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Concept: Region


A study was undertaken to determine activity concentrations for (134)Caesium, (137)Caesium and (210)Polonium in New Zealand seafood, and establish if activity concentrations varied with respect to species/ecological niche and coastal region. Thirty seafood samples were obtained from six fishing regions of New Zealand along with a further six samples of two commercially important species (hoki and arrow squid) with well-defined fisheries. (134)Caesium was not detected in any sample. (137)Caesium was detected in 47% of samples, predominantly in pelagic fish species, with most activities at a trace level. Detections of (137)Caesium were evenly distributed across all regions. Activity concentrations were consistent with those expected from the oceanic inventory representing residual fallout from global nuclear testing. (210)Polonium was detected above the minimum detectable concentration in 33 (92%) of the analysed samples. Molluscs displayed significantly elevated activity concentrations relative to all other species groups. No significant regional variation in activity concentrations were determined. Two dose assessment models for high seafood consumers were undertaken. Dose contribution from (137)Caesium was minimal and far below the dose exemption limit of 1 mSv/year. Exposure to (210)Polonium was significant in high seafood consumers at 0.44-0.77 mSv/year (5th-95th percentile). (137)Caesium is concluded to be a valuable sentinel radionuclide for monitoring anthropogenic releases, such as global fallout and reactor releases, in the marine environment. (210)Polonium is of importance as a natural radionuclide sentinel due to its high contribution to dietary committed dose in seafood consumers.

Concepts: Species, Fish, Concentration, Chemical equilibrium, New Zealand, Radioactive contamination, Region, Pelagic fish


Many crops display differential geographic phenotypes and sensorial signatures, encapsulated by the concept of terroir. The drivers behind these differences remain elusive, and the potential contribution of microbes has been ignored until recently. Significant genetic differentiation between microbial communities and populations from different geographic locations has been demonstrated, but crucially it has not been shown whether this correlates with differential agricultural phenotypes or not. Using wine as a model system, we utilize the regionally genetically differentiated population of Saccharomyces cerevisiae in New Zealand and objectively demonstrate that these populations differentially affect wine phenotype, which is driven by a complex mix of chemicals. These findings reveal the importance of microbial populations for the regional identity of wine, and potentially extend to other important agricultural commodities. Moreover, this suggests that long-term implementation of methods maintaining differential biodiversity may have tangible economic imperatives as well as being desirable in terms of employing agricultural practices that increase responsible environmental stewardship.

Concepts: Gene, Natural selection, Evolution, Microbiology, Model organism, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Brewing, Region


The differential warming of land and ocean leads to many continental regions in the Northern Hemisphere warming at rates higher than the global mean temperature. Adaptation and conservation efforts will, therefore, benefit from understanding regional consequences of limiting the global mean temperature increase to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, a limit agreed upon at the United Nations Climate Summit in Paris in December 2015. Here, we analyze climate model simulations from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) to determine the timing and magnitude of regional temperature and precipitation changes across the contiguous United States (US) for global warming of 1.5 and 2°C and highlight consensus and uncertainties in model projections and their implications for making decisions. The regional warming rates differ considerably across the contiguous US, but all regions are projected to reach 2°C about 10-20 years before the global mean temperature. Although there is uncertainty in the timing of exactly when the 1.5 and 2°C thresholds will be crossed regionally, over 80% of the models project at least 2°C warming by 2050 for all regions for the high emissions scenario. This threshold-based approach also highlights regional variations in the rate of warming across the US. The fastest warming region in the contiguous US is the Northeast, which is projected to warm by 3°C when global warming reaches 2°C. The signal-to-noise ratio calculations indicate that the regional warming estimates remain outside the envelope of uncertainty throughout the twenty-first century, making them potentially useful to planners. The regional precipitation projections for global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C are uncertain, but the eastern US is projected to experience wetter winters and the Great Plains and the Northwest US are projected to experience drier summers in the future. The impact of different scenarios on regional precipitation projections is negligible throughout the twenty-first century compared to uncertainties associated with internal variability and model diversity.

Concepts: United States, Climate, Uncertainty, Global warming, Great Plains, Region, Contiguous United States, Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project


A recent study conducted the first genome-wide scan for selection in Inuit from Greenland using SNP chip data. Here, we report that selection in the region with the second most extreme signal of positive selection in Greenlandic Inuit favored a deeply divergent haplotype that is closely related to the sequence in the Denisovan genome, and was likely introgressed from an archaic population. The region contains two genes, WARS2 and TBX15, and has previously been associated with adipose tissue differentiation and body-fat distribution in humans. We show that the adaptively introgressed allele has been under selection in a much larger geographic region than just Greenland. Furthermore, it is associated with changes in expression of WARS2 and TBX15 in multiple tissues including the adrenal gland and subcutaneous adipose tissue, and with regional DNA methylation changes in TBX15.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Gene expression, Cellular differentiation, Adipose tissue, Tissues, Region


There is growing interest in mining polymetallic nodules in the abyssal Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) in the Pacific. Nonetheless, benthic communities in this region remain poorly known. The ABYSSLINE Project is conducting benthic biological baseline surveys for the UK Seabed Resources Ltd. exploration contract area (UK-1) in the CCZ. Using a Remotely Operated Vehicle, we surveyed megafauna at four sites within a 900 km(2) stratum in the UK-1 contract area, and at a site ~250 km east of the UK-1 area, allowing us to make the first estimates of abundance and diversity. We distinguished 170 morphotypes within the UK-1 contract area but species-richness estimators suggest this could be as high as 229. Megafaunal abundance averaged 1.48 ind. m(-2). Seven of 12 collected metazoan species were new to science, and four belonged to new genera. Approximately half of the morphotypes occurred only on polymetallic nodules. There were weak, but statistically significant, positive correlations between megafaunal and nodule abundance. Eastern-CCZ megafaunal diversity is high relative to two abyssal datasets from other regions, however comparisons with CCZ and DISCOL datasets are problematic given the lack of standardised methods and taxonomy. We postulate that CCZ megafaunal diversity is driven in part by habitat heterogeneity.

Concepts: Species, Ecology, Oceanography, Statistical significance, Relative humidity, Estimation, Region, Megafauna


The fourth United Nations Millennium Development Goal, adopted in 2000, set a target to reduce child mortality by two thirds by 2015. One indicator of progress toward this target was measles vaccination coverage (1). In 2010, the World Health Assembly (WHA) set three milestones for measles control by 2015: 1) increase routine coverage with the first dose of a measles-containing vaccine (MCV1) among children aged 1 year to ≥90% at the national level and to ≥80% in every district; 2) reduce global annual measles incidence to <5 cases per million population; and 3) reduce global measles mortality by 95% from the 2000 estimate (2).* In 2012, WHA endorsed the Global Vaccine Action Plan,(†) with the objective of eliminating measles in four World Health Organization (WHO) regions by 2015 and in five regions by 2020. Countries in all six WHO regions have adopted goals for measles elimination by or before 2020. Measles elimination is defined as the absence of endemic measles virus transmission in a region or other defined geographic area for ≥12 months, in the presence of a high quality surveillance system that meets targets of key performance indicators. This report updates a previous report (3) and describes progress toward global measles control milestones and regional measles elimination goals during 2000-2016. During this period, annual reported measles incidence decreased 87%, from 145 to 19 cases per million persons, and annual estimated measles deaths decreased 84%, from 550,100 to 89,780; measles vaccination prevented an estimated 20.4 million deaths. However, the 2015 milestones have not yet been met; only one WHO region has been verified as having eliminated measles. Improved implementation of elimination strategies by countries and their partners is needed, with focus on increasing vaccination coverage through substantial and sustained additional investments in health systems, strengthening surveillance systems, using surveillance data to drive programmatic actions, securing political commitment, and raising the visibility of measles elimination goals.

Concepts: Virus, Malaria, Vaccine, Smallpox, World Health Organization, United Nations, Millennium Development Goals, Region


Recent widespread adoption of electronic and pervasive technologies has enabled the study of human behavior at an unprecedented level, uncovering universal patterns underlying human activity, mobility, and interpersonal communication. In the present work, we investigate whether deviations from these universal patterns may reveal information about the socio-economical status of geographical regions. We quantify the extent to which deviations in diurnal rhythm, mobility patterns, and communication styles across regions relate to their unemployment incidence. For this we examine a country-scale publicly articulated social media dataset, where we quantify individual behavioral features from over 19 million geo-located messages distributed among more than 340 different Spanish economic regions, inferred by computing communities of cohesive mobility fluxes. We find that regions exhibiting more diverse mobility fluxes, earlier diurnal rhythms, and more correct grammatical styles display lower unemployment rates. As a result, we provide a simple model able to produce accurate, easily interpretable reconstruction of regional unemployment incidence from their social-media digital fingerprints alone. Our results show that cost-effective economical indicators can be built based on publicly-available social media datasets.

Concepts: Psychology, Sociology, Behavior, Human behavior, Communication, Region, Unemployment, Economy


BACKGROUND: Country comparisons that consider the effect of fatal and non-fatal disease outcomes are needed for health-care planning. We calculated disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) to estimate the global burden of cancer in 2008. METHODS: We used population-based data, mostly from cancer registries, for incidence, mortality, life expectancy, disease duration, and age at onset and death, alongside proportions of patients who were treated and living with sequelae or regarded as cured, to calculate years of life lost (YLLs) and years lived with disability (YLDs). We used YLLs and YLDs to derive DALYs for 27 sites of cancers in 184 countries in 12 world regions. Estimates were grouped into four categories based on a country’s human development index (HDI). We applied zero discounting and uniform age weighting, and age-standardised rates to enable cross-country and regional comparisons. FINDINGS: Worldwide, an estimated 169·3 million years of healthy life were lost because of cancer in 2008. Colorectal, lung, breast, and prostate cancers were the main contributors to total DALYs in most world regions and caused 18-50% of the total cancer burden. We estimated an additional burden of 25% from infection-related cancers (liver, stomach, and cervical) in sub-Saharan Africa, and 27% in eastern Asia. We noted substantial global differences in the cancer profile of DALYs by country and region; however, YLLs were the most important component of DALYs in all countries and for all cancers, and contributed to more than 90% of the total burden. Nonetheless, low-resource settings had consistently higher YLLs (as a proportion of total DALYs) than did high-resource settings. INTERPRETATION: Age-adjusted DALYs lost from cancer are substantial, irrespective of world region. The consistently larger proportions of YLLs in low HDI than in high HDI countries indicate substantial inequalities in prognosis after diagnosis, related to degree of human development. Therefore, radical improvement in cancer care is needed in low-resource countries. FUNDING: Dutch Scientific Society, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and International Agency for research on Cancer.

Concepts: Cancer, Metastasis, Senescence, Lung cancer, Africa, Life expectancy, Region, Human Development Index


A group of nine states in the Southern United States, hereafter referred to as the targeted states, has experienced particularly high HIV diagnosis and case fatality rates. To provide additional information about the HIV burden in this region, we used CDC HIV surveillance data to examine characteristics of individuals diagnosed with HIV in the targeted states (2011), 5-year HIV and AIDS survival, and deaths among persons living with HIV (2010). We used multivariable analyses to explore the influence of residing in the targeted states at diagnosis on deaths among persons living with HIV after adjustment for demographics and transmission risk. In 2011, the targeted states had a higher HIV diagnosis rate (24.5/100,000 population) than the US overall (18.0/100,000) and higher proportions than other regions of individuals diagnosed with HIV who were black, female, younger, and living in suburban and rural areas. Furthermore, the targeted states had lower HIV and AIDS survival proportions (0.85, 0.73, respectively) than the US overall (0.86, 0.77, respectively) and the highest death rate among persons living with HIV of any US region. Regional differences in demographics and transmission risk did not explain the higher death rate among persons living with HIV in the targeted states indicating that other factors contribute to this disparity. Differences in characteristics and outcomes of individuals with HIV in the targeted states are critical to consider when creating strategies to address HIV in the region, as are other factors identified in previous research to be prominent in the region including poverty and stigma.

Concepts: HIV, AIDS, Death, Diagnosis, Demography, Tuberculosis, Southern United States, Region


To estimate global, regional (21 regions) and national (187 countries) sodium intakes in adults in 1990 and 2010.

Concepts: Sodium, Region, 1