Publications by authors named "Margaret Byrne"

156 Publications

Genomic divergence in sympatry indicates strong reproductive barriers and cryptic species within .

Ecol Evol 2021 May 29;11(10):5096-5110. Epub 2021 Mar 29.

Biodiversity and Conservation Science Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions Bentley Delivery Centre Bentley WA Australia.

Genetic studies are increasingly detecting cryptic taxa that likely represent a significant component of global biodiversity. However, cryptic taxa are often criticized because they are typically detected serendipitously and may not receive the follow-up study required to verify their geographic or evolutionary limits. Here, we follow-up a study of that unexpectedly detected two divergent lineages but was not sampled sufficiently to make clear interpretations. We undertook comprehensive sampling for an independent genomic analysis (3,605 SNPs) to investigate whether the two purported lineages remain discrete genetic entities or if they intergrade throughout the species' range. We also assessed morphological and ecological traits, and sequenced chloroplast DNA. SNP results showed strong genome-wide divergence ( = 0.252) between two discrete lineages: one dominated the north and one the southern regions of the species' range. Within lineages, gene flow was high, with low differentiation (mean  = 0.056) spanning hundreds of kilometers. In the central region, the lineages were interspersed but maintained their genomic distinctiveness: an indirect demonstration of reproductive isolation. Populations of the southern lineage exhibited significantly lower specific leaf area and occurred on soils with lower phosphorus relative to the northern lineage. Finally, two major chloroplast haplotypes were associated with each lineage but were shared between lineages in the central distribution. Together, these results suggest that these lineages have non-contemporary origins and that ecotypic adaptive processes strengthened their divergence more recently. We conclude that these lineages warrant taxonomic recognition as separate species and provide fascinating insight into eucalypt speciation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7403DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8131811PMC
May 2021

Untangling interactivity's effects: The role of cognitive absorption, perceived visual informativeness, and cancer information overload.

Patient Educ Couns 2021 05 13;104(5):1059-1065. Epub 2020 Oct 13.

Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior, Moffit Cancer Center, Tampa, FL, 33612, United States.

Objective: Learning about clinical trials is as stressful and challenging for cancer patients as it is for the clinical staff who provide education to patients. Information aids (IAs) can support both discussions and patients' decision-making, especially when IAs offer interactive features that provide information based on individuals' needs and experiences. However, it is not clear which factors contribute to interactive IAs' effectiveness.

Methods: An experiment with cancer patients and survivors (n = 313) compared the effects of two IAs about clinical trial participation: one with modality (i.e. website/technological) interactivity only and one with both modality and message interactivity (i.e. provides information contingent on individual users' information needs).

Results: The IA with both modality and message interactivity features elicited the higher perceived visual informativeness (PVI) and cognitive absorption (CA) scores. The model supports the moderating role of PVI and cancer information overload (CIO), and the mediating role of CA.

Conclusion: The IA with both modality and message interactivity better supported individuals' decision-making and improved attitudes and knowledge scores. CIO was experienced more by participants using the modality interactivity-only IA.

Practice Implications: Message interactivity may simplify individuals' cognitive processes. IAs about clinical trial participation should include both message and modality interactivity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2020.10.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8110950PMC
May 2021

A randomized wait-list controlled trial of a social support intervention for caregivers of patients with primary malignant brain tumor.

BMC Health Serv Res 2021 Apr 17;21(1):360. Epub 2021 Apr 17.

Department of Health Outcomes & Behavior, Moffitt Cancer Center, 12902 Magnolia Dr, Tampa, FL, 33612, USA.

Background: Informal family caregivers constitute an important and increasingly demanding role in the cancer healthcare system. This is especially true for caregivers of patients with primary malignant brain tumors based on the rapid progression of disease, including physical and cognitive debilitation. Informal social network resources such as friends and family can provide social support to caregivers, which lowers caregiver burden and improves overall quality of life. However, barriers to obtaining needed social support exist for caregivers. To address this need, our team developed and is assessing a multi-component caregiver support intervention that uses a blend of technology and personal contact to improve caregiver social support.

Methods: We are currently conducting a prospective, longitudinal 2-group randomized controlled trial which compares caregivers who receive the intervention to a wait-list control group. Only caregivers directly receive the intervention, but the patient-caregiver dyads are enrolled so we can assess outcomes in both. The 8-week intervention consists of two components: (1) The electronic Social Network Assessment Program, a web-based tool to visualize existing social support resources and provide a tailored list of additional resources; and (2) Caregiver Navigation, including weekly phone sessions with a Caregiver Navigator to address caregiver social support needs. Outcomes are assessed by questionnaires completed by the caregiver (baseline, 4-week, 8-week) and the cancer patient (baseline, and 8-week). At 8 weeks, caregivers in the wait-list condition may opt into the intervention. Our primary outcome is caregiver well-being; we also explore patient well-being and caregiver and patient health care utilization.

Discussion: This protocol describes a study testing a novel social support intervention that pairs a web-based social network visualization tool and resource list (eSNAP) with personalized caregiver navigation. This intervention is responsive to a family-centered model of care and calls for clinical and research priorities focused on informal caregiving research.

Trial Registration: clinicaltrials.gov , Registration number: NCT04268979 ; Date of registration: February 10, 2020, retrospectively registered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12913-021-06372-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8052543PMC
April 2021

Relationship of Neighborhood Greenness to Alzheimer's Disease and Non-Alzheimer's Dementia Among 249,405 U.S. Medicare Beneficiaries.

J Alzheimers Dis 2021 ;81(2):597-606

Department of Public Health Sciences, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, FL, USA.

Background: Neighborhood greenness (vegetative presence) has been linked to multiple health outcomes, but its relationship to Alzheimer's disease (AD) and non-Alzheimer's (non-AD) dementia has been less studied.

Objective: This study examines the relationship of greenness to both AD and non-AD dementia in a population-based sample of Medicare beneficiaries.

Methods: Participants were 249,405 US Medicare beneficiaries aged > 65 years living in Miami-Dade County, FL, from 2010 to 2011. Multi-level analyses examined the relationship of greenness, assessed by mean Census block level Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), to odds of each of AD, Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD), and non-AD dementia, respectively. Covariates included age, gender, race/ethnicity, number of comorbid health conditions, and neighborhood income.

Results: Higher greenness was associated with reduced risk of AD, ADRD, and non-AD dementia, respectively, adjusting for individual and neighborhood sociodemographics. Compared to the lowest greenness tertile, the highest greenness tertile was associated with reduced odds of AD by 20%(odds ratio, 0.80; 95%CI, 0.75-0.85), ADRD by 18%(odds ratio, 0.82; 95%CI, 0.77-0.86), and non-AD dementia by 11%(odds ratio, 0.89; 95%CI, 0.82-0.96). After further adjusting for number of comorbidities, compared to the lowest greenness tertile, the highest greenness tertile was associated with reduced odds of AD (OR, 0.94; 95%CI, 0.88-1.00) and ADRD (OR, 0.93; 95%CI, 0.88-0.99), but not non-AD dementia (OR, 1.01; 95%CI, 0.93-1.08).

Conclusion: High neighborhood greenness may be associated with lower odds of AD and ADRD. Environmental improvements, such as increasing neighborhood vegetation, may be a strategy to reduce risk for AD and possibly other dementias.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JAD-201179DOI Listing
January 2021

A Quantitative Analysis of Facial Asymmetry in Torticollis Using 3-Dimensional Photogrammetry.

Cleft Palate Craniofac J 2021 Feb 17:1055665621993284. Epub 2021 Feb 17.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Taylor & Sullivan Plastic Surgery, Mount Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, MA, USA.

Objective: To assess whether children with torticollis have quantifiably greater facial asymmetry than their age-matched controls using 3-dimensional (3D) photogrammetry.

Design: We retrospectively analyzed patients diagnosed with torticollis and age-matched volunteers who underwent 3D photogrammetry of their faces. We calculated the root mean square deviation (RMSD) between native and reflected facial images, as a measure of asymmetry. Two observers independently measured RMSD values for all study participants. The Spearman correlation coefficient evaluated interobserver reliability. The Wilcoxon rank-sum test with Bonferroni adjusted values for multiple comparisons.

Setting: Institutional.

Participants: Twenty patients diagnosed with torticollis and 12 age-matched volunteers. Patients were analyzed on a computer database and volunteers were selected and consented in the hospital. We excluded patients with a history of facial trauma, facial operations, or other craniofacial diagnoses.

Interventions: Facial surface scans were obtained using the Canfield Vectra stereophotogrammetry system. The technology captures surface anatomy without radiation.

Main Outcome Measures: RMSD comparisons between patients with torticollis and age-matched controls.

Results: Compared to controls, patients with torticollis had statistically significant greater full face, upper third, and middle third facial asymmetry. There was a trend toward greater asymmetry of the lower facial third.

Conclusions: We used 3D photogrammetry to quantitate facial asymmetry from torticollis. We found greater asymmetry in patients with torticollis than in their unaffected peers. All areas of the face appeared to be affected, though the asymmetry in the lower facial third just failed to reach significance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1055665621993284DOI Listing
February 2021

Regarding the F-word: The effects of data filtering on inferred genotype-environment associations.

Mol Ecol Resour 2021 Jul 9;21(5):1460-1474. Epub 2021 Mar 9.

Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University, Richmond, NSW, Australia.

Genotype-environment association (GEA) methods have become part of the standard landscape genomics toolkit, yet, we know little about how to best filter genotype-by-sequencing data to provide robust inferences for environmental adaptation. In many cases, default filtering thresholds for minor allele frequency and missing data are applied regardless of sample size, having unknown impacts on the results, negatively affecting management strategies. Here, we investigate the effects of filtering on GEA results and the potential implications for assessment of adaptation to environment. We use empirical and simulated data sets derived from two widespread tree species to assess the effects of filtering on GEA outputs. Critically, we find that the level of filtering of missing data and minor allele frequency affect the identification of true positives. Even slight adjustments to these thresholds can change the rate of true positive detection. Using conservative thresholds for missing data and minor allele frequency substantially reduces the size of the data set, lessening the power to detect adaptive variants (i.e., simulated true positives) with strong and weak strengths of selection. Regardless, strength of selection was a good predictor for GEA detection, but even some SNPs under strong selection went undetected. False positive rates varied depending on the species and GEA method, and filtering significantly impacted the predictions of adaptive capacity in downstream analyses. We make several recommendations regarding filtering for GEA methods. Ultimately, there is no filtering panacea, but some choices are better than others, depending on the study system, availability of genomic resources, and desired objectives.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1755-0998.13351DOI Listing
July 2021

As old as the hills: Pliocene palaeogeographical processes influence patterns of genetic structure in the widespread, common shrub .

Ecol Evol 2021 Jan 28;11(2):1069-1082. Epub 2020 Dec 28.

Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions Biodiversity and Conservation Science Bentley WA Australia.

The impact of Quaternary glaciation on the development of phylogeographic structure in plant species is well documented. In unglaciated landscapes, phylogeographic patterns tend to reflect processes relating to persistence and stochasticity, yet other factors, associated with the palaeogeographical history of the landscape, including geomorphological events, can also have a significant influence. The unglaciated landscape of south-western Western Australia is an ideal location to observe these ancient drivers of lineage diversification, with tectonic activity associated with the Darling Fault in the late Pliocene attributed to patterns of deep phylogeographic divergence in a widespread tree from this region. Interestingly, other species within this region have not shown this pattern and this palaeogeographical boundary therefore presents an opportunity to examine age and historical distribution of plant species endemic to this region. In this study, we assess patterns of genetic diversity and structure across 28 populations of the widespread shrub using three cpDNA markers and nine nuclear microsatellite markers. Sixteen cpDNA haplotypes were identified, comprising two major chloroplast DNA lineages that are estimated to have diverged in the Pliocene, approximately 3.3 million years ago. This timing coincides with major geomorphological processes in the landscape, including the separation of the Darling Plateau from the adjacent Swan Coastal Plain, as well as eustatic changes on the Swan Coastal Plain that are likely to have resulted in the physical isolation of historical plant lineages. Chloroplast lineages were broadly aligned with populations associated with older lateritic soils of the Darling Plateau and Geraldton sandplains or the younger sandy soils associated with the Swan Coastal Plain and Southern Coastline. This structural pattern of lateritic versus non-lateritic division was not observed in the nuclear microsatellite data that identified three genetic clades that roughly corresponded to populations in the North, South, and Central portions of the distributions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7127DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7820165PMC
January 2021

Characteristics and Outcomes of Lung Cancer Screening Among Individuals With or Without Cancer History.

Clin Lung Cancer 2020 Dec 19. Epub 2020 Dec 19.

Department of Thoracic Oncology, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, FL. Electronic address:

Background: Lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) can reduce mortality from lung cancer. Individuals with previous malignancy are at an increased risk of lung cancer but are often underrepresented in clinical trials. This study compares the outcomes of LDCT screening among individuals with and without cancer history.

Materials And Methods: The study cohort included consecutive participants undergoing LDCT screening at a tertiary care cancer institution. Abnormal screening result was defined as having Lung-RADS 3 or 4 at baseline (T0). Participant information was prospectively collected and predicted risk of lung cancer was calculated per the PLCOm2012 model.

Results: A total of 454 participants underwent LDCT screening. Abnormal screening result occurred in 57 (13.2%) participants at T0, and lung cancer was diagnosed in 11 (2.4%) participants. Among 153 individuals with cancer history, abnormal result occurred in 9.8%, compared with 15.4% among those without cancer history (P = .11). Lung cancer was diagnosed in 1.3%, compared with 3.5% (P = .22). The predicted risk of lung cancer at 6 years was higher among individuals with cancer history than those without: 4.8% versus 2.2% (P < .001). In a multivariable analysis, cancer history significantly reduced the likelihood of abnormal screening (odds ratio, 0.49; 95% confidence interval, 0.26-0.94; P = .03). We observed a higher proportion of participants who had a previous CT scan available for comparison at T0 among individuals with cancer history than those without: 43.1% versus 9.1% (P < .001).

Conclusions: In this single-institutional study, individuals with cancer history were significantly less likely to have abnormal screening results than those without cancer history.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cllc.2020.12.006DOI Listing
December 2020

Gender disparities in lung cancer survival from an enriched Florida population-based cancer registry.

Ann Med Surg (Lond) 2020 Dec 1;60:680-685. Epub 2020 Dec 1.

Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, 1120, NW 14Street, Don Soffer Clinical Research Center, Miami, FL, 33136, USA.

Background: Previous studies have revealed gender disparities in lung cancer survivorship, but comprehensive inclusion of clinical/individual variables which affect outcomes is underreported. We utilized the Florida Data Cancer System (FCDS) to examine associations between gender and lung cancer survivorship while controlling for prognostic variables on a large population-based scale.

Methods: A retrospective cohort analysis utilizing the FCDS, linked to Florida Agency for Health Care Administration and US Census Bureau tracts for patients diagnosed with primary lung cancer (n = 165,465) from 1996 to 2007. Primary outcome measures included median survival time and mortality. Multivariable Cox regression models, independent sample T-tests, and descriptive statistics were utilized with significance defined as p < 0.05.

Results: 165,465 cases were analyzed revealing 44.3% females and 55.7% males. The majority of patients were white/Caucasian, males, middle-high socioeconomic status, lived in urban areas, and geriatric age. Females had longer median survival compared to males (9.6 vs 7.1 months). Multivariable analyses showed that women had better survival after controlling for sociodemographic, clinical, and comorbidity covariates. Males had higher risk of mortality than females (aHR = 1.17, 95%CI 1.14-1.19,  < 0.01).

Conclusions: Individuals of higher socioeconomic status experienced greater survivorship compared to those of lower socioeconomic status. Women experienced significantly better survival for lung cancer at multiple time frames after controlling for covariates compared to men. Interventions aimed at public education and access to high-quality healthcare are needed to ameliorate socioeconomic and gender-based disparities in lung cancer survivorship. Future studies should investigate gender differences in lung cancer while incorporating individual socioeconomic status and treatment received.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amsu.2020.11.081DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7723764PMC
December 2020

Comparing Methods of Recruiting Spanish-Preferring Smokers in the United States: Findings from a Randomized Controlled Trial.

J Med Internet Res 2020 08 14;22(8):e19389. Epub 2020 Aug 14.

Tobacco Research & Intervention Program, Department of Health Outcomes & Behavior, Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, Tampa, FL, United States.

Background: There is a pressing need to address the unacceptable disparities and underrepresentation of racial and ethnic minority groups, including Hispanics or Latinxs, in smoking cessation trials.

Objective: Given the lack of research on recruitment strategies for this population, this study aims to assess effective recruitment methods based on enrollment and cost.

Methods: Recruitment and enrollment data were collected from a nationwide randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a Spanish-language smoking cessation intervention (N=1417). The effectiveness of each recruitment strategy was evaluated by computing the cost per participant (CPP), which is the ratio of direct cost over the number enrolled. More effective strategies yielded lower CPPs. Demographic and smoking-related characteristics of participants recruited via the two most effective strategies were also compared (n=1307).

Results: Facebook was the most effective method (CPP=US $74.12), followed by TV advertisements (CPP=US $191.31), whereas public bus interior card advertising was the least effective method (CPP=US $642.50). Participants recruited via Facebook had lower average age (P=.008) and had spent fewer years in the United States (P<.001). Among the participants recruited via Facebook, a greater percentage of individuals had at least a high school education (P<.001) and an annual income above US $10,000 (P<.001). In addition, a greater percentage of individuals were employed (P<.001) and foreign born (P=.003). In terms of subethnicity, among the subjects recruited via Facebook, a lower percentage of individuals were of Mexican origin (P<.001) and a greater percentage of individuals were of Central American (P=.02), South American (P=.01), and Cuban (P<.001) origin.

Conclusions: Facebook was the most effective method for recruiting Hispanic or Latinx smokers in the United States for this RCT. However, using multiple methods was necessary to recruit a more diverse sample of Spanish-preferring Hispanic or Latinx smokers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/19389DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7455877PMC
August 2020

Extensive Genetic Connectivity and Historical Persistence Are Features of Two Widespread Tree Species in the Ancient Pilbara Region of Western Australia.

Genes (Basel) 2020 07 29;11(8). Epub 2020 Jul 29.

Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Biodiversity and Conservation Science, Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre, Perth, WA 6983, Australia.

Phylogeographic studies can be used as a tool to understand the evolutionary history of a landscape, including the major drivers of species distributions and diversity. Extensive research has been conducted on phylogeographic patterns of species found in northern hemisphere landscapes that were affected by glaciations, yet the body of literature for older, unaffected landscapes is still underrepresented. The Pilbara region of north-western Australia is an ancient and vast landscape that is topographically complex, consisting of plateaus, gorges, valleys, and ranges, and experiences extreme meteorological phenomena including seasonal cyclonic activity. These features are expected to influence patterns of genetic structuring throughout the landscape either by promoting or restricting the movement of pollen and seed. Whilst a growing body of literature exists for the fauna endemic to this region, less is known about the forces shaping the evolution of plant taxa. In this study we investigate the phylogeography of two iconic Pilbara tree species, the Hamersley Bloodwood () and Western Gidgee (), by assessing patterns of variation and structure in several chloroplast DNA regions and nuclear microsatellite loci developed for each species. Gene flow was found to be extensive in both taxa and there was evidence of long-distance seed dispersal across the region (pollen to seed ratios of 6.67 and 2.96 for and , respectively), which may result from flooding and strong wind gusts associated with extreme cyclonic activity. Both species possessed high levels of cpDNA genetic diversity in comparison to those from formerly glaciated landscapes ( = 14 haplotypes, = 37 haplotypes) and showed evidence of deep lineage diversification occurring from the late Miocene, a time of intensifying aridity in this landscape that appears to be a critical driver of evolution in Pilbara taxa. In contrast to another study, we did not find evidence for topographic features acting as refugia for the widely sampled .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/genes11080863DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7465080PMC
July 2020

Improving knowledge and decision readiness to participate in cancer clinical trials: Effects of a plain language decision aid for minority cancer survivors.

Patient Educ Couns 2021 02 7;104(2):422-426. Epub 2020 Jul 7.

Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa FL 33612, United States. Electronic address:

Objective: To evaluate the impact of a web-based, plain language decision aid (CHOICES DA) on minority cancer survivors' knowledge of cancer clinical trials (CCTs), readiness for making decisions about clinical trial participation, and willingness to participate in a clinical trial.

Methods: Participants were 64 Black and Hispanic cancer survivors from Miami, Florida. In a single arm intervention study, participants completed self-report assessments of CCT knowledge, decision readiness regarding clinical trial participation, and willingness to participate at three time points.

Results: Black and Hispanic participants did not differ on demographic characteristics. Post-test and follow-up measures of CCT knowledge and decision readiness were significantly greater than pre-test measures for the sample overall, and for Black and Hispanic participants separately. Few significant differences were observed between Black and Hispanic participant outcomes at each survey time point, and willingness to participate did not change overall and for either group independently.

Conclusions: Reviewing the CHOICES DA was associated with significantly improved knowledge and decision readiness to participate in a CCT immediately and at 2-week follow-up.

Practical Implications: These findings suggest that CHOICES DA may support informed decision making about CCT participation within an acute, yet clinically relevant window of time for minority cancer patients who are substantially under-represented in cancer research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2020.07.005DOI Listing
February 2021

Contrasting patterns of local adaptation along climatic gradients between a sympatric parasitic and autotrophic tree species.

Mol Ecol 2020 08 24;29(16):3022-3037. Epub 2020 Jul 24.

ARC Centre for Mine Site Restoration, School of Molecular and Life Sciences, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.

Sympatric tree species are subject to similar climatic drivers, posing a question as to whether they display comparable adaptive responses. However, no study has explicitly examined local adaptation of co-occurring parasitic and autotrophic plant species to the abiotic environment. Here we test the hypotheses that a generalist parasitic tree would display a weaker signal of selection and that genomic variation would associate with fewer climatic variables (particularly precipitation) but have similar spatial patterns to a sympatric autotrophic tree species. To test these hypotheses, we collected samples from 17 sites across the range of two tree species, the hemiparasite Nuytsia floribunda (n = 264) and sympatric autotroph Melaleuca rhaphiophylla (n = 272). We obtained 5,531 high-quality genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for M. rhaphiophylla and 6,727 SNPs for N. floribunda using DArTseq genome scan technology. Population differentiation and environmental association approaches were used to identify signals of selection. Generalized dissimilarly modelling was used to detect climatic and spatial patterns of local adaptation across climatic gradients. Overall, 322 SNPs were identified as putatively adaptive for the autotroph, while only 57 SNPs were identified for the parasitic species. We found genomic variation to associate with different sets of bioclimatic variables for each species, with precipitation relatively less important for the parasite. Spatial patterns of predicted adaptive variability were different and indicate that co-occurring species with disparate life history traits may not respond equally to selective pressures (i.e., temperature and precipitation). Together, these findings provide insight into local adaptation of sympatric parasitic and autotrophic tree species to abiotic environments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mec.15537DOI Listing
August 2020

Development and optimisation of molecular assays for microsatellite genotyping and molecular sexing of non-invasive samples of the ghost bat, Macroderma gigas.

Mol Biol Rep 2020 Jul 23;47(7):5635-5641. Epub 2020 Jun 23.

Biodiversity and Conservation Science, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, 17 Dick Perry Avenue, Kensington, WA, 6151, Australia.

The ghost bat (Macroderma gigas) is endemic to Australia but is under threat, with scarce information available on the genetic health of remaining populations. Here, we develop molecular assays for microsatellite genotyping and molecular sexing of non-invasive samples as a genetic monitoring tool to identify individuals, measure genetic diversity and investigate spatial and temporal patterns of habitat use by ghost bats. We identified novel microsatellites through high-throughput sequencing on the Illumina MiSeq platform. Of 48 loci tested, six markers were added to five previously developed microsatellite loci. We developed three Y-linked (DDX3Y, Zfy and SRY) and one X-linked markers (Zfx) to enable molecular identification of sex. To assess performance, all 11 microsatellite and four sex-linked markers were amplified in three multiplex reactions in 160 M. gigas faecal samples from the Pilbara region, Western Australia. The combined markers offered a high level of individual discrimination (P = 0.00002) and we detected 19 bats in total (11 males, 4 females and 4 sex undetermined). The number of alleles per locus ranged from 5 to 14 and the average observed and expected heterozygosity across loci were H = 0.735 (0.58-0.91) and uH = 0.785 (0.59-0.89) respectively. Our molecular assays allowed identification of individuals from faecal samples at multiple time points and spatial locations and enabled us to elucidate patterns of habitat usage at the study site. This study highlights the value of our molecular assays as a potential capture-mark-recapture technique for population monitoring for this species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11033-020-05544-xDOI Listing
July 2020

Tailored Messages About Research Participation: Using an Interactive Information Aid to Improve Study Recruitment.

J Cancer Educ 2020 Jun 13. Epub 2020 Jun 13.

Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL, USA.

After a diagnosis of cancer (or other serious disease), patients may be asked to consider joining a clinical trial. Because most people are unfamiliar with the scientific concepts that are necessary to the provision of meaningful informed consent, patient education is necessary. Increasing knowledge alone is not sufficient; understanding how clinical trial participation aligns with personal circumstances and knowledge is central to the decision-making process. In this study, 302 cancer patients and survivors evaluated an interactive information aid (IA) designed to inform their decision to join a research study or clinical trial by providing tailored information to patients' responses to questions pertaining to seven key barriers or facilitators of clinical trial participation. The development of the IA was done with input from the authors' Clinical Translational Science Institute; linked components of the IA were vetted by members and leaders of the institution's NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center. Results of the study indicated that the information aid was successful in significantly reducing fears and increasing knowledge, attitudes, perceived behavioral control, and behavioral intentions about research participation relative to a control condition. Thus, an interactive information aid that provides information that is responsive to patients' values, knowledge, and personal circumstances can help patients to be better prepared to consider a decision about research participation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13187-020-01775-5DOI Listing
June 2020

What Motivates You to Share? The Effect of Interactive Tailored Information Aids on Information Sharing about Clinical Trials.

Health Commun 2020 Apr 28:1-9. Epub 2020 Apr 28.

Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior, Moffitt Cancer Center.

Cancer patients learn about research studies outside of the clinical environment, including websites, print and online advertisements, and interpersonal interactions. When cancer patients share credible information about clinical trials, they also frequently help clarify misunderstandings that may exist in their social networks. The present study investigated how an interactive tailored information aid on clinical trial participation motivated patients' information sharing behaviors. In this study of 312 cancer patients and survivors, an interactive tailored information aid improved patients' likelihood of sharing online and offline information more than a non-interactive tool. Information sharing was directly predicted by cognitive absorption and perceived visual informativeness. In addition, perceived utility and ease of use indirectly impact information sharing positively through the antecedent factors of user engagement and design esthetics. Education level further moderated this effect; information sharing was higher among patients with more education. The implications of these findings are discussed and recommendations for future research are provided.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2020.1754588DOI Listing
April 2020

Pollen adaptation to ant pollination: a case study from the Proteaceae.

Ann Bot 2020 08;126(3):377-386

Centre for Ecosystem Management, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, WA, Australia.

Background And Aims: Ant-plant associations are widely diverse and distributed throughout the world, leading to antagonistic and/or mutualistic interactions. Ant pollination is a rare mutualistic association and reports of ants as effective pollinators are limited to a few studies. Conospermum (Proteaceae) is an insect-pollinated genus well represented in the south-western Australia biodiversity hotspot, and here we aimed to evaluate the role of ants as pollinators of C. undulatum.

Methods: Pollen germination after contact with several species of ants and bees was tested for C. undulatum and five co-flowering species for comparison. We then sampled the pollen load of floral visitors of C. undulatum to assess whether ants carried a pollen load sufficient to enable pollination. Lastly, we performed exclusion treatments to assess the relative effect of flying- and non-flying-invertebrate floral visitors on the reproduction of C. undulatum. For this, we measured the seed set under different conditions: ants exclusion, flying-insects exclusion and control.

Key Results: Pollen of C. undulatum, along with the other Conospermum species, had a germination rate after contact with ants of ~80 % which did not differ from the effect of bees; in contrast, the other plant species tested showed a drop in the germination rate to ~10 % following ant treatments. Although ants were generalist visitors, they carried a pollen load with 68-86 % of suitable grains. Moreover, ants significantly contributed to the seed set of C. undulatum.

Conclusions: Our study highlights the complexity of ant-flower interactions and suggests that generalizations neglecting the importance of ants as pollinators cannot be made. Conospermum undulatum has evolved pollen with resistance to the negative effect of ant secretions on pollen grains, with ants providing effective pollination services to this threatened species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcaa058DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7424750PMC
August 2020

Plant functional traits differ in adaptability and are predicted to be differentially affected by climate change.

Ecol Evol 2020 Jan 28;10(1):232-248. Epub 2019 Nov 28.

Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment Western Sydney University Penrith NSW Australia.

Climate change is testing the resilience of forests worldwide pushing physiological tolerance to climatic extremes. Plant functional traits have been shown to be adapted to climate and have evolved patterns of trait correlations (similar patterns of distribution) and coordinations (mechanistic trade-off). We predicted that traits would differentiate between populations associated with climatic gradients, suggestive of adaptive variation, and correlated traits would adapt to future climate scenarios in similar ways.We measured genetically determined trait variation and described patterns of correlation for seven traits: photochemical reflectance index (PRI), normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), leaf size (LS), specific leaf area (SLA), δC (integrated water-use efficiency, WUE), nitrogen concentration (N), and wood density (WD). All measures were conducted in an experimental plantation on 960 trees sourced from 12 populations of a key forest canopy species in southwestern Australia.Significant differences were found between populations for all traits. Narrow-sense heritability was significant for five traits (0.15-0.21), indicating that natural selection can drive differentiation; however, SLA (0.08) and PRI (0.11) were not significantly heritable. Generalized additive models predicted trait values across the landscape for current and future climatic conditions (>90% variance). The percent change differed markedly among traits between current and future predictions (differing as little as 1.5% (δC) or as much as 30% (PRI)). Some trait correlations were predicted to break down in the future (SLA:N, δC:PRI, and N:WD).Synthesis: Our results suggest that traits have contrasting genotypic patterns and will be subjected to different climate selection pressures, which may lower the working optimum for functional traits. Further, traits are independently associated with different climate factors, indicating that some trait correlations may be disrupted in the future. Genetic constraints and trait correlations may limit the ability for functional traits to adapt to climate change.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5890DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6972804PMC
January 2020

Brief Education and a Conjoint Valuation Survey May Reduce Decisional Conflict Regarding Lung Cancer Screening.

MDM Policy Pract 2020 Jan-Jun;5(1):2381468319891452. Epub 2020 Jan 10.

Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida.

Recent data and policy decisions have led to the availability of lung cancer screening (LCS) for individuals who are at increased risk of developing lung cancer. In establishing implementation policies, the US Preventive Services Task Force recommended and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services required that individuals who meet eligibility criteria for LCS receive a patient counseling and shared decision-making consultation prior to LCS. This study evaluated the potential of a values clarification/preference elicitation exercise and brief educational intervention to reduce decisional conflict regarding LCS. Participants ( = 210) completing a larger online survey responded to a measure of decisional conflict prior to and following administration of a conjoint survey and brief educational narrative about LCS. The conjoint survey included 22 choice sets (two of which were holdout cards), incorporating 5 attributes with 17 levels. Results pertaining to changes in decisional conflict showed that participants reported statistically significantly and clinically meaningful reductions in decisional conflict following administration of the brief educational narrative and conjoint survey across the total score (Δ = 29.30; = 1.09) and all four decisional conflict subscales: Uncertainty (Δ = 27.75; = 0.73), Informed (Δ = 35.32; = 1.11), Values Clarity (Δ = 31.82; = 0.85), and Support (Δ = 18.78; = 0.66). While the study design precludes differentiating the effects of the brief educational narrative and the conjoint survey, data suggest that these tools offer a reasonable approach to clarifying personal beliefs and perspectives regarding LCS participation. Given the complicated nature of LCS decisions and recent policies advocating informed and shared decision-making approaches, conjoint surveys should be evaluated as one of the tools that could help individuals make choices about LCS participation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2381468319891452DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6956606PMC
January 2020

Quantitative 3-dimensional Geometry of the Aging Eyelids.

Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open 2019 Nov 12;7(11):e2512. Epub 2019 Nov 12.

Division of Plastic Surgery, Mount Auburn Hospital, Cambridge, Mass.

Although facial aging is a well-known phenomenon, it has not been comprehensively characterized in 3 dimensions. This study introduces a novel technique for capturing periorbital structures across age groups using 3-dimensional (3D) imaging and point cloud data collection.

Methods: Forty-six white women were divided into 3 age groups: 20-39 years, 40-59 years, and 60+ years. Patients were scanned with the Canfield 3D photogrammetry system, and data files were exported to the point cloud processing software CloudCompare. Manually selected points specifying eyelid margins, creases, and 5 key periorbital features provided the basis for a fitted model and principal component analysis (PCA). Potential statistical significance across age groups was assessed for PCA values corresponding to each subject's eyelid geometry.

Results: Three tendencies emerged with respect to increasing age and eyelid anatomy: the width and height of the palpebral fissure decreases, with the width decreasing more rapidly; the depth of the lateral canthus relative to the medial canthus decreases; and the superior crease becomes more variable. Analyses of variance of PCA values across age groups show statistically significant differences between the youngest and oldest groups.

Conclusions: Three-dimensional photogrammetry enables rigorous and reliable evaluation of the aging eyelid. Results suggest age-induced changes to eyelid margin, crease, and lateral canthus positions, which have been noted anecdotally but poorly quantified until now.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/GOX.0000000000002512DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6908328PMC
November 2019

Large scale genome skimming from herbarium material for accurate plant identification and phylogenomics.

Plant Methods 2020 4;16. Epub 2020 Jan 4.

4Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009 Australia.

Background: Herbaria are valuable sources of extensive curated plant material that are now accessible to genetic studies because of advances in high-throughput, next-generation sequencing methods. As an applied assessment of large-scale recovery of plastid and ribosomal genome sequences from herbarium material for plant identification and phylogenomics, we sequenced 672 samples covering 21 families, 142 genera and 530 named and proposed named species. We explored the impact of parameters such as sample age, DNA concentration and quality, read depth and fragment length on plastid assembly error. We also tested the efficacy of DNA sequence information for identifying plant samples using 45 specimens recently collected in the Pilbara.

Results: Genome skimming was effective at producing genomic information at large scale. Substantial sequence information on the chloroplast genome was obtained from 96.1% of samples, and complete or near-complete sequences of the nuclear ribosomal RNA gene repeat were obtained from 93.3% of samples. We were able to extract sequences for the core DNA barcode regions and from 96 to 93.3% of samples, respectively. Read quality and DNA fragment length had significant effects on sequencing outcomes and error correction of reads proved essential. Assembly problems were specific to certain taxa with low GC and high repeat content (, , , , ) suggesting biological rather than technical explanations. The structure of related genomes was needed to guide the assembly of repeats that exceeded the read length. DNA-based matching proved highly effective and showed that the efficacy for species identification declined in the order cpDNA > rDNA >  > 

Conclusions: We showed that a large-scale approach to genome sequencing using herbarium specimens produces high-quality complete cpDNA and rDNA sequences as a source of data for DNA barcoding and phylogenomics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13007-019-0534-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6942304PMC
January 2020

Ready to Make A Decision: A Model of Informational Aids to Improve Informed Participation in Clinical Trial Research.

J Health Commun 2019 30;24(12):865-877. Epub 2019 Oct 30.

Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL, USA.

Enrollment rates for cancer clinical trials remain low, affecting the generalizability of new treatments. Research shows that many patients face significant challenges in understanding basic clinical trial vocabulary and making informed decisions about participation. Informational aids (IA) are developed to address these challenges and support decision making of cancer clinical trial participation. The present study proposed and tested a structural path model to explain the efficacy of three (i.e., interactive, non-interactive, non-cancer control) IAs. The results revealed that clinical trial participation intention was associated with attitudes and social constructs (i.e., social norm, social sharing, and cues to action). Ease of use, rather than knowledge, was the primary communication feature of IA that influenced the outcome variables. The path relations linking messages features, mediators, and outcome variables were different across all three IAs. The results therefore provide theoretical and practical implications for the use and development of IAs to support clinical trial accrual.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10810730.2019.1680773DOI Listing
September 2020

Population Genomics of : Admixing Increases Genetic Diversity with no Evidence of Outbreeding Depression.

Genes (Basel) 2019 10 28;10(11). Epub 2019 Oct 28.

School of Biological Sciences, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia.

Small and isolated populations are subject to the loss of genetic variation as a consequence of inbreeding and genetic drift, which in turn, can affect the fitness and long-term viability of populations. Translocations can be used as an effective conservation tool to combat this loss of genetic diversity through establishing new populations of threatened species, and to increase total population size. Releasing animals from multiple genetically diverged sources is one method to optimize genetic diversity in translocated populations. However, admixture as a conservation tool is rarely utilized due to the risks of outbreeding depression. Using high-resolution genomic markers through double-digest restriction site-associated sequencing (ddRAD-seq) and life history data collected over nine years of monitoring, this study investigates the genetic and fitness consequences of admixing two genetically-distinct subspecies of in a conservation translocation. Using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) identified from 215 individuals from multiple generations, we found an almost 2-fold increase in genetic diversity in the admixed translocation population compared to the founder populations, and this was maintained over time. Furthermore, hybrid class did not significantly impact on survivorship or the recruitment rate and therefore we found no indication of outbreeding depression. This study demonstrates the beneficial application of mixing multiple source populations in the conservation of threatened species for minimizing inbreeding and enhancing adaptive potential and overall fitness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/genes10110851DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6896034PMC
October 2019

Floral display and habitat fragmentation: Effects on the reproductive success of the threatened mass-flowering (Proteaceae).

Ecol Evol 2019 Oct 26;9(19):11494-11503. Epub 2019 Sep 26.

Centre for Ecosystem Management Edith Cowan University Joondalup WA Australia.

Fragmentation of natural vegetation is currently one of the largest threats to plant populations and their interactions with pollinators. Plant reproductive susceptibility to habitat fragmentation has been investigated in many species; however, the response of wild mass-flowering species is poorly known, with research limited to mainly boreal plant species.Here, we studied twelve remnant populations of the threatened mass-flowering shrub in the southwest Australian biodiversity hotspot, each presenting different population size, level of isolation, and floral display. We assessed the impact of fragmentation on (a) fruit and seed production; and (b) seed germination. To gain a deeper understanding of factors influencing the reproductive success of , we performed pollinator exclusion and self-pollination treatments to experimentally assess the mating system of this threatened shrub.We found to be strictly self-incompatible and totally reliant on pollinators visiting with an outcrossed pollen load to complete the reproductive cycle. Further, we found that fruit production dropped from 35% to <20% as a result of decreasing floral display. A reduction in population size from 880 to 5 plants and from ~700 to 0.21 in the floral display index led to a decrease in seed output, while a similar reduction in seed output, from 6% to 3%, was observed as a result of increasing isolation index from -21.41 to -0.04. Overall, seed germination was positively related to population size, and a negative relationship was found between germination and isolation. . Our results demonstrate the important relationship between pollinators and floral morphology in plants of southwest Australia that have coevolved with native pollinators and developed characteristic flower morphologies over long time frames. Indeed, due to its characteristic pollination mechanism, the self-incompatible can only rely on specialized native pollinators for pollen flow and cannot rely on its mass-flowering trait to attract generalist pollinators from coflowering species; neither can it compensate for the lack of visitors by promoting geitonogamy. Consequently, fragmentation has a significant effect on the reproductive output of , and size, isolation, and floral display of populations are important factors to be considered when planning conservation actions for the species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5653DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6802041PMC
October 2019

A randomized controlled trial of a smoking cessation self-help intervention for Spanish-speaking Hispanic/Latinx smokers: Study design and baseline characteristics.

Contemp Clin Trials 2019 10 29;85:105836. Epub 2019 Aug 29.

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL, USA; University of South Florida, USA. Electronic address:

Although the current smoking prevalence among Hispanics/Latinxs (10%) is lower than in non-Hispanic whites (15%), higher prevalence is observed among certain subgroups (e.g., Puerto Rican males, 19%). Hispanic/Latinx smokers face unique challenges such as lower awareness and acceptability of nicotine replacement aids, lower prevalence of using counseling or medication, and receiving less advice to quit by their health care providers. Despite these barriers to smoking cessation, few interventions specifically targeted to Hispanic/Latinx smokers have been developed and evaluated. This paper summarizes the design, methods, analysis plan, and sample baseline characteristics of an ongoing randomized controlled trial to assess the efficacy of a Spanish-language self-help smoking cessation intervention among Hispanics/Latinxs. Current smokers who prefer health education materials in Spanish were randomized to one of two conditions. The usual care group received a standard smoking cessation booklet developed by the National Cancer Institute. The intervention group received 10 booklets, 9 pamphlets and a booklet for family and friends mailed monthly over 18 months. All participants complete self-report surveys every 6 months over 2 years. Smoking abstinence is biochemically verified at 12- and 24-month follow-up. A total of 2387 smokers were screened, 2056 were eligible and 1417 were enrolled in the study. The primary outcome is self-reported 7-day point prevalence abstinence. If the intervention is deemed efficacious, it has potential to have a large public health impact with respect to reducing smoking rates and smoking related morbidity and mortality among a large underserved minority population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cct.2019.105836DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6815731PMC
October 2019

Isolation, characterization, and cross-amplification of 20 microsatellite markers for (Proteaceae).

Appl Plant Sci 2019 Aug 9;7(8):e11283. Epub 2019 Aug 9.

Biodiversity and Conservation Science Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions Bentley Delivery Centre Locked Bag 104 Bentley Western Australia 6983 Australia.

Premise: Recent habitat fragmentation is posing a risk to the wavy-leaved smokebush, (Proteaceae), a rare plant species endemic to southwestern Western Australia. Microsatellite markers are required to characterize the genetic diversity and structure of the species for conservation purposes and to facilitate ecological studies.

Methods And Results: Illumina MiSeq high-throughput sequencing was used to develop 20 novel microsatellite markers for . Polymorphism at each locus was assessed using 72 individuals from three natural populations. Nineteen markers were polymorphic, with the number of alleles per locus ranging from two to 21, and observed and expected heterozygosity ranging from 0.000 to 1.000 and 0.117 to 0.919, respectively. All markers successfully amplified in three congeneric species (, and ).

Conclusions: The microsatellite markers will be useful for revealing patterns of genetic diversity, dispersal dynamics, and hybridization events for to inform future conservation efforts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/aps3.11283DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6711349PMC
August 2019

Individual decision making about lung cancer screening: A conjoint analysis of perspectives among a high-risk national sample.

Cancer Med 2019 09 6;8(12):5779-5786. Epub 2019 Aug 6.

Department of Behavioral Science, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky.

Objectives: Lung cancer screening (LCS) is effective in reducing lung cancer mortality, but there is limited information available regarding preferences among high-risk individuals concerning LCS. In this study, we use a conjoint valuation analysis (CVA) to better understand which LCS attributes most affect LCS preferences.

Materials And Methods: We implemented a web-based nationally representative survey that included a full-profile CVA exercise. Participants were over the age of 45, had at least a 20 pack-year smoking history, and no history of lung cancer. The CVA instrument included five LCS attributes, and additional survey items collected demographic and psychosocial information.

Results: Participants (n = 210) had a mean age of 61 (SD 8.5) years, approximately half were female (51.9%), and were racially/ethnically diverse. Average relative importance of the LCS program attributes was (from high to low): out of pocket costs (27.3 ± 17.7); provider recommendation (24.8 ± 13.4); mortality reduction (17.2 ± 8.9); false-positive rate (15.8 ± 10.4); and ease of access (14.8 ± 7.3). There was large variation among individuals, but few significant associations of propensity to screen with individual demographic characteristics. Average screening propensity across individuals (1-9 scale) was 3.63 ± 1.6, and average rates of individual scenarios ranged from 2.60 ± 2.00 to 5.57 ± 2.13, indicating low inclination for screening.

Conclusions: We found that overall propensity for screening is low in a high-risk population, and that out of pocket costs were of greater importance to potential screeners than mortality reduction or false-positive rates. Thus, individuals considering or eligible for LCS need additional education and support regarding the LCS landscape in order to achieve informed decision making.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.2445DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6745859PMC
September 2019

Gene Flow and Genetic Variation Explain Signatures of Selection across a Climate Gradient in Two Riparian Species.

Genes (Basel) 2019 07 31;10(8). Epub 2019 Jul 31.

Biodiversity and Conservation Science, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre, WA 6983, Australia.

Many species occur across environmental gradients and it is expected that these species will exhibit some signals of adaptation as heterogeneous environments and localized gene flow may facilitate local adaptation. While riparian zones can cross climate gradients, many of which are being impacted by climate change, they also create microclimates for the vegetation, reducing environmental heterogeneity. Species with differing distributions in these environments provide an opportunity to investigate the importance of genetic connectivity in influencing signals of adaptation over relatively short geographical distance. Association analysis with genomic data was used to compare signals of selection to climate variables in two species that have differing distributions along a river traversing a climate gradient. Results demonstrate links between connectivity, standing genetic variation, and the development of signals of selection. In the restricted species, the combination of high gene flow in the middle and lower catchment and occurrence in a microclimate created along riverbanks likely mitigated the development of selection to most climatic variables. In contrast the more widely distributed species with low gene flow showed a stronger signal of selection. Together these results strengthen our knowledge of the drivers and scale of adaptation and reinforce the importance of connectivity across a landscape to maintain adaptive potential of plant species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/genes10080579DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6723506PMC
July 2019

High species diversity and turnover in granite inselberg floras highlight the need for a conservation strategy protecting many outcrops.

Ecol Evol 2019 Jul 13;9(13):7660-7675. Epub 2019 Jun 13.

Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions Biodiversity and Conservation Science Kensington Western Australia Australia.

Determining patterns of plant diversity on granite inselbergs is an important task for conservation biogeography due to mounting threats. However, beyond the tropics there are relatively few quantitative studies of floristic diversity, or consideration of these patterns and their environmental, biogeographic, and historical correlates for conservation. We sought to contribute broader understanding of global patterns of species diversity on granite inselbergs and inform biodiversity conservation in the globally significant Southwest Australian Floristic Region (SWAFR). We surveyed floristics from 16 inselbergs (478 plots) across the climate gradient of the SWAFR stratified into three major habitats on each outcrop. We recorded 1,060 species from 92 families. At the plot level, local soil and topographic variables affecting aridity were correlated with species richness in herbaceous (HO) and woody vegetation (WO) of soil-filled depressions, but not in woody vegetation on deeper soils at the base of outcrops (WOB). At the outcrop level, bioclimatic variables affecting aridity were correlated with species richness in two habitats (WO and WOB) but, contrary to predictions from island biogeography, were not correlated with inselberg area and isolation in any of the three habitats. Species turnover in each of the three habitats was also influenced by aridity, being correlated with bioclimatic variables and with interplot geographic distance, and for HO and WO habitats with local site variables. At the outcrop level, species replacement was the dominant component of species turnover in each of the three habitats, consistent with expectations for long-term stable landscapes. Our results therefore highlight high species diversity and turnover associated with granite outcrop flora. Hence, effective conservation strategies will need to focus on protecting multiple inselbergs across the entire climate gradient of the region.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5318DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6635920PMC
July 2019

The potential of genomics for restoring ecosystems and biodiversity.

Nat Rev Genet 2019 10 12;20(10):615-628. Epub 2019 Jul 12.

College of Business, Institute on Ecosystems, University of Montana, Missoula, MT, USA.

Billions of hectares of natural ecosystems have been degraded through human actions. The global community has agreed on targets to halt and reverse these declines, and the restoration sector faces the important but arduous task of implementing programmes to meet these objectives. Existing and emerging genomics tools offer the potential to improve the odds of achieving these targets. These tools include population genomics that can improve seed sourcing, meta-omics that can improve assessment and monitoring of restoration outcomes, and genome editing that can generate novel genotypes for restoring challenging environments. We identify barriers to adopting these tools in a restoration context and emphasize that regulatory and ethical frameworks are required to guide their use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41576-019-0152-0DOI Listing
October 2019