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1.  Genetic Structure and Hierarchical Population Divergence History of Acer mono var. mono in South and Northeast China 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e87187.
Knowledge of the genetic structure and evolutionary history of tree species across their ranges is essential for the development of effective conservation and forest management strategies. Acer mono var. mono, an economically and ecologically important maple species, is extensively distributed in Northeast China (NE), whereas it has a scattered and patchy distribution in South China (SC). In this study, the genetic structure and demographic history of 56 natural populations of A. mono var. mono were evaluated using seven nuclear microsatellite markers. Neighbor-joining tree and STRUCTURE analysis clearly separated populations into NE and SC groups with two admixed-like populations. Allelic richness significantly decreased with increasing latitude within the NE group while both allelic richness and expected heterozygosity showed significant positive correlation with latitude within the SC group. Especially in the NE region, previous studies in Quercus mongolica and Fraxinus mandshurica have also detected reductions in genetic diversity with increases in latitude, suggesting this pattern may be common for tree species in this region, probably due to expansion from single refugium following the last glacial maximum (LGM). Approximate Bayesian Computation-based analysis revealed two major features of hierarchical population divergence in the species’ evolutionary history. Recent divergence between the NE group and the admixed-like group corresponded to the LGM period and ancient divergence of SC groups took place during mid-late Pleistocene period. The level of genetic differentiation was moderate (FST = 0.073; G′ST = 0.278) among all populations, but significantly higher in the SC group than the NE group, mirroring the species’ more scattered distribution in SC. Conservation measures for this species are proposed, taking into account the genetic structure and past demographic history identified in this study.
PMCID: PMC3909053  PMID: 24498039
2.  Neural Substrates for Semantic Memory of Familiar Songs: Is There an Interface between Lyrics and Melodies? 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e46354.
Findings on song perception and song production have increasingly suggested that common but partially distinct neural networks exist for processing lyrics and melody. However, the neural substrates of song recognition remain to be investigated. The purpose of this study was to examine the neural substrates involved in the accessing “song lexicon” as corresponding to a representational system that might provide links between the musical and phonological lexicons using positron emission tomography (PET). We exposed participants to auditory stimuli consisting of familiar and unfamiliar songs presented in three ways: sung lyrics (song), sung lyrics on a single pitch (lyrics), and the sung syllable ‘la’ on original pitches (melody). The auditory stimuli were designed to have equivalent familiarity to participants, and they were recorded at exactly the same tempo. Eleven right-handed nonmusicians participated in four conditions: three familiarity decision tasks using song, lyrics, and melody and a sound type decision task (control) that was designed to engage perceptual and prelexical processing but not lexical processing. The contrasts (familiarity decision tasks versus control) showed no common areas of activation between lyrics and melody. This result indicates that essentially separate neural networks exist in semantic memory for the verbal and melodic processing of familiar songs. Verbal lexical processing recruited the left fusiform gyrus and the left inferior occipital gyrus, whereas melodic lexical processing engaged the right middle temporal sulcus and the bilateral temporo-occipital cortices. Moreover, we found that song specifically activated the left posterior inferior temporal cortex, which may serve as an interface between verbal and musical representations in order to facilitate song recognition.
PMCID: PMC3460812  PMID: 23029492
3.  Oral health in the Japan self-defense forces - a representative survey 
BMC Oral Health  2011;11:14.
The oral health of military populations is usually not very well characterized compared to civilian populations. The aim of this study was to investigate two physical oral health characteristics and one perceived oral health measure and their correlation in the Japan self-defense forces (JSDF).
Number of missing teeth, denture status, and OHRQoL as evaluated by the Japanese 14-item version of the Oral Health Impact Profile (OHIP-J14) as well as the correlation between these oral health measures was investigated in 911 personnel in the JSDF.
Subjects did not have a substantial number of missing teeth and only 4% used removable dentures. The mean OHIP-J14 score was 4.6 ± 6.7 units. The magnitude of the correlation between the number of missing teeth with OHIP-J14 scores was small (r = 0.22, p < 0.001). Mean OHIP-J14 scores differed between subjects with and without dentures (8.6 and 4.4, p < 0.001).
Compared to Japanese civilian populations, personnel of the JSDF demonstrated good oral health. Two physical oral health characteristics were associated with perceived oral health.
PMCID: PMC3100240  PMID: 21501526
4.  Nuclear DNA Microsatellites Reveal Genetic Variation but a Lack of Phylogeographical Structure in an Endangered Species, Fraxinus mandshurica, Across North-east China 
Annals of Botany  2008;102(2):195-205.
Background and Aims
The widely accepted paradigm that the modern genetic structure of plant species in the northern hemisphere has been largely determined by recolonization from refugia after the last glacial maximum fails to explain the presence of cold-tolerant species at intermediate latitudes. Another generally accepted paradigm is that mountain ridges act as important barriers causing genetic isolation of species, but this too has been challenged in recent studies. The aims of the work reported here were to determine the genetic diversity and distribution patterns of extant natural populations of an endangered cool temperate species, Faxinus mandshurica, and to examine whether these two paradigms are appropriate when applied to this species over a wide geographical scale.
1435 adult individuals were sampled from 30 natural populations across the main and central range of the species, covering major mountain ranges across North-east China (NEC). Genetic variation was estimated based on nine polymorphic nuclear microsatellite loci. Phylogeographical analyses were employed using various approaches, including Bayesian clustering, spatial analysis of molecular variance, Monmonier's algorithm, neighbor-joining trees, principal co-ordinate analysis and isolation by distance.
Key Results
Genetic diversity within populations was relatively high, and no significant recent bottlenecks were detected in any of the populations. A significant negative correlation between intra-population genetic diversity and latitude was identified. In contrast, genetic differentiation among all the populations examined was extremely low and no clear geographic genetic structure was identified, with the exception of one distinct population.
The modern genetic structure in this species can be explained by extensive gene flow, an absence of mountains acting as barriers, and the presence of a wide refuge across NEC rather than multiple small refugia. Intra-population genetic variation along latitudes is probably associated with the systematically northward shifts of forest biomes in eastern China during the mid-Holocene. To determine important genetic patterns and identify resources for conservation, however, it will be necessary to examine differentially inherited genetic markers exposed to selection pressures (e.g. chloroplast DNA) and to investigate different generations.
PMCID: PMC2712365  PMID: 18477559
Fraxinus mandshurica; nuclear microsatellites; latitude variation; historical migration; fossil pollen; spatial genetic structure; genetic barriers

Results 1-4 (4)