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Freshwater habitats in China are potentially suitable for invasive alien turtle species and, consequently, raising turtles in aquaculture facilities and the trade in turtles this supplies pose risks to habitats and native wetland communities when exotic turtles escape or are released deliberately. Online trade (e-commerce) is making an increasing contribution to turtle sales in China, seemingly driving demand and thus potentially exacerbating the risk of release. We document the scale and spatial pattern of online sales of non-native turtles over 90 days on China's Taobao.com e-commerce site. The majority of sales were in the ecologically sensitive middle and lower Yangtze river basin (82.35% of > 840,000 slider turtles Trachemys scripta elegans, and 68.26% of > 100,000 snapping turtles, Chelydridae spp.). These species are native to the Americas. Concurrently, over 2008–2018, we found 104 mentions of feral turtle issues listed on Baidu News where, among the 53 prefectures mentioned, issues with invasive turtle populations also focused predominantly in the middle and lower Yangtze river basin. Although circumstantial, this association suggests that the substantial online sale of alien turtles could be having detrimental effects in China's Yangtze river basin. It is important to safeguard these wetland habitats, which are of global importance, by improving policies for detecting and regulating invasive alien turtle issues and by warning consumers about the ecological hazard of their purchases.
Apolipoprotein E (APOE) E4 is the main genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Due to the consistent association, there is interest as to whether E4 influences the risk of other neurodegenerative diseases. Further, there is a constant search for other genetic biomarkers contributing to these phenotypes, such as microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) haplotypes. Here, participants from the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative were genotyped to investigate whether the APOE E4 allele or MAPT H1 haplotype are associated with five neurodegenerative diseases: (1) AD and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), (2) amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, (3) frontotemporal dementia (FTD), (4) Parkinson’s disease, and (5) vascular cognitive impairment.
Genotypes were defined for their respective APOE allele and MAPT haplotype calls for each participant, and logistic regression analyses were performed to identify the associations with the presentations of neurodegenerative diseases.
Our work confirmed the association of the E4 allele with a dose-dependent increased presentation of AD, and an association between the E4 allele alone and MCI; however, the other four diseases were not associated with E4. Further, the APOE E2 allele was associated with decreased presentation of both AD and MCI. No associations were identified between MAPT haplotype and the neurodegenerative disease cohorts; but following subtyping of the FTD cohort, the H1 haplotype was significantly associated with progressive supranuclear palsy.
This is the first study to concurrently analyze the association of APOE isoforms and MAPT haplotypes with five neurodegenerative diseases using consistent enrollment criteria and broad phenotypic analysis.
Across the globe, the implementation of quality improvement science and collaborative learning has positively affected the care and outcomes for children born with CHD. These efforts have advanced the collective expertise and performance of inter-professional healthcare teams. In this review, we highlight selected quality improvement initiatives and strategies impacting the field of cardiovascular care and describe implications for future practice and research. The continued leveraging of technology, commitment to data transparency, focus on team-based practice, and recognition of cultural norms and preferences ensure the success of sustainable models of global collaboration.
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.
The Yellow Sea region is of high global importance for waterbird populations, but recent systematic bird count data enabling identification of the most important sites are relatively sparse for some areas. Surveys of waterbirds at three sites on the coast of southern Jiangsu Province, China, in 2014 and 2015 produced peak counts of international importance for 24 species, including seven globally threatened and six Near Threatened species. The area is of particular global importance for the ‘Critically Endangered’ Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea (peak count across all three study sites: 62 in spring  and 225 in autumn  and ‘Endangered’ Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer (peak count across all three study sites: 210 in spring  and 1,110 in autumn ). The southern Jiangsu coast is therefore currently the most important migratory stopover area in the world, in both spring and autumn, for both species. Several serious and acute threats to waterbirds were recorded at these study sites. Paramount is the threat of large-scale land claim which would completely destroy intertidal mudflats of critical importance to waterbirds. Degradation of intertidal mudflat habitats through the spread of invasive Spartina, and mortality of waterbirds by entrapment in nets or deliberate poisoning are also real and present serious threats here. Collisions with, and displacement by, wind turbines and other structures, and industrial chemical pollution may represent additional potential threats. We recommend the rapid establishment of effective protected areas for waterbirds in the study area, maintaining large areas of open intertidal mudflat, and the urgent removal of all serious threats currently faced by waterbirds here.
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.
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 range of optical and optoelectronic applications would benefit from high refractive index (n), dense and transparent films that guide, concentrate and couple light. However, materials with high n usually have a high optical extinction coefficient (κ) which keeps these materials from being suitable for optical components that require long optical paths. We studied titanium hafnium oxide alloy films to obtain high refractive index (n>2) with minimum optical extinction coefficients (κ < 10−5) over the visible and near IR spectrum (380-930 nm). Titanium hafnium oxide alloys were deposited using pulsed DC reactive magnetron sputtering with and without RF substrate bias on silicon dioxide. For a given deposition condition intended for a specific titanium/hafnium molar fraction ratio, the ion energy of deposition species was explicitly controlled by varying the RF substrate bias. Spectroscopic ellipsometry, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) were used to characterize the films. It appears that applying RF substrate bias reduces the nanocrystalline size, changes the surface morphology and increases the refractive index while maintaining comparable titanium/hafnium cation molar fraction. Precise control of the nanostructure of ternary metal oxides can alter their macroscopic properties, resulting in improved optical films.
The recent development of in-situ liquid stages for (scanning) transmission electron microscopes now makes it possible for us to study the details of electrochemical processes under operando conditions. As electrochemical processes are complex, care must be taken to calibrate the system before any in-situ/operando observations. In addition, as the electron beam can cause effects that look similar to electrochemical processes at the electrolyte/electrode interface, an understanding of the role of the electron beam in modifying the operando observations must also be understood. In this paper we describe the design, assembly, and operation of an in-situ electrochemical cell, paying particular attention to the method for controlling and quantifying the experimental parameters. The use of this system is then demonstrated for the lithiation/delithiation of silicon nanowires.
Plasma electrolysis (PE) is a combination of electrolysis and plasma discharge. Previous studies indicated that PE usually created porous surface with irregular morphology as a result of the plasma–cathode interaction that was dominated by physical reactions. This paper demonstrated that highly ordered textured silicon surfaces could be created using PE. This abnormal anisotropic etching phenomenon implied that the chemical reactions were decoupled from the physical processes and the physical reactions were suppressed. Raman spectra confirmed that the textured silicon surface created by PE conserved the crystalline structure. Therefore, PE may lead to new process regimes for surface engineering.
The preparation of site-specific atom-probe tomography (APT) samples containing localized features has become possible with the use of focused ion beams (FIBs). This technique was used to achieve the analysis of surface oxides and oxidized grain boundaries in this paper. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), providing microstructural and chemical characterization of the same features, has also been used, revealing crucial additional information.
The study of grain boundary oxidation in stainless steels and nickel-based alloys is required in order to understand the mechanisms controlling stress corrosion cracking in nuclear reactors. Samples oxidized under simulated pressurized water reactor primary water conditions were used, and FIB lift-out TEM and APT specimens containing the same oxidized grain boundary were prepared and fully characterized. The results from both techniques were found fully consistent and complementary.
Chromium-rich spinel oxides grew at the surface and into the bulk material, along grain boundaries. Nickel was rejected from the oxides and accumulated ahead of the oxidation front. Lithium, which was present in small quantities in the aqueous environment during oxidation, was incorporated in the oxide. All phases were accurately quantified and the effect of different experimental parameters were analysed.
The poly(vinylidene fluoride-trifluoroethylene) (P(VDF-TrFE)) based ferroelectric and relaxor materials have been proved to be good electrocaloric (EC) materials. To further enhance the EC effect in ferroelectric relaxor terpolymer poly(vinylidene fluoride–trifluoroethylene-chlorofluoroethylene) (P(VDF-TrFE-CFE)), composites such as polymer-polymer blends and nanocomposites filled with inorganic nanoparticles are fabricated and investigated. It is found that the addition of small amount of filler (such as P(VDF-TrFE) or nano-ZrO2) can increase terpolymer’s crystallinity and enhance its relaxor behavior through interface couplings. The increased crystallinity and enhanced relaxor behavior together result in enhanced electrocaloric effect. The results demonstrate the promise of composite approaches in tailoring and enhancing ECE in the relaxor terpolymers.
Model alloys have been made of pure W and 1% & 5% W-Ta and W-Re. Indentation hardness and modulus data were obtained by nanoindentation to assess the effect of composition on mechanical properties. Results showed that both the Ta and Re compositions hardened with increasing alloy content, greater in the W-5%Ta composition which showed an increase of 1.03GPa (17%), compared to a 0.43GPa (7%) increase in W-5%Re. The samples also showed very small increases in modulus of ∼ 25GPa (6%) in both W-5%Re and W-5%Ta. The samples were implanted with 3000appm concentration of helium. All samples show a substantial increase in hardness of up to 107% in the case of pure W. An appreciable difference in modulus is also seen in all samples. Initial TEM work has shown no visible He bubbles, suggesting that the mechanical properties changes are due to He-vacancy cluster formation below the resolvable limit.