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Diversity, Abundance, and Distribution of Avifauna in District Jhang, Pakistan
The present study was conducted from March 2021 to February 2022 in the Thal desert and Trimmu barrage of district Jhang located in the Punjab province of Pakistan to find out the diversity, abundance, and distribution of birds. The point count method was used for the Trimmu barrage, and the line transect method was used for the collection of data in the Thal desert area. We recorded 31,696 individuals belonging to 67 species of birds from two distinct types of habitats (Thal desert and Trimmu barrage) of district Jhang. Among these species, 39 species were residents, 18 species were winter visitors, 9 species were summer breeders, and a single species (Terek sandpiper) was a passage migrant. Highly significant differences (, , and ) were observed in the abundance of birds between both habitats on every month. From the Thal desert area, 12,905 individuals belonging to 45 species were identified while 18,791 individuals from 58 bird species were observed in the Trimmu barrage, with 36 bird species among 67 species being common at both habitats. The most dominant species of the Trimmu barrage were the common pochard, little grebe, common coot, cattle egret, gadwall, little egret, red-wattled lapwing, and common teal. On the other hand, the Indian roller, common quail, cattle egret, common myna, and Indian kite were found to be the most common species in the Thal desert. The most notable feature of the present study is the identification of Xenus cinereus (Terek sandpiper) and Ammomanes phoenicura (rufous-tailed lark) in district Jhang as both species had no previous record in the study area. The Trimmu barrage was the more diverse and abundant site compared to the Thal desert as it provides both terrestrial and aquatic habitats for birds. The study determined that more varieties in the habitat and thermal changes affect the diversity, abundance, and distribution of birds.
Clarification of Phylogenetic Relationships among Chinese Nemacheilids with Tube-Shaped Anterior Nostrils, with a Description of a New Genus and Two New Species
Nostril structures are important characteristics for generic diagnosis in Nemacheilidae and Cobitidae. Based on phylogenetic analysis, we found that 10 genera within Nemacheilidae (Eonemachilus, Guinemachilus, Lefua, Micronemacheilus, Oreonectes, Paranemachilus, Protonemacheilus, Traccatichthys, Troglonectes, and Yunnanilus) shared tube-shaped anterior nostrils and formed a monophyletic group. Morphologically, the location between the anterior and posterior nostrils was divided into three types: (i) separated, i.e., a distance greater than 1.5 times the diameter of the posterior nostril; (ii) adjacent, i.e., a distance shorter than the diameter of the posterior nostril; and (iii) closely set, i.e., posterior margin of the anterior nostril connected to the anterior margin of the posterior nostril. Thus, the 10 genera can be distinguished based on nostril features. Additionally, we describe one new genus, Guinemachilus gen. nov., and two new species, Guinemachilus pseudopulcherrimus sp. nov. and Paranemachilus chongzuo sp. nov.
Positive Selection in Zinc Finger Protein Reveals Genetic Signatures of Adaptive Evolution in Undifferentiated Stem Cells during Evolution in Mammals
Positive selection refers to the process by which certain genetic variations are more likely to be passed on to future generations because they confer some advantage in terms of survival or reproduction. Zinc finger proteins are a type of transcription factor that plays a role in regulating gene expression, particularly in undifferentiated stem cells. Suppose it has been found that certain zinc finger proteins show genetic signatures of positive selection in mammals. In that case, it suggests that these proteins may have played a role in adaptive evolution in undifferentiated stem cells. This could mean that the specific genetic changes in these zinc finger proteins gave an advantage to the organisms that possessed them, helping them survive and reproduce more effectively. These genetic changes may have allowed the organisms to adapt to changing environments or to develop new abilities, such as increased resistance to disease or faster growth. Undifferentiated stem cells that underwent adaptive evolution during the evolution of mammals can be identified genetically by the outcomes of positive selection on zinc finger proteins. Because of selection pressures like environmental shifts or the introduction of novel pathogens, it is plausible that some zinc finger proteins have experienced fast evolution. The emergence of novel activities or higher expression levels of these proteins as a result of this quick evolution may have given the creatures that possessed them a survival edge. Another possible outcome of positive selection in zinc finger proteins is the emergence of new genetic variations that allow for increased diversity and plasticity in stem cells. This increased diversity and plasticity could have allowed for more efficient adaptation to changing environments and could have played a role in the evolution of new organisms or new characteristics in existing organisms. Overall, the results of positive selection in zinc finger proteins can provide insight into how adaptive evolution occurred in undifferentiated stem cells during the evolution of mammals and how this evolution may have contributed to the development of new organisms and new characteristics and adaptations to changing environments.
Refining the “Melting Pot” Genus Holosticha s. l. (Protozoa, Ciliophora, Hypotrichia) Based on Multigene Datasets with Establishment of a New Species Caudikeronopsis monilata sp. nov.
The genus Holosticha s. l. is a typical “melting pot” group with an intricate history, and so far, it has been divided into eleven genera. Both newly obtained taxonomic and molecular data provide the opportunity to gain more insights to outline the taxa in it and to understand their systematic and evolutionary relationship. Here, we describe Caudikeronopsis monilata sp. nov. from intertidal sediment on the China coast of the Yellow Sea and analyze the phylogenetic relationships of Holosticha s. l. by obtaining a total of 16 new sequences of seven isolates. The results demonstrate that (1) the morphological features of Holosticha s. str. are outlined very well, but its systematic relationship with Uncinata is still puzzling; (2) based on both morphological and molecular databases, the genera Adumbratosticha, Arcuseries, Caudikeronopsis, Extraholosticha, and “Holosticha + Uncinata” complex are separated clearly from each other in the phylogenetic analyses; and (3) the Anteholosticha isolates are dispersed among the urostylids in the phylogenetic analyses, even though its generic diagnostic features are described very clearly. In the present work, however, the secondary structure predictions do not provide better resolutions for understanding the systematic and evolutionary relationships among the holostichids. And the genus Anteholosticha becomes a new “melting pot” taxon.
Molecular Evolution of Interferon-Epsilon (IFNε) Pseudogene Modulates Innate and Specific Antiviral Immunity in Manis javanica
Interferon-Epsilon (IFNε) is a type of interferon, a protein that plays a role in the immune response to viral infections. This study is aimed at examining the molecular evolution of the IFNε pseudogene in Manis javanica, and it has been found to modulate the innate and specific antiviral immunity in this species. In this study, we identified that IFNε gene has undergone rapid evolution in Manis javanica, with the human and primate IFNε genes showing evidence of positive selection. This suggests that IFNε has played an important role in the evolution of the immune system, possibly in response to coevolution with viral pathogens. Comparative genomic analysis revealed that the IFNε pseudogene in pangolins originated from a gene duplication event approximately 48 million years ago. It subsequently lost its protein-coding function due to multiple deleterious mutations. However, the IFNε pseudogene exhibits a high degree of conservation in its promoter region, suggesting it may still play a regulatory role in antiviral immunity. This suggests that the pseudogene may have evolved to serve an important function in the pangolin’s immune system, potentially helping to protect it from viral infections. The molecular evolution of IFNε provides insights into the coevolutionary dynamics between host immune systems and viral pathogens and may have implications for developing new antiviral therapies.
Evolutionary History and Taxonomic Reclassification of the Critically Endangered Daggernose Shark, a Species Endemic to the Western Atlantic
The family Carcharhinidae includes the most typical and recognizable sharks, although its internal classification is the subject of extensive debate. In particular, the type genus, Carcharhinus Blainville, 1816, which is also the most speciose, appears to be paraphyletic in relation to a number of morphologically distinct taxa. Isogomphodon oxyrhynchus (Valenciennes, 1839) (the daggernose shark) is a carcharinid, which is endemic to a limited area of the Western Atlantic between Trinidad and Tobago and the Gulf of Maranhão in northern Brazil, one of the smallest ranges of any New World elasmobranch species. In recent decades, I. oxyrhynchus populations have been decimated by anthropogenic impacts, which has led to the classification of the species as critically endangered by the IUCN. However, there is considerable debate on both the validity of the species (I. oxyrhynchus) and the status of Isogomphodon Gill, 1862 as a distinct entity from the genus Carcharhinus. The present study is based on a molecular assessment of the genetic validity of the I. oxyrhynchus that combines mitochondrial and nuclear markers, which were used to identify the biogeographic events responsible for the emergence and dispersal of the species in northern Brazil. The genetic distance analyses and phylogenetic trees confirmed the paraphyly of the genus Carcharhinus, recovering a clade comprising Carcharhinus+I. oxyrhynchus+Prionace glauca (Linnaeus, 1758). Our results indicate not only that the daggernose shark is actually a member of the genus Carcharhinus, but that it is genetically more closely related to Carcharhinus porosus (Ranzani, 1839) than it is to the other Carcharhinus species analyzed. Given this, I. oxyrhynchus and P. glauca are therefore reclassified and recognized as Carcharhinus oxyrhynchus and Carcharhinus glaucus. The daggernose shark, Carcharhinus oxyrhynchus, diverged from C. porosus during the Miocene, when significant geomorphological processes occurred on the northern coast of South America, in particular in relation to the configuration of the Amazon River. It is closely associated with the area of the Amazon plume, and its distinctive morphological features represent autapomorphic ecological adaptations to this unique habitat and do not reflect systematic distinction from Carcharhinus.