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See detailHabenular Neurogenesis in Zebrafish Is Regulated by a Hedgehog, Pax6 Proneural Gene Cascade
Halluin, Caroline; Madelaine, Romain; Naye, Francois et al

in PLoS ONE (2016), 11(7), 0158210

The habenulae are highly conserved nuclei in the dorsal diencephalon that connect the forebrain to the midbrain and hindbrain. These nuclei have been implicated in a broad variety of behaviours in humans ... [more ▼]

The habenulae are highly conserved nuclei in the dorsal diencephalon that connect the forebrain to the midbrain and hindbrain. These nuclei have been implicated in a broad variety of behaviours in humans, primates, rodents and zebrafish. Despite this, the molecular mechanisms that control the genesis and differentiation of neural progenitors in the habenulae remain relatively unknown. We have previously shown that, in zebrafish, the timing of habenular neurogenesis is left-right asymmetric and that in the absence of Nodal signalling this asymmetry is lost. Here, we show that habenular neurogenesis requires the homeobox transcription factor Pax6a and the redundant action of two proneural bHLH factors, Neurog1 and Neurod4. We present evidence that Hedgehog signalling is required for the expression of pax6a, which is in turn necessary for the expression of neurog1 and neurod4. Finally, we demonstrate by pharmacological inhibition that Hedgehog signalling is required continuously during habenular neurogenesis and by cell transplantation experiments that pathway activation is required cell autonomously. Our data sheds light on the mechanism underlying habenular development that may provide insights into how Nodal signalling imposes asymmetry on the timing of habenular neurogenesis. [less ▲]

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See detailBenchmarking for Bayesian Reinforcement Learning
Castronovo, Michaël ULg; Ernst, Damien ULg; Couëtoux, Adrien ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2016)

In the Bayesian Reinforcement Learning (BRL) setting, agents try to maximise the col- lected rewards while interacting with their environment while using some prior knowledge that is accessed beforehand ... [more ▼]

In the Bayesian Reinforcement Learning (BRL) setting, agents try to maximise the col- lected rewards while interacting with their environment while using some prior knowledge that is accessed beforehand. Many BRL algorithms have already been proposed, but even though a few toy examples exist in the literature, there are still no extensive or rigorous benchmarks to compare them. The paper addresses this problem, and provides a new BRL comparison methodology along with the corresponding open source library. In this methodology, a comparison criterion that measures the performance of algorithms on large sets of Markov Decision Processes (MDPs) drawn from some probability distributions is defined. In order to enable the comparison of non-anytime algorithms, our methodology also includes a detailed analysis of the computation time requirement of each algorithm. Our library is released with all source code and documentation: it includes three test prob- lems, each of which has two different prior distributions, and seven state-of-the-art RL algorithms. Finally, our library is illustrated by comparing all the available algorithms and the results are discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailHow Bees Deter Elephants: Beehive Trials with Forest Elephants (Loxodonta africana cyclotis) in Gabon
Ngama, Steeve ULg; Korte, Lisa; Bindelle, Jérôme ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2016), 11(5), 12

In Gabon, like elsewhere in Africa, crops are often sources of conflict between humans and wildlife. Wildlife damage to crops can drastically reduce income, amplifying poverty and creating a negative ... [more ▼]

In Gabon, like elsewhere in Africa, crops are often sources of conflict between humans and wildlife. Wildlife damage to crops can drastically reduce income, amplifying poverty and creating a negative perception of wild animal conservation among rural people. In this context, crop-raiding animals like elephants quickly become “problem animals”. To deter elephants from raiding crops beehives have been successfully employed in East Africa; however, this method has not yet been tested in Central Africa. We experimentally examined whether the presence of Apis mellifera adansonii, the African honey bee species present in Central Africa, deters forest elephants (Loxodonta Africana cyclotis) from feeding on fruit trees. We show for the first time that the effectiveness of beehives as deterrents of elephants is related to bee activity. Empty hives and those housing colonies of low bee activity do not deter elephants all the time; but beehives with high bee activity do. Although elephant disturbance of hives does not impede honey production, there is a tradeoff between deterrence and the quantity of honey produced. To best achieve the dual goals of deterring elephants and producing honey colonies must maintain an optimum activity level of 40 to 60 bee movements per minute. Thus, beehives colonized by Apis mellifera adansonii bees can be effective elephant deterrents, but people must actively manage hives to maintain bee colonies at the optimum activity level. [less ▲]

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See detailEmbargo on Lion Hunting Trophies from West Africa: An Effective Measure or a Threat to Lion Conservation ?
Bouché, Philippe; Crosmary, William; Kafando, Pierre et al

in PLoS ONE (2016), 11(5), 0155763

The W-Arly-Pendjari (WAP) ecosystem, shared among Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger, represents the last lion stronghold of West Africa. To assess the impact of trophy hunting on lion populations in hunting ... [more ▼]

The W-Arly-Pendjari (WAP) ecosystem, shared among Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger, represents the last lion stronghold of West Africa. To assess the impact of trophy hunting on lion populations in hunting areas of the WAP, we analyzed trends in harvest rates from 1999 to 2014. We also investigated whether the hunting areas with higher initial hunting intensity experienced steeper declines in lion harvest between 1999 and 2014, and whether lion densities in hunting areas were lower than in national parks. Lion harvest rate remained overall constant in the WAP. At initial hunting intensities below 1.5 lions/1000km2, most hunting areas experienced an increase in lion harvest rate, although that increase was of lower magnitude for hunting areas with higher initial hunting intensity. The proportion of hunting areas that experienced a decline in lion harvest rate increased at initial hunting intensities above 1.5 lions/1000km2. In 2014, the lion population of the WAP was estimated with a spoor count at 418 (230–648) adults and sub-adult individuals, comparable to the 311 (123–498) individuals estimated in the previous 2012 spoor survey. We found no significant lion spoor density differences between national parks and hunting areas. Hunting areas with higher mean harvest rates did not have lower lion densities. The ratio of large adult males, females and sub-adults was similar between the national parks and the hunting areas. These results suggested that the lion population was not significantly affected by hunting in the WAP. We concluded that a quota of 1 lion/1000km2 would be sustainable for the WAP. Based on our results, an import embargo on lion trophies from the WAP would not be justified. It could ruin the incentive of local actors to conserve lions in hunting areas, and lead to a drastic reduction of lion range in West Africa. [less ▲]

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See detailMaking sense of residues on flaked stone artefacts: learning from blind tests
Rots, Veerle ULg; Hayes, Elspeth; Cnuts, Dries ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2016)

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See detailBenevolent Ideology and Women’s Economic Decision-Making: When Sexism Is Hurting Men’s Wallet
Silvestre, Aude ULg; Sarlet, Marie; Huart, Johanne ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2016), 11(2),

Can ideology, as a widespread “expectation creator,” impact economic decisions? In two studies we investigated the influence of the Benevolent Sexism (BS) ideology (which dictates that men should provide ... [more ▼]

Can ideology, as a widespread “expectation creator,” impact economic decisions? In two studies we investigated the influence of the Benevolent Sexism (BS) ideology (which dictates that men should provide for passive and nurtured women) on women’s economic decision- making. In Study 1, using a Dictator Game in which women decided how to share amounts of money with men, results of a Generalized Linear Mixed Model analysis show that higher endorsement of BS and contextual expectations of benevolence were associated with more very unequal offers. Similarly, in an Ultimatum Game in which women received monetary offers from men, Study 2’s Generalized Linear Mixed Model’s results revealed that BS led women to reject more very unequal offers. If women’s endorsement of BS ideology and expectations of benevolence prove contrary to reality, they may strike back at men. These findings show that BS ideology creates expectations that shape malefemale relationships in a way that could be prejudicial to men. [less ▲]

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See detailTradeoffs between Maize Silage Yield and Nitrate Leaching in a Mediterranean Nitrate- Vulnerable Zone under Current and Projected Climate Scenarios
Basso, Bruno; Giola, Pietro; Dumont, Benjamin ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2016), 11(1): e0146360

Future climatic changes may have profound impacts on cropping systems and affect the agronomic and environmental sustainability of current N management practices. The objectives of this work were to i ... [more ▼]

Future climatic changes may have profound impacts on cropping systems and affect the agronomic and environmental sustainability of current N management practices. The objectives of this work were to i) evaluate the ability of the SALUS crop model to reproduce experimental crop yield and soil nitrate dynamics results under different N fertilizer treatments in a farmer’s field, ii) use the SALUS model to estimate the impacts of different N fertilizer treatments on NO3- leaching under future climate scenarios generated by twenty nine different global circulation models, and iii) identify the management system that best minimizes NO3- leaching and maximizes yield under projected future climate conditions. A field experiment (maize-triticale rotation) was conducted in a nitrate vulnerable zone on the west coast of Sardinia, Italy to evaluate N management strategies that include urea fertilization (NMIN), conventional fertilization with dairy slurry and urea (CONV), and no fertilization (N0). An ensemble of 29 global circulation models (GCM) was used to simulate different climate scenarios for two Representative Circulation Pathways (RCP6.0 and RCP8.5) and evaluate potential nitrate leaching and biomass production in this region over the next 50 years. Data collected from two growing seasons showed that the SALUS model adequately simulated both nitrate leaching and crop yield, with a relative error that ranged between 0.4% and 13%. Nitrate losses under RCP8.5 were lower than under RCP6.0 only for NMIN. Accordingly, levels of plant N uptake, N use efficiency and biomass production were higher under RCP8.5 than RCP6.0. Simulations under both RCP scenarios indicated that the NMIN treatment demonstrated both the highest biomass production and NO3- losses. The newly proposed best management practice (BMP), developed from crop N uptake data, was identified as the optimal N fertilizer management practice since it minimized NO3- leaching and maximized biomass production over the long term. [less ▲]

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See detailEfficacy of Intrathecal Morphine in a Model of Surgical Pain in Rats
Thomas, Aurélie ULg; Miller, Amy; Roughan, Johnny et al

in PLoS ONE (2016), 11(10),

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See detailFirst Results in the Use of Bovine Ear Notch Tag for Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus Detection and Genetic Analysis
Quinet, C; Czaplicki, G; Dion, E et al

in PLoS ONE (2016), 11(10), 0164451

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See detailThe Added-value of Using Participatory Approaches to Assess the Acceptability of Surveillance Systems: The Case of Bovine Tuberculosis in Belgium
Calba, C; Goutard, FL; Vanholme, L et al

in PLoS ONE (2016), 11(7), 0159041

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See detailAcrostichum, a Pioneering Fern of Floodplain Areas from the Late Oligocene Sariñena Formation of the Iberian Peninsula
Moreno-Domínguez, Rafael; Cascales-Miñana, Borja ULg; Ferrer, Javier et al

in PLoS ONE (2016), 11(9), 0162334

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See detailHomologous Transcription Factors DUX4 and DUX4c Associate with Cytoplasmic Proteins during Muscle Differentiation.
Ansseau, Eugénie; Eidahl, JO; Lancelot, Céline et al

in PLoS ONE (2016)

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See detailIntestinal Sucrase as a Novel Target Contributing to the Regulation of Glycemia by Prebiotics.
Neyrinck, Audrey M.; Pachikian, Barbara; Taminiau, Bernard ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2016), 11(8),

Inulin-type fructans (ITF) are known for their capacity to modulate gut microbiota, energy metabolism and to improve glycemia in several animal models of obesity, and in humans. The potential contribution ... [more ▼]

Inulin-type fructans (ITF) are known for their capacity to modulate gut microbiota, energy metabolism and to improve glycemia in several animal models of obesity, and in humans. The potential contribution of ITF as modulators of sugar digestion by host enzymes has not been evaluated yet. A sucrose challenge has been performed on naive mice fed a standard diet supplemented with or without native chicory inulin (Fibruline 5%) for 3 weeks. The area under the curve of glycemia as well as sucrase activity in the small intestine were lowered after inulin treatment. Pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene confirmed important changes in gut microbiota (mostly in favor of Blautia genus) due to inulin extract supplementation. Interestingly, the suppressive effect of inulin extract on postprandial glycemia also occurred when inulin was directly added to the sucrose solution, suggesting that the effect on sucrose digestion did not require chronic inulin administration. In vitro tests confirmed a direct inhibition of sucrase enzyme by the inulin extract, thereby suggesting that native chicory inulin, in addition to its well-known prebiotic effect, is also able to decrease the digestibility of carbohydrates, a phenomenon that can contribute in the control of post prandial glycemia. We may not exclude that the sucrose escaping the digestion could also contribute to the changes in the gut microbiota after a chronic treatment with inulin. [less ▲]

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See detailSeasonal Variation of Harbor Seal's Diet from the Wadden Sea in Relation to Prey Availability
de la Vega, Camille; Lebreton, Benoit; Siebert, Ursula et al

in PLoS ONE (2016)

The Wadden Sea has an important role for marine mammals in terms of resting, nursing and foraging. Harbor seal is the most abundant marine mammal species in this area. The use of the food resources of the ... [more ▼]

The Wadden Sea has an important role for marine mammals in terms of resting, nursing and foraging. Harbor seal is the most abundant marine mammal species in this area. The use of the food resources of the Wadden Sea by seals is not clear, and previous studies showed that this species can travel kilometers away from their haul-outs to forage in the North Sea. In this study, we analyzed the stable isotopes of vibrissae from 23 dead harbor seals found on the island of Sylt to investigate their diet. The predator´s carbon and nitrogen isotope compositions were compared to the compositions of different potential prey items from the Sylt-Rømø Bight and from the North Sea in order to study seasonal pattern in the diet and in the foraging location. In parallel, seasonal variation of abundance and biomass of the potential prey items from the Sylt-Rømø Bight were studied and compare to their contribution to the seal´s diet. The results revealed a change in the seal´s diet from pelagic sources in spring to a benthic based diet in summer, and an increasing use of the North Sea resources in fall and winter in accordance with the seasonal variation of the availability of prey in the Sylt-Rømø Bight. [less ▲]

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See detailA Qualitative Model of the Differentiation Network in Chondrocyte Maturation: A Holistic View of Chondrocyte Hypertrophy.
Kerkhofs, Johan; Leijten, Jeroen; Bolander, Johanna et al

in PLoS ONE (2016), 11(8), 0162052

Differentiation of chondrocytes towards hypertrophy is a natural process whose control is essential in endochondral bone formation. It is additionally thought to play a role in several pathophysiological ... [more ▼]

Differentiation of chondrocytes towards hypertrophy is a natural process whose control is essential in endochondral bone formation. It is additionally thought to play a role in several pathophysiological processes, with osteoarthritis being a prominent example. We perform a dynamic analysis of a qualitative mathematical model of the regulatory network that directs this phenotypic switch to investigate the influence of the individual factors holistically. To estimate the stability of a SOX9 positive state (associated with resting/proliferation chondrocytes) versus a RUNX2 positive one (associated with hypertrophy) we employ two measures. The robustness of the state in canalisation (size of the attractor basin) is assessed by a Monte Carlo analysis and the sensitivity to perturbations is assessed by a perturbational analysis of the attractor. Through qualitative predictions, these measures allow for an in silico screening of the effect of the modelled factors on chondrocyte maintenance and hypertrophy. We show how discrepancies between experimental data and the model's results can be resolved by evaluating the dynamic plausibility of alternative network topologies. The findings are further supported by a literature study of proposed therapeutic targets in the case of osteoarthritis. [less ▲]

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See detailInterspecific variation in bumblebee performance on pollen diet: New insights for mitigation strategies
Moerman, R.; Roger, N.; De Jonghe, R. et al

in PLoS ONE (2016), 11(12),

Bumblebees (i.e. Bombus genus) are major pollinators of flowering wild plants and crops. Although many species are currently in decline, a number of them remain stable or are even expanding. One factor ... [more ▼]

Bumblebees (i.e. Bombus genus) are major pollinators of flowering wild plants and crops. Although many species are currently in decline, a number of them remain stable or are even expanding. One factor potentially driving changes in bumblebee distribution is the suitability of plant communities. Actually, bees probably have specific nutritional requirements that could shape their floral choices and constraint them in the current context of global change. However, most studies primarily focus on one bumblebee species at a time, making comparative studies scarce. Herein we performed comparative bioassays on three bumblebee species (i.e. Bombus hypnorum, B. pratorum and B. terrestris) fed on three different pollen diets with distinct nutritive content (Cistus, Erica and Salix pollen diets). Micro-colony performance was compared through different developmental and resource collection parameters for understanding the impact of change in pollen diet on different bumblebee species. The evidence suggests that B. terrestris is by far the most competitive species because of its performance compared to the other species, regardless of pollen diet. Our results also highlight a Bombus species effect as pollen diet impacts the micro-colonies in different ways according to the actual bumblebee species. Such interspecific variation in Bombus performance in response to a dietetic change underlines the importance of considering different bumblebee species in mitigation strategies. Such comparative studies are good advice for developing appropriate suites of plant species that can benefit threatened species while supporting stable or expanding ones. Copyright © 2016 Moerman et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. [less ▲]

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See detailDoes Embryo Culture Medium Influence the Health and Development of Children Born after In Vitro Fertilization?
Bouillon, Céline; Léandri, Roger; Desch, Laurent et al

in PLoS ONE (2016), 11

Detailed reference viewed: 33 (12 ULg)