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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.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
Active Trypanosoma cruzi transmission persists in the Gran Chaco region, which is considered hyperendemic for Chagas disease. Understanding domestic and sylvatic transmission cycles and therefore the relationship between vectors and mammalian hosts is crucial to designing and implementing improved effective control strategies. Here we describe the species of triatomine vectors and the sylvatic mammal reservoirs of T. cruzi, in different localities of the Paraguayan and Bolivian Chaco. We identify the T. cruzi genotypes discrete typing units (DTUs) and provide a map of their geographical distribution. A total of 1044 triatomines and 138 sylvatic mammals were captured. Five per cent of the triatomines were microscopically positive for T. cruzi (55 Triatoma infestans from Paraguay and one sylvatic Triatoma guasayana from Bolivia) and 17 animals (12·3%) comprising eight of 28 (28·5%) Dasypus novemcinctus, four of 27 (14·8%) Euphractus sexcinctus, three of 64 (4·7%) Chaetophractus spp. and two of 14 (14·3%) Didelphis albiventris. The most common DTU infecting domestic triatomine bugs was TcV (64%), followed by TcVI (28%), TcII (6·5%) and TcIII (1·5%). TcIII was overwhelmingly associated with armadillo species. We confirm the primary role of T. infestans in domestic transmission, armadillo species as the principal sylvatic hosts of TcIII, and consider the potential risk of TcIII as an agent of Chagas disease in the Chaco.
Potassium titanyl phosphate crystals in both x-cut and z-cut were irradiated with 185 MeV Au ions. The morphology of the resulting ion tracks was investigated using small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and atomic force microscopy (AFM). SAXS measurements indicate the presence of cylindrical ion tracks with abrupt boundaries and a density contrast of 1 ± 0.5% compared to the surrounding matrix, consistent with amorphous tracks. The track radius depends on the crystalline orientation, with 6.0 ± 0.1 nm measured for ion tracks along the x-axis and 6.3 ± 0.1 nm for those along the z-axis. TEM images in both cross-section and plan-view show amorphous ion tracks with radii comparable to those determined from SAXS analysis. The protruding hillocks covering the sample surface detected by AFM are consistent with a lower density of the amorphous material within the ion tracks compared to the surrounding matrix. Simulations using an inelastic thermal-spike model indicate that differences in the thermal conductivity along the z- and x-axis can partially explain the different track radii along these directions.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is moderately heritable, however genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for MDD, as well as for related continuous outcomes, have not shown consistent results. Attempts to elucidate the genetic basis of MDD may be hindered by heterogeneity in diagnosis. The Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) scale provides a widely used tool for measuring depressive symptoms clustered in four different domains which can be combined together into a total score but also can be analysed as separate symptom domains.
We performed a meta-analysis of GWAS of the CES-D symptom clusters. We recruited 12 cohorts with the 20- or 10-item CES-D scale (32 528 persons).
One single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs713224, located near the brain-expressed melatonin receptor (MTNR1A) gene, was associated with the somatic complaints domain of depression symptoms, with borderline genome-wide significance (pdiscovery = 3.82 × 10−8). The SNP was analysed in an additional five cohorts comprising the replication sample (6813 persons). However, the association was not consistent among the replication sample (pdiscovery+replication = 1.10 × 10−6) with evidence of heterogeneity.
Despite the effort to harmonize the phenotypes across cohorts and participants, our study is still underpowered to detect consistent association for depression, even by means of symptom classification. On the contrary, the SNP-based heritability and co-heritability estimation results suggest that a very minor part of the variation could be captured by GWAS, explaining the reason of sparse findings.
We analyzed birth order differences in means and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins from infancy to old age. The data were derived from the international CODATwins database. The total number of height and BMI measures from 0.5 to 79.5 years of age was 397,466. As expected, first-born twins had greater birth weight than second-born twins. With respect to height, first-born twins were slightly taller than second-born twins in childhood. After adjusting the results for birth weight, the birth order differences decreased and were no longer statistically significant. First-born twins had greater BMI than the second-born twins over childhood and adolescence. After adjusting the results for birth weight, birth order was still associated with BMI until 12 years of age. No interaction effect between birth order and zygosity was found. Only limited evidence was found that birth order influenced variances of height or BMI. The results were similar among boys and girls and also in MZ and DZ twins. Overall, the differences in height and BMI between first- and second-born twins were modest even in early childhood, while adjustment for birth weight reduced the birth order differences but did not remove them for BMI.
Vitamin D deficiency is common in older persons. The objectives of this study were: To examine the cross-sectional and longitudinal association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and cognitive functioning in older persons; and to explore the optimal cut-off for serum 25(OH)D.
Data of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) were used. Serum 25(OH)D was determined using a competitive protein binding assay in 1995/6 (n = 1,320). Cognitive functioning was assessed in 1995/6 and 1998/9 using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE, general cognitive functioning), Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices (RCPM, ability of nonverbal and abstract reasoning), the Coding Task (CT, information processing speed), and the 15 Words Test (15WT, immediate memory and delayed recall). The data were analyzed using linear regression analyses and restricted cubic spline functions. The MMSE was normalized using ln(31-MMSE).
Mean serum 25(OH)D was 53.7 nmol/L. After adjustment for confounding, patients with serum 25(OH)D levels below 30 nmol/L had significantly lower general cognitive functioning (beta of ln(31-MMSE) = 0.122; p = 0.046) and slower information processing speed (beta = −2.177, p = 0.001) as compared with patients having serum 25(OH)D levels ≥ 75 nmol/L in the cross-sectional analyses. For both outcomes, the optimal cut-off was about 60 nmol/L. No other significant associations were observed.
A lower serum 25(OH)D was significantly associated with lower general cognitive functioning and slower information processing speed, but not with a faster rate of cognitive decline.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
A randomised controlled trial (RCT) of high-dose v. low-dose fish oil in recent-onset rheumatoid arthritis (RA) demonstrated that the group allocated to high-dose fish oil had increased remission and decreased failure of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) therapy. This study examines the relationships between plasma phospholipid levels of the n-3 fatty acids in fish oil, EPA and DHA, and remission and DMARD use in recent-onset RA. EPA and DHA were measured in blood samples from both groups of the RCT. The data were analysed as a single cohort, and Cox proportional hazards models were used to examine relationships between plasma phospholipid (PL) EPA and DHA and various outcome measures. When analysed as a single cohort, plasma PL EPA was related to time to remission, with a one unit increase in EPA (1 % total fatty acids) associated with a 12 % increase in the probability of remission at any time during the study period (hazard ratio (HR)=1·12; 95 % CI 1·02, 1·23; P=0·02). Adjustment for smoking, anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies and ‘shared epitope’ HLA-DR allele status did not change the HR. Plasma PL EPA, adjusted for the same variables, was negatively related to time to DMARD failure (HR=0·85; 95 % CI 0·72, 0·99; P=0·047). The HR for DHA and time to remission or DMARD failure were similar in magnitude to those for EPA, but not statistically significant. Biomarkers of n-3 status, such as plasma PL EPA, have the potential to predict clinical outcomes relevant to standard drug treatment of RA patients.
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.
Poor self-regulation has been implicated as a significant risk factor for the development of multiple forms of psychopathology. This research examined the proposition that self-regulation deficits differentially predict aggressive behavior and depressive symptoms, depending on children's social approach versus avoidance motivation. A prospective, multiple-informant approach was used to test this hypothesis in 419 children (M age = 8.92, SD = 0.36). Parents rated children's inhibitory control. Children completed measures of social approach–avoidance motivation and depressive symptoms. Teachers rated children's aggressive behavior. As anticipated, poor inhibitory control predicted aggressive behavior in boys with high but not low approach motivation and low but not high avoidance motivation, whereas poor inhibitory control predicted depressive symptoms in girls with high but not low avoidance motivation. This research supports several complementary theoretical models of psychopathology and provides insight into the differential contributions of poor self-regulation to maladaptive developmental outcomes. The findings suggest the need for targeted intervention programs that consider heterogeneity among children with self-regulatory deficits.
This study examines the effect of implantation and annealing parameters on the formation of Ge crystallites in ion-implanted silica. Samples were implanted at room temperature or −196oC with 1.0 MeV Ge+ ions to fluences in the range from 0.6 to 3×1017 Ge.cm−2. Ge nanocrystals were not observed in samples implanted at −196°C but were observed in samples irradiated at room temperature. Nanocrystals were observed in all samples after annealing and their size distribution was found to be almost independent of the implant fluence. The distributions were also shown to be asymmetrical with depth, with smaller nanocrystals located on the near-surface side of the implant distribution.
Non-stoichiometric GaAs layers with semi-insulating properties can be produced by low-temperature molecular beam epitaxy or ion implantation. The latter is the subject of the present report wherein the solid-phase epitaxial growth of amorphized, non-stoichiometric GaAs layers has been investigated with time-resolved reflectivity, Rutherford backscattering spectrometry and transmission electron microscopy. GaAs substrates were implanted with Ga and/or As ions and annealed in air at a temperature of 260°C. The recrystallized material was composed of a thin, crystalline layer bordered by a thick, twinned layer. Non-stoichiometry results in a roughening of the amorphous/crystalline interface and the transformation from planar to non-planar regrowth. The onset of the transformation and the rate thereof can increase with an increase in non-stoichiometry. Non-stoichiometry can be achieved on a macroscopic scale via Ga or As implants or on a microscopic scale via Ga and As implants. The influence of the latter is greatest at low doses whilst the former dominates at high doses.