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Breakthrough Listen is a 10-yr initiative to search for signatures of technologies created by extraterrestrial civilisations at radio and optical wavelengths. Here, we detail the digital data recording system deployed for Breakthrough Listen observations at the 64-m aperture CSIRO Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia. The recording system currently implements two modes: a dual-polarisation, 1.125-GHz bandwidth mode for single-beam observations, and a 26-input, 308-MHz bandwidth mode for the 21-cm multibeam receiver. The system is also designed to support a 3-GHz single-beam mode for the forthcoming Parkes ultra-wideband feed. In this paper, we present details of the system architecture, provide an overview of hardware and software, and present initial performance results.
We describe the motivation and design details of the ‘Phase II’ upgrade of the Murchison Widefield Array radio telescope. The expansion doubles to 256 the number of antenna tiles deployed in the array. The new antenna tiles enhance the capabilities of the Murchison Widefield Array in several key science areas. Seventy-two of the new tiles are deployed in a regular configuration near the existing array core. These new tiles enhance the surface brightness sensitivity of the array and will improve the ability of the Murchison Widefield Array to estimate the slope of the Epoch of Reionisation power spectrum by a factor of ∼3.5. The remaining 56 tiles are deployed on long baselines, doubling the maximum baseline of the array and improving the array u, v coverage. The improved imaging capabilities will provide an order of magnitude improvement in the noise floor of Murchison Widefield Array continuum images. The upgrade retains all of the features that have underpinned the Murchison Widefield Array’s success (large field of view, snapshot image quality, and pointing agility) and boosts the scientific potential with enhanced imaging capabilities and by enabling new calibration strategies.
The role that vitamin D plays in pulmonary function remains uncertain. Epidemiological studies reported mixed findings for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D)–pulmonary function association. We conducted the largest cross-sectional meta-analysis of the 25(OH)D–pulmonary function association to date, based on nine European ancestry (EA) cohorts (n 22 838) and five African ancestry (AA) cohorts (n 4290) in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology Consortium. Data were analysed using linear models by cohort and ancestry. Effect modification by smoking status (current/former/never) was tested. Results were combined using fixed-effects meta-analysis. Mean serum 25(OH)D was 68 (sd 29) nmol/l for EA and 49 (sd 21) nmol/l for AA. For each 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, forced expiratory volume in the 1st second (FEV1) was higher by 1·1 ml in EA (95 % CI 0·9, 1·3; P<0·0001) and 1·8 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·5; P<0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·06), and forced vital capacity (FVC) was higher by 1·3 ml in EA (95 % CI 1·0, 1·6; P<0·0001) and 1·5 ml (95 % CI 0·8, 2·3; P=0·0001) in AA (Prace difference=0·56). Among EA, the 25(OH)D–FVC association was stronger in smokers: per 1 nmol/l higher 25(OH)D, FVC was higher by 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·1, 2·3) for current smokers and 1·7 ml (95 % CI 1·2, 2·1) for former smokers, compared with 0·8 ml (95 % CI 0·4, 1·2) for never smokers. In summary, the 25(OH)D associations with FEV1 and FVC were positive in both ancestries. In EA, a stronger association was observed for smokers compared with never smokers, which supports the importance of vitamin D in vulnerable populations.
BACKGROUND: IGTS is a rare phenomenon of paradoxical germ cell tumor (GCT) growth during or following treatment despite normalization of tumor markers. We sought to evaluate the frequency, clinical characteristics and outcome of IGTS in patients in 21 North-American and Australian institutions. METHODS: Patients with IGTS diagnosed from 2000-2017 were retrospectively evaluated. RESULTS: Out of 739 GCT diagnoses, IGTS was identified in 33 patients (4.5%). IGTS occurred in 9/191 (4.7%) mixed-malignant GCTs, 4/22 (18.2%) immature teratomas (ITs), 3/472 (0.6%) germinomas/germinomas with mature teratoma, and in 17 secreting non-biopsied tumours. Median age at GCT diagnosis was 10.9 years (range 1.8-19.4). Male gender (84%) and pineal location (88%) predominated. Of 27 patients with elevated markers, median serum AFP and Beta-HCG were 70 ng/mL (range 9.2-932) and 44 IU/L (range 4.2-493), respectively. IGTS occurred at a median time of 2 months (range 0.5-32) from diagnosis, during chemotherapy in 85%, radiation in 3%, and after treatment completion in 12%. Surgical resection was attempted in all, leading to gross total resection in 76%. Most patients (79%) resumed GCT chemotherapy/radiation after surgery. At a median follow-up of 5.3 years (range 0.3-12), all but 2 patients are alive (1 succumbed to progressive disease, 1 to malignant transformation of GCT). CONCLUSION: IGTS occurred in less than 5% of patients with GCT and most commonly after initiation of chemotherapy. IGTS was more common in patients with IT-only on biopsy than with mixed-malignant GCT. Surgical resection is a principal treatment modality. Survival outcomes for patients who developed IGTS are favourable.
Weed resistance to herbicides occurs when herbicides are overused and can be mitigated by reducing their use. Consensus on herbicide resistance management strategies is problematic given strong industrial profit motive links in the weed science discipline.
Life has been described as information flowing in molecular streams (Dawkins, 1996).Our growing understanding of the impact of horizontal gene transfer on evolutionary dynamics reinforces this fluid-like flow of molecular information (Joyce, 2002). The diversity of nucleic acid sequences, those known and yet to be characterized across Earth's varied environments, along with the vast repertoire of catalytic and structural proteins, presents as more of a dynamic molecular river than a tree of life. These informational biopolymers function as a mutualistic union so universal as to have been termed the Central Dogma (Crick, 1958). It is the distinct folding dynamics-the digital-like base pairing dominating nucleic acids, and the environmentally responsive and diverse range of analog-like interactions dictating protein folding (Goodwin et al., 2012)-that provides the basis for the mutualism. The intertwined functioning of these analog and digital forms of information (Goodwin et al., 2012) unified within diverse chemical networks is heralded as the Darwinian threshold of cellular life (Woese, 2002).
The discovery of prion diseases (Chien et al., 2004; Jablonka and Raz, 2009; Paravastu et al., 2008) introduced the paradigm of protein templates that propagate conformational information, suggesting a new context for Darwinian evolution. When taking both protein and nucleic acid moelcular evolution into consideration (Cairns- Smith, 1966; Joyce, 2002), the conceptual framework for chemical evolution can be generalized into three orthogonal dimensions as shown in Figure 5.1 (Goodwin et al., 2014). The 1st dimension manifests structural order through covalent polymerization reactions and includes chain length, sequence, and linkage chemistry inherent to a dynamic chemical network. The 2nd dimension extends the order in dynamic conformational networks through noncovalent interactions of the polymers. This dimension includes intramolecular and intermolecular forces, from macromolecular folding to supramolecular assembly to multicomponent quaternary structure. Folding in this 2nd dimension certainly depends on the primary polymer sequence, and the folding/assembly diversity yields an additional set of environmentally constrained supramolecular folding codes. For example, double-stranded DNA assemblies are dominated by the rules of complementary base pairing, while the self-propagating conformations of prions are based on additional noncovalent, environmentally-dependent interactions.
This work reports the growth of crystalline SrHfxTi1−xO3 (SHTO) films on Ge (001) substrates by atomic layer deposition. Samples were prepared with different Hf content x to explore if strain, from tensile (x = 0) to compressive (x = 1), affected film crystallization temperature and how composition affected properties. Amorphous films grew at 225 °C and crystallized into epitaxial layers at annealing temperatures that varied monotonically with composition from ~530 °C (x = 0) to ~660 °C (x = 1). Transmission electron microscopy revealed abrupt interfaces. Electrical measurements revealed 0.1 A/cm2 leakage current at 1 MV/cm for x = 0.55.
Approximately half of the variation in wellbeing measures overlaps with variation in personality traits. Studies of non-human primate pedigrees and human twins suggest that this is due to common genetic influences. We tested whether personality polygenic scores for the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) domains and for item response theory (IRT) derived extraversion and neuroticism scores predict variance in wellbeing measures. Polygenic scores were based on published genome-wide association (GWA) results in over 17,000 individuals for the NEO-FFI and in over 63,000 for the IRT extraversion and neuroticism traits. The NEO-FFI polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction in 7 cohorts, positive affect in 12 cohorts, and general wellbeing in 1 cohort (maximal N = 46,508). Meta-analysis of these results showed no significant association between NEO-FFI personality polygenic scores and the wellbeing measures. IRT extraversion and neuroticism polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction and positive affect in almost 37,000 individuals from UK Biobank. Significant positive associations (effect sizes <0.05%) were observed between the extraversion polygenic score and wellbeing measures, and a negative association was observed between the polygenic neuroticism score and life satisfaction. Furthermore, using GWA data, genetic correlations of -0.49 and -0.55 were estimated between neuroticism with life satisfaction and positive affect, respectively. The moderate genetic correlation between neuroticism and wellbeing is in line with twin research showing that genetic influences on wellbeing are also shared with other independent personality domains.
Studies have suggested both adverse and protective associations of obesity with depressive symptoms. We examined the contribution of environmental and heritable factors in this association. Participants were same-sex twin pairs from two population-based twin cohort studies, the Older Finnish Twin Cohort (n = 8,215; mean age = 44.1) and the US Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS; n = 1,105; mean age = 45.1). Body mass index (BMI) was calculated from self-reported height and weight. Depressive symptoms were assessed using Beck's Depression Inventory (BDI; Finnish Twin Cohort), and by negative and positive affect scales (MIDUS). In the Finnish Twin Cohort, higher BMI was associated with higher depressive symptoms in monozygotic (MZ) twins (B = 2.01, 95% CI = 1.0, 3.0) and dizygotic (DZ) twins (B = 1.17, 0.5, 1.9) with BMI >22. This association was observed in within-pair analysis in DZ twins (B = 1.47, CI = 0.4, 2.6) but not in within-pair analysis of MZ twins (B = 0.03, CI = -1.9, 2.0). Consistent with the latter result, a bivariate genetic model indicated that the association between higher BMI and higher depressive symptoms was largely mediated by genetic factors. The results of twin-pair analysis and bivariate genetic model were replicated in the MIDUS sample. These findings suggest an association between obesity and higher depressive symptoms, which is largely explained by shared heritable biological mechanisms.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm is a multifactorial disease that is a leading cause of death in developed countries. Matrix-metalloproteases (MMPs) are part of the disease process, however, assessing their role in disease initiation and progression has been difficult and animal models have become essential. Combining Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) proteolytic beacons activated in the presence of MMPs with 2-photon microscopy allows for a novel method of evaluating MMP activity within the extracellular matrix (ECM). Single and 2-photon spectra for proteolytic beacons were determined in vitro. Ex vivo experiments using the apolipoprotein E knockout angiotensin II-infused mouse model of aneurysm imaged ECM architecture simultaneously with the MMP-activated FRET beacons. 2-photon spectra of the two-color proteolytic beacons showed peaks for the individual fluorophores that enable imaging of MMP activity through proteolytic cleavage. Ex vivo imaging of the beacons within the ECM revealed both microstructure and MMP activity. 2-photon imaging of the beacons in aneurysmal tissue showed an increase in proteolytic cleavage within the ECM (p<0.001), thus indicating an increase in MMP activity. Our data suggest that FRET-based proteolytic beacons show promise in assessing MMP activity within the ECM and will therefore allow future studies to identify the heterogeneous distribution of simultaneous ECM remodeling and protease activity in aneurysmal disease.
We aimed to characterize the geographic distribution of post-Hurricane Sandy emergency department use in administrative flood evacuation zones of New York City.
Using emergency claims data, we identified significant deviations in emergency department use after Hurricane Sandy. Using time-series analysis, we analyzed the frequency of visits for specific conditions and comorbidities to identify medically vulnerable populations who developed acute postdisaster medical needs.
We found statistically significant decreases in overall post-Sandy emergency department use in New York City but increased utilization in the most vulnerable evacuation zone. In addition to dialysis- and ventilator-dependent patients, we identified that patients who were elderly or homeless or who had diabetes, dementia, cardiac conditions, limitations in mobility, or drug dependence were more likely to visit emergency departments after Hurricane Sandy. Furthermore, patients were more likely to develop drug-resistant infections, require isolation, and present for hypothermia, environmental exposures, or administrative reasons.
Our study identified high-risk populations who developed acute medical and social needs in specific geographic areas after Hurricane Sandy. Our findings can inform coherent and targeted responses to disasters. Early identification of medically vulnerable populations can help to map “hot spots” requiring additional medical and social attention and prioritize resources for areas most impacted by disasters. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:351–361)
The dynamic model Nitrogen Dynamics in Crop rotations in Ecological Agriculture (NDICEA) was used to assess the nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) balance of long-term organic cropping trials and typical organic crop rotations on a range of soil types and rainfall zones in the UK. The measurements of soil N taken at each of the organic trial sites were also used to assess the performance of NDICEA. The modeled outputs compared well to recorded soil N levels, with relatively small error margins. NDICEA therefore seems to be a useful tool for UK organic farmers. The modeling of typical organic rotations has shown that positive N balances can be achieved, although negative N balances can occur under high rainfall conditions and on lighter soil types as a result of leaching. The analysis and modeling also showed that some organic cropping systems rely on imported sources of P and K to maintain an adequate balance and large deficits of both nutrients are apparent in stockless systems. Although the K deficits could be addressed through the buffering capacity of minerals, the amount available for crop uptake will depend on the type and amount of minerals present, current cropping and fertilization practices and the climatic environment. A P deficit represents a more fundamental problem for the maintenance of crop yields and the organic sector currently relies on mined sources of P which represents a fundamental conflict with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements organic principles.