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Feral swine are known reservoirs of various pathogens, including Toxoplasma gondii. Here, we report the first national survey of viable T. gondii in feral swine in the USA. We paired serological surveys with parasite isolation and bioassay to evaluate the prevalence and genetic diversity of these parasites. From 2012–2017, sera and tissues from 1517 feral swine across the USA were collected for the isolation of viable T. gondii. Serum samples were initially screened for antibodies to T. gondii, and then the tissues of seropositive feral swine were bioassayed in mice. Antibodies were detected in 27.7% of feral swine tested by the modified agglutination test (1:25 or higher). Antibody positive rates increased significantly with age, with 10.1% of juveniles, 16.0% of sub-adults and 38.4% of adults testing seropositive. Myocardium (50 g) from 232 seropositive feral swine was digested in pepsin and bioassayed in mice. Viable T. gondii was isolated from 78 feral swine from 21 states. Twelve of the 78 isolates were pathogenic to outbred Swiss Webster mice and 76 of the 78 isolates could be propagated further in cell culture and were genotyped. For genotyping, deoxyribonucleic acid extracted from cell culture-derived tachyzoites was characterized by polymerase chain reaction restriction fragment length polymorphism using the genetic markers SAG1, SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1 and Apico. Genotyping revealed 15 ToxoDB genotypes, including 43 isolates for genotype #5 (haplogroup 12), 11 isolates for #24, four isolates for #2 (haplogroup 3), two isolates for each of genotypes #3 (haplogroup 2), #4 (haplogroup 12), #216, #221, #289 and #297 and one isolate for each of genotypes #1 (haplogroup 2), #39, #66, #260, #261 and #299. Genotype #5 was the most frequently isolated, accounted for 57% (43/76) of the isolates, followed by #24, accounted for 14% (11/76). Genotypes #260, #289, #297 and #299 are new types. Genotype #289 was highly virulent to mice and originated from feral swine collected in Louisiana on the same day at the same location. Genotype #216 was previously demonstrated to be highly virulent to mice. Our results indicate moderate genetic diversity of T. gondii in feral swine in the USA, with the genotype #5 (haplogroup 12) dominant in the continental USA, whereas genotype #24 (10/14) was dominant in Hawaii, suggesting different population structures of the parasites among the two distinct geographical locations.
The modern hyper-prolific sow gives birth to more piglets than she has functional teats (in the following called supernumerary piglets). The aim of the present study was (1) to investigate the production consequences of hyper-prolific sows rearing supernumerary piglets equal to the mean live-born litter size, and (2) investigate whether potential negative effects on survival and growth could be alleviated by providing access to milk replacer and/or providing easier access to the udder (by loose housing). At day 1 (D1) postpartum (pp), 93 litters were standardised to 14 or 17 piglets (LS14/LS17) after which no piglets were moved between sows leading to decreased litter size if piglets died. Litters were provided with or without milk replacer in milk cups (+MILK/−MILK), and sows were either crated or loose housed (CRATE/LOOSE) in a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial design. Piglet mortality was higher in LS17 compared to LS14 (P < 0.01; OR = 2.0), higher in −MILK compared to +MILK (P = 0.01; OR = 1.2) and higher in LOOSE compared to CRATE (P = 0.02; OR = 1.8). This study showed that sow rearing of supernumerary piglets while supplying with milk replacer can increase piglet survival. It also showed that early mortality before piglets learned to drink milk replacer posed a challenge using this automatic milk replacer system. An interaction between access to milk replacer and the standardised litter size D1 affected litter weight (P < 0.01) and piglet weight day 28 (D28) (P = 0.03). The highest litter weight D28 was found in LS17 +MILK (P < 0.01) but with a lower individual piglet weight than in LS14 −MILK. Piglet weight D28 was higher in LS14 −MILK compared to LS17 regardless of access to milk replacer. Heterogeneity in piglet weight within litters D28 was larger in LS17 (P = 0.03) but could be reduced with +MILK in CRATE (P < 0.01). No effects were found on sow weight loss and feed intake (P > 0.05). In conclusion, the results showed that sows cannot rear the supernumerary piglets without further management interventions to reduce mortality. Supplying supernumerary piglets equal to the mean live-born litter size of hyper-prolific sows with milk replacer can from results of this study be an alternative strategy to the use of nurse sows.
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.
Patients with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) may present with convulsive events that are not accompanied by epileptiform brain activity. Video-electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring is the gold standard for diagnosis, yet not all patients experience convulsive episodes during video-EEG sessions. Hence, we aimed to construct a predictive model in order to detect PNES from serum hormone levels, detached from an evaluation of patients’ convulsive episodes.
Fifteen female patients with PNES and 60 healthy female controls participated in the study, providing blood samples for hormone analysis. A binomial logistic regression model and the leave-one-out cross-validation were employed.
We found that levels of neuropeptide Y and adrenocorticotropic hormone were the optimal combination of predictors, with over 90% accuracy (area under the curve=0.980).
The ability to diagnose PNES irrespective of convulsive events would represent an important step considering its feasibility and affordability in daily clinical practice.
The present study explores the relationship between neuroactive hormones and religious commitment. We hypothesised that religious commitment is mediated by neuropeptide Y and oxytocin. These neurohormones have a well-established role in general well-being, anxiety regulation, stress-resilience, social affiliation and spirituality.
Sixty healthy women (median age 21) participated in the study and completed the Religious Commitment Inventory and other psychometric surveys. Blood was sampled from each participant and serum levels of neuropeptide Y were measured using radioimmunoassay. Oxytocin, stress and sex hormones were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Correlations were tested using non-parametric statistical methods.
We found a positive correlation between serum neuropeptide Y levels and religious commitment, but not between oxytocin and religious commitment.
The present study provides preliminary evidence that neuropeptide Y is a biological correlate of religious commitment.
Tail damage within the production of finisher pigs is an animal welfare problem. Recent research suggests that removal of known risk factors may not be enough to eliminate tail biting, especially in undocked pigs, thus a different strategy is worth investigating. This could be early detection of tail biting, using behavioural changes observed before tail damage. If these early stages of tail biting can be detected before tail damage occurs, then tail damage could be prevented by early interventions. The first step in developing such a strategy is to identify the types of behaviour changes that emerge during early stages of tail biting. Thus, the aim of the current study was to investigate whether pen level activity and object manipulation evolved differently during the last 7 days before the scoring of tail damage (day 0) for pens scored with tail damage (tail damage pens) and pens not scored with tail damage (matched control pens). The study included video recordings for twenty-four tail damage pens and thirty-two matched control pens. Activity level and object manipulation were observed the last 7 days before day 0 during the morning (0600 to 0800 h), afternoon (1600 to 1800 h) and evening (2200 to 2400 h, only activity level). Both activity level and object manipulation were analysed using generalised linear mixed effects models with a binomial distribution for activity level and a negative binomial distribution for object manipulation. The probability of being active was higher in tail damage pens compared to control pens during the afternoon the last 5 days before day 0 (P<0.001). This was seen due to a decrease in activity level in the control pens, which makes it difficult to identify future tail damage pens from this difference. Object manipulation was lower in tail damage pens compared to the control pens on all 7 days before day 0, but only in pens with undocked pigs (P<0.01). Thus, it is still unknown when this difference in object manipulation initiated. It was concluded that both activity level and object manipulation seemed related to ongoing tail biting and should be investigated through more detailed observations and for a longer time to establish the normal behaviour pattern for a particular pen. Thus, it is suggested that future research focusses on developing automatic monitoring methods for pen level activity and object manipulation and applies algorithms that establish and detect deviations from the normal behaviour pattern of the pen before tail damage.
Academic literature, practitioners, courts, and regulators routinely assert that both private and subsidiary targets sell at discounts relative to public targets. However, the empirical evidence to support this conclusion is thin. Our work alters the methodology from prior research to avoid biases due to both one-sided sample truncation and Jensen’s inequality. Following these changes, we find no evidence that unlisted targets sell at discounts. Our results hold under a number of different approaches and after controlling for known determinants of acquisition pricing.
Using a natural experiment to identify the causal effect of an increase in default risk on firm actions, I find little evidence managers shift risk to corporate pension plans following an exogenous shock to the firm’s long-term liabilities. The finding is robust to focusing on firms where the incentive to engage in risk shifting is arguably the greatest, such as financially vulnerable firms and firms with fewer agency conflicts. This study casts doubt on the risk-shifting hypothesis and shows managers do not take risk-shifting actions that would increase shareholder value even when those actions pose little threat to managerial utility.
Piglet mortality in outdoor production systems varies across the year, and a reason for this variation could be fluctuations in hut climate, as ambient temperature might influence piglet survival, both directly and indirectly. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to investigate the impact of farrowing hut climate and year variation on stillbirth and liveborn mortality. A large-scale observational study was conducted at five commercial organic pig-producing herds in Denmark from June 2015 to August 2016. Both year variation (F3,635=4.40, P=0.004) and farrowing hut temperature (F2,511=6.46, P=0.002) affected the rate of stillbirths. The risk of stillborn piglets was lowest in winter and during this season larger changes in hut temperature between day 1 prepartum and the day of farrowing increased the risk of stillbirths (F1,99=6.39, P=0.013). In addition, during the warm part of the year stillbirth rate increased at temperatures ⩾27°C. Year variation also affected liveborn mortality (F3,561=3.86, P=0.009) with a lower rate of liveborn deaths in spring. However, the hut climate did not influence liveborn deaths. Consequently, other factors than hut climate may explain the influence of year variation on liveborn mortality. These could be light differences causing seasonality in reproduction and lactation.
Although sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench ssp. bicolor] is the fifth most important grain crop in terms of global production, no commercial hybrids carry genetically engineered (GE) traits for resistance to insect pests or herbicides due to regulatory concerns about gene flow to weedy relatives. However, non-GE herbicide resistance currently is being developed in grain sorghum and will likely transfer to related weeds. Monitoring the impact of this new nuclear technology on the evolution and invasiveness of related weeds requires a baseline understanding of the population biology of grain sorghum genes once they transfer to in situ weed populations. We previously characterized the rate of gene flow from grain sorghum to shattercane [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench nothosubsp. drummondii (Steud.) de Wet ex. Davidse], a conspecific weed relatively common in North America; as well as the ecological fitness of an F1 population when S. bicolor nothosubsp. drummondii was the maternal parent. Here we report the ecological fitness of a S. bicolor nothosubsp. drummondii × S. bicolor ssp. bicolor F2 population relative to its crop and weed parents. Parental and F2 populations were grown in two Nebraska environments in 2012 and 2013. Traits evaluated included overwinter survival, field emergence, biomass production and partitioning at anthesis, total seed production, and 100-seed weight. Results indicated that F2 traits were generally intermediate between the parents, but more similar to S. bicolor nothosubsp. drummondii than to grain sorghum. The one exception was overwinter survival, which was nearly 0% for both the F2 and the grain sorghum parent in these northern environments. Thus, the frequency of crop alleles stably introgressed into S. bicolor nothosubsp. drummondii populations appears to primarily depend on overwinter survival of the F2 and which selective pressures are imposed upon it by the cropping system. These data provide needed baseline information about the environmental fate of nuclear genetic technologies deployed in this important global crop.
Community-acquired bacteraemia patients (n = 2472), Denmark, 2000–2008. Albumin, C-reactive protein (CRP) and haemoglobin (Hb) measured 2000–2010. We assessed daily mean levels of albumin, CRP and Hb from 30 days before to 30 days after bacteraemia and correlations between albumin vs. CRP and albumin vs. Hb. In linear regression models, we evaluated the contribution of CRP, Hb, chronic and acute variables to the albumin level variations. The mean albumin level (33.6 g/l) was steady before day 1, declined to 29.3 g/l on day 1 with little increase afterward. The mean CRP increased from day −5, peaked on day 1 and declined thereafter. The mean Hb level was fairly constant during days −30/30. Albumin was inversely (R range, − 0.18/–0.47, P < 10−4) correlated with the CRP level and positively (R = 0.17–0.46, P < 10−4) correlated with the HB level. In most models, CRP was the first variable that contributed to the albumin variations, 34–70% of the full model. The sudden decrease of albumin levels, without sudden fluctuations of CRP or Hb, indicated that hypoalbuminaemia was a marker of trans-capillary leakage.
One challenge of intensive pig production is tail damage caused by tail biting, and farmers often decrease the prevalence of tail damage through tail docking. However, tail docking is not an optimal preventive measure against tail damage and thus, it would be preferable to replace it. The aim of the current study was to investigate the relative effect of three possible preventive measures against tail damage. The study included 112 pens with 1624 finisher pigs divided between four batches. Pens were randomly assigned to one level of each of three treatments: (1) tail-docked (n=60 pens) v. undocked (n=52 pens), (2) 150 g of straw provided per pig per day on the solid floor (n=56 pens) v. no straw provided (n=56 pens), (3) stocking density of 1.21 m2/pig (11 pig/pen; n=56 pens) v. 0.73 m2/pig (18 pigs/pen; n=56 pens). Tail damage was recorded three times per week throughout the finisher period by scoring the tail of each individual pig. A pen was recorded as a tail damage pen and no longer included in the study if at least one pig in a pen had a bleeding tail wound; thus, only the first incidence of tail damage on pen level was recorded. Data were analysed by a Cox regression for survival analysis assuming proportional hazards. Results are presented as hazards, and a higher hazard means that a pen has a higher risk of tail damage and of it happening earlier in the finisher period. Pens with undocked pigs had a 4.32-fold higher hazard of tail damage compared with pens with docked pigs (P<0.001). Pens with no straw provided had a 2.22-fold higher hazard of tail damage compared with pens with straw provided (P<0.01). No interactions was seen between the treatments, but the effect of tail docking was higher than the effect of straw provision (P<0.001). Stocking density did not have a significant effect on the hazard of tail damage (hazard rate ratios (HRR)=1.67; P=0.064). However, a combination of straw provision and lowered stocking density showed a similar hazard of tail damage as seen with only tail docking (HRR=1.58; P=0.39). In conclusion, tail docking and straw provision were preventive measures against tail damage, and tail docking reduced the risk more than straw provision. A combination of other preventive measures is necessary to reduce the risk of tail damage in undocked pigs to the same level as in docked pigs.
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.
Piglet mortality is a major problem in organic pig production affecting both farm economy and animal welfare. Knowledge is scarce on the risk factors of piglet mortality in Danish commercial organic pig production. The objectives of this study were to evaluate season, litter size, parity, sow body condition and stillborn littermates as risk factors for early piglet mortality and crushing of liveborn piglets from parturition until castration at day 3 to 5 postpartum (pp). The study was conducted over a 1-year period in nine commercial Danish organic pig herds practicing outdoor farrowing all year round. Data included recordings on 3393 farrowings with 50 284 liveborn piglets of which 14.8% died before castration. A subset of the dead piglets were collected and necropsied to identify crushed piglets. The average number of liveborn piglets per litter was 14.8 (SD=3.7) and the average time from parturition until castration was 4.1 (SD=1.7) days. A negative binomial regression analysis was used to model the effect of the predictive variables on the early piglet mortality accounting for different time periods from parturition to castration. An increase in maternal body condition score (BCS) and parity significantly increased the risk of dying between parturition and castration. Early mortality was found to be lowest during spring (March to May) and highest during summer (June to August). Being born into a litter with one or more stillborn littermates increased the risk of early mortality. The risk factors for crushing of piglets were evaluated using a logistic analysis. A significant effect of parity and litter size was found where the odds of at least one piglet in a litter with mortality was diagnosed as crushed increased with increasing parity and litter size. In conclusion, being born during summer (June to August), high parity and maternal BCS and stillborn littermates were found to be risk factors for piglet mortality between parturition and castration. In addition, parity and increasing litter size were found to be risk factors for crushing of piglets in litters with mortality.
This review assesses factors affecting fouling in conventional pens for slaughter pigs. Fouling of the pen happens when pigs change their excretory behaviour from occurring in the designated dunging area to the lying area. This can result in a lower hygiene, bad air quality, extra work for the farmer, disturbance of the pigs’ resting behaviour and an increase in agonistic interactions. A systematic search was conducted and results narrowed down to 21 articles. Four factors were found to affect fouling directly: insufficient space allowance, the flooring design of the pen, the thermal climate and pigs’ earlier experience. Further, these primary factors are affected by secondary factors such as the shape of the pen, the weight of the pigs and especially the heat balance of the pigs, which is affected by several tertiary factors including, for example, temperature, humidity and draught. Results indicate that the most important factor to control when trying to prevent fouling of a pen is the pen climate. An appropriate climate may be accomplished through floor cooling in the designated lying area, sprinklers above the designated dunging area and by ensuring a more optimal ambient temperature curve that also fits the weight of the pigs in different stages of the production. All in all, fouling of the pen in conventional slaughter pigs is a multifactorial problem, but it is important to focus on increasing the comfortability, and especially the climate, of the designated lying area.
Studies have indicated that the association of urbanicity at birth and during upbringing with schizophrenia may be driven by familial factors such as genetic liability. We used a population-based nested case–control study to assess whether polygenic risk score (PRS) for schizophrenia was associated with urbanicity at birth and at age 15, and to assess whether PRS and parental history of mental disorder together explained the association between urbanicity and schizophrenia.
Data were drawn from Danish population registries. Cases born since 1981 and diagnosed with schizophrenia between 1994 and 2009 were matched to controls with the same sex and birthdate (1549 pairs). Genome-wide data were obtained from the Danish Neonatal Screening Biobank and PRSs were calculated based on results of a separate, large meta-analysis.
Those with higher PRS were more likely reside in the capital compared with rural areas at age 15 [odds ratio (OR) 1.19, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01–1.40], but not at birth (OR 1.09, 95% CI 0.95–1.26). Adjustment for PRS produced almost no change in relative risks of schizophrenia associated with urbanicity at birth, but slightly attenuated those for urban residence at age 15. Additional adjustment for parental history led to slight attenuation of relative risks for urbanicity at birth [incidence rate ratio (IRR) for birth in capital = 1.54, 95% CI 1.18–2.02; overall p = 0.016] and further attenuation of relative risks for urbanicity at age 15 (IRR for residence in capital = 1.32, 95% CI 0.97–1.78; overall p = 0.148).
While results regarding urbanicity during upbringing were somewhat equivocal, genetic liability as measured here does not appear to explain the association between urbanicity at birth and schizophrenia.
Numerous factors influence late-life depressive symptoms in adults, many not thoroughly characterized. We addressed whether genetic and environmental influences on depressive symptoms differed by age, sex, and physical illness.
The analysis sample included 24 436 twins aged 40–90 years drawn from the Interplay of Genes and Environment across Multiple Studies (IGEMS) Consortium. Biometric analyses tested age, sex, and physical illness moderation of genetic and environmental variance in depressive symptoms.
Women reported greater depressive symptoms than men. After age 60, there was an accelerating increase in depressive symptom scores with age, but this did not appreciably affect genetic and environmental variances. Overlap in genetic influences between physical illness and depressive symptoms was greater in men than in women. Additionally, in men extent of overlap was greater with worse physical illness (the genetic correlation ranged from near 0.00 for the least physical illness to nearly 0.60 with physical illness 2 s.d. above the mean). For men and women, the same environmental factors that influenced depressive symptoms also influenced physical illness.
Findings suggested that genetic factors play a larger part in the association between depressive symptoms and physical illness for men than for women. For both sexes, across all ages, physical illness may similarly trigger social and health limitations that contribute to depressive symptoms.
In traditional electron/ion laboratory plasmas, the system size
is much larger than both the plasma skin depth
and the Debye length
. In current and planned efforts to create electron/positron plasmas in the laboratory, this is not necessarily the case. A low-temperature, low-density system may have
; a high-density, thermally relativistic system may have
. Here we consider the question of what plasma physics phenomena are accessible (and/or diagnostically exploitable) in these different regimes and how this depends on magnetization. While particularly relevant to ongoing pair plasma creation experiments, the transition from single-particle behaviour to collective, ‘plasma’ effects – and how the criterion for that threshold is different for different phenomena – is an important but often neglected topic in electron/ion systems as well.