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The characteristic traits of maize (Zea mays L.) leaves affect light interception and photosynthesis. Measurement or estimation of individual leaf area has been described using discontinuous equations or bell-shaped functions. However, new maize hybrids show different canopy architecture, such as leaf angle in modern maize which is more upright and ear leaf and adjacent leaves which are longer than older hybrids. The original equations and their parameters, which have been used for older maize hybrids and grown at low plant densities, will not accurately represent modern hybrids. Therefore, the aim of this paper was to develop a new empirical equation that captures vertical leaf distribution. To characterize the vertical leaf profile, we conducted a field experiment in Jilin province, Northeast China from 2015 to 2018. Our new equation for the vertical distribution of leaf profile describes leaf length, width or leaf area as a function of leaf rank, using parameters for the maximum value for leaf length, width or area, the leaf rank at which the maximum value is obtained, and the width of the curve. It thus involves one parameter less than the previously used equations. By analysing the characteristics of this new equation, we identified four key leaf ranks (4, 8, 14 and 20) for which leaf parameter values need to be quantified in order to have a good estimation of leaf length, width and area. Together, the method of leaf area estimation proposed here adds versatility for use in modern maize hybrids and simplifies the field measurements by using the four key leaf ranks to estimate vertical leaf distribution in maize canopy instead of all leaf ranks.
The aim of this study was to explore the frequency and distribution of gene mutations that are related to isoniazid (INH) and rifampin (RIF)-resistance in the strains of the multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) in Beijing, China. In this retrospective study, the genotypes of 173 MDR-TB strains were analysed by spoligotyping. The katG, inhA genes and the promoter region of inhA, in which genetic mutations confer INH resistance; and the rpoB gene, in which genetic mutations confer RIF resistance, were sequenced. The percentage of resistance-associated nucleotide alterations among the strains of different genotypes was also analysed. In total, 90.8% (157/173) of the MDR strains belonged to the Beijing genotype. Population characteristics were not significantly different among the strains of different genotypes. In total, 50.3% (87/173) strains had mutations at codon S315T of katG; 16.8% (29/173) of strains had mutations in the inhA promoter region; of them, 5.5% (15/173) had point mutations at −15 base (C→T) of the inhA promoter region. In total, 86.7% (150/173) strains had mutations at rpoB gene; of them, 40% (69/173) strains had mutations at codon S531L of rpoB. The frequency of mutations was not significantly higher in Beijing genotypic MDR strains than in non-Beijing genotypes. Beijing genotypic MDR-TB strains were spreading in Beijing and present a major challenge to TB control in this region. A high prevalence of katG Ser315Thr, inhA promoter region (−15C→T) and rpoB (S531L) mutations was observed. Molecular diagnostics based on gene mutations was a useful method for rapid detection of MDR-TB in Beijing, China.
The present study was undertaken to evaluate the influence of rumen-protected folic acid (RPFA) on slaughter performance, visceral organ and gastrointestinal tract coefficients, and meat quality in lambs. Sixty-six lambs from 120 Hu ewes were selected based on body weight and maternal diets and then assigned to six groups using a randomised block experimental design in a 3 × 2 factorial arrangement. The first factor was folic acid (FA) as RPFA in the maternal diet (0 mg/kg (M0F), 16 mg/kg (M16F) or 32 mg/kg (M32F) on DM basis). The second factor was FA in the lambs’ diet from weaning until slaughter (0 mg/kg (OC) or 4·0 mg/kg (OF)). The results indicated that the addition of 16 mg/kg FA to the maternal diet increased pre-slaughter weight (PSW), dressing and meat percentage, the reticulum and omasum coefficients, length of the jejunum and ileum, tail fat and perirenal fat coefficient and a* value of the meat colour. The addition of RPFA to the lambs’ diet increased PSW, dressing and meat percentage, eye muscle area, abomasum weight, weight and length of the small intestine, but reduced the coefficients of tail fat. An M × O interaction was observed for the weights of heart, lungs, rumen and total stomach, weight and coefficient of omental fat and the girth rib value. Collectively, RPFA in the maternal and lambs’ diet improved slaughter performance and meat quality by stimulating the morphological development of the gastrointestinal tract and the distribution of fat in the body.
Precise instrumental calibration is of crucial importance to 21-cm cosmology experiments. The Murchison Widefield Array’s (MWA) Phase II compact configuration offers us opportunities for both redundant calibration and sky-based calibration algorithms; using the two in tandem is a potential approach to mitigate calibration errors caused by inaccurate sky models. The MWA Epoch of Reionization (EoR) experiment targets three patches of the sky (dubbed EoR0, EoR1, and EoR2) with deep observations. Previous work in Li et al. (2018) and (2019) studied the effect of tandem calibration on the EoR0 field and found that it yielded no significant improvement in the power spectrum (PS) over sky-based calibration alone. In this work, we apply similar techniques to the EoR1 field and find a distinct result: the improvements in the PS from tandem calibration are significant. To understand this result, we analyse both the calibration solutions themselves and the effects on the PS over three nights of EoR1 observations. We conclude that the presence of the bright radio galaxy Fornax A in EoR1 degrades the performance of sky-based calibration, which in turn enables redundant calibration to have a larger impact. These results suggest that redundant calibration can indeed mitigate some level of model incompleteness error.
We report key learning from the public health management of the first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 identified in the UK. The first case imported, and the second associated with probable person-to-person transmission within the UK. Contact tracing was complex and fast-moving. Potential exposures for both cases were reviewed, and 52 contacts were identified. No further confirmed COVID-19 cases have been linked epidemiologically to these two cases. As steps are made to enhance contact tracing across the UK, the lessons learned from earlier contact tracing during the country's containment phase are particularly important and timely.
Developing alternatives to antibiotics is an urgent need in livestock production. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are regarded as powerful antibiotic substitutes (ASs) because AMPs have broad-spectrum antimicrobial activities and growth-promoting ability. Here, we aimed to comprehensively assess the effects of AMPs on the growth performance, diarrhea rate, intestinal morphology and immunity of healthy or challenged piglets, compared with an antibiotics group or negative control group. We performed a set of meta-analyses of feeding trials from database inception to 27 May 2019. Among the 1379 identified studies, 20 were included in our meta-analyses (56 arms and 4067 piglets). The meta-analyses revealed that (1) compared with the negative control group, AMPs significantly improved the healthy piglets’ average daily gain (ADG), average daily feed intake (ADFI), gain : feed ratio (G/F), levels of immune globulin (Ig) IgM and IgG, and intestinal villus height : crypt depth ratio (V/C) (P < 0.05). Meanwhile, AMPs significantly increased the challenged piglets’ ADG, ADFI, G/F and V/C of the jejunum and ileum, and notably deceased the diarrhea rate (P < 0.05); (2) compared with antibiotics group, the effects of AMPs were slightly weaker than those of antibiotics in the healthy piglets, but AMPs have similar effects to those of antibiotics in challenged piglets. In a higher purity, the optimal dose of AMPs may be approximately 0.01%. Our findings indicate that AMPs can improve piglet growth performance, enhance immunity, benefit intestinal morphology and decrease the diarrheal rate. AMPs could be great ASs especially under infection conditions.
Few studies have evaluated the association between a healthful plant-based diet and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). We followed 50 290 women in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS; 1992–2000) and 51 784 women in NHSII (1993–2001) for 8 years to investigate changes in plant-based diet quality in relation to changes in physical and mental HRQoL. Plant-based diet quality was assessed by three plant-based diet indices: overall plant-based diet index (PDI), healthful PDI (hPDI) and unhealthful PDI (uPDI). Physical and mental HRQoL were measured by physical component score (PCS) and mental component score (MCS) of the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey. Diet was assessed 2 years before the HRQoL measurements and both were updated every 4 years. The associations between 4-year changes in PDIs and HRQoL were evaluated. Each 10-point increase in PDI was associated with an improvement of 0·07 (95 % CI 0·01, 0·13) in PCS and 0·11 (95 % CI 0·05, 0·16) in MCS. A 10-point increase in hPDI was associated with an increment of 0·13 (95 % CI 0·08, 0·19) in PCS and 0·09 (95 % CI 0·03, 0·15) in MCS. Conversely, a 10-point increase in uPDI was associated with decreases in PCS and MCS (−0·07 (95 % CI −0·12, −0·02) and −0·10 (95 % CI −0·16, −0·05), respectively). Compared with a stable diet, an increase in hPDI was significantly associated with improvements in physical HRQoL in older women and with mental HRQoL in younger women. In conclusion, adherence to a healthful plant-based diet was modestly associated with improvements in both physical and mental dimensions of HRQoL.
Changed spatial configurations at sowing have been investigated as a strategy to minimize interspecific competition and improve the establishment and persistence of multi-species plantings in pastures, but the impact of this practice on the soil microbiome has received almost no previous research attention. Differences in populations of bacteria and fungi in the surface 10 cm of soil in the third year following pasture establishment were quantified using quantitative polymerase chain reaction and terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism methods. Populations were compared on, and between, drill rows sown to either the perennial grass phalaris (Phalaris aquatica L.), perennial legume lucerne (alfalfa; Medicago sativa L.) or the annual legume subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.). Results showed that soil microbial abundance and diversity were related to plant distribution across the field at the time of sampling and to soil chemical parameters including total carbon (C), mineral nitrogen (N), pH, and available phosphorus (P), potassium (K) and sulfur (S). Despite the 27-month lag since sowing, pasture species remained concentrated around the original drill row with very little colonization of the inter-row area. The abundance and diversity of bacterial and fungal populations were consistently greater under drill rows associated with higher total C concentrations in the surface soil compared with the inter-row areas. Our results showed that the pH and available nutrients were similar between the subterranean clover drill row and the inter-row, suggesting that soil microbial populations were not impacted directly by these soil fertility parameters, but rather were related to the presence or absence of plants. The abundance of bacteria and fungi were numerically lower under phalaris rows compared to rows sown to legumes. The richness and diversity of fungal populations were lowest between rows where lucerne was planted. Possible explanations for this observation include a lower C:N ratio of lucerne roots and/or a lack of fibrous roots at the soil surface compared to the other species, illustrating the influence of contrasting plant types on the soil microflora community. This study highlights the enduring legacy of the drill row on the spatial distribution of plants well into the pasture phase of a cropping rotation and discusses the opportunity to enhance the microbiome of cropping soils on a large scale during the pasture phase by increasing plant distribution across the landscape.
In this paper, the generation of relativistic electron mirrors (REM) and the reflection of an ultra-short laser off the mirrors are discussed, applying two-dimension particle-in-cell simulations. REMs with ultra-high acceleration and expanding velocity can be produced from a solid nanofoil illuminated normally by an ultra-intense femtosecond laser pulse with a sharp rising edge. Chirped attosecond pulse can be produced through the reflection of a counter-propagating probe laser off the accelerating REM. In the electron moving frame, the plasma frequency of the REM keeps decreasing due to its rapid expansion. The laser frequency, on the contrary, keeps increasing due to the acceleration of REM and the relativistic Doppler shift from the lab frame to the electron moving frame. Within an ultra-short time interval, the two frequencies will be equal in the electron moving frame, which leads to the resonance between laser and REM. The reflected radiation near this interval and corresponding spectra will be amplified due to the resonance. Through adjusting the arriving time of the probe laser, a certain part of the reflected field could be selectively amplified or depressed, leading to the selective adjustment of the corresponding spectra.
Alexithymia is a term to describe a state of deficiency in understanding, processing, or describing emotions. It expresses the cognitive-emotional state of vulnerable subjects who prone to suffer from psychosomatic illnesses. It’s characterized by difficulties in relationship and emptiness of feelings. It has been incriminated in genesis and maintenance of various psychosomatic pathologies, included psoriasis. Psychological stress is important in onset and exacerbation of psoriasis. We assume hypothesis that emotions that cannot be expressed through the appropriate symbolic language will be expressed through a symbolic somatic symptom.
A case study of psoriasis in a woman of 27 years without a previous psychiatric history. She was treated jointly by the service of psychiatry and dermatology. Methodology: We performed a detailed history in the course of the disease, summarizing vital changes and outstanding events of her lifetime in the different vital areas (family, work, school and sex life).
From the comprehensive revision of the ailments and pathobiography we can establish a clear relationship between physical-psychological symptoms.
Skin is an envelope that represents the boundary line between body-psyche. Skin and psyche interact in many ways. The skin reacts to feelings and perceptions. Psychosomatic patients feel extreme anxiety when they have to cope with separation and merger situations. They experience these situations as if they were to lose their physical limit. Broadly speaking, because of their alexithymia, they cannot process a painful emotion properly, and though they will express it through somatisation disorders and the development of diseases. In the case of our patient, the skin verbalizes her emotional silence.
Chinese men who have sex with men (MSM) are at high risk for depression, anxiety and suicide. The estimated prevalence of these problems is essential to guide public health policy, but published results vary. This meta-analysis aimed to estimate the prevalence of depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms and suicide among Chinese MSM.
Systematic searches of EMBASE, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, PubMed, CNKI and Wanfang databases with languages restricted to Chinese and English for studies published before 10 September 2019 on the prevalence of depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, suicidal ideation, suicide plans and suicide attempts among Chinese MSM. Studies that were published in the peer-reviewed journals and used validated instruments to assess depression and anxiety were included. The characteristics of studies and the prevalence of depression and anxiety symptoms, suicidal ideation, suicide plans and suicide attempts were independently extracted by authors. Random-effects modelling was used to estimate the pooled rates. Subgroup analysis and univariate meta-regression were conducted to explore potential sources of heterogeneity. This study followed the PRISMA and MOOSE.
Sixty-seven studies were included. Fifty-two studies reported the prevalence of depressive symptoms, with a combined sample of 37 376 people, of whom 12 887 [43.2%; 95% confidence interval (CI), 38.9–47.5] reported depressive symptoms. Twenty-seven studies reported the prevalence of anxiety symptoms, with a combined sample of 10 531 people, of whom 3187 (32.2%; 95% CI, 28.3–36.6) reported anxiety symptoms. Twenty-three studies reported the prevalence of suicidal ideation, with a combined sample of 15 034 people, of whom 3416 (21.2%; 95% CI, 18.3–24.5) had suicidal ideation. Nine studies reported the prevalence of suicide plans, with a combined sample of 5271 people, of whom 401 (6.2%; 95% CI, 3.9–8.6) had suicide plans. Finally, 19 studies reported the prevalence of suicide attempts, with a combined sample of 27 936 people, of whom 1829 (7.3%; 95% CI, 5.6–9.0) had attempted suicide.
The mental health of Chinese MSM is poor compared with the general population. Efforts are warranted to develop interventions to prevent and alleviate mental health problems among this vulnerable population.
The Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is an open access telescope dedicated to studying the low-frequency (80–300 MHz) southern sky. Since beginning operations in mid-2013, the MWA has opened a new observational window in the southern hemisphere enabling many science areas. The driving science objectives of the original design were to observe 21 cm radiation from the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR), explore the radio time domain, perform Galactic and extragalactic surveys, and monitor solar, heliospheric, and ionospheric phenomena. All together
programs recorded 20 000 h producing 146 papers to date. In 2016, the telescope underwent a major upgrade resulting in alternating compact and extended configurations. Other upgrades, including digital back-ends and a rapid-response triggering system, have been developed since the original array was commissioned. In this paper, we review the major results from the prior operation of the MWA and then discuss the new science paths enabled by the improved capabilities. We group these science opportunities by the four original science themes but also include ideas for directions outside these categories.
Echinococcus granulosus sensu stricto is regarded to have the highest zoonotic potential of all Echinococcus taxa. Globally, human infection due to this species constitutes over 88.44% of the total cystic echinococcosis (CE) burden. Here, we report a CE infection in a Nigerian camel caused by E. granulosus G1 genotype. To the best of our knowledge, this report is the first encounter of the G1 genotype in the West Africa sub-region where the G6 genotype is reportedly prevalent, suggesting that the epidemiology of this highly zoonotic group could have a wider host range and distribution in the sub-region, and emphasizes the need for further investigation into the genetic diversity of Echinococcus spp. in Nigeria and across the sub-region.
Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) exhibit multi-wavelength properties that are representative of the underlying physical processes taking place in the vicinity of the accreting supermassive black hole. The black hole mass and the accretion rate are fundamental for understanding the growth of black holes, their evolution, and the impact on the host galaxies. Recent results on reverberation-mapped AGNs show that the highest accretion rate objects have systematic shorter time-lags. These super-Eddington accreting massive black holes (SEAMBHs) show BLR size 3-8 times smaller than predicted by the Radius-Luminosity (R-L) relationship. Hence, the single-epoch virial black hole mass estimates of highly accreting AGNs have an overestimation of a factor of 3-8 times. SEAMBHs likely have a slim accretion disk rather than a thin disk that is diagnostic in X-ray. I will present the extreme X-ray properties of a sample of dozen of SEAMBHs. They indeed have a steep hard X-ray photon index, Γ, and demonstrate a steeper power-law slope, ασx.
The search for life in the Universe is a fundamental problem of astrobiology and modern science. The current progress in the detection of terrestrial-type exoplanets has opened a new avenue in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and in the search for biosignatures of life with the upcoming ground-based and space missions. To specify the conditions favourable for the origin, development and sustainment of life as we know it in other worlds, we need to understand the nature of global (astrospheric), and local (atmospheric and surface) environments of exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) around G-K-M dwarf stars including our young Sun. Global environment is formed by propagated disturbances from the planet-hosting stars in the form of stellar flares, coronal mass ejections, energetic particles and winds collectively known as astrospheric space weather. Its characterization will help in understanding how an exoplanetary ecosystem interacts with its host star, as well as in the specification of the physical, chemical and biochemical conditions that can create favourable and/or detrimental conditions for planetary climate and habitability along with evolution of planetary internal dynamics over geological timescales. A key linkage of (astro)physical, chemical and geological processes can only be understood in the framework of interdisciplinary studies with the incorporation of progress in heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary and Earth sciences. The assessment of the impacts of host stars on the climate and habitability of terrestrial (exo)planets will significantly expand the current definition of the HZ to the biogenic zone and provide new observational strategies for searching for signatures of life. The major goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the current status and recent progress in this interdisciplinary field in light of presentations and discussions during the NASA Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science funded workshop ‘Exoplanetary Space Weather, Climate and Habitability’ and to provide a new roadmap for the future development of the emerging field of exoplanetary science and astrobiology.
The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
We apply two methods to estimate the 21-cm bispectrum from data taken within the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) project of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). Using data acquired with the Phase II compact array allows a direct bispectrum estimate to be undertaken on the multiple redundantly spaced triangles of antenna tiles, as well as an estimate based on data gridded to the uv-plane. The direct and gridded bispectrum estimators are applied to 21 h of high-band (167–197 MHz; z = 6.2–7.5) data from the 2016 and 2017 observing seasons. Analytic predictions for the bispectrum bias and variance for point-source foregrounds are derived. We compare the output of these approaches, the foreground contribution to the signal, and future prospects for measuring the bispectra with redundant and non-redundant arrays. We find that some triangle configurations yield bispectrum estimates that are consistent with the expected noise level after 10 h, while equilateral configurations are strongly foreground-dominated. Careful choice of triangle configurations may be made to reduce foreground bias that hinders power spectrum estimators, and the 21-cm bispectrum may be accessible in less time than the 21-cm power spectrum for some wave modes, with detections in hundreds of hours.
India has the second largest number of people with type 2 diabetes (T2D) globally. Epidemiological evidence indicates that consumption of white rice is positively associated with T2D risk, while intake of brown rice is inversely associated. Thus, we explored the effect of substituting brown rice for white rice on T2D risk factors among adults in urban South India. A total of 166 overweight (BMI ≥ 23 kg/m2) adults aged 25–65 years were enrolled in a randomised cross-over trial in Chennai, India. Interventions were a parboiled brown rice or white rice regimen providing two ad libitum meals/d, 6 d/week for 3 months with a 2-week washout period. Primary outcomes were blood glucose, insulin, glycosylated Hb (HbA1c), insulin resistance (homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance) and lipids. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) was a secondary outcome. We did not observe significant between-group differences for primary outcomes among all participants. However, a significant reduction in HbA1c was observed in the brown rice group among participants with the metabolic syndrome (−0·18 (se 0·08) %) relative to those without the metabolic syndrome (0·05 (se 0·05) %) (P-for-heterogeneity = 0·02). Improvements in HbA1c, total and LDL-cholesterol were observed in the brown rice group among participants with a BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2 compared with those with a BMI < 25 kg/m2 (P-for-heterogeneity < 0·05). We observed a smaller increase in hs-CRP in the brown (0·03 (sd 2·12) mg/l) compared with white rice group (0·63 (sd 2·35) mg/l) (P = 0·04). In conclusion, substituting brown rice for white rice showed a potential benefit on HbA1c among participants with the metabolic syndrome and an elevated BMI. A small benefit on inflammation was also observed.
To compare the epidemiologic features (e.g. settings and transmission mode) and patient clinical characteristics associated with outbreaks of different norovirus (Nov) strains, we retrospectively analysed data of Nov outbreaks occurring in Guangzhou, China from 2012 to 2018. The results suggested that outbreaks of Nov GII.2, GII.17 and GII.4 Sydney exhibited different outbreak settings, transmission modes and symptoms. GII.2 outbreaks mainly occurred in kindergartens, elementary and high schools and were transmitted mainly through person-to-person contact. By contrast, GII.4 Sydney outbreaks frequently occurred in colleges and were primarily associated with foodborne transmission. Cases from GII.2 and GII.17 outbreaks reported vomiting more frequently than those from outbreaks associated with GII.4 Sydney.