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Concept: Bolivia


Physical inactivity is a growing public health problem, and the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. Conversely, indigenous populations living traditional lifestyles reportedly engage in vigorous daily activity that is protective against non-communicable diseases. Here we analyze physical activity patterns among the Tsimane, forager-horticulturalists of Amazonian Bolivia with minimal heart disease and diabetes. We assess age patterns of adult activity among men and women, test whether modernization affects activity levels, and examine whether nascent obesity is associated with reduced activity.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Hypertension, Obesity, South America, Bolivia, Indigenous peoples, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Peru


The ridges and valleys of the Andes create physical barriers that limit animal dispersal and cause deterministic local variation in rainfall. This has resulted in physical isolation of animal populations and variation in habitats, each of which has likely contributed to the evolution of high species diversity in the region. However, the relative influences of geographic isolation, ecoclimatic conditions, and their potential interactions remain poorly understood. To address this, we compared patterns of genetic and morphological diversity in Peruvian populations of the hummingbird Metallura tyrianthina.

Concepts: Biodiversity, Evolution, Bolivia, Andes, Lima, Peru, Arequipa, Quechua


Historically, many species moved great distances as climates changed. However, modern movements will be limited by the patterns of human-dominated landscapes. Here, we use a combination of projected climate-driven shifts in the distributions of 2903 vertebrate species, estimated current human impacts on the landscape, and movement models, to determine through which areas in the western hemisphere species will likely need to move to track suitable climates. Our results reveal areas with projected high densities of climate-driven movements - including, the Amazon Basin, the southeastern United States and southeastern Brazil. Some of these regions, such as southern Bolivia and northern Paraguay, contain relatively intact landscapes, whereas others such as the southeastern United States and Brazil are heavily impacted by human activities. Thus, these results highlight both critical areas for protecting lands that will foster movement, and barriers where human land-use activities will likely impede climate-driven shifts in species distributions.

Concepts: Amazon River, Vertebrate, Brazil, South America, Bolivia, Amazon Basin, Peru, Amazon Rainforest


We studied the phylogeography and plumage variation of the Russet-crowned Warbler (Myiothlypis coronata), from Venezuela to Bolivia, with focus on populations from Ecuador and northern Peru. We analyzed sequences of mitochondrial and nuclear genes, geographic distributions, as well as photographs of specimens deposited at museum collections. Phylogenetic analyses identified three major lineages formed by populations from: Venezuela and Colombia (M. c. regulus), Ecuador and northern Peru (M. elata, M. castaneiceps, M. orientalis, M. c. chapmani), and central Peru and Bolivia (M. c. coronata). We found further population structure within M. c. regulus and M. c. coronata, and population structure and complexity of plumage variation within the Ecuador-northern Peru lineage. Time-calibrated trees estimated that most intraspecific variation originated during the Pleistocene; however, this pattern may not be attributed to an increase in diversification rate during that period. We discuss these results in the context of the importance of geographic-ecological barriers in promoting lineage diversification along the Andes and put forward a preliminary taxonomic proposal for major lineages identified in this study.

Concepts: Colombia, South America, Bolivia, Chile, Andes, Peru, Quechua, Venezuela


While global momentum supporting mobile health (mHealth) research and development is increasing, it is imperative to assess the potential fit of mHealth programs in local settings. We describe the penetration of mobile technologies among Bolivian patients with noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) to inform research on mHealth interventions for the Andean region as well as low- and middle-income countries more generally.

Concepts: Mobile phone, Bolivia, Mobile phones, La Paz, Research and development, Mobile network operator, Santiago, Chile, Altiplano


To examine the time course of wellness, fatigue and performance during an altitude training camp (La Paz, 3600 m) in two groups of either sea-level (Australian) or altitude (Bolivian) native young soccer players.

Concepts: Bolivia, La Paz, Mexico City


Only a few genetic studies have been carried out to date in Bolivia. However, some of the most important (pre)historical enclaves of South America were located in these territories. Thus, the (sub)-Andean region of Bolivia was part of the Inca Empire, the largest state in Pre-Columbian America. We have genotyped the first hypervariable region (HVS-I) of 720 samples representing the main regions in Bolivia, and these data have been analyzed in the context of other pan-American samples (>19,000 HVS-I mtDNAs). Entire mtDNA genome sequencing was also undertaken on selected Native American lineages. Additionally, a panel of 46 Ancestry Informative Markers (AIMs) was genotyped in a sub-set of samples. The vast majority of the Bolivian mtDNAs (98.4%) were found to belong to the main Native American haplogroups (A: 14.3%, B: 52.6%, C: 21.9%, D: 9.6%), with little indication of sub-Saharan and/or European lineages; however, marked patterns of haplogroup frequencies between main regions exist (e.g. haplogroup B: Andean [71%], Sub-Andean [61%], Llanos [32%]). Analysis of entire genomes unraveled the phylogenetic characteristics of three Native haplogroups: the pan-American haplogroup B2b (originated ∼21.4 thousand years ago [kya]), A2ah (∼5.2 kya), and B2o (∼2.6 kya). The data suggest that B2b could have arisen in North California (an origin even in the north most region of the American continent cannot be disregarded), moved southward following the Pacific coastline and crossed Meso-America. Then, it most likely spread into South America following two routes: the Pacific path towards Peru and Bolivia (arriving here at about ∼15.2 kya), and the Amazonian route of Venezuela and Brazil southwards. In contrast to the mtDNA, Ancestry Informative Markers (AIMs) reveal a higher (although geographically variable) European introgression in Bolivians (25%). Bolivia shows a decreasing autosomal molecular diversity pattern along the longitudinal axis, from the Altiplano to the lowlands. Both autosomes and mtDNA revealed a low impact (1-2%) of a sub-Saharan component in Bolivians.

Concepts: United States, Brazil, South America, Bolivia, Americas, Andes, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Peru


Most oil extraction areas in the Peruvian Amazon are within indigenous territories. Poor environmental practices have exposed the indigenous population to metals. We conducted a survey in two indigenous Kukama communities to assess body burdens of metals after the occurrence of two major oil spills in 2014. Urine levels above those recommended by the Peruvian Ministry of Health were observed in 50% and 17% of the study population for mercury and cadmium, respectively.

Concepts: Amazon River, South America, Bolivia, Amazon Basin, Indigenous peoples, Peru, Amazon Rainforest, Peruvian Amazon


In August 2017, the Bolivian government passed a contentious law downgrading the legal protection of the Isiboro-Sécure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS, for its Spanish acronym), the ancestral homeland of four lowland indigenous groups and one of Bolivia’s most iconic protected areas. Due to its strategic position straddling the Andes and Amazonia, TIPNIS represents not only a key biodiversity hotspot in Bolivia, but one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth, harboring exceptional levels of endemism and globally important populations of megafauna, as well as protecting substantial topographic complexity likely to support both wildlife migration and species range shifts in response to climate change [1]. The new law, set to authorize the construction of a deeply-contested road through the core of the park, has reopened one of the highest profile socio-environmental conflicts in Latin America. Roads in tropical forests often lead to habitat conversion, and indeed within TIPNIS more than 58% of deforestation is concentrated 5 km or less away from existing roads. It, therefore, seems very likely that the planned road will magnify the current scale and pace of deforestation in TIPNIS, underscoring the urgent need for revisiting the road plans.

Concepts: Biodiversity, United States, Brazil, South America, Bolivia, Indigenous peoples, Deforestation, Venezuela


For most crops, like Capsicum, their diversity remains under-researched for traits of interest for food, nutrition and other purposes. A small investment in screening this diversity for a wide range of traits is likely to reveal many traditional varieties with distinguished values. One objective of this study was to demonstrate, with Capsicum as model crop, the application of indicators of phenotypic and geographic diversity as effective criteria for selecting promising genebank accessions for multiple uses from crop centers of diversity. A second objective was to evaluate the expression of biochemical and agromorphological properties of the selected Capsicum accessions in different conditions. Four steps were involved: 1) Develop the necessary diversity by expanding genebank collections in Bolivia and Peru; 2) Establish representative subsets of ~100 accessions for biochemical screening of Capsicum fruits; 3) Select promising accessions for different uses after screening; and 4) Examine how these promising accessions express biochemical and agromorphological properties when grown in different environmental conditions. The Peruvian Capsicum collection now contains 712 accessions encompassing all five domesticated species (C. annuum, C. chinense, C. frutescens, C. baccatum, and C. pubescens). The collection in Bolivia now contains 487 accessions, representing all five domesticates plus four wild taxa (C. baccatum var. baccatum, C. caballeroi, C. cardenasii, and C. eximium). Following the biochemical screening, 44 Bolivian and 39 Peruvian accessions were selected as promising, representing wide variation in levels of antioxidant capacity, capsaicinoids, fat, flavonoids, polyphenols, quercetins, tocopherols, and color. In Peru, 23 promising accessions performed well in different environments, while each of the promising Bolivian accessions only performed well in a certain environment. Differences in Capsicum diversity and local contexts led to distinct outcomes in each country. In Peru, mild landraces with high values in health-related attributes were of interest to entrepreneurs. In Bolivia, wild Capsicum have high commercial demand.

Concepts: Antioxidant, Amazon River, Brazil, Bolivia, Selection, Andes, Capsicum, Peru