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

Concept: The Missing


There is a rising concern regarding the accumulation of floating plastic debris in the open ocean. However, the magnitude and the fate of this pollution are still open questions. Using data from the Malaspina 2010 circumnavigation, regional surveys, and previously published reports, we show a worldwide distribution of plastic on the surface of the open ocean, mostly accumulating in the convergence zones of each of the five subtropical gyres with comparable density. However, the global load of plastic on the open ocean surface was estimated to be on the order of tens of thousands of tons, far less than expected. Our observations of the size distribution of floating plastic debris point at important size-selective sinks removing millimeter-sized fragments of floating plastic on a large scale. This sink may involve a combination of fast nano-fragmentation of the microplastic into particles of microns or smaller, their transference to the ocean interior by food webs and ballasting processes, and processes yet to be discovered. Resolving the fate of the missing plastic debris is of fundamental importance to determine the nature and significance of the impacts of plastic pollution in the ocean.

Concepts: Mathematics, Ocean, Marine debris, Open problem, Convergence, The Missing, Sink, Convergence zone



Rehabilitation of missing decoronated permanent incisors in growing children and adolescents is a major challenge. The psychologic impact of the loss of an incisor is significant due to its immediate influence on facial appearance. Final restoration is planned only after skeletal growth cessation. Consequently, the fabrication and installation of an immediate temporary restoration, which is expected to remain in place for a long period, must meet the patient’s esthetic demands and be durable in the oral environment. Several proposed removable and fixed restorations have presented significant shortcomings. The purpose of this report is to suggest a comfortable dental device for restoring the missing permanent tooth with improved esthetic, functional, and psychologic benefits. An alternative fixed orthodontic laboratory fabricated appliance for permanent tooth restoration is described among children with posttraumatic tooth decoronation. Unlike removable restorative appliances, this fixed device is not dependent on the child’s compliance. Esthetically, no metal part is exposed in the anterior region and the architecture is more sturdy and stable, with minimum interruption to the alveolar ridge’s vertical development.

Concepts: Teeth, Incisor, Alveolar consonant, Maxillary central incisor, The Missing


Young adults in developed countries are distanced from agriculture and the meat industry needs to do a better job of communicating with them. A major welfare concern is slaughter without stunning. Other concerns, such as poor stunning or high levels of bruising, can be easily corrected by management who is committed to maintaining high standards. Another concern is biological system overload, occurring when animals are bred for more productivity. Researchers and industry need to determine optimum production levels instead of maximums. Retailers are major drivers of animal welfare standards enforcement and they respond to pressure from both activists and consumers.

Concepts: Agriculture, Poverty, Meat, Livestock, Nonviolent Communication, The Missing, Captive bolt pistol, Revolution Studios


For many traits, including susceptibility to common diseases in humans, causal loci uncovered by genetic-mapping studies explain only a minority of the heritable contribution to trait variation. Multiple explanations for this ‘missing heritability’ have been proposed. Here we use a large cross between two yeast strains to accurately estimate different sources of heritable variation for 46 quantitative traits, and to detect underlying loci with high statistical power. We find that the detected loci explain nearly the entire additive contribution to heritable variation for the traits studied. We also show that the contribution to heritability of gene-gene interactions varies among traits, from near zero to approximately 50 per cent. Detected two-locus interactions explain only a minority of this contribution. These results substantially advance our understanding of the missing heritability problem and have important implications for future studies of complex and quantitative traits.

Concepts: Scientific method, Genetics, Sociology, English-language films, Estimation, Heritability, Trait, The Missing


One of the major issues in genome-wide association studies is to solve the missing heritability problem. While considering epistatic interactions among multiple SNPs may contribute to solving this problem, existing software cannot detect statistically significant high-order interactions. We propose software named LAMPLINK, which employs a cutting-edge method to enumerate statistically significant SNP combinations from genome-wide case-control data. LAMPLINK is implemented as a set of additional functions to PLINK, and hence existing procedures with PLINK can be applicable. Applied to the 1000 Genomes Project data, LAMPLINK detected a combination of five SNPs that are statistically significantly accumulated in the Japanese population.

Concepts: Genetics, Statistics, Mathematics, Genome-wide association study, Problem solving, Epistasis, Combination, The Missing


Previously we showed, using task-evoked fMRI, that compensatory intact hand usage after amputation facilitates remapping of limb representations in the cortical territory of the missing hand (Makin et al., 2013a). Here we show that compensatory arm usage in individuals born without a hand (one-handers) reflects functional connectivity of spontaneous brain activity in the cortical hand region. Compared with two-handed controls, one-handers showed reduced symmetry of hand region inter-hemispheric resting-state functional connectivity and corticospinal white matter microstructure. Nevertheless, those one-handers who more frequently use their residual (handless) arm for typically bimanual daily tasks also showed more symmetrical functional connectivity of the hand region, demonstrating that adaptive behaviour drives long-range brain organisation. We therefore suggest that compensatory arm usage maintains symmetrical sensorimotor functional connectivity in one-handers. Since variability in spontaneous functional connectivity in our study reflects ecological behaviour, we propose that inter-hemispheric symmetry, typically observed in resting sensorimotor networks, depends on coordinated motor behaviour in daily life.

Concepts: Psychology, Symmetry, Electroencephalography, Hand, Asymmetry, Spontaneous symmetry breaking, The Missing, James Horner


Reading and language skills have overlapping genetic bases, most of which are still unknown. Part of the missing heritability may be caused by copy number variants (CNVs).

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Copy number variation, Human genome, The Missing


Stem cell tourism describes the Internet-based industry where in patients receive unproven stem cell interventions. To better inform the public, several organizations provide educational material on stem cell therapies and tourism; however, an assessment of the currently available resources reveals a lack of comprehensive information, suggesting that further efforts are needed.

Concepts: Education, Educational psychology, History of education, The Missing


We propose a novel approach to analyze genomic data that incorporates haplotype information for detecting rare variants within a regional heritability mapping framework. The performance of our approach was tested in a simulation study based on human genotypes. The phenotypes were simulated by generating regional variance using either SNP(s) or haplotype(s). Regional genomic relationship matrices, constructed with either a SNP-based or a haplotype-based estimator, were employed to estimate the regional variance. The results from the study show that haplotype heritability mapping captures the regional effect, with its relative performance decreasing with increasing analysis window size. The SNP-based regional mapping approach often misses the effect of causal haplotype(s); however, it has a greater power to detect simulated SNP-based-variants. Heritability estimates suggest that the haplotype heritability mapping estimates the simulated regional heritability accurately for all phenotypes and analysis windows. However, the SNP-based analysis overestimates the regional heritability and performs less well than our haplotype-based approach for the simulated rare haplotype-based-variant. We conclude that haplotype heritability mapping is a useful tool to capture the effect of rare variants, and explain a proportion of the missing heritability.

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Sample size, Estimator, Monotonic function, Simulation, Probability theory, The Missing