Major Hypotheses (major + hypothesis)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Scale-dependence in species-area relationships

ECOGRAPHY, Issue 6 2005
Will R. Turner
Species-area relationships (SARs) are among the most studied phenomena in ecology, and are important both to our basic understanding of biodiversity and to improving our ability to conserve it. But despite many advances to date, our knowledge of how various factors contribute to SARs is limited, searches for single causal factors are often inconclusive, and true predictive power remains elusive. We believe that progress in these areas has been impeded by 1) an emphasis on single-factor approaches and thinking of factors underlying SARs as mutually exclusive hypotheses rather than potentially interacting processes, and 2) failure to place SAR-generating factors in a scale-dependent framework. We here review mathematical, ecological, and evolutionary factors contributing to species-area relationships, synthesizing major hypotheses from the literature in a scale-dependent context. We then highlight new research directions and unanswered questions raised by this scale-dependent synthesis. [source]


EVOLUTION, Issue 11 2006
Scott L. Nuismer
Abstract Coevolution between parasites and hosts or predators and prey often involves multiple species with similar kinds of defenses and counter-defenses. Classic examples include the interactions between phytophagous insects and their host plants, thick-shelled invertebrates and their shell-crushing predators, and ungulates and their predators. There are three major hypotheses for the nonequilibrium coevolutionary dynamics of these multispecific trophic interactions: escalation in traits, cycles in traits leading to fluctuating polymorphisms, and coevolutionary alternation. The conditions under which cycles and escalation are likely to occur have been well developed theoretically. In contrast, the conditions favoring coevolutionary alternation,evolutionary fluctuations in predator or prey preference driven by evolutionary shifts in relative levels of prey defense and vice versa,have yet to be identified. Using a set of quantitative coevolutionary models, we demonstrate that coevolutionary alternation can occur across a wide range of biologically plausible conditions. The result is often repeated, and potentially rapid, evolutionary shifts in patterns of specialization within networks of interacting species. [source]


EVOLUTION, Issue 10 2005
Gavin H. Thomas
Abstract Sexual selection, mating opportunities, and parental behavior are interrelated, although the specific nature of these relationships is controversial. Two major hypotheses have been suggested. The parental investment hypothesis states that the relative parental investment of the sexes drives the operation of sexual selection. Thus, the sex that invests less in offspring care competes more intensely and monopolizes access to mates. The sexual conflict hypothesis proposes that sexual selection (the competition among both males and females for mates), mating opportunities, and parental behavior are interrelated and predicts a feedback loop between mating systems and parental care. Here we test both hypotheses using a comprehensive dataset of shorebirds, a maximum-likelihood statistical technique, and a recent supertree of extant shorebirds and allies. Shorebirds are an excellent group for these analyses because they display unique variation in parental care and social mating system. First, we show that chick development constrains the evolution of both parental care and mate competition, because transitions toward more precocial offspring preceded transitions toward reduced parental care and social polygamy. Second, changes in care and mating systems respond to one another, most likely because both influenced and are influenced by mating opportunities. Taken together, our results are more consistent with the sexual conflict hypothesis than the parental investment hypothesis. [source]

Neutrophil influx during non-typhoidal salmonellosis: who is in the driver's seat?

Çagla Tükel
Abstract A massive neutrophil influx in the intestine is the histopathological hallmark of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium-induced enterocolitis in humans. Two major hypotheses on the mechanism leading to neutrophil infiltration in the intestinal mucosa have emerged. One hypothesis suggests that S. enterica serovar Typhimurium takes an active role in triggering this host response by injecting proteins, termed effectors, into the host cell cytosol which induce a proinflammatory gene expression profile in the intestinal epithelium. The second hypothesis suggests a more passive role for the pathogen by proposing that bacterial invasion stimulates the innate pathways of inflammation because the pathogen-associated molecular patterns of S. enterica serovar Typhimurium are recognized by pathogen recognition receptors on cells in the lamina propria. A review of the current literature reveals that, while pathogen recognition receptors are clearly involved in eliciting neutrophil influx during S. enterica serovar Typhimurium infection, a direct contribution of effectors in triggering proinflammatory host cell responses cannot currently be ruled out. [source]

Comparative foraging and nutrition of horses and cattle in European wetlands

Catherine Menard
Summary 1Equids are generalist herbivores that co-exist with bovids of similar body size in many ecosystems. There are two major hypotheses to explain their co-existence, but few comparative data are available to test them. The first postulates that the very different functioning of their digestive tracts leads to fundamentally different patterns of use of grasses of different fibre contents. The second postulates resource partitioning through the use of different plant species. As domestic horses and cattle are used widely in Europe for the management of conservation areas, particularly in wetlands, a good knowledge of their foraging behaviour and comparative nutrition is necessary. 2In this paper we describe resource-use by horses and cattle in complementary studies in two French wetlands. Horses used marshes intensively during the warmer seasons; both species used grasslands intensively throughout the year; cattle used forbs and shrubs much more than horses. Niche breadth was similar and overlap was high (Kulczinski's index 0·58,0·77). Horses spent much more time feeding on short grass than cattle. These results from the two sites indicate strong potential for competition. 3Comparative daily food intake, measured in the field during this study for the first time, was 63% higher in horses (144 gDM kg W,0·75 day,1) than in cattle (88 gDM kg W,0·75 day,1). Digestibility of the cattle diets was a little higher, but daily intake of digestible dry matter (i.e. nutrient extraction) in all seasons was considerably higher in horses (78 gDM kg W,0·75 day,1) than in cattle (51 gDM kg W,0·75 day,1). When food is limiting, horses should outcompete cattle in habitats dominated by grasses because their functional response is steeper; under these circumstances cattle will require an ecological refuge for survival during winter, woodland or shrubland with abundant dicotyledons. 4Horses are a good tool for plant management because they remove more vegetation per unit body weight than cattle, and use the most productive plant communities and plant species (especially graminoids) to a greater extent. They feed closer to the ground, and maintain a mosaic of patches of short and tall grass that contributes to structural diversity at this scale. Cattle use broadleaved plants to a greater extent than horses, and can reduce the rate of encroachment by certain woody species. [source]

Protein aggregation in motor neurone disorders

J. D. Wood
Toxicity associated with abnormal protein folding and protein aggregation are major hypotheses for neurodegeneration. This article comparatively reviews the experimental and human tissue-based evidence for the involvement of such mechanisms in neuronal death associated with the motor system disorders of X-linked spinobulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA; Kennedy's disease) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), especially disease related to mutations in the superoxide dismutase (SOD1) gene. Evidence from transgenic mouse, Drosophila and cell culture models of SBMA, in common with other trinucleotide repeat expansion disorders, show protein aggregation of the mutated androgen receptor, and intraneuronal accumulation of aggregated protein, to be obligate mechanisms. Strong experimental data link these phenomena with downstream biochemical events involving gene transcription pathways (CREB-binding protein) and interactions with protein chaperone systems. Manipulations of these pathways are already established in experimental systems of trinucleotide repeat disorders as potential beneficial targets for therapeutic activity. In contrast, the evidence for the role of protein aggregation in models of SOD1-linked familial ALS is less clear-cut. Several classes of intraneuronal inclusion body have been described, some of which are invariably present. However, the lack of understanding of the biochemical basis of the most frequent inclusion in sporadic ALS, the ubiquitinated inclusion, has hampered research. The toxicity associated with expression of mutant SOD1 has been intensively studied however. Abnormal protein aggregation and folding is the only one of the four major hypotheses for the mechanism of neuronal degeneration in this disorder currently under investigation (the others comprise oxidative stress, axonal transport and cytoskeletal dysfunctions, and glutamatergic excitotoxicity). Whilst hyaline inclusions, which are strongly immunoreactive to SOD1, are linked to degeneration in SOD1 mutant mouse models, the evidence from human tissue is less consistent and convincing. A role for mutant SOD1 aggregation in the mitochondrial dysfunction associated with ALS, and in potentially toxic interactions with heat shock proteins, both leading to apoptosis, are supported by some experimental data. Direct in vitro data on mutant SOD1 show evidence for spontaneous oligomerization, but the role of such oligomers remains to be elucidated, and therapeutic strategies are less well developed for this familial variant of ALS. [source]

Why do captive tufted capuchins (Cebus apella) urine wash?

Kimran E. Miller
Abstract Urine washing (UW) has been observed in numerous species of prosimians and New World monkeys. The functional significance of UW in Cebidae, specifically, Cebus apella, has not been determined. The objective of our study was to test two major hypotheses related to the function of UW: (1) UW functions as a thermoregulatory mechanism, and (2) UW functions as a means of social communication related to (a) territoriality, (b) sexual encounters, or (c) intragroup aggression/agitation. We collected focal data on a captive group of 28 tufted capuchins (C. apella; July,October 2004 and February,July 2005). We found no significant correlation between UW rates and temperature, at a constant, moderate humidity level. Rates of UW were significantly greater outdoors (no conspecific neighbors) vs. indoors (conspecific neighbors). Qualitative evidence suggests a relationship between UW by the alpha male and sexual solicitations from females. UW rates associated with aggression received were significantly higher than UW rates associated with aggression given and UW rates associated with potential fear/stress. There was also a significant negative correlation between cortisol measures and UW frequencies. Our results suggest that UW does not function in thermoregulation or in territorial communication. Alternatively, our results suggest that UW may be associated with sexual encounters and receiving aggression. Additionally, further investigation is warranted to determine whether UW is used as an appeasement mechanism or as a stress reliever or as both. Am. J. Primatol. 70:119,126, 2008. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Sporadic inclusion body myositis: Pathogenic considerations,

FRCP(C), George Karpati OC
Sporadic inclusion body myositis is the commonest acquired disease of skeletal muscles after 50 years of age, and as such it has commanded a great deal of attention of investigators over the past 25 years. As a result, a large amount of information has accumulated concerning its clinical profile, myopathology, and immunopathology. In the myopathology and immunopathology, there is general agreement that the characteristic features could be divided into a degenerative and an inflammatory group. However, there has been controversy about the possible role of these changes in the pathogenesis of muscle fiber damage. In particular, there is no agreement whether a cause-and-effect relationship exists between these two groups of changes, and if so, which is the primary one. In this brief overview, we examine the validity of the various controversial observations and critically review the justification for the two major hypotheses for the primary role of inflammation versus degeneration. Ann Neurol 2009;65:7,11 [source]

Could a common biochemical mechanism underlie addictions?

C. Betz
The subject of ,drug addiction' is multifaceted and many aspects of it (even some of the definitions) are controversial. Collateral medical problems include the spread of HIV and hepatitis C virus secondary to i.v. drug abuse and effects on prenatal brain development ( 1). Progress in the understanding of the causes of addictions and its treatment has been impeded by the lack of a unifying biochemical theory. However, recent evidence suggests that some common mechanism might underlie addictions to otherwise apparently unrelated drugs. A major hypothesis has emerged suggesting that the neurotransmitter dopamine (DA) might play a central role in the molecular mechanisms of at least some addictions. If so, it would represent an important target for discovery of effective pharmacotherapy and revolutionize the pharmacist's role in treating addictions. This short overview outlines the status of the theory of a common biochemical mechanism of drug addiction. [source]

Origins and population genetics of weedy red rice in the USA

Abstract Weedy red rice (Oryza sativa spontonea) is a persistent and problematic weed of rice culture worldwide. A major hypothesis for the mechanism of production of this weed in South and Southeast Asia is hybridization between cultivated rice (Oryza sativa) and wild rice (Oryza rufipogon). However, weedy red rice can often be found outside the range of O. rufipogon leaving questions on the origin and process behind weedy rice infestations. In the USA, weedy red rice was first documented as early as 1846 and has continued to affect rice production areas. In this study, we attempt to identify the origin and population structure of weedy red rice sampled from the USA using both DNA sequence data from a neutral nuclear locus as well as microsatellite genotype data. Results suggest that two major accessions of weedy rice exist, strawhull and blackhull, and these forms may both hybridize with the cultivated rice of the USA, O. sativa japonica. Using population assignment of multilocus genotype signatures with principal component analysis and structure, an Asian origin is supported for US weedy rice. Additionally, hybridization between strawhull and blackhull varieties was inferred and may present the opportunity for the production of new weedy forms in the future. [source]