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Salmonella enterica serovar Wangata (S. Wangata) is an important cause of endemic salmonellosis in Australia, with human infections occurring from undefined sources. This investigation sought to examine possible environmental and zoonotic sources for human infections with S. Wangata in north-eastern New South Wales (NSW), Australia. The investigation adopted a One Health approach and was comprised of three complimentary components: a case–control study examining human risk factors; environmental and animal sampling; and genomic analysis of human, animal and environmental isolates. Forty-eight human S. Wangata cases were interviewed during a 6-month period from November 2016 to April 2017, together with 55 Salmonella Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) controls and 130 neighbourhood controls. Indirect contact with bats/flying foxes (S. Typhimurium controls (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2.63, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.06–6.48)) (neighbourhood controls (aOR 8.33, 95% CI 2.58–26.83)), wild frogs (aOR 3.65, 95% CI 1.32–10.07) and wild birds (aOR 6.93, 95% CI 2.29–21.00) were statistically associated with illness in multivariable analyses. S. Wangata was detected in dog faeces, wildlife scats and a compost specimen collected from the outdoor environments of cases’ residences. In addition, S. Wangata was detected in the faeces of wild birds and sea turtles in the investigation area. Genomic analysis revealed that S. Wangata isolates were relatively clonal. Our findings suggest that S. Wangata is present in the environment and may have a reservoir in wildlife populations in north-eastern NSW. Further investigation is required to better understand the occurrence of Salmonella in wildlife groups and to identify possible transmission pathways for human infections.
Normal odd-chain SFA (OCSFA), particularly tridecanoic acid (n-13 : 0), pentadecanoic acid (n-15 : 0) and heptadecanoic acid (n-17 : 0), are normal components of dairy products, beef and seafood. The ratio of n-15 : 0:n-17 : 0 in ruminant foods (dairy products and beef) is 2:1, while in seafood and human tissues it is 1:2, and their appearance in plasma is often used as a marker for ruminant fat intake. Human elongases encoded by elongation of very long-chain fatty acid (ELOVL)1, ELOVL3, ELOVL6 and ELOVL7 catalyse biosynthesis of the dominant even-chain SFA; however, there are no reports of elongase function on OCSFA. ELOVL transfected MCF7 cells were treated with n-13 : 0, n-15 : 0 or n-17 : 0 (80 µm) and products analysed. ELOVL6 catalysed elongation of n-13 : 0→n-15 : 0 and n-15 : 0→n-17 : 0; and ELOVL7 had modest activity toward n-15 : 0 (n-15 : 0→n-17 : 0). No elongation activity was detected for n-17 : 0→n-19 : 0. Our data expand ELOVL specificity to OCSFA, providing the first molecular evidence demonstrating ELOVL6 as the major elongase acting on OCSFA n-13 : 0 and n-15 : 0 fatty acids. Studies of food intake relying on OCSFA as a biomarker should consider endogenous human metabolism when relying on OCSFA ratios to indicate specific food intake.
Prenatal adversity shapes child neurodevelopment and risk for later mental health problems. The quality of the early care environment can buffer some of the negative effects of prenatal adversity on child development. Retrospective studies, in adult samples, highlight epigenetic modifications as sentinel markers of the quality of the early care environment; however, comparable data from pediatric cohorts are lacking. Participants were drawn from the Maternal Adversity Vulnerability and Neurodevelopment (MAVAN) study, a longitudinal cohort with measures of infant attachment, infant development, and child mental health. Children provided buccal epithelial samples (mean age = 6.99, SD = 1.33 years, n = 226), which were used for analyses of genome-wide DNA methylation and genetic variation. We used a series of linear models to describe the association between infant attachment and (a) measures of child outcome and (b) DNA methylation across the genome. Paired genetic data was used to determine the genetic contribution to DNA methylation at attachment-associated sites. Infant attachment style was associated with infant cognitive development (Mental Development Index) and behavior (Behavior Rating Scale) assessed with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development at 36 months. Infant attachment style moderated the effects of prenatal adversity on Behavior Rating Scale scores at 36 months. Infant attachment was also significantly associated with a principal component that accounted for 11.9% of the variation in genome-wide DNA methylation. These effects were most apparent when comparing children with a secure versus a disorganized attachment style and most pronounced in females. The availability of paired genetic data revealed that DNA methylation at approximately half of all infant attachment-associated sites was best explained by considering both infant attachment and child genetic variation. This study provides further evidence that infant attachment can buffer some of the negative effects of early adversity on measures of infant behavior. We also highlight the interplay between infant attachment and child genotype in shaping variation in DNA methylation. Such findings provide preliminary evidence for a molecular signature of infant attachment and may help inform attachment-focused early intervention programs.
Moving gilts from a strawed pen to a crate during farrowing profoundly inhibits oxytocin, probably as a result of a stress-induced opioid-inhibition of hypothalamic oxytocin release (Lawrence et al., 1992). Other work suggests that confinement of gilts in crates for 5 days prior to farrowing protects the gilt against stressinduced inhibition of oxytocin. As producers introduce gilts and sows into farrowing crates at variable times prior to farrowing it is important to identify the minimal period of exposure to crates required to confer adaptation. This work tested whether only a short period of adaptation (1 day) to farrowing crates prior to expected farrowing date (EFD) would be sufficient to prevent stress-induced inhibition of oxytocin.
Selective breeding has been an important component in the increased output and efficiency of animal production since the 1950's. At the same time there has been increasing moral concern over the welfare of modern farmed animals with much of the focus on the environment and management of farm animals and relatively little consideration of the impact of genetic change on welfare. This is now changing, partly because of some well-publicised examples where selection has led to ‘undesirable’ side effects, and because of the perceived welfare risk of emerging biotechnologies. This paper will address whether and how moral concerns over animal welfare should place limitations on genetic change in animal production.
Recently much research has been carried out to enhance piglet survival by genetic improvement. Heritabilities of traits associated with piglet survival are generally low, but the genetic variation is large enough to provide improvement through breeding (Knol et al., 2002). However, correlations between some traits and/or between maternal and direct genetic effects have shown contradictory results, and not many studies have considered these effects. Reports of correlations between piglet survival traits and production traits are even fewer. The aim of this study was to estimate heritabilities of piglet survival traits and their genetic associations with other reproduction traits as well as production traits, using a Bayesian approach and appropriate models and genetic statistical procedures in order to obtain more accurate genetic parameters.
The Taipan galaxy survey (hereafter simply ‘Taipan’) is a multi-object spectroscopic survey starting in 2017 that will cover 2π steradians over the southern sky (δ ≲ 10°, |b| ≳ 10°), and obtain optical spectra for about two million galaxies out to z < 0.4. Taipan will use the newly refurbished 1.2-m UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory with the new TAIPAN instrument, which includes an innovative ‘Starbugs’ positioning system capable of rapidly and simultaneously deploying up to 150 spectroscopic fibres (and up to 300 with a proposed upgrade) over the 6° diameter focal plane, and a purpose-built spectrograph operating in the range from 370 to 870 nm with resolving power R ≳ 2000. The main scientific goals of Taipan are (i) to measure the distance scale of the Universe (primarily governed by the local expansion rate, H0) to 1% precision, and the growth rate of structure to 5%; (ii) to make the most extensive map yet constructed of the total mass distribution and motions in the local Universe, using peculiar velocities based on improved Fundamental Plane distances, which will enable sensitive tests of gravitational physics; and (iii) to deliver a legacy sample of low-redshift galaxies as a unique laboratory for studying galaxy evolution as a function of dark matter halo and stellar mass and environment. The final survey, which will be completed within 5 yrs, will consist of a complete magnitude-limited sample (i ⩽ 17) of about 1.2 × 106 galaxies supplemented by an extension to higher redshifts and fainter magnitudes (i ⩽ 18.1) of a luminous red galaxy sample of about 0.8 × 106 galaxies. Observations and data processing will be carried out remotely and in a fully automated way, using a purpose-built automated ‘virtual observer’ software and an automated data reduction pipeline. The Taipan survey is deliberately designed to maximise its legacy value by complementing and enhancing current and planned surveys of the southern sky at wavelengths from the optical to the radio; it will become the primary redshift and optical spectroscopic reference catalogue for the local extragalactic Universe in the southern sky for the coming decade.
The phylogenetic relationships of the echinoderms remains controversial due to the traditional use of morphological characters which do not reflect convergent evolution. While biochemical techniques and DNA analysis may be used in addition to morphological characters for analysis of living echinoderms, these tools cannot be extended to fossils. Shell matrix proteins - of echinoderms may be trapped and preserved for millions of years in fossil genera.
Analysis of shell matrix protein from Astropectin irregularis, Luidia clathrata and Mellita tenuis, reveal the presence of at least three major proteins of approximate molecular weights 230, 83 and 17 kDa common to all species. Astropectin irregularis showed four additional major bands of molecular weights 150, 90, 52 and 35 kDa along with at least 12 minor bands. Luidia clathrata showed five additional major bands of molecular weights 99, 60, 40, 24 and 21 kDa and at least 13 other minor bands. Mellita tenuis showed three additional bands of molecular weights 115, 96, and 24 kDa along with at least 4 minor bands.
As the three common proteins have been found in both seastars (A. irregularis and L. clathrata) and echinoids (Mellita tenuis), further analysis of these shell matrix proteins may be used to elucidate phylogenetic relationships within the Echinodermata. In addition homoplasies may be identified and phylogenetically reassessed.
Imaging bundles provide a convenient way to translate a spatially coherent image, yet conventional imaging bundles made from silica fibre optics typically remain expensive with large losses due to poor filling factors (~40%). We present the characterisation of a novel polymer imaging bundle made from poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) that is considerably cheaper and a better alternative to silica imaging bundles over short distances (~1 m; from the middle to the edge of a telescope’s focal plane). The large increase in filling factor (92% for the polymer imaging bundle) outweighs the large increase in optical attenuation from using PMMA (1 dB/m) instead of silica (10−3 dB/m). We present and discuss current and possible future multi-object applications of the polymer imaging bundle in the context of astronomical instrumentation including: field acquisition, guiding, wavefront sensing, narrow-band imaging, aperture masking, and speckle imaging. The use of PMMA limits its use in low-light applications (e.g., imaging of galaxies); however, it is possible to fabricate polymer imaging bundles from a range of polymers that are better suited to the desired science.
The stability of a low Reynolds number flow on an inclined plane is investigated with respect to modelling the initiation of transverse wave-like ridges which commonly occur on the surfaces of rock-glacier forms. In accordance with field observations indicating the presence of stratification in rock glaciers, two models of rock-glacier structure are considered, each stratified and possessing a lower layer which is treated as a Newtonian fluid. An upper, less compliant layer is treated, alternatively, as a Newtonian fluid of viscosity greater than that of the lower layer, or as an elastic solid under longitudinal compression induced by a decrease in the slope of the underlying incline. A linear stability analysis is used to examine the behaviour of each of the proposed models, and both are found to generate instabilities at wavelengths comparable to those associated with transverse surficial ridges on rock glaciers. The growth rates of a flow disturbance predicted by the viscous-stratified model appear to be too slow to account fully for the development of wave forms of finite amplitude, suggesting that other mechanisms are involved in the amplification of an initial disturbance. The results of the stability analysis of the elastic lamina model indicate that finite surficial ridges may develop on rock glaciers as a product of a buckling instability in the surface region if there is a decrease in the slope of the underlying incline. Both of the analyses illustrate that transverse ridges can occur on the surface of a rock glacier in the absence of any variations in debris supply to the system. The results further imply that the use of these features in the paleoreconstruction of Holocene climatic conditions must entail an assessment of the relative roles of external climatically driven forcing versus internal Theologically derived instability.
The reader might get the impression that the four projects described in this Special Section proceeded in a systematic and predictable way. Of course, those of us engaged in each research project encountered pitfalls and challenges along the way. A main goal of this Special Section is to provide pathways and encouragement for those who may be interested in advancing high-quality research on this topic. In this paper, we describe a set of practical and ethical challenges that we encountered in conducting our longitudinal, process-oriented, and translational research with conflict-affected youth, and we illustrate how problems can be solved with the goal of maintaining the internal and external validity of the research designs. We are hopeful that by describing the challenges of our work, and how we overcame them, which are seldom treated in this or any other literature on research on child development in high-risk contexts, we can offer a realistic and encouraging picture of conducting methodologically sound research in conflict-affected contexts.
Since 1977 we have been engaged on a project to survey the milliarcsecond structure and internal motions of a complete, unbiased sample of 65 radio sources (Pearson and Readhead 1984). One of the goals of the project was to discover more superluminal sources and find out how common they are. The sample contains three established superluminal sources (3C 179, 3C 345, and BL Lacertae); so far we have discovered three new superluminal quasars (0850+581, 1642+690, and 1928+738), and a fourth (3C 216) that may be superluminal. Thus at least six out of the 65 sources are superluminal, and we expect to find more as our observations proceed.
This paper presents radiocarbon results from a single Diploastrea heliopora coral from Vanuatu that lived during the Younger Dryas climatic episode, between ca. 11,700 and 12,400 calendar yr bp. The specimen has been independently dated with multiple 230Th measurements to permit calibration of the 14C time scale. Growth bands in the coral were used to identify individual years of growth. 14C measurements were made on each year. These values were averaged to achieve decadal resolution for the 14C calibration. The relative uncertainty of the decadal 14C data was below 1% (2σ). The data are in good agreement with the existing dendrochronology and allow for high-resolution calibration for most years. Variations in the fine structure of the 14C time series preserved in this specimen demonstrate sporadic rapid increases in the Δ14C content of the surface ocean and atmosphere. Certain sharp rises in Δ14C are coincident with gaps in coral growth evidenced by several hiatuses. These may be related to rapid climatic changes that occurred during the Younger Dryas. This is the first coral calibration with decadal resolution and the only such data set to extend beyond the dendrochronology-based 14C calibration.
I describe a project to survey ∼ 13 square degrees of the sky at 15μm and 90μm with the Infrared Space Observatory (ISO). The European Large Area ISO Survey (ELAIS) is a collaboration involving 19 European institutes (in addition to the authors and others at their institutes the following people and others their institutes are involved I. Gonzalez-Serrano, E. Kontizas, K. Mandolesi, J. Masegosa, K. Mattila, H. Norgaard-Nielsen, I. Perez-Fournon, M. Ward) and is the largest open time project being undertaken by ISO. We expect to detect at least 1000 extra-galactic objects and a similar number of Galactic sources.
Recently, large-scale trials of behavioural interventions have failed to show improvements in pregnancy outcomes. They have, however, shown that lifestyle support improves maternal diet and physical activity during pregnancy, and can reduce weight gain. This suggests that pregnancy, and possibly the whole periconceptional period, represents a ‘teachable moment’ for changes in diet and lifestyle, an idea that was made much of in the recent report of the Chief Medical Officer for England. The greatest challenge with all trials of diet and lifestyle interventions is to engage people and to sustain this engagement. With this in mind, we propose a design of intervention that aims simultaneously to engage women through motivational conversations and to offer access to a digital platform that provides structured support for diet and lifestyle change. This intervention design therefore makes best use of learning from the trials described above and from recent advances in digital intervention design.
High-quality data from appropriate archives are needed for the continuing improvement of radiocarbon calibration curves. We discuss here the basic assumptions behind 14C dating that necessitate calibration and the relative strengths and weaknesses of archives from which calibration data are obtained. We also highlight the procedures, problems, and uncertainties involved in determining atmospheric and surface ocean 14C/12C in these archives, including a discussion of the various methods used to derive an independent absolute timescale and uncertainty. The types of data required for the current IntCal database and calibration curve model are tabulated with examples.
The IntCal09 and Marine09 radiocarbon calibration curves have been revised utilizing newly available and updated data sets from 14C measurements on tree rings, plant macrofossils, speleothems, corals, and foraminifera. The calibration curves were derived from the data using the random walk model (RWM) used to generate IntCal09 and Marine09, which has been revised to account for additional uncertainties and error structures. The new curves were ratified at the 21st International Radiocarbon conference in July 2012 and are available as Supplemental Material at www.radiocarbon.org. The database can be accessed at http://intcal.qub.ac.uk/intcal13/.
To limit tail biting incidence, most pig producers in Europe tail dock their piglets. This is despite EU Council Directive 2008/120/EC banning routine tail docking and allowing it only as a last resort. The paper aims to understand what it takes to fulfil the intentions of the Directive by examining economic results of four management and housing scenarios, and by discussing their consequences for animal welfare in the light of legal and ethical considerations. The four scenarios compared are: ‘Standard Docked’, a conventional housing scenario with tail docking meeting the recommendations for Danish production (0.7 m2/pig); ‘Standard Undocked’, which is the same as ‘Standard Docked’ but with no tail docking, ‘Efficient Undocked’ and ‘Enhanced Undocked’, which have increased solid floor area (0.9 and 1.0 m2/pig, respectively) provision of loose manipulable materials (100 and 200 g/straw per pig per day) and no tail docking. A decision tree model based on data from Danish and Finnish pig production suggests that Standard Docked provides the highest economic gross margin with the least tail biting. Given our assumptions, Enhanced Undocked is the least economic, although Efficient Undocked is better economically and both result in a lower incidence of tail biting than Standard Undocked but higher than Standard Docked. For a pig, being bitten is worse for welfare (repeated pain, risk of infections) than being docked, but to compare welfare consequences at a farm level means considering the number of affected pigs. Because of the high levels of biting in Standard Undocked, it has on average inferior welfare to Standard Docked, whereas the comparison of Standard Docked and Enhanced (or Efficient) Undocked is more difficult. In Enhanced (or Efficient) Undocked, more pigs than in Standard Docked suffer from being tail bitten, whereas all the pigs avoid the acute pain of docking endured by the pigs in Standard Docked. We illustrate and discuss this ethical balance using numbers derived from the above-mentioned data. We discuss our results in the light of the EU Directive and its adoption and enforcement by Member States. Widespread use of tail docking seems to be accepted, mainly because the alternative steps that producers are required to take before resorting to it are not specified in detail. By tail docking, producers are acting in their own best interests. We suggest that for the practice of tail docking to be terminated in a way that benefits animal welfare, changes in the way pigs are housed and managed may first be required.