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Litter size has a great impact on the profit of swine producers. Uterine development is an important determinant of reproduction efficiency and could hence affect litter size. Chinese Erhualian pig is one of the most prolific breeds in the world, even though large phenotypic variation in litter size was observed within Erhualian sows. To dissect the genetic basis of the phenotypic variation, we herein conducted genome-wide association studies for total number born and number born alive (NBA) of Erhualian sows. In total, one significant single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (P<1.78e−06) and 11 suggestive SNPs (P<3.57e−05) were identified on 10 chromosomes, confirming seven previously reported quantitative trait loci (QTL) and uncovering six QTL for litter size or uterus length. One locus on Sus scrofa chromosome (SSC) 13 (79.28 to 90.43 Mb) harbored a cluster of suggestive SNPs associated with multiparous NBA. The SNP (rs81447100) within this region was confirmed to be significantly (P<0.05) associated with litter size in Erhualian (n=313), Sutai (n=173) and Yorkshire (n=488) populations. Retinol binding protein 2 and retinol binding protein 1 functionally related to the development of uterus were located in a region of 2 Mb around rs81447100. Moreover, four genes related to embryo implantation and development were also detected around other significant SNPs. Taken together, our findings provide a potential marker (rs81447100) for the genetic improvement of litter size not only in Chinese Erhualian pigs but also in European commercial pig breeds like Yorkshire, and would facilitate the final identification of causative variant(s) underlying the effect of SSC13 QTL on litter size.
Lymphatic filariasis is a neglected tropical disease caused by roundworm parasites such as Brugia malayi that spread via a mosquito vector. In vitro culture of these parasites provides controlled conditions to understand parasite biology and provides a cheaper way to screen potential micro- and macrofilaricides. Published studies have used a wide array of approaches and metrics regarding in vitro cultures of B. malayi; as a result, drawing comparisons and identifying the reasons why inability to reproduce outcomes are difficult. This study sought to determine conditions that ensure reproducible outcomes and used evaluation metrics that are easily measured and can be automated to ensure objectivity. We found culturing B. malayi third-stage larvae (L3) in endothelial basal media supplemented with 20% fetal bovine serum and 75 µm ascorbic acid in a temperature- and humidity-controlled incubator produced better survival and molting rates as well as longer and more motile parasites than previously reported. The benefit of ascorbic acid seemed to be unique to L3 parasites, as the addition of ascorbic acid to adult parasites had no significant impact on survival or motility. The methods reported in this study will help in designing experiments for both parasite behaviour studies and drug screening applications for disease eradication.
l-Arginine is a nutritionally essential amino acid for spermatogenesis and plays versatile roles in animal health and can be utilized as a potential agent to improve reproductive performance of boars under high ambient temperature. The present study aimed to determine whether dietary l-arginine could alleviate heat stress-induced infertility in boars. In all, 20 boars (PIC 1040; 248.59±3.84 kg BW and 407.65±6.40 days of age) were selected and randomly assigned to four groups (group 0.0%, basal diet; group 0.6%, 0.8% or 1.0%, basal diet added with 0.6%, 0.8% or 1.0% l-arginine (wt:wt), respectively.) The four diets were made isonitrogenous by addition of appropriate amounts of l-alanine. Boars were pre-fed the corresponding experimental diet for 42 days. Then, the semen characteristics and libido were accessed for 6 weeks during the hot summer period (25.5° to 33.0°C). Results show that dietary l-arginine remarkably improved sperm motility, normality, total sperm number and effective total sperm number. Also, dietary l-arginine improved semen antioxidant capacity, such as decrease of malondialdehyde and 8-Hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine content in sperm (P<0.05), increase of the ratio of glutathione and oxidized glutathione, total antioxidant capacity, glutathione peroxidase and catalase activities in seminal plasma (P<0.05). Most of mitochondria contained intact ultrastructure in l-arginine-supplemented group which also accompany with higher ATP content than the 0.0% group. The boars fed 0.8% l-arginine show increased levels of estradiol-17β and testosterone and exhibit improved libido performance than boars in the 0.0% group. Adding dietary l-arginine linearly increased (P=0.002) nitric oxide content (as l-arginine increased). The scrotal surface temperature in the 0.6%, 0.8% and 1.0% group were decreased by 0.9°C, 0.9°C and 0.4°C, respectively, compared with the 0.0% group. l-Arginine levels caused linear effect on semen quality and antioxidant capacity, also caused quadratic effect on libido performance. During the hot summer months, the predicted optimal l-arginine levels for best semen quality and antioxidant capacity was 0.8% to 1.0% and for best libido performance was 0.8%. It can be concluded that l-arginine can be used as an effective agent to alleviate heat stress-induced infertility of boar, and that 0.8% to 1.0% can be considered as the optimum dosage.
Family history is a long-standing and readily obtainable risk factor for schizophrenia (SCZ). Low-cost genotyping technologies have enabled large genetic studies of SCZ, and the results suggest the utility of genetic risk scores (GRS, direct assessments of inherited common variant risk). Few studies have evaluated family history and GRS simultaneously to ask whether one can explain away the other.
We studied 5959 SCZ cases and 8717 controls from four Nordic countries. All subjects had family history data from national registers and genome-wide genotypes that were processed through the quality control procedures used by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium. Using external training data, GRS were estimated for SCZ, bipolar disorder (BIP), major depression, autism, educational attainment, and body mass index. Multivariable modeling was used to estimate effect sizes.
Using harmonized genomic and national register data from Denmark, Estonia, Norway, and Sweden, we confirmed that family history of SCZ and GRS for SCZ and BIP were risk factors for SCZ. In a joint model, the effects of GRS for SCZ and BIP were essentially unchanged, and the effect of family history was attenuated but remained significant. The predictive capacity of a model including GRS and family history neared the minimum for clinical utility.
Combining national register data with measured genetic risk factors represents an important investigative approach for psychotic disorders. Our findings suggest the potential clinical utility of combining GRS and family history for early prediction and diagnostic improvements.
The Central Molecular Zone (CMZ), the inner 450 pc of our Galaxy, is an exceptional region where the volume and column densities, gas temperatures, velocity dispersions, etc. are much higher than in the Galactic plane. It has been suggested that the formation of stars and clusters in this area is related to the orbital dynamics of the gas. The complex kinematic structure of the molecular gas was revealed by spectral line observations. However, these results are limited to the line-of-sight-velocities. To fully understand the motions of the gas within the CMZ, we have to know its location in 6D space (3D location + 3D motion). Recent orbital models have tried to explain the inflow of gas towards and its kinematics within this region. With parallax and proper motion measurements of masers in the CMZ we can discriminate among these models and constrain how our Galactic Center is fed with gas.
Vortex-induced vibration (VIV) is an important physical phenomenon as one design a riser or a cylindrical structure in ocean. As the riser or the cylindrical structure is adjacent to a seabed, the boundary effect on VIV is not fully understood yet. The direct-forcing immersed boundary (DFIB) method is used to investigate a two-degree-of-freedom VIV of a flexible supported circular cylinder adjacent to a plane boundary in this study. Furthermore, the effect of the VIV of cylinder on skin friction of the plane boundary is investigated. The effects of varying reduced velocity and gap ratio on VIV are discussed. Only a single vortex street is found when the cylinder is close to plane boundary. Hydrodynamic coefficients of the freely vibrating cylinder are analyzed in time and spectral domains. Furthermore, nearly round oval-shaped motion is observed as the so-called lock-in phenomenon occurs. The skin friction of the plane boundary is predicted by the DFIB model. Results show that the vibrating cylinder in the boundary layer flow can reduce the friction effectively. This proposed DFIB model can be useful for the investigation of VIV of the structures under the plane boundary effect even for a small gap between the cylinder and the boundary.
Default mode network (DMN) is vulnerable to the effects of APOE genotype. Given the reduced brain volumes and APOE ε 4-related brain changes in elderly carriers, it is less known that whether these changes would influence the functional connectivity and to what extent. This study aimed to examine the functional connectivity within DMN, and its diagnostic value with age-related morphometric alterations considered.
Whole brain and seed-based resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) analysis were conducted in cognitively normal APOE ε 4 carriers and matched non-carriers (N=38). The absolute values of mean correlation coefficients (z-values) were used as a measure of functional connectivity strength (FCS) between DMN subregions, which were also used to estimate their diagnostic value by receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curves.
APOE ε 4 carriers demonstrated decreased interhemispheric FCS, particularly between right hippocampal formation (R.HF) and left inferior parietal lobular (L.IPL) (t=3.487, p<0.001). ROC analysis showed that the FCS of R.HF and L.IPL could differentiate APOE ε 4 carriers from healthy counterparts (AUC value=0.734, p=0.025). Moreover, after adjusting the impact of morphometry, the differentiated value of FCS of R.HF and L.IPL was markedly improved (AUC value=0.828, p=0.002).
Our findings suggest that APOE ε 4 allele affects the functional connectivity within posterior DMN, particularly the atrophy-corrected interhemispheric FCS before the clinical expression of neurodegenerative disease.
Historically, alloy development with better radiation performance has been focused on traditional alloys with one or two principal element(s) and minor alloying elements, where enhanced radiation resistance depends on microstructural or nanoscale features to mitigate displacement damage. In sharp contrast to traditional alloys, recent advances of single-phase concentrated solid solution alloys (SP-CSAs) have opened up new frontiers in materials research. In these alloys, a random arrangement of multiple elemental species on a crystalline lattice results in disordered local chemical environments and unique site-to-site lattice distortions. Based on closely integrated computational and experimental studies using a novel set of SP-CSAs in a face-centered cubic structure, we have explicitly demonstrated that increasing chemical disorder can lead to a substantial reduction in electron mean free paths, as well as electrical and thermal conductivity, which results in slower heat dissipation in SP-CSAs. The chemical disorder also has a significant impact on defect evolution under ion irradiation. Considerable improvement in radiation resistance is observed with increasing chemical disorder at electronic and atomic levels. The insights into defect dynamics may provide a basis for understanding elemental effects on evolution of radiation damage in irradiated materials and may inspire new design principles of radiation-tolerant structural alloys for advanced energy systems.
The compact radio and near-infrared (NIR) source Sagittarius A* has been observed in the context of two NIR triggered global VLT and VLBA campaigns at 43 GHz (7 mm) on May 16-18 2012 and October 4 2014. While on October 4 2014 Sgr A* remained in a quiescent state, a NIR flare on May 17 2012 is accompanied by an increase in flux density of 0.22 Jy at 7 mm delayed by 4.5±0.5 h. Additionally, Sgr A* seems to develop a weak secondary radio off-core component of 0.02 Jy at a position angle of 140° and an angular distance of 1.5 mas shortly before the peak of the flare. This spatial extension and the time delay are in the range of expected values for events casually connected by adiabatic expansion.
Intra-individual variability (IIV) and the change of attentional functions have been reported to be susceptible to both healthy ageing and pathological ageing. The current study aimed to evaluate the IIV of attention and the age-related effect on alerting, orienting, and executive control in cognitively healthy older adults.
We evaluated 145 Chinese older adults (age range of 65–80 years, mean age of 72.41 years) with a comprehensive neuropsychological battery and the Attention network test (ANT). A two-step strategy of analytical methods was used: Firstly, the IIV of older adults was evaluated by the intraindividual coefficient of variation of reaction time (ICV-RT). The correlation between ICV-RT and age was used to evaluate the necessity of subgrouping. Further, the comparisons of ANT performance among three age groups were performed with processing speed adjusted.
Person's correlation revealed significant positive correlations between age and IIV (r = 0.185, p = 0.032), age and executive control (r = 0.253, p = 0.003). Furthermore, one-way ANOVA comparisons among three age groups revealed a significant age-related disturbance on executive control (F = 4.55, p = 0.01), in which oldest group (group with age >75 years) showed less efficient executive control than young-old (group with age 65–70 years) (Conventional score, p = 0.012; Ratio score, p = 0.020).
Advancing age has an effect on both IIV and executive attention in cognitively healthy older adults, suggesting that the disturbance of executive attention is a sensitive indicator to reflect healthy ageing. Its significance to predict further deterioration should be carefully evaluated with prospective studies.
Background: There are no disease modifying agents for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Pathologically, AD is associated with the misfolding of two peptides: beta-amyloid (plaques) and tau (tangles). Methods: Using large-scale computer simulations, we modelled the misfolding of both beta-amyloid and tau, identifying a common conformational motif (CCM; i.e. an abnormal peptide shape), present in both beta-amyloid and tau, that promotes their misfolding. We screened a library of 11.8 million compounds against this in silico model of protein misfolding, identifying three novel molecular classes of putative therapeutics as anti-protein misfolding agents. We synthesized approximately 400 new chemical entity drug-like molecules in each of these three classes (i.e. 1200 potential drug candidates). These were comprehensively screened in a battery of five in vitro protein oligomerization assays. Selected compounds were next evaluated in the APP/PS1 doubly transgenic mouse model of AD. Results: Two new classes of molecules were identified with the ability to block the oligomerization of both beta-amyloid and tau. These compounds are drug-like with good pharmacokinetic properties and are brain-penetrant. They exhibit excellent efficacy in transgenic mouse models. Conclusion: Computer aided drug design has enabled the discovery of novel drug-like molecules able to inhibit both tau and beta-amyloid misfolding.
Previous studies support Beck's cognitive model of vulnerability to depression. However, the relationship between his cognitive triad and other clinical features and risk factors among those with major depression (MD) has rarely been systematically studied.
The three key cognitive symptoms of worthlessness, hopelessness and helplessness were assessed during their lifetime worst episode in 1970 Han Chinese women with recurrent MD. Diagnostic and other risk factor information was assessed at personal interview. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated by logistic regression.
Compared to patients who did not endorse the cognitive trio, those who did had a greater number of DSM-IV A criteria, more individual depressive symptoms, an earlier age at onset, a greater number of episodes, and were more likely to meet diagnostic criteria for melancholia, postnatal depression, dysthymia and anxiety disorders. Hopelessness was highly related to all the suicidal symptomatology, with ORs ranging from 5.92 to 6.51. Neuroticism, stressful life events (SLEs) and a protective parental rearing style were associated with these cognitive symptoms.
During the worst episode of MD in Han Chinese women, the endorsement of the cognitive trio was associated with a worse course of depression and an increased risk of suicide. Individuals with high levels of neuroticism, many SLEs and high parental protectiveness were at increased risk for these cognitive depressive symptoms. As in Western populations, symptoms of the cognitive trio appear to play a central role in the psychopathology of MD in Chinese women.
The aim of this study was to characterize updated HIV subtypes in Yunnan to determine their origins and distribution within the population. RT–PCR of both the gag and env genes were sequenced from Yunnan province inhabitants newly diagnosed with HIV-1. Sequence data from 290 samples were used for statistical analysis of subtype distribution and phylogenetic tree construction. Distribution data were adjusted to account for different geographical distributions of HIV-1 subtypes in the population. Phylogenetic analysis revealed six HIV-1 subtypes in Yunnan, including eight types of unique recombination forms (URFs). The most prevalent subtypes in this province, CRF07_BC (18·9%), CRF08_BC (39·1%), CRF01_AE (22·4%), and URFs (subtype C, 5·9% and subtype B, 4·5%), were all recombinants. We found significant differences in the distribution of these HIV-1 subtypes not only geographically, but also between various ethnic groups and with respect to transmission routes. Our findings indicate a complex population of HIV-1 subtypes, URFs, and recombinant subtypes in Yunnan province. This diversity could make the prevention and control of HIV infection in Yunnan more difficult due to the possibility of virus recombination or infection by multiple subtypes.
A study about the achievement of dichromatic white light-emitting diodes (LEDs) was performed. A series of dual wavelength LEDs with different last quantum-well (LQW) structure were fabricated. The bottom seven blue light QWs (close to n-GaN layer) of the four samples were the same. The LQW of sample A was 3 nm, and that of sample B, C and D were 6 nm, a special high In content ultra-thin layer was inserted in the middle of the LQW of sample C and on top of that of sample D. XRD results showed In concentration fluctuation and good interface quality of the four samples. PL measurements showed dual wavelength emitting, the blue light peak position of the four samples were almost the same, sample A with a narrower LQW showed an emission wavelength much shorter than that of sample B, C, D. EL measurement was done at an injection current of 100 mA. Sample A only showed LQW emission due to holes distribution. Because of wider LQW, the emission wavelength of sample B, C and D was longer and peak intensity was weaker. Sample D with insert layer on top of LQW showed strongest yellow light emission with a blue peak. As the injection current increased, sample A showed highest output light power due to narrower LQW. Of the other three samples with wider LQW, sample D showed highest output power. Effective yellow light emission has always been an obstacle to the achievement of dichromatic white LED. Sample D with insert layer close to p-GaN can confine the hole distribution more effectively hence the recombination of holes and electrons was enhanced, the yellow light emission was improved and dichromatic white LED was achieved.
Large electrocaloric (EC) effects in ferroelectric polymers and in ferroelectric ceramics have attracted great attention for new refrigeration development which is more environmental friendly and more efficient and thus could be an alternative to the existing vapor-compression refrigerators which consume large energy and release large amount of green house gas. However in the past, all EC effects investigations have been focused on solid state dielectrics. It is interesting to ask whether a large EC effect can also be realized in dielectric fluids. A dielectric fluid with large EC effect could lead to new design of cooling devices with simpler structures than these based on solid state EC materials, for example, they can be utilized as both the refrigerant and heat exchange fluid. Here we present that a large EC effect can be realized in the liquid crystal (LC) 5CB near it's nematic-isotropic (N-I) phase transition. The LC 5CB possesses a large dielectric anisotropy which can induce large polarization change from the isotropic phase to the nematic phase near the N-I transition. An isothermal entropy change of more than 23 Jkg-1K-1 was observed near 39 oC that is just above the N-I transition.
We investigated AlAs0.56Sb0.44 epitaxial layers lattice-matched to InP grown by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE). Silicon (Si) and tellurium (Te) were studied as n-type dopants in AlAs0.56Sb0.44 material. Similar to most Sb-based materials, AlAs0.56Sb0.44 demonstrates a maximum active carrier concentration around low-1018 cm-3 when using Te as a dopant. We propose the use of a heavily Si-doped InAlAs layer embedded in the AlAsSb barrier as a modulation-doped layer. The In0.53Ga0.47As/AlAs0.56Sb0.44 double heterostructures with a 10 nm InGaAs well show an electron mobility of about 9400 cm2/V・s at 295 K and 32000 cm2/V・s at 46 K. A thinner 5 nm InGaAs well has an electron mobility of about 4300 cm2/V・s at 295 K. This study demonstrates that AlAs0.56Sb0.44 is a promising barrier material for highly scaled InGaAs MOSFETs and HEMTs.
The crystal structure of a-plane GaN/ZnO heterostructures on r-plane sapphire was investigated by using the XRD and TEM measurment. It was found the formation of (220) ZnGa2O4 and crystal orientation of semipolar (10
3) GaN at GaN/ZnO interface. The epitaxial relation of normal surface direction are the sapphire (1
02) // a-GaN (11
0) and ZnGa2O4 (220) // semi-polar GaN (10
). Beside, the emission peak energy of ZnO appears shift about 60 meV in the GaN/ZnO/GaN heterostructures due to the re-crystallization of ZnO layer with Ga or N atom and the formation of the localized state.