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

Concept: Sample


The Rising Star cave system has produced abundant fossil hominin remains within the Dinaledi Chamber, representing a minimum of 15 individuals attributed to Homo naledi. Further exploration led to the discovery of hominin material, now comprising 131 hominin specimens, within a second chamber, the Lesedi Chamber. The Lesedi Chamber is far separated from the Dinaledi Chamber within the Rising Star cave system, and represents a second depositional context for hominin remains. In each of three collection areas within the Lesedi Chamber, diagnostic skeletal material allows a clear attribution to H. naledi. Both adult and immature material is present. The hominin remains represent at least three individuals based upon duplication of elements, but more individuals are likely present based upon the spatial context. The most significant specimen is the near-complete cranium of a large individual, designated LES1, with an endocranial volume of approximately 610 ml and associated postcranial remains. The Lesedi Chamber skeletal sample extends our knowledge of the morphology and variation of H. naledi, and evidence of H. naledi from both recovery localities shows a consistent pattern of differentiation from other hominin species.

Concepts: Sample, DNA, Human, Individual, Cave, Specimen, Cave Automatic Virtual Environment, The Rising


Previous estimates of mortality in Iraq attributable to the 2003 invasion have been heterogeneous and controversial, and none were produced after 2006. The purpose of this research was to estimate direct and indirect deaths attributable to the war in Iraq between 2003 and 2011.

Concepts: Sample, Gulf War, Cluster sampling, Iraq War, 2003 invasion of Iraq, Invasion, Iraq, Saddam Hussein


Studies examining the relation of information processing speed, as measured by reaction time, with mortality are scarce. We explored these associations in a representative sample of the US population.

Concepts: Sample, Mortality rate, Sample size, Sampling, Demography, Information, Cultural studies, Major


The largest cities, the most frequently used words, the income of the richest countries, and the most wealthy billionaires, can be all described in terms of Zipf’s Law, a rank-size rule capturing the relation between the frequency of a set of objects or events and their size. It is assumed to be one of many manifestations of an underlying power law like Pareto’s or Benford’s, but contrary to popular belief, from a distribution of, say, city sizes and a simple random sampling, one does not obtain Zipf’s law for the largest cities. This pathology is reflected in the fact that Zipf’s Law has a functional form depending on the number of events N. This requires a fundamental property of the sample distribution which we call ‘coherence’ and it corresponds to a ‘screening’ between various elements of the set. We show how it should be accounted for when fitting Zipf’s Law.

Concepts: Sample, Sample size, Property, Zipf's law, Pareto distribution, Lorenz curve, Rank-size distribution


Seabird population changes are good indicators of long-term and large-scale change in marine ecosystems, and important because of their many impacts on marine ecosystems. We assessed the population trend of the world’s monitored seabirds (1950-2010) by compiling a global database of seabird population size records and applying multivariate autoregressive state-space (MARSS) modeling to estimate the overall population trend of the portion of the population with sufficient data (i.e., at least five records). This monitored population represented approximately 19% of the global seabird population. We found the monitored portion of the global seabird population to have declined overall by 69.7% between 1950 and 2010. This declining trend may reflect the global seabird population trend, given the large and apparently representative sample. Furthermore, the largest declines were observed in families containing wide-ranging pelagic species, suggesting that pan-global populations may be more at risk than shorter-ranging coastal populations.

Concepts: Sample, Demography, Population, Population ecology, Demographic economics, World population, Carrying capacity, Population growth


We provide a novel method, DRISEE (duplicate read inferred sequencing error estimation), to assess sequencing quality (alternatively referred to as “noise” or “error”) within and/or between sequencing samples. DRISEE provides positional error estimates that can be used to inform read trimming within a sample. It also provides global (whole sample) error estimates that can be used to identify samples with high or varying levels of sequencing error that may confound downstream analyses, particularly in the case of studies that utilize data from multiple sequencing samples. For shotgun metagenomic data, we believe that DRISEE provides estimates of sequencing error that are more accurate and less constrained by technical limitations than existing methods that rely on reference genomes or the use of scores (e.g. Phred). Here, DRISEE is applied to (non amplicon) data sets from both the 454 and Illumina platforms. The DRISEE error estimate is obtained by analyzing sets of artifactual duplicate reads (ADRs), a known by-product of both sequencing platforms. We present DRISEE as an open-source, platform-independent method to assess sequencing error in shotgun metagenomic data, and utilize it to discover previously uncharacterized error in de novo sequence data from the 454 and Illumina sequencing platforms.

Concepts: Sample, Scientific method, Estimator, Full genome sequencing, Error, Sequence, Java, Estimation


BACKGROUND: Tuberculosis (TB) in children is rarely confirmed due to the lack of effective diagnostic tools; only 10 to 15% of pediatric TB is smear positive due to paucibacillary samples and the difficulty of obtaining high-quality specimens from children. We evaluate here the accuracy of Xpert MTB/RIF in comparison with the Micoroscopic observation drug susceptibility (MODS) assay for diagnosis of TB in children using samples stored during a previously reported evaluation of the MODS assay METHODS: Ninety-six eligible children presenting with suspected TB were recruited consecutively at Pham Ngoc Thach Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City Viet Nam between May to December 2008 and tested by Ziehl-Neelsen smear, MODS and Mycobacterial growth Indicator (MGIT, Becton Dickinson) culture. All samples sent by the treating clinician for testing were included in the analysis. An aliquot of processed sample deposit was stored at -20 [degree sign]C and tested in the present study by Xpert MTB/RIF test. 183 samples from 73 children were available for analysis by Xpert. Accuracy measures of MODS and Xpert were summarized. RESULTS: The sensitivity (%) in detecting children with a clinical diagnosis of TB for smear, MODS and Xpert were 37.9 [95% CI 25.5; 51.6], 51.7 [38.2; 65.0] and 50.0 [36.6; 63.4], respectively (per patient analysis). Xpert was significantly more sensitive than smear (P=0.046). Testing of additional samples did not increase case detection for MODS while testing of a second sputum sample by Xpert detected only two additional cases. The positive and negative predictive values (%) of Xpert were 100.0 [88.0; 100.0] and 34.1 [20.5; 49.9], respectively, while those of MODS were 96.8 [83.3; 99.9] and 33.3 [19.6; 49.5]. CONCLUSION: MODS culture and Xpert MTB/RIF test have similar sensitivities for the detection of pediatric TB. Xpert MTB RIF is able to detect tuberculosis and rifampicin resistance within two hours. MODS allows isolation of cultures for further drug susceptibility testing but requires approximately one week to become positive. Testing of multiple samples by xpert detected only two additional cases and the benefits must be considered against costs in each setting. Further research is required to evaluate the optimal integration of Xpert into pediatric testing algorithms.

Concepts: Sample, Negative predictive value, Tuberculosis, Ho Chi Minh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Vietnam War, Becton Dickinson


BACKGROUND: Recursive partitioning is a non-parametric modeling technique, widely used in regression and classification problems. Model-based recursive partitioning is used to identify groups of observations with similar values of parameters of the model of interest. The mob() function in the party package in R implements model-based recursive partitioning method. This method produces predictions based on single tree models. Predictions obtained through single tree models are very sensitive to small changes to the learning sample. We extend the model-based recursive partition method to produce predictions based on multiple tree models constructed on random samples achieved either through bootstrapping (random sampling with replacement) or subsampling (random sampling without replacement) on learning data. RESULTS: Here we present an R package called “mobForest” that implements bagging and random forests methodology for model-based recursive partitioning. The mobForest package constructs large number of model-based trees and the predictions are aggregated across these trees resulting in more stable predictions. The package also includes functions for computing predictive accuracy estimates and plots, residuals plot, and variable importance plot. CONCLUSION: The mobForest package implements a random forest type approach for model-based recursive partitioning. The R package along with it source code is available at

Concepts: Sample, Scientific method, Regression analysis, Model, Java, Stratified sampling, Decision tree learning, Random sample


Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) are among the most severe threats to the antibiotic era. Multiple different species can exhibit resistance due to many different mechanisms, and many different mobile elements are capable of transferring resistance between lineages. We prospectively sampled CRE from hospitalized patients from three Boston-area hospitals, together with a collection of CRE from a single California hospital, to define the frequency and characteristics of outbreaks and determine whether there is evidence for transfer of strains within and between hospitals and the frequency with which resistance is transferred between lineages or species. We found eight species exhibiting resistance, with the majority of our sample being the sequence type 258 (ST258) lineage of Klebsiella pneumoniae There was very little evidence of extensive hospital outbreaks, but a great deal of variation in resistance mechanisms and the genomic backgrounds carrying these mechanisms. Local transmission was evident in clear phylogeographic structure between the samples from the two coasts. The most common resistance mechanisms were KPC (K. pneumoniae carbapenemases) beta-lactamases encoded by blaKPC2, blaKPC3, and blaKPC4, which were transferred between strains and species by seven distinct subgroups of the Tn4401 element. We also found evidence for previously unrecognized resistance mechanisms that produced resistance when transformed into a susceptible genomic background. The extensive variation, together with evidence of transmission beyond limited clonal outbreaks, points to multiple unsampled transmission chains throughout the continuum of care, including asymptomatic carriage and transmission of CRE. This finding suggests that to control this threat, we need an aggressive approach to surveillance and isolation.

Concepts: Sample, Hospital, Antibiotic resistance, Enterobacteriaceae, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Klebsiella, Klebsiella oxytoca


Independent of other cardiovascular (CV) risk factors, increased arterial stiffness has been established as a predictor of morbidity and mortality. The main aim of this study was to investigate the impact of diabetes on arterial stiffness in a representative sample of an urban Brazilian population plus Amerindians.

Concepts: Sample, Mortality rate, Sampling, Myocardial infarction, Diabetes mellitus, The Canon of Medicine, Diabetes, Brazil