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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.
The hydrological ice-sheet basin draining into the Tasersiaq lake, West Greenland (66°13’ N, 50°30’W), was delineated, first using standard digital elevation models (DEMs) for ice-sheet surface and bedrock, and subsequently using a new high-resolution dataset, with a surface DEM derived from repeat-track interferometric synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and a bedrock topography derived from an airborne 60 MHz ice-penetrating radar. The extent of the delineation was calculated from a water-pressure potential as a function of the ice-sheet surface and bedrock elevations and a hydraulic factor k describing the relative importance of the potential of the ice overburden pressure compared to the bedrock topography. Themeltwater run-off for the basin delineations was modelled with an energy-balance model calibrated with observed ice-sheet ablation and compared to a 25 year time series of measured basin run-off. The standard DEMs were found to be inadequate for delineation purposes, whereas delineations from high-resolution data were found to be very sensitive to changes in k in a non-linear way, causing a factor 5 change of basin area, corresponding to a doubling of the modelled runoff. The 50% standard deviation of the measured basin run-off could thus be explained by small year-to-year variations of the k-factor.
An old portable 60 MHz radar has been upgraded with a new digital data-processing and -acquisition system and a new antenna construction enabling a fast and low-cost installation on a Twin Otter aircraft. Augmented by a laser altimeter and kinematic global positioning system (GPS), the system has the capability of acquiring accurate data on location and ice-surface elevation, and adequate-quality data on ice thickness. The system has been applied successfully in mapping the Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden glacier, northeast Greenland, in spite of the difficult conditions with melting water on the glacier surface. The measurements from the floating part of the glacier have been evaluated by comparison of radar data with laser-altimeter and in situ measurements.
An antenna in geostationary orbit was used for VLBI observations at 2.3 GHz, in combination with ground antennas in Australia and Japan. 23 of the 25 observed sources were detected on orbiter-ground baselines, with baseline lengths as large as 2.15 earth diameters. Brightness temperatures between 1012 K and 4 × 1012 K were measured for 10 sources.
Eddington is a space mission for extrasolar planet finding and for asteroseismic observations. It has been selected by ESA as an F2/F3 reserve mission with a potential implementation in 2008-13. Here we describe Eddington's capabilities to detect extrasolar planets, with an emphasis on the detection of habitable planets. Simulations covering the instrumental capabilities of Eddington and the stellar distributions in potential target fields lead to predictions of about 10,000 planets of all sizes and temperatures, and a few tens of terrestrial planets that are potentially habitable. Implications of Eddington for future larger scale missions are briefly discussed.
The European Union Network ANTENA started to work in October 1993. During these last three years, several collaborative projects have been undertaken. ANTENA has offered a very good opportunity for most of the European people doing asteroseismology to work together. The asteroseismological networks STEPHI and STACC have run within the framework of the project, obtaining fairly good results. New instrumentation has also been developed, such as the Four-Channel Stellar Photometer.
Native defects and some common dopants (Mg, Zn, and C) in cubic GaN and AlN are examined by means of ab initio theoretical calculations using two methods: i) the Green's function technique based on the linear muffin-tin orbital method in the atomic-spheres approximation; ii) a supercell approach in connection with the full-potential linear muffin-tin-orbital method. We apply the first method to look mainly at the energetic positions of the defect and impurity states in different charge states and their dependence on hydrostatic pressure. The second method allows us to study lattice relaxations. Whereas small relaxations are found near vacancies and substitutional Mg and Zn, the calculations predict large atomic displacements around antisite defects and the substitutional carbon impurity on the cation site.
Using the Green’s function technique based on the linear muffin-tin orbital method in the atomic-spheres approximation we study the electronic structure of native defects and substitutional carbon impurities in cubic BN. To include the lattice relaxation effects a supercell approach in connection with the full-potential linear muffin-tin-orbital method is applied.
The Interplay of Genes and Environment across Multiple Studies (IGEMS) group is a consortium of eight longitudinal twin studies established to explore the nature of social context effects and gene-environment interplay in late-life functioning. The resulting analysis of the combined data from over 17,500 participants aged 25–102 at baseline (including nearly 2,600 monogygotic and 4,300 dizygotic twin pairs and over 1,700 family members) aims to understand why early life adversity, and social factors such as isolation and loneliness, are associated with diverse outcomes including mortality, physical functioning (health, functional ability), and psychological functioning (well-being, cognition), particularly in later life.
In situ small-angle x-ray scattering (SAXS) is used to investigate the electrochemical durability of Pt-Metal (Pt-M) catalysts sputtered onto nitrogen-modified high surface area carbon powder. The results demonstrate that nitrogen modification promotes catalyst durability through reduction of nanoparticle dissolution and coarsening. Although particle sizes of Pt-M on high surface area carbon supports can be difficult to determine with transmission electron microscopy (TEM), a novel SAXS method has been employed to calculate particle size. SAXS analysis shows that the Pt-M nanoparticle size distribution remained stable for 3000 electrochemical cycles after nitrogen modification, whereas the unmodified support material leads to Pt-M nanoparticle instabilities. These results for industrial-relevant catalyst/support architectures underscore the potential of nitrogen-modified carbon support structures for enhanced Pt-M catalyst durability.
Thin films of silicon carbide have been formed on silicon field emitters by chemical reaction with ethylene (C2H4) at temperatures of 850 to 950°C using ethylene gas pressures up to 5×10-3 Torr. By controlling the reaction time and temperature, we have made SiC coatings of from ∼20 A thickness to complete transformation of tips to SiC (1-2 μm). The electron diffraction pattern of the SiC layers show the expected 20% lattice mismatch with silicon and, for those emitters completely transformed, a polycrystalline 3C-SiC polytype was identified. The small radius of curvature was maintained for both the coated and completely transformed tips, although some defects and surface roughness was introduced during the treatments.
The atomic and electronic structure of the radiation-induced interstitial atoms in MgO and KCl crystals representing two broad classes of ionic solids are calculated and compared. The first-principles full potential LMTO method is applied to a 16-atom supercell. For both crystals the energetically most favourable configuration is a dumbbell centered at a regular anion site. Its (110) and (111) orientations are very close in energy which permits the dumbbell to rotate easily on a lattice site. The mechanism and the relevant activation energy for thermally activated diffusion hops from the dumbbell equilibrium position to the cube face and cube center are discussed in the light of the available experimental data for MgO. In order to interpret recent experimental data on Raman spectroscopy, the local vibrational frequences are calculated for the dumbbell in KCl (the so-called H center). A strong coupling is found between its stretching molecular mode and the breathing mode of the nearest cations whose frequency is predicted.
Strains of Salmonella enterica serotype Berta, collected over a period of 6 years from a well documented natural outbreak in Denmark, have been characterized in order to assess the stability of chromosomal typing systems and virulence properties. Outbreak strains were identical in Pvu II and Pst I IS200 profiles, all but two strains showed the same Sma I ribotype, and all but one strain showed the same Not I pulsed field gel electrophoretic pattern, indicating that these molecular markers remained almost constant during the outbreak. In general, strains of S. Berta were found to be of moderate to low virulence; log VC10 values were found to vary between 3·0 and 4·4 after i.p. challenge of mice, and maximum CFU in internal organs of day-old chicks varied between 2 and 4 log10 units following oral challenge. The minor differences observed between strains in vivo did not correlate with differences in in vitro invasion into cultured MDCK cells, nor with in vitro growth characteristics. A succession of different plasmid profile types was observed during the outbreak but a hierarchical selection of clones based on differences in virulence was unlikely to have caused the succession of types of S. Berta during this outbreak.
Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) is a staple food crop for millions of impoverished rural inhabitants of Andean South America where it has been cultivated for millennia. Interest in quinoa, due largely to its superior nutritional characteristics, is fuelling a growing export market and has led to an increased focus on genetic research and the development of quinoa breeding programmes throughout South America. The success of these breeding programmes will rely heavily on the development of core germplasm collections and germplasm conservation. We report the development of a set of fluorescence-tagged microsatellite molecular markers that can be used to characterize genetic diversity within quinoa germplasm and we use this set of 36 microsatellites markers to genetically characterize the diversity of 121 accessions of C. quinoa held in the USDA germplasm bank, 22 accessions from the CIP-FAO international nursery collection and eight accessions representing parents from genetic mapping populations. A total of 420 alleles were detected among the quinoa accessions with an average of 11 alleles detected per microsatellite locus. Genetic heterogeneity was observed in 32% of the quinoa accessions at a given locus and suggests that many of these accessions represent heterogeneous seed lots or landraces. Both unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic averages (UPGMA) and principle components analysis (PCA) analyses partitioned the quinoa accessions into two main clusters. The first major cluster consisted of accessions from the Andean highlands of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina and extreme northeastern Chile. The other main cluster contained accessions from both the lowlands of Chile and a set of USDA accessions with no known passport data, collected by Emigdio Ballón. Using the patterns of genetic diversity detected within the C. quinoa accessions we discuss hypotheses regarding quinoa's centre of diversity, including highland and lowland ecotype clustering patterns, origin of lowland varieties, origin of domestication, and diversity levels in the USDA and CIP-FAO collections.
Asymptomatic carriage of Neisseria meningitidis is common (5–35% of individuals) while the incidence of invasive meningococcal disease is fairly low (<1–5 per 100000 per annum in Europe). Naturally acquired protective immunity may account for this difference. In this study, we investigated the relationship between anti-meningococcal salivary IgA and age and carriage. We showed that salivary IgA to a range of meningococcal antigens increased successively with age with some specificity for commonly circulating serosubtypes. In a group of 258 students 37 (14%) of whom were carriers of N. meningitidis serogroup B, higher levels of specific IgA were associated with carriage. Stratified analysis revealed a positive relationship between smoking and specific anti-N. meningitidis IgA independent of current carriage, weighted odds ratio (OR) 4·1 (95% CI 1·1–18) and OR 3·8 (95% CI 0·96–16) for reference strains B:1:P1.14 and B:4:P1.5,4 respectively. These data implicate IgA as a factor in host defence from meningococcal invasion, although the precise mechanisms remain uncertain.
Human water contact patterns were studied in two resettlement communities at the Oyan Reservoir in south-west Nigeria in all four seasons in 1991 and 1992. Water contact was most intensive in the afternoon and in the hot dry season, but different types of activities exhibited different daily and seasonal patterns. Both communities were highly endemic for urinary schistosomiasis. However, knowledge regarding schistosomiasis transmission was very limited and the infection was, in spite of a very high frequency of blood in the urine, not considered a major public health problem. Most water contacts were of either a recreational (swimming, bathing) or economic (fishing) nature, and age- and sex-related patterns were evident. The overall level of exposure peaked in the 10–14 years age group but water contact of an economic nature peaked in the 20–39 years age group. Females had generally more water contact than males.
In a randomized, double-blind investigation the analgesic effect of continuous blockade of the lumbar plexus as an adjunct to acetylsalicyclic acid by suppository after surgery for femoral neck fractures under spinal anaesthesia was examined in 20 patients. Before surgery, a catheter was inserted into the femoral nerve sheath. The patients were allocated randomly to receive bupivacaine or saline by bolus and then continuous infusion, started immediately after the operation. No statistically significant differences in additional morphine requirements, visual analogue pain scores or adverse effects were observed between the two treatment groups. It is concluded that continuous blockade of the lumbar plexus as an adjunct to rectal acetylsalicyclic acid offers no major additional pain relief after surgery for femoral neck fractures under spinal anaesthesia.
The effect of zinc deficiency on the response of CBA mice to infection with the intestinal trematode Echinostoma caproni was examined. Young CBA mice were allocated to one of three dietary groups: a group fed a zinc deficient diet ad libitum, a control group pair fed a zinc sufficient diet and a control group fed a zinc sufficient diet ad libitum. The mice on the zinc deficient diet gained significantly less weight than the pair fed controls. In primary infections with six E. caproni metacercariae followed over a period of 128 days, zinc deficiency delayed worm expulsion. In addition, zinc deficiency resulted in a prolonged IgM response, a delayed IgG response and an increased IgA response towards the end of the experiment. Resistance to challenge infection day 21 following a primary infection with 25 E. caproni metacercariae was slightly, but not significantly, affected by zinc deficiency.