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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.
A new generation of high power laser facilities will provide laser pulses with extremely high powers of 10 petawatt (PW) and even 100 PW, capable of reaching intensities of
in the laser focus. These ultra-high intensities are nevertheless lower than the Schwinger intensity
at which the theory of quantum electrodynamics (QED) predicts that a large part of the energy of the laser photons will be transformed to hard Gamma-ray photons and even to matter, via electron–positron pair production. To enable the investigation of this physics at the intensities achievable with the next generation of high power laser facilities, an approach involving the interaction of two colliding PW laser pulses is being adopted. Theoretical simulations predict strong QED effects with colliding laser pulses of
focused to intensities
Recent studies indicate that early postnatal period is a critical window for gut microbiota manipulation to optimise the immunity and body growth. This study investigated the effects of maternal faecal microbiota orally administered to neonatal piglets after birth on growth performance, selected microbial populations, intestinal permeability and the development of intestinal mucosal immune system. In total, 12 litters of crossbred newborn piglets were selected in this study. Litter size was standardised to 10 piglets. On day 1, 10 piglets in each litter were randomly allotted to the faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) and control groups. Piglets in the FMT group were orally administrated with 2ml faecal suspension of their nursing sow per day from the age of 1 to 3 days; piglets in the control group were treated with the same dose of a placebo (0.1M potassium phosphate buffer containing 10% glycerol (vol/vol)) inoculant. The experiment lasted 21 days. On days 7, 14 and 21, plasma and faecal samples were collected for the analysis of growth-related hormones and cytokines in plasma and lipocalin-2, secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA), selected microbiota and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in faeces. Faecal microbiota transplantation increased the average daily gain of piglets during week 3 and the whole experiment period. Compared with the control group, the FMT group had increased concentrations of plasma growth hormone and IGF-1 on days 14 and 21. Faecal microbiota transplantation also reduced the incidence of diarrhoea during weeks 1 and 3 and plasma concentrations of zonulin, endotoxin and diamine oxidase activities in piglets on days 7 and 14. The populations of Lactobacillus spp. and Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and the concentrations of faecal and plasma acetate, butyrate and total SCFAs in FMT group were higher than those in the control group on day 21. Moreover, the FMT piglets have higher concentrations of plasma transforming growth factor-β and immunoglobulin G, and faecal sIgA than the control piglets on day 21. These findings indicate that early intervention with maternal faecal microbiota improves growth performance, decreases intestinal permeability, stimulates sIgA secretion, and modulates gut microbiota composition and metabolism in suckling piglets.
The bird cherry-oat aphid Rhopalosiphum padi (L.) is one of the most important wheat pests with polyphagia and autumn migrants. And, chemosensory genes were thought to play a key role in insect searching their hosts, food and mate. However, a systematic identification of the chemosensory genes in this pest has not been reported. Thus, in this study, we identified 14 odorant-binding proteins, nine chemosensory proteins, one sensory neuron membrane protein, 15 odorant receptors, 19 gustatory receptors and 16 ionotropic receptors from R. padi transcriptomes with a significantly similarity (E-value < 10−5) to known chemosensory genes in Acyrthosiphon pisum and Aphis gossypii. In addition, real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) was employed to determine the expression profiles of obtained genes. Among these obtained genes, we selected 23 chemosensory genes to analyze their expression patterns in different tissues, wing morphs and host plants. We found that except RpOBP1, RpOBP3, RpOBP4 and RpOBP5, the rest of the selected genes were highly expressed in the head with antennae compared with body without head and antennae. Besides that, the stimulation and depression of chemosensory genes by plant switch indicated that chemosensory genes might be involved in the plant suitability assessment. These results not only provide insights for the potential roles of chemosensory genes in plant search and perception of R. padi but also provide initial background information for the further research on the molecular mechanism of the polyphagia and autumn migrants of it. Furthermore, these chemosensory genes are also the candidate targets for pest management control in future.
A composite guidance law is proposed for intercepting moving target while strictly satisfying the constraints on multiple No-Fly Zones (NFZs) distributed arbitrarily. The research has two major steps. In the first step, by considering only one NFZ, a guidance law is developed with three parts: Orientation Adjustment Scheme (OAS), Boundary-Constraint Handling Scheme (BCHS), and Proportional Navigation (PN). OAS determines the major flight direction by predicting the collision point of the missile and target. BCHS controls the missile to approach and then fly along the boundary of the NFZ smoothly so as to bypass the NFZ through a short path. PN is used to intercept the target in the endgame phase. In the second step, we use the multi-step decision process to set up a series of appropriate waypoints in order to avoid multiple NFZs. The superior performance of the proposed guidance law has been demonstrated by trajectory simulations.
Diarrhea is a common cause of morbidity and mortality and the incidence of diarrhea in the world has changed little over the past four decades. To assess the prevalence of and healthcare practices for diarrhea, a cross-sectional study was conducted in Pudong, Shanghai, China. In October 2014, a total of 5324 community residents were interviewed. Respondents were asked if they had experienced diarrhea (defined as ⩾3 passages of watery, loose, bloody, or mucoid stools within a 24-h period) in the previous month prior to the interview. The monthly prevalence of diarrhea was 4·1% (95% CI: 3·3–4·8), corresponding to an incidence rate of 0·54 episodes per person-year. The proportion of individuals with diarrhea who sought healthcare was 21·2% (95% CI: 13·4–29·0). Diarrhea continues to impose a considerable burden on the community and healthcare system in Pudong. Young age and travel were identified as predictors of increased diarrhea occurrence.
The unique phenotypic and genetic aspects of obsessive-compulsive (OCD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among individuals with Tourette syndrome (TS) are not well characterized. Here, we examine symptom patterns and heritability of OCD and ADHD in TS families.
OCD and ADHD symptom patterns were examined in TS patients and their family members (N = 3494) using exploratory factor analyses (EFA) for OCD and ADHD symptoms separately, followed by latent class analyses (LCA) of the resulting OCD and ADHD factor sum scores jointly; heritability and clinical relevance of the resulting factors and classes were assessed.
EFA yielded a 2-factor model for ADHD and an 8-factor model for OCD. Both ADHD factors (inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms) were genetically related to TS, ADHD, and OCD. The doubts, contamination, need for sameness, and superstitions factors were genetically related to OCD, but not ADHD or TS; symmetry/exactness and fear-of-harm were associated with TS and OCD while hoarding was associated with ADHD and OCD. In contrast, aggressive urges were genetically associated with TS, OCD, and ADHD. LCA revealed a three-class solution: few OCD/ADHD symptoms (LC1), OCD & ADHD symptoms (LC2), and symmetry/exactness, hoarding, and ADHD symptoms (LC3). LC2 had the highest psychiatric comorbidity rates (⩾50% for all disorders).
Symmetry/exactness, aggressive urges, fear-of-harm, and hoarding show complex genetic relationships with TS, OCD, and ADHD, and, rather than being specific subtypes of OCD, transcend traditional diagnostic boundaries, perhaps representing an underlying vulnerability (e.g. failure of top-down cognitive control) common to all three disorders.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small non-coding RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression of target messenger RNAs (mRNAs) and miRNAs have been proven to play vital roles in skeletal muscle development. The miRNA-499-5p has been reported to be negatively related with the expression of Sox6, a critical transcription factor for the maintenance of fast-twitch skeletal muscle. In this study, we amplified a length of 2012-bp mRNA that contains a 1512-bp porcine Sox6 (pSox6) 3'UTR from skeletal muscle of a Duroc×Landrace×Yorkshire pig. By luciferase reporter assay we verified that pSox6 is a target of miR-499-5p. In extensor digitorum longus and Soleus muscles of pigs, the expression levels of miR-499-5p and pSox6 mRNA were also inversely correlated. Besides, overexpression of miR-499-5p in porcine satellite cells promoted the expression of MyHC I and MyHC IIa mRNA, along with a reduction of pSox6 mRNA. Taken together, these results indicate that miR-499-5p may facilitate the oxidative myofibers formation by downregulating pSox6 expression.
The Universe is permeated by hot, turbulent, magnetized plasmas. Turbulent plasma is a major constituent of active galactic nuclei, supernova remnants, the intergalactic and interstellar medium, the solar corona, the solar wind and the Earth’s magnetosphere, just to mention a few examples. Energy dissipation of turbulent fluctuations plays a key role in plasma heating and energization, yet we still do not understand the underlying physical mechanisms involved. THOR is a mission designed to answer the questions of how turbulent plasma is heated and particles accelerated, how the dissipated energy is partitioned and how dissipation operates in different regimes of turbulence. THOR is a single-spacecraft mission with an orbit tuned to maximize data return from regions in near-Earth space – magnetosheath, shock, foreshock and pristine solar wind – featuring different kinds of turbulence. Here we summarize the THOR proposal submitted on 15 January 2015 to the ‘Call for a Medium-size mission opportunity in ESAs Science Programme for a launch in 2025 (M4)’. THOR has been selected by European Space Agency (ESA) for the study phase.
Mitochondria plays an important role in the regulation of energy homeostasis. Moreover, mitochondrial biogenesis accompanies skeletal myogenesis, and we previously reported that maternal high-energy diet repressed skeletal myogenesis in pig fetuses. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of moderately increased maternal energy intake on skeletal muscle mitochondrial biogenesis and function of the pig fetuses. Primiparous purebred Large White sows were allocated to a normal energy intake group (NE) as recommended by the National Research Council (NRC) and a high energy intake group (HE, 110% of NRC recommendations). On day 90 of gestation, fetal umbilical vein blood and longissimus (LM) muscle were collected. Results showed that the weight gain of sows fed HE diet was higher than NE sows on day 90 of gestation (P<0.05). Maternal HE diet increased fetal umbilical vein serum triglyceride and insulin concentrations (P<0.05), and tended to increase the homeostasis model assessment index (P=0.08). Furthermore, HE fetuses exhibited increased malondialdehyde concentration (P<0.05), and decreased activities of antioxidative enzymes (P<0.05) and intracellular NAD+ level (P<0.05) in LM muscle. These alterations in metabolic traits of HE fetuses were accompanied by reduced mitochondrial DNA amount (P<0.05) and down-regulated messenger RNA expression levels of genes responsible for mitochondrial biogenesis and function (P<0.05). Our results suggest that moderately increased energy supply during gestation decreases mitochondrial biogenesis, function and antioxidative capacity in skeletal muscle of pig fetuses.
About 100 steep-spectrum radio sources from the RATAN-600 RC catalog were mapped by the VLA and identified with optical objects down to 24m–25m in the R band using the 6-m telescope. An updated list of calibrators with known redshifts of the same class of RGs was compiled to evaluate the accuracy of photometric redshift estimates. BVRI photometry for 60 RC objects was performed with the 6-m telescope, and by standard model fitting we have estimated color redshifts and ages of the stellar populations of the host gE galaxies. The mean redshift of FR II RGs from the RC list turned out to be ≈1. Several objects were found in which active star formation began in the first billion years after the Big Bang.
We present preliminary results of two monitoring projects on AGNs and BL Lacs with four intermediate-band optical filters at Lick Observatory, South African Astronomical Observatory, and Siding Spring Observatory. We applied differential photometry between the target and non-variable field stars to derive the variability amplitudes. All the AGNs varied in all wavebands, with amplitudes from 30% to 90%. The variations in shorter wavelength filters are always larger than in longer wavelength filters. We did not observe significant continuum slope changes. Continuum variations of BL Lacs up to 0.2 mag in 20 minutes were observed. Interestingly, we found a time lag of 6–8 minutes between two seemingly correlated variations observed in the intermediate U band with the 1-m telescope and in broad V band with the 24-in. telescope at SSO.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is moderately heritable, however genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for MDD, as well as for related continuous outcomes, have not shown consistent results. Attempts to elucidate the genetic basis of MDD may be hindered by heterogeneity in diagnosis. The Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) scale provides a widely used tool for measuring depressive symptoms clustered in four different domains which can be combined together into a total score but also can be analysed as separate symptom domains.
We performed a meta-analysis of GWAS of the CES-D symptom clusters. We recruited 12 cohorts with the 20- or 10-item CES-D scale (32 528 persons).
One single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs713224, located near the brain-expressed melatonin receptor (MTNR1A) gene, was associated with the somatic complaints domain of depression symptoms, with borderline genome-wide significance (pdiscovery = 3.82 × 10−8). The SNP was analysed in an additional five cohorts comprising the replication sample (6813 persons). However, the association was not consistent among the replication sample (pdiscovery+replication = 1.10 × 10−6) with evidence of heterogeneity.
Despite the effort to harmonize the phenotypes across cohorts and participants, our study is still underpowered to detect consistent association for depression, even by means of symptom classification. On the contrary, the SNP-based heritability and co-heritability estimation results suggest that a very minor part of the variation could be captured by GWAS, explaining the reason of sparse findings.
The aim of this study was to investigate the variations in meat quality, lipid metabolism-related genes, myosin heavy chain (MyHC) isoform genes and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1α (PGC-1α) gene mRNA expressions in longissimus dorsi muscle (LM) of two different pig breeds. Six Rongchang and six Landrace barrows were slaughtered at 161 days of age. Subsequently, meat quality traits and gene expression levels in LM were observed. Results showed that Rongchang pigs not only exhibited greater pH, CIE a*24 h and intramuscular fat content but also exhibited lower body weight, carcass weight, dressing percentage, LM area and CIE b*24 h compared with Landrace pigs (P<0.05). Meanwhile, the mRNA expression levels of the lipogenesis (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, acetyl-CoA carboxylase and fatty acid synthase) and fatty acid uptake (lipoprotein lipase)-related genes were greater in the Rongchang (P<0.05), whereas the lipolysis (adipose triglyceride lipase and hormone sensitive lipase) and fatty acid oxidation (carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1B)-related genes were better expressed in the Landrace. Moreover, compared with the Landrace, the mRNA expression levels of MyHCI, MyHCIIa and MyHCIIx were greater, whereas the mRNA expression levels of MyHCIIb were lower in the Rongchang pigs (P<0.05). In addition, the mRNA expression levels of PGC-1α were greater in Rongchang pigs than in the Landrace (P<0.05), which can partly explain the differences in MyHC isoform gene expressions between Rongchang and Landrace pigs. Although the small number of samples does not allow to obtain a definitive conclusion, we can suggest that Rongchang pigs possess better meat quality, and the underlying molecular mechanisms responsible for the better meat quality in fatty pigs may be partly due to the higher mRNA expression levels of lipogenesis and fatty acid uptake-related genes, as well as the oxidative and intermediate muscle fibers, and due to the lower mRNA expression levels of lipolysis and fatty acid oxidation-related genes, as well as the glycolytic muscle fibers.
The first human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus was reported in Shanghai, China in March 2013. An additional 32 cases of human H7N9 infection were identified in the following months from March to April 2013 in Shanghai. Here we conducted a case-control study of the patients with H7N9 infection (n = 25) using controls matched by age, sex, and residence to determine risk factors for H7N9 infection. Our findings suggest that chronic disease and frequency of visiting a live poultry market (>10 times, or 1–9 times during the 2 weeks before illness onset) were likely to be significantly associated with H7N9 infection, with the odds ratios being 4·07 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1·32–12·56], 10·61 (95% CI 1·85–60·74), and 3·76 (95% CI 1·31–10·79), respectively. Effective strategies for live poultry market control should be reinforced and ongoing education of the public is warranted to promote behavioural changes that can help to eliminate direct or indirect contact with influenza A(H7N9) virus.
The contribution of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) to timely discharge of the placenta from bovine uterus at parturition is yet inconclusive, partly because of the presence of multiple MMP forms in situ. In the current study, the expression of different gelatinase subtypes on non-retaining placentas of Holstein cows was fingerprinted by using gelatin zymography. Different topographic regions on the placenta were measured separately, including the placentome-like structure and the fetal and maternal sides of interplacentomal placenta, all sampled from the central and peripheral areas of the placenta, respectively. The spontaneously ruptured umbilical cords were cross-sectioned as fetus end, middle and placenta end also for separate measurement. Body fluids including blood samples from the parturient cows, their neonatal calves and umbilical cord, as well as fetal fluids and the first colostrum were measured concomitantly. Results showed multiple forms of gelatinases subtypes in the placenta tissues and body fluids, including neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL)-MMP-9 complex, both the latent and active forms of MMP-2 and MMP-9; of them, the latent forms were much more abundantly and frequently expressed than the active forms. NGAL-MMP-9 complex was more prevalently present in the body fluids than in the placenta tissues. No distinguishable pattern of the expression of any gelatinase subtype was observed among the placentome-like structure, interplacentomal placenta and umbilical cord, or between fetal and maternal sides. Nonetheless, for interplacentomal placenta, proMMP-9 expression was higher in the central than in the peripheral area. In addition, proMMP-2 expression was higher in the rupture end (fetus end) than the placenta end of the umbilical cord. In conclusion, the current validated gelatin zymography detected a gradient proMMP-9 expression on the non-retaining placenta of cows in reverse to the proximity to the umbilical insertion point, and a gradient proMMP-2 expression on a section of the umbilical cord in reverse to the proximity to the rupture site, suggesting roles played by gelatinases in normal discharge of the placenta at term.
Muscle development in domesticated animals is important for meat production. Furthermore, intramuscular fat content is an important trait of meat intended for consumption. Here, we examined differences in the expression of factors related to myogenesis, adipogenesis and skeletal muscle growth during fetal muscle development of lean (Yorkshire) and obese (Chenghua) pig breeds. At prenatal days 50 (d50) and 90 (d90), muscles and sera were collected from pig fetuses. Histology revealed larger diameters and numbers of myofibers in Chenghua pig fetuses than those in Yorkshire pig fetuses at d50 and d90. Yorkshire fetuses had higher serum concentrations of myostatin (d90), a negative regulator for muscle development, and higher mRNA expression of the growth hormone receptor Ghr (d90), myogenic MyoG (d90) and adipogenic LPL (d50). By contrast, Chenghua fetuses exhibited higher serum concentration of growth hormone (d90), and higher mRNA expression of myogenic MyoD (d90) as well as adipogenic PPARG and FABP4 (d50). Our results revealed distinct expression patterns in the two pig breeds at each developmental stage before birth. Compared with Chenghua pigs, development and maturation of fetal skeletal muscles may occur earlier in Yorkshire pigs, but the negative regulatory effects of myostatin may suppress muscle development at the later stage.
MicroRNAs are endogenous ~22nt RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression at the posttranscriptional level via binding to the 3′-untranslated region (3′UTR) of target mRNAs. The microRNA miR-27a was reported to depress the expression of myostatin, a critical inhibitor of skeletal myogenesis, by binding to its 3′UTR in mouse. In this study, we cloned the full-length 3′UTR of porcine myostatin by rapid amplification of 3′-cDNA ends (3′-RACE) and demonstrated that the 3′UTR of porcine myostatin is targeted by miR-27a. The phenomenon that the level of myostatin inversely correlated with miR-27a was observed in fat and heart of pigs and also in proliferating porcine myoblasts. Besides, overexpression of miR-27a in porcine myoblasts promoted cell proliferation by reducing the expression of myostatin. Our data suggest that miR-27a positive regulates porcine myoblast proliferation via targeting myostatin.