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Exploring the composition and structure of the faecal microbial community improves the understanding of the role of the gut microbiota in the gastrointestinal function and the egg-laying performance of hens. Therefore, detection of hen–microbial interactions can explore a new breeding marker for the selection of egg production due to the important role of the gut microbiome in the host’s metabolism and health. Recently, the gut microbiota has been recognised as a regulator of host performance, which has led to investigations of the productive effects of changes in the faecal microbiome in various animals. In the present study, a metagenomics analysis was applied to characterise the composition and structural diversity of faecal microbial communities under two selections of egg-laying performance, high (H, n = 30) and low (L, n = 30), using 16S rRNA-based metagenomic association analysis. The most abundant bacterial compositions were estimated based on the operational classification units among samples and between the groups from metagenomic data sets. The results indicated that Firmicutes phylum has higher significant (P < 0.01) in the H group than in the L group. In addition, higher relative abundance phyla of Bacteroides and Fusobacteria were estimated in the H group than the L group, contrasting the phyla of Actinobacteria, Cyanobacteria and Proteobacteria were more relative abundance in the L group. The families (Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Acinetobacter, Flavobacteriaceae, Lachnoclostridum and Rhodococcus) were more abundant in the H group based on the comparison between the H and L groups. Meanwhile, three types of phyla (Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria and Cyanobacteria) and six families (Acinetobacter, Avibacterium, Clostridium, Corynebacterium, Helicobacter and Peptoclostridium) were more abundant in the L group (P < 0.01). Overall, the selection of genotypes has enriched a relationship between the gut microbiota and the egg-laying performance. These findings suggest that the faecal microbiomes of chickens with high egg-laying performance have more diverse activities than those of chickens with low egg-laying performance, which may be related to the metabolism and health of the host and egg production variation.
Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA), the cryogenic infrared space telescope recently pre-selected for a ‘Phase A’ concept study as one of the three remaining candidates for European Space Agency (ESA's) fifth medium class (M5) mission, is foreseen to include a far-infrared polarimetric imager [SPICA-POL, now called B-fields with BOlometers and Polarizers (B-BOP)], which would offer a unique opportunity to resolve major issues in our understanding of the nearby, cold magnetised Universe. This paper presents an overview of the main science drivers for B-BOP, including high dynamic range polarimetric imaging of the cold interstellar medium (ISM) in both our Milky Way and nearby galaxies. Thanks to a cooled telescope, B-BOP will deliver wide-field 100–350
m images of linearly polarised dust emission in Stokes Q and U with a resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, and both intensity and spatial dynamic ranges comparable to those achieved by Herschel images of the cold ISM in total intensity (Stokes I). The B-BOP 200
m images will also have a factor
30 higher resolution than Planck polarisation data. This will make B-BOP a unique tool for characterising the statistical properties of the magnetised ISM and probing the role of magnetic fields in the formation and evolution of the interstellar web of dusty molecular filaments giving birth to most stars in our Galaxy. B-BOP will also be a powerful instrument for studying the magnetism of nearby galaxies and testing Galactic dynamo models, constraining the physics of dust grain alignment, informing the problem of the interaction of cosmic rays with molecular clouds, tracing magnetic fields in the inner layers of protoplanetary disks, and monitoring accretion bursts in embedded protostars.
The search for life in the Universe is a fundamental problem of astrobiology and modern science. The current progress in the detection of terrestrial-type exoplanets has opened a new avenue in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and in the search for biosignatures of life with the upcoming ground-based and space missions. To specify the conditions favourable for the origin, development and sustainment of life as we know it in other worlds, we need to understand the nature of global (astrospheric), and local (atmospheric and surface) environments of exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) around G-K-M dwarf stars including our young Sun. Global environment is formed by propagated disturbances from the planet-hosting stars in the form of stellar flares, coronal mass ejections, energetic particles and winds collectively known as astrospheric space weather. Its characterization will help in understanding how an exoplanetary ecosystem interacts with its host star, as well as in the specification of the physical, chemical and biochemical conditions that can create favourable and/or detrimental conditions for planetary climate and habitability along with evolution of planetary internal dynamics over geological timescales. A key linkage of (astro)physical, chemical and geological processes can only be understood in the framework of interdisciplinary studies with the incorporation of progress in heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary and Earth sciences. The assessment of the impacts of host stars on the climate and habitability of terrestrial (exo)planets will significantly expand the current definition of the HZ to the biogenic zone and provide new observational strategies for searching for signatures of life. The major goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the current status and recent progress in this interdisciplinary field in light of presentations and discussions during the NASA Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science funded workshop ‘Exoplanetary Space Weather, Climate and Habitability’ and to provide a new roadmap for the future development of the emerging field of exoplanetary science and astrobiology.
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.
We apply two methods to estimate the 21-cm bispectrum from data taken within the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) project of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). Using data acquired with the Phase II compact array allows a direct bispectrum estimate to be undertaken on the multiple redundantly spaced triangles of antenna tiles, as well as an estimate based on data gridded to the uv-plane. The direct and gridded bispectrum estimators are applied to 21 h of high-band (167–197 MHz; z = 6.2–7.5) data from the 2016 and 2017 observing seasons. Analytic predictions for the bispectrum bias and variance for point-source foregrounds are derived. We compare the output of these approaches, the foreground contribution to the signal, and future prospects for measuring the bispectra with redundant and non-redundant arrays. We find that some triangle configurations yield bispectrum estimates that are consistent with the expected noise level after 10 h, while equilateral configurations are strongly foreground-dominated. Careful choice of triangle configurations may be made to reduce foreground bias that hinders power spectrum estimators, and the 21-cm bispectrum may be accessible in less time than the 21-cm power spectrum for some wave modes, with detections in hundreds of hours.
The order Onchoproteocephalidea (Eucestoda) was recently erected to accommodate the hook-bearing tetraphyllideans and the proteocephalideans, which are characterized by internal proglottization and a tetra-acetabulate scolex. The recognized subfamilies in the Proteocephalidae appeared to be non-monophyletic based on 28S recombinant DNA (rDNA) sequence data. Other molecular markers with higher phylogenetic resolution, such as large mitochondrial DNA fragments and multiple genes, are obviously needed. Thus the mitochondrial genome of Gangesia oligonchis, belonging to the putative earliest diverging group of the Proteocephalidae, was sequenced. The circular mitogenome of G. oligonchis was 13,958 bp in size, and contained the standard 36 genes: 22 transfer RNA genes, two rRNA genes and 12 protein-coding genes, as well as two major non-coding regions. A short NCR and a large NCR (lNCR) region were 216 bp and 419 bp in size, respectively. Highly repetitive regions in the lNCR region were detected with that of 11 repeat units. The mitogenome of G. oligonchis shared 71.1% nucleotide identity with Testudotaenia sp. WL-2016. Phylogenetic analyses of the complete mitochondrial genomes with Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood methods indicated that G. oligonchis formed a sister clade with Testudotaenia sp. WL-2016 with maximum support. The ordinal topology is (Caryophyllidea, (Diphyllobothriidea, (Bothriocephalidea, (Onchoproteocephalidea, Cyclophyllidea)))). The mitogenomic gene arrangement of G. oligonchis was identical to that of Testudotaenia sp. WL-2016. Both mitogenomic and nuclear sequence data for many more taxa are required to effectively explore the inter-relationships among the Onchoproteocephalidea.
At GE Research, we are combining “physics” with artificial intelligence and machine learning to advance manufacturing design, processing, and inspection, turning innovative technologies into real products and solutions across our industrial portfolio. This article provides a snapshot of how this physical plus digital transformation is evolving at GE.
Global inequity in access to and availability of essential mental health services is well recognized. The mental health treatment gap is approximately 50% in all countries, with up to 90% of people in the lowest-income countries lacking access to required mental health services. Increased investment in global mental health (GMH) has increased innovation in mental health service delivery in LMICs. Situational analyses in areas where mental health services and systems are poorly developed and resourced are essential when planning for research and implementation, however, little guidance is available to inform methodological approaches to conducting these types of studies. This scoping review provides an analysis of methodological approaches to situational analysis in GMH, including an assessment of the extent to which situational analyses include equity in study designs. It is intended as a resource that identifies current gaps and areas for future development in GMH. Formative research, including situational analysis, is an essential first step in conducting robust implementation research, an essential area of study in GMH that will help to promote improved availability of, access to and reach of mental health services for people living with mental illness in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). While strong leadership in this field exists, there remain significant opportunities for enhanced research representing different LMICs and regions.
To compare the epidemiologic features (e.g. settings and transmission mode) and patient clinical characteristics associated with outbreaks of different norovirus (Nov) strains, we retrospectively analysed data of Nov outbreaks occurring in Guangzhou, China from 2012 to 2018. The results suggested that outbreaks of Nov GII.2, GII.17 and GII.4 Sydney exhibited different outbreak settings, transmission modes and symptoms. GII.2 outbreaks mainly occurred in kindergartens, elementary and high schools and were transmitted mainly through person-to-person contact. By contrast, GII.4 Sydney outbreaks frequently occurred in colleges and were primarily associated with foodborne transmission. Cases from GII.2 and GII.17 outbreaks reported vomiting more frequently than those from outbreaks associated with GII.4 Sydney.
Antenna-pattern measurements obtained from a double-metal supra-terahertz-frequency (supra-THz) quantum cascade laser (QCL) are presented. The QCL is mounted within a mechanically micro-machined waveguide cavity containing dual diagonal feedhorns. Operating in continuous-wave mode at 3.5 THz, and at an ambient temperature of ~60 K, QCL emission has been directed via the feedhorns to a supra-THz detector mounted on a multi-axis linear scanner. Comparison of simulated and measured far-field antenna patterns shows an excellent degree of correlation between beamwidth (full-width-half-maximum) and sidelobe content and a very substantial improvement when compared with unmounted devices. Additionally, a single output has been used to successfully illuminate and demonstrate an optical breadboard arrangement associated with a future supra-THz Earth observation space-borne payload. Our novel device has therefore provided a valuable demonstration of the effectiveness of supra-THz diagonal feedhorns and QCL devices for future space-borne ultra-high-frequency Earth-observing heterodyne radiometers.
Sodium and chloride are the key factors maintaining normal osmotic pressure (OSM) and volume of the extracellular fluid, and influencing the acid–base balance of body fluids. The experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of dietary Na+ and Cl− level on growth performance, excreta moisture, blood biochemical parameters, intestinal Na+–glucose transporter 1 (SGLT1) messenger RNA (mRNA), and Na+–H+ exchanger 2 (NHE2) mRNA, and to estimate the optimal dietary sodium and chlorine level for yellow-feathered chickens from 22 to 42days. A total of 900 22-day-old Lingnan yellow-feathered male chickens were randomly allotted to five treatments, each of which included six replicates of 30 chickens per floor pen. The basal control diet was based on corn and soybean meal (without added NaCl and NaHCO3). Treatments 2 to 5 consisted of the basal diet supplemented with equal weights of Na+ and Cl−, constituting 0.1%, 0.2%, 0.3% and 0.4% of the diets. Supplemental dietary Na+ and Cl− improved the growth performance (P<0.05). Average daily gain (ADG) showed a quadratic broken-line regression to increasing dietary Na+ and Cl− (R2=0.979, P<0.001), and reached a plateau at 0.1%. Supplemental Na+ and Cl− increased (P<0.05) serum Na+ and OSM in serum and showed a quadratic broken-line regression (R2=0.997, P=0.004) at 0.11%. However, supplemental Na+ and Cl− decreased (P<0.05) serum levels of K+, glucose (GLU) and triglyceride. Higher levels of Na+and Cl− decreased duodenal NHE2 transcripts (P<0.05), but had no effect on ileal SGLT1 transcripts. The activity of Na+ /K+-ATPase in the duodenum decreased (P<0.05) with higher levels of dietary Na+ and Cl−. In conclusion, the optimal dietary Na+ and Cl− requirements for yellow-feathered chickens in the grower phase, from 22 to 42 days of age, to optimize ADG, serum Na+, OSM, K+ and GLU were 0.10%, 0.11%, 0.11%,0.17% and 0.16%, respectively, by regression analysis.
Current developments in the recently introduced method of HgI2 crystal platelet growth by polymer assisted vapor transport are described. Crystal parameters are evaluated by making electrical measurements on x-ray detectors fabricated from HgI2 platelets, Selection for detector fabrication is on the basis of size and apparent crystalline perfection. Detectors have been fabricated with active areas averaging 2 to 3 mm2 and thicknesses ranging from 20 to 400 µm. Values of electron mobility and mobility-lifetime product measured for HgI2 platelet material are among the highest ever observed for HgI2.
The combination of low leakage current and good electron transport makes HgI2 platelets suitable for room-temperature x-ray spectrometry. An energy resolution of 370 eV (FWHM) for the 5.9 KeV Mn Kα line has been obtained, and representative low-energy x-ray fluorescence spectra are presented.
Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei is the largest urban agglomeration in northern China, but the spatiotemporal patterns and risk factors concerning hepatitis B virus (HBV) incidence in this area have been unclear. The present study aimed to reveal the spatiotemporal epidemiological features of HBV infection and quantify the association between HBV infection and socio-economic risk factors. The data on HBV cases in Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei from 2007 to 2012 was collected for each county. The Bayesian space–time hierarchy model and the GeoDetector method were used to reveal spatiotemporal patterns and detect risk factors. High-risk regions were mainly distributed in the underdeveloped rural areas in the north and mid-south of the study region, while low-risk regions were mainly distributed in the urban and western areas. The HBV annual incidence rate decreased substantially over the 6-year period, dropping from 7.34/105 to 5.51/105. Compared with this overall trend, 38.5% of high-risk counties showed a faster decrease, and 35.9% of high-risk counties exhibited a slower decrease. Meanwhile, 29.7% of low-risk counties had a faster decrease, and 44.6% of low-risk counties exhibited a slower decrease. Socio-economic factors were strongly associated with the spatiotemporal patterns and variation. The population density and gross domestic product per capita were negatively associated with HBV transmission, with determinant powers of 0.17 and 0.12, respectively. The proportion of primary industry and the number of healthcare workers were positively associated with the disease incidence, with determinant powers of 0.11 and 0.8, respectively. The interactive effect between population density and the other factors exerted a greater influence on HBV transmission than that of these factors measured independently.
The seasonality of individual influenza subtypes/lineages and the association of influenza epidemics with meteorological factors in the tropics/subtropics have not been well understood. The impact of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic on the prevalence of seasonal influenza virus remains to be explored. Using wavelet analysis, the periodicities of A/H3N2, seasonal A/H1N1, A/H1N1pdm09, Victoria and Yamagata were identified, respectively, in Panzhihua during 2006–2015. As a subtropical city in southwestern China, Panzhihua is the first industrial city in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. The relationship between influenza epidemics and local climatic variables was examined based on regression models. The temporal distribution of influenza subtypes/lineages during the pre-pandemic (2006–2009), pandemic (2009) and post-pandemic (2010–2015) years was described and compared. A total of 6892 respiratory specimens were collected and 737 influenza viruses were isolated. A/H3N2 showed an annual cycle with a peak in summer–autumn, while A/H1N1pdm09, Victoria and Yamagata exhibited an annual cycle with a peak in winter–spring. Regression analyses demonstrated that relative humidity was positively associated with A/H3N2 activity while negatively associated with Victoria activity. Higher prevalence of A/H1N1pdm09 and Yamagata was driven by lower absolute humidity. The role of weather conditions in regulating influenza epidemics could be complicated since the diverse viral transmission modes and mechanism. Differences in seasonality and different associations with meteorological factors by influenza subtypes/lineages should be considered in epidemiological studies in the tropics/subtropics. The development of subtype- and lineage-specific prevention and control measures is of significant importance.
To investigate a Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreak event involving multiple healthcare facilities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; to characterize transmission; and to explore infection control implications.
Cases presented in 4 healthcare facilities in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: a tertiary-care hospital, a specialty pulmonary hospital, an outpatient clinic, and an outpatient dialysis unit.
Contact tracing and testing were performed following reports of cases at 2 hospitals. Laboratory results were confirmed by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) and/or genome sequencing. We assessed exposures and determined seropositivity among available healthcare personnel (HCP) cases and HCP contacts of cases.
In total, 48 cases were identified, involving patients, HCP, and family members across 2 hospitals, an outpatient clinic, and a dialysis clinic. At each hospital, transmission was linked to a unique index case. Moreover, 4 cases were associated with superspreading events (any interaction where a case patient transmitted to ≥5 subsequent case patients). All 4 of these patients were severely ill, were initially not recognized as MERS-CoV cases, and subsequently died. Genomic sequences clustered separately, suggesting 2 distinct outbreaks. Overall, 4 (24%) of 17 HCP cases and 3 (3%) of 114 HCP contacts of cases were seropositive.
We describe 2 distinct healthcare-associated outbreaks, each initiated by a unique index case and characterized by multiple superspreading events. Delays in recognition and in subsequent implementation of control measures contributed to secondary transmission. Prompt contact tracing, repeated testing, HCP furloughing, and implementation of recommended transmission-based precautions for suspected cases ultimately halted transmission.
An adverse early life environment is associated with increased cardiovascular disease in offspring. Work in animal models has shown that maternal undernutrition (UN) during pregnancy leads to hypertension in adult offspring, with effects thought to be mediated in part via altered renal function. We have previously shown that growth hormone (GH) treatment of UN offspring during the pre-weaning period can prevent the later development of cardiometabolic disorders. However, the mechanistic basis for these observations is not well defined. The present study examined the impact of GH treatment on renal inflammatory markers in adult male offspring as a potential mediator of these reversal effects. Female Sprague-Dawley rats were fed either a chow diet fed ad libitum (CON) or at 50% of CON intake (UN) during pregnancy. All dams were fed the chow diet ad libitum during lactation. CON and UN pups received saline (CON-S/UN-S) or GH (2.5 µg/g/day; CON-GH/UN-GH) from postnatal day 3 until weaning (p21). Post-weaning males were fed a standard chow diet for the remainder of the study (150 days). Histological analysis was performed to examine renal morphological characteristics, and gene expression of inflammatory and vascular markers were assessed. There was evidence of renal hypotrophy and reduced nephron number in the UN-S group. Tumour necrosis factor-α, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), intercellular adhesion molecular-1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 gene expression was increased in UN-S offspring and normalized in the UN-GH group. These findings indicate that pre-weaning GH treatment has the potential to normalize some of the adverse renal and cardiovascular sequelae that arise as a consequence of poor maternal nutrition.
This study investigated Echinococcus genotypes in patients with hydatidosis that reside in Inner Mongolia, Tibet or Qinghai Province by partially sequencing the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) and NADH dehydrogenase 1 (nad1) genes. Cyst fluids were collected from 23 patients with hydatidosis and DNA was extracted. Portions of the cox1 and nad1 genes were amplified and subsequently sequenced. Sequencing analysis determined that one of the isolates contained Echinococcus multilocularis, and the other 22 isolates contained E. granulosus sensu lato. The isolates were then further classified based on genotype, and E. granulosus sensu stricto (s.s.) G1 (n = 20), E. granulosus s.s. G3 (n = 1) and E. canadensis G6/7 (n = 1) were identified. Additionally, the sequences were concatenated (pcox1 + pnad1) and 11 haplotypes were identified among the E. granulosus s.s. isolates (G1 and G3), with a shared common haplotype (H1) identified. Overall, these findings provide further understanding of the genetic patterns of Echinococcus in western and northern China.
The effects of marriage between biological relatives on the incidence of childhood genetic illness and mortality are of major policy significance, as rates of consanguinity exceed 50% in various countries. Empirical research on this question is complicated by the fact that consanguinity is often correlated with poverty and other unobserved characteristics of households, which may have independent effects on mortality. This study has developed an instrumental variables empirical strategy to re-examine this question, based on the concept that the availability of unmarried cousins of the opposite gender at the time of marriage creates quasi-random variation in the propensity to marry consanguineously. Using primary data collected in Bangladesh in 2006–07 and Pakistan in 2009–10, the study found that previous estimates of the impact of consanguinity on child health were biased and falsely precise. The study also empirically investigated the social and economic causes of consanguinity (including marital quality) and concludes that marrying a cousin can have positive economic effects for one’s natal family, by allowing deferral of dowry payments until after marriage.