Evidence on the origin of cassava: phylogeography of Manihot esculenta.
Cassava (Manihot esculenta subsp. esculenta) is a staple crop with great economic importance worldwide, yet its evolutionary and geographical origins have remained unresolved and controversial. We have investigated this crop's domestication in a phylogeographic study based on the single-copy nuclear gene glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (G3pdh). The G3pdh locus provides high levels of noncoding sequence variation in cassava and its wild relatives, with 28 haplotypes identified among 212 individuals (424 alleles) examined. These data represent one of the first uses of a single-copy nuclear gene in a plant phylogeographic study and yield several important insights into cassava's evolutionary origin: (i) cassava was likely domesticated from wild M. esculenta populations along the southern border of the Amazon basin; (ii) the crop does not seem to be derived from several progenitor species, as previously proposed; and (iii) cassava does not share haplotypes with Manihot pruinosa, a closely related, potentially hybridizing species. These findings provide the clearest picture to date on cassava's origin. When considered in a genealogical context, relationships among the G3pdh haplotypes are incongruent with taxonomic boundaries, both within M. esculenta and at the interspecific level; this incongruence is probably a result of lineage sorting among these recently diverged taxa. Although phylogeographic studies in animals have provided many new evolutionary insights, application of phylogeography in plants has been hampered by difficulty in obtaining phylogenetically informative intraspecific variation. This study demonstrates that single-copy nuclear genes can provide a useful source of informative variation in plants. (+info)
Evaluating the impact of a street barrier on urban crime.
OBJECTIVES: Violence is a major urban public health problem in the United States. The impact of a physical barrier placed across a street in a public housing project to prevent street violence and drug activity was evaluated. METHODS: Hartford Police Department data on violent and drug related crime incidence within the housing project containing the barrier were analyzed by use of a computerized geographic information system. RESULTS: Violent crime decreased 33% on the intervention street during the 15 month period after erection of the barrier, compared with the 15 month period before erection of the barrier, but there was no change in drug related crime. On adjoining streets and surrounding blocks, violent crime decreased 30%-50% but drug related crimes roughly doubled. A non-adjacent area of the housing project and the entire city experienced 26% and 15% decreases in violent crimes, and 414% and 25% increases in drug crimes, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The barrier decreased violent crime but displaced drug crimes to surrounding areas of the housing project. These results have important implications for other cities that have erected or are considering erecting similar barriers. (+info)
Computer-generated dot maps as an epidemiologic tool: investigating an outbreak of toxoplasmosis.
We used computer-generated dot maps to examine the spatial distribution of 94 Toxoplasma gondii infections associated with an outbreak in British Columbia, Canada. The incidence among patients served by one water distribution system was 3.52 times that of patients served by other sources. Acute T. gondii infection among 3, 812 pregnant women was associated with the incriminated distribution system. (+info)
Farming from a new perspective: remote sensing comes down to earth.
Farmers strive to increase the yield of their fields by adding nutrients and water to the land, and using pesticides to control insects and disease. In addition to bountiful harvests, the results of their endeavors may include elevated amounts of fertilizers in surface waters and aquifers and potential risk to themselves and their neighbors from exposure to pesticides. Precision agriculture is the use of modern information technologies such as geographic information systems, the global positioning system, and remote sensing from the air to reduce the environmental effects of these chemicals while enhancing the productivity of farming. By combining crop yield maps with soil survey maps and remote sensing output, farmers can identify areas that need more or less fertilizer, water, or pesticide. (+info)
Alternate ranging methods for cancer mortality maps.
BACKGROUND: Mapping techniques can highlight the spatial or temporal variations in rates of cancer mortality. In mapping geographic patterns of cancer mortality, spatial units are grouped into categories defined by specified rate ranges, and then the units in each category are assigned a particular color in the map. We examined the consequences of using different ranging methods when comparing maps over several time intervals. METHODS: Maps of mortality rates for cancers of the breast, lung (including the lung, trachea, bronchus, and pleura), and cervix uteri in the United States by county or state economic area are created for different time intervals between 1950 and 1994. Two ranging methods are employed: 1) Ranges are defined for individual time interval by the deciles of rates in that interval (ranging within intervals), and 2) constant ranges for all time intervals are defined by the deciles of rates for the entire 45-year period from 1950 through 1994 (ranging across intervals). The time intervals from 1950 through 1969 and from 1970 through 1994 were chosen to accommodate the availability of detailed county-level population estimates specifically for blacks starting in 1970. RESULTS: The ranging method has little impact on maps for breast cancer mortality, which changed little over time. For lung cancer, which increased over time, and cervix uteri cancer, which decreased over time, ranging within time intervals shows the geographic variability but does not convey the temporal trends. Trends are evident when ranging across time intervals is employed; however, geographic variability is partially obscured by the predominance of spatial units in the highest rate categories in the recent time intervals for lung cancer and in the early time intervals for cervix uteri cancer. CONCLUSIONS: Ranging within time intervals displays geographic patterns and changes in geographic patterns, regardless of time trends in rates. Ranging across time intervals shows temporal changes in rates but with some loss of information about geographic variability. (+info)
Assets-oriented community assessment.
Determining how to promote community health requires that community health workers first assess where the community stands. The authors maintain that Healthy Communities initiatives are better served by assets-oriented assessment methods than by standard "problem-focused" or "needs-based" approaches. An assets orientation allows community members to identify, support, and mobilize existing community resources to create a shared vision of change, and encourages greater creativity when community members do address problems and obstacles. (+info)
Using a geographical information system to plan a malaria control programme in South Africa.
INTRODUCTION: Sustainable control of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa is jeopardized by dwindling public health resources resulting from competing health priorities that include an overwhelming acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic. In Mpumalanga province, South Africa, rational planning has historically been hampered by a case surveillance system for malaria that only provided estimates of risk at the magisterial district level (a subdivision of a province). METHODS: To better map control programme activities to their geographical location, the malaria notification system was overhauled and a geographical information system implemented. The introduction of a simplified notification form used only for malaria and a carefully monitored notification system provided the good quality data necessary to support an effective geographical information system. RESULTS: The geographical information system displays data on malaria cases at a village or town level and has proved valuable in stratifying malaria risk within those magisterial districts at highest risk, Barberton and Nkomazi. The conspicuous west-to-east gradient, in which the risk rises sharply towards the Mozambican border (relative risk = 4.12, 95% confidence interval = 3.88-4.46 when the malaria risk within 5 km of the border was compared with the remaining areas in these two districts), allowed development of a targeted approach to control. DISCUSSION: The geographical information system for malaria was enormously valuable in enabling malaria risk at town and village level to be shown. Matching malaria control measures to specific strata of endemic malaria has provided the opportunity for more efficient malaria control in Mpumalanga province. (+info)
On the wrong side of the tracts? Evaluating the accuracy of geocoding in public health research.
OBJECTIVES: This study sought to determine the accuracy of geocoding for public health databases. METHODS: A test file of 70 addresses, 50 of which involved errors, was generated, and the file was geocoded to the census tract and block group levels by 4 commercial geocoding firms. Also, the "real world" accuracy of the best-performing firm was evaluated. RESULTS: Accuracy rates in regard to geocoding of the test file ranged from 44% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 32%, 56%) to 84% (95% CI = 73%, 92%). The geocoding firm identified as having the best accuracy rate correctly geocoded 96% of the addresses obtained from the public health databases. CONCLUSIONS: Public health studies involving geocoded databases should evaluate and report on methods used to verify accuracy. (+info)