Tom Reader

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BACKGROUND The serious biological consequences of metal toxicity are well documented, but the key modes of action of most metals are unknown. To help unravel molecular mechanisms underlying the action of chromium, a metal of major toxicological importance, we grew over 6,000 heterozygous yeast mutants in competition in the presence of chromium.(More)
Populations of genetically uniform microorganisms exhibit phenotypic heterogeneity, where individual cells have varying phenotypes. Such phenotypes include fitness-determining traits. Phenotypic heterogeneity has been linked to increased population-level fitness in laboratory studies, but its adaptive significance for wild microorganisms in the natural(More)
Maternal experience before and during pregnancy is known to play a key role in offspring development. However, the influence of social cues about disease in the maternal environment has not been explored. We indirectly exposed pregnant mice to infected neighbours by housing them next to non-contagious conspecifics infected with Babesia microti. We examined(More)
Humans are often seen as unusual in displaying altruistic behaviour towards non-relatives. Here we outline and test a hypothesis that human altruistic traits evolved as a result of sexual selection. We develop a psychometric scale to measure mate preference towards altruistic traits (the MPAT scale). We then seek evidence of whether mate choice on the basis(More)
Palatable Batesian mimics are avoided by predators because they resemble noxious or defended species. The striking resemblance of many hoverflies to noxious Hymenoptera is a "textbook" example of Batesian mimicry, but evidence that selection by predators has shaped the evolution of hoverfly patterns is weak. We looked for geographical and temporal trends in(More)
The harvest mouse (Micromys minutus) is understudied compared to other small mammals as a result of its small size and scansorial habits. This study in wetlands dominated by common reed (Phragmites australis) compared nest census, a commonly used technique to confirm presence/absence and monitor populations, with live-trapping using Longworths and a(More)
Many Batesian mimics are considered to be inaccurate copies of their models, including a number of hoverfly species which appear to be poor mimics of bees and wasps. This inaccuracy is surprising since more similar mimics are expected to deceive predators more frequently and therefore have greater survival. One suggested explanation is that mimics which(More)
Safety in aviation has often been compared with safety in healthcare. Following a recent article in this journal, the UK government set up an Independent Patient Safety Investigation Service, to emulate a similar well-established body in aviation. On the basis of a detailed review of relevant publications that examine patient safety in the context of(More)
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