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The effect of maternal Ramadan-type fasting (RTF) on the outcome of pregnancy, kidney development and nephron number in male rat offspring was investigated in current study. Pregnant rats were given food and water ad libitum during pregnancy (control) or restricted for 16 h per day (RTF). Kidney structure was examined during fetal life, at birth, and in early and late adulthood. Maternal body weight, food intake, relative food intake and plasma glucose levels were significantly lower (P<0.001) in the RTF group. Litter and pup weights also were significantly lower (P<0.05) in the RTF group at birth, with no difference in the litter size. The RTF group had a longer gestation, delayed nephrogenesis with less well-differentiated glomeruli, more connective tissue, fewer medullary rays, an increase in the nephrogenic zone/cortical zone ratio, and significant increase (P<0.001) in kidney apoptosis at birth. On the other hand, maternal fasting reduced nephron number (by ~31%) with unchanged kidney and total glomerular volumes. Mean glomerular volume was significantly higher in RTF offspring. Assessment of renal structure revealed mild glomerulosclerosis with enlarged lobulated glomeruli in the renal cortex and high interstitial fibrosis in the medulla of RTF kidneys. Taken together, gestational fasting delays nephrogenesis and reduces nephron number in the kidneys of the offspring, that could be partially owing to increased apoptosis.
Connective tissue content of skeletal muscle plays a key role in meat quality. Previous pilot studies carried out in our lab have indicated that the smallest littermate may have a higher proportion of connective tissue in skeletal muscle (Clelland A., 2001). Connective tissue provides a structure to the muscle belly and is composed of ground substance, fibres and connective tissue cells. A proportion of these three elements of the connective tissue comprise of collagen I and fat deposits. This is an important concept to the meat industry as an increased amount of these components can increase meat toughness and intramuscular fat respectively, both having an impact on the resultant meat quality. The primary objective of this study is to investigate the relationship between undernutrition, collagen and fat content using a naturally occurring model. In the pig, it can be argued that differing levels of nutrition received, in utero, are a major cause of intra-litter variation. Therefore the smallest and largest littermates were chosen and content of collagen I and fat deposition were analysed in the M. semitendinosus of both.
Since April 2015, whole genome sequencing (WGS) has been the routine test for Salmonella identification, surveillance and outbreak investigation at the national reference laboratory in England and Wales. In May 2015, an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis cases was detected using WGS data and investigated. UK cases were interviewed to obtain a food history and links between suppliers were mapped to produce a food chain network for chicken eggs. The association between the food chain network and the phylogeny was explored using a network comparison approach. Food and environmental samples were taken from premises linked to cases and tested for Salmonella. Within the outbreak single nucleotide polymorphism defined cluster, 136 cases were identified in the UK and 18 in Spain. One isolate from a food containing chicken eggs was within the outbreak cluster. There was a significant association between the chicken egg food chain of UK cases and phylogeny of outbreak isolates. This is the first published Salmonella outbreak to be prospectively detected using WGS. This outbreak in the UK was linked with contemporaneous cases in Spain by WGS. We conclude that UK and Spanish cases were exposed to a common source of Salmonella-contaminated chicken eggs.
Accurate discrimination of two morphologically similar species of Patella limpets has been facilitated by using qPCR amplification of species-specific mitochondrial genomic regions. Cost-effective and non-destructive sampling is achieved using a mucus swab and simple sample lysis and dilution to create a PCR template. Results show 100% concurrence with dissection and microscopic analysis, and the technique has been employed successfully in field studies. The use of highly sensitive DNA barcoding techniques such as this hold great potential for improving previously challenging field assessments of species abundance.
The “niche-variation” model predicts that increase in environmental stability should be accompanied by increase in homozygosity and reduction in morphological variability. All Late Cambrian trilobite biomeres show an increase in regional species diversity from low in the biomere toward the top. This change in diversity is believed to reflect increasing environmental stability and consequently affords the opportunity to indirectly test the “niche-variation” hypothesis in a paleontological context. Measurements were made of eight cranidial features of samples of 17 species populations from the Pterocephaliid Biomere of the Great Basin. Coefficients of variation and a multivariate analog of them failed to reveal a relationship between morphological variability and species diversity. Consideration of these data together with contradictory, but limited, informaton for other organisms suggests that the predicted decrease in genetic variability may either be absent or be readily masked in naturally occurring populations, which typically retain a high degree of genetic polymorphism. If heterozygosity is common, it would appear that accidents of geography, rather than the genetic consequences of stable or unstable environments, are among the primary factors controlling the probability of speciation.
Most of the recent advances in X-ray astronomy have resulted from satellite observations in the low energy (< 20 keV) range. The Einstein X-ray Observatory in particular has been responsible for a dramatic increase in our knowledge of the X-ray sky, in that all major classes of astronomical objects have been detected.
We agree with Kline that a lack of unification is preventing progress in understanding the occurrence of teaching behaviour and the selective pressures influencing its presence. However, we feel that the proposed framework, which incorporates mentalistic and cultural approaches, continues to overlook cases of teaching in nonhuman animals. We advocate the comparative functionalist framework to identify the proximate causes of teaching behaviour in both humans and other animals.
Ferromanganese nodules have been recognized widely as potentially important resources for strategic metals. However it remains unclear if the formation of these nodules is purely an abiotic process or if microorganisms are involved in their formation. To determine the microbial contributions, detailed organic geochemical analyses were performed on ferromanganese nodules collected from across the southwest Indian Ocean. These analyses reveal the presence of specific terrestrial, marine and petroleum derived biomarkers, consistent with formation in a marine setting with a substantial influx of terrestrially derived (higher plant detritus) and naturally occurring petroleum-related organic matter. In contrast, only trace amounts of general bacterial biomarkers, commonly present in these types of depositional environments, were present. This indicates that the formation of these ferromanganese nodules is predominantly an abiotic process although a minor contribution from microbial mediated processes to the growth of these nodules cannot be completely ruled out.
Choppers and chopping tools have long been associated with the Clactonian industries of Britain. They have either been dismissed as cores, or often described as woodworking tools, but have rarely been studied from a functional perspective. The purpose of this paper is to publish the results of a series of experiments which has been carried out to investigate the functional efficiency of choppers or chopping tools as compared to other alternative tools. These results are then reviewed in the light of the archaeological information from Clactonian and other Lower and Middle Pleistocene sites.
Due to the problems of definition, for the purposes of the experiments both chopping tools and choppers have been taken to be small nodules of pebbles which have had several flakes removed bifacially along at least one edge. The morphology of the working edge is identical to that found on the edges of many of the Clactonian cores. For this reason, chopping tools, choppers and cores are regarded as artefacts with potentially an identical function. In the experiments they are termed simply as chopping tools.
A community outbreak of legionellosis occurred in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, during July and August 2002. A descriptive study and active case-finding were instigated and all known wet cooling systems and other potential sources were investigated. Genotypic and phenotypic analysis, and amplified fragment length polymorphism of clinical human and environmental isolates confirmed the air-conditioning unit of a council-owned arts and leisure centre to be the source of infection. Subsequent sequence-based typing confirmed this link. One hundred and seventy-nine cases, including seven deaths [case fatality rate (CFR) 3·9%] were attributed to the outbreak. Timely recognition and management of the incident very likely led to the low CFR compared to other outbreaks. The outbreak highlights the responsibility associated with managing an aerosol-producing system, with the potential to expose and infect a large proportion of the local population and the consequent legal ramifications and human cost.
Background: Late life depression is often accompanied by slowed information processing during neuropsychological testing, and this has been related to underlying cerebrovascular disease. We investigated whether changes in electrophysiological markers of information processing might share the same pathological correlates.
Methods: Differences in power spectra frequency, contingent negative variation (CNV), post-imperative negative variation (PINV), and auditory P300a amplitude and latency in 19 patients with DSM-IV major depression aged ≥ 60 years were compared with 25 recordings in age-matched healthy controls. Associations with total brain volume and degree of white matter hyperintensities (WMH) were examined in those who had undergone additional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Results: Compared with healthy controls, patients had more slow-wave delta (group difference: p = 0.024) and theta activity (p = 0.015) as well as alpha activity (p = 0.005) but no decrease in beta band frequency (p = 0.077). None of these changes related differently to brain volume or WMH in patients or controls. Patients further showed prolonged P300a latencies (p = 0.027), which were associated with decreased total brain volume in patients but not controls (interaction by group: p = 0.004). While there were no overall differences in PINV between both groups, patients showed a decrease in PINV magnitude with increasing WMH, a relation that was not seen in controls (interaction by group: p = 0.024).
Conclusion: Patients with late life depression show changes in several electrophysiological markers of cerebral arousal and information processing, some of which relate to brain atrophy and WMH on MRI.
Skeletal muscle is a highly dynamic and malleable tissue that is able to adapt to different stimuli placed upon it, both during gestation and after birth, ultimately resulting in anatomical changes to muscle fibre composition. Variation in nutrient supply throughout gestation is common, whether in livestock or in the human. The specific effects of maternal nutrition on foetal development are at the forefront of scientific research. However, results describing how different maternal feeding strategies affect skeletal muscle fibre development in the offspring are not fully consistent, even where the same time windows during gestation have been examined. The aim of this study is to determine the effects of increased maternal nutrition (above the recommended levels) on the Musculus semitendinosus phenotype of progeny. In all, 24 pregnant sows were assigned to one of four feeding regimes during gestation; T1 (control group): 30 MJ digestible energy per day (MJ DE/day) throughout gestation, T2: same as that for T1 but increased to 60 MJ DE/day from 25 to 50 days of gestation (dg), T3: same as that for T1 but increased to 60 MJ DE/day from 50 to 80 dg, T4: same as that for T1 but increased nutrition to 60 MJ DE/day from 25 to 80 dg. Light- and heavy-weight littermate pairs of the same sex were selected at birth and individually fed to slaughter (c. 158 days). Histochemical and immunohistochemical staining were used to identify the predominantly oxidative (deep) and less oxidative (superficial) regions of the M. semitendinosus, and to determine total fibre number and proportions of fibre types. The results demonstrate that increased maternal nutrition alters skeletal muscle phenotype in the offspring by changing fibre-type proportions, leading to an increased oxidative capacity due to an increase in Type IIA fibres. No change in total muscle area, total muscle fibre number, or fibre cross-sectional area is observed. The precise molecular mechanism(s) by which these findings occur is being investigated.
Discrete humus layers are common on podzols under temperate coniferous and tropical heath forests, and patchy layers also occur under some temperate broadleaved forests on non-podzolic soils. We used multiple data sets to test the reported association of humus with oligotrophic but non-podzolic soils under non-heath dipterocarp forest at Lambir, Sarawak. We examined the distribution, morphology and nutrient dynamics of necromass on soils derived from sandstone and shale. Concentrations of the main mineral nutrients were lower in fresh litter on the very oligotrophic sandstone soils than on shale. The rates of litterfall were similar, so that annual litterfall fluxes of all nutrients were lower on sandstone. The lower nutrient concentrations and fluxes in the litter on sandstone resulted in slower decomposition, longer residence times and larger standing crops of forest-floor necromass, with lower concentrations of nutrients. The necromass on sandstone sequestered significantly more N, K and Mg but less Ca and Mn than on shale, with no significant difference for P. The variations in necromass nutrient dynamics were associated with morphological differences. There were mats of densely rooted humus under the litter on sandstone, whereas litter lay directly over the mineral topsoil on shale. Spatial associations with soil nutrients were weak for necromass thickness, but clear for humus. The proportions of nutrients in the litterfall and necromass reflected the stoichiometric profiles of the soils. We attribute the differences in necromass nutrient dynamics and their association with soil reserve nutrients to lower rates of nutrient replenishment from the weathering of sandstone than from shale. Necromass characteristics are robust field indicators of multivariate edaphic differences in these and other tropical forests on Acrisols/Ultisols derived from Tertiary clastic sediments.
The parasitic nematode Strongyloides stercoralis, has several alternative developmental pathways. Upon exiting the host (humans, other primates and dogs) in faeces, 1st-stage larvae (L1) can enter the direct pathway, in which they moult twice to reach the infective 3rd-stage. Alternatively, if they enter the indirect pathway, they moult 4 times and become free-living adults. The choice of route depends, in part, on environmental cues. In this investigation it was shown that at temperatures below 34 °C the larvae enter the indirect pathway and develop to free-living adulthood. Conversely, at temperatures approaching body temperature (34 °C and above), that are unfavorable for the survival of free-living stages, larvae develop directly to infectivity. The time-period within the L1's development during which temperature influenced the choice of the pathway depended on the temperature, but, at any given temperature, occurred approximately in the middle of the time-span spent in the L1 stage, which varied inversely with temperature. This critical period was associated with the time-interval in which the number of cells in the genital primordium began to increase, thus providing a morphological marker for the pathway decision in individual worms. Sensing the environment is the function of the amphidial neurons, and therefore we examined the role of individual amphidial neurons in controlling entry into the direct pathway to infectivity. The temperature-sensitive developmental switch is controlled by the neuron pair ALD (which also controls thermotaxis), as seen by the loss of control when these neurons are ablated. Thus, in S. stercoralis a single amphidial neuron pair controls both developmental and behavioural functions.