Now showing items 1-20 of 6618

    • A nuclear phylogenomic study of the angiosperm order Myrtales, exploring the potential and limitations of the universal Angiosperms353 probe set

      Maurin, Olivier; Anest, Artemis; Bellot, Sidonie; Biffin, Edward; Brewer, Grace E.; Charles-Dominique, Tristan; Cowan, Robyn S.; Dodsworth, Steven; Epitawalage, Niroshini; Gallego, Berta; et al. (Wiley, 2021-07-31)
      To further advance the understanding of the species-rich, economically and ecologically important angiosperm order Myrtales in the rosid clade, comprising nine families, approximately 400 genera and almost 14,000 species occurring on all continents (except Antarctica), we tested the Angiosperms353 probe kit. We combined high-throughput sequencing and target enrichment with the Angiosperms353 probe kit to evaluate a sample of 485 species across 305 genera (76% of all genera in the order). Results provide the most comprehensive phylogenetic hypothesis for the order to date. Relationships at all ranks, such as the relationship of the early-diverging families, often reflect previous studies, but gene conflict is evident, and relationships previously found to be uncertain often remain so. Technical considerations for processing HTS data are also discussed. High-throughput sequencing and the Angiosperms353 probe kit are powerful tools for phylogenomic analysis, but better understanding of the genetic data available is required to identify genes and gene trees that account for likely incomplete lineage sorting and/or hybridization events.
    • Exploring Angiosperms353: an open, community toolkit for collaborative phylogenomic research on flowering plants

      Baker, William J.; Dodsworth, Steven; Forest, Felix; Graham, Sean W.; Johnson, Matthew G.; McDonnell, Angela J.; Pokorny, Lisa; Tate, Jennifer; Wicke, Susann; Wickett, Norman J.; et al. (Wiley, 2021-07-22)
      The unveiling of the angiosperm (flowering plant) tree of life over the past three decades has been one of the great success stories of modern plant biology. Flowering plants underpin most terrestrial biomes: they fix vast amounts of terrestrial carbon, in turn producing a substantial fraction of planetary oxygen, and drive major biogeochemical cycles. The bulk of human calories are derived either directly (crops) or indirectly (fodder) from angiosperms, as are many medicines, fuel, dyes, beverages, timber, fibers, and other materials. Countless indispensable and mundane items that impact human existence find their origins in flowering plants, and without them, life would be decidedly drearier—imagine a world without herbs, spices, or garden flowers, for example. In this context, the importance of a comprehensive understanding of the angiosperm tree of life cannot be overstated. The tree of life is the fundamental, biological roadmap to the evolution and properties of plants (e.g., Wong et al., 2020). For evolutionary biologists, phylogenies allow us to better understand the spectacular rise of the flowering plants to dominance over the past 140 million or so years (e.g., Lutzoni et al., 2018; Ramírez-Barahona et al., 2020). Information about angiosperm phylogenetic relationships also underpins modern angiosperm classification (e.g., APG IV, 2016), and helps us to better understand species origins and boundaries (e.g., Fazekas et al., 2009). Today, tree of life research is undergoing a renaissance due to the development of powerful, new phylogenomic methods (Dodsworth et al., 2019). In this special issue of the American Journal of Botany, together with a companion issue of Applications in Plant Sciences, we gather a set of papers that focus on a new, common phylogenomic toolkit, the Angiosperms353 probe set (Johnson et al., 2019), and illustrate its potential for evolutionary synthesis by promoting open collaboration across our community.
    • Exploring Angiosperms353: developing and applying a universal toolkit for flowering plant phylogenomics

      McDonnell, Angela J.; Baker, William J.; Dodsworth, Steven; Forest, Felix; Graham, Sean W.; Johnson, Matthew G.; Pokorny, Lisa; Tate, Jennifer; Wickett, Norman J.; Wicke, Susann; et al. (Wiley, 2021-07-26)
      Special Issue Introduction. Target enrichment represents a useful, cost-effective method for researchers working on the phylogenomics of non-model organisms (e.g., Cronn et al., 2012; Hale et al., 2020). The ability to sequence a customizable predefined genomic subset for several dozens or even hundreds of taxa allows in-depth analyses and the testing of phylogenetic hypotheses in ways that were not previously possible (reviewed in McKain et al., 2018). The most popular methods for targeted sequencing of genomic loci in phylogenomics include (long-)amplicon sequencing (Rothfels et al., 2017) and hybridization capture (Mandel et al., 2014; Weitemier et al., 2014). Targeted amplicon sequencing is based on single-fragment PCR amplification or by using multiplexing methods such as a microfluidic PCR-based amplification of multiple pre-selected genomic regions (e.g., Zhang and Ozdemir, 2009; Ho et al., 2014), which can then be pooled and sequenced. Massively parallel amplicon sequencing was first used in medical diagnostics (Turner et al., 2009) and was later applied to metazoan phylogenetics (Bybee et al., 2011; O’Neill et al., 2013). Microfluidic PCR and long-amplicon sequencing were subsequently applied in plant systematics (Uribe-Convers et al., 2014, 2016; Gostel et al., 2015). Amplicon-based methods can be time consuming as they require careful optimization and validation of primers. These methods are also susceptible to many of the common problems in PCR (such as nonspecific products, inability to amplify large loci in their entirety, or simply no products). Recently, amplicon approaches have been largely supplanted by hybridization-based targeted enrichment, which allows for relatively rapid probe design with reference to a few related transcriptomes or genomes, and allows simultaneous and efficient recovery of many hundreds of genes.
    • Safety knowledge sharing on Twitter: a social network analysis

      Yao, Qi; Li, Rita Yi Man; Song, Lingxi; Crabbe, M. James C.; Chongqing Technology and Business University; Hong Kong Shue Yan University; Rajamangala University of Technology Tawan-Ok; Oxford University; University of Bedfordshire (Elsevier, 2021-07-28)
      Many studies show that unsafe behavior is the main cause of construction accidents. Safety education and training are effective means to minimise people’s unsafe behaviors. Apart from traditional face-to-face construction knowledge sharing, social media is a good tool because it is convenient, efficient, and widely used. We applied both social network analysis and sentiment analysis to investigate knowledge sharing on Twitter. Our study is a novel attempt to understand social structure of “construction safety”- related twitter networks and the opinion leaders. We selected and analyzed 6561 tweets of three users’ networks on Twitter – “construction safety”, “construction health” and “construction accident”. We found that three networks had low density and many isolated vertices, which showed that users did not actively interact with each other. The opinion leaders in this study were mostly organizations or government agencies. The top one is “cif_ireland”, the Irish construction industry’s representative body, the Construction Industry Federation. 3200 Tweets of the top opinion leader were analyzed through graph metrics calculation, cluster analysis, sentiment analysis, and correlation analysis. The opinion leader used Twitter as a medium to disseminate the latest safety news. Thus, we may use Twitter to stimulate people’s interest on construction safety topics, share construction safety knowledge, opinions and ideas. Besides, our results showed that sentiment valence had no correlation with number of favorites or retweets. Nevertheless, there was a positive correlation between favorites and retweets.
    • Management of environmental streaming data to optimize Arctic shipping routes.

      Zhang, Zhihua; Crabbe, M. James C.; University of Bedfordshire; Shandong University (Springer Nature, 2021-07-20)
      Dynamic accurate predictions of Arctic sea ice, ocean, atmosphere, and ecosystem are necessary for safe and efficient Arctic maritime transportation; however a related technical roadmap has not yet been established. In this paper, we propose a management system for trans-Arctic maritime transportation supported by near real-time streaming data from air-space-ground-sea integrated monitoring networks and high spatio-temporal sea ice modeling. As the core algorithm of integrated monitoring networks, a long short-term memory (LSTM) neural network is embedded to improve Arctic sea ice mapping algorithms.Since the LSTM is localized in time and space, it can make full use of streaming data characteristics. The sea ice–related parameters from satellite remote sensing raw data are used as the input of the LSTM, while streaming data from shipborne radar networks and/or buoy measurements are used as training datasets to enhance the accuracy and resolution of environmental streaming data from outputs of LSTM. Due to large size of streaming data, the proposed management system of trans-Arctic shipping should be built on a cloud distribution platform using existing wireless communications networks among vessels and ports. Our management system will be used by the ongoing European Commission Horizon 2020 Programme “ePIcenter.”
    • Genomic analysis of field pennycress (Thlaspi arvense) provides insights into mechanisms of adaptation to high elevation

      Geng, Yu-peng; Guan, Yabin; Qiong, La; Lu, Shugang; An, Miao; Crabbe, M. James C.; Qi, Ji.; Zhao, Fangqing; Qiao, Qin; Zhang, Ti-Cao; et al. (Springer Nature, 2021-07-22)
      Background: Understanding how organisms evolve and adapt to extreme habitats is of crucial importance in evolutionary ecology. Altitude gradients are an important determinant of the distribution pattern and range of organisms due to distinct climate conditions at different altitudes. High-altitude regions often provide extreme environments including low temperature and oxygen concentration, poor soil, and strong levels of ultraviolet radiation, leading to very few plant species being able to populate elevation ranges greater than 4000 m. Field pennycress (Thlaspi arvense) is a valuable oilseed crop and emerging model plant distributed across an elevation range of nearly 4500 m. Here, we generate an improved genome assembly to understand how this species adapts to such different environments. Results: We sequenced and assembled de novo the chromosome-level pennycress genome of 527.3 Mb encoding 31,596 genes. Phylogenomic analyses based on 2495 single-copy genes revealed that pennycress is closely related to Eutrema salsugineum (estimated divergence 14.32–18.58 Mya), and both species form a sister clade to Schrenkiella parvula and genus Brassica. Field pennycress contains the highest percentage (70.19%) of transposable elements in all reported genomes of Brassicaceae, with the retrotransposon proliferation in the Middle Pleistocene being likely responsible for the expansion of genome size. Moreover, our analysis of 40 field pennycress samples in two highand two low-elevation populations detected 1,256,971 high-quality single nucleotide polymorphisms. Using three complementary selection tests, we detected 130 candidate naturally selected genes in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP) populations, some of which are involved in DNA repair and the ubiquitin system and potential candidates involved in high-altitude adaptation. Notably, we detected a single base mutation causing loss-of-function of the FLOWERING LOCUS C protein, responsible for the transition to early flowering in high-elevation populations. Conclusions: Our results provide a genome-wide perspective of how plants adapt to distinct environmental conditions across extreme elevation differences and the potential for further follow-up research with extensive data from additional populations and species.
    • Warm-up intensity does not affect the ergogenic effect of sodium bicarbonate in adult men

      Jones, Rebecca Louise; Stellingwerff, Trent; Artioli, Guilherme Giannini; Saunders, Bryan; Sale, Craig; Swinton, Paul; ; University of Bedfordshire; Canadian Sport Institute–Pacific; University of Victoria; et al. (Human Kinetics, 2021-07-07)
      This study determined the influence of a high (HI) vs. low-intensity (LI) cycling warm-up on blood acid-base responses and exercise capacity following ingestion of sodium bicarbonate (SB; 0.3 g·kg-1 body-mass (BM)) or a placebo (PLA; maltodextrin) 3-hours prior to warm-up. Twelve men (21±2 years, 79.2±3.6 kg BM, maximum power output (Wmax) 318±36 W) completed a familiarisation and four double-blind trials completed in a counterbalanced order: HI warm-up with SB (HISB); HI warm-up with PLA (HIPLA); LI warm-up with SB (LISB); and LI warm-up with PLA (LIPLA). LI warm-up was 15-minutes at 60%Wmax, while the HI warm-up (typical of elites) featured LI followed by 2 x 30-sec (3-minute break) at Wmax, finishing 30-minute prior to a cycling capacity test at 110%Wmax (CCT110%). Blood bicarbonate and lactate were measured throughout. SB supplementation increased blood bicarbonate (+6.4 [95%CI: 5.7 to 7.1 mmol·L-1]) prior to greater reductions with high intensity warm-up (-3.8 [95%CI: -5.8 to -1.8 mmol·L-1]). However, during the 30-minute recovery, blood bicarbonate rebounded and increased in all conditions, with concentrations ~5.3mmol·L-1 greater with SB supplementation (P<0.001). Blood bicarbonate significantly declined during the CCT110% with greater reductions following SB supplementation (-2.4 [95%CI: -3.8 to -0.90 mmol·L-1]). Aligned with these results, SB supplementation increased total work done during the CCT110% (+8.5 [95%CI: 3.6 to 13.4 kJ], ~19% increase) with no significant main effect of warm-up intensity (+0.0 [95%CI: -5.0 to 5.0 kJ). Collectively, the results demonstrate that SB supplementation can improve HI cycling capacity irrespective of prior warm-up intensity, likely due to blood alkalosis.
    • Unlink the link between COVID-19 and 5G Networks: an NLP and SNA based approach

      Bahja, Mohammed; Safdar, Ghazanfar Ali; University of Birmingham; University of Bedfordshire (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc., 2020-11-18)
      Social media facilitates rapid dissemination of information for both factual and fictional information. The spread of non-scientific information through social media platforms such as Twitter has potential to cause damaging consequences. Situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic provides a favourable environment for misinformation to thrive. The upcoming 5G technology is one of the recent victims of misinformation and fake news and has been plagued with misinformation about the effects of its radiation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, conspiracy theories linking the cause of the pandemic to 5G technology have resonated with a section of people leading to outcomes such as destructive attacks on 5G towers. The analysis of the social network data can help to understand the nature of the information being spread and identify the commonly occurring themes in the information. The natural language processing (NLP) and the statistical analysis of the social network data can empower policymakers to understand the misinformation being spread and develop targeted strategies to counter the misinformation. In this paper, NLP based analysis of tweets linking COVID-19 to 5G is presented. NLP models including Latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA), sentiment analysis (SA) and social network analysis (SNA) were applied for the analysis of the tweets and identification of topics. An understanding of the topic frequencies, the inter-relationships between topics and geographical occurrence of the tweets allows identifying agencies and patterns in the spread of misinformation and equips policymakers with knowledge to devise counter-strategies.
    • Detecting advance fee fraud using NLP bag of word model

      Hamisu, Muhammad; Mansour, Ali; University of Bedfordshire (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc., 2021-05-25)
      Advance Fee Fraud (AFF) is a form of Internet fraud prevalent within the Cybercrimes domain in literature. Evidence shows that huge financial assets are stolen from the global economy as a result of AFF. Consequently, this paper presents a fraudulent email classifier (FEC) that detects and classifies an email as fraudulent or non-fraudulent using Natural Language Process (NLP) model referred to as Bag-of-Words (BoW). The classifier is designed and trained to detect and classify AFF that originate from known sources using Nigeria as a Case study. Dataset is obtained and used for the training while testing the classifier logs. Experimentally, the classifier was trained using various machine learning algorithms with BoW generated as predictors. By selecting the best algorithms, the classifier was tested and found to perform satisfactorily.
    • Analysis of cybercrime in Nigeria

      Hamisu, Muhammad; Idris, Abubakar Muhammad; Mansour, Ali; Olalere, Morufu; University of Bedfordshire; Federal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc., 2021-05-25)
      Nigeria has both the largest economy and population in Africa, and this contribute to the growth and fast expansion of ICT and the use of Internet in Nigeria. Like other technologies, Internet has been used by both good and bad actors. The use of internet and computer to commit crime is costing global economy the loss of billions of dollars. In Nigeria, the majority of the population use the Internet for good but some few are using it to commit criminal activities such as Fraud. Cybercriminals in Nigeria, widely called Yahoo Boys in the country specialize in Internet fraud that target mostly International victims. The Nigeria government is stepping efforts to bring an end the activities of these criminals as their actions tarnishes the image of the country. While the efforts of the government had yielded some positive results, the threat of Cybercrime in Nigeria is still high, as criminals continue to take advantage of flaws in the law enforcement tactical approach in addressing the crime. This paper discusses an overview of Cybercrime in Nigeria, the common types of Cybercrime that is perpetuated from the country and the reason of doing so. It also discusses the government's success and areas of strength in its fight against Cybercrime and highlight the areas of weaknesses. Recommendations and suggestions are made on how law enforcement and the government at large can improve to tackle Cybercrime better in Nigeria.
    • Contraceptive choice and power amongst women receiving opioid replacement therapy: qualitative study

      Werthern, Helena; Alhusein, Nour; Chater, Angel M.; Scott, Jenny; Family, Hannah; Neale, Joanne; King’s College London; University of New South Wales; University of Bristol; University of Bedfordshire; et al. (Taylor & Francis, 2021-07-17)
      ABSTRACT Background: Women receiving treatment for opioid use disorder have low levels of contraception use and high rates of unintended pregnancies, abortion and children being adopted or fostered. This paper aims to understand the relationship between contraceptive choice and power amongst women receiving Opioid Replacement Therapy (ORT). Methods: During 2016/17, semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 40 women (aged 22–49 years) receiving ORT in the South of England. Data relating to the latent concept of power were inductively coded and analysed via Iterative Categorisation. Findings: The power manifested itself through six interconnected ‘fields’: i. ‘information about fertility and contraception’; ii. ‘access to contraception’; iii. ‘relationships with professionals and services’; iv. ‘relationships with male partners’; v. ‘relationships with sex work clients’; and vi. ‘life priorities and preferences’. Each field comprised examples of women’s powerlessness and empowerment. Even whenwomen appeared to have limited power or control, they sometimes managed to assert themselves. Conclusions: Power in relation to contraceptive choice is multi-faceted and multi-directional, operating at both individual and structural levels. Informed decision-making depends on the provision of clear, non-judgemental information and advice alongside easy access to contraceptive options. Additional strategies to empower women to make contraceptive choices and prevent unplanned pregnancies are recommended.
    • Understanding the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 on nurses from ethnic minority backgrounds

      Qureshi, Irtiza; Garcia, Rebecca; Ali, Nasreen; Randhawa, Gurch; University of Bedfordshire; Open University (RCN Publishing, 2021-07-12)
      People from ethnic minority backgrounds in the UK have been disproportionately affected by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), with higher death rates and suboptimal health outcomes compared with those from white ethnic backgrounds. This trend is reflected in healthcare staff from ethnic minority backgrounds, including nurses, who are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and have higher death rates from the disease. The theory of intersectionality contends that social categorisations such as gender, race and class can contribute to discrimination and result in disadvantages. In this article, the authors outline several intersecting factors that could be contributing to the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 among nurses from ethnic minority backgrounds, as well as making recommendations for further research in this area.
    • Genetic modifications of metallothionein enhance the tolerance and bioaccumulation of heavy metals in Escherichia coli

      Li, Xuefen; Ren, Zhumei; Crabbe, M. James C.; Wang, Lan; Ma, Wenli; Shanxi University; University of Oxford; University of Bedfordshire (Elsevier, 2021-07-13)
      Metallothioneins (MTs) are low molecular weight cysteine-rich proteins that bind to metals. Owing to their high cysteine (Cys) content, MTs are effective mediators of heavy metal detoxification. To enhance the heavy metal binding ability of MT from the freshwater crab Sinopotamon henanense (ShMT), sequence-based multiple sequence alignment (MSA) and structure-based molecular docking simulation (MDS) were conducted in order to identify amino acid residues that could be mutated to bolster such metal-binding activity. Site-directed mutagenesis was then used to modify the primary structure of ShMT, and the recombinant proteins were further enhanced using the SUMO fusion expression system to yield SUMO-ShMT1, SUMO-ShMT2, and SUMO-ShMT3 harboring one-, two-, and three- point mutations, respectively. The resultant modified proteins were primarily expressed in a soluble form and exhibited the ability to readily bind to heavy metals. Importantly, these modified proteins exhibited significantly enhanced heavy metal binding capacities, and they improved Cd2+, Cu2+ and Zn2+ tolerance and bioaccumulation in Escherichia coli (E. coli) in a manner dependent upon the number of introduced point mutations (SUMO-ShMT3 > SUMO-ShMT2 > SUMO-ShMT1 > SUMO-ShMT > control). Indeed, E. coli cells harboring the pET28a-SUMO-ShMT3 expression vector exhibited maximal Cd2+, Cu2+, and Zn2+ bioaccumulation that was increased by 1.86 ± 0.02-, 1.71 ± 0.03-, and 2.13 ± 0.02-fold relative to that in E. coli harboring the pET28a-SUMO-ShMT vector. The present study offers a basis for the preparation of genetically engineered bacteria that are better able to bioaccumulate and tolerate heavy metals, thus providing a foundation for biological heavy metal water pollution treatment.
    • Block teaching as the basis for an innovative redesign of the PG suite of programmes in University of Bedfordshire Business School

      Kofinas, Alexander K.; Bentley, Yongmei; Minett-Smith, Cathy; University of Bedfordshire (Editorial Universitat Politècnica de València, 2017-12-31)
      This paper aims to provide a first evaluation of the University of Bedfordshire Business School’s innovative attempt to develop a new suite of Masters Programmes that delivers in terms of academic rigor and employability requirements while providing a rich student learning experience. The new delivery is based on a block delivery model that rationalises the previous offerings by providing a smaller range of standardized large units which are more tightly integrated to each other and are part of courses with particular characteristics such as a four-tier induction system (with inductions being progressively more employabilityfocused as students’ progress from one unit to the next) and the final capstone unit where students have a choice between a traditional dissertation and an experiential final project. That common architecture is coupled with a flipped classroom delivery style, utilization of blended learning and rich peer-to-peer learning opportunities with multiple entry points providing additional students into the cohorts for each unit. Preliminary data is provided here as an early evaluation of the approach’s effectiveness and efficiency in terms of the delivery experience, the assessment strategies, the levels of student engagement and performance, as well as the experience of staff and students.
    • Evidence based approaches to violence reduction: a discussion paper

      Davey, Peter; Bath, Rachel; Staniforth, Rachel; Firmin, Carlene Emma; MacFarlane, Colin; Sebire, Jackie; Cestaro, David; Contextual Safeguarding Network (Contextual Safeguarding Network, 2021-03-30)
      This document helps practitioners to understand Public Health, Problem-solving and Contextual Safeguarding approaches as three complementary evidence-based approaches to violence reduction.
    • Towards a contextual response to peer-on-peer abuse: research and resources from MsUnderstood local site work 2013-2016

      Firmin, Carlene Emma; Curtis, George; Fritz, Danielle; Olaitan, Paul; Latchford, Lia; Lloyd, Jenny; Larasi, Ikamara; Contextual Safeguarding Network (Contextual Safeguarding Network, 2016-06-20)
      This report chronicles the findings and resources on peer-on-peer abuse generated by the MsUnderstood Partnership over the past three years, with specific reference to the tools and knowledge created alongside professionals through local site work. The programme of work was funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Samworth Foundation and Trust for London.
    • Young people who sexually harm peers in groups: a rapid evidence assessment of international literature

      Latchford, Lia; Firmin, Carlene Emma; Fritz, Danielle; Hackett, Simon; Contextual Safeguarding Network (Contextual Safeguarding Network, 2016-11-18)
      This literature review was conducted to develop an evidence base on young people who sexually harm in groups, by synthesising existing literature on group harmful sexual behaviour (HSB), wider group offending and group interventions
    • Safeguarding adolescents: a survey of London professionals

      Shuker, Lucie; Contextual Safeguarding Network (Contextual Safeguarding Network, 2017-11-16)
      This report presents the findings of a survey of 120 London-based professionals from a range of agencies, on their views and experiences of safeguarding adolescents in the capital. It was undertaken as part of a programme of work for the London Safeguarding Adolescents Steering Group (LSASG) and will inform the development of a new chapter on safeguarding adolescents in the London Child Protection Procedures.
    • Safeguarding during adolescence: the relationship between contextual safeguarding, complex safeguarding and transitional safeguarding

      Firmin, Carlene Emma; Horan, Jayne; Holmes, Dez; Hopper, Gail; Contextual Safeguarding Network (Contextual Safeguarding Network, 2016-01-09)
      Briefing on the relationship between Contextual Safeguarding, Complex Safeguarding and Transitional Safeguarding