Condorito
For the first time, scientific evidence supports the discussion for the first 100% Chilean breed, the Chilean Terrier. This breed is popularly known as the rat-hunting dog or Condorito´s Dog.  Despite being recognised as breed a few years ago, research conducted in December 2016 provided information about its genetic variability. This raised a problem among breeders and “dog lovers”. The Chilean Terrier is known for its hysteric personality, being both grumpy and nervous, although breeders and owners describe them as loving, easy going, and very adaptable. The Terrier, specifically the Fox Terrier, is of English origin and came to Chile during the time of the Colony when Spanish immigrants brought certain dog breeds with them. It wasn't long before these European canines started to cross with Creole dogs. This mixture became what is now scientifically recognised as the first Chilean dog, the Chilean Terrier.  Dr Paola Mujica who researches in Silvoagropecuarian and Veterinary Sciences at the University of Chile, never imagined when she started her research eight years ago that she would identify the first canine breed from Chile. “Until that moment [the Chilean terrier] was considered a mixture, and it was not recognised as a breed by the Kennel Club Chile (KCC), an organisation that keeps an official genealogical record, registering dogs of pure breed in Chile. On the other hand, I discovered that in 2007 the Chilean National terrier club formed and this body establishes how a Chilean terrier should be, defining a standard and its pedigree”. It was at that moment Paola decided to undertake this research, conducted at the Favet-Inbiogen laboratory. “Firstly we met with the president of the Kennel Club to convince them of the importance of the research. They were so motivated by our proposal that they allowed me to go to the exhibitions and registry sessions to take samples; that was the only way I could access dogs from all over the country”. After the standards which the canine population must abide by were established, the selection of certain traits began.  The trait needed to be something which threatened its variability, and would effect a long-term characteristic which these dogs could have acquired during their development, until at least 200 years ago. “The main aims of my doctoral work were to determine the impact of the recent selection on the Chilean Terrier, to preserve the variability of this new national breed, and contribute to its right to be internationally recognised”, she added. Paola managed to characterise and determine the structure and genetic variability of this breed, taking representative samples of 24 founding dogs; those for whom there was no record, or whose parents not registered. This analysis was conducted through genotyping of SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms), using a platform which can identify variants of 1.700 markers described in this species. This work was published on the University of Chile website: \citep{2011} Determination of genetic variability in the Chilean Terrier using microsatellites. “Indeed it is a different population from the Americans or Europeans, although the Chilean terrier does appear physically similar to dogs such as the Rat terrier in the US or the Jack Russel in the UK. These are dogs which could be confused with the Chilean Terrier. The information generated in this study provided important records about the recent evolutive history of this breed, contributing to the correct management of the population”, added Paola.
Self home

Lauren Nelson

and 1 more

From the first energy saving light bulbs brought to the market in the mid-1980's, to the smart home thermostats and fixtures of today, what is the next step towards a self-sufficient, energy producing home? The golden goal for all homeowners and renters alike, is to lower energy bills without having to walk around our homes in10 layers of clothing when it's -3oC outside. We have double-glazed windows, porches, energy saving LED light bulbs, wall and loft insulation amongst other things in an attempt to save on our energy bills. Solar panels have been around for years too, but it's estimated that only half a million people in the UK alone actually have them installed for their homes. There are two main types of solar panel (or cell): photovoltaic solar panels (which convert the sun's energy to electricity, powering household goods and lighting) or thermal solar panels (which use the sun's energy to heat water, cutting down heating bills). What potential does solar power hold for the future of self-sufficient homes, and what new research is there for solar energy? Imagine windows which could generate electricity (\citet{futurity}). Too good to be true? Possibly not in the near future. Research suggests that transparent solar-film for windows could generate as much energy as bulky solar panels installed on roofs. By combining both rooftop solar panels and new solar-film, the electricity demand could be met for each country (including the UK and US), dramatically reducing fossil fuel use globally. But how do they work? It is not glass itself which acts as a solar panel. Instead it is an ultra-thin, transparent film which has been produced at Michigan State University by Professor Richard Lunt and his research team \cite{lunt2017}. The film has been coined 'a solar concentrator', and can be placed on windows, mobiles, buildings and other flat, clear surfaces to utilise the sun's energy without disrupting views. The film-like material is 'tuned' to absorb specific wavelengths of light (i.e. ultraviolet to near-infrared) and subsequently convert the light energy to electricity, just like a regular solar panel.  Solar panels convert particles of light (i.e.photons) into electricity. They achieve this via the photoelectric effect: as photons come into contact with atoms in solar panels/film etc., they knock electrons out of atoms in a solar panel, creating a flow of electricity (i.e. a current). Traditionally, solar panels are made from lots of materials each required to generate a current. This forms an opaque object, yet solar-film is transparent and still performs the same job. Solar-film technology can increase the number of surfaces able to generate electricity all over the globe. Alongside this new research, Tesla has developed their own solar roofs. Instead of installing bulky solar panels, Tesla has developed solar cell roof tiles. This drastically increases the roof space which can be used to generate solar energy (\citet{tesla}). The tiles are not only able to generate solar energy for our homes, but are also a lot more durable than traditional roof tiles, able to withstand much greater forces (e.g. hailstones, high winds and fire). Another benefit of solar panels or solar roofs, is that they can earn you money. The amount of energy generated by solar panels, tiles or film is much greater than that which can be used in the home immediately. As a result, governments pay people who own these power supplies a set amount per unit of excess electricity generated and use it around the country.  The sun's power is brilliant during daylight hours but at night where should we get electricity from? Tesla have developed another ingenious invention which can store some of the excess electricity generated during the day: the power wall (\citet{tesla}). The power wall is essentially a very large battery which can store some of the excess electricity, ideal for nighttime, natural disasters or blackouts. Once the battery is full, any more electricity generated will go to national use. It is an efficient way to use, store and share electricity.Currently, only 1.5% of the global electricity demand is met through the use of solar panels. If all windows in the US were covered in solar film, 40% of the electricity demand could be met. If all the roofs in the US were covered in solar panels or with Tesla's solar roof, this would equate to at least another 40%, taking the total to ~80% if both solar options were deployed. This is true Worldwide. These strategies would reduce the use of fossil fuels drastically and lower harmful carbon emissions tremendously. With stats like this, wouldn't it be great to get behind solar energy and all do our bit to better the future of the planet, creating self-sufficient homes?ContributionsLauren Nelson wrote the article. Lauren is a Ph.D. student at Newcastle University (UK), researching computational drug design alongside the Northern Institute for Cancer Research. Lauren also writes a scientific blog aiming to stop science from seeming so boring. (Twitter @ashortscientist; Instagram @ashortscientist; Blog: ashortscientist.wordpress.com).Ernesto Llamas made the illustrations. He obtained his Ph.D. in Biotechnology from Universitat de Barcelona doing his research at the Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics. Creator, editor and illustrator of Sketching Science. (Instagram @eellamas).
Infografia completa authorea
Forest recovery in degraded landscapes is key to mitigating climate change. Reforestation efforts have been successful in temperate environments, partly due to the limited number of tree species found in those ecosystems (i.e.contrast is, Therefore, up to five species). In contrast, tropical forest reforestation is to date, practically impossible due to the huge biological diversity they harbour. The Maya forest in Campeche, Mexico is estimated to contain 300 to 600 tree species. Hence, each species has a low density within a highly diverse matrix.  Biological diversity of trees is maintained by a very complex network of interactions that scientists are starting to understand. One such interaction is related to how trees choose their partners. Yes, they do that. DNA progeny tests indicate that tropical trees are very promiscuous. In a single season, a Tabebuia rosea understand.  (maculís in Mayan) tree can mate with hundreds of other individuals. Due to the low density in population, pollen (and pollinators) must find a way to connect with other individuals diluted among many other species. Moreover, some individuals are more liked by the community. How do we determine this? DNA from certain individuals is more frequently found in seeds from several trees in a region. Knowing this, what would happen if this particularly "attractive" individual was eliminated? We have to consider these "attractive" individuals as a priority for conservation. However, the "attractive" trees do not necessarily fit the timber industry's parameters. Commercial foresters look for tall, straight trees to produce first-class table cuts. Classic silviculture procedures are totally anthropocentric, ignoring trees mating preferences. As a consequence, tree breeding is complicated as trees may not mate with man-selected individuals, lowering seed production. When a commercially selected plantation is established near a natural forest, the "attractive" individual in the landscape may be overwhelmed by the huge amounts of pollen produced by plantations, contributing to loss of genetic diversity. Fortunately, for the maculís in Campeche, Mexico, foresters seed source was as diverse as the natural populations. DNA from "attractive" individuals was found in the same frequency both in plantations and in natural populations \citep{m2016}. An educated propagation protocol for methods that avoid the risk of loosing "attractive" individuals (or their genes), must be based on the development of an Ideotype. This is an ideal imaginary tree which meets timber industry quality parameters, agronomic traits, and considers the species mating system. A tree that meets industrial, agronomic and biological expectations would, for instance be: straight, tall, fast-growing, pest-resistant, drought-tolerant (to face climate change), "attractive" for other trees, and so on. With knowledge of this desired ideotype, we can look into natural populations which are closer to the ideotype. Employing ideotype-based selection enables us to identify several elite maculis trees in the Maya forest \cite{Sol_s_Guill_n_2017}.  Seed or vegetative collection of materials must be performed to capture genetic diversity, representing at least 90% of the natural genetic diversity of close natural populations. Once the germplasm (i.e. a collection of seeds or parts of the trees) has been sampled, it could be propagated vegetatively. Once plants, we are able to use them for buds and cuttings. In the lab, this ability can be turbo-powered by techniques of tissue culture called micropropagation and somatic embryogenesis. Both tools use plant growth regulators which are added to a nutrient-rich medium, acting as artificial soil. These conditions are optimal and can change the inner programming of tree tissues, switching them to a highly proliferative path, resulting in multiple sprouts from a single piece of tissue. In our group, we focused on another tropical tree: Cedrela odorata (or cigar box Spanish red cedar), another native tree from Mesoamérica. Starting from twigs or seeds from adult trees that had been previously selected with the help of the ideotype, a process for the clonal propagation for this species was established \cite{Pe_a_Ram_rez_2010} \cite{Pe_a_Ram_rez_2010a}. With this tool, thousands or millions of trees can be produced, propagating not only trees but genetic diversity and clones that are able to fit industry quality parameters.  A surprising advantage of using tissue culture, is the ability to induce a rejuvenation process in the tissues. Remember Dolly the sheep? Dolly was a cloned sheep borns old, who carried markers in her DNA (i.e. epigenetic markers) that instruct the body to adopt the age of the donor sheep. Epigenetic markers in the DNA of trees also limit adult tree propagation. Frequently, it is hard to establish twigs that have come from mature trees as individual plants or derived trees, did not develop as a young tree; they remain "vintage". Epigenetic markers are naturally reset from adult to young at the moment of fecundation (i.e.this grown, proliferated tree native to Meso américa : cedar). with born "old", carrying instructed Often "adult" "young" Reserve the plants.  when pollination occurs for trees), but it is also feasible to reset the program employing plant tissue culture combined with grafting mature tissues over young ones. Subsequent rounds of grafting eliminate epigenetic markers linked to adult behaviour such as flowering, or lateral instead of vertical growth. By taking advantage of this technology, we were able to colones and propagate mature elite trees from the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, in the Maya forest, inducing juvenile traits on derived plantlets. We are currently focused on refining our protocols for scaled-up production of plants. When a planter ventures into silviculture, plant material is paramount as trees are a long-term investment. It is beneficial to have superior quality material derived (i.e. cloned) from strictly selected donor trees with juvenile traits, for fast growth and genetic diversity. This will contribute not only to the economic return, but increasing the resilience of plantations to adverse environmental conditions as a consequence of climate change. Successful plantations will satisfy the market demand, reducing the pressure on natural forests.
14 english

Susana Ochoa-Gaona

and 7 more

Various plant communities developed along the Usumacinta River, adjacent streams and lagoons which are all considered part of the wetlands region. The wetlands are characterized for the presence of water, which plays a fundamental role in the development of the soil, and the ecological and structural functions of the system. The vegetation on the borders of the river and streams are known as riverine plant communities, whereas vegetation floating in the bodies of water is known as hydrophytic vegetation  \citep{j2006}. Three types of plant species in the wetlands could be distinguished: a) Strictly aquatic: plants that complete their life cycle either totally submerged, partially emerging, or floating on the surface; b) Subaquatic: plants that complete most of their life cycle on the border of the water, in water-saturated soils and can tolerate temporary dry seasons with minor humidity; and c) Drought tolerant: plants which complete most of their life cycle in dry areas, but support being partially submerged during rainy periods. The last category includes trees, bushes, climbers, and some palms \citep{2015}.The aquatic and border vegetation are physically and biologically connected and are of ecological importance, providing  complex habitats and resources for a high variety of other aquatic organisms  \citep{j2006}. The knowledge of the aquatic and subaquatic vegetation in Mexico is fragmentary. In particular for the Usumacinta River (the most important river of Mexico) where watershed has been only partially studied. In this study, we revised and created the knowledge available on the plant communities,  the riparian and aquatic plant species along the Usumacinta River watershed, and supplemented this knowledge with data collected in the study area. The data of floristic inventory of the Usumacinta river watershed was integrated with data provided by the National System of Information on Biodiversity of the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of the Biodiversity (SNIB-CONABIO), literature, herbaria samples of UAC, ENCB, UJAT, Ecosur-SCLC and MEXU, and field data.We registered 212 families and 3,501 species; the families with most species were those of legumes (342), followed by orchids (295), the composite family (214), and grasses (195) \citep{delgado2018}. Such numbers of plant species is a good indication of the great diversity and floristic richness of aquatic and border plants in the Usumacinta River watershed. We registered 36 families and 148 aquatic and subaquatic plant species, numbers which confirm the importance of the Usumacinta watershed for these species groups.The borders of the Usumacinta River are threatened by human activity. The villages’ are planting ornamental and fruit trees, both native as introduced species. However, it is still possible to find original plant communities either in the lagoons, or along the Usumacinta river; for example, shrublands of muco (Dalbergia brownei or D. glabra) \citep{santiago2005}. The most common tree species registered are typical of riverine forest communities, such as: Bucida buceras (pucté), Inga vera (jinicuil), Haematoxylum campechianum (tinto), Pithecellobium lanceolatum (tucuy) and Salix  humboldtiana (sauce), all of which are still present in border-forested fragments along the Usumacinta, San Pedro and Palisade rivers \citep{e1963} \cite{santiago2005}. The border vegetation near the coast is dominated by mangroves, such as Rhizophora mangle (red mangle), associated with Laguncularia racemosa (white mangle), Avicennia germinans (mangle prieto) and Conocarpus erectus (botoncillo) \cite{j2006}.We registered five species which had value and/or use: Annona glabra (anona) which is edible, Crescentia cujete (jícaro) which is ornamental, Guatteria anomala (palo de zope) which is used as food of turtles and parakeets, Sagittaria lancifolia (tule), and Vallisneria americana (sargazo) which is also known to be in the diet of turtles. This work highlights the importance of the riverine and aquatic vegetation for human communities, besides the service of food, nesting sites, refuge and rest for the regional fauna.This diversity of plants is integrated in plant communities which stabilizes the silt, oxygenates the water, provides refuge and material for nest sites, are habitats for different species of fauna, and provides  multiple ecosystem services which depend partly on the population that lives in the region \citep{a2010}. The villagers depend on the hydrological functions because fishing is an important source of economic income, and a local food source. Many of people that live in the watershed recognize the importance of the plants as a source of food for the aquatic fauna. As such, the management and conservation of the wetlands is of great importance.Diversidad de Plantas en Humedales de la Cuenca del río Usumacinta, México
16 pat v3

Lucio Pat

and 3 more

The Mayan peasant families that inhabit the Petenes Biosphere Reserve (RBLP), combine both activities for self-sufficiency (i.e. milpa, family gardens, hunting) and commercial activities (i.e. beekeeping, livestock, handicrafts) which develop throughout the year. These are part of a Pluriactivity strategy based on the use of resources \citep{alarcn2008}. The main objective of this peasant strategy is to guarantee family self-sufficiency through the production of food from the milpa and secondly, to produce surplus food for sale. In this context, the meliponiculture, or breeding of the native stingless bee (ko'olel kaab bee, Melipona beecheii) in the RBLP, is primarily an activity that complements the income of families for the purchase of goods that they do not produce. Although the ko'olel kaab honey is highly valued in the market, the bee's breeding is at risk of disappearing in the Yucatan Peninsula \citep{colli2005}. The decline of the meliponiculture by the Mayan peasants began with the introduction of the European bee (Apis mellifera), at the beginning of the last century. Initially,  this species was introduced into the Yucatan peninsula by entrepreneurs for the commercial production of honey, and later adopted by the Mayan peasants. The substitution of the ko'olel kaab bee for the European one was due to the higher honey yield per hive of the latter species, even though each type of honey has different physical, chemical, microbiological, and organoleptic characteristics. Other factors associated with the decline of meliponiculture are: deforestation and forest fragmentation, the expansion of agriculture and livestock, the arrival of the African bee, the abandonment of the field due to lack of employment and income alternatives, and finally, the poor handling and reproduction of bees \citep{gonzlez2001}.