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Krehenwinkel H, Rödder D, Năpăruş-Aljančič M, Kuntner M (2016)
Rapid genetic and ecological differentiation during the northern range expansion of the venomous yellow sac spider Cheiracanthium punctorium in Europe
Although poleward range expansions are commonly attributed to global change, a complex interaction of ecological and evolutionary factors might contribute to expansion success. Here, we study the expansion of the yellow sac spider Cheiracanthium punctorium, a medically important species in Central Europe. Using microsatellite markers and DNA sequences, morphological and climate niche analyses, we identify factors associated with the spider's expansion success. Our results indicate that the species’ initial expansion has been triggered by environmental change and preadaptation in the source populations. However, despite extensive gene flow, expanding populations maintain genetic and morphological differentiation from native ones, which is correlated with climatic niche differences. Moreover, expanding spiders might have temporarily escaped an eggsac parasite that causes high mortality in the native range. Hence, our results paint a complex picture of diverse factors associated with expansion success. We speculate that expanding populations might be capable of adapting to novel ecological conditions in Northern Europe. This could allow a substantial range expansion, much farther than by environmental change alone. Our distribution model predicts that the spider will soon massively spread over most of Northern Europe, bringing along considerable health concerns.
Keywords: Range expansion, adaptation, global change, isolation by environment, venomous spider
Chingwaru W, Vidmar J, Kapewangolo P (2015)
The Potential of Sub-Saharan African Plants in the Management of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infections: A Review.
Phytotherapy research : PTR 29(10) 1452-87.
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, caused by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in Southern Africa. Phytomedicines are an integral part of African health care. The Southern African flora is composed of at least 23 400 taxa. Despite this richness, only a handful of botanical products have been assessed for activities against HIV. This study aimed to summarize the potential of Sub-Saharan African plants, based on their composition and the established bioactivities, as sources of agents to manage HIV symptoms and as retroviral therapy. At least 109 plant species from 42 families and 94 genera that are found in Southern Africa were shown to have potential or actual activities against HIV. Only 12 of these plant species from 6 families and 10 genera were shown to harbour anti-HIV properties. Phytochemicals that include β-sitosterols, terpenoids, glycosides, saponins, flavonoids, triterpenoids, tannins and alkaloids, which harbour anti-HIV properties, were found to have a near cosmopolitan presence across the plant families in the region. Bioactivities of multiple phytochemicals are comparable to those for standard allopathic antiretroviral drugs. Research to determine the anti-HIV activities of the identified and other plants, including clinical trials, is long overdue. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Keywords: HIV, Southern Africa, bioactivity, composition, phytochemicals
Weigand A, Jochum A, Slapnik R, Schnitzler J, Zarza E, Klussmann-Kolb A (2013)
Evolution of microgastropods (Ellobioidea, Carychiidae): integrating taxonomic, phylogenetic and evolutionary hypotheses
BMC Evolutionary Biology 13(1) 18.
Keywords: Allopatric diversification, Carychium, Cryptic diversity, DNA barcoding, Gastropoda, Integrative taxonomy, Phylogeny, Protracted speciation, Subterranean environment, Zospeum