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This is a copy of the slides presented at the meeting but not formally written up for the volume.
Stripe domains in ferroelectric thin films form in order to minimize the total energy of the film. It has been known for some time that a stable configuration is reached when the decrease in elastic energy from domain formation is balanced by the energetic costs of domain wall formation, local elastic strains in the substrate, and internal electric field formation from domain polarizations. The size and strain of each domain is determined by the lattice mismatch and the energetic costs of interface formation. Recent piezoelectric force microscopy measurements have shown that BiFeO3 (BFO) films on SrRuO3/SrTiO3 (001) substrates form striped polarization domains. Since the details of the local structure and polarization cannot be measured at the same time with conventional techniques, we have used synchrotron x-ray microdiffraction to study these effects. Probing only a few domains at a time with the submicron x-ray spot resulted in a diffraction pattern near the substrate (103) reflection consisting of several BFO peaks. We have unambiguously assigned these peaks to individual structural variants. Based on these results, we propose a physical model that includes the striped domains. The structural variants within the stripes are similar to those predicted by striped patterns in rhombohedral films which minimize elastic energy. The local piezoelectric properties were measured using time-resolved microdiffraction in order to examine the role of the striped domains in the linear responses of the film. The out of plane piezoelectric coefficient d33 was approximately 50 pm/V and the piezoelectric strain was proportional to electric field was up to 0.55%, the maximum strain we have measured. The projection of the in-plane piezoelectric coefficients onto the reciprocal space maps for different structural variants had vastly different values due to the differences in orientation of the domains.
The terminal Ediacaran Dengying Formation (c. 551.1–538.8 Ma) in South China is one of two successions where Ediacara-type macrofossils are preserved in carbonate facies along with skeletal fossils and bilaterian animal traces. Given the remarkable thickness of carbonate-bearing strata deposited in less than 12.3 million years, the Dengying Formation holds the potential for construction of a relatively continuous chemostratigraphic profile for the terminal Ediacaran Period. In this study, a detailed sedimentological and chemostratigraphic (δ13Ccarb, δ18Ocarb, δ13Corg, δ34Spyrite, and 87Sr/86Sr) investigation was conducted on the Dengying Formation at the Gaojiashan section, Ningqiang County of southern Shaanxi Province, South China. Sedimentological results reveal an overall shallow-marine depositional environment. Carbonate breccia, void-filling botryoidal precipitates and aragonite crystal fans are common in the Algal Dolomite Member of the Dengying Formation, suggesting that peritidal facies were repeatedly karstified. The timing of karstification was likely early, probably soon after the deposition of the dolomite sediments. The presence of authigenic aragonite cements suggests high alkalinity in the terminal Ediacaran ocean. Geochemical analysis of micro-drilled samples shows that distinct compositions are registered in different carbonate phases, which should be considered when constructing chemostratigraphic profiles representative of true temporal variations in seawater chemistry. Integrated chemostratigraphic data suggest enhanced burial of organic carbon and pyrite, and the occurrence of extensive marine anoxia (at least in the Gaojiashan Member). Rapid basinal subsidence and carbonate accumulation during a time of elevated seawater alkalinity and increased rates of pyrite burial may have facilitated the evolutionary innovation of early biomineralizing metazoans.
Evidence on long-term influences of maternal vitamin B12 deficiency or concentrations on infant cognition is limited. We examined associations between maternal plasma vitamin B12 and cognitive development in 24-month-old infants. Maternal plasma vitamin B12 concentrations were measured at 26–28 weeks’ gestation; infant cognitive development was assessed with the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development-III at 24 months, for 443 mother–infant pairs from the Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes cohort. Linear regressions adjusted for key confounders examined associations of maternal vitamin B12 with cognitive, receptive and expressive language, fine and gross motor subscales. Co-occurrence of maternal vitamin B12 with folate or vitamin B6 insufficiencies on child’s cognition was explored. Average maternal plasma vitamin B12 concentrations was 220·5 ± 80·5 pmol/l; 15 % and 41 % of mothers were vitamin B12 deficient (<148 pmol/l) and insufficient (148–220·9 pmol/l), respectively. Infants of mothers with vitamin B12 deficiency had 0·42 (95 % CI −0·70, −0·14) sd lower cognitive scores, compared with infants of mothers with sufficient vitamin B12. Co-occurrence of maternal vitamins B12 and B6 insufficiencies was associated with 0·37 (95 % CI −0·69, −0·06) sd lower cognitive scores in infants compared with infants of mothers sufficient in both vitamins. No significant associations were observed with other subscales. Study findings suggest the possible need to ensure adequate vitamin B12 during pregnancy. The impact of co-occurrence of maternal B-vitamins insufficiencies on early cognitive development warrants further investigation.
We illustrate the extraordinary potential of the (far-IR) Origins Survey Spectrometer (OSS) on board the Origins Space Telescope (OST) to address a variety of open issues on the co-evolution of galaxies and AGNs. We present predictions for blind surveys, each of 1000 h, with different mapped areas (a shallow survey covering an area of 10 deg2 and a deep survey of 1 deg2) and two different concepts of the OST/OSS: with a 5.9 m telescope (Concept 2, our reference configuration) and with a 9.1 m telescope (Concept 1, previous configuration). In 1 000 h, surveys with the reference concept will detect from ∼1.9×106 to ∼8.7×106 lines from ∼4.8×105 to 2.7×106 star-forming galaxies and from ∼1.4×104 to ∼3.8×104 lines from ∼1.3×104 to 3.5×104 AGNs. The shallow survey will detect substantially more sources than the deep one; the advantage of the latter in pushing detections to lower luminosities/higher redshifts turns out to be quite limited. The OST/OSS will reach, in the same observing time, line fluxes more than one order of magnitude fainter than the SPICA/SMI and will cover a much broader redshift range. In particular it will detect tens of thousands of galaxies at z ≥ 5, beyond the reach of that instrument. The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons lines are potentially bright enough to allow the detection of hundreds of thousands of star-forming galaxies up to z ∼ 8.5, i.e. all the way through the reionisation epoch. The proposed surveys will allow us to explore the galaxy–AGN co-evolution up to z ∼ 5.5−6 with very good statistics. OST Concept 1 does not offer significant advantages for the scientific goals presented here.
Starch digestion in the small intestines of the dairy cow is low, to a large extent, due to a shortage of syntheses of α-amylase. One strategy to improve the situation is to enhance the synthesis of α-amylase. The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signalling pathway, which acts as a central regulator of protein synthesis, can be activated by leucine. Our objectives were to investigate the effects of leucine on the mTOR signalling pathway and to define the associations between these signalling activities and the synthesis of pancreatic enzymes using an in vitro model of cultured Holstein dairy calf pancreatic tissue. The pancreatic tissue was incubated in culture medium containing l-leucine for 3 h, and samples were collected hourly, with the control being included but not containing l-leucine. The leucine supplementation increased α-amylase and trypsin activities and the messenger RNA expression of their coding genes (P <0.05), and it enhanced the mTOR synthesis and the phosphorylation of mTOR, ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 and eukaryotic initiation factor 4E-binding protein 1 (P <0.05). In addition, rapamycin inhibited the mTOR signal pathway factors during leucine treatment. In sum, the leucine regulates α-amylase and trypsin synthesis in dairy calves through the regulation of the mTOR signal pathways.
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.
β-Casomorphin is an opioid-like bioactive peptide derived from β-casein of milk that plays a crucial role in modulating animal’s feed intake, growth, nutrient utilization and immunity. However, the effect of β-casomorphin on lipid metabolism in chickens and its mechanism remain unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of β-casomorphin on fat deposition in broiler chickens and explore its mechanism of action. A total of 120 21-day-old Arbor Acres male broilers (747.94±8.85 g) was chosen and randomly divided into four groups with six replicates of five birds per replicate. Three groups of broilers were injected with 0.1, 0.5 or 1.0 mg/kg BW of β-casomorphin in 1 ml saline for 7 days, whereas the control group received 1 ml saline only. The results showed that subcutaneous administration of β-casomorphin to broiler chickens increased average daily gain, average daily feed intake and fat deposition, and decreased feed : gain ratio (P<0.05). The activity of malate dehydrogenase in the pectoral muscle, liver and abdominal adipose tissue was also increased along with the concentrations of insulin, very-low-density lipoprotein and triglyceride in the plasma (P<0.05). The activity of hormone-sensitive lipase in the liver and abdominal adipose tissue and the concentration of glucagon in the plasma were decreased by injection with β-casomorphin (P<0.05). Affymetrix gene chip analysis revealed that administering 1.0 mg/kg BW β-casomorphin caused differential expression of 168 genes in the liver with a minimum of fourfold difference. Of those, 37 genes are directly involved in lipid metabolism with 18 up-regulated genes such as very low density lipoprotein receptor gene and fatty acid synthase gene, and 19 down-regulated genes such as lipoprotein lipase gene and low density lipoprotein receptor gene. In conclusion, β-casomorphin increased growth performance and fat deposition of broilers. Regulation of fat deposition by β-casomorphin appears to take place through changes in hormone secretion and enzyme activities by controlling the gene expression of lipid metabolism and feed intake, increasing fat synthesis and deposition.
Phenoloxidase (PO) plays a key role in melanin biosynthesis during insect development. Here, we isolated the 2310-bp full-length cDNA of PPO1 from Zeugodacus tau, a destructive horticultural pest. qRT-polymerase chain reaction showed that the ZtPPO1 transcripts were highly expressed during larval–prepupal transition and in the haemolymph. When the larvae were fed a 1.66% kojic acid (KA)-containing diet, the levels of the ZtPPO1 transcripts significantly increased by 2.79- and 3.39-fold in the whole larvae and cuticles, respectively, while the corresponding PO activity was significantly reduced; in addition, the larval and pupal durations were significantly prolonged; pupal weights were lowered; and abnormal phenotypes were observed. An in vitro inhibition experiment indicated that KA was an effective competitive inhibitor of PO in Z. tau. Additionally, the functional analysis showed that 20E could significantly up-regulate the expression of ZtPPO1, induce lower pupal weight, and advance pupation. Knockdown of the ZtPPO1 gene by RNAi significantly decreased mRNA levels after 24 h and led to low pupation rates and incomplete pupae with abnormal phenotypes during the larval-pupal interim period. These results proved that PO is important for the normal growth of Z. tau and that KA can disrupt the development of this pest insect.
While many studies focus on the association between early life adversity and the later risk for psychopathology, few simultaneously explore diverse forms of environmental adversity. Moreover, those studies that examined the cumulative impact of early life adversity focus uniquely on postnatal influences. The objective of this study was to focus on the fetal period of development to construct and validate a cumulative prenatal adversity score in relation to a wide range of neurodevelopmental outcomes. We also examined the interaction of this adversity score with a biologically informed genetic score based on the serotonin transporter gene. Prenatal adversities were computed in two community birth cohorts using information on health during pregnancy, birth weight, gestational age, income, domestic violence/sexual abuse, marital strain, as well as maternal smoking, anxiety, and depression. A genetic score based on genes coexpressed with the serotonin transporter in the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex during prenatal life was constructed with an emphasis on functionally relevant single nucleotide polymorphisms, that is, expression quantitative trait loci. Prenatal adversities predicted a wide range of developmental and behavioral alterations in children as young as 2 years of age in both cohorts. There were interactions between the genetic score and adversities for several domains of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), with pervasive developmental problems remaining significant adjustment for multiple comparisons. Scores combining different prenatal adverse exposures predict childhood behavior and interact with the genetic background to influence the risk for psychopathology.
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.
Previous studies showed that spermine could protect the organism from oxidative damage in vivo. However, in vivo information on the antioxidant-related underlying molecular mechanism of spermine is limited. In this experiment, we further evaluated the effects of spermine supplementation and extended spermine administration on the antioxidant status and antioxidant-related signaling molecules gene expression in the liver and longissimus dorsi of piglets. A total of 80 piglets were randomly distributed to two groups, that is, those with adequate nutrient intake administrated with spermine (0.4 mmol/kg BW) or those with restricted nutrient intake supplemented by saline. The piglets were fed in pairs for 7 h or 3, 6, or 9 days. The results are as follows: (1) spermine can promote the antioxidant capacity by increasing enzymatic antioxidant capacity, glutathione content and clearance of oxygen radicals; (2) spermine significantly increased the mRNA levels of enzymatic antioxidant substances, NF-E2-related nuclear factor 2, Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1, and the mammalian target of rapamycin but decreased the mRNA levels of ribosomal p70 S6 kinase in the liver and longissimus dorsi of the piglets.
The musk deer (Moschus berezovskii) is an economically important species from which musk is extracted and used in perfumes and medicines. Cestodes (parasitic flatworms) of the genus Moniezia are important parasites that infect this endangered species and can cause high mortality in young deer. In 1982, Moniezia (S.) sichuanensis sp. nov. was described from a specimen obtained from wild musk deer. The new species was distinct from the other described species of Moniezia by the sawtooth-shaped interproglottidal glands, the thick vagina and the absence of a cirrus spine. In the present study, 12 cestodes collected from musk deer were examined morphologically and confirmed to be M. sichuanensis. Molecular characterization was performed by amplifying and comparing the internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) and 5.8S rRNA gene (ITS1–5.8S) of ribosomal DNA with available sequences from other Moniezia species. The amplified sequences ranged from 761 to 764 bp and similarity ranged from 98.7–100%, compared to 67.8–92.4% with other Moniezia spp. Construction of a phylogenetic tree using the neighbour-joining method indicated that all 12 ITS1–5.8S sequences formed a single clade, confirming M. sichuanensis as a separate species. This study provides novel molecular insight into M. sichuanensis that could prove useful for future diagnosis and control of monieziasis in musk deer.
Dietary intake of PUFA has been associated with colorectal neoplasm risk; however, results from observational studies have been inconsistent. Most prior studies have utilised self-reported dietary measures to assess fatty acid exposure which might be more susceptible to measurement error and biases compared with biomarkers. The purpose of this study was to determine whether erythrocyte phospholipid membrane PUFA percentages are associated with colorectal adenoma risk. We included data from 904 adenoma cases and 835 polyp-free controls who participated in the Tennessee Colorectal Polyp Study, a large colonoscopy-based case–control study. Erythrocyte membrane PUFA percentages were measured using GC. Conditional logistic regression was used to calculate adjusted OR for risk of colorectal adenomas with erythrocyte membrane PUFA. Higher erythrocyte membrane percentages of arachidonic acid was associated with an increased risk of colorectal adenomas (adjusted OR 1·66; 95 % CI 1·05, 2·62, Ptrend=0·02) comparing the highest tertile to the lowest tertile. The effect size for arachidonic acid was more pronounced when restricting the analysis to advanced adenomas only. Higher erythrocyte membrane EPA percentages were associated with a trend towards a reduced risk of advanced colorectal adenomas (Ptrend=0·05). Erythrocyte membrane arachidonic acid percentages are associated with an increased risk of colorectal adenomas.
A new method, called Cloud of Points (COP) Reconstruction, is proposed in the present work to extend the meshfree method to simulate viscous flows. With the characters of viscous flows, the anisotropic COP structure is distributed in boundary layer. The proposed method can improve the anisotropic COP structure to isotropic COP structure and reduce the condition number of the least square coefficient matrix for conventional meshfree method. The values of the new reconstructed points are calculated by the Lagrange interpolation. The accuracy and the robustness of the presented meshfree solver are demonstrated on a number of standard test cases, including the functions with analytical gradients and the viscous flows past NACA0012 airfoil. The comparison of the simulation results with the experimental data and other numerical simulation data are also investigated.
We numerically verify better fluid mixing efficiency can be achieved by alternating injection scheme in a heterogeneous porous medium, whose permeability heterogeneity is characterized by two statistical parameters, i.e., the variance s and the correlation length l. Nevertheless, the fingering pattern is strongly affected by permeability distribution to result in similar fingering interface on each of injected layer of less viscous fluids. Instead of randomly chaotic fingering interaction in a homogeneous condition, more orderly channeling interaction occurs in a heterogeneous medium. As a result, higher Peclet number Pe (relative measure of advection and diffusion effects) generally leads to worse mixing efficiency in a heterogeneous medium, which might contradict the result found in a homogeneous case. By the same token, in the cases which strong chaotic fingering interaction already exists in homogeneous conditions, e.g., sufficiently short alternating injection interval Δt, large viscosity contrast A and high Pe, the presence of permeability heterogeneity would constrain the randomly chaotic fingering interaction and favors the more orderly channeling interaction, so that mixing efficiency is deteriorated compared with the corresponding homogeneous case.
This study aimed to estimate the disease burden of hepatitis E in a rural region in China. A total of 489 hepatitis E cases were reported according to a community-based survey in an active hepatitis surveillance system between 2008 and 2015, the questionnaire and record-review methods were constructed to evaluate the economic and health burden of hepatitis E virus infections from societal perspectives. All costs were converted to US$ in 2015. The age-standardized cumulative incidence rate was 107·9/100 000, and the median age-standardized annual incidence rate was 16·5/100 000. The median direct, indirect, and intangible cost were $1046·0, $49·1, and $77·3/patient, respectively, and the median economic burden per patient was $1836·5, which accounted for 51·2% of per capita disposable income. Moreover, the median quality-adjusted life year and visual analogue scale score were 0·7 and 70·0/case, respectively. Both economic burden and health burden of inpatients was more serious than that of outpatients (P < 0·001). Disease burden of hepatitis E is heavy on patients, their families, and society. More studies on the disease burden of hepatitis E are necessary to increase social awareness of the disease and confirm reasonable disease-control measures.
As an industrialized city, Hong Kong annually consumes a large amount of fossil fuel. In addition, the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, has just begun operation 20 km from Hong Kong. These factors suggest that it may be appropriate and significant to examine the variation of atmospheric 14C levels in Hong Kong. We have collected and tested a variety of samples from different parts of Hong Kong: terrestrial annual grasses, marine plants and atmospheric CO2. We measured their 14C activity and compared it with that of cassia oil samples from Guangxi Province, China. The values obtained indicate that environmental 14C levels in the Hong Kong region agree with those found in Guangxi, both of which are significantly higher than the levels predicted by Povinec, Chudý and Šivo (1986).
Three epidemic waves of human influenza A(H7N9) were documented in several different provinces in China between 2013 and 2015. With limited understanding of the potential for human-to-human transmission, it was difficult to implement control measures efficiently or to inform the public adequately about the application of interventions. In this study, the human-to-human transmission rate for the epidemics that occurred between 2013 and 2015 in Zhejiang Province, China, was analysed. The reproduction number (R), a key indicator of transmission intensity, was estimated by fitting the number of infections from poultry to humans and from humans to humans into a mathematical model. The posterior mean R for human-to-human transmission was estimated to be 0·27, with a 95% credible interval of 0·14–0·44 for the first wave, whereas the posterior mean Rs decreased to 0·15 in the second and third waves. Overall, these estimates indicate that a human H7N9 pandemic is unlikely to occur in Zhejiang. The reductions in the viral transmissibility and the number of poultry-transmitted infections after the first epidemic may be attributable to the various intervention measures taken, including changes in the extent of closures of live poultry markets.