Animal Kingdom (animal + kingdom)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Evolution of astacin-like metalloproteases in animals and their function in development

Frank Möhrlen
SUMMARY Astacin-like metalloproteases are ubiquitous in the animal kingdom but their phylogenetic relationships and ancient functions within the Metazoa are unclear. We have cloned and characterized four astacin-like cDNAs from the marine hydroid Hydractinia echinata and performed a database search for related genes in the draft genome sequence of the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis. These sequences and those of higher animals' astacins were subjected to phylogenetic analysis revealing five clusters within the Eumetazoa. The bone morphogenetic protein-1/tolloid-like astacins were represented in all eumetazoan phyla studied. The meprins were only found in vertebrates and cnidarians. Two clusters were taxon-specific, and one cluster represented astacins, which probably evolved after the split of the Cnidaria. Interestingly, grouping of astacins according to the protease catalytic domain alone resulted in clusters of proteins with similar overall domain architecture. The Hydractinia astacins were expressed in distinct cells during metamorphosis and some also during wound healing. Previously characterized cnidarian astacins also act during development. Based on our phylogeny, however, we propose that the developmental function of most of them is not homologous to the developmental function assigned to higher animals' astacins. [source]

Innovation and technological knowledge in the Upper Paleolithic of Northern Eurasia

John F. Hoffecker
Abstract The technology of modern humans is unique in the animal kingdom with respect to its complexity and capacity for innovation. Evidence of technological complexity and creativity in the archeological record is broadly coincident with and presumably related to traces of creativity in art, music, ritual, and other forms of symbolism. The pattern of modern human technology is part of a larger package of behavior (sometimes referred to as "behavioral modernity") that emerges with the appearance of industries in Eurasia classified as Upper Paleolithic, but has deeper roots in the African Middle Stone Age.1,5. [source]

The 21st century renaissance of the basophil?

Current insights into its role in allergic responses, innate immunity
Abstract:, Basophils and mast cells express all the three subchains of the high-affinity immunoglobulin E (IgE) receptor Fc,RI and contain preformed histamine in the cytoplasmic granules. However, it is increasingly clear that these cells play distinct roles in allergic inflammatory disease. Despite their presence throughout much of the animal kingdom, the physiological function of basophils remains obscure. As rodent mast cells are more numerous than basophils, and generate an assortment of inflammatory cytokines, basophils have often been regarded as minor players in allergic inflammation. In humans, however, basophils are the prime early producers of interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13, T helper (Th)2-type cytokines crucial for initiating and maintaining allergic responses. Basophils also express CD40 ligand which, in combination with IL-4 and IL-13, facilitates IgE class switching in B cells. They are the main cellular source for early IL-4 production, which is vital for the development of Th2 responses. The localization of basophils in various tissues affected by allergic inflammation has now been clearly demonstrated by using specific staining techniques and the new research is shedding light on their selective recruitment to the tissues. Finally, recent studies have shown that basophil activation is not restricted to antigen-specific IgE crosslinking, but can be caused in non-sensitized individuals by a growing list of parasitic antigens, lectins and viral superantigens, binding to non-specific IgE antibodies. This, together with novel IgE-independent routes of activation, imparts important new insights into the potential role of basophils in both adaptive and innate immunity. [source]

An ecdysteroid-inducible insulin-like growth factor-like peptide regulates adult development of the silkmoth Bombyx mori

FEBS JOURNAL, Issue 5 2009
Naoki Okamoto
Insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) play essential roles in fetal and postnatal growth and development of mammals. They are secreted by a wide variety of tissues, with the liver being the major source of circulating IGFs, and regulate cell growth, differentiation and survival. IGFs share some biological activities with insulin but are secreted in distinct physiological and developmental contexts, having specific functions. Although recent analyses of invertebrate genomes have revealed the presence of multiple insulin family peptide genes in each genome, little is known about functional diversification of the gene products. Here we show that a novel insulin family peptide of the silkmoth Bombyx mori, which was purified and sequenced from the hemolymph, is more like IGFs than like insulin, in contrast to bombyxins, which are previously identified insulin-like peptides in B. mori. Expression analysis reveals that this IGF-like peptide is predominantly produced by the fat body, a functional equivalent of the vertebrate liver and adipocytes, and is massively released during pupa,adult development. Studies using in vitro tissue culture systems show that secretion of the peptide is stimulated by ecdysteroid and that the secreted peptide promotes the growth of adult-specific tissues. These observations suggest that this peptide is a Bombyx counterpart of vertebrate IGFs and that functionally IGF-like peptides may be more ubiquitous in the animal kingdom than previously thought. Our results also suggest that the known effects of ecdysteroid on insect adult development may be in part mediated by IGF-like peptides. [source]

Identification of a novel gene, Mblk-1, that encodes a putative transcription factor expressed preferentially in the large-type Kenyon cells of the honeybee brain

Hideaki Takeuchi
Abstract Mushroom bodies (MBs) are considered to be involved in higher-order sensory processing in the insect brain. To identify the genes involved in the intrinsic function of the honeybee MBs, we searched for genes preferentially expressed therein, using the differential display method. Here we report a novel gene encoding a putative transcription factor (Mblk-1) expressed preferentially in one of two types of intrinsic MB neurones, the large-type Kenyon cells, which makes Mblk-1 a candidate gene involved in the advanced behaviours of honeybees. A putative DNA binding motif of Mblk-1 had significant sequence homology with those encoded by genes from various animal species, suggesting that the functions of these proteins in neural cells are conserved among the animal kingdom. [source]

The fauna of Greece and adjacent areas in the Age of Homer: evidence from the first written documents of Greek literature

Eleni Voultsiadou
Abstract Aim, To study the composition of fauna in Greece and adjacent areas around 3000 years ago based on the knowledge of Homeric man about the animal kingdom. Location, Greece and adjacent areas. Method, Analysis of information derived from a thorough study of the first written documents of Greek literature, the epics, attributed to Homer and Hesiod. Results, Records of 2442 animals were found, corresponding to 71 different animal names. All animal names were attributed to recent taxa, at different category levels; the majority (65%) were assigned to taxa at the species level and the rest to supraspecific taxa. Most of the animal names recorded in the epics have been retained as integral words or roots in Modern Greek and they have been used in the formation of the Latin scientific taxa names. Five animal phyla appear in the texts: (1) Chordata (mostly birds and mammals), (2) Arthropoda, (3) Mollusca, (4) Porifera, and (5) Annelida. Information in the epics also includes morphology, biology, ecology (habitat and prey,predator relationships), and behaviour. The presence of several species in the area in that period is documented on the basis of archaeological and/or palaeontological findings from various Greek localities. Main conclusions, The knowledge of Homeric man about animals, as reflected in the epics, seems to concentrate mainly, but not exclusively, on animals involved in human activities. The populations of some common animal species of the Homeric Age in Greek populated areas have become extinct or reduced at the present time. On the other hand, some common animals of the present time do not appear in the epics, since they were introduced later. Useful zoological information can be derived from the study of classical texts, which may help historical biogeographers as a supplement to archaeology and art, in the reconstruction of faunas of older periods. [source]

Molecular marker systems in insects: current trends and future avenues

Abstract Insects comprise the largest species composition in the entire animal kingdom and possess a vast undiscovered genetic diversity and gene pool that can be better explored using molecular marker techniques. Current trends of application of DNA marker techniques in diverse domains of insect ecological studies show that mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), microsatellites, random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD), expressed sequence tags (EST) and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers have contributed significantly for progresses towards understanding genetic basis of insect diversity and for mapping medically and agriculturally important genes and quantitative trait loci in insect pests. Apart from these popular marker systems, other novel approaches including transposon display, sequence-specific amplification polymorphism (S-SAP), repeat-associated polymerase chain reaction (PCR) markers have been identified as alternate marker systems in insect studies. Besides, whole genome microarray and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) assays are becoming more popular to screen genome-wide polymorphisms in fast and cost effective manner. However, use of such methodologies has not gained widespread popularity in entomological studies. The current study highlights the recent trends of applications of molecular markers in insect studies and explores the technological advancements in molecular marker tools and modern high throughput genotyping methodologies that may be applied in entomological researches for better understanding of insect ecology at molecular level. [source]

Haploid chromosomes in molecular ecology: lessons from the human Y

Matthew E. Hurles
Abstract We review the potential use of haploid chromosomes in molecular ecology, using recent work on the human Y chromosome as a paradigm. Chromosomal sex-determination systems, and hence constitutively haploid chromosomes, which escape from recombination over much of their length, have evolved multiple times in the animal kingdom. In mammals, where males are the heterogametic sex, the patrilineal Y chromosome represents a paternal counterpart to mitochondrial DNA. Work on the human Y chromosome has shown it to contain the same range of polymorphic markers as the rest of the nuclear genome and these have rendered it the most informative haplotypic system in the human genome. Examples from research on the human Y chromosome are used to illustrate the common interests of anthropologists and ecologists in investigating the genetic impact of sex-specific behaviours and dispersals, as well as patterns of global diversity. We present some methodologies for extracting information from these uniquely informative yet under-utilized loci. [source]

Allochronic speciation, secondary contact, and reproductive character displacement in periodical cicadas (Hemiptera: Magicicada spp.): genetic, morphological, and behavioural evidence

John R. Cooley
Abstract Periodical cicadas have proven useful in testing a variety of ecological and evolutionary hypotheses because of their unusual life history, extraordinary abundance, and wide geographical range. Periodical cicadas provide the best examples of synchronous periodicity and predator satiation in the animal kingdom, and are excellent illustrations of habitat partitioning (by the three morphologically distinct species groups), incipient species (the year classes or broods), and cryptic species (a newly discovered 13-year species, Magicicada neotredecim). They are particularly useful for exploring questions regarding speciation via temporal isolation, or allochronic speciation. Recently, data were presented that provided strong support for an instance of allochronic speciation by life-cycle switching. This speciation event resulted in the formation of a new 13-year species from a 17-year species and led to secondary contact between two formerly separated lineages, one represented by the new 13-year cicadas (and their 17-year ancestors), and the other represented by the pre-existing 13-year cicadas. Allozyme frequency data, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), and abdominal colour were shown to be correlated genetic markers supporting the life-cycle switching/allochronic speciation hypothesis. In addition, a striking pattern of reproductive character displacement in male call pitch and female pitch preference between the two 13-year species was discovered. In this paper we report a strong association between calling song pitch and mtDNA haplotype for 101 individuals from a single locality within the M. tredecim/M. neotredecim contact zone and a strong association between abdomen colour and mtDNA haplotype. We conclude by reviewing proposed mechanisms for allochronic speciation and reproductive character displacement. [source]

Comparative Biochemistry of Eumelanogenesis and the Protective Roles of Phenoloxidase and Melanin in Insects

Manickam Sugumaran
The phenolic biopolymer eumelanin is an important skin pigment found throughout the animal kingdom. The enzyme, tyrosinase, initiates melanogenesis in mammals. The biogenesis is assisted by a number of mammalian protein factors including dopachrome tautomerase and 5,6-dihydroxyindole-2-carboxylate oxidase. Invertebrates, such as insects, employ phenoloxidase and dopachrome (decarboxylating) isomerase for melanin biosynthesis. Recently generated molecular biological and biochemical data indicate that tyrosinase and phenoloxidase are distinctly different enzymes in spite of possessing both monophenol monooxygenase activity as well as o -diphenoloxidase activity. Similarly, insect dopachrome isomerase also differs significantly from its mammalian counterpart in several of its properties including the nature of the enzymatic reaction. In addition, there are considerable differences in the eumelanogenic pathways of these two animal groups that include the utility of substrates, use of dihydroxyindoles and the nature of eumelanin pigment. Thus, the biochemistry and molecular biology of melanogenesis in mammals and insects are significantly different. The advantages of generating different eumelanin pigments and intermediates by the insects are discussed. [source]

General organization of the perinatal and adult accessory olfactory bulb in mice

Ignacio Salazar
Abstract The vomeronasal system is currently a topical issue since the dual functional specificity, vomeronasal system-pheromones, has recently been questioned. Irrespective of the tools used to put such specificity in doubt, the diversity of the anatomy of the system itself in the animal kingdom is probably of more importance than has previously been considered. It has to be pointed out that a true vomeronasal system is integrated by the vomeronasal organ, the accessory olfactory bulb, and the so-called vomeronasal amygdala. Therefore, it seems reasonable to establish the corresponding differences between a well-developed vomeronasal system and other areas of the nasal cavity in which putative olfactory receptors, perhaps present in other kinds of mammals, may be able to detect pheromones and to process them. In consequence, a solid pattern for one such system in one particular species needs to be chosen. Here we report on an analysis of the general morphological characteristics of the accessory olfactory bulb in mice, a species commonly used in the study of the vomeronasal system, during growth and in adults. Our results indicate that the critical period for the formation of this structure comprises the stages between the first and the fifth day after birth, when the stratification of the bulb, the peculiarities of each type of cell, and the final building of glomeruli are completed. In addition, our data suggest that the conventional plexiform layers of the main olfactory bulb are not present in the accessory bulb. Anat Rec Part A, 288A:1009,1025, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

The galectin family and digestive disease,

P Demetter
Abstract The soluble-type lectins or galectins constitute a family of proteins defined by shared consensus amino acid sequence and affinity for beta-galactose-containing oligosaccharides. These molecules are widely distributed in the animal kingdom; to date, 15 mammalian galectins have been described but more are likely to be discovered. These proteins are involved in many biological processes including cell,cell and cell,matrix adhesion, growth regulation, signaling, and cytokine secretion. Over the last decade, a vast amount of reports has shown the importance of several galectins in the development and progression of malignancies in the digestive tract, mainly colorectal cancers. More recent data indicate that some of these molecules are also involved in inflammatory bowel diseases. This review focuses on the current knowledge of galectin expression and putative functions in the oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, and colon. It also highlights that the rapid accumulation of research data promises future scenarios in which individual members of the galectin family and/or their ligands will be used as diagnostic and therapeutic modalities for neoplastic as well as inflammatory disorders. However, the concretization of these potential modalities requires substantial improvements in terms of standardization of galectin expression evaluation together with prospective validation of the present data. Copyright © 2008 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Front and Back Covers, Volume 23, Number 2.

April 200
Front cover caption, volume 23 issue 2 Front cover ,The greatest predators on earth', writes the anthropologist Alan Macfarlane in his advice to his granddaughter, Letters to Lucy: On how the world works (Profile Books), ,munch their way through the animal kingdom. We are caught in a dilemma. For we are a meat-eating species, which gains much of its protein from consuming other animals. It is almost impossible to imagine that we will change, but we may, with sufficient will, find ways to minimise the pain we inflict on our fellow species.' Our front cover photo is taken from a publicity poster produced by SARC, the Southern Animal Rights Coalition, which is organizing the Southampton Cruelty Free Festival on 12 May (see In this issue of ANTHROPOLOGY TODAY, Jonathan Benthall asks why it is that, while anthropologists have studied most other social movements including environmentalism, little attention has been focused on the animal liberation and rights movement. The movement is underpinned by serious philosophical reflection and by its acknowledgment of Darwinism. This suggests that the shock caused by Darwin's discoveries is still being worked through nearly a century and a half later. Benthall's guest editorial outlines the ideological manifestations of the movement and also considers the implications of taking it seriously. Macfarlane's view, meanwhile, is that ,perhaps it will not be until some new and superior species emerges on earth, some computerised android, which breeds humans in tiny cages, force-feeds them, drains their bile, eats them, that we will seriously begin to crusade for the abolition of animal-on-animal cannibalism.' [source]

Canine neoplasia , Introductory paper

APMIS, Issue 2008
The paper gives a brief introduction to canine oncology, including its comparative aspects as basis for recording tumours in the animal kingdom. In an abbreviated presentation of the Norwegian Canine Cancer Project for the years 1990 , 1998, the data (n=14,401) were divided into age groups, each of two years, into different categories of tumours, and into age and gender. As expected, cutaneous histiocytoma was the dominant tumour type in both sexes during the two first years of life. In the age group 2 , 3.99 years histiocytoma was still the largest group in males, but was surpassed by benign epithelial skin tumours in females. After the age of 4 years, benign epithelial skin tumours constituted the greatest circumscribed group in males, and mammary tumours in females, although the summated other tumours, not explained in this survey, dominated overall in males. Maligancies (cancer) were shown in the same way, by corresponding groups of gender and age. While mastocytoma was the most common tumour and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma the second most common during the two first years of life in females, the situation was reversed in males. Later, mammary tumours dominated in females, while different tumour types not further specified in this summarized report dominated in males, until the end of the age registration (above 14 years). Number, sex and location of most common tumours are shown in a tabular outline. Comparative aspects between human and dog tumours are considered: mammary and testicular neoplasia seemed more frequent in dogs than in humans in Norway, while intestinal, pulmonary and prostatic malignancies were less common in dogs. In our study, vascular tumours and tumour-like lesions constituted about 3% of the total data. As benign vascular tumours are incompletely reported to the human Cancer Registry, no dependable comparison may be made, but malignant vascular tumours have been on the rise during the last decades in the Norwegian human population, more so in men then in women. Finally, the article deals briefly with the development of endothelial cells, and the sparse information on causal factors of vascular tumours. [source]

The enigmatic primitive streak: prevailing notions and challenges concerning the body axis of mammals

BIOESSAYS, Issue 8 2009
Karen M. Downs
Abstract The primitive streak establishes the antero-posterior body axis in all amniote species. It is thought to be the conduit through which mesoderm and endoderm progenitors ingress and migrate to their ultimate destinations. Despite its importance, the streak remains poorly defined and one of the most enigmatic structures of the animal kingdom. In particular, the posterior end of the primitive streak has not been satisfactorily identified in any species. Unexpectedly, and contrary to prevailing notions, recent evidence suggests that the murine posterior primitive streak extends beyond the embryo proper. In its extraembryonic site, the streak creates a node-like cell reservoir from which the allantois, a universal caudal appendage of all amniotes and the future umbilical cord of placental mammals, emerges. This new insight into the fetal/umbilical relationship may explain the etiology of a large number of umbilical-associated birth defects, many of which are correlated with abnormalities of the embryonic midline. [source]

An ancient control of epithelial barrier formation and wound healing

BIOESSAYS, Issue 10 2005
Bernard Moussian
Animal epithelia are lined with apical surface matrices, which protect against pathogens, dehydration and physical damage of the underlying cells. The proteins and polysaccharides that comprise these protective barriers vary greatly within the animal kingdom and have evolved in response to the biological needs of various organisms. Yet the genetic control of barrier formation and its regeneration upon wounding appears conserved between vertebrates and insects that are evolutionary more than several hundred millions of years apart.1,2 A key role is carried out by Grainy head, a phylogenetically conserved transcription factor expressed in epidermal cells in nematodes, flies, frogs, mice and humans. BioEssays 27:987,990, 2005. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. [source]

An inversion in the wiring of an intercellular signal: evolution of Wnt signaling in the nematode vulva

BIOESSAYS, Issue 8 2005
Marie-Anne Félix
Signal transduction pathways are largely conserved throughout the animal kingdom. The repertoire of pathways is limited and each pathway is used in different intercellular signaling events during the development of a given animal. For example, Wnt signaling is recruited, sometimes redundantly with other molecular pathways, in four cell specification events during Caenorhabditis elegans vulva development, including the activation of vulval differentiation. Strikingly,a recent study finds that Wnts act to repress vulval differentiation in the nematode Pristionchus pacificus,1 demonstrating evolutionary flexibility in the use of intercellular signaling pathways. BioEssays 27:765,769, 2005. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. [source]

Colour and colour vision of creatures great and small

Tim L Dawson
Today the mechanisms of human colour vision are well understood because of the detailed communication feedback possible in experimental studies. The situation with other species in the animal kingdom is less easy to investigate and understand. In the present review, examples of the colour and colour vision of various animal species are described, selected mainly because they are particularly interesting and indeed colourful. The chemical structures and the relationships of the natural pigments involved also receive attention. Despite many decades of vision research, many aspects of colour vision remain unclear. Nevertheless increasing knowledge in all these fields may someday help to elucidate the neurological pathways underlying other animals' colour vision to the same extent as is at present known for human vision. [source]

Darwinian aesthetics: sexual selection and the biology of beauty

ABSTRACT Current theoretical and empirical findings suggest that mate preferences are mainly cued on visual, vocal and chemical cues that reveal health including developmental health. Beautiful and irresistible features have evolved numerous times in plants and animals due to sexual selection, and such preferences and beauty standards provide evidence for the claim that human beauty and obsession with bodily beauty are mirrored in analogous traits and tendencies throughout the plant and animal kingdoms. Human beauty standards reflect our evolutionary distant and recent past and emphasize the role of health assessment in mate choice as reflected by analyses of the attractiveness of visual characters of the face and the body, but also of vocal and olfactory signals. Although beauty standards may vary between cultures and between times, we show in this review that the underlying selection pressures, which shaped the standards, are the same. Moreover we show that it is not the content of the standards that show evidence of convergence - it is the rules or how we construct beauty ideals that have universalities across cultures. These findings have implications for medical, social and biological sciences. [source]