Mushroom relations

first_imgHarvard researchers are using one of the most comprehensive fungal “family trees” ever created to unlock evolutionary secrets.As reported in PLoS ONE on July 18, Associate Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Anne Pringle and Ben Wolfe, a postdoctoral fellow at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Center for Systems Biology, studied the genetics of more than 100 species of Amanita mushrooms — about one-sixth of the genus’s total diversity — to create an elaborate phylogeny showing how they are related.Amanita mushrooms have appeared in popular culture ranging from “Fantasia” to the Super Mario Bros. video games. Although it includes a number of edible species, such as the Amanita caesarea, the group is probably best known for its many toxic species, including the death-cap mushroom.Armed with the Amanita family tree, Pringle and Wolfe were able to determine that Amanita evolution has largely been away from species that help decompose organic material and toward those that live symbiotically on trees and their roots. More interestingly, they found that the transition came at a steep price — the loss of the genes associated with breaking down cellulose.“There had been earlier suggestions that this type of gene loss might be taking place, but our study is the first precise test of that hypothesis,” Pringle said. “The idea makes sense: If you’re going to actively form a cooperative relationship with a tree, you probably shouldn’t simultaneously be trying to break it apart and eat it. But it’s a very tricky dance to form these kinds of tight, cooperative interactions, and I think this work shows there is a cost associated with that. You have to change, you have to commit, and it can become a sort of gilded cage — these mushrooms are very successful, but they’re stuck where they are.”Amanita, however, isn’t the only mushroom to form such partnerships.“A number of mushrooms — truffles, chanterelles, and porcini — have figured out how to form these symbiotic relationships with trees,” Wolfe said. “The current thinking is that gene loss is a hallmark of the transition to symbiosis. Amanita is simply the first group we’ve been able to make that determination in because we have a phylogeny with this level of resolution.”That resolution was largely the result of Wolfe’s dedicated collecting work. In addition to many species housed in the Farlow Herbarium, at the Harvard University Herbaria, Wolfe spent months on the road tracking rare species.“Because we wanted to make sure we had a well-sampled family history, I spent a lot of time in the field collecting samples,” said Wolfe, whose stops included London and Hawaii. “The tricky part is that many Amanita mushrooms are extremely rare — in some cases, these species had only been collected once or twice in the last 50 or 60 years — and there are relatively few people with the expertise to distinguish one species from another.”Luckily, Wolfe was able to turn to one such expert — retired Bell Labs engineer Rod Tulloss, now an independent researcher and expert on Amanita mushrooms. Tulloss, whose collection of thousands of Amanita samples is stored in his New Jersey garage, which he years ago converted into a herbarium, is a co-author of the paper. As part of the research, he provided a number of crucial samples to fill out Wolfe and Pringle’s phylogeny.After extracting DNA from the samples, Wolfe used the codes of four different genes to determine how the various species are related. He then used a process called ancestral state reconstruction to show that the mushrooms have switched from being decomposers to being symbiotic with trees only once in their evolutionary history. Once the mushrooms switched to this new symbiotic lifestyle, they didn’t go back to their free-living past.Going forward, research will include studies of the entire genome of several Amanita species in an effort to better understand how symbiosis emerged, and how the mushrooms and trees maintain their partnership.Ultimately, Pringle said, the paper highlights one reason she finds such symbiotic partnerships “intrinsically interesting” — for all their apparent benefits, the cost can be high.“I think the really interesting thing is this idea that once you become symbiotic, some of your machinery is lost,” she said. “It seems like a dead end in some ways — you have to make this change to enter this niche, but once you’re there, you can’t go back — you’ve lost the capacity to be free-living.”last_img read more

You can’t manage what you don’t measure: Part two

first_img 11SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Buddy Kittle Buddy Kittle is the Co-Founder of Banker’s Mortgage Consulting, LLC. He began his mortgage banking career in 1993 as a Mortgage Loan Officer and later promoted to producing manager … Web: Details As stated in part one of this three part series it would be impossible to provide one article that explained how to improve the borrower’s experience. Part one shared how the loan originator is integral in the success or failure of attaining clear to close loans in 15 days. This article is focused on the processors and underwriters role in reaching our 15 day goal.Background:Has processing and underwriting changed that much from thirty years ago? Prior to the NINA, SISA and the plethora of the loan products that allowed borrowers to be approved for loans with little or no documentation existed true loan verification similar to the documentation required today.Notice how everything is cyclical and always comes back in style? Mortgage lending has come full circle over the last five years reverting back to documenting income and assets. Technology allows a more in depth look into the borrower than ever before. Checking for fraud, verifying social security numbers, addresses and just about anything you want to add to the buffet of reports that are available.We are doing a much better job today than ten years ago to make sure the borrower qualifies for the requested loan amount. ATR, QM and fear of onerous fines and penalties have tightened the internal documentation required by lenders.With that said so many of you must be stating or snickering that reaching the goal of 15 day clear to close is impossible. Currently the talk of the town is we need to tell our industry partners, realtors and builders to add additional time to the contract so we comply with TRID. What message are we sending to our borrowers, we aren’t getting better at mortgage lending, just worse but now is still a great time to buy or build a home! At the end of the day our borrower just wants to buy a home with as little frustration and inconvenience as possible in the least amount of time. So on to the steps to delivering just that to the borrower….Solution:“People improve when they are measured”This is a mantra that we believe in and develop a large percentage of our workflows and processes around. As I have shared in previous articles we must have a well educated mortgage banking team. So how do you know their depth of knowledge if you don’t measure them?How do you currently measure your employees/team members to ensure they have the proper depth knowledge to perform at a higher level than peer group? Most mortgage operations gauge their success by how fast they closed loans. This is only one key performance indicator (KPI) of many that should be monitored. Unfortunately most of our industry is reactive as opposed to proactive. Measuring the success or failure at the end of the process is reactive management.Other industries, such as automotive have quality checks at every critical stage to ensure a quality product is being manufactured. So what are the critical stages in mortgage lending? Most operations have an originator (MLO), processor, underwriter and closer. Do you measure performance at each of these critical stages and if so how?The Processor:We reviewed how to measure the MLO in the first article by introducing the LORC, loan officer report card. This is used to measure the MLO’s competency, performance and depth of knowledge. So how do we measure the processor and underwriter?The processor can be measured with a report card as well, that consist of the following benchmarks:Number of submissions to underwriting per loan fileNumber of conditions per loan file submissionTime frame from receipt of file to ordering of required verifications and additional documentationFollow up on required documentationTime frame from receipt of loan file to submission to underwritingNumber of loans in processingNumber of loans closed per monthType of files processed, FHA, VA or conventionalThis is just a short list of items that can be applied to your report card to measure the efficiency and quality of the processor.The Underwriter:During site visits we may interview the staff and at times we receive feedback indicating inconsistency from one underwriter to another. This as you can imagine leads to a frustrated staff and confusion between processors and originators on documentation required.Back to what I said earlier, there needs to be ongoing and specific education for each team member that you employ. A high performing mortgage operation is one that has a well educated staff. The education should be designed around the company’s culture, workflows and risk tolerance. Interpretations of guidelines have to be consistent within all levels of the mortgage staff to develop a highly performing operation.The underwriter can be measured in several different areas just like the processor, here are only a few:Number of files underwritten per dayType of files, FHA, VA or conventionalTime from file receipt to return to processorConsistency in conditions and guideline interpretationNumber of second submissions/conditions cleared per dayI’m sure at this point you are shaking your head and telling yourself you don’t have enough time to develop reports, spreadsheets and a means to track all of these KPIs. The great news is you don’t have to, read on.Monitoring Solution:The industry has a plethora of really great loan origination systems (LOS) available that have reporting software embedded. However, we want more than excel spreadsheets that we spend hours reviewing and reconciling.So we turned to Greg Ellis, President of Precision Risk Management Systems, Inc and ask “Greg, how can we create reports that aren’t time consuming but deliver detailed KPIs for management?” his response is below;“To measure, monitor and manage your mortgage operation it shouldn’t require any extra effort from management. You need a tool to do this quickly and efficiently with pre-built measuring systems and well defined performance metrics, this is critical. We don’t want management to have to reinvent the wheel. The reporting needs immediate visual feedback with drill-down details available, not a spreadsheet that users must manually manipulate. Additionally, it should deliver clear and concise information to the end user in a timely, automated fashion.”PRMS has developed such a product that integrates into several LOS extracting the data producing visuals reports. At a glance you are able to pin point potential areas of risk as well as top performers. This type of reporting is a must for operations looking to outperform their competitors.Measuring your team members with specific key performance indicators has many benefits. When conducting yearly employee reviews these reports allow you to measure performance among internal peer group, to set goals for the next year and to continuously be improving the performance of all team members for improvement of the entire mortgage operation.As I mentioned in part one;“You can’t manage what you don’t measure”While TRID is at the top of the list don’t lose sight of the fact that if you improve the borrower’s experience you will gain market share, become more efficient and increase your profitability.To fully understand the mission to have clear to close approvals in 15 days make sure to read part one of this series. Next in part three we concentrate on the mortgage manager and how their role is instrumental to reaching our goal.last_img read more

Turkey plans to focus on health and congress tourism

first_imgHe stressed that diversity in tourism is extremely important because the tourism industry is developing on the basis of the “all-inclusive” model. Turkish tourism has been very successful in the area, he added, and Turkey is one of the few countries to have implemented this system in the best possible way. Yağcı reiterated that Turkey must diversify tourism in order to achieve its goal of attracting 70 million tourists, adding that “cultural, sports and health models should be developed alongside “sun and sea” tourism”. Recalling that congress tourism has stagnated in recent years, Ayık said many congresses were canceled in 2015 and 2016 for a number of different reasons. Stressing that congress tourism has started to grow again, Ayık said that Turkey “expects significant dynamism in congress tourism, especially in 2020. We have a developed infrastructure and our competitive strength is at a very high level. We can recover in a very short time.” Erkan Yağcı, president of the Association of Mediterranean Hoteliers and Operators (AKTOB), said tourists from all over the world come to Turkey on holiday. Osman Ayık, President of the Turkish Federation of Hoteliers (TÜROFED), said that tourism in Turkey is not only related to the sea, sand and sun, but also that the goal is to promote alternative forms of tourism in, for the country, the best possible way. He also pointed out that the systems that provide care in health tourism should be further developed. “We believe that if we turn to certain investments in areas that will respond to the wishes of older Europeans to spend their lives in a temperate climate, we will create very serious potential in that area as well. Like Turkey and Antalya, we are present in all areas of tourism. We have a strong infrastructure that is easy to use in any area”, He concluded.center_img After hosting 2018 million foreign visitors in 39,5 with revenue of $ 29,5 billion, Turkey expects as many as 50 million tourists this year by harnessing its competitive power in alternative tourism areas such as health and congress tourism. Given the infrastructural readiness of the accommodation, Turkey is trying to increase revenues by expanding to other tourism sectors, but without limiting the “sun and sea” concept of tourism, reports the Daily Sabah. Also, Ayık stated that Turkey has attracted a significant share in health tourism and explained that the infrastructure of hospitals has significantly improved in terms of this form of tourism. “Our standards of service provided by hospitals have risen greatly. The scientific achievements and skills of our doctors are at a very high level. We are at a turning point in health tourism in the country”, He added. Source: Daily Sabahlast_img read more

Major division between African cultural groups

first_img– as majority vote for scrapping IDPAD-GA major rift between several prominent African groups was put on full display on Sunday when a number of the attendees voted in favour of having the International Decade of People of African Descent-Guyana (IDPAD-G) scrapped, while a handful voted in favour of it restarting from the beginning.The meeting, which was held at the Critchlow Labour College, saw representatives from many African cultural organisations, while some were clearly absent. Among the issues raised were the appointment of IDPAD-G’s Chief Executive Officer Olive Simpson, and the overcrowding of certain groups on the team.African Cultural and Development Association (ACDA) Head, Dr Eric Phillips, who is also Chairman of the Reparations Committee, told the gathering that a majority of the groups under IDPAD-G’s were formed last year. In an attempt to sell the audience on the legitimacy of the group, he said it was done in consultation with others.Certain revelations were made during the meeting, including the fact that IDPAD-GIDPADA-G’s Chairman Vincent Alexanderrented office space at 121 Regent Street, Bourda, Georgetown from Charles Corbin, the brother of former People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Leader Robert Corbin.According to Dr Phillips, issues like these need to be ironed out as they would give the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) reasons to raise concerns about possible conflicts of interest between Corbin and IDPAD-G’s Chairman, Vincent Alexander, who are also both Commissioners of the Guyana Elections Commission.Another point raised by the ACDA official was the fact that there were concerns over the proposed structure and strategy for IDPAD-G touted by the Chairman. Instead, it was recommended that five thematic areas – expiation, economy, education, equality, and employment – be used to craft policies.But, more importantly, the ACDA official said the $68 million that has been allocated to IDPAD-G should be used to create a college of African village leaders. This entity, he said, should be used to discuss the many challenges, but more seriously the fear about the coalition losing the 2020 election. Concerns were also raised about many returning Guyanese being given prominent roles when there was talent here.The meeting, which was chaired by Jonathan Adams, said based on the unanimous decision taken at the meeting, the vote would be submitted to the IDPAD-G management, who would decide on the next course of action. In the meantime, he called on the participants to fix their differences and work together.In March, Guyana hosted the 2018 IDPAD Summit, which brought together more than 60 academics, black activists, and other expert speakers from around the world to focus on eradicating the plight of African descendants through the implementation of possible solutions.The International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024) was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in a Resolution (68/237) adopted on December 23, 2013. It was subsequently launched by UN two years later, thus commencing the 2015-2024 decade aimed at highlighting issues relating to Africa and its millions of descendants around the world.Guyana had subsequently established a local arm, the IDPAD-G Committee, which is the only one of its kind in the Region, and has received the support of the Guyana Government.last_img read more