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1.  Taking the First Steps towards a Standard for Reporting on Phylogenies: Minimal Information about a Phylogenetic Analysis (MIAPA) 
In the eight years since phylogenomics was introduced as the intersection of genomics and phylogenetics, the field has provided fundamental insights into gene function, genome history and organismal relationships. The utility of phylogenomics is growing with the increase in the number and diversity of taxa for which whole genome and large transcriptome sequence sets are being generated. We assert that the synergy between genomic and phylogenetic perspectives in comparative biology would be enhanced by the development and refinement of minimal reporting standards for phylogenetic analyses. Encouraged by the development of the Minimum Information About a Microarray Experiment (MIAME) standard, we propose a similar roadmap for the development of a Minimal Information About a Phylogenetic Analysis (MIAPA) standard. Key in the successful development and implementation of such a standard will be broad participation by developers of phylogenetic analysis software, phylogenetic database developers, practitioners of phylogenomics, and journal editors.
PMCID: PMC3167193  PMID: 16901231
2.  The Impact of Outgroup Choice and Missing Data on Major Seed Plant Phylogenetics Using Genome-Wide EST Data 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(6):e5764.
Genome level analyses have enhanced our view of phylogenetics in many areas of the tree of life. With the production of whole genome DNA sequences of hundreds of organisms and large-scale EST databases a large number of candidate genes for inclusion into phylogenetic analysis have become available. In this work, we exploit the burgeoning genomic data being generated for plant genomes to address one of the more important plant phylogenetic questions concerning the hierarchical relationships of the several major seed plant lineages (angiosperms, Cycadales, Gingkoales, Gnetales, and Coniferales), which continues to be a work in progress, despite numerous studies using single, few or several genes and morphology datasets. Although most recent studies support the notion that gymnosperms and angiosperms are monophyletic and sister groups, they differ on the topological arrangements within each major group.
We exploited the EST database to construct a supermatrix of DNA sequences (over 1,200 concatenated orthologous gene partitions for 17 taxa) to examine non-flowering seed plant relationships. This analysis employed programs that offer rapid and robust orthology determination of novel, short sequences from plant ESTs based on reference seed plant genomes. Our phylogenetic analysis retrieved an unbiased (with respect to gene choice), well-resolved and highly supported phylogenetic hypothesis that was robust to various outgroup combinations.
We evaluated character support and the relative contribution of numerous variables (e.g. gene number, missing data, partitioning schemes, taxon sampling and outgroup choice) on tree topology, stability and support metrics. Our results indicate that while missing characters and order of addition of genes to an analysis do not influence branch support, inadequate taxon sampling and limited choice of outgroup(s) can lead to spurious inference of phylogeny when dealing with phylogenomic scale data sets. As expected, support and resolution increases significantly as more informative characters are added, until reaching a threshold, beyond which support metrics stabilize, and the effect of adding conflicting characters is minimized.
PMCID: PMC2685480  PMID: 19503618
3.  Development of SPECT imaging agents for the norepinephrine transporters: [123I]INER† 
A series of reboxetine analogs was synthesized and evaluated for in vitro binding as racemic mixtures. The best candidate (INER) was synthesized as the optically pure (S,S) enantiomer, labeled with iodine-123 and its in vivo binding determined by SPECT imaging in baboons. The in vivo specificity, selectivity and kinetics of [123I]INER make it a promising agent for imaging NET in vivo by noninvasive SPECT imaging.
PMCID: PMC1806685  PMID: 17095215
4.  ESTimating plant phylogeny: lessons from partitioning 
While Expressed Sequence Tags (ESTs) have proven a viable and efficient way to sample genomes, particularly those for which whole-genome sequencing is impractical, phylogenetic analysis using ESTs remains difficult. Sequencing errors and orthology determination are the major problems when using ESTs as a source of characters for systematics. Here we develop methods to incorporate EST sequence information in a simultaneous analysis framework to address controversial phylogenetic questions regarding the relationships among the major groups of seed plants. We use an automated, phylogenetically derived approach to orthology determination called OrthologID generate a phylogeny based on 43 process partitions, many of which are derived from ESTs, and examine several measures of support to assess the utility of EST data for phylogenies.
A maximum parsimony (MP) analysis resulted in a single tree with relatively high support at all nodes in the tree despite rampant conflict among trees generated from the separate analysis of individual partitions. In a comparison of broader-scale groupings based on cellular compartment (ie: chloroplast, mitochondrial or nuclear) or function, only the nuclear partition tree (based largely on EST data) was found to be topologically identical to the tree based on the simultaneous analysis of all data. Despite topological conflict among the broader-scale groupings examined, only the tree based on morphological data showed statistically significant differences.
Based on the amount of character support contributed by EST data which make up a majority of the nuclear data set, and the lack of conflict of the nuclear data set with the simultaneous analysis tree, we conclude that the inclusion of EST data does provide a viable and efficient approach to address phylogenetic questions within a parsimony framework on a genomic scale, if problems of orthology determination and potential sequencing errors can be overcome. In addition, approaches that examine conflict and support in a simultaneous analysis framework allow for a more precise understanding of the evolutionary history of individual process partitions and may be a novel way to understand functional aspects of different kinds of cellular classes of gene products.
PMCID: PMC1564041  PMID: 16776834
5.  Multidrug-resistant Tuberculosis in Military Recruits 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2006;12(5):760-762.
We conducted a tuberculosis contact investigation for a female military recruit with an unreported history of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDRTB) and subsequent recurrence. Pertinent issues included identification of likely contacts from separate training phases, uncertainty on latent MDRTB infection treatment regimens and side effects, and subsequent dispersal of the contacts after exposure.
PMCID: PMC3374445  PMID: 16704832
multidrug-resistant tuberculosis; military medicine; contact investigation; recruit medicine; tuberculosis; chemotherapy; dispatch
6.  EST analysis in Ginkgo biloba: an assessment of conserved developmental regulators and gymnosperm specific genes 
BMC Genomics  2005;6:143.
Ginkgo biloba L. is the only surviving member of one of the oldest living seed plant groups with medicinal, spiritual and horticultural importance worldwide. As an evolutionary relic, it displays many characters found in the early, extinct seed plants and extant cycads. To establish a molecular base to understand the evolution of seeds and pollen, we created a cDNA library and EST dataset from the reproductive structures of male (microsporangiate), female (megasporangiate), and vegetative organs (leaves) of Ginkgo biloba.
RNA from newly emerged male and female reproductive organs and immature leaves was used to create three distinct cDNA libraries from which 6,434 ESTs were generated. These 6,434 ESTs from Ginkgo biloba were clustered into 3,830 unigenes. A comparison of our Ginkgo unigene set against the fully annotated genomes of rice and Arabidopsis, and all available ESTs in Genbank revealed that 256 Ginkgo unigenes match only genes among the gymnosperms and non-seed plants – many with multiple matches to genes in non-angiosperm plants. Conversely, another group of unigenes in Gingko had highly significant homology to transcription factors in angiosperms involved in development, including MADS box genes as well as post-transcriptional regulators. Several of the conserved developmental genes found in Ginkgo had top BLAST homology to cycad genes. We also note here the presence of ESTs in G. biloba similar to genes that to date have only been found in gymnosperms and an additional 22 Ginkgo genes common only to genes from cycads.
Our analysis of an EST dataset from G. biloba revealed genes potentially unique to gymnosperms. Many of these genes showed homology to fully sequenced clones from our cycad EST dataset found in common only with gymnosperms. Other Ginkgo ESTs are similar to developmental regulators in higher plants. This work sets the stage for future studies on Ginkgo to better understand seed and pollen evolution, and to resolve the ambiguous phylogenetic relationship of G. biloba among the gymnosperms.
PMCID: PMC1285361  PMID: 16225698
7.  Expressed sequence tag analysis in Cycas, the most primitive living seed plant 
Genome Biology  2003;4(12):R78.
Analysis of cycad ESTs has uncovered conserved and potentially novel genes. The presence of a glutamate receptor agonist, as well as a glutamate receptor-like gene in cycads, supports the hypothesis that such neuroactive plant products are not merely herbivore deterrents but may also serve a role in plant signaling.
Cycads are ancient seed plants (living fossils) with origins in the Paleozoic. Cycads are sometimes considered a 'missing link' as they exhibit characteristics intermediate between vascular non-seed plants and the more derived seed plants. Cycads have also been implicated as the source of 'Guam's dementia', possibly due to the production of S(+)-beta-methyl-alpha, beta-diaminopropionic acid (BMAA), which is an agonist of animal glutamate receptors.
A total of 4,200 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were created from Cycas rumphii and clustered into 2,458 contigs, of which 1,764 had low-stringency BLAST similarity to other plant genes. Among those cycad contigs with similarity to plant genes, 1,718 cycad 'hits' are to angiosperms, 1,310 match genes in gymnosperms and 734 match lower (non-seed) plants. Forty-six contigs were found that matched only genes in lower plants and gymnosperms. Upon obtaining the complete sequence from the clones of 37/46 contigs, 14 still matched only gymnosperms. Among those cycad contigs common to higher plants, ESTs were discovered that correspond to those involved in development and signaling in present-day flowering plants. We purified a cycad EST for a glutamate receptor (GLR)-like gene, as well as ESTs potentially involved in the synthesis of the GLR agonist BMAA.
Analysis of cycad ESTs has uncovered conserved and potentially novel genes. Furthermore, the presence of a glutamate receptor agonist, as well as a glutamate receptor-like gene in cycads, supports the hypothesis that such neuroactive plant products are not merely herbivore deterrents but may also serve a role in plant signaling.
PMCID: PMC329417  PMID: 14659015

Results 1-7 (7)