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Continuing Education

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Lincoln Bell
Lincoln Bell

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HFE, a major regulator of iron (Fe) homeostasis, has been suggested to be under positive selection in both European and Asian populations. While the genetic variant under selection in Europeans (a non-synonymous mutation, C282Y) has been relatively well-studied, the adaptive variant in Asians and its functional consequences are still unknown. Identifying the adaptive HFE variants in Asians will not only elucidate the evolutionary history and the genetic basis of population difference in Fe status, but also assist the future practice of genome-informed dietary recommendation. Using data from the International HapMap Project, we confirmed the signatures of positive selection on HFE in Asian populations and identified a candidate adaptive haplotype that is common in Asians (52.35-54.71%) but rare in Europeans (5.98%) and Africans (4.35%). The T allele at tag SNP rs9366637 (C/T) captured 95.8% of this Asian-common haplotype. A significantly reduced HFE expression was observed in individuals carrying T/T at rs9366637 compared to C/C and C/T, indicating a possible role of gene regulation in adaptation. We recruited 57 women of Asian descent and measured Fe absorption using stable isotopes in those homozygous at rs9366637. We observed a 22% higher absorption in women homozygous for the Asian-common haplotype (T/T) compared to the control genotype (C/C). Additionally, compared with a group of age-matched Caucasian women, Asian women exhibited significantly elevated Fe absorption. Our results indicate parallel adaptation of HFE gene in Europeans and Asians with different genetic variants. Moreover, natural selection on HFE may have contributed to elevated Fe absorption in Asians. This study regarding population differences in Fe homeostasis has significant medical impact as high Fe level has been linked to an increased disease risk of metabolic syndromes.




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The binary path selection of droplets reaching a T junction is regulated by time-delayed feedback and nonlinear couplings. Such mechanisms result in complex dynamics of droplet partitioning: numerous discrete bifurcations between periodic regimes are observed. We introduce a model based on an approximation that makes this problem tractable. This allows us to derive analytical formulae that predict the occurrence of the bifurcations between consecutive regimes, establish selection rules for the period of a regime, and describe the evolutions of the period and complexity of droplet pattern in a cycle with the key parameters of the system. We discuss the validity and limitations of our model which describes semiquantitatively both numerical simulations and microfluidic experiments.


Rules regulating social behavior raise challenging questions about cultural evolution in part because they frequently confer group-level benefits. Current multilevel selection theories contend that between-group processes interact with within-group processes to produce norms and institutions, but within-group processes have remained underspecified, leading to a recent emphasis on cultural group selection as the primary driver of cultural design. Here we present the self-interested enforcement (SIE) hypothesis, which proposes that the design of rules importantly reflects the relative enforcement capacities of competing parties. We show that, in addition to explaining patterns in cultural change and stability, SIE can account for the emergence of much group-functional culture. We outline how this process can stifle or accelerate cultural group selection, depending on various social conditions. Self-interested enforcement has important bearings on the emergence, stability, and change of rules.


According to Hamilton's (1964a, b) rule, a costly action will be undertaken if its fitness cost to the actor falls short of the discounted benefit to the recipient, where the discount factor is Wright's index of relatedness between the two. We propose a generalization of this rule, and show that if evolution operates at the level of behavior rules, rather than directly at the level of actions, evolution will select behavior rules that induce a degree of cooperation that may differ from that predicted by Hamilton's rule as applied to actions. In social dilemmas there will be less (more) cooperation than under Hamilton's rule if the actions are strategic substitutes (complements). Our approach is based on natural selection, defined in terms of personal (direct) fitness, and applies to a wide range of pairwise interactions. Copyright 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Moran processes are often used to model selection in evolutionary simulations. The updating rule in Moran processes is a birth-death process, i. e., selection according to fitness of an individual to give birth, followed by the death of a random individual. For well-mixed populations with only two strategies this updating rule is known to be equivalent to selecting unfit individuals for death and then selecting randomly for procreation (biased death-birth process). It is, however, known that this equivalence does not hold when considering structured populations. Here we study whether changing the updating rule can also have an effect in well-mixed populations in the presence of more than two strategies and high mutation rates. We find, using three models from different areas of evolutionary simulation, that the choice of updating rule can change model results. We show, e. g., that going from the birth-death process to the death-birth process can change a public goods game with punishment from containing mostly defectors to having a majority of cooperative strategies. From the examples given we derive guidelines indicating when the choice of the updating rule can be expected to have an impact on the results of the model.


To support evolution of domain expertise, and its representation in an expert system knowledge base, a user-friendly rule base editor is mandatory. The Nickel Cadmium Battery Expert System (NICBES), a prototype of an expert system for the Hubble Space Telescope power storage management system, does not provide such an editor. In the following, a description of a Simple Interactive Rule Base Editor (SIRE) for NICBES is described. The SIRE provides a consistent internal representation of the NICBES knowledge base. It supports knowledge presentation and provides a user-friendly and code language independent medium for rule addition and modification. The SIRE is integrated with NICBES via an interface module. This module provides translation of the internal representation to Prolog-type rules (Horn clauses), latter rule assertion, and a simple mechanism for rule selection for its Prolog inference engine.


Human cooperation can be influenced by other human behaviors and recent years have witnessed the flourishing of studying the coevolution of cooperation and punishment, yet the common behavior of charity is seldom considered in game-theoretical models. In this article, we investigate the coevolution of altruistic cooperation and egalitarian charity in spatial public goods game, by considering charity as the behavior of reducing inter-individual payoff differences. Our model is that, in each generation of the evolution, individuals play games first and accumulate payoff benefits, and then each egalitarian makes a charity donation by payoff transfer in its neighborhood. To study the individual-level evolutionary dynamics, we adopt different strategy update rules and investigate their effects on charity and cooperation. These rules can be classified into two global rules: random selection rule in which individuals randomly update strategies, and threshold selection rule where only those with payoffs below a threshold update strategies. Simulation results show that random selection enhances the cooperation level, while threshold selection lowers the threshold of the multiplication factor to maintain cooperation. When charity is considered, it is incapable in promoting cooperation under random selection, whereas it promotes cooperation under threshold selection. Interestingly, the evolution of charity strongly depends on the dispersion of payoff acquisitions of the population, which agrees with previous results. Our work may shed light on understanding human egalitarianism.


Hamilton's rule is a central theorem of inclusive fitness (kin selection) theory and predicts that social behaviour evolves under specific combinations of relatedness, benefit and cost. This review provides evidence for Hamilton's rule by presenting novel syntheses of results from two kinds of study in diverse taxa, including cooperatively breeding birds and mammals and eusocial insects. These are, first, studies that empirically parametrize Hamilton's rule in natural populations and, second, comparative phylogenetic analyses of the genetic, life-history and ecological correlates of sociality. Studies parametrizing Hamilton's rule are not rare and demonstrate quantitatively that (i) altruism (net loss of direct fitness) occurs even when sociality is facultative, (ii) in most cases, altruism is under positive selection via indirect fitness benefits that exceed direct fitness costs and (iii) social behaviour commonly generates indirect benefits by enhancing the productivity or survivorship of kin. Comparative phylogenetic analyses show that cooperative breeding and eusociality are promoted by (i) high relatedness and monogamy and, potentially, by (ii) life-history factors facilitating family structure and high benefits of helping and (iii) ecological factors generating low costs of social behaviour. Overall, the focal studies strongly confirm the predictions of Hamilton's rule regarding conditions for social evolution and their causes. PMID:24686934 350c69d7ab


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