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Concept: Ratios


Lower visibility of female scientists, compared to male scientists, is a potential reason for the under-representation of women among senior academic ranks. Visibility in the scientific community stems partly from presenting research as an invited speaker at organized meetings. We analysed the sex ratio of presenters at the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB) Congress 2011, where all abstract submissions were accepted for presentation. Women were under-represented among invited speakers at symposia (15% women) compared to all presenters (46%), regular oral presenters (41%) and plenary speakers (25%). At the ESEB congresses in 2001-2011, 9-23% of invited speakers were women. This under-representation of women is partly attributable to a larger proportion of women, than men, declining invitations: in 2011, 50% of women declined an invitation to speak compared to 26% of men. We expect invited speakers to be scientists from top ranked institutions or authors of recent papers in high-impact journals. Considering all invited speakers (including declined invitations), 23% were women. This was lower than the baseline sex ratios of early-mid career stage scientists, but was similar to senior scientists and authors that have published in high-impact journals. High-quality science by women therefore has low exposure at international meetings, which will constrain Evolutionary Biology from reaching its full potential. We wish to highlight the wider implications of turning down invitations to speak, and encourage conference organizers to implement steps to increase acceptance rates of invited talks.

Concepts: Male, Evolution, Female, Gender, Sex, Ratio, Ratios, Charles Darwin


The impact that unbalanced sex ratios have on health and societal outcomes is of mounting contemporary concern. However, it is increasingly unclear whether it is male- or female-biased sex ratios that are associated with family and social instability. From a socio-demographic perspective, male-biased sex ratios leave many men unable to find a mate, elevating competition among males, disrupting family formation and negatively affecting social stability. In contrast, from a mating-market perspective, males are expected to be less willing to marry and commit to a family when the sex ratio is female-biased and males are rare. Here we use U.S. data to evaluate predictions from these competing frameworks by testing the relationship between the adult sex ratio and measures of family formation. We find that when women are rare men are more likely to marry, be part of a family and be sexually committed to a single partner. Our results do not support claims that male-biased sex ratios lead to negative family outcomes due to a surplus of unmarried men. Rather, our results highlight the need to pay increased attention to female-biased sex ratios.

Concepts: Marriage, Male, Female, Gender, Sex, Ratios, Stability, Sex ratio


Three-dimensional (3D) hierarchical materials are important to a wide range of emerging technological applications. We report a method to synthesize complex 3D microengineered materials, such as microlattices, with nearly fully dense truss elements with a minimum diameter of approximately 20 μm and having high aspect ratios (up to 20:1) without using any templating or supporting materials. By varying the postprocessing conditions, we have also introduced an additional control over the internal porosity of the truss elements to demonstrate a hierarchical porous structure with an overall void size and feature size control of over five orders of magnitudes in length scale. The method uses direct printing of nanoparticle dispersions using the Aerosol Jet technology in 3D space without templating or supporting materials followed by binder removal and sintering. In addition to 3D microlattices, we have also demonstrated directly printed stretchable interconnects, spirals, and pillars. This assembly method could be implemented by a variety of microdroplet generation methods for fast and large-scale fabrication of the hierarchical materials for applications in tissue engineering, ultralight or multifunctional materials, microfluidics, and micro-optoelectronics.

Concepts: Method acting, Ratio, Demonstration, Porosity, Printing, Aspect ratio, Ratios, Truss


The Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT) is a test introduced by Frederick (2005). The task is designed to measure the tendency to override an intuitive response that is incorrect and to engage in further reflection that leads to the correct response. The consistent sex differences in CRT performance may suggest a role for prenatal sex hormones. A now widely studied putative marker for relative prenatal testosterone is the second-to-fourth digit ratio (2D:4D). This paper tests to what extent 2D:4D, as a proxy for the prenatal ratio of testosterone/estrogens, can predict CRT scores in a sample of 623 students. After controlling for sex, we observe that a lower 2D:4D (reflecting a relative higher exposure to testosterone) is significantly associated with a higher number of correct answers. The result holds for both hands' 2D:4Ds. In addition, the effect appears to be stronger for females than for males. We also control for patience and math proficiency, which are significantly related to performance in the CRT. But the effect of 2D:4D on performance in CRT is not reduced with these controls, implying that these variables are not mediating the relationship between digit ratio and CRT.

Concepts: Male, Reproduction, Female, Sexual dimorphism, Gender, Sex, Ratios, Finger


Gold nanorods exhibit rich colours owing to the nearly linear dependence of the longitudinal plasmon resonance wavelength on the length-to-diameter aspect ratio. This property of Au nanorods has been utilized in this work for dyeing fabrics. Au nanorods of different aspect ratios were deposited on both cotton and silk fabrics by immersing them in Au nanorod solutions. The coating of Au nanorods makes the fabrics exhibit a broad range of colours varying from brownish red through green to purplish red, which are essentially determined by the longitudinal plasmon wavelength of the deposited Au nanorods. The colorimetric values of the coated fabrics were carefully measured for examining the colouring effects. The nanorod-coated cotton fabrics were found to be commercially acceptable in washing fastness to laundering tests and colour fastness to dry cleaning tests. Moreover, the nanorod-coated cotton and silk fabrics show significant improvements on both UV-protection and antibacterial functions. Our study therefore points out a promising approach for the use of noble metal nanocrystals as dyeing materials for textile applications on the basis of their inherent localized plasmon resonance properties.

Concepts: Ratio, Color, Aspect ratio, Ratios, Textile, Primary color, Silk, Tertiary color


Background:The ratio of the second to the fourth digit (2D:4D ratio) is a sexually dimorphic trait established in utero that differs between ethnic groups. It is associated with prenatal androgen exposure, and studies have evaluated the ratio as a marker for certain traits and disease states known to be associated with higher levels of in utero androgens, such as prostate cancer. There are currently no screening tools that stratify men with prostate cancer according to the severity of their disease. This study aims to investigate the 2D:4D ratio as a potential marker for prostate cancer severity. Our hypothesis was that lower digit ratios, representing higher in utero androgen exposure, would be associated with more severe disease.Methods:Measurements were taken of the second and fourth digits of the right hand of male patients diagnosed with prostate cancer. Gleason score, presence of metastasis, family history, age at diagnosis and race were recorded. The distribution of demographic and other patient characteristics were compared with digit ratios to determine relationships.Results:African-American men with prostate cancer are 3.70 times more likely to have a low 2D:4D digit ratio than Caucasian men with prostate cancer (95% confidence interval: 1.98, 6.92; P<0.0001). There were no statistically significant differences in the presence of metastasis, Gleason score, family history or age at diagnosis by digit ratio.Conclusion:2D:4D ratio shows strong differences between African-Americans and Caucasians; however, it does not correlate with disease severity in men already diagnosed with prostate cancer. Although this is a small population sample with possible confounding factors, it does not provide evidence to support the hypothesis that prenatal androgens affect prostate cancer grade or progression.Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Disease advance online publication, 13 November 2012; doi:10.1038/pcan.2012.46.

Concepts: Cancer, Prostate cancer, Testosterone, Androgen, Prostate, Ratios, Finger, Digit ratio


Differences in the performance of cadmium-zinc-telluride (CZT) cameras or collimation systems that have recently been commercialized for myocardial SPECT remain unclear. In the present study, the performance of 3 of these systems was compared by a comprehensive analysis of phantom and human SPECT images. METHODS: We evaluated the Discovery NM 530c and DSPECT CZT cameras, as well as the Symbia Anger camera equipped with an astigmatic (IQ⋅SPECT) or parallel-hole (conventional SPECT) collimator. Physical performance was compared on reconstructed SPECT images from a phantom and from comparable groups of healthy subjects. RESULTS: Classifications were as follows, in order of performance. For count sensitivity on cardiac phantom images (counts⋅s(-1)⋅MBq(-1)), DSPECT had a sensitivity of 850; Discovery NM 530c, 460; IQ⋅SPECT, 390; and conventional SPECT, 130. This classification was similar to that of myocardial counts normalized to injected activities from human images (respective mean values, in counts⋅s(-1)⋅MBq(-1): 11.4 ± 2.6, 5.6 ± 1.4, 2.7 ± 0.7, and 0.6 ± 0.1). For central spatial resolution: Discovery NM 530c was 6.7 mm; DSPECT, 8.6 mm; IQ⋅SPECT, 15.0 mm; and conventional SPECT, 15.3 mm, also in accordance with the analysis of the sharpness of myocardial contours on human images (in cm(-1): 1.02 ± 0.17, 0.92 ± 0.11, 0.64 ± 0.12, and 0.65 ± 0.06, respectively). For contrast-to-noise ratio on the phantom: Discovery NM 530c had a ratio of 4.6; DSPECT, 4.1; IQ⋅SPECT, 3.9; and conventional SPECT, 3.5, similar to ratios documented on human images (5.2 ± 1.0, 4.5 ± 0.5, 3.9 ± 0.6, and 3.4 ± 0.3, respectively). CONCLUSION: The performance of CZT cameras is dramatically higher than that of Anger cameras, even for human SPECT images. However, CZT cameras differ in that spatial resolution and contrast-to-noise ratio are better with the Discovery NM 530c, whereas count sensitivity is markedly higher with the DSPECT.

Concepts: Optics, Ratio, Radiology, Count, Ratios, Single photon emission computed tomography, Phantom, Collimator


We synthesized ultra-small iron oxide nanoparticles (USPIONs) with tripod morphology and studied the effect of the aspect ratio (AR) of the tripod arms on mass magnetization, T2 relaxation and cytocompatibility in human cell lines.

Concepts: Cell, Iron oxide, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Cell culture, Magnetic resonance imaging, Ratio, Aspect ratio, Ratios


Aspect ratio (AR) is one parameter used to predict the flight performance of a bat species based on wing shape. Bats with high AR wings are thought to have superior lift-to-drag ratios and are therefore predicted to be able to fly faster or to sustain longer flights. By contrast, bats with lower AR wings are usually thought to exhibit higher manoeuvrability. However, the half-span ARs of most bat wings fall into a narrow range of about 2.5-4.5. Furthermore, these predictions do not take into account the wide variation in flapping motion observed in bats. To examine the influence of different stroke patterns, we measured lift and drag of highly compliant membrane wings with different bat-relevant ARs. A two degrees of freedom shoulder joint allowed for independent control of flapping amplitude and wing sweep. We tested five models with the same variations of stroke patterns, flapping frequencies and wind speed velocities. Our results suggest that within the relatively small AR range of bat wings, AR has no clear effect on force generation. Instead, the generation of lift by our simple model mostly depends on wingbeat frequency, flapping amplitude and freestream velocity; drag is mostly affected by the flapping amplitude.

Concepts: Ratio, Bat, Aspect ratio, Ratios, Flight, Wing, Flying and gliding animals, Planform


Robbing and bartering (RB) is a behavioral practice anecdotally reported in free-ranging commensal macaques. It usually occurs in two steps: after taking inedible objects (e.g., glasses) from humans, the macaques appear to use them as tokens, returning them to humans in exchange for food. While extensively studied in captivity, our research is the first to investigate the object/food exchange between humans and primates in a natural setting. During a 4-month study in 2010, we used both focal and event sampling to record 201 RB events in a population of long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis), including four neighboring groups ranging freely around Uluwatu Temple, Bali (Indonesia). In each group, we documented the RB frequency, prevalence and outcome, and tested the underpinning anthropogenic and demographic determinants. In line with the environmental opportunity hypothesis, we found a positive qualitative relation at the group level between time spent in tourist zones and RB frequency or prevalence. For two of the four groups, RB events were significantly more frequent when humans were more present in the environment. We also found qualitative partial support for the male-biased sex ratio hypothesis [i.e., RB was more frequent and prevalent in groups with higher ratios of (sub)adult males], whereas the group density hypothesis was not supported. This preliminary study showed that RB is a spontaneous, customary (in some groups), and enduring population-specific practice characterized by intergroup variation in Balinese macaques. As such, RB is a candidate for a new behavioral tradition in this species.

Concepts: Natural environment, Sex, Macaque, Primate, Ratios, Bali, Crab-eating Macaque, Balinese people