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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 dietary inclusion of feed additives to improve the carcass characteristics of the final product is of great importance for the pork production chain. The aim of our study was to evaluate the effects of the association of ractopamine (RAC) and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) on the performance traits of finishing pigs during the last 26 days prior to slaughter. In total, 810 commercial hybrid barrows were used. Animals were distributed among treatments according to a randomised block design in a 3 × 3 factorial arrangement, with three RAC levels (0, 5 or 10 ppm) and three CLA levels (0, 0.3 or 0.6%). Pigs fed the diet with 5 ppm RAC had higher average daily feed intake (ADFI) (2.83 kg; P < 0.05) when compared with those fed 10 ppm RAC and the control diet (2.75 and 2.74 kg, respectively). Lower ADFI values (P < 0.01) were observed with the diets containing CLA compared with the control diet with no CLA (2.73 and 2.75 v. 2.85 kg/day, respectively). The average daily weight gain of pigs fed 5 and 10 ppm RAC was +148 and +173 g/dayhigher (P < 0.001), respectively, than those fed the control diet. Dietary RAC levels influenced (P < 0.001) feed conversion ratio (FCR), which was reduced as RAC levels increased, with the pigs fed 10, 5 and 0 ppm RAC presenting FCR values of 2.57, 2.71 and 3.05, respectively. FCR also improved (P < 0.05) with the inclusion of 0.6% CLA relative to the control diet (2.70 v. 2.84, respectively). There was a significant interaction between CLA × RAC levels (P < 0.01) for final BW, loin eye area (LEA) (P < 0.05) and backfat thickness (BT) (P < 0.05). The treatments containing 10 ppm RAC + 0.6% or 0.3% CLA increased LEA and reduced BT. In conclusion, the level of 10 ppm inclusion of RAC increased the overall performance parameters of pigs and therefore improved production efficiency. The combined use of RAC and CLA promoted a lower feed conversion ratio as well as better quantitative carcass traits, as demonstrated by the higher LEA and lower BT. The dietary inclusion of CLA at 0.3% improved feed efficiency, however, without affecting LEA or BT yields.
Perinatal maternal high-fat diet (HFD) increases susceptibility to obesity and fatty liver diseases in adult offspring, which can be attenuated by the potent hypolipidaemic action of fish oil (FO), an n-3 PUFA source, during adult life. Previously, we described that adolescent HFD offspring showed resistance to FO hypolipidaemic effects, although FO promoted hepatic molecular changes suggestive of reduced lipid accumulation. Here, we investigated whether this FO intervention only during the adolescence period could affect offspring metabolism in adulthood. Then, female Wistar rats received isoenergetic, standard (STD: 9 % fat) or high-fat (HFD: 28·6 % fat) diet before mating, and throughout pregnancy and lactation. After weaning, male offspring received the standard diet; and from 25 to 45 d old they received oral administration of soyabean oil or FO. At 150 d old, serum and hepatic metabolic parameters were evaluated. Maternal HFD adult offspring showed increased body weight, visceral adiposity, hyperleptinaemia and decreased hepatic pSTAT3/STAT3 ratio, suggestive of hepatic leptin resistance. FO intake only during the adolescence period reduced visceral adiposity and serum leptin, regardless of maternal diet. Maternal HFD promoted dyslipidaemia and hepatic TAG accumulation, which was correlated with reduced hepatic carnitine palmitoyl transferase-1a content, suggesting lipid oxidation impairment. FO intake did not change serum lipids; however, it restored hepatic TAG content and hepatic markers of lipid oxidation to STD offspring levels. Therefore, we concluded that FO intake exclusively during adolescence programmed STD offspring and reprogrammed HFD offspring male rats to a healthier metabolic phenotype in adult life, reducing visceral adiposity, serum leptin and hepatic TAG content in offspring adulthood.
The effects of growing pinto peanut mixed with elephant grass-based pastures are still little known. The aim of the current research was to evaluate the performance of herbage yield, nutritive value of forage and animal responses to levels of pinto peanut forage mass mixed with elephant grass in low-input systems. Three grazing systems were evaluated: (i) elephant grass-based (control); (ii) pinto peanut, low-density forage yield (63 g/kg of dry matter – DM) + elephant grass; and (iii) pinto peanut, high-density dry matter forage yield (206 g/kg DM) + elephant grass. The experimental design was completely randomized with the three treatments (grazing systems) and three replicates (paddocks) in split-plot grazing cycles. Forage samples were collected to evaluate the pasture and animal responses. Leaf blades of elephant grass and the other companion grasses of pinto peanut were collected to analyse the crude protein, in vitro digestible organic matter and total digestible nutrients. The pinto peanut, high-density dry matter forage yield + elephant grass treatment was found to give the best results in terms of herbage yield, forage intake and stocking rate, as well as having higher crude protein contents for both elephant grass and the other grasses, followed by pinto peanut with low-density forage yield + elephant grass and finally elephant grass alone. Better results were found with the grass–legume system for pasture and animal responses.
Differences in forage nutritive value between morning and afternoon are related to patterns of dehydration and carbohydrate accumulation throughout the day. In this way, management strategies that maximize grazing time during the afternoon could increase forage nutritive value and consequently nutrient intake. The aim of the current experiment was to evaluate the effect of the time of day (06.00 h [designated AM] or 15.00 h [PM]) that cattle are moved to a new paddock on forage nutritive value, grazing behaviour and animal performance of beef cattle on rotationally stocked Marandu palisadegrass (Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu Syn. Urochloa brizantha cv. Marandu) pastures. A spring and summer study was conducted in Pirassununga, SP, Brazil from October 2012 to March 2013 (182 days). Treatments were distributed in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Herbage mass, morphological composition, herbage allowance and stocking rates were similar between treatments during spring and summer. Moving animals to a new paddock, regardless of the time of day – 06.00 h (AM) or 15.00 h (PM) – stimulated grazing, modifying the distribution of meals throughout the day. However, compensatory mechanisms among grazing time, bite rate and forage nutritive value throughout the day operated in order to generate similar performance between animals offered a new paddock in the morning or in the afternoon.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of incubating semen for different periods (90, 270 or 450 min) with or without Trolox® (100 or 150 µM) on the quality of sperm from Saimiri collinsi. Sperm motility, vigour, and plasma membrane integrity (PMI) were evaluated in both fresh semen and semen incubated for different time periods, i.e. 90, 270 or 450 min of incubation. Supplementation of semen extender with Trolox® 100 µM improved sperm motility, vigour and PMI for up to 270 min of incubation.
This work is part of the interlaboratory collaboration to study the stability of organic solar cells containing PCDTBT polymer as a donor material. The varieties of the OPV devices with different device architectures, electrode materials, encapsulation, and device dimensions were prepared by seven research laboratories. Sets of identical devices were aged according to four different protocols: shelf lifetime, laboratory weathering under simulated illumination at ambient temperature, laboratory weathering under simulated illumination, and elevated temperature (65 °C) and daylight outdoor weathering under sunlight. The results generated in this study allow us to outline several general conclusions related to PCDTBT-based bulk heterojunction (BHJ) solar cells. The results herein reported can be considered as practical guidance for the realization of stabilization approaches in BHJ solar cells containing PCDTBT.
Giant electromagnetic pulses (EMP) generated during the interaction of high-power lasers with solid targets can seriously degrade electrical measurements and equipment. EMP emission is caused by the acceleration of hot electrons inside the target, which produce radiation across a wide band from DC to terahertz frequencies. Improved understanding and control of EMP is vital as we enter a new era of high repetition rate, high intensity lasers (e.g. the Extreme Light Infrastructure). We present recent data from the VULCAN laser facility that demonstrates how EMP can be readily and effectively reduced. Characterization of the EMP was achieved using B-dot and D-dot probes that took measurements for a range of different target and laser parameters. We demonstrate that target stalk geometry, material composition, geodesic path length and foil surface area can all play a significant role in the reduction of EMP. A combination of electromagnetic wave and 3D particle-in-cell simulations is used to inform our conclusions about the effects of stalk geometry on EMP, providing an opportunity for comparison with existing charge separation models.
Forage is the primary feed source for livestock in tropical regions and energy is one of the most important nutrients for ruminant nutrition. The effects of harvest management of Marandu palisade grass (Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu Syn. Urochloa brizantha cv. Marandu) on non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) concentrations were evaluated. A plot (Experiment 1) and a greenhouse study (Experiment 2) were conducted in 2013–14. In Experiment 1, treatments were the factorial arrangement of two harvest times and two vertical canopy layers (upper and intermediate), distributed in a completely randomized design with five replicates. In Experiment 2, treatments were the factorial arrangement of six harvest times and two morphological fractions (leaf blade and pseudostem). In both experiments, NSC concentration increased during the day. Upper and intermediate canopy layers had greater NSC concentration at 15.00 than 06.00 h during spring and summer. In addition, the magnitude of NSC increase was greater in the upper than intermediate canopy layer and in spring than summer. Marandu palisade grass shows greater digestibility in the afternoon than morning, representing an opportunity to optimize energy concentration through harvest management.
The current study aimed to test whether organic matter intake by free-ranging ruminants could be estimated from the amount of nitrogen (N) excreted in faeces and to compare this approach to conventional techniques. An equation describing the relationship between excreted N and nutrient intake was developed in indoor digestibility trials conducted with male sheep (n = 36) and cattle (n = 24) housed in metabolism cages and solely fed hay harvested from a local rangeland. Faecal N excretion was linearly related to organic matter (OM) intake without a significant animal species effect. To evaluate the linear equation, data from free-ranging trials conducted with sheep and cattle were used. The faecal N approach was compared with either in situ digestibility plus external marker (n = 123) or n-alkanes (n = 272) to estimate OM intake and digestible OM intake. Estimates obtained through the faecal N approach did not closely fit those obtained with either conventional technique for any variable. Averaging all individual values, the supply of metabolizable energy (ME) estimated through faecal N was similar to the required level, whereas both the in situ and n-alkanes techniques overestimated ME supply. In conclusion, OM intake by free-ranging sheep and cattle can be estimated based on the amount of N excreted in faeces with some advantages over conventional techniques: knowledge about herbage attributes is not required and it accounts for individual variability on selectivity and digestion processes.
Although a national programme for control of visceral leishmaniosis (VL) is being run in Brazil, the disease continues to spread. This programme is essentially based on culling infected dogs from endemic regions. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop other control measures against VL to deter its advance. Here, a subunit vaccine, a recombinant vaccine, an insecticide-impregnated collar and the associations between these measures were evaluated for reducing the incidence of Leishmania infection in dogs. This was through a cohort study conducted in an endemic region of Brazil, considering the incidence and time of total exposure over a period of 1 year. The incidence of VL was estimated by means of serological and molecular diagnostic tests, 180 and 360 days after the application of the control measures. The estimates of the effectiveness (EF) were not significant in any cohort. The EF of the subunit vaccine, the recombinant vaccine and the collar were 26.4%, 32.8% and 57.7% and the upper limit of the 95% confidence interval for EF were 63.7%, 67.9% and 82.5%, respectively. In conclusion, under the conditions of this study, none of the immunogens for VL control was sufficiently effective to protect dogs against infection. On the other hand, use of collars impregnated with insecticide seems to constitute a method with better prognosis, corroborating other studies in this field.
The objective of this study was to investigate the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with birth weight, weight gain from birth to weaning and from weaning to yearling, yearling height and cow weight in Nelore cattle. Data from 5064 animals participating in the DeltaGen and PAINT breeding programs were used. The animals were genotyped with a panel of 777 962 SNPs (Illumina BovineHD BeadChip) and 412 993 SNPs remained after quality control analysis of the genomic data. A genome-wide association study was performed using a single-step methodology. The analyses were processed with the BLUPF90 family of programs. When applied to a genome-wide association studies, the single-step GBLUP methodology is an iterative process that estimates weights for the SNPs. The weights of SNPs were included in all analyses by iteratively applying the single-step GBLUP methodology and repeated twice so that the effect of the SNP and the effect of the animal were recalculated in order to increase the weight of SNPs with large effects and to reduce the weight of those with small effects. The genome-wide association results are reported based on the proportion of variance explained by windows of 50 adjacent SNPs. Considering the two iterations, only windows with an additive genetic variance >1.5% were presented in the results. Associations were observed with birth weight on BTA 14, with weight gain from birth to weaning on BTA 5 and 29, with weight gain from weaning to yearling on BTA 11, and with yearling height on BTA 8, showing the genes TMEM68 (transmembrane protein 8B) associated with birth weight and yearling height, XKR4 (XK, Kell blood group complex subunit-related family, member 4) associated with birth weight, NPR2 (natriuretic peptide receptor B) associated with yearling height, and REG3G (regenerating islet-derived 3-gamma) associated with weight gain from weaning to yearling. These genes play an important role in feed intake, weight gain and the regulation of skeletal growth.
The main limitation for determining feed efficiency of freely grazing ruminants is measurement of daily individual feed intake. This paper describes an investigation that assessed a method for estimating intake of forage based on changes in BW of ewes. A total of 24 dry and non-pregnant Romane ewes (12 hoggets, HOG; mean±SD 51.8±2.8 kg BW; body condition score (BCS) 2.6±0.2; and 12 adults, ADU; 60.4±8.5 kg BW; BCS 2.7±0.8) were selected for the study and moved from their rangeland system to a confined pen with controlled conditions and equipped with individual automatic feeders. The experiment lasted for 28 days (21 days adaptation and 7 days feed intake measurement). Ewes were fed hay and trained to use the electronic feeders (one feeding station per ewe) in which actual daily intake (Hintake24) was measured. The pens were designed to maximize movement of trained ewes through an automated Walk-over-Weighing device, by using water and mineral salts as attractants. Total individual intake of hay measured in the automatic feeder at each meal (Hintake) was compared with indirect estimates of feed intake determined using differences in the BW of the ewes (∆BW) before and 1 h following morning and afternoon feeding at fixed times. The BW, BCS, Hintake, Hintake24, as well as plasma non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA), glucose and insulin profiles were determined. The BW was higher in ADU v. HOG but BCS was not affected by parity. The Hintake24 was affected by day of experiment as a consequence of reduced availability and intake of water on one day. Plasma glucose, NEFA and insulin were not affected by parity or day of experiment. The HIntake was and ∆BW tended to be higher in the morning in HOG, whereas Hintake was and ∆BW tended to be higher in ADU at the afternoon meal. Irrespective of parity or feeding time, there was very strong correlation (r2=0.93) between Hintake and ∆BW. This relationship confirms that our indirect method of estimating individual forage intake was reliable within the strictly controlled conditions of the present experiment. The method appears suitable for use in short-term intensive group feeding situations, and has potential to be further developed for longer-term forage intake studies, with a view to developing a method for freely grazing ruminants.
The aim of this study was to identify genomic regions that associated with beef tenderness in Nellore cattle. Phenotypes were obtained according to the standard USDA Quality Grade (1999). Data from 909 genotyped Nellore bulls were used in the Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) undertaken using a single-step approach including also a pedigree file composed of 6276 animals. The analyses were performed using the Blupf90 software, estimating the effect of genomic windows of 10 consecutive markers. The GWAS results identified 18 genomic regions located on 14 different chromosomes (1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26 and 29), which explained more than 1% of the total additive genetic variance; several candidate genes were located in these regions including SLC2A9, FRAS1, ANXA3, FAM219A, DNAI, AVEN, SHISA7, UBE2S, CDC42EP5, CNTN3, C16orf96, UBALD1, MGRN1 and SNORA1 With the single-step GWAS, it was possible to identify regions and genes related to meat tenderness in Nellore beef cattle.
The objective of this study was to validate an electronic system for monitoring individual feeding and drinking behaviour and intake developed for young cattle housed in group. A total of 35 Holstein–Gyr crossbred heifers (BW: 180±52 kg; age: 121.5±32.5 days), fitted with an ear tag containing a unique passive transponder, were distributed in three groups of 12, 12 and 11 animals per period and had free access to 12 electronic feed bins and two electronic water bins (Intergado® Ltd). The dimensions of feed and water bins, as well as the sensors position were appropriate for young cattle. The system documented the visit frequency and duration, as well as the feed and water intakes, by recording the animal’s identification tag, bin number, initial and final times of visits and the difference of feed/water weight at the start and end of each bin visit. Feed bins were monitored using time-lapse video recording over 4 days and the water bins were monitored over 6 days. For each feed bin, two feeding events were monitored using manual weighings with an external scale immediately before and after the animal’s visit and the difference between them was assumed as feed intake (n=24 observations). For the water bins, 60 manual weighings were made. Video and manual weighing data were regressed on the electronic feeding and drinking behaviour and intake data to evaluate the system’s precision and accuracy. The system showed high specificity (98.98% and 98.56% for the feed and water bins, respectively) and sensitivity (99.25% and 98.74%, respectively) for identifying an animal’s presence or absence. Duration of feed and water bin visits as well as feed and water consumption per visit estimated by the system were highly correlated and precise compared with the observed video and manual weighing data (r2=0.917, 0.963, 0.973 and 0.986, respectively). It was concluded that Intergado® system is a useful tool for monitoring feeding and drinking behaviour as well as water and feed intakes in young cattle housed in groups.
Euthanasia of infected dogs is one of the measures adopted in Brazil to control visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in endemic areas. To detect infected dogs, animals are screened with the rapid test DPP® Visceral Canine Leishmaniasis for detection of antibodies against K26/K39 fusion antigens of amastigotes (DPP). DPP-positives are confirmed with an immunoenzymatic assay probing soluble antigens of promastigotes (ELISA), while DPP-negatives are considered free of infection. Here, 975 dogs from an endemic region were surveyed by using DPP, ELISA and real-time PCR (qPCR) for the diagnosis of VL. When DPP-negative dogs were tested by qPCR applied in blood and lymph node aspirates, 174/887 (19·6%) were positive in at least one sample. In a second sampling using 115 cases, the DPP-negative dogs were tested by qPCR in blood, lymph node and conjunctival swab samples, and 36/79 (45·6%) were positive in at least one sample. Low-to-moderate pairwise agreement was observed between all possible pair of tests. In conclusion, the official diagnosis of VL in dogs in Brazilian endemic areas failed to accuse an expressive number of infected animals and the impact of the low accuracy of serological tests in the success of euthanasia-based measure for VL control need to be assessed.
Endothelial function is a key mechanism in the development of CVD. Arginine and exercise are important non-pharmacological strategies for mitigating the impact of metabolic changes in the metabolic syndrome, but the effect of their combined administration is unknown. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the isolated and combined effects of aerobic training and arginine supplementation on metabolic variables and vascular reactivity in rats at high risk for developing the metabolic syndrome. Wistar rats were divided into two groups: control and fructose (F – water with 10 % fructose). After 2 weeks, the F group was divided into four groups: F, fructose+arginine (FA, 880 mg/kg per d of l-arginine), fructose+training (FT) and fructose+arginine+training (FTA); treatments lasted for 8 weeks, and no difference was observed in body mass gain. Arginine did not improve the body protein content, and both the FA and FT groups show a reversal of the increase in adipose tissue. Insulin increase was prevented by training and arginine, without additive effect, and the increase in serum TAG was prevented only by training. The F group showed impaired endothelium-dependent vasodilation and hyperreactivity to phenylephrine, but arginine and training were capable of preventing these effects, even separately. Higher nitric oxide level was observed in the FA and FT groups, and no potentiating effect was detected. Thus, only training was able to prevent the increase in TAG and improve the protein mass, and training and arginine exert similar effects on fat content, insulin and endothelial function, but these effects are not additive.
The house mouse (Mus musculus) and the black rat (Rattus rattus) are reservoir hosts for zoonotic pathogens, several of which cause neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Studies of the prevalence of these NTD-causing zoonotic pathogens, in house mice and black rats from tropical residential areas are scarce. Three hundred and two house mice and 161 black rats were trapped in 2013 from two urban neighbourhoods and a rural village in Yucatan, Mexico, and subsequently tested for Trypanosoma cruzi, Hymenolepis diminuta and Leptospira interrogans. Using the polymerase chain reaction we detected T. cruzi DNA in the hearts of 4·9% (8/165) and 6·2% (7/113) of house mice and black rats, respectively. We applied the sedimentation technique to detect eggs of H. diminuta in 0·5% (1/182) and 14·2% (15/106) of house mice and black rats, respectively. Through the immunofluorescent imprint method, L. interrogans was identified in 0·9% (1/106) of rat kidney impressions. Our results suggest that the black rat could be an important reservoir for T. cruzi and H. diminuta in the studied sites. Further studies examining seasonal and geographical patterns could increase our knowledge on the epidemiology of these pathogens in Mexico and the risk to public health posed by rodents.