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The aim of this study was to evaluate transcriptome changes in the muscle tissue of Bos taurus indicus cull cows subjected to recovery weight gain under grazing conditions. In all, 38 Nellore cull cows were divided randomly into two different management groups: (1) Maintenance (MA) and (2) Recovery gain (RG) from weight loss by moderate growth under high forage availability. After slaughter, RNA analysis was performed on the Longissimus thoracis muscle. Semaphorin 4A, solute carrier family 11 member 1, and Ficolin-2 were expressed in the RG, which may indicate an inflammatory response during tissue regrowth. Signaling factors, such as Myostatin, related to fibroblast activation, negative control of satellite cell proliferation in adults and muscle protein synthesis were less abundant in the RG group. The only gene related to anabolic processes that were more abundant in the MA group was related to fat deposition. The genes that were differentially expressed in the experiment showed muscle repair-related changes during RG based on the greater expression of genes involved in inflammatory responses and the lower expression of negative regulators of muscle cell proliferation and hypertrophy.
The ability to interface electronic materials with the peripheral nervous system is required for stimulation and monitoring of neural signals. Thus, the design and engineering of robust neural interfaces that maintain material-tissue contact in the presence of material or tissue micromotion offer the potential to conduct novel measurements and develop future therapies that require chronic interface with the peripheral nervous system. However, such remains an open challenge given the constraints of existing materials sets and manufacturing approaches for design and fabrication of neural interfaces. Here, we investigated the potential to leverage a rapid prototyping approach for the design and fabrication of nerve cuffs that contain supporting features to mechanically stabilize the interaction between cuff electrodes and peripheral nerve. A hybrid 3D printing and robotic-embedding (i.e., pick-and-place) system was used to design and fabricate silicone nerve cuffs (800 µm diameter) containing conforming platinum (Pt) electrodes. We demonstrate that the electrical impedance of the cuff electrodes can be reduced by deposition of the conducting polymer poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) on cuff electrodes via a post-processing electropolymerization technique. The computer-aided design and manufacturing approach was also used to design and integrate supporting features to the cuff that mechanically stabilize the interface between the cuff electrodes and the peripheral nerve. Both ‘self-locking’ and suture-assisted locking mechanisms are demonstrated based on the principle of making geometric alterations to the cuff opening via 3D printing. Ultimately, this work shows 3D printing offers considerable opportunity to integrate supporting features, and potentially even novel electronic materials, into nerve cuffs that can support the design and engineering of next generation neural interfaces.
People in developed countries currently consume about three to four times as much meat and fish and five to six times as much milk products per capita as in developing Asia and Africa. Meat, milk and fish consumption per capita has barely grown in the developed countries as a whole over the past 20 years. Yet poor people everywhere clearly desire to eat more animal protein products as their incomes rise above the poverty level and as they become urbanized. Growth in per capita consumption and production has in fact occurred in regions such as developing Asia and most particularly China. Per capita consumption of animal proteins and use of cereals for animal food in Asia have both grown in the 3 to 5% per annum range over the past 20 years. By 2020, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute's IMPACT model projections, the share of developing countries in total world meat consumption will expand from 47% currently to 63%. Of the global total projected increase in meat consumption, 40% is from pork, 30% is from poultry and 24% is from beef. The latter helps mitigate the otherwise much larger decline in real beef prices expected through 2020. Projected annual growth in meat consumption in China of 3.2% per annum through 2020, up from 8.3% per annum from the early 1980s to the early 1990s, drives these results.
A rapidly expanding supply of feedgrains will be essential to achieving the desired production increases for livestock products without undue upwards pressure on grain prices, especially in view of the rôle of monogastrics and the relative increase in industrial production in developing countries. IMPACT projections under various technical and economic assumptions suggest that there is enough production supply response in world systems to accomplish these production increases smoothly. Sensitivity analysis of the impact of restrictions on China's ability to produce more feedgrains illustrates that in a system of linked global markets for cereals and livestock products, such restrictions are not effective at lowering Chinese livestock consumption, which is driven by global trade in manufactures, although they do lower Chinese livestock production. The resulting imbalance raises world food costs by one-third in 2020 over anticipated levels, encourages increased livestock exports from Latin America, discourages livestock exports from the USA and reduces meat and cereals imports and consumption in the poorer countries of Africa and Asia.
Characterisation of genetic diversity in a large number of European pig populations has been undertaken with EC support. The populations sampled included local (rare) breeds, national varieties of the major international breeds, commercial lines and the Chinese Meishan breed. A second phase of the project will sample a further 50 Chinese breeds. Neutral genetic markers (AFLP and microsatellites), with individual or bulk typing, were used and compared.
DNA from 59 European pig populations was extracted on samples of about 50 individuals per population. Individuals were typed for 50 microsatellites and for 148 AFLP bands. A subset of 25 populations was typed for 20 microsatellites on pools of DNA. Allele frequencies were estimated by direct allele counting for the co-dominant markers. Frequencies of AFLP negative alleles (absent bands) were obtained by taking the square root of absent band frequencies. Within-breed variability was summarised using standard statistics: expected and observed heterozygosity, mean observed and effective numbers of alleles, and F statistics. Between-breed diversity analysis was based on a bootstrapped Neighbor-Joining (NJ) tree derived from Reynolds distances (DR). The standard distance of Nei (DS) was also calculated.
Goats have played a key role as source of nourishment for humans in their expansion all over the world in long land and sea trips. This has guaranteed a place for this species in the important and rapid episode of livestock expansion triggered by Columbus’ arrival in the Americas in the late 1400s. The aims of this study are to provide a comprehensive perspective on genetic diversity in American goat populations and to assess their origins and evolutionary trajectories. This was achieved by combining data from autosomal neutral genetic markers obtained in more than two thousand samples that encompass a wide range of Iberian, African and Creole goat breeds. In general, even though Creole populations differ clearly from each other, they lack a strong geographical pattern of differentiation, such that populations of different admixed ancestry share relatively close locations throughout the large geographical range included in this study. Important Iberian signatures were detected in most Creole populations studied, and many of them, particularly the Cuban Creole, also revealed an important contribution of African breeds. On the other hand, the Brazilian breeds showed a particular genetic structure and were clearly separated from the other Creole populations, with some influence from Cape Verde goats. These results provide a comprehensive characterisation of the present structure of goat genetic diversity, and a dissection of the Iberian and African influences that gave origin to different Creole caprine breeds, disentangling an important part of their evolutionary history. Creole breeds constitute an important reservoir of genetic diversity that justifies the development of appropriate management systems aimed at improving performance without loss of genomic diversity.
We study the incipient motion of single spheres in steady shear flow on regular substrates at low particle Reynolds numbers. The substrate consists of a monolayer of regularly arranged fixed beads, in which the spacing between beads is varied resulting in different angles of repose and exposures of the particle to the main flow. The flow-induced forces and the level of flow penetration into the substrate are determined numerically. Since experiments in this range had shown that the critical Shields number is independent of inertia but strongly dependent on the substrate geometry, the particle Reynolds number was fixed to 0.01 in the numerical study. Numerics indicates that rolling motion is always preferred to sliding and that the flow penetration is linearly dependent on the spacing between the substrate particles. Besides, we propose an analytical model for the incipient motion. The model is an extension of Goldman’s classical result for a single sphere near a plain surface taking into account the angle of repose, flow orientation with respect to substrate topography and shielding of the sphere to the linear shear flow. The effective level of flow penetration is the only external parameter. The model, applied to triangular and quadratic arrangements with different spacings, is able to predict the dependence of the critical Shields number on the geometry and on the orientation of the substrate. The model is in very good agreement with numerical results. For well-exposed particles, we observed that the minimum critical Shields number for a certain angle of repose does not depend sensitively on the considered arrangement. At large angles of repose, as expected in fully armoured beds, the model is consistent with experimental results for erodible beds at saturated conditions.
Stemming from The Worldwide Donkey Breeds Project, an initiative aiming at connecting international researchers and entities working with the donkey species, molecularly tested pedigree analyses were carried out to study the genetic diversity, structure and historical evolution of the Andalusian donkey breed since the 1980s to infer a model to study the situation of international endangered donkey breeds under the remarkably frequent unknown genetical background status behind them. Demographic and genetic variability parameters were evaluated using ENDOG (v4.8). Pedigree completeness and generation length were quantified for the four gametic pathways. Despite mean inbreeding was low, highly inbred animals were present in the pedigree. Average coancestry, relatedness, and non-random mating degree trends were computed. The effective population size based on individual inbreeding rate was about half when based on individual coancestry rate. Nei’s distances and equivalent subpopulations number indicated differentiated farms in a highly structured population. Although genetic diversity loss since the founder generations could be considered small, intraherd breeding policies and the excessive contribution of few ancestors to the gene pool could lead to narrower pedigree bottlenecks. Long average generation intervals could be considered when reducing inbreeding. Wright’s fixation statistics indicated slight inbreeding between farms. Pedigree shallowness suggested applying new breeding strategies to reliably estimate descriptive parameters and control the negative effects of inbreeding, which could indeed, mean the key to preserve such valuable animal resources avoiding the extinction they potentially head towards, making the present model become an international referent when assessing endangered donkey populations.
Some studies suggested that the chemical abundance trend with the condensation temperature, Tc, is a signature of rocky planet formation. Very recently, a strong Tc trend was reported in ζ2 Ret relative to its companion (ζ1 Ret) and was explained by the presence of a debris disk around ζ2 Ret. We re-evaluated the presence and variability of the Tc trend in this system with a goal to understand the impact of the presence of the debris disk on a star. Our results confirm the reported abundance difference between ζ2 Ret and ζ1 Ret and its dependence on the Tc. However, we also found that the Tc trends depend on the individual spectrum used. We conclude that for the ζ Reticuli system, for example, nonphysical factors can be at the root of the Tc trends for the case of individual spectra. For more details see Adibekyan et al. (2016b).
In this work we present chemical abundances of heavy elements (Z>28) for a homogeneous sample of 1059 stars from HARPS planet search program. We also derive ages using parallaxes from Hipparcos and Gaia DR1 to compare the results. We study the [X/Fe] ratios for different populations and compare them with models of Galactic chemical evolution. We find that thick disk stars are chemically disjunt for Zn adn Eu. Moreover, the high-alpha metal-rich population presents an interesting behaviour, with clear overabundances of Cu and Zn and lower abundances of Y and Ba with respect to thin disk stars. Several abundance ratios present a significant correlation with age for chemically separated thin disk stars (regardless of their metallicity) but thick disk stars do not present that behaviour. Moreover, at supersolar metallicities the trends with age tend to be weaker for several elements.
Current Galactic surveys, including the Gaia mission, rely on the efficiency of the spectral analysis techniques to provide precise and accurate spectral information (i.e. effective temperature, surface gravity, metallicity, and chemical abundances) in the shortest computational time. In this work, we present a new package to preform complete spectral analyses based on the spectral synthesis technique (Tsantaki et al. 2017, submitted). We focus on deriving atmospheric parameters for FGK-type stars using both high and medium resolution (GIRAFFE) spectra. This method is implemented on the Gaia-ESO benchmark stars to confirm its validity, achieving similar accuracy for the two resolution setups.
The intensity of annual Spanish influenza activity is currently estimated from historical data of the Spanish Influenza Sentinel Surveillance System (SISSS) using qualitative indicators from the European Influenza Surveillance Network. However, these indicators are subjective, based on qualitative comparison with historical data of influenza-like illness rates. This pilot study assesses the implementation of Moving Epidemic Method (MEM) intensity levels during the 2014–2015 influenza season within the 17 sentinel networks covered by SISSS, comparing them to historically reported indicators. Intensity levels reported and those obtained with MEM at the epidemic peak of the influenza wave, and at national and regional levels did not show statistical difference (P = 0·74, Wilcoxon signed-rank test), suggesting that the implementation of MEM would have limited disrupting effects on the dynamic of notification within the surveillance system. MEM allows objective influenza surveillance monitoring and standardization of criteria for comparing the intensity of influenza epidemics in regions in Spain. Following this pilot study, MEM has been adopted to harmonize the reporting of intensity levels of influenza activity in Spain, starting in the 2015–2016 season.
We present observations of the new Local Group galaxy candidates Cassiopeia dSph, Pegasus dSph = And VI and Camelopadalis A. Our deep color-magnitude diagrams show that the first two galaxies are certainly Local Group members, and likely dSph galaxies at a distance similar to that of the Andromeda galaxy. Cam A seems to be a star-forming galaxy situated considerably further away.
This paper studies the genetic importance of growth curve parameters and their relevance as selection criteria in breeding programmes of Segureño sheep. Logistic and Verhulst growth functions were chosen for their best fit to BW/age in this breed; the first showed the best general fit and the second the best individual fit. Live weights of 41 330 individuals from the historical archives of the National Association of Segureña Sheep Breeders were used in the analysis. The progeny of 1464 rams and 27 048 ewes were used to study the genetic and phenotypic parameters of growth curve parameters and derived traits. Reproductive management in the population consists in controlled natural mating inside every herd, with a minimum of 15% of the females fertilized by artificial insemination with fresh semen; with the purpose being the herd genetic connections, all herd genealogies are screened with DNA markers. Estimates of growth curve parameters from birth to 80 days were obtained for each individual and each function by the non-linear regression procedure using IBM SPSS statistics (version 21) with the Levenberg–Marquart estimation method. (Co)variance components and genetic parameters were estimated by using the REML/Animal model methodology. The heritability of mature weight was estimated as 0.41±0.042 and 0.38±0.021 with the logistic and Verhulst models, respectively, and the heritability of other parameters ranged from 0.41 to 0.62 and 0.37 to 0.61, with the models, respectively. A negative genetic correlation between mature weight and rate of maturing was found.
Volcanic eruptions can cause loss of life and livelihoods, damage critical infrastructure and have long-term impacts, including displaced populations and long-lasting economic implications. Many factors contribute to disasters from natural hazards. One of these is the institutional capacity to enable hazard assessment for pre-emergency planning to protect populations and environments, provide early warning when volcanoes threaten to erupt, to provide forecasts and scientific advice during volcanic emergencies, and to support post-eruption recovery and remediation. Volcano observatories play a critical role in supporting communities to reduce the adverse effects of eruptions [Chapter 15]. Their capacity to monitor volcanoes is thus a central component of disaster risk reduction.
The resources are not available for extensive monitoring of all 596 historically active volcanoes. The availability of resources varies on local, national, regional and global scales, resulting in highly variable monitoring levels from volcano to volcano. Some countries have observatories dedicated to volcano monitoring, others monitor from within larger organisations, and still others have no permanent monitoring group. Individual volcanoes may have large comprehensive monitoring networks of multiple monitoring systems whilst a neighbouring volcano is unmonitored.
It is therefore vital to understand the monitoring capacity at local, national, regional and global scales to establish how well volcanoes are monitored, the distribution of monitoring equipment, the human resources, experience and education and the instrumental and laboratory capabilities. To this end a database has been developed: Global Volcano Research and Monitoring Institutions Database (GLOVOREMID).
In 2011 IAVCEI funded the development of VOMODA (Volcano Monitoring Database), whose main purpose was to obtain a realistic diagnosis of volcano monitoring and training of the human resources working on volcanological research and monitoring institutions (VRMI) in Latin America. In 2013, VOMODA was adopted and adapted for worldwide use as GLOVOREMID. The Global Volcano Model (GVM) supports this work. It is currently in both Spanish and English. This database will contribute to improving communication and cooperation between scientists and technicians responsible for volcano monitoring and may help to reduce the effects of volcanic crises. GLOVOREMID can be accessed online via http://18.104.22.168/glovoremid/.
We used a large sample of FGK dwarf planet-hosting stars with stellar parameters derived in a homogeneous way from the SWEET-Cat database (Santos et al. 2013) to study the relation between stellar metallicity and position of planets in the period-mass diagram. Using this large sample we show that planets orbiting metal-poor stars have longer periods than those in metal-rich systems. This trend is valid for masses at least from ≈ 10 M⊕ to ≈ 4 MJup. Moreover, Earth-like planets orbiting metal-rich stars always show shorter periods (≤20 days) than those orbiting metal-poor stars. However, in the short-period regime there are a similar number of planets orbiting metal-poor stars. Our results suggest that the planets in the P-MP diagram are evolving differently because of a mechanism that operates over a wide range of planetary masses. This mechanism is stronger or weaker depending on the metallicity of the respective system. Most probably planets in metal-poor disks form farther out from their central star and/or they form later and do not have time to migrate as far as the planets in metal-rich systems.
Non-linear models were analysed to describe both the biological and commercial growth curves of the Segureña sheep, one of the most important Spanish breeds. We evaluated Brody, von Bertalanffy, Verhulst, logistic and Gompertz models, using historical data from the National Association of Segureña Sheep Breeders (ANCOS). These records were collected between 2000 and 2013, from a total of 129 610 weight observations ranging from birth to adulthood. The aim of this research was to establish the mathematical behaviour of body development throughout this breed’s commercial life (birth to slaughter) and biological life (birth to adulthood); comparison between both slopes gives important information regarding the best time for slaughter, informs dietary advice according to animals’ needs, permits economical predictions of productions and, by using the curve parameters as selection criteria, enables improvements in growth characteristics of the breed. Models were fitted according to the non-linear regression procedure of statistical package SPSS version19. Model parameters were estimated using the Levenberg–Marquardt algorithm. Candidate models were compared using the determinative coefficient, mean square error, number of iterations, Akaike information coefficient and biological coherence of the estimated parameters. The von Bertalanffy and logistic models were found to be best suited to the biological and commercial growth curves, respectively, for both sexes. The Brody equation was found to be unsuitable for studying the commercial growth curve. Differences between the parameters in both sexes indicate a strong impact of sexual dimorphism on growth. This can emphasize the value of the highest growth rate for females, indicating that they reach maturity earlier.