So doggone complicated

first_imgDogs in all their amazing variety — tall or short, pug-nosed or snouted, curly haired or straight, mastiff or teacup — are the same species, Elaine Ostrander reminded the audience, standing before an almost comical image of a giant harlequin Great Dane and a tiny Chihuahua.Being the same species means that even breeds at opposite ends of the size spectrum can breed, as unlikely as that may seem from a practical standpoint. It also means they share the same genetic code, except for the part responsible for breed traits. That makes those genes stand out and makes dogs ideal subjects for genetic studies, Ostrander said.Ostrander, who runs a comparative genetics laboratory at the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Human Genome Research Institute, described her lab’s work during a lunchtime seminar on Thursday in the Northwest Laboratory, sponsored by the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Over the past several years, Ostrander’s lab has made some landmark findings, including tracking dog size to a single gene, finding three genes for coat variation, and discovering a mutation for the short-legged characteristic of corgis, dachshunds, and similar breeds.In the genes of dogs, researchers not only learn more about specific breed traits, they also gain insight into similar human traits that might be related to disease.Ostrander (left) meets with Hopi Hoekstra, Harvard professor of organismic and evolutionary biology and molecular and cellular biology. The talk was sponsored by the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.For example, research led by Heidi Parker in Ostrander’s lab searched for the genes responsible for the short-legged, big-boned breeds like corgis, which have an analogue in human asymmetrical dwarfism. Researchers examining dog skull characteristics to understand the genetic basis for differences between pug-nosed breeds like boxers and long-nosed breeds like Afghan hounds found a gene that might be applicable in human cases of frontal bossy, where the forehead is prominent and rounded; hypertelorism, where the eyes are spaced abnormally far apart; and short philtrum, where the distance between the upper lip and the nose is abnormally small.Ostrander’s work has been greatly aided by the cooperation of the many breed associations in the United States and around the world, which helped to stock her freezer with 13,000 small DNA samples from registered dogs.There are 300 breeds recognized worldwide, each of which resulted from careful mating to emphasize specific characteristics. Ostrander said her research actually began as a search for the genes responsible for breed-specific behaviors, but that has proven very difficult to nail down. Physical traits, however, have proven easier to track through DNA.Ostrander’s research doesn’t just focus on healthy dogs’ traits. The inbreeding required to cement characteristics in dogs’ genetic profiles sometimes carries undesirable side effects in the form of a breed’s heightened susceptibility to specific diseases.In research on a disease that strikes standard poodles — but only those with black coats — researchers found that a susceptibility to squamous cell cancer of the nailbed was associated with a gene involved in pigmentation. It was the first case identified where breeders have specifically selected a disease gene in order to get a particular morphological trait, Ostrander said.Ostrander uses a technique called genomewide association studies, in which the entire genome is scanned looking for genes that are turned on and off. By comparing the profiles of many individuals of different breeds, researchers can zoom in on likely candidate genes turned on in one breed but not in another that doesn’t share the trait. With dogs having been bred for specific traits for hundreds of years, the signal is sometimes far stronger than can be found using similar techniques in humans.In some cases, like the work on pug-nosed dogs, researchers take the research a step further and confirm their candidate gene through genetic studies with another lab animal. For instance, they turned off the candidate gene in zebrafish, a common laboratory animal used in developmental studies.“We sort of made ourselves little pug-nosed zebrafish,” Ostrander said.last_img read more

Telco SoftBank first-quarter profit rises 4%, buoyed by enterprise and internet businesses

first_imgJapanese wireless carrier SoftBank Corp on Tuesday reported a 4 percent rise in first-quarter operating profit, beating analyst estimates, supported by its enterprise and internet businesses.April-June profit reached 280 billion yen (US$2.6 billion). That compared with the 262 billion yen average of two analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv.A fall in profit at its consumer business was offset by growth in enterprise as it benefits from growing demand for teleworking services amid the coronavirus outbreak. SoftBank is making a major push into online retailing through companies it controls. Z Holdings Corp last week said operating profit from e-commerce topped its media business for the first time and online fashion retailer Zozo Inc reported a big profit jump as shoppers shift online.Parent SoftBank Group Corp has cut its stake in the telco to 62.1 percent from 67.1 percent as Chief Executive Masayoshi Son sells assets to fund a record 2.5 trillion yen share repurchase plan.The buyback has fuelled a divergence in market valuation, with SoftBank Corp’s share price languishing below its 1,500 yen initial public offering price from December 2018, even as its parent’s shares rocket to two-decade highs.SoftBank Group reports its earnings on Aug. 11.Japan’s third-largest wireless carrier maintained its forecast of flat operating profit of 920 billion yen for the current financial year ending March 2021.Separately on Tuesday, the telco said it had under-reported 3 billion yen of income during the financial year ended March 2019, entailing additional taxes.Topics :last_img read more

Charlotte Flair talks all-women WrestleMania 35 main event, Ronda Rousey: ‘There’s only one queen’

first_imgJoin DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearHaving been crowned an eight-time women’s champion just last month — that’s halfway to her Hall of Fame father Ric Flair’s 16 championships — Charlotte is eyeing WrestleMania as an opportunity to put her greatness out of reach. Of course, Rousey, who has more than successfully crossed over from the UFC to WWE, and Lynch, who has more heat to her name than any other WWE Superstar, should have something to say about that.Here, Charlotte Flair spoke with Sporting News about her reaction to getting the main event news and how the women holding down WrestleMania’s prime spot came organically. She also discloses her dad’s heartfelt reaction to the news and her thoughts on Asuka not being included in the main event. In addition, she (somewhat begrudgingly) admits how Rousey has pushed her performance to another gear and further explains her pursuit of excellence.WRESTLEMANIA 35Match card | Schedule | Buy PPV & ticketsSporting News: Can you walk us through how you got the official word that you were going to main event WrestleMania 35 along with Ronda Rousey and Becky Lynch?Charlotte Flair: It’s one of those things that I had been saying during a couple of interviews that I’m going to main event WrestleMania — whether it’s in five years, this year, next year — so, when I found out, it was just a rush of emotions. You’re saying something and you’ve proven it to the universe and it finally happened. All I wanted to do is text everyone who had been a part of my journey and who helped me get to where I am. I was emotional and I wanted to text [trainers from the WWE Performance Center] Sara del Rey, Fit Finlay and Norman Smiley and the production crew. This has been a collective effort from all the women from the past and the present and we’re hopefully paving the way for the future of the rising stars of NXT. This means absolutely the world to me and I feel like it truly is my destiny.SN: Away from wrestling, we’re in a time of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements and just an overall movement of strong women. Yet, this main event wasn’t forced. It came organically. Does that make it all the more special for you?CF: It really does. Yes, there’s been a women’s movement around the world, with the women’s soccer team, with women like Serena Williams and you’re right … this wasn’t something forced. It was something very organic. In 2015, when the #GiveDivasAChance hashtag trended for three days, WWE listened to the audience and gave us opportunities, but had we not delivered time and time again and proving that the audience was connecting with the female stars on an individual level, I do not think we’d be here today.MORE: 10 great moments that define WrestleMania like no otherSN: What was your dad’s reaction to finding out that the women were going to be the main event at WrestleMania for the first time in history?CF: My dad is my biggest fan, my biggest supporter, my best friend. He truly understands what it has been like in the journey, with the ups and downs and helping me every day in how to get better, what I need to do to get better, what I did to get here. He’s been so connected with what it has taken me to get here that … he just said, ‘You deserve it and you did it all on your own.’ He emphasizes that every single day that ‘You did this all on your own. This has nothing to do with me.’ And just, ‘I’m proud of you.’SN: If there’s one gripe that fans have with this main event, it’s that Asuka isn’t a part of it. ​Just last week, you wrote in an Instagram post that Asuka is “the most talented woman I’ve ever shared the ring with.” (Which was also a way of snubbing Becky Lynch at the same damn time). So, as good as this main event is, do you feel the same way that fans do about Asuka not being included? View this post on Instagram This one means a lot. #8. Thank you @wwe_asuka; The most talented woman I’ve ever shared the ring with. 🤡👸🏼A post shared by Charlotte Flair (@charlottewwe) on Mar 26, 2019 at 6:56pm PDTCF: Here’s the thing — last year, when I wrestled Asuka to break her streak at WrestleMania 34, all I could think about is making her proud. I mean, she’s wrestled all over the world. She had this incredible streak that no one had seen in the history of the business. So, for me, wrestling her … everyone had so much hype for this match, so it was really living up to the expectations and cementing my legacy. And then, obviously, having the title match out of nowhere with her [on SmackDown last month], in my opinion, will only open up more doors for people to see the magic that Asuka and I could make and that’s the bigger picture.People will regard [Asuka’s omission from the main event] as a negative, but no. This is a story. People want better. This just has the opportunity just to get better for people to see just how much further Asuka and I could take each other in the ring and entertainment-wise. There’s no other woman that I’d rather do that with than Asuka because people have already seen us have two — well, three now — matches and I know what we could do.MORE: How WaleMania became WrestleMania weekend’s most anticipated eventSN: What has Ronda Rousey’s presence meant for WWE and also for your career, going up against her?CF: Being in a heated storyline [laughing], I guess I’ll tell you from the perspective of taking you out of the storyline. When Ronda Rousey was signed, I knew it was a big deal. For someone like her, who is a household name, to want to be a part of our division and someone who could have credibility with some who aren’t familiar with the WWE women’s division, that’s what I knew she was bringing to the table. But just because she was an Olympic athlete, didn’t mean she was going to catch on … and she has. That’s not something everyone could do and that’s a testament to how talented she is. And then when I wrestled her at Survivor Series, obviously, it was out of nowhere again.I said, ‘You know what? When I leave that arena, I need to know that people would pay to see this again and that our story would continue.’ And I truly believe that she made me hit another gear change and I had to prove that there’s only one queen. CF: It’s just how competitive I am. I want to be the best, whether it’s in media, in a match or whether I have one minute or 30 minutes … utilize every second you have on TV. I just know that I have more to give, I have more to learn and if I could just continue to not be scared to try new things and know I have the capability — kind of like, ‘Hey, I’m going to main event WrestleMania’ — people might say ‘Sure, you really think a lot of yourself,’ but I don’t think a lot of myself. I just know that I’ve got what it takes whether it takes a year, two years, 10 years, when I step out into a pay-per-view, it’s like that trick up my shoulder where people are like, ‘That’s because you’re Flair’s daughter’ or that I don’t work hard, and all I have to say is that people don’t see what I put in. This is everything to me and I think I’ve proved that whether people want to hear it or not.SN: How important is it to you to be regarded as not only the greatest women’s wrestler of all time, but one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time, period?CF: I think it was my first year, Forbes did an article about me and it was about how I wasn’t known for my looks and that … a female was being acknowledged just for her talent, her athleticism and for her career and that meant everything. I don’t want people to think ‘Oh, she’s just a good female wrestler.’ I want people to say, ‘That’s a star.’ I’m so honored to be part of the main event at WrestleMania. Ronda: Wrestling isn’t re… Me:A post shared by Charlotte Flair (@charlottewwe) on Apr 2, 2019 at 8:24am PDTSN: It feels like from big event to big event, you really try to one-up yourself. How much of that is embedded into your conscience heading into a huge event like WrestleMania? View this post on Instagram With each WWE pay-per-view event that comes and goes, it seems like Charlotte Flair does her best to one-up herself and turn in a performance more indelible than her last.So, just imagine what the SmackDown women’s champion has in store for WrestleMania 35 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday night, when she’ll face Raw women’s champ Ronda Rousey and Becky Lynch in a Triple Threat, Winner Takes All match that will serve as the first time in history that women are headlining WrestleMania in its main event.last_img read more