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This volume brings together a unique collection of legal, religious, ethical, and political perspectives to bear on debates concerning biotechnology patents, or 'patents on life'. The ever-increasing importance of biotechnologies has generated continual questions about how intellectual property law should treat such technologies, especially those raising ethical or social-justice concerns. Even after many years and court decisions, important contested issues remain concerning ownership of and rewards from biotechnology - from human genetic material to genetically engineered plants – and regarding the scope of moral or social-justice limitations on patents or licensing practices. This book explores a range of related issues, including questions concerning morality and patentability, biotechnology and human dignity, and what constitute fair rewards from genetic resources. It features high-level international, interfaith, and cross-disciplinary contributions from experts in law, religion, and ethics, including academics and practitioners, placing religious and secular perspectives into dialogue to examine the full implications of patenting life.
In recent years, the discovery of massive quasars at
has provided a striking challenge to our understanding of the origin and growth of supermassive black holes in the early Universe. Mounting observational and theoretical evidence indicates the viability of massive seeds, formed by the collapse of supermassive stars, as a progenitor model for such early, massive accreting black holes. Although considerable progress has been made in our theoretical understanding, many questions remain regarding how (and how often) such objects may form, how they live and die, and how next generation observatories may yield new insight into the origin of these primordial titans. This review focusses on our present understanding of this remarkable formation scenario, based on the discussions held at the Monash Prato Centre from November 20 to 24, 2017, during the workshop ‘Titans of the Early Universe: The Origin of the First Supermassive Black Holes’.
Over recent decades, biomass gains in remaining old-growth Amazonia forests have declined due to environmental change. Amazonia’s huge size and complexity makes understanding these changes, drivers, and consequences very challenging. Here, using a network of permanent monitoring plots at the Amazon–Cerrado transition, we quantify recent biomass carbon changes and explore their environmental drivers. Our study area covers 30 plots of upland and riparian forests sampled at least twice between 1996 and 2016 and subject to various levels of fire and drought. Using these plots, we aimed to: (1) estimate the long-term biomass change rate; (2) determine the extent to which forest changes are influenced by forest type; and (3) assess the threat to forests from ongoing environmental change. Overall, there was no net change in biomass, but there was clear variation among different forest types. Burning occurred at least once in 8 of the 12 riparian forests, while only 1 of the 18 upland forests burned, resulting in losses of carbon in burned riparian forests. Net biomass gains prevailed among other riparian and upland forests throughout Amazonia. Our results reveal an unanticipated vulnerability of riparian forests to fire, likely aggravated by drought, and threatening ecosystem conservation at the Amazon southern margins.
Substantial clinical heterogeneity of major depressive disorder (MDD) suggests it may group together individuals with diverse aetiologies. Identifying distinct subtypes should lead to more effective diagnosis and treatment, while providing more useful targets for further research. Genetic and clinical overlap between MDD and schizophrenia (SCZ) suggests an MDD subtype may share underlying mechanisms with SCZ.
The present study investigated whether a neurobiologically distinct subtype of MDD could be identified by SCZ polygenic risk score (PRS). We explored interactive effects between SCZ PRS and MDD case/control status on a range of cortical, subcortical and white matter metrics among 2370 male and 2574 female UK Biobank participants.
There was a significant SCZ PRS by MDD interaction for rostral anterior cingulate cortex (RACC) thickness (β = 0.191, q = 0.043). This was driven by a positive association between SCZ PRS and RACC thickness among MDD cases (β = 0.098, p = 0.026), compared to a negative association among controls (β = −0.087, p = 0.002). MDD cases with low SCZ PRS showed thinner RACC, although the opposite difference for high-SCZ-PRS cases was not significant. There were nominal interactions for other brain metrics, but none remained significant after correcting for multiple comparisons.
Our significant results indicate that MDD case-control differences in RACC thickness vary as a function of SCZ PRS. Although this was not the case for most other brain measures assessed, our specific findings still provide some further evidence that MDD in the presence of high genetic risk for SCZ is subtly neurobiologically distinct from MDD in general.
The Comprehensive Assessment of Neurodegeneration and Dementia (COMPASS-ND) cohort study of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA) is a national initiative to catalyze research on dementia, set up to support the research agendas of CCNA teams. This cross-country longitudinal cohort of 2310 deeply phenotyped subjects with various forms of dementia and mild memory loss or concerns, along with cognitively intact elderly subjects, will test hypotheses generated by these teams.
The COMPASS-ND protocol, initial grant proposal for funding, fifth semi-annual CCNA Progress Report submitted to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research December 2017, and other documents supplemented by modifications made and lessons learned after implementation were used by the authors to create the description of the study provided here.
The CCNA COMPASS-ND cohort includes participants from across Canada with various cognitive conditions associated with or at risk of neurodegenerative diseases. They will undergo a wide range of experimental, clinical, imaging, and genetic investigation to specifically address the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of these conditions in the aging population. Data derived from clinical and cognitive assessments, biospecimens, brain imaging, genetics, and brain donations will be used to test hypotheses generated by CCNA research teams and other Canadian researchers. The study is the most comprehensive and ambitious Canadian study of dementia. Initial data posting occurred in 2018, with the full cohort to be accrued by 2020.
Availability of data from the COMPASS-ND study will provide a major stimulus for dementia research in Canada in the coming years.
Item 9 of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) queries about thoughts of death and self-harm, but not suicidality. Although it is sometimes used to assess suicide risk, most positive responses are not associated with suicidality. The PHQ-8, which omits Item 9, is thus increasingly used in research. We assessed equivalency of total score correlations and the diagnostic accuracy to detect major depression of the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9.
We conducted an individual patient data meta-analysis. We fit bivariate random-effects models to assess diagnostic accuracy.
16 742 participants (2097 major depression cases) from 54 studies were included. The correlation between PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 scores was 0.996 (95% confidence interval 0.996 to 0.996). The standard cutoff score of 10 for the PHQ-9 maximized sensitivity + specificity for the PHQ-8 among studies that used a semi-structured diagnostic interview reference standard (N = 27). At cutoff 10, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive by 0.02 (−0.06 to 0.00) and more specific by 0.01 (0.00 to 0.01) among those studies (N = 27), with similar results for studies that used other types of interviews (N = 27). For all 54 primary studies combined, across all cutoffs, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive than the PHQ-9 by 0.00 to 0.05 (0.03 at cutoff 10), and specificity was within 0.01 for all cutoffs (0.00 to 0.01).
PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 total scores were similar. Sensitivity may be minimally reduced with the PHQ-8, but specificity is similar.
The effects of psychoactive substance abuse are not limited to the user, but extend to the entire family system, with children of substance abusers being particularly at risk. This meta-analysis attempted to quantify the longitudinal relationship between parental alcohol, tobacco, and drug use and child well-being, investigating variation across a range of substance and well-being indices and other potential moderators. We performed a literature search of peer-reviewed, English language, longitudinal observational studies that reported outcomes for children aged 0 to 18 years. In total, 56 studies, yielding 220 dependent effect sizes, met inclusion criteria. A multilevel random-effects model revealed a statistically significant, small detriment to child well-being for parental substance abuse over time (r = .15). Moderator analyses demonstrated that the effect was more pronounced for parental drug use (r = .25), compared with alcohol use (r = .13), tobacco use (r = .13), and alcohol use disorder (r = .14). Results highlight a need for future studies that better capture the effect of parental psychoactive substance abuse on the full breadth of childhood well-being outcomes and to integrate substance abuse into models that specify the precise conditions under which parental behavior determines child well-being.
This Element considers the relationship between the traditional view of God as all-powerful, all-knowing and wholly good on the one hand, and the idea of human free will on the other. It focuses on the potential threats to human free will arising from two divine attributes: God's exhaustive foreknowledge and God's providential control of creation.
The ‘Portus Project’ investigates the social and economic contexts of the maritime port of Imperial Rome. This article presents the results of analysis of plant, animal and human remains from the site, and evaluates their significance for the reconstruction of the diets and geographic origins of its inhabitants between the second and sixth centuries AD. Integrating this evidence with other material from the recent excavations, including ceramic data, the authors identify clear diachronic shifts in imported foods and diet that relate to the commercial and political changes following the breakdown of Roman control of the Mediterranean.
Stone was a critical resource for prehistoric hunter-gatherers. Archaeologists, therefore, have long argued that these groups would actively have sought out stone of ‘high quality’. Although the defining of quality can be a complicated endeavour, researchers in recent years have suggested that stone with fewer impurities would be preferred for tool production, as it can be worked and used in a more controllable way. The present study shows that prehistoric hunter-gatherers at the Holocene site of Welling, in Ohio, USA, continuously selected the ‘purest’ stone for over 9000 years.
We define a measure for the accuracy of tomographic reconstruction in atom probe tomography, named here the spatial error index. We demonstrate that this index can be used to compare rigorously the spatial accuracy of various different approaches to the calculation of tomographic reconstruction. This is useful, for example, to evaluate the performance of alternate tomographic reconstruction approaches, and ensures that the comparisons are independent of individual data quality or other instrumental parameters. We then introduce a new “adaptive reconstruction” formalism that uses a progression of reconstruction parameters based on a per-atom correction from the cube root of the inverse of the voltage, along with linear correction factors linked to the evaporation sequence. We apply the measure for spatial accuracy to this new reconstruction protocol.
Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) is perhaps the most important grain legume in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) smallholder systems for food security and household income. Although a wide choice of varieties is available, smallholder farmers in western Kenya realize yields that are low and variable since they operate in risky production environments. Significant seasonal variations exist in rainfall and severity of pests and diseases. This situation is worsened by the low and declining soil fertility, coupled with low capacity of farmers to purchase production inputs such as fertilizers, fungicides and insecticides, and land scarcity. The objective of this study was to investigate whether growing multiple-bean varieties instead of a single variety can enable farmers enhance yield stability over seasons and ensure food security. Five common bean varieties were evaluated in multiple farms for 11 seasons at Kapkerer in Nandi County, western Kenya. Data were collected on grain yield, days to 50% flowering and major diseases. In addition, daily rainfall was recorded throughout the growing seasons. The five varieties were combined in all possible ways to create 31 single- and multiple-bean production strategies. The strategies were evaluated for grain yield performance and yield stability over seasons to determine the risk of not attaining a particular yield target. Results indicated that cropping multiple-bean varieties can be an effective way for reducing production risks in heterogeneous smallholder systems. Yield stability can be greatly enhanced across diverse environments, leading to improved food security, especially for the resource-poor smallholder farmers operating in risk-prone environments. Although the results show that some of the single-bean variety strategies were high yielding, their yield stability was generally lower than those of multiple strategies. Resource-poor risk averse farmers can greatly increase the probability of exceeding their yield targets by cropping multiple-bean varieties with relatively low yields but high grain yield stability. Trading-off high grain yield for yield stability might be an important strategy for minimizing bean production risks.
The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) are the most frequently used observer-rated and self-report scales of depression, respectively. It is important to know what a given total score or a change score from baseline on one scale means in relation to the other scale.
We obtained individual participant data from the randomised controlled trials of psychological and pharmacological treatments for major depressive disorders. We then identified corresponding scores of the HAMD and the BDI (369 patients from seven trials) or the BDI-II (683 patients from another seven trials) using the equipercentile linking method.
The HAMD total scores of 10, 20 and 30 corresponded approximately with the BDI scores of 10, 27 and 42 or with the BDI-II scores of 13, 32 and 50. The HAMD change scores of −20 and −10 with the BDI of −29 and −15 and with the BDI-II of −35 and −16.
The results can help clinicians interpret the HAMD or BDI scores of their patients in a more versatile manner and also help clinicians and researchers evaluate such scores reported in the literature or the database, when scores on only one of these scales are provided. We present a conversion table for future research.
We analyse the importance of legitimacy on public policy support by comparing how drivers of public policy attitudes evolve across the policy process consisting of the input (the processes forgoing acquisition of power and the procedures permeating political decisionmaking), throughput (the inclusion of and interactions between actors in a governance system) and output (the substantive consequences of those decisions) stages. Using unique panel data through three phases of the implementation of a congestion tax in the Swedish city of Gothenburg, we find that legitimacy is indeed important in explaining policy support. Moreover, we find a lingering effect where support in one phase depends on legitimacy both in the present and in previous phases. Hence, our study takes us one step further on the road to understand the complicated dynamic mechanisms behind the interactions between policymaking, policy support, and the legitimacy and approval of politicians and political processes.
Current approaches to reconstruction in atom probe tomography produce results that exhibit substantial distortions throughout the analysis depth. This is largely because of the need to apply a multitude of assumptions when estimating the evolution of the tip shape, and other pseudo-empirical reconstruction factors, which vary both across the face of the tip and throughout the analysis depth. We introduce a new crystallography-mediated reconstruction to improve the spatial accuracy and dramatically reduce these in-depth variations. To achieve this, we developed a barycentric transform to directly relate atomic positions in detector space to real space. This is mediated by novel crystallographic analysis techniques, including: (1) calculating the orientation of a crystal directly from the field evaporation map, (2) tracking pole locations throughout the evaporation sequence, and (3) accounting for the evolving tip radius in a manner that removes the dependence on the geometric field factor. By improving the in-depth spatial accuracy of the atom probe reconstruction, a greater accuracy of the atomic neighborhood relationships is available. This is critical in modern materials science and engineering, where an understanding of the solid solution architecture, precipitate dispersions, and descriptions of the interfaces between phases or grains are key inputs to microstructure–property relationships.
The potential 14C (carbon-14, radiocarbon) flux from disposal of 14C containing waste into air is compared with the natural 14C emanation rate from soil in order to put the 14C hazard potential from disposal of this waste in perspective with the 14C exposure from cosmogenic origin. Chemical corrosion of neutron irradiated metals, steel and Zircaloy, is bounded by diffusion of water through a thermodynamically stable metal-oxide layer and dissolution of this metal-oxide in a nuclear plant. Many countries process radioactive waste for disposal using cementitious materials, an acknowledged end-point management technique for this waste. The metal-oxides are also stable when these waste forms are embedded in cementitious materials. The 14C release rate from this Zircaloy at these alkaline and reducing conditions is comparable to the natural 14C emanation rate from soil into air. Neutron irradiated graphite and spent ion exchange resins are chemically inert and therefore other release mechanisms need to be assumed. Radiolytic corrosion is used to determine the 14C release rate from this graphite. Moreover, ion exchange—with ingressing anionic species that have a higher affinity than contained anionic 14C—is proposed as a release mechanism for these resins.