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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.
The development and subsistence strategies adopted in ancient settlements are crucial to the understanding of long-term human–environmental interaction in the past. Here, we reassess the chronology of the ancient walled settlement of Sanjiao in the Hexi Corridor in northwestern China through accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon (AMS 14C) dating and explore the subsistence of the settlers inside through the identification of carbonized seeds and charcoal. In addition, high-resolution paleoclimate records in the Hexi Corridor and nearby regions are employed to explore the reason for the construction of Sanjiao. Our results show that Sanjiao was built around 828 cal BC and remained inhabited through 384–116 cal BC. This indicates Sanjiao is the earliest known walled settlement in the Hexi Corridor. Ancient people at Sanjiao consumed crops such as barley, broomcorn millet, and foxtail millet, and used wood from Tamarix chinensis, Tamarix, Salix, Picea, Hippophae, Betulaceae, and Poaceae as fuel. The construction date of Sanjiao correlates with climate deterioration and social upheavals in the Hexi Corridor, potentially suggesting a defensive purpose for the site.
With the aims of overcoming the limitations of the existing basic flow model derived from an axisymmetric generating body and extending the aerodynamic design method of the airframe/inlet integrated waverider vehicle, this study develops an upgraded basic flow model derived from an axisymmetric shock wave. It then upgrades the design method for airframe/inlet integration of an air-breathing hypersonic waverider vehicle, which is termed the ‘full-waverider vehicle’ in this study. In this paper, first, the design principle and method for the upgraded full-waverider vehicle derived from an axisymmetric basic shock wave are described in detail. Second, an upgraded basic flow model that accounts for both internal and external flows is derived from an axisymmetric basic shock wave by use of both the streamline tracing method and the method of characteristics (MOC). Third, the upgraded full-waverider vehicle is developed from the upgraded basic flow model by the streamline tracing method. Fourth, the design theories and methodologies of both the upgraded basic flow model and the upgraded full-waverider vehicle are validated by a numerical computation method. Finally, the aerodynamic performances and viscous effects of both the upgraded basic flow model and the upgraded full-waverider vehicle are analysed by numerical computation. The obtained results show that the upgraded basic flow model and aerodynamic design method are effective for the design of the airframe/inlet integration of an air-breathing hypersonic waverider vehicle.
Conventional electron microscopy during the last three decades has experienced tremendous developments, especially in equipment design and engineering, to become one of the most widely recognized and powerful tools for key research areas in materials science and nanotechnology. In this article, we discuss scanning ultrafast electron microscopy (S-UEM) as a new methodology for four-dimensional electron imaging of material surfaces. We also illustrate a few unique applications. By monitoring secondary electrons emitted from surfaces of photoactive materials, photo- and electron-impact-induced electrons and holes near surfaces, interfaces, and heterojunctions can be imaged with adequate spatial and temporal resolution. Charge separation, transport, and anisotropic motions as well as their dependence on carrier energies can be resolved. S-UEM is poised to directly image and visualize relevant interfacial dynamics in real space and time for emerging optoelectronic devices and help push their performance.
Compared with conventional identification methods, DNA-based genetic approaches such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and satellites are much more reliable for pig identification and meat traceability. In this study, multiallelic amplification fragments with multiple SNPs, incorporating the advantages of both SNPs and microsatellites, were explored for the first time for pig identification and meat traceability. Primer pairs for multiallelic fragments and their optimal SNPs were successfully selected and used for identification of individuals from Suzhong and Duroc populations. Meanwhile, the combined panel of the above mentioned primer pairs together with their optimal SNPs for Suzhong and/or Duroc pigs were validated for identification of the hybrids (Suzhong×Duroc). Therefore, we have successfully selected multiallelic amplification fragments with multiple SNPs to identify pigs and their meat samples from Suzhong, Duroc or their hybrids. Our study demonstrates that our method is more powerful for pig identification or meat traceability than SNPs or microsatellites.
Knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of the population regarding severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) in endemic areas of Lu'an in China were assessed before and after an intervention programme. The pre-intervention phase was conducted using a sample of 425 participants from the 12 selected villages with the highest rates of endemic SFTS infection. A predesigned interview questionnaire was used to assess KAP. Subsequently, an intervention programme was designed and applied in the selected villages. KAP was re-assessed for each population in the selected villages using the same interview questionnaire. Following 2 months of the programme, 339 participants had completed the re-assessed survey. The impact of the intervention programme was evaluated using suitable statistical methods. A significant increase in the KAP and total KAP scores was noted following the intervention programme, whereas the proportion of correct knowledge, the positive attitudes and the effective practices toward SFTS of respondents increased significantly. The intervention programme was effective in improving KAP level of SFTS in populations that were resident in endemic areas.
Upgraded heating and current drive (H/CD) systems have been equipped on the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST). With the upgraded H/CD systems, the operation space of EAST is extended, and the ability to achieve higher performance is improved. In this paper, a 0.5 dimension transport code named Minute Embedded Tokamak Integrated Simulator (METIS) is applied to predict the EAST operation space and to assess the current drive capability of the 4.6 GHz lower hybrid current drive system. Predictive simulation of several EAST scenarios, including steady-state high confinement mode (H-mode), advanced regime, high normalized beta and high electron temperature, are also performed with the available H/CD systems. The simulation results provide a guidance for forthcoming advanced EAST experiments.
Neoseiulus barkeri (HUGHES) is the natural enemy of spider mites, whiteflies and thrips. Screening for chemically-resistant predatory mites is a practical way to balance the contradiction between the pesticide using and biological control. In this study, the number of eggs laid by fenpropathrin-susceptible and resistant strains of N. barkeri was compared. Additionally, we cloned three N. barkeri vitellogenin (Vg) genes and used quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction to quantify Vg expression in susceptible and resistant strains. The total number of eggs significantly increased in the fenpropathrin-resistant strain. The full-length cDNA cloning of three N. barkeri Vg genes (NbVg1, NbVg2 and NbVg3) revealed that the open reading frames of NbVg1, NbVg2 and NbVg3 were 5571, 5532 and 4728 bp, encoding 1856, 1843 and 1575 amino acids, respectively. The three N. barkeri Vg possessed the Vitellogenin-N domain (or lipoprotein N-terminal domain (LPD_N)), von Willebrand factor type D domain (VWD) and the domain with unknown function 1943 (DUF1943). The NbVg1 and NbVg2 expression levels were significantly higher in the resistant strain than in the susceptible strain, while the NbVg3 expression level was lower in the resistant strain. Thus, we speculate that the increased number of eggs laid by the fenpropathrin-resistant strain of N. barkeri may be a consequence of changes in Vg gene expression.
Dendritic cells (DCs) are antigen-presenting cells (APCs) with the unique ability to induce both innate immune responses and a highly specific acquired immunity. DCs are crucial to induce immunity, and their maturation and functions are influenced by microbial and environmental stimuli. Chicken DCs are composed of several subtypes including bursal secretory dendritic cells (BSDCs), follicular dendritic cells (FDCs), and thymic dendritic cells (TDCs). DC maturation depends on the nature of the perturbation and permits unique and efficient immune responses for each pathogen. DCs differentially recognise the viruses, bacteria, parasite and fungi and specifically regulate the immune response. Dendritic cells (DCs) are ‘nature's adjuvants’ and, as such represent an essential component of any vaccination strategy. The understanding of DC regulatory mechanisms opens a new horizon for the development of new vaccines and their targeting with the vaccination for elicitation of better immunity levels. The following review summarises the current state of knowledge of DCs and their specific functions during host pathogens interaction.
We report on a target system supporting automated positioning of nano-targets with a precision resolution of
in three dimensions. It relies on a confocal distance sensor and a microscope. The system has been commissioned to position nanometer targets with 1 Hz repetition rate. Integrating our prototype into the table-top ATLAS 300 TW-laser system at the Laboratory for Extreme Photonics in Garching, we demonstrate the operation of a 0.5 Hz laser-driven proton source with a shot-to-shot variation of the maximum energy about 27% for a level of confidence of 0.95. The reason of laser shooting experiments operated at 0.5 Hz rather than 1 Hz is because the synchronization between the nano-foil target positioning system and the laser trigger needs to improve.
The sealed tube Zn reduction method has been applied for small-mass samples ranging from 15 to 100 μg carbon preparation for accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon (14C) measurements at the AMS-14C Preparation Lab in Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (GIGCAS). The volume of the sealed reactor tube is reduced to ~0.75 cm3 in order to increase the yield of graphite. Graphite targets are measured at the Keck Carbon Cycle AMS Facility at the University of California, Irvine (KCCAMS). The targets generate a maximum 12C+1 current of about 0.5 μA per 1 μg C. The modern-carbon background is estimated to be 0.25–0.60 μg C, and dead-carbon background to be ~0.3–0.9 μg C. Both modern-carbon background and dead-carbon background are size dependent, so the results can be corrected. The precision of the small-mass modern carbon standard samples is±15–25‰ for the size of ~15–20 μg C,±5–10‰ for ~20–50 μg C, and±3–10‰ for 50–100 μg C. Further reduction of dead-carbon and modern-carbon contamination is needed in preparation of small-mass samples at GIGCAS.
Aiming at a fusion reactor, two issues must be solved for the lower hybrid current drive (LHCD), namely good lower hybrid wave (LHW)–plasma coupling and effective current drive at high density. For this goal, efforts have been made to improve LHW–plasma coupling and current drive capability at high density in experimental advanced superconducting tokamak (EAST). LHW–plasma coupling is improved by means of local gas puffing and gas puffing from the electron side is taken as a routine way for EAST to operate with LHCD. Studies of high density experiments suggest that low recycling and high lower hybrid (LH) frequency are preferred for LHCD experiments at high density, consistent with previous results in other machines. With the combination of 2.45 GHz and 4.6 GHz LH waves, a repeatable high confinement mode plasma with maximum density up to
was obtained by LHCD in EAST. In addition, in the first stage of LHCD cyclic operation, an alternative candidate for more economical fusion reactors has been demonstrated in EAST and further work will be continued.
An outbreak of acute hepatitis recently occurred in a nursing home in Zhejiang Province, China. The objectives of this study were to confirm the outbreak and identify the aetiology, source and transmission patterns. All residents and staff in or near the nursing home during the period from 1 October 2014 to 21 May 2015 were investigated regarding hygiene and for epidemiological information including water and food (eating meat especially pork products). Serum and stool specimens were collected for detection of hepatitis E virus (HEV) antibodies using ELISA and RNA using RT–PCR. Samples that were RNA positive were genotyped. Of 185 senior residents and 24 staff in the nursing home, there were 37 laboratory-confirmed cases during the outbreak. Of these cases, 12 patients (three deaths) were symptomatic with jaundice, a common clinical symptom for hepatitis E infection. HEV strains were isolated from three cases and they formed a single cluster within genotype 4d. A case-control study was conducted to investigate potential risk factors for the outbreak and the results revealed that cases more often washed their dishes and rinsed their mouths using tap water than the controls (P < 0·05). Based on hygiene investigation and meteorological information, it is likely that HEV-infected sewage and faeces contaminated the water network on rainy days. Collectively, these results suggest that the outbreak of HEV genotype 4 infection was most likely caused by contaminated tap water rather than food.
The historical evolution of an ancient forest that developed at Gaoyao, south China, can be divided into 4 stages of radiocarbon intervals (1.1–1.5, 2.0–3.5, 3.6–4.0, and 4.3–4.9 ka) in which the last 3 stages all developed in a wetland and formed humic layers of 2.0, 0.5, and 0.7 m depth, respectively. The humic layers were interrupted by 2 white-gray silty clay layers that most likely formed during climate fluctuations. Four drought events were identified during the evolution of the ancient forest, occurring around 4.3, 3.6, 2.0, and 1.1 ka, respectively, with durations of ∼1000 14C yr. These events are consistent with other records both in low- and high-latitude areas, in particular with the little ice ages occurring since the mid-Holocene. Precipitation likely increased from 5.0 to 3.6 ka in south China, then decreased, which is probably the main cause for the development as well as the demise of the ancient forest.
This paper examines the carbon isotopes (13C, 14C) of soil organic carbon (SOC) and soil CO2 from an evergreen broadleaf forest in southern China during the rainy season. The distribution of SOC δ13C, and SOC content with depth, exhibits a regular decomposition of SOC compartments with different turnover rates. Labile carbon is the main component in the topsoil (0–12 cm) and has a turnover rate between 0.1 and 0.01 yr–1. In the middle section (12–35 cm), SOC was mainly comprised of mediate carbon with turnover rates ranging between 0.01 and 0.025. Below 35 cm depth (underlayer section), the SOC turnover rate is slower than 0.001 yr–1, indicating that passive carbon is the main component of SOC in this section. The total production of humus-derived CO2 is 123.84 g C m–2 yr–1, from which 88% originated in the topsoil. The middle and underlayer sections contribute only 10% and 2% to the total humus-derived CO2 production, respectively. Soil CO2 δ13C varies from –24.7‰ to –24.0‰, showing a slight isotopic depth gradient. Similar to soil CO2 δ13C, Δ14C values, which range from 100.0‰ to 107.2‰, are obviously higher than that of atmospheric CO2 (60–70‰) and SOC in the middle and underlayer section, suggesting that soil CO2 in the profile most likely originates mainly from SOC decomposition in the topsoil. A model of soil CO2 Δ14C indicates that the humus-derived CO2 from the topsoil contributes about 65–78% to soil CO2 in each soil gas sampling layer. In addition, the humus-derived CO2 contributes ∼81% on average to total soil CO2 in the profile, in good agreement with the field observation. The distribution and origin of soil 14CO2 imply that soil CO2 will be an important source of atmospheric 14CO2 well into the future.
Accurate and reliable dating of paleosols, animal remains, and artifacts is of crucial importance in reconstructing environmental change and understanding the interrelationship between human activities and natural environments. Dating different materials in the same sample can help resolve problems such as soil carbon sources and carbon storage state. Conventional radiocarbon dating of soil (inorganic and organic matter) and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dating of animal remains (fossil bones and teeth) result in different ages for materials from the same sample position in a typical loess section at Xinglong Mountain, Yuzhong County, Gansu Province in NW China. Inorganic matter is ∼3400 yr older than organic matter, 4175 ± 175 cal BP to 3808 ± 90 cal BP. A 1610-yr difference between the 14C ages of fossils (animal bones and teeth) and soil organic matter suggests that a depositional hiatus exists in the studied profile. The varying 14C ages of fossils and soil organic and inorganic matter have important implications for paleoclimate reconstructions from loess sections. It is critical to consider the meaning of the variable 14C ages from different material components from the same sample position in terms of soil organic and inorganic carbon storage, vegetation history reconstruction, archaeology, and the study of ancient civilizations.
While radiocarbon is widely applied in dating ancient samples, recent studies reveal that 14C concentrations in modern samples can also yield precise ages due to the atmospheric testing of thermonuclear devices between 1950 and 1963. 14C concentrations in both enamel and organic matter of 13 teeth from 2 areas in China were examined to evaluate and improve this method of forensic investigation. Choosing enamel near the cervix of the tooth can reduce the error caused by the difference between the sample formation time and whole enamel formation time because tooth enamel formations take a long time to complete. A proper regional data set will be helpful to get an accurate result when calculating the age of the sample (T1) by the CALIBomb program. By subtracting the enamel formation time (t), the birth date of an individual (T2) can be confirmed by enamel F14C from 2 teeth formed at different ages. Calculated enamel formation dates by 14C concentration are basically consistent with corresponding actual values, with a mean error of 1.9 yr for all results and 0.2 yr for the samples formed after AD 1960. This method is more effective for dating samples completed after AD 1960. We also found that 14C concentrations in organic matter of tooth roots are much lower than atmospheric concentrations in root formation years, suggesting that the organic material keeps turning over even after tooth formation is complete. This might be a potential tool for identification of death age to extract a proper component for 14C dating. We also observed that δ13C values between hydroxyapatite and organic matter indicate that isotopic fractionation during the biomineralization is 8–9%‰ more positive in mineral fractions than in organic matter.
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.