Year of publication
- 2009 (2) (remove)
- Integration of Bayesian molecular clock methods and fossil-based soft bounds reveals early Cenozoic origin of African lacertid lizards (2009)
- Background Although current molecular clock methods offer greater flexibility in modelling historical evolutionary events, calibration of the clock with dates from the fossil record is still problematic for many groups. Here we implement several new approaches in molecular dating to estimate evolutionary ages of Lacertidae, an Old World family of lizards with a poor fossil record and uncertain phylogeny. Four different models of rate variation are tested in a new program for Bayesian phylogenetic analysis called TreeTime, based on a combination of mitochondrial and nuclear gene sequences. We incorporate paleontological uncertainty into divergence estimates by expressing multiple calibration dates as a range of probabilistic distributions. We also test the reliability of our proposed calibrations by exploring effects of individual priors on posterior estimates. Results According to the most reliable model, as indicated by Bayes factor comparison, modern lacertids arose shortly after the K/T transition and entered Africa about 45 million years ago, with the majority of their African radiation occurring in the Eocene and Oligocene. Our findings indicate much earlier origins for these clades than previously reported, and we discuss our results in light of paleogeographic trends during the Cenozoic. Conclusions This study represents the first attempt to estimate evolutionary ages of a specific group of reptiles exhibiting uncertain phylogenetic relationships, molecular rate variation and a poor fossil record. Our results emphasize the sensitivity of molecular divergence dates to fossil calibrations, and support the use of combined molecular data sets and multiple, well-spaced dates from the fossil record as minimum node constraints. The bioinformatics program used here, TreeTime, is publicly available, and we recommend its use for molecular dating of taxa faced with similar challenges.
- T-cell metagene predicts a favorable prognosis in estrogen receptor-negative and HER2-positive breast cancers (2009)
- Introduction Lymphocyte infiltration (LI) is often seen in breast cancer but its importance remains controversial. A positive correlation of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) amplification and LI has been described, which was associated with a more favorable outcome. However, specific lymphocytes might also promote tumor progression by shifting the cytokine milieu in the tumor. Methods Affymetrix HG-U133A microarray data of 1,781 primary breast cancer samples from 12 datasets were included. The correlation of immune system-related metagenes with different immune cells, clinical parameters, and survival was analyzed. Results A large cluster of nearly 600 genes with functions in immune cells was consistently obtained in all datasets. Seven robust metagenes from this cluster can act as surrogate markers for the amount of different immune cell types in the breast cancer sample. An IgG metagene as a marker for B cells had no significant prognostic value. In contrast, a strong positive prognostic value for the T-cell surrogate marker (lymphocyte-specific kinase (LCK) metagene) was observed among all estrogen receptor (ER)-negative tumors and those ER-positive tumors with a HER2 overexpression. Moreover ER-negative tumors with high expression of both IgG and LCK metagenes seem to respond better to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Conclusions Precise definitions of the specific subtypes of immune cells in the tumor can be accomplished from microarray data. These surrogate markers define subgroups of tumors with different prognosis. Importantly, all known prognostic gene signatures uniformly assign poor prognosis to all ER-negative tumors. In contrast, the LCK metagene actually separates the ER-negative group into better or worse prognosis.