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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.
In vitro maintenance of helminth parasites enables a variety of molecular, pharmaceutical and immunological analyses. Currently, the nutritional and environmental in vitro requirements of the equine ascarid parasite, Parascaris spp., have not been determined. Additionally, an objective method for assessing viability of Parascaris spp. intestinal stages does not exist. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the in vitro requirements of intestinal stages of Parascaris spp., and to develop a viability assessment method. A total of 1045 worms were maintained in a total of 212 cultures. Worms obtained from naturally infected foals at necropsy were immediately placed in culture flasks containing 200 mL of culture media. A variety of media types, nutrient supplementation and environmental conditions were examined. A motility-based scoring system was used to assess worm viability. Worms maintained in Roswell Park Memorial Institute-1640 had significantly better viability than any other media (P < 0.0001) and all media types supplemented with any of the nutrients examined (P < 0.0001). The use of a platform rocker also significantly improved viability (P = 0.0305). This is the first study to examine the requirements for maintaining Parascaris spp. intestinal stages in vitro and to evaluate their viability based on movement using an objective scoring system.
Using the dengue surveillance program, we prospectively collected data on all the suspected and confirmed cases of dengue in Barbados from 2006 to 2015. Data were analysed for demographic, seasonal and temporal dynamics of this disease in this country. The overall mean annual incidence rate of suspected and confirmed dengue over the study period was 0.49% (range 0.15%–0.99%) and 0.16% (range 0.05%−0.48%), respectively. There was a significant correlation between the mean monthly number of confirmed cases, the mean monthly rainfall and the mean monthly relative humidity percentage. Dengue in this population is predominantly an infection affecting children and young adults. The median age of the patients with both, suspected and confirmed dengue was 25 years and the highest proportion of cases was seen in the age group 0–15 years. The annual incidence rates of both the suspected and the confirmed cases showed an upward trend during the study period and this upward trend was more pronounced among children.
Prolonged periods of stress have been associated with impaired immune function; the experiment reported here investigates a potential link between level of metabolic load and immune function in lactating dairy cattle. A group of 111 Holstein-Friesian dairy cows was used. The cows belonged to one of two genetic lines: a selection line (S) with high genetic merit for fat plus protein yield and an unselected control line (C). The cows were offered one of two silage-based total mixed diets containing either 200 g (LC) or 450 g (HC) of concentrate per kg dry matter. Combination of genetic selection and food gave four groups: S-LC, S-HC, C-LC and C-HC. All cows were inoculated with a live attenuated BHV-1 vaccine soon after parturition and the primary antibody response in whey monitored. The number of BHV-1 antibody positive cows was not significantly different between the four groups; but, the initial antibody response was lower in cows of high genetic merit which were given a low concentrate diet. Statistical analysis demonstrated that the contribution of diet to this effect was highly significant. One year later, again after parturition, the experiment was repeated, this time using serum as the test sample. The average antibody response of the BHV-1 antibody positive cows was not significantly different between the four groups but the number of antibody positive cows was group-dependent. In conclusion, diet type but not genetic merit for high fat plus protein yield made a highly significant contribution to the antibody response of dairy cows to BHV-1 vaccination, both initially and a year later.
Size, or its commonly used proxy live weight, is a necessary input when calculating the energy requirements of an animal. It is also a major factor in determining the intake capacity of an animal. The sole use of live weight as a determinant of size incorporates the implicit assumption that body fat and body protein mass are equivalent for the purposes of calculating energy requirements and intake capacity. Recent evidence indicates that this is not so in either case (Birnie et al., 2000; Friggens et al., 1998). The use of live weight may be acceptable where it can be reasonably assumed that there is a stable relationship between body fat and protein. However, when making breed or parity comparisons there is no reason to assume a stable relationship between body fat and protein. Meaningful comparisons can be made if live weights can be adjusted for differences in body fat content. In the applied context this means adjusting to a standard body condition score. This study provided the opportunity to examine the relationships between condition score and live weight in three breeds across three parities.
Berseem clover (Trifolium alexandrinum L.) is an important forage legume and is the primary winter forage crop in Pakistan. There are significant gaps in yield potential among varieties of berseem clover, as well as yields obtained at research stations and on-farm. To address this problem a survey of farmers was undertaken in the districts of Kasur and Okara, Punjab, Pakistan to determine the level of knowledge and understanding of berseem forage cultivation and seed production. The study comprised 44% smallholder (<3 ha), 26% medium (3–5 ha) and 30% large farmers (>5 ha) with average age of 42 years. Most farmers had little or no knowledge of the role of seed quality, inoculation with rhizobium, pollination, fertiliser use, irrigation management and the importance of forage nutritional value in improving livestock productivity. Most farmers (56%) had received no input from the government or private sector to improve forage production, relying instead on traditional knowledge. Knowledge of the importance of land preparation (95%), sowing rate (98%) and insect and pest management (75%) was higher than seed selection and fertilisation. Adoption of improved varieties (3%) and production technologies (14%) was low due to various constraints including ignorance, high cost of inputs, lack of availability of inputs in the market and a perceived high level of financial risk. Almost 100% of the respondents agreed that seed of improved varieties was a pre-requisite for higher forage and seed production as well as essential to start village-based forage seed enterprises.
The surveillance of Clostridium difficile (CD) in Denmark consists of laboratory based data from Departments of Clinical Microbiology (DCMs) sent to the National Registry of Enteric Pathogens (NREP). We validated a new surveillance system for CD based on the Danish Microbiology Database (MiBa). MiBa automatically collects microbiological test results from all Danish DCMs. We built an algorithm to identify positive test results for CD recorded in MiBa. A CD case was defined as a person with a positive culture for CD or PCR detection of toxin A and/or B and/or binary toxin. We compared CD cases identified through the MiBa-based surveillance with those reported to NREP and locally in five DCMs representing different Danish regions. During 2010–2014, NREP reported 13 896 CD cases, and the MiBa-based surveillance 21 252 CD cases. There was a 99·9% concordance between the local datasets and the MiBa-based surveillance. Surveillance based on MiBa was superior to the current surveillance system, and the findings show that the number of CD cases in Denmark hitherto has been under-reported. There were only minor differences between local data and the MiBa-based surveillance, showing the completeness and validity of CD data in MiBa. This nationwide electronic system can greatly strengthen surveillance and research in various applications.
Adverse psychosocial working environments characterized by job strain (the combination of high demands and low control at work) are associated with an increased risk of depressive symptoms among employees, but evidence on clinically diagnosed depression is scarce. We examined job strain as a risk factor for clinical depression.
We identified published cohort studies from a systematic literature search in PubMed and PsycNET and obtained 14 cohort studies with unpublished individual-level data from the Individual-Participant-Data Meta-analysis in Working Populations (IPD-Work) Consortium. Summary estimates of the association were obtained using random-effects models. Individual-level data analyses were based on a pre-published study protocol.
We included six published studies with a total of 27 461 individuals and 914 incident cases of clinical depression. From unpublished datasets we included 120 221 individuals and 982 first episodes of hospital-treated clinical depression. Job strain was associated with an increased risk of clinical depression in both published [relative risk (RR) = 1.77, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.47–2.13] and unpublished datasets (RR = 1.27, 95% CI 1.04–1.55). Further individual participant analyses showed a similar association across sociodemographic subgroups and after excluding individuals with baseline somatic disease. The association was unchanged when excluding individuals with baseline depressive symptoms (RR = 1.25, 95% CI 0.94–1.65), but attenuated on adjustment for a continuous depressive symptoms score (RR = 1.03, 95% CI 0.81–1.32).
Job strain may precipitate clinical depression among employees. Future intervention studies should test whether job strain is a modifiable risk factor for depression.
Dietary long-chain n-3 PUFA (n-3 LCPUFA) in infancy may have long-term effects on lifestyle disease risk. The present follow-up study investigated whether maternal fish oil (FO) supplementation during lactation affected growth and blood pressure in adolescents and whether the effects differed between boys and girls. Mother–infant pairs (n 103) completed a randomised controlled trial with FO (1·5 g/d n-3 LCPUFA) or olive oil (OO) supplements during the first 4 months of lactation; forty-seven mother–infant pairs with high fish intake were followed-up for 4 months as the reference group. We also followed-up 100 children with assessment of growth, blood pressure, diet by FFQ and physical activity by 7-d accelerometry at 13·5 (sd 0·4) years of age. Dried whole-blood fatty acid composition was analysed in a subgroup (n 49). At 13 years of age, whole-blood n-3 LCPUFA, diet, physical activity and body composition did not differ between the three groups. The children from the FO group were 3·4 (95 % CI 0·2, 6·6) cm shorter (P=0·035) than those from the OO group, and tended to have less advanced puberty (P=0·068), which explained the difference in height. There was a sex-specific effect on diastolic blood pressure (Psex×group=0·020), which was driven by a 3·9 (95 % CI 0·2, 7·5) mmHg higher diastolic blood pressure in the FO compared with the OO group among boys only (P=0·041). Our results indicate that early n-3 LCPUFA intake may reduce height in early adolescence due to a delay in pubertal maturation and increase blood pressure specifically in boys, thereby tending to counteract existing sex differences.
Liquid feeding has the potential to provide pigs with sufficient water to remain hydrated and prevent prolonged thirst. However, lack of permanent access to fresh water prevents animals from drinking when they are thirsty. Moreover, individual differences between pigs in a pen may result in uneven distribution of the water provided by the liquid feed, leading to some pigs being unable to meet their water requirements. In this review, we look at the need for and provision of water for liquid-fed pigs in terms of their production performance, behaviour, health and welfare. We highlight factors which may lead to water ingestion above or below requirements. Increases in the need for water may be caused by numerous factors such as morbidity, ambient temperature or competition within the social group, emphasising the necessity of permanent access to water as also prescribed in EU legislation. The drinkers can be the target of redirected behaviour in response to feed restriction or in the absence of rooting materials, thereby generating water losses. The method of water provision and drinker design is critical to ensure easy access to water regardless of the pig’s physiological state, and to limit the amount of water used, which does not benefit the pig.
Several new AMS 14C dates on shells from the Fossvogur sea sediments in southern Iceland are reported. Up till now, researchers have assumed that the Fossvogur sediments formed during the last interglacial period (Eem), some 100,000 years ago. However, a recent 14C determination from this location yielded an age of ca 11,000 yr. Because of the importance of these sediments for the Quaternary chronology of Iceland, further sampling for 14C dating was subsequently initiated. The present results on several shell samples collected from the Fossvogur layers strongly indicate that these sediments were formed during the warm Allerød period toward the end of the last glaciation.
The higher spatial resolution and sensitivity of ISO allowed several extragalactic surveys to be extended to greater depth than obtained with IRAS. With the extended wavelength range deep surveys were performed for the first time at wavelengths up to ~ 200 μm. They favour galaxy models with strong evolution. With ISO's new capabilities the spectral energy distributions of larger samples of ULIRGs in the local universe and those of quasars and radio galaxies were determined. These data are applicable as templates to the more distant universe. Foreground components from zodiacal light and cirrus to the intracluster dust emission were studied in connection with their separation from the extragalactic background radiation.
It is well-nigh impossible to give, in a short report, an adequate idea of the enormous activity in Variable-Star Astronomy during the past three years. Without attempting to be complete I shall give a summary of the most important recent occurrences in this field of research.
Statistical data for eclipsing binaries were given by Gaposchkin (Veröff. Berlin-Bab. 9, Heft 5), for long-period variable stars by Ludendorff (Sitz.-ber. Ak. d. Wiss. Berlin, 1932), Thomas (Veröff. Berlin-Bab. 9, Heft 4) and Sterne and L. Campbell (Harvard Annals).
Some valuable catalogues have been issued: a Finding List for Observers of Eclipsing Variables by Dugan (Princeton Contr. No. 15), a Catalogue of Eclipsing Variables, together with a Program of Investigations, by Martinoff (Engelhardt Obs. Bull. No. 2), a Catalogue and Ephemeris of Short-period Cepheids by Zessewitsch (Len. Un. A. 0. Bull. No. 3).
The Commission again subscribes to a number of the good resolutions it has made in the past, for example, to follow the almost universal practice of counting the observed times, either in decimals of a day or in hours and minutes, from Greenwich mean noon, even though one is convinced that the rest of the world should adopt U.T.; and to prepare a chart, identifying the variable and the comparison stars, to form a part of the discovery announcement of a variable which cannot be easily identified through a Durchmusterung number and which is bright enough to invite further observation.
We analyzed birth order differences in means and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins from infancy to old age. The data were derived from the international CODATwins database. The total number of height and BMI measures from 0.5 to 79.5 years of age was 397,466. As expected, first-born twins had greater birth weight than second-born twins. With respect to height, first-born twins were slightly taller than second-born twins in childhood. After adjusting the results for birth weight, the birth order differences decreased and were no longer statistically significant. First-born twins had greater BMI than the second-born twins over childhood and adolescence. After adjusting the results for birth weight, birth order was still associated with BMI until 12 years of age. No interaction effect between birth order and zygosity was found. Only limited evidence was found that birth order influenced variances of height or BMI. The results were similar among boys and girls and also in MZ and DZ twins. Overall, the differences in height and BMI between first- and second-born twins were modest even in early childhood, while adjustment for birth weight reduced the birth order differences but did not remove them for BMI.
We use high-resolution Keck, VLT, or Hubble Space Telescope spectra of background quasars to examine the kinematic properties of the multiphase, metal-enriched circumgalactic medium in the outskirts of galaxies at 0.08 < zgal < 1.0, focusing on the low-ionization Mgii and high-ionization Ovi doublets. The absorption kinematics of low-ionization gas in the circumgalactic medium depend strongly on the star formation activity and the location about the host galaxy, where the largest velocity dispersions are associated with blue, face-on galaxies probed along the minor axis. Conversely, high-ionization gas kinematics are independent of galaxy star formation activity and orientation.
While more and more long-period giant planets are discovered by direct imaging, the distribution of planets at these separations (≳5 AU) has remained largely uncertain, especially compared to planets in the inner regions of solar systems probed by RV and transit techniques. The low frequency, the detection challenges, and heterogeneous samples make determining the mass and orbit distributions of directly imaged planets at the end of a survey difficult. By utilizing Monte Carlo methods that incorporate the age, distance, and spectral type of each target, we can use all stars in the survey, not just those with detected planets, to learn about the underlying population. We have produced upper limits and direct measurements of the frequency of these planets with the most recent generation of direct imaging surveys. The Gemini NICI Planet-Finding Campaign observed 220 young, nearby stars at a median H-band contrast of 14.5 magnitudes at 1”, representing the largest, deepest search for exoplanets by the completion of the survey. The Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey is in the process of surveying 600 stars, pushing these contrasts to a few tenths of an arcsecond from the star. With the advent of large surveys (many hundreds of stars) using advanced planet-imagers we gain the ability to move beyond measuring the frequency of wide-separation giant planets and to simultaneously determine the distribution as a function of planet mass, semi-major axis, and stellar mass, and so directly test models of planet formation and evolution.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
Surveys with ISO (Kessler et al 1996), in particular with the CAM (Cesarsky et al 1996) and PHOT (Lemke et al 1996) instruments, will greatly extend our understanding of extra-galactic populations and their cosmological evolution. The main advantages that ISO surveys have over e.g IRAS are increased sensitivity/depth and wavelength coverage. Within the Guaranteed and Open Time programmes there are many field surveys which will efficiently map the limits in these parameters. In this talk I will briefly overview those surveys before concentrating in more detail on one survey in particular, the ISO survey of the Hubble Deep Field (HDF), to illustrate the kind of results that can be expected.
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.