The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center

Durham, NC, United States

The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center

Durham, NC, United States
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Wu S.H.,University of Auckland | Wu S.H.,Duke University | Black M.A.,University of Otago | North R.A.,King's College London | And 2 more authors.
BMC Bioinformatics | Year: 2012

Background: Two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2D PAGE) is commonly used to identify differentially expressed proteins under two or more experimental or observational conditions. Wu et al (2009) developed a univariate probabilistic model which was used to identify differential expression between Case and Control groups, by applying a Likelihood Ratio Test (LRT) to each protein on a 2D PAGE. In contrast to commonly used statistical approaches, this model takes into account the two possible causes of missing values in 2D PAGE: either (1) the non-expression of a protein; or (2) a level of expression that falls below the limit of detection.Results: We develop a global Bayesian model which extends the previously described model. Unlike the univariate approach, the model reported here is able treat all differentially expressed proteins simultaneously. Whereas each protein is modelled by the univariate likelihood function previously described, several global distributions are used to model the underlying relationship between the parameters associated with individual proteins. These global distributions are able to combine information from each protein to give more accurate estimates of the true parameters. In our implementation of the procedure, all parameters are recovered by Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) integration. The 95% highest posterior density (HPD) intervals for the marginal posterior distributions are used to determine whether differences in protein expression are due to differences in mean expression intensities, and/or differences in the probabilities of expression.Conclusions: Simulation analyses showed that the global model is able to accurately recover the underlying global distributions, and identify more differentially expressed proteins than the simple application of a LRT. Additionally, simulations also indicate that the probability of incorrectly identifying a protein as differentially expressed (i.e., the False Discovery Rate) is very low. The source code is available at © 2012 Wu et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Nascimento F.F.,Instituto Oswaldo Cruz | Nascimento F.F.,The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center | Lazar A.,Instituto Oswaldo Cruz | Menezes A.N.,Instituto Nacional Of Cancer | And 7 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

The Neotropics harbors a high diversity of species and several hypotheses have been proposed to account for this pattern. However, while species of forested domains are frequently studied, less is known of species from open vegetation formations occupying, altogether, a larger area than the Amazon Forest. Here we evaluate the role of historical barriers and the riverine hypothesis in the speciation patterns of small mammals by analyzing an ancient rodent lineage (Thrichomys, Hystricomorpha). Phylogenetic and biogeographic analyses were carried out with mitochondrial and nuclear DNA markers to analyze the evolutionary relationships between Thrichomys lineages occurring in dry domains along both banks of the Rio São Francisco. This river is one of the longest of South America whose course and water flow have been modified by inland tectonic activities and climate changes. Molecular data showed a higher number of lineages than previously described. The T. inermis species complex with 2n = 26, FN = 48 was observed in both banks of the river showing a paraphyletic arrangement, suggesting that river crossing had occurred, from east to west. A similar pattern was also observed for the T. apereoides complex. Thrichomys speciation occurred in Late Miocene when the river followed a different course. The current geographic distribution of Thrichomys species and their phylogenetic relationships suggested the existence of frequent past connections between both banks in the middle section of the Rio São Francisco. The extensive palaeodune region found in this area has been identified as a centre of endemism of several vertebrate species and is likely to be a center of Thrichomys diversification. © 2013 Nascimento et al.

Nascimento F.F.,The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center | Nascimento F.F.,Instituto Oswaldo Cruz | Lazar A.,Instituto Oswaldo Cruz | Seuanez H.N.,Instituto Nacional Of Cancer | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Biogeography | Year: 2015

The data used by Lynch Alfaro et al. (2012a, Journal of Biogeography, 39, 272-288) and the biogeographical hypothesis postulated by these authors to explain the current distribution of capuchin monkeys were reanalysed including additional cytochrome b data from Sapajus xanthosternos and Sapajus flavius. Our reconstructed phylogeny placed S. xanthosternos in a monophyletic clade representing the most basal lineage of this genus. All analyses indicated polyphyletic arrangements for several capuchin species, suggesting that incomplete lineage sorting has occurred during their evolution. These results also suggest that available molecular data lack adequate variation for accurately resolving species relationships. These results suggest that the divergence of capuchin monkey genera may have occurred in the Atlantic Forest. However, a more conclusive scenario and better resolution of the species tree requires correct identification of species, data from several unlinked nuclear loci from a higher number of individuals per species, and careful analysis of ancient DNA data from museum specimens. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Smith N.A.,University of Texas at Austin | Smith N.A.,The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center | Clarke J.A.,University of Texas at Austin
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Just as skeletal characteristics provide clues regarding behavior of extinct vertebrates, phylogenetically-informed evaluation of endocranial morphology facilitates comparisons among extinct taxa and extant taxa with known behavioral characteristics. Previous research has established that endocranial morphology varies across Aves; however, variation of those systems among closely related species remains largely unexplored. The Charadriiformes (shorebirds and allies) are an ecologically diverse clade with a comparatively rich fossil record, and therefore, are well suited for investigating interspecies variation, and potential links between endocranial morphology, phylogeny, ecology and other life history attributes. Endocranial endocasts were rendered from high resolution X-ray computed tomography data for 17 charadriiforms (15 extant and two flightless extinct species). Evaluation of endocranial character state changes on a phylogeny for Charadriiformes resulted in identification of characters that vary in taxa with distinct feeding and locomotor ecologies. In comparison with all other charadriiforms, stem and crown clade wing-propelled diving Pan-Alcidae displayed compressed semicircular canals, and indistinct occipital sinuses and cerebellar fissures. Flightless wing-propelled divers have relatively smaller brains for their body mass and smaller optic lobes than volant pan-alcids. Observed differences between volant and flightless wing-propelled sister taxa are striking given that flightless pan-alcids continue to rely on the flight stroke for underwater propulsion. Additionally, the brain of the Black Skimmer Rynchops niger, a taxon with a unique feeding ecology that involves continuous forward aerial motion and touch-based prey detection used both at day and night, is discovered to be unlike that of any other sampled charadriiform in having an extremely large wulst as well as a small optic lobe and distinct occipital sinus. Notably, the differences between the Black Skimmer and other charadriiforms are more pronounced than between wing-propelled divers and other charadriiforms. Finally, aspects of endosseous labyrinth morphology are remarkably similar between divers and non-divers, and may deserve further evaluation. © 2012 Smith, Clarke.

Smith N.A.,University of Texas at Austin | Smith N.A.,The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center | Clarke J.A.,University of Texas at Austin
Journal of Avian Biology | Year: 2015

Puffins, auks and their allies in the wing-propelled diving seabird clade Pan-Alcidae (Charadriiformes) have been proposed to be key pelagic indicators of faunal shifts in Northern Hemisphere oceans. However, most previous phylogenetic analyses of the clade have focused only on the 23 extant alcid species. Here we undertake a combined phylogenetic analysis of all previously published molecular sequence data (∼ 12 kb) and morphological data (n = 353 characters) with dense species level sampling that also includes 28 extinct taxa. We present a new estimate of the patterns of diversification in the clade based on divergence time estimates that include a previously vetted set of twelve fossil calibrations. The resultant time trees are also used in the evaluation of previously hypothesized paleoclimatic drivers of pan-alcid evolution. Our divergence dating results estimate the split of Alcidae from its sister taxon Stercorariidae during the late Eocene (∼ 35 Ma), an evolutionary hypothesis for clade origination that agrees with the fossil record and that does not require the inference of extensive ghost lineages. The extant dovekie Alle alle is identified as the sole extant member of a clade including four extinct Miocene species. Furthermore, whereas an Uria + Alle clade has been previously recovered from molecular analyses, the extinct diversity of closely related Miocepphus species yields morphological support for this clade. Our results suggest that extant alcid diversity is a function of Miocene diversification and differential extinction at the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary. The relative timing of the Middle Miocene climatic optimum and the Pliocene-Pleistocene climatic transition and major diversification and extinction events in Pan-Alcidae, respectively, are consistent with a potential link between major paleoclimatic events and pan-alcid cladogenesis. © 2014 The Authors.

Piwowar H.A.,University of Pittsburgh | Piwowar H.A.,The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Many initiatives encourage investigators to share their raw datasets in hopes of increasing research efficiency and quality. Despite these investments of time and money, we do not have a firm grasp of who openly shares raw research data, who doesn't, and which initiatives are correlated with high rates of data sharing. In this analysis I use bibliometric methods to identify patterns in the frequency with which investigators openly archive their raw gene expression microarray datasets after study publication. Automated methods identified 11,603 articles published between 2000 and 2009 that describe the creation of gene expression microarray data. Associated datasets in best-practice repositories were found for 25% of these articles, increasing from less than 5% in 2001 to 30%-35% in 2007-2009. Accounting for sensitivity of the automated methods, approximately 45% of recent gene expression studies made their data publicly available. First-order factor analysis on 124 diverse bibliometric attributes of the data creation articles revealed 15 factors describing authorship, funding, institution, publication, and domain environments. In multivariate regression, authors were most likely to share data if they had prior experience sharing or reusing data, if their study was published in an open access journal or a journal with a relatively strong data sharing policy, or if the study was funded by a large number of NIH grants. Authors of studies on cancer and human subjects were least likely to make their datasets available. These results suggest research data sharing levels are still low and increasing only slowly, and data is least available in areas where it could make the biggest impact. Let's learn from those with high rates of sharing to embrace the full potential of our research output. © 2011 Healther A. Piwowar.

Newly discovered fossil remains of an auk (Aves, Charadriiformes) extend the temporal range of Pan-Alcidae in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean basin and the geographic range of the clade during the Miocene. The new specimen consists of a partial ulna and a radius of a single individual. It represents the earliest fossil auk from the northeastern Atlantic Ocean basin and the first fossil remains of an auk reported from Germany. The specimen is from a moderately sized auk similar to the extant Razorbill Alca torda, which it also resembles in morphological features. A definitive taxonomic referral of the fossil is not possible, but the presence of Alca in the Miocene of the northeastern Atlantic Ocean basin would be congruent with the occurrence of this taxon in the northwestern Atlantic at the same time. © 2013 Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V.

Adam Smith N.,The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center
Palaeontologia Electronica | Year: 2015

The Charadriiformes (shorebirds and allies) are an ecologically and morphologically diverse clade with a global geographic distribution. The perceived antiquity of this lineage and the cryptic plumage and morphology of some charadriiforms have made them a frequent focus of study by ornithologists. Likewise, with the relatively recent advent of molecular sequence based divergence estimation methods, no less than seven studies have estimated the timing of cladogenetic events in Charadriiformes. Unfortunately, all of those studies have suffered from poor choice and characterization (i.e., age and taxonomic assignment) of fossil calibrations used for divergence time analysis. Given that studies of both real and simulated data have demonstrated the potential for calibration choice to bias node age estimates, the results of previously published analyses of divergence times for Charadriiformes must, accordingly, be viewed with caution. To alleviate introduction of fossil calibration bias with respect to future analyses of divergence times including Charadriiformes, 16 rigorously evaluated charadriiform fossil calibrations are reported herein. © Society for Vertebrate Paleontology February 2015.

Wu S.H.,Arizona State University | Wu S.H.,Duke University | Rodrigo A.G.,Duke University | Rodrigo A.G.,The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center
BMC Bioinformatics | Year: 2015

Background: Over the last decade, next generation sequencing (NGS) has become widely available, and is now the sequencing technology of choice for most researchers. Nonetheless, NGS presents a challenge for the evolutionary biologists who wish to estimate evolutionary genetic parameters from a mixed sample of unlabelled or untagged individuals, especially when the reconstruction of full length haplotypes can be unreliable. We propose two novel approaches, least squares estimation (LS) and Approximate Bayesian Computation Markov chain Monte Carlo estimation (ABC-MCMC), to infer evolutionary genetic parameters from a collection of short-read sequences obtained from a mixed sample of anonymous DNA using the frequencies of nucleotides at each site only without reconstructing the full-length alignment nor the phylogeny. Results: We used simulations to evaluate the performance of these algorithms, and our results demonstrate that LS performs poorly because bootstrap 95 % Confidence Intervals (CIs) tend to under- or over-estimate the true values of the parameters. In contrast, ABC-MCMC 95 % Highest Posterior Density (HPD) intervals recovered from ABC-MCMC enclosed the true parameter values with a rate approximately equivalent to that obtained using BEAST, a program that implements a Bayesian MCMC estimation of evolutionary parameters using full-length sequences. Because there is a loss of information with the use of sitewise nucleotide frequencies alone, the ABC-MCMC 95 % HPDs are larger than those obtained by BEAST. Conclusion: We propose two novel algorithms to estimate evolutionary genetic parameters based on the proportion of each nucleotide. The LS method cannot be recommended as a standalone method for evolutionary parameter estimation. On the other hand, parameters recovered by ABC-MCMC are comparable to those obtained using BEAST, but with larger 95 % HPDs. One major advantage of ABC-MCMC is that computational time scales linearly with the number of short-read sequences, and is independent of the number of full-length sequences in the original data. This allows us to perform the analysis on NGS datasets with large numbers of short read fragments. The source code for ABC-MCMC is available at © 2015 Wu and Rodrigo.

PubMed | The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PLoS biology | Year: 2013

How should funding agencies enable researchers to explore high-risk but potentially high-reward science? One model that appears to work is the NSF-funded synthesis center, an incubator for community-led, innovative science.

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