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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.
Prior work has robustly suggested that social processes in the neighborhood (i.e. informal social control, social cohesion, norms) influence child conduct problems (CP) and related outcomes, but has yet to consider how these community-level influences interact with individual-level genetic risk for CP. The current study sought to do just this, evaluating neighborhood-level social processes as etiologic moderators of child CP for the first time.
We made use of two nested samples of child and adolescent twins within the Michigan State University Twin Registry (MSUTR): 5649 families who participated in in the Michigan Twins Project (MTP) and 1013 families who participated in the Twin Study of Behavioral and Emotional Development (TBED-C). The neighborhood social processes of informal social control, social cohesion, and norms were assessed using neighborhood sampling techniques, in which residents of each twin family's neighborhood reported on the social processes in their neighborhood. Standard biometric GxE analyses evaluated the extent to which they moderated the etiology of CP.
The ‘no moderation’ model provided the best fit to the data in nearly all cases, arguing against neighborhood social processes as etiologic moderators of youth CP.
The neighborhood social processes evaluated here do not appear to exert their effects on child CP via etiologic moderation. The documented links between neighborhood social processes and child CP are thus likely to reflect a different etiologic process. Possibilities include environmental main effects of neighborhood social processes on child CP, or genotype-environment correlations.
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.
We have previously shown that the minor alleles of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) single-nucleotide polymorphism rs833069 and superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) single-nucleotide polymorphism rs2758331 are both associated with improved transplant-free survival after surgery for CHD in infants, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. We hypothesised that one or both of these minor alleles are associated with better systemic ventricular function, resulting in improved survival.
This study is a follow-up analysis of 422 non-syndromic CHD patients who underwent neonatal cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass. Echocardiographic reports were reviewed. Systemic ventricular function was subjectively categorised as normal, or as mildly, moderately, or severely depressed. The change in function was calculated as the change from the preoperative study to the last available study. Stepwise linear regression, adjusting for covariates, was performed for the outcome of change in ventricular function. Model comparison was performed using Akaike’s information criterion. Only variables that improved the model prediction of change in systemic ventricular function were retained in the final model.
Genetic and echocardiographic data were available for 335/422 subjects (79%). Of them, 33 (9.9%) developed worse systemic ventricular function during a mean follow-up period of 13.5 years. After covariate adjustment, the presence of the VEGFA minor allele was associated with preserved ventricular function (p=0.011).
These data support the hypothesis that the mechanism by which the VEGFA single-nucleotide polymorphism rs833069 minor allele improves survival may be the preservation of ventricular function. Further studies are needed to validate this genotype–phenotype association and to determine whether this mechanism is related to increased vascular endothelial growth factor production.
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.
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.
Prior meta-analytic work has highlighted important etiological distinctions between aggressive (AGG) and non-aggressive rule-breaking (RB) dimensions of antisocial behavior. Among these is the finding that RB is influenced by the environment more than is AGG. Relatively little research, however, has sought to identify the specific environmental experiences that contribute to this effect. The current study sought to do just this.
We examined whether unrelated adults residing in the same neighborhood (n = 1915 participants in 501 neighborhoods) were more similar in their AGG and RB than would be expected by chance. Analyses focused on simple multi-level models, with the participant as the lower-level unit and the neighborhood as the upper-level unit.
Results revealed little to no evidence of neighborhood-level variance in AGG. By contrast, 11+% of the variance in RB could be predicted from participant neighborhood, results that persisted even when considering the possibility of genetic relatedness across participants and neighborhood selection effects. Moreover, 17% of this neighborhood-level variance in RB was accounted for by neighborhood structural characteristics and social processes.
Findings bolster prior suggestions that broader contextual experiences, like the structural and social characteristics of one's neighborhood, contribute in a meaningful way to RB in particular. Our results also tentatively imply that this association may be environmental in origin. Future work should seek to develop additional, stronger designs capable of more clearly leveraging genetic un-relatedness to improve causal inferences regarding the environment.
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.
A peptide library was used to screen for regions containing potential linear B-cell epitope sites in the glycoproteins and nucleoprotein of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The library consisted of 156 peptides, spanning the nucleoprotein and mature GN and GC proteins in a 19-mer with 9-mer overlap format. Using pooled serum samples from convalescent patients to screen the library, six peptides were identified as potential epitope sites. Further testing of these six peptides with individual patient sera identified two of these peptides as probable epitope sites, with peptide G1451–1469 reacting to 13/15 and peptide G1613–1631 to 14/15 human sera. These peptides are situated on the GC protein at amino acid positions 1451–1469 (relative to CCHFV isolate SPU103/97) (TCTGCYACSSGISCKVRIH) and 1613–1631 (FMFGWRILFCFKCCRRTRG). Identified peptides may have application in ELISA for diagnostic or serosurveillance purposes.
Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is a bunyavirus with a single-stranded RNA genome consisting of three segments (S, M, L), coding for the nucleocapsid protein, envelope glycoproteins and RNA polymerase, respectively. To date only five complete genome sequences are available from southern African isolates. Complete genome sequences were generated for 10 southern African CCHFV isolates using next-generation sequencing techniques. The maximum-likelihood method was used to generate tree topologies for 15 southern African plus 26 geographically distinct complete sequences from GenBank. M segment reassortment was identified in 10/15 southern African isolates by incongruencies in grouping compared to the S and L segments. These reassortant M segments cluster with isolates from Asia/Middle East, while the S and L segments cluster with strains from South/West Africa. The CCHFV M segment shows a high level of genetic diversity, while the S and L segments appear to co-evolve. The reason for the high frequency of M segment reassortment is not known. It has previously been suggested that M segment reassortment results in a virus with high fitness but a clear role in increased pathogenicity has yet to be shown.
Tasers are tools of law enforcement. With their increasing use, Tasers may also be deployed on those occasions where the person is both threatening and mentally ill. This article considers various ethical propositions and describes the ability of psychiatry to minimise the use of physical interventions.
A new criterion is presented to detect global convergence to steady state, and to identify local transient characteristics, during rarefied gas flow simulations performed using the direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) method. Unlike deterministic computational fluid dynamics (CFD) schemes, DSMC is generally subject to large statistical scatter in instantaneous flow property evaluations, which prevents the use of residual tracking procedures as are often employed in CFD simulations. However, reliable prediction of the time to reach steady state is necessary for initialization of DSMC sampling operations. Techniques currently used in DSMC to identify steady state convergence are usually insensitive to weak transient behavior in small regions of relatively low density or recirculating flow. The proposed convergence criterion is developed with the goal of properly identifying such weak transient behavior, while adding negligible computational expense and allowing simple implementation in any existing DSMC code. Benefits of the proposed technique over existing convergence detection methods are demonstrated for representative nozzle/plume expansion flow, hypersonic blunt body flow and driven cavity flow problems.
Differences in genetic influences on disordered eating are present across puberty in girls. Heritability is 0% before puberty, but over 50% during and after puberty. Emerging data suggest that these developmental differences may be due to pubertal increases in ovarian hormones. However, a critical piece of evidence is lacking, namely, knowledge of genetic influences on disordered eating across puberty in boys. Boys do not experience increases in ovarian hormones during puberty. Thus, if pubertal increases in genetic effects are present in boys, then factors in addition to ovarian hormones may drive increases in heritability in girls. The current study was the first to examine this possibility in a sample of 1006 male and female twins from the Michigan State University Twin Registry.
Disordered eating was assessed with the Minnesota Eating Behavior Survey. Pubertal development was assessed with the Pubertal Development Scale.
No significant differences in genetic influences on disordered eating were observed in males across any developmental stage. Heritability was 51% in boys during pre-puberty, puberty and young adulthood. By contrast, in girls, genetic factors accounted for 0% of the variance in pre-puberty, but 51% of the variance during puberty and beyond. Sex differences in genetic effects were only significant during pre-puberty, as the best-fitting models constrained heritability to be equal across all males, pubertal females and young adult females.
The results highlight sex-specific effects of puberty on genetic risk for disordered eating and provide indirect evidence of a role for ovarian hormones and/or other female-specific factors.
The articles collected here bear witness to the continued and wide interest in England and its neighbours in the "long" thirteenth century. The volume includes papers on the high politics of the thirteenth century, international relations, the administrative and governmental structures of medieval England and aspects of the wider societal and political context of the period. A particular theme of the papers is Anglo-French political history, and especially the ways in which that relationship was reflected in the diplomatic and dynastic arrangements associated with the Treaty of Paris, the 750th anniversary of which fell during 2009, a fact celebrated in this collection of essays and the Paris conference at which the original papers were first delivered.
Contributors: Caroline Burt, Julie E. Kanter, Julia Barrow, Benjamin L. Wild, William Marx, Caroline Dunn, Adrian Jobson, Adrian R. Bell, Chris Brooks, Tony K. Moore, David A. Trotter, William Chester Jordan, Daniel Power, Florent Lenègre