Study in Royal Society journal on sense of fairness in chimpanzees

01/24/05

Proceedings of The Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Tolerance for inequity increases with social closeness in chimpanzees by Dr SF Brosnan, Dr HC Schiff and Dr FBM de Waal
The evolution of the sense of fairness may have involved the strength of social connections, according to researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta. Sarah Brosnan and Frans de Waal observed variability in chimpanzees' responses to inequity depending on the strength of their social relationships. Chimpanzees in a close, long-term social group were less likely to react to unfair situations than were chimpanzees in short-term social groups. This is the first demonstration that reactions to inequity in nonhuman primates parallel the variation in the human response to unfair situations that is based on the quality of the relationship.
Contact: Dr Sarah Brosnan, Yerkes National Primate Research Centre, Emory University, 954 N Gatewood Drive, ATLANTA, GA 30329, United States

A bioeconomic analysis of bushmeat hunting by Dr R Damania, Dr EJ Milner-Gulland and Dr DJ Crookes

Unsustainable hunting of wildlife for food (bushmeat hunting) is a major conservation issue. Bushmeat hunting must be tackled in the context of a household's broader livelihood activities if interventions are to be effective. We present the first formal model of bushmeat hunting as a component of the household economy. Increasing bushmeat prices shifts effort into hunting with the most efficient technology (guns), and unsurprisingly leads to population depletion. But improved agricultural incomes can also have the undesirable side-effect of shifting hunting pressure from snares to guns, and hence may worsen the status of vulnerable animals which are predominately gun-hunted (such as primates).
Contact: Dr Eleanor Milner-Gulland, Department of Environmental Science & Technology, Manor House, Silwood Park Campus, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7PY

A single mutation alters production and discrimination of Drosophila sex pheromones by Dr F Marcillac, Dr Y Grosjean and Dr J-F Ferveur

Communication between individuals of the same species implies a strong genetic coadaptation for the genetic control underlying the emission of the signal and its reception. This problem is particularly acute in the case of inter-individual sexual communication where coadapted changes in signal emission and reception may create new species. Up to now, the known genes coding for these two aspects of communication were unlinked, and their association statistically increased (linkage desequilibrium). We induced a single mutation in one Drosophila gene that independently affected both the production of sex pheromones and their perception. This gene has multiple effects on pheromonal communication.
Contact: Dr J Ferveur, Faculte des Sciences, Universite de Bourgogne 6 Bd. Gabriel, DIJON, F-21000, France

Journal of The Royal Society Interface

Parallel high-resolution confocal Raman SEM analysis of inorganic and organic bone matrix constituents by Dr AA van Apeldoorn, Dr Y Aksenov, Dr M. Stigter, Dr I. Hofland, Dr J. D. de Bruijn, Dr H. K. Koerten, Dr C. Otto, Professor J Greve and Professor CA van Blitterswijk
Scanning electron microscopy allows for observation of biological samples at very high magnification with high resolution. Until now the chemical analytical properties of the electron microscope were limited to the analysis of single atoms in a sample of interest. We combined a custom-made high resolution confocal Raman microscope, a device allowing for the analysis and imaging of molecular composition by using a laser, with a scanning electron microscope. By combining these two systems, we were able to study the composition and structure of bone extra-cellular-matrix formed by mesenchymal stem cells at high resolution. We found that combining our custom-made confocal Raman microscope with a scanning electron microscope allows study of specimens in a non-destructive manner and provides high resolution structural and chemical information about inorganic and organic constituents by parallel measurements on the same sample. This study is the first one showing the feasibility of using the combination of Raman and electron microscopy in one apparatus for biological studies, which proved to be a very powerful technique.
Contact: Dr Aart van Apeldoorn, Dept. of Polymer Chemistry and Biomaterials, Favulty. of Science and Technology, University of Twente, Prof. Bronkhorstlaan 10-D, 3723MB Bilthoven, The Netherlands

Modelling the thermal evolution of enzyme-created bubbles in DNA by Dr D Hennig, Dr JFR Archilla and Dr JM Romero

One of the key functions of DNA is the synthesis of proteins. Part of this process is achieved by the separation of the two DNA strands forming large bubbles, called transcription bubbles. Some molecules, called enzymes, are able to produce small bubbles. Using computers it is possible to simulate their evolution at different temperatures. At very low ones the small bubbles remain stationary, but at higher ones they start to move, without loosing their form. Our conjecture is that the small moving bubbles can merge transforming into larger ones, bringing about an explanation to the formation of the transcription bubbles.
Contact: Dr Juan Archilla, Departamento de Fisica Aplicada I, University of Sevilla, Avda Reina Mercedes s/n, SEVILLA 41012, Spain

Proceedings of The Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences

Hamilton long-wave expansions for water waves over a rough bottom by Professor W Craig, Dr P Guyenne, Dr DP Nicholls and Dr C Sulem
This paper is a study of wave motion in the surface of a fluid body with a variable depth. The problem is important to coastal oceanography, where bathymetric variations contribute to the dynamics of ocean waves. Mathematically, it leads to difficult problems of determining properties of wave evolution, even in a perturbative scaling regime. The principal contributions of this paper are to adapt methods of Hamiltonian perturbation theory to the problem, and then to produce a systematic study of the principal nonlinear long-wave scaling regimes, for both two and three dimensional wave motion.
Contact: Professor Walter Craig, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, ONTARIO, L8S 4K1, Canada

Limit-cycle oscillations of a heavy whirling cable subject to aerodynamic drag by Dr JD Clark, Dr WB Fraser, Dr CD Rahn and Dr A Rajamani

We investigate the behaviour of an experimental system consisting of a cable suspended from the edge of a rotating disk with a mass (drogue) attached to its lower end. If the rotational speed is steady the cable shape remains stable as it rotates. As the speed is increased through certain critical values the cable configuration becomes unstable and its shape changes to a new configuration. At a sufficiently high speed a new instability occurs and the drogue oscillates vertically with a period much less than its period of rotation. The stability of rotating cable and string systems is important for textile yarn spinning systems, and when drogues are towed by aircraft in circular paths.
Contact: Dr James Clark, School of Mathematics & Statistics, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

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