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Mastitis can prove expensive in sheep reared for meat production due to costs associated with treatment methods, poor lamb growth and premature culling of ewes. The most commonly used method to detect mastitis, in dairy systems, is somatic cell counts. However, in many meat-producing sheep flocks ewes are not routinely handled, thus regular milk sampling is not always possible. It is, therefore, worthwhile to investigate alternative phenotypes, such as those associated with udder conformation and methods of evaluating somatic cell counts in the milk, such as the California Mastitis Test. The main objectives of this study were therefore: (a) to estimate genetic parameters of traits relating to mastitis and udder conformation in a meat sheep breed; (b) estimate the level of association between somatic cell counts and the California Mastitis Test and (c) assess the relationships between mastitis and both udder conformation and lamb live weights. Data were collected from Texel ewes based on 29 flocks, throughout the UK, during 2015 and 2016. The ewes were scored twice each year, at mid- and late-lactation. Eight different conformation traits, relating to udder and teat characteristics, and milk samples were recorded. The data set comprised of data available for 2957 ewes. The pedigree file used contained sire and dam information for 31 775 individuals. The animal models used fitted relevant fixed and random effects. Heritability estimates for traits relating to mastitis (somatic cell score and the California Mastitis Test), ranged from 0.08 to 0.11 and 0.07 to 0.11, respectively. High genetic correlations were observed between somatic cell score and the California Mastitis Test (0.76 to 0.98), indicating the California Mastitis Test to be worthwhile for assessing infection levels, particularly at mid-lactation. The strongest correlations observed between the mastitis traits and the udder conformation traits were associated with udder depth (0.61 to 0.75) also at mid-lactation. Negative phenotypic correlations were estimated between mastitis and the weight of lamb reared by the ewe (−0.15 to −0.23), suggesting that lamb weights fell as infection levels rose. Genetic correlations were not significantly different from zero. Reducing mastitis will lead to improvements in flock productivity and the health and welfare of the animals. It will also improve the efficiency of production and the resilience to disease challenge. The economic benefits, therefore, of these results combined could be substantial not only in this breed but also in the overall meat sheep industry.
Sheep are an important part of the global agricultural economy. Growth and meat production traits are significant economic traits in sheep. The Texel breed is the most popular terminal sire breed in the UK, mainly selected for muscle growth and lean carcasses. This is a study based on a genome-wide association approach that investigates the links between some economically important traits, including computed tomography (CT) measurements, and molecular polymorphisms in UK Texel sheep. Our main aim was to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) associated with growth, carcass, health and welfare traits of the Texel sheep breed. This study used data from 384 Texel rams. Data comprised ten traits, including two CT measured traits. The phenotypic data were placed in four categories: growth traits, carcass traits, health traits and welfare traits. De-regressed estimated breeding values (EBV) for these traits together with sire genotypes derived with the Ovine 50 K SNP array of Illumina were jointly analysed in a genome wide association analysis. Eight novel chromosome-wise significant associations were found for carcass, growth, health and welfare traits. Three significant markers were intronic variants and the remainder intergenic variants. This study is a first step to search for genomic regions controlling CT-based productivity traits related to body and carcass composition in a terminal sire sheep breed using a 50 K SNP genome-wide array. Results are important for the further development of strategies to identify causal variants associated with CT measures and other commercial traits in sheep. Independent studies are needed to confirm these results and identify candidate genes for the studied traits.
Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is associated with intellectual disability, but the risk pathways are poorly understood.
The Tuberous Sclerosis 2000 Study is a prospective longitudinal study of the natural history of TSC. One hundred and twenty-five UK children age 0–16 years with TSC and born between January 2001 and December 2006 were studied. Intelligence was assessed using standardized measures at ≥2 years of age. The age of onset of epilepsy, the type of seizure disorder, the frequency and duration of seizures, as well as the response to treatment was assessed at interview and by review of medical records. The severity of epilepsy in the early years was estimated using the E-Chess score. Genetic studies identified the mutations and the number of cortical tubers was determined from brain scans.
TSC2 mutations were associated with significantly higher cortical tuber count than TSC1 mutations. The extent of brain involvement, as indexed by cortical tuber count, was associated with an earlier age of onset and severity of epilepsy. In turn, the severity of epilepsy was strongly associated with the degree of intellectual impairment. Structural equation modelling supported a causal pathway from genetic abnormality to cortical tuber count to epilepsy severity to intellectual outcome. Infantile spasms and status epilepticus were important contributors to seizure severity.
The findings support the proposition that severe, early onset epilepsy may impair intellectual development in TSC and highlight the potential importance of early, prompt and effective treatment or prevention of epilepsy in tuberous sclerosis.
This investigation employed latent profile analysis to identify distinct patterns of multiform competence among 164 emancipated foster youth (Mage = 19.67 years, SD = 1.12; 64% female). Fit indices and conceptual interpretation converged on a four-profile solution. A subset of emancipated youth evidenced a maladaptive profile (16.5%; n = 27), which was characterized by low educational competence, low occupational competence, low civic engagement, problematic interpersonal relationships, low self-esteem, and high depressive symptoms. However, the largest group of emancipated youth exhibited a resilient profile in which they were faring reasonably well in all domains despite marked adversity (47%; n = 77). Two additional groups evidenced discordant adjustment patterns wherein they exhibited high levels of psychological competence despite behavioral difficulties (i.e., internally resilient; 30%; n = 49) or significant emotional difficulties despite manifest competence (i.e., externally resilient; 6.5%; n = 11). The obtained profiles were validated against independent measures of behavioral and socioemotional adjustment. Exploratory analyses examined etiological differences across profiles with respect to child welfare variables, such as age at entry into care, placement disruption, reason for placement, and severity of child maltreatment. The findings highlight the need for multidimensional models of risk and resilience and illustrate the importance of heretofore underappreciated heterogeneity in the adaptive outcomes of emancipated foster youth.
Here we discuss proteomic analyses of whole cell preparations of the mosquito stages of malaria parasite development (i.e. gametocytes, microgamete, ookinete, oocyst and sporozoite) of Plasmodium berghei. We also include critiques of the proteomes of two cell fractions from the purified ookinete, namely the micronemes and cell surface. Whereas we summarise key biological interpretations of the data, we also try to identify key methodological constraints we have met, only some of which we were able to resolve. Recognising the need to translate the potential of current genome sequencing into functional understanding, we report our efforts to develop more powerful combinations of methods for the in silico prediction of protein function and location. We have applied this analysis to the proteome of the male gamete, a cell whose very simple structural organisation facilitated interpretation of data. Some of the in silico predictions made have now been supported by ongoing protein tagging and genetic knockout studies. We hope this discussion may assist future studies.
Nanostructured fiber-mats have large surface area, high reactivity, low weight and low agglomeration tendency. These are advantages if compared with nanoparticles for photocatalytic application. Fiber-mats can be used not only as a photocatalytic material on their own, but also incorporated in different surfaces or fabrics and as well as a filtration membrane. In this work, high temperature stable anatase titanium dioxide fiber-mats doped with silica (0.5 to 30 %) or doped with tin (0.5 to 15 %) were produced by electrospinning technology. The precursors used were titanium propoxide (TiP), tetrapropoxysilane (TPS) and tin 2-ethylhexanoate. They were hydrolyzed in acetic acid and mixed with an alcoholic solution of 10 wt% polyvinylpirrolidone. The effect of heat treatment on the microstructure characteristics and the photocatalytic activity of the fiber-mats in comparison with a commercial TiO2 powder (Evonik P-25) were studied. After the electrospinning process, a thin, porous fiber-mat was obtained. This material was dried in air at room temperature for 24h. These fibers were then heat treated from 500 to 800°C for 3 hours at a heating rate of 1.4°C/min. The fiber-mats were then characterized using N2 adsorption (BET method) for surface area measurements, X-ray diffraction for phase determination, SEM and TEM analyses for morphological characterization. The photocatalytic activity was studied using as model system the degradation of methyl orange in water (20ppm) under UV-A light. As-obtained fibers are amorphous but become crystalline after heat treatment. As the heat treatment temperature increases the surface area decreases significantly. Quite the opposite happens with the rutile to anatase ratio and the anatase and rutile crystallite sizes, which increase with higher heat treatment temperatures. The photoactivity increases with the increment in heat treatment temperature until 650°C, when the fibers start to become denser and the surface area drops due to sintering. Fibers produced at higher temperatures and with lower amounts of Si and Sn are predominantly anatase and are generally more photoactive under UV-A radiation.
Freestanding, strip-shaped magnetoelastic (ME) biosensors are a class of
wireless, mass-based biosensors that are being developed for the real-time
detection of pathogenic bacteria for food safety and bio-security. The mass
sensitivity of these biosensors operating in longitudinal-vibration modes is
known to be largely dependent on the position of masses attached to the
sensor surfaces. Hence, considering this dependence is crucial to the
detection of low-concentration target pathogens, including single pathogenic
bacteria, because their local attachment may cause varying sensor responses.
In a worst case scenario, the resultant sensor responses (i.e., mass-induced
resonance frequency changes of the sensor) may be too small to be detected
despite the attachment of the target pathogenic masses. To address the
issue, phage-coated ME biosensors (magnetostrictive strips (4 mm × 0.8 mm ×
30 μm) coated with a phage probe specifically binding streptavidin protein)
with localized masses (streptavidin-coated polystyrene beads) were
fabricated, and mass-position-dependence of the sensor’s sensitivity under
the fundamental-mode vibration was experimentally measured. In addition,
three-dimensional finite element (FE) modal analysis was performed using the
CalculiX software to simulate the phenomena. The experimental and
theoretical results show close agreement: (1) the mass sensitivity was low
when the mass was positioned in the middle of the sensor’s longest dimension
and (2) a much higher mass sensitivity was, by contrast, obtained for the
equivalent masses placed at both ends of the strip-shaped sensor.
Furthermore, FE models were constructed for differently sized, phage-coated
ME biosensors (100 – 500 μm in length with different widths and thicknesses)
loaded with a single bacterial mass (2 μm × 0.4 μm × 0.4 μm, 1.05
g/cm3) at varying longitudinal positions. The mass sensitivity
was found to be approximated by a mass-position-dependent Boltzmann function
whose amplitude is inversely proportional to the length squared, width, and
thickness of the sensor.
The methanol multi-beam (MMB) survey has produced the largest and most complete catalogue of Galactic 6.7-GHz methanol masers to date. 6.7-GHz methanol masers are exclusively associated with high-mass star formation, and as such provide invaluable insight into the Galactic distribution and properties of high-mass star formation regions. I present the statistical properties of the MMB catalogue and, through the calculation of kinematic distances, investigate the resolution of distance ambiguities and explore the Galactic distribution.
Influenza A (H1N1) viruses when initially isolated in mammalian cell cultures (MDCK cells) had different agglutination reactions with chicken and guinea-pig erythrocytes compared to the same viruses after passage. On first isolation the virus HA resembled the ‘O’ phase viruses described originally by Burnet and Bull and agglutinated mammalian but not avian erythrocytes. After passage, the virus HA resembled a classical ‘D’ phase virus and agglutinated both avian and mammalian erythrocytes. Monoclonal and polyclonal antisera detected antigenic differences between the HAs of the viruses in the ‘O’ and ‘D’ phases. The ‘O’ phase virus HA reacted preferentially with antibodies in post infection human antisera. Viruses in the ‘O’ phase replicated poorly in the allantoic cavity of embryonated hens' eggs whilst ‘D’ phase virus replicated in both MDCK cells and in embryonated hens' eggs. At least three distinguishable subpopulations of influenza A (H1N1) viruses may co-exist in clinical throat swab material, including viruses possessing HAs in the ‘O’ and ‘D’ phases and other ‘D’ phase viruses cultivable in embryonated hens' eggs but antigenically distinguishable from the corresponding ‘D’ phase virus in MDCK cells.
The ability of three avian viruses to elicit antibody response in humans was surveyed for the purpose of identifying zoonotic diseases. Antibody levels in people associated with poultry were compared to those in people having limited poultry association. Antibody levels to three avian viruses: infectious bursal disease virus, a birnavirus; Newcastle disease virus, a paramyxovirus; and avian infectious bronchitis virus, a coronavirus were determined by enzyme–linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA). Differences between the two study groups were evident: people having a known association with poultry showed significantly higher levels of antibodies to Newcastle disease and avian infectious bronchitis virus. Antibodies detected may be due to virus exposure rather than zoonoses.
Farming systems research is a multi-disciplinary holistic approach to solve the problems of small farms. Small and marginal farmers are the core of the Indian rural economy constituting 0·80 of the total farming community but possessing only 0·36 of the total operational land. The declining trend of per capita land availability poses a serious challenge to the sustainability and profitability of farming. Under such conditions, it is appropriate to integrate land-based enterprises such as dairy, fishery, poultry, duckery, apiary, field and horticultural cropping within the farm, with the objective of generating adequate income and employment for these small and marginal farmers under a set of farm constraints and varying levels of resource availability and opportunity. The integration of different farm enterprises can be achieved with the help of a linear programming model. For the current review, integrated farming systems models were developed, by way of illustration, for the marginal, small, medium and large farms of eastern India using linear programming. Risk analyses were carried out for different levels of income and enterprise combinations. The fishery enterprise was shown to be less risk-prone whereas the crop enterprise involved greater risk. In general, the degree of risk increased with the increasing level of income. With increase in farm income and risk level, the resource use efficiency increased. Medium and large farms proved to be more profitable than small and marginal farms with higher level of resource use efficiency and return per Indian rupee (Rs) invested. Among the different enterprises of integrated farming systems, a chain of interaction and resource flow was observed. In order to make farming profitable and improve resource use efficiency at the farm level, the synergy among interacting components of farming systems should be exploited. In the process of technology generation, transfer and other developmental efforts at the farm level (contrary to the discipline and commodity-based approaches which have a tendency to be piecemeal and in isolation), it is desirable to place a whole-farm scenario before the farmers to enhance their farm income, thereby motivating them towards more efficient and sustainable farming.
The results of the first complete survey for 6668-MHz CH3OH and 6035-MHz excited-state OH masers in the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds are presented. A new 6668-MHz CH3OH maser in the Large Magellanic Cloud has been detected towards the star-forming region N 160a, together with a new 6035-MHz excited-state OH maser detected towards N 157a. We also re-observed the previously known 6668-MHz CH3OH masers and the single known 6035-MHz OH maser. Neither maser transition was detected above ~0.13 Jy in the Small Magellanic Cloud. All observations were initially made using the CH3OH Multibeam (MMB) survey receiver on the 64-m Parkes radio telescope as part of the overall MMB project. Accurate positions were measured with the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA). In a comparison of the star formation maser populations in the Magellanic Clouds and our Galaxy, the LMC maser populations are demonstrated to be smaller than their Milky Way counterparts. CH3OH masers are under-abundant by a factor of ~50, whilst OH and H2O masers are a factor of ~10 less abundant than our Galaxy.
Rapidly-evolving red supergiants (RSG) lose half or more of their mass before ending their lives as supernovae. Masers allow us to study the mass loss from 4 nearby RSG in AU-scale detail using MERLIN and EVN/global VLBI. The water maser clouds are over-dense and over-magnetised with respect to the surrounding wind. In most cases, the brighter an individual maser component is the smaller its apparent (beamed) FWHM appears, as predicted for approximately spherical clouds. Individual water maser features have a typical half-life of 5-10 yr, but comparison with single dish monitoring suggests that the water vapour clouds themselves survive many decades (the water maser shell crossing time), within which the local masers wink on and off. OH mainline masers are found in the tenuous surrounding gas, overlapping the water maser shell, surrounded by OH 1612-MHz masers at a greater distance from the star.
A new 7-beam methanol multibeam receiver is being used to survey the Galaxy for newly forming massive stars, that are pinpointed by strong methanol maser emission at 6.668 GHz. The receiver, jointly constructed by Jodrell Bank Observatory (JBO) and the Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF), was successfully commissioned at Parkes in January 2006. The Parkes-Jodrell survey of the Milky Way for methanol masers is two orders of magnitude faster than previous systematic surveys using 30-m class dishes, and is the first systematic survey of the entire Galactic plane. The first 53 days of observations with the Parkes telescope have yielded 518 methanol sources, of which 218 are new discoveries. We present the survey methodology as well as preliminary results and analysis.
A new 7-beam methanol multibeam receiver was successfully commissioned at Parkes Observatory in January 2006, and has begun surveying the Milky Way for newly forming massive stars, that are pinpointed by strong methanol maser emission at 6.7 GHz. The receiver was jointly constructed by Jodrell Bank Observatory and the Australia Telescope National Facility for use on the Parkes and Lovell Telescopes. The whole galactic plane is being surveyed within latitudes ±2°, with a velocity resolution of 0.1 km s−1 and a 5-σ sensitivity of ~0.7 Jy. Altogether 200 days of observing will be required.