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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.
While assessing the environmental impact of nuclear power plants, researchers have focused their attention on radiocarbon (14C) owing to its high mobility in the environment and important radiological impact on human beings. The 10 MW high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTR-10) is the first pebble-bed gas-cooled test reactor in China that adopted helium as primary coolant and graphite spheres containing tristructural-isotropic (TRISO) coated particles as fuel elements. A series of experiments on the 14C source terms in HTR-10 was conducted: (1) measurement of the specific activity and distribution of typical nuclides in the irradiated graphite spheres from the core, (2) measurement of the activity concentration of 14C in the primary coolant, and (3) measurement of the amount of 14C discharged in the effluent from the stack. All experimental data on 14C available for HTR-10 were summarized and analyzed using theoretical calculations. A sensitivity study on the total porosity, open porosity, and percentage of closed pores that became open after irradiating the matrix graphite was performed to illustrate their effects on the activity concentration of 14C in the primary coolant and activity amount of 14C in various deduction routes.
To compare the epidemiologic features (e.g. settings and transmission mode) and patient clinical characteristics associated with outbreaks of different norovirus (Nov) strains, we retrospectively analysed data of Nov outbreaks occurring in Guangzhou, China from 2012 to 2018. The results suggested that outbreaks of Nov GII.2, GII.17 and GII.4 Sydney exhibited different outbreak settings, transmission modes and symptoms. GII.2 outbreaks mainly occurred in kindergartens, elementary and high schools and were transmitted mainly through person-to-person contact. By contrast, GII.4 Sydney outbreaks frequently occurred in colleges and were primarily associated with foodborne transmission. Cases from GII.2 and GII.17 outbreaks reported vomiting more frequently than those from outbreaks associated with GII.4 Sydney.
An algorithm for Global Navigation Satellite System satellite atomic clock integrity monitoring based on an extended measurement model is proposed. A detection statistic achieved by parity transformation is used to detect clock anomalies, and the concept of the optimal accumulation number, with a method to find it, is provided. Numerical simulations are adopted to verify the validity of detecting two typical anomalies.
The Centro de Laseres Pulsados in Salamanca, Spain has recently started operation phase and the first user access period on the 6 J 30 fs 200 TW system (VEGA 2) already started at the beginning of 2018. In this paper we report on two commissioning experiments recently performed on the VEGA 2 system in preparation for the user campaign. VEGA 2 system has been tested in different configurations depending on the focusing optics and targets used. One configuration (long focal length
cm) is for underdense laser–matter interaction where VEGA 2 is focused onto a low density gas-jet generating electron beams (via laser wake field acceleration mechanism) with maximum energy up to 500 MeV and an X-ray betatron source with a 10 keV critical energy. A second configuration (short focal length
cm) is for overdense laser–matter interaction where VEGA 2 is focused onto a
thick Al target generating a proton beam with a maximum energy of 10 MeV and temperature of 2.5 MeV. In this paper we present preliminary experimental results.
Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei is the largest urban agglomeration in northern China, but the spatiotemporal patterns and risk factors concerning hepatitis B virus (HBV) incidence in this area have been unclear. The present study aimed to reveal the spatiotemporal epidemiological features of HBV infection and quantify the association between HBV infection and socio-economic risk factors. The data on HBV cases in Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei from 2007 to 2012 was collected for each county. The Bayesian space–time hierarchy model and the GeoDetector method were used to reveal spatiotemporal patterns and detect risk factors. High-risk regions were mainly distributed in the underdeveloped rural areas in the north and mid-south of the study region, while low-risk regions were mainly distributed in the urban and western areas. The HBV annual incidence rate decreased substantially over the 6-year period, dropping from 7.34/105 to 5.51/105. Compared with this overall trend, 38.5% of high-risk counties showed a faster decrease, and 35.9% of high-risk counties exhibited a slower decrease. Meanwhile, 29.7% of low-risk counties had a faster decrease, and 44.6% of low-risk counties exhibited a slower decrease. Socio-economic factors were strongly associated with the spatiotemporal patterns and variation. The population density and gross domestic product per capita were negatively associated with HBV transmission, with determinant powers of 0.17 and 0.12, respectively. The proportion of primary industry and the number of healthcare workers were positively associated with the disease incidence, with determinant powers of 0.11 and 0.8, respectively. The interactive effect between population density and the other factors exerted a greater influence on HBV transmission than that of these factors measured independently.
Music or other background sounds are often played in barns as environmental enrichment for animals on farms or to mask sudden disruptive noises. Previous studies looking at the effects of this practice on non-human animal well-being and productivity have found contradictory results. However, there is still a lack of discussion on whether piglets have the ability to distinguish different types of music. In this study, we exposed piglets to different music conditions to investigate whether the piglets preferred certain music types, in which case those types would have the potential to be used as environmental enrichment. In total, 30 piglets were tested for music type preference to determine whether growing pigs respond differently to different types of music. We used music from two families of instruments (S: string, W: wind) and with two tempos (S: slow, 65 beats/min (bpm); F: fast, 200 bpm), providing four music-type combinations (SS: string-slow; SF: string-fast; WS: wind-slow; WF: wind-fast). The piglets were given a choice between two chambers, one with no music and the other with one of the four types of music, and their behaviour was observed. The results showed that SS and WF music significantly increased residence time (P<0.01) compared with the other music conditions. Compared with the control group (with no music), the different music conditions led to different behavioural responses, where SS music significantly increased lying (P<0.01) and exploration behaviour (P<0.01); SF music significantly increased tail-wagging behaviour (P<0.01); WS music significantly increased exploration (P<0.01); and WF music significantly increased walking, lying, standing and exploration (all P<0.01). The results also showed that musical instruments and tempo had little effect on most of the behaviours. Fast-tempo music significantly increased walking (P=0.02), standing (P<0.01) and tail wagging (P=0.04) compared with slow-tempo music. In conclusion, the results of this experiment show that piglets are more sensitive to tempo than to musical instruments in their response to musical stimulation and seem to prefer SS and WF music to the other two types. The results also suggest a need for further research on the effect of music types on animals.
Although application of organic fertilizers has become a recommended way for developing sustainable agriculture, it is still unclear whether above-ground and below-ground crops have similar responses to chemical fertilizers (CF) and organic manure (OM) under the same farming conditions. The current study investigated soil quality and crop yield response to fertilization of a double-cropping system with rapeseed (above-ground) and sweet potato (below-ground) in an infertile red soil for 2 years (2014–16). Three fertilizer treatments were compared, including CF, OM and organic manure plus chemical fertilizer (MCF). Organic fertilizers (OM and MCF) increased the yield of both above- and below-ground crops and improved soil biochemical properties significantly. The current study also found that soil-chemical properties were the most important and direct factors in increasing crop yields. Also, crop yield was affected indirectly by soil-biological properties, because no significant effects of soil-biological activities on yield were detected after controlling the positive effects of soil-chemical properties. Since organic fertilizers could not only increase crop yield, but also improve soil nutrients and microbial activities efficiently and continuously, OM application is a reliable agricultural practice for both above- and below-ground crops in the red soils of China.
Hepatitis E is an important zoonosis that is prevalent in China. Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a pathogen that affects humans and animals and endangers public health in China. In this study, the detection of HEV epidemics in swine in Sichuan Province, China, was carried out by nested real-time PCR. A total of 174 stool samples and 160 bile samples from swine in Sichuan Province were examined. In addition, software was used to analyse the biological evolution of HEV. The results showed that within 2 years of swine HEV (SHEV) infection in China, SHEV was first detected in Sichuan Province. HEV was endemic in Sichuan; the positive rate for pig farms was 11.1%, and the total positive sample rate was 10.5%. The age of swine with the highest positive rate (17.9%) was 5–9 weeks. The examined swine species in order of highest to lowest HEV infection rates were Chenghua pig, Large White, Duroc, Pietrain, Landrace and Hampshire. Nucleotide and amino acid sequence analysis showed that the HEV epidemic in swine in Sichuan Province was related to genotype IV, which had the highest homology to HEV in Beijing. Sichuan strains have greater variation than Chinese representative strains, which may indicate the presence of new HEV strains.
In this paper new materials and substrate approaches are discussed which have potential to provide (Al)GaN buffers with a better crystal quality, higher critical electrical field, or thickness and have the potential to offer co-integration of GaN switches at different reference potentials, while maintaining lower wafer bow and maintaining complementary metal–oxide semiconductor (CMOS) compatibility. Engineered silicon substrates, silicon on insulator (SOI) and coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE)-matched substrates have been investigated and benchmarked with respect to each other. SOI and CTE-matched offer benefits for scaling to higher voltage, while a trench isolation process combined with an oxide interlayer substrate allows co-integration of GaN components in a GaN-integrated circuit (IC).
Keratin-associated proteins (KAPs) are constituents of wool and hair fibres and are believed to play an important role in determining the characteristics of the fibres. In the current study, a polymerase chain reaction-single stranded conformational polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) approach was used to screen for variation in the ovine KAP15-1 gene (KRTAP15-1). Four PCR-SSCP banding patterns, representing four different variants (named A to D), were detected. Four single nucleotide polymorphisms were found within the coding region and three of these were non-synonymous. The effect of this genetic variation on wool traits was investigated in 396 Merino × Southdown-cross sheep. Of the three variants found in these sheep (A, B and C), the presence of B was found to be associated with decreased wool yield, while C was associated with increased wool yield and decreased fibre diameter standard deviation. Sheep of genotype AC had a higher wool yield than those of genotype AA or AB.
The response of soil microbial communities to soil quality changes is a sensitive indicator of soil ecosystem health. The current work investigated soil microbial communities under different fertilization treatments in a 31-year experiment using the phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) profile method. The experiment consisted of five fertilization treatments: without fertilizer input (CK), chemical fertilizer alone (MF), rice (Oryza sativa L.) straw residue and chemical fertilizer (RF), low manure rate and chemical fertilizer (LOM), and high manure rate and chemical fertilizer (HOM). Soil samples were collected from the plough layer and results indicated that the content of PLFAs were increased in all fertilization treatments compared with the control. The iC15:0 fatty acids increased significantly in MF treatment but decreased in RF, LOM and HOM, while aC15:0 fatty acids increased in these three treatments. Principal component (PC) analysis was conducted to determine factors defining soil microbial community structure using the 21 PLFAs detected in all treatments: the first and second PCs explained 89.8% of the total variance. All unsaturated and cyclopropyl PLFAs except C12:0 and C15:0 were highly weighted on the first PC. The first and second PC also explained 87.1% of the total variance among all fertilization treatments. There was no difference in the first and second PC between RF and HOM treatments. The results indicated that long-term combined application of straw residue or organic manure with chemical fertilizer practices improved soil microbial community structure more than the mineral fertilizer treatment in double-cropped paddy fields in Southern China.
Nasal irrigation is commonly performed in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis after functional endoscopic sinus surgery. This study systematically assessed the clinical efficacy of nasal irrigation from the medical literature.
The PubMed, Embase and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases were searched using a comprehensive strategy, limited to English-language articles, published from October 1971 to March 2017, and comprising human subjects.
A total of 824 trials were identified, 5 of which, involving 331 participants, were included in this systematic review. After selection, only three trials were eligible for inclusion in a meta-analysis. Nasal irrigation using normal saline and various solutions was found to be effective in reducing symptom scores and endoscopic scores for chronic rhinosinusitis patients after functional endoscopic sinus surgery. Comparison of outcome measures, such as eosinophil count reduction, revealed that various solutions are more effective than normal saline alone; however, no statistical significance was found in terms of reduced symptom or endoscopic scores.
Based on the current limited evidence, nasal irrigation is an effective therapy for chronic rhinosinusitis patients after functional endoscopic sinus surgery. However, when comparing various solutions with normal saline, no significant difference was found in symptom scores or endoscopic scores.
Thousand Island Lake (TIL) is a typical fragmented landscape and an ideal model to study ecological effects of fragmentation. Partial fragments of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I gene of 23 island populations of Dendrolimus punctatus in TIL were sequenced, 141 haplotypes being identified. The number of haplotypes increased significantly with the increase in island area and shape index, whereas no significant correlation was detected between three island attributes (area, shape and isolation) and haplotype diversity. However, the correlation with number of haplotypes was no longer significant when the ‘outlier’ island JSD (the largest island) was not included. Additionally, we found no significant relationship between geographic distance and genetic distance. Geographic isolation did not obstruct the gene flow among D. punctatus populations, which might be because of the high dispersal capacity of this pine moth. Fragmentation resulted in the conversion of large and continuous habitats into isolated, small and insular patches, which was the primary effect on the genetic diversity of D. punctatus in TIL. The conclusion to emphasize from our research is that habitat fragmentation reduced the biological genetic diversity to some extent, further demonstrating the importance of habitat continuity in biodiversity protection.
The oxidative study has always been particularly topical in poultry science. However, little information about the occurrence of cellular apoptosis and autophagy through the reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) signal pathway was reported in the liver of broilers exposed to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). So we investigated the change of growth performance of broilers exposed to H2O2 and further explored the occurrence of apoptosis and autophagy, as well as the expression of NF-κB in these signaling pathways in the liver. A total of 320 1-day-old Arbor Acres male broiler chickens were raised on a basal diet and randomly divided into five treatments which were arranged as non-injected treatment (Control), physiological saline (0.75%) injected treatment (Saline) and H2O2 treatments (H2O2(0.74), H2O2(1.48) and H2O2(2.96)) received an intraperitoneal injection of H2O2 with 0.74, 1.48 and 2.96 mM/kg BW. The results showed that compared to those in the control and saline treatments, 2.96 mM/kg BW H2O2-treated broilers exhibited significantly higher feed/gain ratio at 22 to 42 days and 1 to 42 days, ROS formation, the contents of oxidation products, the mRNA expressions of caspases (3, 6, 8), microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3)-II/LC3-I, autophagy-related gene 6, Bcl-2 associated X and protein expressions of total caspase-3 and total LC3-II, and significantly lower BW gain at 22 to 42 days and 1 to 42 days, the activities of total superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase, the expression of NF-κB in the liver. Meanwhile, significantly higher feed/gain ratio at 1 to 42 days, ROS formation, the contents of protein carbonyl and malondialdehyde, the mRNA expression of caspase-3 and the protein expressions of total caspase-3 and total LC3-II, as well as significantly lower BW gain at 22 to 42 days and 1 to 42 days were observed in broilers received 1.48 mM/kg BW H2O2 treatment than those in control and saline treatments. These results indicated that oxidative stress induced by H2O2 had a negative effect on histomorphology and redox status in the liver of broilers, which was associated with a decline in growth performance of broilers. This may attribute to apoptosis and autophagy processes triggered by excessive ROS that suppress the NF-κB signaling pathway.
Litter size has a great impact on the profit of swine producers. Uterine development is an important determinant of reproduction efficiency and could hence affect litter size. Chinese Erhualian pig is one of the most prolific breeds in the world, even though large phenotypic variation in litter size was observed within Erhualian sows. To dissect the genetic basis of the phenotypic variation, we herein conducted genome-wide association studies for total number born and number born alive (NBA) of Erhualian sows. In total, one significant single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (P<1.78e−06) and 11 suggestive SNPs (P<3.57e−05) were identified on 10 chromosomes, confirming seven previously reported quantitative trait loci (QTL) and uncovering six QTL for litter size or uterus length. One locus on Sus scrofa chromosome (SSC) 13 (79.28 to 90.43 Mb) harbored a cluster of suggestive SNPs associated with multiparous NBA. The SNP (rs81447100) within this region was confirmed to be significantly (P<0.05) associated with litter size in Erhualian (n=313), Sutai (n=173) and Yorkshire (n=488) populations. Retinol binding protein 2 and retinol binding protein 1 functionally related to the development of uterus were located in a region of 2 Mb around rs81447100. Moreover, four genes related to embryo implantation and development were also detected around other significant SNPs. Taken together, our findings provide a potential marker (rs81447100) for the genetic improvement of litter size not only in Chinese Erhualian pigs but also in European commercial pig breeds like Yorkshire, and would facilitate the final identification of causative variant(s) underlying the effect of SSC13 QTL on litter size.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
Iron-deficiency anemia is a public health concern that frequently occurs in pregnant mammals and neonatal offspring. Ferrous N-carbamylglycinate chelate (Fe-CGly) is a newly designed iron fortifier with proven effects in iron-deficient rats and weanling piglets. However, the effects of this new compound on pregnant mammals are unknown. Therefore, this experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of Fe-CGly on sow reproductive performance and iron status of both sows and neonatal piglets. A total of 40 large-white sows after second parity were randomly assigned to two groups (n=20). They were receiving a diet including 80 mg Fe/kg as FeSO4 or Fe-CGly, respectively, from day 85 of gestation to parturition. The serum (day 110 of pregnancy) and placentas of sows were sampled. Litter size, mean weight of live born piglets, birth (live) litter weight, number of live born piglets, and the number of still-born piglets, mummies, and weak-born piglets were recorded. Once delivered, eight litters were randomly selected from the 20 litters per treatment, and one new-born male piglet (1.503±0.142 kg) from each selected litter was slaughtered within 3 h after birth from the selected litters, without colostrum ingestion. The serum, longissimus muscle, liver and kidneys of the piglets were collected. The iron status of the serum samples and the messenger RNA level of iron-related genes in the placenta, liver and kidney were analyzed. The results showed that litter weight of live born piglets was higher (P=0.030) in the Fe-CGly group (19.86 kg) than in the FeSO4 group (17.34 kg). Fe-CGly significantly increased placental iron concentration (P<0.05) of sows. It also significantly increased iron saturation and reduced the total iron-binding capacity of piglets (P<0.05) at birth. However, the results revealed that supplementation of Fe-CGly in sows reduced liver and kidney iron concentration of neonatal piglets (P<0.05), indicating decreased iron storage. In addition, the concentration of iron in the colostrum was not significantly changed. Therefore, the present results suggested that replacement of maternal FeSO4 supplement with Fe-CGly in the late-gestating period for sows could improve litter birth weight, probably via enhanced iron transportation in the placenta.
Piglets are characteristically cold intolerant and thus susceptible to high mortality. However, browning of white adipose tissue (WAT) can induce non-shivering thermogenesis as a potential strategy to facilitate the animal’s response to cold. Whether cold exposure can induce browning of subcutaneous WAT (sWAT) in piglets in a similar manner as it can in humans remains largely unknown. In this study, piglets were exposed to acute cold (4°C, 10 h) or chronic cold exposure (8°C, 15 days), and the genes and proteins of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1)-dependent and independent thermogenesis, mitochondrial biogenesis, lipogenic and lipolytic processes were analysed. Interestingly, acute cold exposure induced browning of porcine sWAT, smaller adipocytes and the upregulated expression of UCP1, PGC1α, PGC1β, C/EBPβ, Cidea, UCP3, CKMT1 and PM20D1. Conversely, chronic cold exposure impaired the browning process, reduced mitochondrial numbers and the expression of browning markers, including UCP1, PGC1α and PRDM16. The present study demonstrated that acute cold exposure (but not chronic cold exposure) induces porcine sWAT browning. Thus, browning of porcine sWAT could be a novel strategy to balance the body temperature of piglets, and thus could be protective against cold exposure.