Sex steroid and prolactin profiles in male American black bears (Ursus americanus) during denning.
Serum sex steroid and prolactin profiles were examined in the male American black bear, Ursus americanus during denning. Sera collected in December and the following March from 8 denning male black bears in Minnesota, U.S.A. were assayed for testosterone, estradiol-17 beta and prolactin. Eight bears were confirmed to be the denning mode based on a serum urea to creatinine ratio less than 10. Serum testosterone concentrations tended to increase from December to the subsequent March whereas serum estradiol-17 beta concentrations tended to decrease during this period. There were few changes in serum prolactin concentrations between December and March. These findings suggest that spermatogenesis and testicular steroidogenesis initiated during denning may be influenced by changes in serum sex steroid concentrations in the American black bear. (+info)
Microevolution of the mitochondrial DNA control region in the Japanese brown bear (Ursus arctos) population.
We investigated nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial DNA control region to describe natural genetic variations and to assess the relationships between subpopulations of the brown bear Ursus arctos on Hokkaido Island, Japan. Using the polymerase chain reaction product-direct sequencing technique, partial sequences (about 930 bases) of the control region were determined for 56 brown bears sampled throughout Hokkaido Island. A sequence alignment revealed that the brown bear control region included a variable sequence on the 5' side and a repetitive region on the 3' side. Phylogenetic trees reconstructed from the 5' variable region (696-702 bases) exhibited 17 haplotypes, which were clustered into three groups (Clusters A, B, and C). The distribution of each group did not overlap with those of the others, and the three different areas were located in separate mountainous forests of Hokkaido Island. Furthermore, most of the phylogenetically close haplotypes within each group were distributed geographically close to each other. In addition, the 3' repetitive region (arrays of 10 bases) exhibited a much faster mutation rate than the 5' variable region, resulting in heteroplasmy. Such mitochondrial DNA divergence in each group could have occurred after the brown bears migrated from the continent to Hokkaido and became fixed in the different areas. (+info)
Estimation of pairwise relatedness with molecular markers.
Applications of quantitative genetics and conservation genetics often require measures of pairwise relationships between individuals, which, in the absence of known pedigree structure, can be estimated only by use of molecular markers. Here we introduce methods for the joint estimation of the two-gene and four-gene coefficients of relationship from data on codominant molecular markers in randomly mating populations. In a comparison with other published estimators of pairwise relatedness, we find these new "regression" estimators to be computationally simpler and to yield similar or lower sampling variances, particularly when many loci are used or when loci are hypervariable. Two examples are given in which the new estimators are applied to natural populations, one that reveals isolation-by-distance in an annual plant and the other that suggests a genetic basis for a coat color polymorphism in bears. (+info)
Comparative anatomy of the radial sesamoid bone in the polar bear (Ursus maritimus), the brown bear (Ursus arctos) and the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca).
Since we have clarified the manipulation mechanism using the radial sesamoid (RS) in the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), our aim in this study is to examine the position, shape and function of the RS morphologically, and to observe the attachment to the RS of the M. abductor pollicis longus and the M. opponens pollicis in the other Ursidae species. So, we focused on the carpus and manus of the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) and the brown bear (Ursus arctos) in this study. The RS was tightly articulated to the radial carpal, and could not adduct-abduct independently of the radial carpal. The M. abductor pollicis longus tendon and the M. opponens pollicis belly were attached to the RS, independently. In the polar bear, the deep concave and the flat surface were confirmed in attachment area for these two muscles. The morphological relationship between the RS and the M. abductor pollicis longus and the M. opponens pollicis in the two species of bears were essentially consistent with that in the giant panda. It also demonstrated that the manipulation mechanism of the giant panda has been completely based on the functional relationship between the small RS, and the M. abductor pollicis longus and the M. opponens pollicis in Ursidae species. (+info)
Multiple human exposures to a rabid bear cub at a petting zoo and barnwarming--Iowa, August 1999.
On August 27, 1999, a black bear cub, approximately 5-6 months old, died after several hours of acute central nervous system symptoms; preliminary test results available on August 28 indicated the bear had rabies. The bear was part of the Swenson's Wild Midwest Exotic Petting Zoo in Clermont, Iowa (northeastern Iowa). At the petting zoo, visitors fed, wrestled, and may have been nipped by the bear. The bear also was taken to an August 14 barnwarming at the Tharp barn in Holy Cross, Iowa (eastern Iowa), where it reportedly nipped people. An estimated 400 people from 10 states (Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin) and Australia had contact with the bear cub at either the petting zoo or the barnwarming during the 28 days before its death, during which the bear may have transmitted rabies virus. (+info)
Dietary change and stable isotopes: a model of growth and dormancy in cave bears.
In order to discuss dietary change over time by the use of stable isotopes, it is necessary to sort out the underlying processes in isotopic variation. Together with the dietary signal other processes have been investigated, namely metabolic processes, collagen turnover and physical growth. However, growth and collagen turnover time have so far been neglected in dietary reconstruction based on stable isotopes. An earlier study suggested that cave bears (Ursus spelaeus) probably gave birth to cubs during dormancy. We provide an estimate of the effect on stable isotopes of growth and metabolism and discuss collagen turnover in a population of cave bears. Based on a quantitative model, we hypothesized that bear cubs lactated their mothers during their first and second winters, but were fed solid food together with lactation during their first summer. This demonstrates the need to include physical growth, metabolism and collagen turnover in dietary reconstruction. Whereas the effects of diet and metabolism are due to fractionation, growth and collagen turnover are dilution processes. (+info)
CT examination of the manipulation system in the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca).
The manipulation mechanism of the giant panda (Ailuropida melanoleuca) was examined by means of CT (computed tomography) and 3-dimensional (3-D) Volume Rendering techniques. In the 3-D images of the giant panda hand, not only the bones but also the muscular system was visualised. Sections of the articulated skeleton were obtained. It was demonstrated that the hand of the panda is equipped with separately moulded manipulation units as follows: (1) the radial sesamoid (RS), the radial carpal, and the first metacarpal (R-R-M) complex; and (2) the accessory carpal (AC) and the ulnar (A-U) complex. When the giant panda grasps anything, the R-R-M complex strongly flexes at the wrist joint, the RS becomes parallel with the AC, and the phalanges bend and hold the object. It is shown that the well-developed opponens pollicis and abductor pollicis brevis muscles envelop and fix the objects between the R-R-M complex and the phalanges during grasping. (+info)
Public health response to a potentially rabid bear cub--Iowa, 1999.
On August 27, 1999, a 5-6 month-old black bear cub in a petting zoo in Clermont, Iowa, died after developing acute central nervous system signs; the initial direct fluorescent-antibody (DFA) test results available on August 28 indicated the bear had rabies. On August 29, in response to the positive laboratory report, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) initiated a campaign to identify and inform persons potentially exposed to the bear's saliva. Within 72 hours, IDPH staff verified contact and exposure information for approximately 350 persons. Subsequent testing found no evidence of rabies virus in brain or spinal cord tissues. This report describes the public health response to this potential rabies outbreak and reviews testing procedures and protocols for rabies. (+info)