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Muscle fiber characteristics comprise a set of complex traits that influence the meat quality and lean meat production of livestock. However, the genetic and biological mechanisms regulating muscle fiber characteristics are largely unknown in pigs. Based on a genome-wide association study (GWAS) performed on 421 Large White × Min pig F2 individuals presenting well-characterized phenotypes, this work aimed to detect genome variations and candidate genes for five muscle fiber characteristics: percentage of type I fibers (FIB1P), percentage of type IIA fibers (FIB2AP), percentage of type IIB fibers (FIB2BP), diameter of muscle fibers (DIAMF) and number of muscle fibers per unit area (NUMMF). The GWAS used the Illumina Porcine SNP60K genotypic data, which were analyzed by a mixed model. Seven and 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were significantly associated with DIAMF and NUMMF, respectively (P < 1.10E-06); no SNP was significantly associated with FIB1P, FIB2AP or FIB2B. For DIAMF, the significant SNPs on chromosome 4 were located in the previously reported quantitative trait loci (QTL) interval. Because the significant SNPs on chromosome 6 were not mapped in the previously reported QTL interval, a putative novel QTL was suggested for this locus. None of the previously reported QTL intervals on chromosomes 6 and 14 harbored significant SNPs for NUMMF; thus, new potential QTLs on these two chromosomes are suggested in the present work. The most significant SNPs associated with DIAMF (ALGA0025682) and NUMMF (MARC0046984) explained 12.02% and 11.59% of the phenotypic variation of these traits, respectively. In addition, both SNPs were validated as associated with DIAMF and NUMMF in Beijing Black pigs (P < 0.01). Some candidate genes or non-coding RNAs, such as solute carrier family 44 member 5 and miR-124a-1 for DIAMF, and coiled-coil serine rich protein 2 for NUMMF, were identified based on their close location to the significant SNPs. This study revealed some genome-wide association variants for muscle fiber characteristics, and it provides valuable information to discover the genetic mechanisms controlling these traits in pigs.
Grape seed procyanidins (GSPs), widely known for their beneficial health properties, fail to bring about the expected improvement in piglets’ growth performance. The effects of dietary supplementation with GSPs on nutrient utilisation may be a critical influencing factor. Hence, the purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of dietary supplementation with GSPs on nutrient utilisation and gut function in weaned piglets. One hundred and twenty crossbred piglets were allocated randomly to four treatment groups, with three replicate pens per treatment and 10 piglets per pen. Each group was given one of the four dietary treatments: the basal diet (control group) or the basal diet with the addition of 50-, 100- or 150-mg/kg GSPs. The trial lasted 28 days. Faeces were collected from d 12 to 14 and from d 26 to 28 for measuring the coefficient of total tract apparent digestibility (CTTAD) of the nutrients. Blood samples were collected on d 14 and 28 for detecting the blood biochemical parameters. Two piglets per pen were slaughtered to collect the pancreas and intestinal digesta for evaluating the digestive enzyme activity and the coefficient of ileal apparent digestibility (CIAD) of the nutrients. On d 14 and 28, supplementation with 150-mg/kg GSPs significantly decreased the CTTAD of DM and CP in piglets. On d 14, GSPs supplementation at a concentration of 150 mg/kg led to a remarkable decrease in the CIAD of CP and gross energy (GE). On d 28, GSPs supplementation at a dose of 150 mg/kg generated a marked decline in the CIAD of DM, GE, CP and ether extract. Grape seed procyanidins supplementation at concentrations of 100 or 150 mg/kg inhibited the activities of lipase and amylase. In contrast, the jejunum mucosa maltase and sucrase activities increased due to the inclusion of GSPs at a concentration of 100 mg/kg in the piglet diet. Compared with the levels of the control group, the serum glucose and total protein levels were enhanced significantly by supplementation with GSPs at 100 mg/kg and reduced dramatically at 150 mg/kg. The serum diamine oxidase activity and endotoxin levels were decreased by GSPs supplementation in piglet diets. In conclusion, higher concentrations of GSPs in weaned piglet diets attenuated nutrient digestion and inhibited digestive enzyme activity; however, suitable concentrations of GSPs could promote brush-border enzyme activity, enhance serum glucose and total protein concentrations and decrease epithelial permeability.
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.
This study investigated Echinococcus genotypes in patients with hydatidosis that reside in Inner Mongolia, Tibet or Qinghai Province by partially sequencing the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) and NADH dehydrogenase 1 (nad1) genes. Cyst fluids were collected from 23 patients with hydatidosis and DNA was extracted. Portions of the cox1 and nad1 genes were amplified and subsequently sequenced. Sequencing analysis determined that one of the isolates contained Echinococcus multilocularis, and the other 22 isolates contained E. granulosus sensu lato. The isolates were then further classified based on genotype, and E. granulosus sensu stricto (s.s.) G1 (n = 20), E. granulosus s.s. G3 (n = 1) and E. canadensis G6/7 (n = 1) were identified. Additionally, the sequences were concatenated (pcox1 + pnad1) and 11 haplotypes were identified among the E. granulosus s.s. isolates (G1 and G3), with a shared common haplotype (H1) identified. Overall, these findings provide further understanding of the genetic patterns of Echinococcus in western and northern China.
To investigate the morphology and dimensions of the vestibular aqueduct on axial, single-oblique and double-oblique computed tomography images.
The computed tomography temporal bone scans of 112 patients were retrospectively evaluated. Midpoint and opercular measurements were performed using axial, single-oblique and double-oblique images. Morphometric analyses were also conducted. The vestibular aqueduct sizes on axial, single-oblique and double-oblique images were compared.
At the midpoint, the mean (± standard deviation) vestibular aqueduct measured 0.61 ± 0.23 mm, 0.74 ± 0.27 mm and 0.82 ± 0.38 mm on axial, single-oblique and double-oblique images, respectively; at the operculum, the vestibular aqueduct measured 0.91 ± 0.30 mm, 1.11 ± 0.45 mm and 1.66 ± 1.07 mm on the respective images. The co-efficients of variation of the vestibular aqueduct measured at the midpoint were 37.4 per cent, 36.5 per cent and 47.5 per cent on axial, single-oblique and double-oblique images, respectively; at the operculum, the measurements were 33.0 per cent, 40.5 per cent and 64.5 per cent. Regarding morphology, the vestibular aqueduct was fissured (33.5 per cent), tubular (64.3 per cent) or invisible (2.2 per cent).
The morphology and dimensions of the vestibular aqueduct were highly variable among axial, single-oblique and double-oblique images.
Measurements in the infrared wavelength domain allow direct assessment of the physical state and energy balance of cool matter in space, enabling the detailed study of the processes that govern the formation and evolution of stars and planetary systems in galaxies over cosmic time. Previous infrared missions revealed a great deal about the obscured Universe, but were hampered by limited sensitivity.
SPICA takes the next step in infrared observational capability by combining a large 2.5-meter diameter telescope, cooled to below 8 K, with instruments employing ultra-sensitive detectors. A combination of passive cooling and mechanical coolers will be used to cool both the telescope and the instruments. With mechanical coolers the mission lifetime is not limited by the supply of cryogen. With the combination of low telescope background and instruments with state-of-the-art detectors SPICA provides a huge advance on the capabilities of previous missions.
SPICA instruments offer spectral resolving power ranging from R ~50 through 11 000 in the 17–230 μm domain and R ~28.000 spectroscopy between 12 and 18 μm. SPICA will provide efficient 30–37 μm broad band mapping, and small field spectroscopic and polarimetric imaging at 100, 200 and 350 μm. SPICA will provide infrared spectroscopy with an unprecedented sensitivity of ~5 × 10−20 W m−2 (5σ/1 h)—over two orders of magnitude improvement over what earlier missions. This exceptional performance leap, will open entirely new domains in infrared astronomy; galaxy evolution and metal production over cosmic time, dust formation and evolution from very early epochs onwards, the formation history of planetary systems.
In ovo feeding (IOF) of l-arginine (Arg) can affect growth performance of broilers, but the response of IOF of Arg on breast muscle growth is unclear, and the mechanism involved in protein deposition remains unknown. Hense, this experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of IOF of Arg on breast muscle growth and protein-deposited signalling in post-hatch broilers. A total of 720 fertile eggs were collected from 34-week-old Arbor Acres breeder hens and distributed to three treatments: (1) non-injected control group; (2) 7.5 g/l (w/v) NaCl diluent-injected control group; (3) 0.6 mg Arg/egg solution-injected group. At 17.5 days of incubation, fertile eggs were injected 0.6 ml solutions into the amnion of the injected groups. Upon hatching, 80 male chicks were randomly assigned to eight replicates of 10 birds each and fed ad libitum for 21 days. The results indicated that IOF of Arg increased relative breast muscle weight compared with those of control groups at hatch, 3-, 7- and 21-day post-hatch (P<0.05). In the Arg-injected group, the plasma total protein and albumen concentrations were higher at 7- and 21-day post-hatch than those of control groups (P<0.05). The alanine aminotransferase activity in Arg group was higher at hatch than that of control groups (P<0.05). The levels of triiodothyronine at four time points and thyroxine hormones at hatch, 7- and 21-day post-hatch in Arg group were higher than those of control groups (P<0.05). In addition, IOF of Arg increased the amino acid concentrations of breast muscle at hatch, 7- and 21-day post-hatch (P<0.05). In ovo feeding of Arg also enhanced mammalian target of rapamycin, ribosomal protein S6 kinase-1 and eIF4E-bindingprotein-1 messenger RNA expression levels at hatch compared with those of control groups (P<0.05). It was concluded that IOF of Arg treatment improved breast muscle growth, which might be associated with the enhancement of protein deposition.
Human cystic echinococcosis is a widespread, chronic, endemic, helminthic zoonosis caused by larval tapeworms of the species Echinococcus granulosus. At present, there is no rational and effective therapy for patients with echinococcosis. The present study evaluated whether the combination of alkaloids from Sophora moorcroftiana seeds (SMSa2) and Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) was effective in the treatment of experimental echinococcosis. After 20 weeks of secondary infection with protoscoleces, mice were randomly allocated to five groups and treated for 6 weeks by daily intragastric administration of albendazole (ABZ, 100 mg/kg), SMSa2 (100 mg/kg), BCG (abdominal subcutaneous injection at 5 × 106 CFU), SMSa2 + BCG (100 mg/kg SMSa2 and 5 × 106 CFU BCG) or normal saline (untreated group), respectively. The results indicated a significant reduction in the weight of hydatid cysts in the SMSa2 + BCG group compared with the untreated, SMSa2 and BCG groups. The rate of inhibition of hydatid cyst growth in the SMSa2 + BCG group (76.1%) was obviously increased compared with that in the SMSa2 (25.7%) and BCG (26.6%) groups, respectively. Compared with the untreated control, the SMSa2 + BCG group showed a non-significant increase in serum interleukin-4 (IL-4). Furthermore, the serum levels of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) between the untreated and SMSa2 + BCG groups were not statistically different. Therefore, the combination of alkaloids from S. moorcroftiana seeds and BCG can reduce cyst burden and is an effective therapeutic regimen against echinococcosis.
The objective of this study was to determine how much improvement red edge-based vegetation indices (VIs) obtained with the RapidSCAN sensor would achieve for estimating rice nitrogen (N) nutrition index (NNI) at stem elongation stage (SE) as compared with commonly used normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and ratio vegetation index (RVI) in Northeast China. Sixteen plot experiments and seven on-farm experiments were conducted from 2014 to 2016 in Sanjiang Plain, Northeast China. The results indicated that the performance of red edge-based VIs for estimation of rice NNI was better than NDVI and RVI. N sufficiency index calculated with RapidSCAN VIs (NSI_VIs) (R2=0.43–0.59) were more stable and more strongly related to NNI than the corresponding VIs (R2=0.12–0.38).
The effects of in ovo feeding (IOF) of creatine pyruvate (CrPyr) on the hatchability, growth performance and energy status of embryos and broilers (Arbor Acres) were investigated. Five treatments were arranged as non-injected treatment (Control), 0.6 ml physiological saline (0.75%) injected treatment (Saline), and IOF treatments injected with 0.6 ml physiological saline (0.75%) containing 3, 6 or 12 mg CrPyr (CrPyr3, CrPyr6 or CrPyr12) into the amnion per fertile egg on day 17.5 of incubation. After hatching, 80 male chicks from each treatment with similar weight close to the average BW of their pooled group were selected and randomly assigned into eight replicates of 10 chicks each. The results showed that the hatchability was not affected among groups, whereas the hatching weight of broilers in CrPyr12 was significantly higher than the control and saline groups (P<0.05). At 21 day post-hatch, the BWs of broilers in CrPyr6 and CrPyr12 were increased relative to the control and saline groups (P<0.05). Chickens in CrPyr6 and CrPyr12 exhibited higher BW gain and feed intake than the control and saline groups during 8 to 21 days post-hatch and the entire experiment period (P<0.05). Compared with the control and saline groups, the total and relative weight of pectoral muscle of embryos or chickens were greater in CrPyr6 and CrPyr12 at 19th day of incubation (19 E), hatch, 3 and 21 days post-hatch (P<0.05). The concentrations of glucose and glycogen in liver were increased in CrPyr6 and CrPyr12 at 19 E and hatch (P<0.05). Neither glycogen nor glucose concentration in pectoral muscle was altered among treatments (P>0.05). Irrespective of dosage, the concentrations of creatine and phosphocreatine, and activities of creatine kinase in embryos were enhanced in CrPyr treatments at 19 E when compared with the control and saline groups (P<0.05). The activities of glucose-6-phosphatase in liver in CrPyr6 and CrPyr12 treatments were higher than the control and saline groups at 19 E (P<0.05). In conclusion, these results indicated that IOF of CrPyr, especially at the level of 12 mg/egg, could improve energy status of embryos and hatchlings, which was useful for enhancing hatching weight, BW and pectoral muscle weight until the end of the experiments at 21 days post-hatch in broilers.
In individuals with latent tuberculosis (TB) infection, those living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) had a 20–37 times higher risk of developing active TB compared to those without HIV infection. Systematic testing and treatment of latent TB infection are priorities in HIV-infected persons. In China, the prevalence of HIV infection in men who have sex with men (MSM) has gradually increased in the past decade. However, the prevalence of TB infection has been studied sparsely in HIV-infected MSM. Hence, we conducted a pilot study in MSM living with HIV infection in Xi'an city to evaluate TB infection status by means of interferon-γ release assay (IGRA). A total of 182 HIV-infected MSM were included in this study, the prevalence of IGRA positivity was observed to be 8·79% (16/182). IGRA quantitative results were not statistically influenced by the CD4 cell counts of the study participants. However, IGRA positivity was found to be lower than our previously reported data from the general population. This suggests that immunological deficiency might decrease the sensitivity of IGRA and thus increase the number of false negatives. Our primary results, suggesting systematic testing and treatment of latent TB infection together with active case-finding, were equally important for TB control in persons living with HIV infection.
Foxtail millet (Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv.) is a naturally stress-tolerant plant, a major reserve crop and a model for panicoid grasses. The recent completion of the S. italica genome facilitates identification and characterization of WRKY transcription factor family proteins that are important regulators of major plant processes, including growth, development and stress response. The present study identified 103 WRKY transcription factor-encoding genes in the S. italica genome. The genes were named SiWRKY1–SiWRKY103 according to their order on the chromosomes. A comprehensive expression analysis of SiWRKY genes among four different tissues was performed using publicly available RNA sequencing data. Eighty-four SiWRKY genes were more highly expressed in root tissue than in other tissues and nine genes were only expressed in roots. Additionally, real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction was performed to comprehensively analyse the expression of all SiWRKY genes in response to dehydration. Results indicated that most SiWRKY genes (over 0.8) were up-regulated by drought stress. In conclusion, genome-wide identification and expression profiling of SiWRKY genes provided a set of candidates for cloning and functional analyses in plants’ response to drought stress.
The objective of the present study was to investigate the intestinal development of newborn intrauterine growth-restricted (IUGR) piglets subjected to normal nutrient intake (NNI) or restricted nutrient intake (RNI). Newborn normal birth weight (NBW) and IUGR piglets were allotted to NNI or RNI levels for 4 weeks from day 8 postnatal. IUGR piglets receiving NNI had similar growth performance compared with that of NBW piglets. Small intestine length and villous height were greater in IUGR piglets fed the NNI than that of piglets fed the RNI. Lactase activity was increased in piglets fed the NNI compared with piglets fed the RNI. Absorptive function, represented by active glucose transport by the Ussing chamber method and messenger RNA (mRNA) expressions of two main intestinal glucose transporters, Na+-dependent glucose transporter 1 (SGLT1) and glucose transporter 2 (GLUT2), were greater in IUGR piglets fed the NNI compared with piglets fed the RNI regimen. The apoptotic process, characterized by caspase-3 activity (a sign of activated apoptotic cells) and mRNA expressions of p53 (pro-apoptotic), bcl-2-like protein 4 (Bax) (pro-apoptotic) and B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) (anti-apoptotic), were improved in IUGR piglets fed the NNI regimen. To test the hypothesis that improvements in intestinal development of IUGR piglets fed NNI might be mediated through circulating glucagon-like peptide-2 (GLP-2), GLP-2 was injected subcutaneously to IUGR piglets fed the RNI from day 8 to day 15 postnatal. Although the intestinal development of IUGR piglets fed the RNI regimen was suppressed compared with those fed the NNI regimen, an exogenous injection of GLP-2 was able to bring intestinal development to similar levels as NNI-fed IUGR piglets. Collectively, our results demonstrate that IUGR neonates that have NNI levels could improve intestinal function via the regulation of GLP-2.
We present the results of two 2.3 μm near-infrared (NIR) radial velocity (RV) surveys to detect exoplanets around 36 nearby and young M dwarfs. We use the CSHELL spectrograph (R ~ 46,000) at the NASA InfraRed Telescope Facility (IRTF), combined with an isotopic methane absorption gas cell for common optical path relative wavelength calibration. We have developed a sophisticated RV forward modeling code that accounts for fringing and other instrumental artifacts present in the spectra. With a spectral grasp of only 5 nm, we are able to reach long-term radial velocity dispersions of ~20–30 m s−1 on our survey targets.
This study aimed to comprehensively evaluate factors that influence the likelihood of syphilis infection from risk-taking behaviours and medical conditions. A retrospective case-control study was conducted by enrolling 664 syphilis inpatients (excluding 11 congenital syphilis patients) and 800 sex- and age-matched controls. Medical histories, clinical data and patient interview data were collected and subjected to logistic regression analyses. The prevalence of syphilis in the study population was 3·9% (675/17 304). By univariate analysis, syphilis infection was associated with migration between cities, marital status, smoking, reproductive history, hypertension, elevated blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) (P < 0·05). A high rate of syphilis-HBV co-infection was observed in HIV-negative patients and further research revealed an association between syphilis and specific HBV serological reactivity. Syphilis was also associated with the frequency, duration and status of tobacco use. Multivariate analysis indicated that syphilis infection was independently associated with migration between cities [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1·368, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·048–1·785], current smoking (aOR 1·607, 95% CI 1·177–2·195), elevated BUN (aOR 1·782, 95% CI 1·188–2·673) and some serological patterns of HBV infection. To prevent the spread of infectious diseases, inpatients and blood donors should be tested for HIV, syphilis, HBV and HCV simultaneously.
The first human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus was reported in Shanghai, China in March 2013. An additional 32 cases of human H7N9 infection were identified in the following months from March to April 2013 in Shanghai. Here we conducted a case-control study of the patients with H7N9 infection (n = 25) using controls matched by age, sex, and residence to determine risk factors for H7N9 infection. Our findings suggest that chronic disease and frequency of visiting a live poultry market (>10 times, or 1–9 times during the 2 weeks before illness onset) were likely to be significantly associated with H7N9 infection, with the odds ratios being 4·07 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1·32–12·56], 10·61 (95% CI 1·85–60·74), and 3·76 (95% CI 1·31–10·79), respectively. Effective strategies for live poultry market control should be reinforced and ongoing education of the public is warranted to promote behavioural changes that can help to eliminate direct or indirect contact with influenza A(H7N9) virus.
Experiments reporting magnetic-field generation by the ablative nonlinear Rayleigh–Taylor (RT) instability are reviewed. The experiments show how large-scale magnetic fields can, under certain circumstances, emerge and persist in strongly driven laboratory and astrophysical flows at drive pressures exceeding one million times atmospheric pressure.