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In this work, we have theoretically investigated a model for the poly(2-methoxy-5(2'- ethylhexyloxy)-p-phenylenevinylene) (MEH-PPV) photodegradation based on structural models for MEH-PPV oligomers in vacuum and in solvent (chloroform). We investigated how the incorporation of oxygen and breaking of vinyl double bonds affect the absorption spectra. The theoretical results are in excellent agreement with the experimental data if we assume that the incorporation of carbonyl group is the main mechanism associated with the photodegradation processes.
The rocky shores of the north-east Atlantic have been long studied. Our focus is from Gibraltar to Norway plus the Azores and Iceland. Phylogeographic processes shape biogeographic patterns of biodiversity. Long-term and broadscale studies have shown the responses of biota to past climate fluctuations and more recent anthropogenic climate change. Inter- and intra-specific species interactions along sharp local environmental gradients shape distributions and community structure and hence ecosystem functioning. Shifts in domination by fucoids in shelter to barnacles/mussels in exposure are mediated by grazing by patellid limpets. Further south fucoids become increasingly rare, with species disappearing or restricted to estuarine refuges, caused by greater desiccation and grazing pressure. Mesoscale processes influence bottom-up nutrient forcing and larval supply, hence affecting species abundance and distribution, and can be proximate factors setting range edges (e.g., the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula). Impacts of invasive non-native species are reviewed. Knowledge gaps such as the work on rockpools and host–parasite dynamics are also outlined.
With still limited information on vitamin requirements and considering that many commercial practices adopt dietary vitamin levels above the values suggested by nutritional tables, this study aimed to assess the effect of administering vitamin supplementation to sows in gestation and lactation and to their litters on the reproductive performance and body condition of the sows and on the performance and immune profile of the litters until slaughter. The trial was split into two phases. The first phase used 104 sows, assigned to be randomized to blocks according to parity, submitted until 21 days of lactation to two treatments: control–standard (standard levels of vitamins) and test–elevated (elevated levels of vitamins). Each sow and its respective farrow were considered an experimental unit. The sows underwent evaluations of body condition score, back fat thickness and reproductive performance. In the second phase, 60 barrows and 60 gilts at 21 days of age and mean initial weight of 5.33 ± 1.5 kg until slaughter at 164 days of age. The piglets were assigned to randomized blocks according to the weight and sex of the animals in a 2 × 2 factorial model, with 10 replicates per treatment, where a pen with three animals represented the experimental unit. Following the same treatments of the first phase, the piglets were evaluated for daily weight gain, daily feed intake, feed conversion, mortality rate and humoral immune response. Vitamin supplementation had no positive effects on the reproductive parameters or body composition of sows. However, it positively impacted the performance of the litters in the early nursery stage, but did not lead to superior effects on the immune responses to vaccination against circovirus or mycoplasma.
This study aimed to evaluate the transcriptional changes occurring in isolated perfused mammary alveolar tissue in response to inoculation with S. agalactiae and to identify the most affected biological functions and pathways after 3 h. Four udders taken at slaughter from cows with healthy mammary gland were perfused ex situ with warmed and gassed Tyrode's solution. Mammary alveolar tissue samples were taken from the left fore and rear quarters (IQ-inoculated quarters) before inoculation (hour 0) and at 3 h post inoculation (hpi) and at the same times from control right fore and rear quarters (not inoculated: NIQ). A total of 1756 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified between IQ and NIQ at 3 hpi using edgeR package. Within this set of DEGs, 952 were up regulated and mainly involved with innate immune response and inflammatory response, e.g., CD14, CCL5, TLR2, IL-8, SAA3, as well as in transcriptional regulation such as FOS, STAT3 and NFKBIA. Genes down-regulated (804) included those involved with lipid synthesis e.g., APOC2, SCD, FABP3 and FABP4. The most affected pathways were chemokine signaling, Wnt signaling and complement and coagulation cascades, which likely reflects the early stage response of mammary tissue to S. agalactiae infection. No significant gene expression changes were detected by RNA-Seq in the others contrasts. Real time-PCR confirmed the increase in mRNA abundance of immune-related genes: TLR2, TLR4, IL-1β, and IL-10 at 3 hpi between IQ and NIQ. The expression profiles of Casp1 and Bax for any contrasts were unaffected whereas Bcl2 was increased in IQ, which suggests no induction of apoptosis during the first hours after infection. Results provided novel information regarding the early functional pathways and gene network that orchestrate innate immune responses to S. agalactiae infection. This knowledge could contribute to new strategies to enhance resistance to this disease, such as genomic selection.
The search for life in the Universe is a fundamental problem of astrobiology and modern science. The current progress in the detection of terrestrial-type exoplanets has opened a new avenue in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and in the search for biosignatures of life with the upcoming ground-based and space missions. To specify the conditions favourable for the origin, development and sustainment of life as we know it in other worlds, we need to understand the nature of global (astrospheric), and local (atmospheric and surface) environments of exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) around G-K-M dwarf stars including our young Sun. Global environment is formed by propagated disturbances from the planet-hosting stars in the form of stellar flares, coronal mass ejections, energetic particles and winds collectively known as astrospheric space weather. Its characterization will help in understanding how an exoplanetary ecosystem interacts with its host star, as well as in the specification of the physical, chemical and biochemical conditions that can create favourable and/or detrimental conditions for planetary climate and habitability along with evolution of planetary internal dynamics over geological timescales. A key linkage of (astro)physical, chemical and geological processes can only be understood in the framework of interdisciplinary studies with the incorporation of progress in heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary and Earth sciences. The assessment of the impacts of host stars on the climate and habitability of terrestrial (exo)planets will significantly expand the current definition of the HZ to the biogenic zone and provide new observational strategies for searching for signatures of life. The major goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the current status and recent progress in this interdisciplinary field in light of presentations and discussions during the NASA Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science funded workshop ‘Exoplanetary Space Weather, Climate and Habitability’ and to provide a new roadmap for the future development of the emerging field of exoplanetary science and astrobiology.
Expression of estrus near timed artificial insemination (TAI) is associated with greater fertility, and estrus detection could improve TAI fertility or direct TAI management, although accurate estrus detection can be difficult and time-consuming using traditional methods. The aim of this study is to evaluate influence of estrus on pregnancy (artificial insemination pregnancy rates (P/AI)) and to validate an alternative method to classify estrus/heat expression using tail chalking (HEATSC) in postpartum Bos indicus cows subjected to TAI in progesterone–estrogen-based protocols. In experiment 1 (Exp. 1), cows (5491) were subjected to visual observation of estrus after progesterone device removal, before TAI, and P/AI was evaluated according to estrus and body condition score (BCS). Cows received a progesterone device and 2 mg estradiol benzoate (EB). After 8 days, the device was removed and 150 μg of d-cloprostenol and 300 IU equine chorionic gonadotrophin was given. Later, animals in Exp. 1 received 1 mg EB and TAI 44 to 48 h. In the Exp. 2 – 3830 cows using similar protocol, received different ovulation inducers: 1 mg EB (n=1624) or 1 mg estradiol cypionate (EC; n=2206) on day 8 (D8). Cows were then marked with chalk, and HEATSC evaluated at TAI on D10 (HEATSC1 – no chalk removal=no estrus expression; HEATSC2 – partial chalk removal=low estrus expression; HEATSC3 – near complete/complete chalk removal=high estrus expression). In Exp. 1, cows showing estrus presented greater P/AI (48.4% v. 40.2%, P<0.05). In Exp. 2, P/AI (HEATSC1 – 40.0%; HEATSC2 – 49.7%; HEATSC3 – 60.9%; P<0.001), and larger follicle timed artificial insemination (LFTAI) (<0.001) varied according to HEATSC. There was no difference in P/AI (P=0.41) or LFTAI (P=0.33) according to ovulation inducer. Cows with greater BCS showed greater P/AI in both experiments (P<0.05). Estrus presence and greater HEATSC improved P/AI, and EC v. EB used promoted differential estrus manifestation (cows showing HEATSC2 and HEATSC3: 79.5% with EB v. 69.98% with EC use, P<0.001), however, with similar P/AI. The use of HEATSC in B. indicus cows subjected to TAI is useful to identify cows with greater estrus expression and consequently improved pregnancy rates in TAI, allowing the cows with low HEATSC to be targeted for additional treatments aimed at improving P/AI.
This paper describes a model of electron energization and cyclotron-maser emission applicable to astrophysical magnetized collisionless shocks. It is motivated by the work of Begelman, Ergun and Rees [Astrophys. J. 625, 51 (2005)] who argued that the cyclotron-maser instability occurs in localized magnetized collisionless shocks such as those expected in blazar jets. We report on recent research carried out to investigate electron acceleration at collisionless shocks and maser radiation associated with the accelerated electrons. We describe how electrons accelerated by lower-hybrid waves at collisionless shocks generate cyclotron-maser radiation when the accelerated electrons move into regions of stronger magnetic fields. The electrons are accelerated along the magnetic field and magnetically compressed leading to the formation of an electron velocity distribution having a horseshoe shape due to conservation of the electron magnetic moment. Under certain conditions the horseshoe electron velocity distribution function is unstable to the cyclotron-maser instability [Bingham and Cairns, Phys. Plasmas 7, 3089 (2000); Melrose, Rev. Mod. Plasma Phys. 1, 5 (2017)].
The rate of deforestation in the Amazon is increasing. Predictive models estimate that as a result of agricultural expansion 40% of these forests will be lost by 2050. As a consequence the habitat of forest-dwelling species such as the Endangered black-faced black spider monkey Ateles chamek is being lost, particularly along the arc of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. We used species distribution modelling to (1) define the distribution of this spider monkey, using environmental predictors, (2) calculate the area of this distribution covered by the protected area network, and (3) calculate the expected loss of the species’ habitat under future scenarios of deforestation. We found that the species occupies only c. 28% of its extent of occurrence. Only 32% of the species’ area of occupancy is legally protected, and the modelling suggests that 31–40% of the species’ habitat will be lost by 2050. We highlight three unprotected regions with extensive forest cover that are predicted to become severely deforested by 2050 as priority regions for expanding the protected area network. We also propose landscape management and restoration in three human-modified regions. Our study provides an example of how species distribution modelling can be applied to assess threats to species and support decision makers in implementing conservation actions.
The protein nutrition of dairy cows is of great importance because of its direct influence on milk production, reproductive efficiency, and feeding cost. Eight first-lactation Holstein cows were randomly assigned to two contemporary 4 × 4 Latin squares in a 2 × 2 factorial design to evaluate the effects of replacing soybean meal with yeast-derived microbial protein (YMP) as a protein source (0% or 1.5% of dry matter (DM)) and its combination with slow-release urea (SRU; 0% or 0.75% of DM) on DM intake and milk production and composition, as well as blood parameters and nitrogen balance. Each experimental period lasted 28 days, with 21 days of adaptation and 7 days of data collection. The diets were formulated to attend the nutritional recommendations of the National Research Council and consisted of 49% forage (47% corn silage and 2% Tifton hay) and 51% concentrate, with 16.8% CP and 1.6 Mcal net energy for lactation/kg DM. For diets without YMP, the inclusion of SRU decreased DM intake, milk production as well as N intake and balance, but did not affect efficiency of production, milk composition or most of blood parameters. On the contrary, for diets with YMP, DM intake and milk production were increased by inclusion of SRU, while minor effects were observed for milk efficiency and composition, blood parameters as well as N intake, excretion and balance. When diets with SRU were compared, the inclusion of YMP increased DM intake, 4% fat-corrected milk, and N intake and balance (P<0.05), with no differences in milk production (kg/day), milk energy, efficiency of milk production or most of the blood parameters. For diets without SRU, YMP inclusion decreased DM intake, milk production, milk energy, N intake, fecal N and N balance (P<0.05), with no effects on milk efficiency and composition, or most of blood parameters. In conclusion, the use of YMP, SRU or both as partial substitutes of soybean meal in the diet of lactating cows has no negative effects on productivity parameters.
The objective of the current experiment was to determine the effects of increasing levels of palm kernel cake in a finishing diet on feed intake, digestibility, performance, ingestive behaviour and carcass traits in zebu bulls. Thirty-two Nellore bulls (420 ± 25.0 kg initial body weight [BW] and 24-months-old), were assigned randomly to individual pens with four treatments (0, 70, 140 and 210 g/kg of palm kernel cake by total dry matter [DM]) and eight replicates per treatment. The inclusion of palm kernel cake linearly decreased DM, crude protein and non-fibrous carbohydrate intake and increased ether extraction intake and digestibility. There was a linear decrease in final BW and hot carcass weight (HCW) associated with palm kernel cake inclusion in the bull diet. However, the gain : feed ratio was similar among the diets. Eating and rumination rates (g DM or neutral detergent fibre/h) were reduced, whereas the total chewing time and idling (min/day) were not affected by palm kernel cake inclusion. There were no effects of palm kernel cake inclusion on most quantitative carcass characteristics and qualitative carcass attributes (subcutaneous fat thickness, longissimus muscle area, colour, texture and marbling). The inclusion of palm kernel cake (up to 210 g/kg total DM) in beef cattle finishing diets decreased eating and rumination rates, thereby decreasing average daily gain and, consequently, final BW and HCW. However, qualitative carcass attributes were not affected by the use of palm kernel cake.
The aim of this study was to establish a functional freezing–thawing protocol for epididymal sperm of collared peccaries (Pecari tajacu L., 1758) by comparing different extenders. The epididymal sperm from 12 sexually mature males was recovered by retrograde flushing using Tris-based or coconut water-based (ACP®-116c) extenders. After initial evaluation, samples were diluted and frozen with the same extenders to which 20% egg yolk and 6% glycerol were added. After 2 weeks, thawing was performed at 37°C/60 s and sperm motility, vigour, morphology, functional membrane integrity, sperm viability, sperm plasma membrane integrity, and a computer-assisted semen analysis (CASA) were assessed. In addition, to evaluate the survival of frozen–thawed sperm, a thermal resistance test (TRT) was executed. Samples preserved using Tris were in better condition compared with those preserved using ACP®, showing higher values for most assessments performed, including CASA and the TRT (P<0.05). After determining Tris to be the better of the two extenders, additional samples were thawed using different thawing rates (37°C/60 s, 55°C/7 s, 70°C/8 s). Sperm thawed at 37°C/60 s had the greatest preservation (P<0.05) of viability (54.1 ± 5.9%) and functional membrane integrity (43.2 ± 5.4%), and had higher values for various CASA parameters. In conclusion, we suggest the use of a Tris-based extender added to egg yolk and glycerol for the cryopreservation of epididymal sperm obtained from collared peccaries. In order to achieve better post-thawing sperm quality, we suggest that samples should be thawed at 37°C/60 s.
Recent open-label trials show that psychedelics, such as ayahuasca, hold promise as fast-onset antidepressants in treatment-resistant depression.
To test the antidepressant effects of ayahuasca, we conducted a parallel-arm, double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial in 29 patients with treatment-resistant depression. Patients received a single dose of either ayahuasca or placebo. We assessed changes in depression severity with the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) and the Hamilton Depression Rating scale at baseline, and at 1 (D1), 2 (D2), and 7 (D7) days after dosing.
We observed significant antidepressant effects of ayahuasca when compared with placebo at all-time points. MADRS scores were significantly lower in the ayahuasca group compared with placebo at D1 and D2 (p = 0.04), and at D7 (p < 0.0001). Between-group effect sizes increased from D1 to D7 (D1: Cohen's d = 0.84; D2: Cohen's d = 0.84; D7: Cohen's d = 1.49). Response rates were high for both groups at D1 and D2, and significantly higher in the ayahuasca group at D7 (64% v. 27%; p = 0.04). Remission rate showed a trend toward significance at D7 (36% v. 7%, p = 0.054).
To our knowledge, this is the first controlled trial to test a psychedelic substance in treatment-resistant depression. Overall, this study brings new evidence supporting the safety and therapeutic value of ayahuasca, dosed within an appropriate setting, to help treat depression. This study is registered at http://clinicaltrials.gov (NCT02914769).
The current filamentation instability (CFI) is capable of generating strong magnetic fields relevant to the explanation of radiation processes in astrophysical objects and leads to the onset of particle acceleration in collisionless shocks. Probing such extreme scenarios in the laboratory is still an open challenge. In this work, we investigate the possibility of using neutral
beams to explore the CFI with realistic parameters, by performing two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. We show that CFI can occur unless the rate at which the beam expands due to finite beam emittance is larger than the CFI growth rate and as long as the role of the competing electrostatic two-stream instability (TSI) is negligible. We also show that the longitudinal energy spread, typical of plasma-based accelerated electron–positron fireball beams, plays a minor role in the growth of CFI in these scenarios.
The aim of the current study was to evaluate the effect of different forms of soybean lipids on enteric methane emission, intake, performance, digestibility and meat quality of 40 young Nellore bulls (initial body weight (BW) 444 ± 10.2 kg and 24 ± 2.1 months). The dietary treatments were as follows: NF = no dietary additional fat (46.0 g ether extract (EE)/kg diet), SO = soybean oil (62.0 g EE/kg diet), SB = soy beans (without any processing; 62.0 g EE/kg diet) and RPF = rumen-protected fat based on soybean oil (62.0 g EE/kg diet). The intake of dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM), crude protein (CP) and neutral detergent fibre (NDF) was greater in the SO diet than those fed with NF. The SO diet decreased digestibility of NDF when compared with the NF and RPF diets. The diets did not affect digestibility of DM, OM, CP or emission of enteric methane. Animals fed with SO had greater average daily gain and feed efficiency in relation to the other diets tested. The SO diet increased hot and cold carcass weights and subcutaneous fat thickness of carcasses when compared with the NF diet. The proportions of saturated and unsaturated, mono and polyunsaturated, and n-3 and n-6 fatty acids were not affected significantly by treatments. The SO diets were demonstrated to be more beneficial for animal performance compared with diets without supplemental fat.
This experiment evaluated the impacts of supplementing a yeast-derived product (Celmanax; Church & Dwight Co., Inc., Princeton, NJ, USA) on productive and health responses of beef steers, and was divided into a preconditioning (days 4 to 30) and feedlot receiving phase (days 31 to 69). In all, 84 Angus × Hereford steers were weaned on day 0 (BW=245±2 kg; age=186±2 days), and maintained in a single group from days 0 to 3. On day 4, steers were allocated according to weaning BW and age to a 21-pen drylot (4 steers/pen). Pens were randomly assigned to (n=7 pens/treatment): (1) no Celmanax supplementation during the study, (2) Celmanax supplementation (14 g/steer daily; as-fed) from days 14 to 69 or (3) Celmanax supplementation (14 g/steer daily; as-fed) from days 31 to 69. Steers had free-choice access to grass-alfalfa hay, and were also offered a corn-based concentrate beginning on day 14. Celmanax was mixed daily with the concentrate. On day 30, steers were road-transported for 1500 km (24 h). On day 31, steers returned to their original pens for the 38-day feedlot receiving. Shrunk BW was recorded on days 4, 31 and 70. Feed intake was evaluated daily (days 14 to 69). Steers were observed daily (days 4 to 69) for bovine respiratory disease (BRD) signs. Blood samples were collected on days 14, 30, 31, 33, 35, 40, 45, 54 and 69, and analyzed for plasma cortisol, haptoglobin, IGF-I, and serum fatty acids. Preconditioning results were analyzed by comparing pens that received (CELM) or not (CONPC) Celmanax during the preconditioning phase. Feedlot receiving results were analyzed by comparing pens that received Celmanax from days 14 to 69 (CELPREC), days 31 to 69 (CELRECV) or no Celmanax supplementation (CON). During preconditioning, BRD incidence was less (P=0.03) in CELM v. CONPC. During feedlot receiving, average daily gain (ADG) (P=0.07) and feed efficiency (P=0.08) tended to be greater in CELPREC and CELRECV v. CON, whereas dry matter intake was similar (P⩾0.29) among treatments. No other treatment effects were detected (P⩾0.20). Collectively, Celmanax supplementation reduced BRD incidence during the 30-day preconditioning. Moreover, supplementing Celmanax tended to improve ADG and feed efficiency during the 38-day feedlot receiving, independently of whether supplementation began during preconditioning or after feedlot entry. These results suggest that Celmanax supplementation benefits preconditioning health and feedlot receiving performance in beef cattle.
Longer-lived cows tend to be more profitable and the stayability trait is a selection criterion correlated to longevity. An alternative to the traditional approach to evaluate stayability is its definition based on consecutive calvings, whose main advantage is the more accurate evaluation of young bulls. However, no study using this alternative approach has been conducted for Zebu breeds. Therefore, the objective of this study was to compare linear random regression models to fit stayability to consecutive calvings of Guzerá, Nelore and Tabapuã cows and to estimate genetic parameters for this trait in the respective breeds. Data up to the eighth calving were used. The models included the fixed effects of age at first calving and year-season of birth of the cow and the random effects of contemporary group, additive genetic, permanent environmental and residual. Random regressions were modeled by orthogonal Legendre polynomials of order 1 to 4 (2 to 5 coefficients) for contemporary group, additive genetic and permanent environmental effects. Using Deviance Information Criterion as the selection criterion, the model with 4 regression coefficients for each effect was the most adequate for the Nelore and Tabapuã breeds and the model with 5 coefficients is recommended for the Guzerá breed. For Guzerá, heritabilities ranged from 0.05 to 0.08, showing a quadratic trend with a peak between the fourth and sixth calving. For the Nelore and Tabapuã breeds, the estimates ranged from 0.03 to 0.07 and from 0.03 to 0.08, respectively, and increased with increasing calving number. The additive genetic correlations exhibited a similar trend among breeds and were higher for stayability between closer calvings. Even between more distant calvings (second v. eighth), stayability showed a moderate to high genetic correlation, which was 0.77, 0.57 and 0.79 for the Guzerá, Nelore and Tabapuã breeds, respectively. For Guzerá, when the models with 4 or 5 regression coefficients were compared, the rank correlations between predicted breeding values for the intercept were always higher than 0.99, indicating the possibility of practical application of the least parameterized model. In conclusion, the model with 4 random regression coefficients is recommended for the genetic evaluation of stayability to consecutive calvings in Zebu cattle.
The use of forage legumes has been proposed as a means of generating sustainable grazing environments. Their limited use, particularly in tropical pastures, is partially due to the limited knowledge regarding the efficiency of utilization by animals. The present study characterized the sward structure, nutritive value and ingestive behaviour of dairy heifers in pastures of peanut cv. Belmonte under continuous stocking management. Treatments corresponded to sward heights of 5, 10, 15 and 20 cm, according to a randomized complete block design, with four replications. The following response variables were evaluated: vertical distribution of the morphological components within the sward, forage mass, nutritive value (simulated grazing), bite rate (BR), bite mass (BM) and short-term herbage intake rate (STIR). The top half of the sward height was mainly composed of leaves and the bottom half mainly of stolon and dead material regardless of management height. Greater values of neutral detergent fibre and acid detergent fibre were recorded during autumn, while higher values of in-vitro dry matter (DM) digestibility (0·85) occurred during spring regardless of management height for the grazed stratum. In relation to treatments, greater values of crude protein were recorded on swards managed at 5 cm (0·27) and 10 cm (0·26). Bite rate, BM and STIR varied with sward height, but not with a season of the year. The STIR followed a broken line response to sward height, with increasing values up to 13·1 cm (106 g DM/kg body weight). Sward structure played an important role in determining the STIR. To maximize the STIR of dairy heifers under continuous stocking management, swards should be managed at heights of not <13·1 cm.
The physical processes driving the chemical evolution of galaxies in the last ~ 11Gyr cannot be understood without directly probing the dust-obscured phase of star-forming galaxies and active galactic nuclei. This phase, hidden to optical tracers, represents the bulk of the star formation and black hole accretion activity in galaxies at 1 < z < 3. Spectroscopic observations with a cryogenic infrared observatory like SPICA, will be sensitive enough to peer through the dust-obscured regions of galaxies and access the rest-frame mid- to far-infrared range in galaxies at high-z. This wavelength range contains a unique suite of spectral lines and dust features that serve as proxies for the abundances of heavy elements and the dust composition, providing tracers with a feeble response to both extinction and temperature. In this work, we investigate how SPICA observations could be exploited to understand key aspects in the chemical evolution of galaxies: the assembly of nearby galaxies based on the spatial distribution of heavy element abundances, the global content of metals in galaxies reaching the knee of the luminosity function up to z ~ 3, and the dust composition of galaxies at high-z. Possible synergies with facilities available in the late 2020s are also discussed.
Nelore heifers usually begin their reproductive life at ⩾24 months of age mainly due to suboptimal nutritional conditions and genetics. This study aimed to determine the effect of expected progeny difference (EPD) for age at first calving and average daily gain (ADG) on puberty in Nelore (Bos taurus indicus) heifers. A total of 58 weaned heifers (initial BW=174±6 kg; age=9±1 months) were allocated into 28 feedlot pens. Heifers were born from four sires, of which two had low EPD for age at first calving (L; n=33) and two had high EPD for age at first calving (H; n=25). Then, heifers of each EPD were randomly assigned to high ADG (HG; 0.7 kg) or low ADG (LG; 0.3 kg), resulting in four treatments: heifers from L sires were submitted to either HG (LHG; n=17) or LG (LLG; n=16), and heifers from H sires were submitted to either HG (HHG; n=12), or LG (HLG; n=13). The HG heifers were fed a 75% grain diet, whereas the LG heifers received 93% of forage in their diet. Blood samples were collected at 9, 14, 18, 24 and 28 months of age for IGF1 and leptin determination. There was a treatment effect (P<0.01) on the proportion of heifers that attained puberty by 18 (62%, 0%, 0% and 0%), 24 (100%, 6%, 54% and 0%) or 36 (100%, 100%, 100% and 38%) months of age for LHG, LLG, HHG and HLG treatments, respectively. In addition, mean age at puberty was different across treatments (P<0.01). Heifers from the LHG achieved puberty at the earliest age when compared with cohorts from other treatments (18.1, 28.9, 23.9 and 34.5 months for LHG, LLG, HHG and HLG, respectively). Serum IGF1 concentrations were higher for L heifers compared with H cohorts at 9, 14, 18, 24 and 28 months of age (P<0.01; treatment×age interaction), whereas circulating leptin concentrations were higher (P<0.01; age effect) as heifers became older, regardless of the treatments. In conclusion, only Nelore heifers with favorable genetic merit for age at first calving were able to attain puberty by 18 months of age. In heifers with unfavorable genetic merit for age at first calving, supplementary feeding to achieve high ADG was unable to shift the age at puberty below 24 months.
The objective was to estimate (co)variance functions using random regression models (RRM) with Legendre polynomials, B-spline function and multi-trait models aimed at evaluating genetic parameters of growth traits in meat-type quail. A database containing the complete pedigree information of 7000 meat-type quail was utilized. The models included the fixed effects of contemporary group and generation. Direct additive genetic and permanent environmental effects, considered as random, were modeled using B-spline functions considering quadratic and cubic polynomials for each individual segment, and Legendre polynomials for age. Residual variances were grouped in four age classes. Direct additive genetic and permanent environmental effects were modeled using 2 to 4 segments and were modeled by Legendre polynomial with orders of fit ranging from 2 to 4. The model with quadratic B-spline adjustment, using four segments for direct additive genetic and permanent environmental effects, was the most appropriate and parsimonious to describe the covariance structure of the data. The RRM using Legendre polynomials presented an underestimation of the residual variance. Lesser heritability estimates were observed for multi-trait models in comparison with RRM for the evaluated ages. In general, the genetic correlations between measures of BW from hatching to 35 days of age decreased as the range between the evaluated ages increased. Genetic trend for BW was positive and significant along the selection generations. The genetic response to selection for BW in the evaluated ages presented greater values for RRM compared with multi-trait models. In summary, RRM using B-spline functions with four residual variance classes and segments were the best fit for genetic evaluation of growth traits in meat-type quail. In conclusion, RRM should be considered in genetic evaluation of breeding programs.