, proposed to be symmetric and canted intercalation from the minor groove, as recently reported in high-resolution X-ray structures, is required to appropriately explain the data. By assigning the long emission lifetime to the canted binding geometry, we can simultaneously fit both calorimetric data and the binding-density-dependent changes in the relative abundance of the two emission lifetimes using the same binding model. We find that all complex-complex interactions are slightly unfavorable for Δ-[Ru(bpy)(2)dppz](2+), whereas interactions involving a complex canted away from a neighbor are favorable for the other three complexes. We also conclude that Δ-[Ru(bpy)(2)dppz](2+) preferably binds isolated, Δ-[Ru(phen)(2)dppz](2+) preferably binds as duplets of canted complexes, and that all complexes are reluctant to form longer consecutive sequences than triplets. We propose that this is due to an interplay of repulsive complex-complex and attractive complex-DNA interactions modulated by allosteric DNA conformation changes that are largely affected by the nature of the ancillary ligands.

Concepts: DNA, Structure, Geometry, Complex, Explanation, Proposal, Origin, Intercalation


We investigated whether wood metabolite profiles from direct analysis in real time (time-of-flight) mass spectrometry (DART-TOFMS) could be used to determine the geographic origin of Douglas-fir wood cores originating from two regions in western Oregon, USA.

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, United States, Calculus, Oregon, Time-of-flight, Washington, Origin


As the bronchioles have a strategic position between the airways and the alveolar structures, they are at a site where disorders of many origins may develop, including infections, inflammatory and/or fibrosing processes of immune, occupational, environmental, tumoral, and iatrogenic origin, which may result in predominant bronchiolitis and/or organizing pneumonia. This etiologic variety results in many distinct entities and syndromes, common or rare, with new or renewed faces such as bronchiolocentric interstitial pneumonia or organizing pneumonia primed by radiation to the breast.

Concepts: Inflammation, Medicine, Cancer, Pulmonology, Chemotherapy, Bronchiolitis obliterans, Origin


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is an aggressive primary liver cancer. However, its origin remains a debated question. Using human data and various hepatocarcinogenesis mouse models, we show that, in early stages, transformed hepatocytes, independent of their proliferation status, activate hepatic progenitor cell (HPC) expansion. Genetic lineage tracing of HPCs and hepatocytes reveals that, in all models, HCC originates from hepatocytes. However, whereas in various models tumors do not emanate from HPCs, tracking of progenitors in a model mimicking human hepatocarcinogenesis indicates that HPCs can generate benign lesions (regenerative nodules and adenomas) and aggressive HCCs. Mechanistically, galectin-3 and α-ketoglutarate paracrine signals emanating from oncogene-expressing hepatocytes instruct HPCs toward HCCs. α-Ketoglutarate preserves an HPC undifferentiated state, and galectin-3 maintains HPC stemness, expansion, and aggressiveness. Pharmacological or genetic blockage of galectin-3 reduces HCC, and its expression in human HCC correlates with poor survival. Our findings may have clinical implications for liver regeneration and HCC therapy.

Concepts: Cancer, Cirrhosis, Liver, Progenitor cell, Anatomical pathology, Hepatocellular carcinoma, Hepatitis C, Origin


Serial homologues are repeated traits that share similar development but occur in different parts of the body. Variation in number of repeats accounts for substantial diversity in animal form and considerable work has focused on identifying the factors accounting for this variation. Little is known, however, about how serial homologues originally become repeated, or about the relative timing of repeat individuation relative to repeat origin. Here, we show that the serially repeated eyespots on nymphalid butterfly wings most likely arose as a small cluster of units on the ventral hindwing that were later co-opted to the dorsal and anterior wing surfaces. Based on comparative analyses of over 400 species, we found support for a model of eyespot origin followed by redeployment, rather than by the conventional model, where eyespots arose as a complete row of undifferentiated units that later gained individuation. In addition, eyespots most likely evolved from simpler pattern elements, single-coloured spots, which were already individuated among different wing sectors. Finally, the late appearance of eyespots on the dorsal, hidden wing surface further suggests that these novel complex traits originally evolved for one function (thwarting predator attacks) and acquired a second function (sexual signalling) when moved to a different body location. This broad comparative analysis illustrates how serial homologues may initially evolve as a few units serving a particular function and subsequently become repeated in novel body locations with new functions.

Concepts: Evolution, Mathematics, Insect, Lepidoptera, Origin, Butterfly, Wing, Soap opera


Osteoclasts (OCs) originate from the myeloid cell lineage, but the successive steps in their lineage commitment are ill-defined, especially in humans. To clarify OC origin, we sorted cell populations from pediatric bone marrow (BM) by flow cytometry and assessed their differentiation potential in vitro. Within the CD11b(-)CD34(+)c-KIT(+) BM cell population, OC-differentiation potential was restricted to FLT3(+) cells and enriched in an IL3 receptor ®α(high) subset that constituted less than 0.5% of total BM. These IL3Rα(high) cells also generated macrophages (MΦs) and dendritic cells (DCs) but lacked granulocyte (GR)-differentiation potential, as demonstrated at the clonal level. The IL3Rα(low) subset was re-defined as common progenitor of GR, MΦ, OC, and DC (GMODP) and gave rise to the IL3Rα(high) subset that was identified as common progenitor of MΦ, OC, and DC (MODP). Unbiased transcriptome analysis of CD11b(-)CD34(+)c-KIT(+)FLT3(+) IL3Rα(low) and IL3Rα(high) subsets corroborated our definitions of the GMODP and MODP and their developmental relationship.

Concepts: Immune system, White blood cell, Bone, Human, Bone marrow, Cell biology, Flow cytometry, Origin


Despite accumulating efforts to unveil the origin of insect wings, it remains one of the principal mysteries in evolution. Currently, there are two prominent models regarding insect wing origin: one connecting the origin to the paranotal lobe and the other to the proximodorsal leg branch (exite). However, neither hypothesis has been able to surpass the other. To approach this conundrum, we focused our analysis on vestigial (vg), a critical wing gene initially identified in Drosophila. Our investigation in Tribolium (Coleoptera) has revealed that, despite the well-accepted view of vg as an essential wing gene, there are two groups of vg-dependent tissues in the “wingless” first thoracic segment (T1). We show that one of these tissues, the carinated margin, also depends on other factors essential for wing development (such as Wingless signal and apterous), and has nubbin enhancer activity. In addition, our homeotic mutant analysis shows that wing transformation in T1 originates from both the carinated margin and the other vg-dependent tissue, the pleural structures (trochantin and epimeron). Intriguingly, these two tissues may actually be homologous to the two proposed wing origins (paranotal lobes and exite bearing proximal leg segments). Therefore, our findings suggest that the vg-dependent tissues in T1 could be wing serial homologs present in a more ancestral state, thus providing compelling functional evidence for the dual origin of insect wings.

Concepts: Evolution, Insect, Beetle, Thorax, Origin, Wing, Insect wing, Tenebrionidae