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Lichens of the Ramalina siliquosa complex dominate seashore cliffs in Europe and South-East Asia, but their taxonomy has been vigorously debated for over a century. On many cliffs, they exhibit a bewildering zonation of chemotypes that resembles the classic zonation of organisms that occupy the littoral zone below. Do the chemotypes represent separate species, or infraspecific variation? To better understand the systematics of this group, sequences from four genetic loci (ITS, IGS, RPB1 and RPB2) were obtained for 59 samples from Denmark, France, Iceland, Norway, UK, Japan and Korea, including all major chemotypes. Maximum likelihood analysis of these sequences, together with sequences from 36 other Ramalina species, reveals that the complex comprises two distinct phylogenetic lineages, each including multiple chemotypes. These two putative species-level lineages correspond to the currently accepted taxa R. cuspidata and R. siliquosa. There is no evidence that these two taxa are phylogenetic sister species. Consequently, the explanation of this chemotype complex as an example of ‘sibling speciation’ is rejected. Specimens traditionally called ‘R. siliquosa’ from South-East Asia form a third clade, identified here as R. semicuspidata, with an additional, divaricatic acid chemotype. Other results include a robustly supported clade of Ramalina species that produce medullary depsides and depsidones; this clade includes another well-supported clade of south-eastern United States coastal plain and tropical Ramalina species. By contrast, large, strap-shaped Ramalina species that lack medullary depsides and depsidones occur in separate lineages. In addition, close relationships between the following groups of species are indicated: R. farinacea with R. subfarinacea; R. fraxinea with R. leptocarpha, R. menziesii and R. subleptocarpha; R. sinensis with R. unifolia. Furthermore, a new, variolaric acid-only chemotype is reported for R. farinacea, and a new, acid-deficient chemotype is reported for a more broadly circumscribed R. culbersoniorum.
The South Korean Twin Registry (SKTR) is an ongoing nationwide volunteer registry of South Korean twins and their families. Since its inception, from preschooler to young adult, twins have been registered with the SKTR and have demonstrated that relative influences of genetic and environmental factors explaining individual differences in various psychological, mental health and physical traits in South Koreans are similar to those found in many Western twin studies. Currently, studies at the SKTR focus on identification of the process of gene-by-environment interactions as well as developmental differences in genetic and environmental influences on psychological and mental health traits in South Koreans. This report provides a brief overview, recruitment strategies, current samples, zygosity assessment, measures and future directions of the SKTR.
Here we provide an update of the 2013 report on the Nigerian Twin and Sibling Registry (NTSR). The major aim of the NTSR is to understand genetic and environmental influences and their interplay in psychological and mental health development in Nigerian children and adolescents. Africans have the highest twin birth rates among all human populations, and Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. Due to its combination of large population and high twin birth rates, Nigeria has one of the largest twin populations in the world. In this article, we provide current updates on the NTSR samples recruited, recruitment procedures, zygosity assessment and findings emerging from the NTSR.
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 introduction of agriculture is known to have profoundly affected the ecological complexion of landscapes. In this study, a rapid transition from C3 to C4 vegetation is inferred from a shift to higher stable carbon (13C/12C) isotope ratios of soils and sediments in the Benoué River Valley and upland Fali Mountains in northern Cameroon. Landscape change is viewed from the perspective of two settlement mounds and adjacent floodplains, as well as a rock terrace agricultural field dating from 1100 cal yr BP to the recent past (<400 cal yr BP). Nitrogen (15N/14N) isotope ratios and soil micromorphology demonstrate variable uses of land adjacent to the mound sites. These results indicate that Early Iron Age settlement practices involved exploitation of C3 plants on soils with low δ15N values, indicating wetter soils. Conversely, from the Late Iron Age (>700 cal yr BP) until recent times, high soil and sediment δ13C and δ15N values reflect more C4 biomass and anthropogenic organic matter in open, dry environments. The results suggest that Iron Age settlement practices profoundly changed landscapes in this part of West Africa through land clearance and/or utilization of C4 plants.
Background: Meningiomas are the most commonly occurring benign intracranial tumors. When presenting with peritumoral brain edema (PTBE), surgical treatment can lead to patient morbidity. This retrospective case series aims to describe the conservative medical management of moderate to large meningiomas with large PTBE. Methods: Patients with suspected meningiomas greater than 2.0cm and edema index greater than 2.0 were identified by screening 3345 MRI scans between 2012-2017. Imaging analysis included MR imaging features of suspected meningiomas and clinical data was gathered from the electronic patient record (patient age, sex, patient symptoms, follow-up duration, and follow-up symptoms). Results: We report on 31 patients who received conservative medical management. Presenting complaints included headache, seizure, weakness; many presented asymptomatically. The average follow-up time was 3.96 years. At the final follow-up appointment, 19 (61%) patients were asymptomatic. Among symptomatic patients, seizures were the most common complaint. There was no mortality reported in our cohort and the average tumor progression was 7.04cm3/year. Conclusions: In this retrospective report of meningioma patients with high edema index, we found that most patients remained asymptomatic or had stable symptoms after at least 1-yr follow up after medical treatment. This study provides insight around the surgical decision-making for meningiomas with large spread of edema.
Yarn-type supercapacitors should have high energy density in small given spaces, and the one attempt among many is to comprise the electrodes asymmetrically. However, the low capacitance of conventional materials causes the widened operating voltage useless. In this study, we have utilized a novel material MXene with carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to make highly loaded MXene/CNT yarn electrodes, which exhibited a remarkable areal capacitance. With MnO2/CNT biscrolled cathode and PVA/LiCl gel electrolyte, the plied asymmetric yarn supercapacitor had energy density of 100 µWh/cm2. The yarn supercapacitor could operate under mechanical deformations without performance degradation.
It is important to identify molecular candidates involved in morphological and functional changes in the female reproductive system. We have discovered several candidate genes that were significantly altered in chick oviducts by exogenous estrogen and those candidates included dexamethasone (DEX)-induced RAS-related protein 1 (RASD1). RAS-related protein 1, a member of the Ras family of monomeric G proteins, is involved in various cellular processes including cell growth, proliferation and differentiation, as well as a cell-signaling protein regulating hormonal actions. Although the RASD1 gene was first identified as a DEX (a corticosteroid) inducible gene, there is evidence that it is also an estrogen-responsive gene. However, hormone-mediated expression and biological functions of RASD1 in the avian female reproductive system are poorly understood. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that RASD1 may be involved in the development and remodeling of the chicken reproductive system as an estrogen-responsive gene. Here we demonstrate differential expression of RASD1 gene and candidate microRNAs (miRNAs) targeting chicken RASD1 transcripts in chicken oviducts in response to diesthylstilbestrol (DES, a synthetic non-steroidal estrogen) and the estrogen-mediated molting process. Result of the present study indicated that expression of RASD1 messenger RNA (mRNA) increased in the developing oviducts of chicks treated with DES, particularly in the glandular (GE) and luminal (LE) epithelia of the magnum and the shell gland. Also, during induced molting by zinc feeding, RASD1 expression changed in concert with changes in concentrations of estrogen in blood of laying hens. Our results revealed that expression of RASD1 mRNA decreased as the oviduct regressed and then increased as the oviduct underwent re-growth and recrudescence in hens. Furthermore, RASD1 mRNA was expressed predominantly in GE and LE of the oviduct of laying hens during regeneration of the oviduct after induced molting, but not during the period of regression of the oviduct during molting. In addition, the relative expression of candidate miRNAs (miR-30a-5p, miR-30b-5p, miR-30c-5p and miR-30d) regulating RASD1 transcripts changed in response to estrogen stimulation of chick oviducts. These results indicate that transcription of the RASD1 gene and miRNAs regulating post-transcriptional aspects of expression of RASD1 are modulated by estrogen which is critical for growth, development, remodeling and maintenance of function of the chicken oviduct.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
Understanding viral transmission dynamics within populations of reservoir hosts can facilitate greater knowledge of the spillover of emerging infectious diseases. While bat-borne viruses are of concern to public health, investigations into their dynamics have been limited by a lack of longitudinal data from individual bats. Here, we examine capture–mark–recapture (CMR) data from a species of Australian bat (Myotis macropus) infected with a putative novel Alphacoronavirus within a Bayesian framework. Then, we developed epidemic models to estimate the effect of persistently infectious individuals (which shed viruses for extensive periods) on the probability of viral maintenance within the study population. We found that the CMR data analysis supported grouping of infectious bats into persistently and transiently infectious bats. Maintenance of coronavirus within the study population was more likely in an epidemic model that included both persistently and transiently infectious bats, compared with the epidemic model with non-grouping of bats. These findings, using rare CMR data from longitudinal samples of individual bats, increase our understanding of transmission dynamics of bat viral infectious diseases.
A new approach is proposed to analyze Bremsstrahlung X-rays that are emitted from laser-produced plasmas (LPP) and are measured by a stack type spectrometer. This new method is based on a spectral tomographic reconstruction concept with the variational principle for optimization, without referring to the electron energy distribution of a plasma. This approach is applied to the analysis of some experimental data obtained at a few major laser facilities to demonstrate the applicability of the method. Slope temperatures of X-rays from LPP are determined with a two-temperature model, showing different spectral characteristics of X-rays depending on laser properties used in the experiments.
We analyzed birth order differences in means and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins from infancy to old age. The data were derived from the international CODATwins database. The total number of height and BMI measures from 0.5 to 79.5 years of age was 397,466. As expected, first-born twins had greater birth weight than second-born twins. With respect to height, first-born twins were slightly taller than second-born twins in childhood. After adjusting the results for birth weight, the birth order differences decreased and were no longer statistically significant. First-born twins had greater BMI than the second-born twins over childhood and adolescence. After adjusting the results for birth weight, birth order was still associated with BMI until 12 years of age. No interaction effect between birth order and zygosity was found. Only limited evidence was found that birth order influenced variances of height or BMI. The results were similar among boys and girls and also in MZ and DZ twins. Overall, the differences in height and BMI between first- and second-born twins were modest even in early childhood, while adjustment for birth weight reduced the birth order differences but did not remove them for BMI.
This study was conducted to investigate the angles and orientation of semicircular canals, and the coplanarity of functional canal pairs.
Fluid signals in semicircular canals were reconstructed with three-dimensional reconstruction software using 20 temporal bone magnetic resonance images of normal subjects. The angles between each pair of semicircular canals were measured.
The mean angles between the anterior and horizontal semicircular canal plane, the horizontal and posterior semicircular canal plane, and the anterior and posterior semicircular canal plane were 83.7°, 82.5° and 88.4°, respectively. Pairs of contralateral synergistic canal planes were formed 15.1° between the right and left horizontal semicircular canal planes, 21.2° between the right anterior and left posterior semicircular canal, and 21.7° between the left anterior and right posterior semicircular canal.
Each semicircular canal makes an almost right angle with other canals, but synergistically acting functional canal pairs of both ears do not lie in exactly the same plane.
Depression is common after acute coronary syndrome (ACS) with adverse effects on prognosis. There is little evidence on whether depression treatment improves quality of life (QoL) in ACS patients. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of co-morbid depression and its treatment on QoL in ACS.
In total, 1152 patients were recruited at baseline, 2–14 weeks after a confirmed ACS episode, and 828 were followed 1 year thereafter. Of 446 baseline participants with co-morbid depressive disorders, 300 were randomized to a 24-week double blind trial of escitalopram or placebo, while the remaining 146 received medical treatment only (MTO). QoL was measured by the World Health Organization Quality of Life –Abbreviated form (WHOQOL-BREF).
At baseline, QoL was significantly lower in patients with co-morbid depressive disorder than those without. QoL improvement was significantly greater in those receiving escitalopram than those receiving placebo over the 24-week treatment period. In the 1-year follow-up, the better outcomes associated with escitalopram remained evident against both placebo and MTO.
Depression was significantly associated with worse QoL even in patients with recently developed ACS. Depression treatment was associated with QoL improvement in ACS patients in the 24-week treatment period, the effects of which extended to 1 year.
In February 2012, an outbreak of gastroenteritis was reported in school A; a successive outbreak was reported at school B. A retrospective cohort study conducted in school A showed that seasoned green seaweed with radishes (relative risk 7·9, 95% confidence interval 1·1–56·2) was significantly associated with illness. Similarly, a case-control study of students at school B showed that cases were 5·1 (95% confidence interval 1·1–24·8) times more likely to have eaten seasoned green seaweed with pears. Multiple norovirus genotypes were detected in samples from students in schools A and B. Norovirus GII.6 isolated from schools A and B were phylogenetically indistinguishable. Green seaweed was supplied by company X, and norovirus GII.4 was isolated from samples of green seaweed. Green seaweed was assumed to be linked to these outbreaks. To our knowledge, this is the first reported norovirus outbreak associated with green seaweed.
This paper presents a multi-agent behavior to cooperatively rescue a faulty robot using a sound signal. In a robot team, the faulty robot should be immediately recalled since it may seriously obstruct other robots, or collected matters in the faulty robot may be lost. For the rescue mission, we first developed a sound localization method, which estimates the sound source from a faulty robot by using multiple microphone sensors. Next, since a single robot cannot recall the faulty robot, the robots organized a heterogeneous rescue team by themselves with pusher, puller, and supervisor. This self-organized team succeeded in moving the faulty robot to a safe zone without help from any global positioning systems. Finally, our results demonstrate that a faulty robot among multi-agent robots can be immediately rescued with the cooperation of its neighboring robots and interactive communication between the faulty robot and the rescue robots. Experiments are presented to test the validity and practicality of the proposed approach.
The Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory (UFFO), which will be launched onboard the
Lomonosov spacecraft, contains two crucial instruments: UFFO Burst
Alert & Trigger Telescope (UBAT) for detection and localization of Gamma-Ray Bursts
(GRBs) and the fast-response Slewing Mirror Telescope (SMT) designed for the observation
of the prompt optical/UV counterparts. Here we discuss the in-space calibrations of the
UBAT detector and SMT telescope. After the launch, the observations of the standard X-ray
sources such as pulsar in Crab nebula will provide data for necessary calibrations of
UBAT. Several standard stars will be used for the photometric calibration of SMT. The
celestial X-ray sources, e.g. X-ray binaries with bright optical sources
in their close angular vicinity will serve for the cross-calibration of UBAT and SMT.
The Ultra-Fast Flash Observatory (UFFO) Pathfinder for Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) consists
of two telescopes. The UFFO Burst Alert & Trigger Telescope (UBAT) handles the
detection and localization of GRBs, and the Slewing Mirror Telescope (SMT) conducts the
measurement of the UV/optical afterglow. UBAT is equipped with an X-ray detector, analog
and digital signal readout electronics that detects X-rays from GRBs and determines the
location. SMT is equipped with a stepping motor and the associated electronics to rotate
the slewing mirror targeting the GRBs identified by UBAT. First the slewing mirror points
to a GRB, then SMT obtains the optical image of the GRB using the intensified CCD and its
readout electronics. The UFFO Data Acquisition system (UDAQ) is responsible for the
overall function and operation of the observatory and the communication with the satellite
main processor. In this paper we present the design and implementation of the electronics
of UBAT and SMT as well as the architecture and implementation of UDAQ.