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To investigate the difference of visual pattern memory among first-episode treatment-naive patients with deficit and nondeficit schizophrenia.
199 first-episode treatment-naive patients with schizophrenia, and 148 controls were recruited. Schedule for the Deficit Syndrome (SDS) was used to categorize the patients into deficit or nondeficit subtype. Pattern Recognition Memory (PRM) was used to test the immediate and delayed mode of visual pattern memory. Positive and Negative Symptom Scale PANSS was used to assess the degree of patients symptoms.
The PRM immediate mode and delayed mode percent correct was significant lower and time latency was significant longer in two subtypes of patients. There were no significant difference in the performance of immediate mode of PRM between deficit and nondeficit patients[(86.49 ± 15.34) vs. (87.28 ± 16.00), P=0.960]. But the impairment was more severe in patients with deficit schizophrenia [percent correct (63.10 ± 19.17) vs. (70.69 ± 15.34), P< 0.001 time latency 5086.80 ± 7528.54 vs. 3527.40 ± 3649.08 P=0.024] in the delayed mode. and PRM has no significant correlation with the negative symptoms of deficit schizophrenia.
There were significant difference in the performance of immediate and delayed mode of PRM between patients and controls. The difference between first-episode treatment-naïve deficit schizophrenia and nondeficit schizophrenia was only in delayed mode of PRM, and has no correlation with the primary negative symptoms. The deficit schizophrenia is a subtype of schizophrenia with unique impairment of cognitive functions.
The fatty acid composition of chicken’s meat is largely influenced by dietary lipids, which are often used as supplements to increase dietary caloric density. The underlying key metabolites and pathways influenced by dietary oils remain poorly known in chickens. The objective of this study was to explore the underlying metabolic mechanisms of how diets supplemented with mixed or a single oil with distinct fatty acid composition influence the fatty acid profile in breast muscle of Qingyuan chickens. Birds were fed a corn-soybean meal diet supplemented with either soybean oil (control, CON) or equal amounts of mixed edible oils (MEO; soybean oil : lard : fish oil : coconut oil = 1 : 1 : 0.5 : 0.5) from 1 to 120 days of age. Growth performance and fatty acid composition of muscle lipids were analysed. LC-MS was applied to investigate the effects of CON v. MEO diets on lipid-related metabolites in the muscle of chickens at day 120. Compared with the CON diet, chickens fed the MEO diet had a lower feed conversion ratio (P < 0.05), higher proportions of lauric acid (C12:0), myristic acid (C14:0), palmitoleic acid (C16:1n-7), oleic acid (C18:1n-9), EPA (C20:5n-3) and DHA (C22:6n-3), and a lower linoleic acid (C18:2n-6) content in breast muscle (P < 0.05). Muscle metabolome profiling showed that the most differentially abundant metabolites are phospholipids, including phosphatidylcholines (PC) and phosphatidylethanolamines (PE), which enriched the glycerophospholipid metabolism (P < 0.05). These key differentially abundant metabolites – PC (14:0/20:4), PC (18:1/14:1), PC (18:0/14:1), PC (18:0/18:4), PC (20:0/18:4), PE (22:0/P-16:0), PE (24:0/20:5), PE (22:2/P-18:1), PE (24:0/18:4) – were closely associated with the contents of C12:0, C14:0, DHA and C18:2n-6 in muscle lipids (P < 0.05). The content of glutathione metabolite was higher with MEO than CON diet (P < 0.05). Based on these results, it can be concluded that the diet supplemented with MEO reduced the feed conversion ratio, enriched the content of n-3 fatty acids and modified the related metabolites (including PC, PE and glutathione) in breast muscle of chickens.
The small intestine is an important digestive organ and plays a vital role in the life of a pig. We tested the hypothesis that the length of the small intestine is related to growth performance and intestinal functions of piglets. A total of 60 piglets (Duroc × Landrace × Yorkshire), weaned at day 21, were fed an identical diet during a 28-day trial. At the end of the study, all piglets were sacrificed, dissected and grouped according to small intestine lengths (SILs), either short small intestine (SSI), middle small intestine (MSI) or long small intestine (LSI), respectively. Positive relationships between SIL and BW, average daily gain (ADG), average daily feed intake (ADFI) and gain-to-feed ratios (G : F) were observed. Final BW, ADG, ADFI and G : F significantly increased (P < 0.05) in MSI and LSI piglets compared with SSI piglets. Short small intestine and MSI had greater jejunal mucosa sucrase and alkaline phosphatase activities (P < 0.05) than LSI piglets. The mRNA level of solute carrier family 2 member 2 (Slc2a2) in the jejunal mucosa of SSI piglets was the greatest. The MSI piglets had a greater (P < 0.05) ileal villus height than other piglets and greater (P < 0.05) villus height-to-crypt depth ratios than LSI piglets. However, the LSI piglets had a greater (P < 0.05) ileal crypt depth than SSI piglets. No significant differences in duodenal, jejunal, caecal and colonic morphologies were detected among the groups. Moreover, luminal acetate, propionate, butyrate and total short-chain fatty acid contents were greater (P < 0.05) in SSI and MSI piglets than those in LSI piglets. In addition, there was greater serum glucose concentration in MSI piglets than other piglets. Serum albumin concentration in SSI piglets was the lowest. In conclusion, these results indicate that SIL was significantly positively associated with growth performance, and in terms of intestinal morphology and mucosal digestive enzyme activity, the piglets with a medium length of small intestine have better digestion and absorption properties.
Relationships play a very important role in studies on quantitative genetics. In traditional breeding, pedigree records are used to establish relationships between animals; while this kind of relationship actually represents one kind of relatedness, it cannot distinguish individual specificity, capture the variation between individuals or determine the actual genetic superiority of an animal. However, with the popularization of high-throughput genotypes, assessments of relationships among animals based on genomic information could be a better option. In this study, we compared the relationships between animals based on pedigree and genomic information from two pig breeding herds with different genetic backgrounds and a simulated dataset. Two different methods were implemented to calculate genomic relationship coefficients and genomic kinship coefficients, respectively. Our results show that, for the same kind of relative, the average genomic relationship coefficients (G matrix) were very close to the pedigree relationship coefficients (A matrix), and on average, the corresponding values were halved in genomic kinship coefficients (K matrix). However, the genomic relationship yielded a larger variation than the pedigree relationship, and the latter was similar to that expected for one relative with no or little variation. Two genomic relationship coefficients were highly correlated, for farm1, farm2 and simulated data, and the correlations for the parent-offspring, full-sib and half-sib were 0.95, 0.90 and 0.85; 0.93, 0.96 and 0.89; and 0.52, 0.85 and 0.77, respectively. When the inbreeding coefficient was measured, the genomic information also yielded a higher inbreeding coefficient and a larger variation than that yielded by the pedigree information. For the two genetically divergent Large White populations, the pedigree relationship coefficients between the individuals were 0, and 62 310 and 175 271 animal pairs in the G matrix and K matrix were greater than 0. Our results demonstrated that genomic information outperformed the pedigree information; it can more accurately reflect the relationships and capture the variation that is not detected by pedigree. This information is very helpful in the estimation of genomic breeding values or gene mapping. In addition, genomic information is useful for pedigree correction. Further, our findings also indicate that genomic information can establish the genetic connection between different groups with different genetic background. In addition, it can be used to provide a more accurate measurement of the inbreeding of an animal, which is very important for the assessment of a population structure and breeding plan. However, the approaches for measuring genomic relationships need further investigation.
Small intestinal epithelium homeostasis involves four principal cell types: enterocytes, goblet, enteroendocrine and Paneth cells. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) has been shown to affect enterocyte differentiation. This study determined the effect of dietary EGF on goblet, enteroendocrine and Paneth cell differentiation in piglet small intestine and potential mechanisms. Forty-two weaned piglets were used in a 2 × 3 factorial design; the major factors were time post-weaning (days 7 and 14) and dietary treatment (0, 200 or 400 µg/kg EGF supplementation). The numbers of goblet and enteroendocrine cells were generally greater with the increase in time post-weaning. Moreover, the supplementation of 200 µg/kg EGF increased (P < 0.01) the number of goblet and enteroendocrine cells in villus and crypt of the piglet small intestine as compared with the control. Dietary supplementation with 200 µg/kg EGF enhanced (P < 0.05) abundances of differentiation-related genes atonal homologue 1, mucin 2 and intestinal trefoil factor 3 messenger RNA (mRNA) as compared with the control. Piglets fed 200 or 400 µg/kg EGF diet had increased (P < 0.05) abundances of growth factor-independent 1, SAM pointed domain containing ETS transcription factor and pancreatic and duodenal homeobox 1 mRNA, but decreased the abundance (P < 0.01) of E74 like ETS transcription factor 3 mRNA as compared with the control. Animals receiving 400 µg/kg EGF diets had enhanced (P < 0.05) abundances of neurogenin3 and SRY-box containing gene 9 mRNA as compared with the control. The mRNA abundance and protein expression of lysozyme, a marker of Paneth cell, were also increased (P < 0.05) in those animals. As compared with the control, dietary supplementation with 200 µg/kg EGF increased the abundance of EGF receptor mRNA and the ratio of non-phospho(p)-β-catenin/β-catenin (P < 0.05) in villus epithelial cells at days 7 and 14. This ratio in crypt epithelial cells was higher (P < 0.05) on the both 200 and 400 µg/kg EGF groups during the same period. Our results demonstrated that dietary EGF stimulated goblet, enteroendocrine and Paneth cell differentiation in piglets during the post-weaning period, partly through EGFR and Wnt/β-catenin signalling.
This study aimed to classify the pre-auricular sinus before performing radical dissection, so as to achieve optimal aesthetic results.
The recent five-year clinical data of 53 patients with a congenital pre-auricular sinus and infection treated in the hospital were reviewed. According to the sinus course, pre-auricular and post-auricular types were defined, and regional dissection was performed using the modified supra-auricular or post-auricular approach.
All patients achieved primary intention healing of the incision, and were followed up for six months to five years. No recurrence was found, and the incision scar was completely concealed.
Surgical approaches for regional dissection might be adopted based on the different types of pre-auricular sinuses, and further radical dissection might be performed to achieve optimal aesthetic results.
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.
Almost every architecture school in China has its own university-run design institute, which functions as a platform for academics and students to engage with architectural practice.1 Design institutes play an active role in advancing, producing, and sharing architectural knowledge.2 Academic-architects, in the context of design institutes, tend to embed themselves within a complex academic-professional network, simultaneously engaging with scholarly inquiry, training young professionals and transforming cultural assets into capital in the market.3 It is the unique position of such educator-practitioners that has distinguished the work of university-run design institutes from that of numerous other state-backed design institutes.
The paper presents the results of a study on propagation and focusing of high-intensity pulsed ion beams, produced by a self-magnetically insulated diode of semi-cylindrical geometry at the TEMP-6 accelerator (120 ns, 200–250 kV). We examined the space-charge neutralization of the beam, the energy density in the focus, the divergence of the beam, and its shot-to-shot displacement in the focal plane. It is found that the concentration of low-energy electrons in the beam is 1.3–1.5 times higher than the concentration of ions. We observed additional ion focusing by its own space charge. With an increase in the density of the net negative (electrons and ions) charge of the beam from 3.6 to 9 µC/cm2, the total divergence (the sum of the beam divergence in the vertical and horizontal planes) decreases from 11.4 to 4.5°. It leads to an increase in the energy density in the focus from 4 up to 10–12 J/cm2. To increase the electrons concentration in the beam, a metal grid installed in the ion beam transport region was used.
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.
Compared with conventional identification methods, DNA-based genetic approaches such as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and satellites are much more reliable for pig identification and meat traceability. In this study, multiallelic amplification fragments with multiple SNPs, incorporating the advantages of both SNPs and microsatellites, were explored for the first time for pig identification and meat traceability. Primer pairs for multiallelic fragments and their optimal SNPs were successfully selected and used for identification of individuals from Suzhong and Duroc populations. Meanwhile, the combined panel of the above mentioned primer pairs together with their optimal SNPs for Suzhong and/or Duroc pigs were validated for identification of the hybrids (Suzhong×Duroc). Therefore, we have successfully selected multiallelic amplification fragments with multiple SNPs to identify pigs and their meat samples from Suzhong, Duroc or their hybrids. Our study demonstrates that our method is more powerful for pig identification or meat traceability than SNPs or microsatellites.
Genomic selection has become increasingly important in the breeding of animals and plants. The response variable is an important factor, influencing the accuracy of genomic selection. The de-regressed proof (DRP) based on traditional estimated breeding value (EBV) is commonly used as response variable. In the current study, simulated data from 16th QTL-MAS Workshop and real data from Chinese Holstein cattle were used to compare accuracy and bias of genomic prediction with two methods of calculating DRP. Our results with simulated data showed that the correlation between genomic EBV and true breeding value achieved using the Jairath method (DRP_J) was superior to that achieved using the Garrick method (DRP_G) for simulated trait 1 but the reverse was true for simulated trait 3, and these two methods performed comparably for simulated trait 2. For all three simulated traits, DRP_J yielded larger bias of genomic prediction. However, DRP_J outperformed DRP_G in both accuracy and unbiasedness for four milk production traits in Chinese Holstein. In the estimation of genomic breeding value using genomic BLUP model, two methods for weighting diagonal elements of incidence matrix associated with residual error were also compared. With increasing the proportion of genetic variance unexplained by markers, the accuracy of genomic prediction was decreased and the bias was increased. Weighting by the reliability of DRP produced accuracy comparable to the evaluation where the proportion of genetic variance unexplained by markers was considered, but with smaller bias in general.
High-intensity pulsed ion beam (HIPIB) technology is developed as an advanced manufacturing method for components with improved wear, corrosion and/or fatigue performance, etc. Robust HIPIB equipment with stable repetitive operation, long-lifetime, and easy maintenance are desired for industrial applications, on which stability of ion beam parameters is critical to achieve consistent result of reproducibility. Here, magnetically insulated ion diodes (MIDs) as ion source with durable graphite anode are investigated in a simple self-magnetic field configuration under repetitive operation. Influence of background pressure on ion beam generation and transportation is emphasized since ion beam sources were intrinsically a vacuum-based system. Comparative experiments were conducted on two types of HIPIB equipment, that is, TEMP-6 and TEMP-4M, differing in vacuum packages where turbo-molecular pump or oil diffusion pump was used. Both the HIPIB equipments are operated on a bipolar pulse mode, that is, a first negative pulse of 150–200 kV with pulse duration 450–500 ns to generate anode plasma on explosive electron emission, and a second positive pulse of 200–250 kV with 120 ns to accelerate the ions. Ion beam energy density up to 8 J/cm2 is achievable using MIDs of geometrical focusing configuration, and the total energy, energy density distribution along cross-section, deflection and divergence, and charge neutralization of the ion beams are assessed under background pressures in a wide range of two orders of magnitude, that is, 1–100 mPa. No appreciable change in the parameters is observed up to 50 mPa, and merely a slight increase in the beam deflection from about ±3 mm to about ±4 mm at the focal point over 50 mPa. The stability of ion beam at the varied pressure is mainly facilitated by the higher pressure up to several Pa in anode–cathode gap during plasma generation and good neutralizing effect for ion beam transportation.
This study aimed to evaluate the acaricidal activity of lettuce (Lactuca sativa) extracts against carmine spider mites (Tetranychus cinnabarinus Boisd.) and isolate the acaricidal components. Acaricidal activities of lettuce extracts isolated from different parts (the leaf, root and seed) using various solvents (petroleum ether, acetone and methanol) were evaluated with slide-dip bioassay and relatively high median lethal concentration (LC50) values were detected. Acetone extracts of lettuce leaves harvested in July and September were fractionated and isolated with silica gel and thin-layer chromatography. Consequently, acetone extracts of lettuce leaves harvested in July exhibited higher acaricidal activity than those harvested in September, with an LC50 value of 0.268 mg ml−1 at 72 h post-treatment. A total of 27 fractions were obtained from the acetone extract of lettuce leaves harvested in July, and mite mortalities with the 11th and 12th fractions were higher than those with the other 25 fractions (LC50: 0.751 and 1.258 mg ml−1 at 48 h post-treatment, respectively). Subsequently, active acaricidal components of the 11th fraction were identified by infrared, nuclear magnetic resonance and liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. Five components were isolated from the 11th fraction, with components 11-a and 11-b showing relatively high acaricidal activities (LC50: 0.288 and 0.114 mg ml−1 at 48 h post-treatment, respectively). Component 11-a was identified as β-sitosterol. In conclusion, acetone extracts of lettuce leaves harvested in July might be used as a novel phytogenic acaricide to control mites.
Neoseiulus barkeri (HUGHES) is the natural enemy of spider mites, whiteflies and thrips. Screening for chemically-resistant predatory mites is a practical way to balance the contradiction between the pesticide using and biological control. In this study, the number of eggs laid by fenpropathrin-susceptible and resistant strains of N. barkeri was compared. Additionally, we cloned three N. barkeri vitellogenin (Vg) genes and used quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction to quantify Vg expression in susceptible and resistant strains. The total number of eggs significantly increased in the fenpropathrin-resistant strain. The full-length cDNA cloning of three N. barkeri Vg genes (NbVg1, NbVg2 and NbVg3) revealed that the open reading frames of NbVg1, NbVg2 and NbVg3 were 5571, 5532 and 4728 bp, encoding 1856, 1843 and 1575 amino acids, respectively. The three N. barkeri Vg possessed the Vitellogenin-N domain (or lipoprotein N-terminal domain (LPD_N)), von Willebrand factor type D domain (VWD) and the domain with unknown function 1943 (DUF1943). The NbVg1 and NbVg2 expression levels were significantly higher in the resistant strain than in the susceptible strain, while the NbVg3 expression level was lower in the resistant strain. Thus, we speculate that the increased number of eggs laid by the fenpropathrin-resistant strain of N. barkeri may be a consequence of changes in Vg gene expression.
Studies from high-income countries report moderate-to-strong positive associations between alcohol use disorder (AUD) and other mental disorders, but there is little evidence about the comorbidity of AUD from low-and-middle-income countries.
A sample of 74 752 adults from five provinces that account for >12% of China's adult population was screened using the General Health Questionnaire, and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV was administered by psychiatrists to a subsample of 9619 males. The associations between AUD and other mental disorders at each site and the characteristics of men with AUD with and without comorbid mental disorders were estimated using logistic regression and summarized across sites using meta-analysis. Generalized estimation equations estimated the associations between the clinical features of alcohol dependence and comorbidity.
Robust inverse associations were found between current AUD and any mood disorder (adjusted OR = 0.6, 95% CI = 0.4–0.8) and any anxiety disorder (OR = 0.5, 95% CI = 0.3–1.0). Compared with men without AUD, men with AUD without comorbid disorders were more likely to be middle-aged, to be currently married, and to have higher family incomes. Men with comorbid AUD and other disorders were more likely to have the clinical features of alcohol dependence than men with AUD without comorbid disorders.
Inverse associations between AUD and other mental disorders and the higher social status of men with AUD than men without AUD found in this large, representative sample of community-dwelling Chinese males highlight the importance of considering the local substance-use culture when designing clinical or preventive interventions for addictive conditions.
Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is an emerging infectious disease that was caused by a novel bunyavirus, SFTSV. The study aimed to disclose the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of SFTSV infection in China so far. An integrated clinical database comprising 1920 SFTS patients was constructed by combining first-hand clinical information collected from SFTS sentinel hospitals (n = 1159) and extracted data (n = 761) from published literature. The considered variables comprised clinical manifestations, routine laboratory tests of acute infection, hospitalization duration and disease outcome. SFTSV-IgG data from 19 119 healthy subjects were extracted from the published papers. The key clinical variables, case-fatality rate (CFR) and seroprevalence were estimated by meta-analysis. The most commonly seen clinical manifestations of SFTSV infection were fever, anorexia, myalgia, chill and lymphadenopathy. The major laboratory findings were elevated lactate dehydrogenase, aminotransferase, followed by thrombocytopenia, lymphocytopenia, elevated alanine transaminase and creatine kinase. A CFR of 12·2% was estimated, significantly higher than that obtained from national reporting data, but showing no geographical difference. In our paper, the mortality rate was about 1·9 parts per million. Older age and longer delay to hospitalization were significantly associated with fatal outcome. A pooled seroprevalence of 3·0% was obtained, which increased with age, while comparable for gender. This study represents a clinical characterization on the largest group of SFTS patients up to now. A higher than expected CFR was obtained. A wider spectrum of clinical index was suggested to be used to identify SFTSV infection, while the useful predictor for fatal outcome was found to be restricted.
We investigate the cavity formation during the impact of spheres and cylinders into a liquid pool by using a combination of experiments, simulations and theoretical analysis, with particular interest in contact-line pinning and its relation with the subsequent cavity evolution. The flows are simulated by a Navier–Stokes diffuse-interface solver that allows for moving contact lines. On the basis of agreement on experimentally measured quantities such as the position of the pinned contact line and the interface shape, we investigate flow details that are not accessible experimentally, identify the interface regions in the cavity formation and examine the geometric effects of impact objects. We connect wettability, inertia, geometry of the impact object, interface bending and contact-line position with the contact-line pinning by analysing the force balance at a pinned meniscus, and the result compares favourably with those from simulations and experiments. In addition to adjusting the interface bending, the object geometry also has a significant effect on the magnitude of low pressure in the liquid and the occurrence of flow separation. As a result, it is easier for an object with sharp edges to generate a cavity than a smooth object. A theoretical model based on the Rayleigh–Besant equation is developed to provide a quantitative description of the radial expansion of the cavity after the pinning of the contact line. The accuracy of the solution is greatly affected by the geometrical information on the interface connected to the pinned meniscus, showing the dependence of the global cavity dynamics on the local flows around the pinned contact line. Vertical ripple propagation on the cavity wall is found to follow the dispersion relation for the perturbation evolution on a hollow jet.
The cultivation of rice has had a major impact on both societies and their environments in Asia, and in China in particular. Phytolith assemblages from three Neolithic sites in the Lower Yangtze valley reveal that in early rice fields the emphasis was on drainage to limit the amount of water and force the rice to produce seed. It was only in the later third millennium BC that the strategy changed and irrigated paddies came into use. The results demonstrate that plant remains, including weed assemblages, can reveal wetter or drier growing conditions, showing changes in rice cultivation from flooded and drained fields to large, intensively irrigated paddies.
A comparative study of the effect of dietary nitrogen (N) content [Low: 11·0; Medium-Low (MLow): 16·7; Medium-High (Mhigh): 23·1; High: 29·2 N g/kg dry matter (DM)] on apparent digestibilities, rumen fermentation and N balance was conducted in coarse wool Tibetan sheep and Gansu Alpine fine-wool sheep at Wushaoling in the northeast of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. It was hypothesized that responses would differ between breeds and that responses would favour Tibetan over fine-wool sheep at low N intakes. Eight wethers [four Tibetan sheep and four fine-wool sheep, 20–24 months old; body weight ± standard deviation was 52 ± 3·2 kg] were used in two concurrent 4 × 4 Latin square designs. Dry matter, organic matter, neutral detergent fibre and acid detergent fibre digestibilities were higher in Tibetan than fine-wool sheep when fed the Low, MLow and High N diets while N retention was higher when the animals were fed the Low and MLow N diets. Tibetan sheep had a higher rumen pH than fine-wool sheep; however, total volatile fatty acids were similar between breeds. Molar proportions of acetate were higher but propionate and butyrate lower in Tibetan than fine-wool sheep. In addition, Tibetan sheep had higher concentrations of ruminal free amino acid-N and soluble protein-N than fine-wool sheep. Plasma and saliva urea-N concentrations were higher in Tibetan than fine-wool sheep when supplied with the Low N diet. It was concluded that Tibetan sheep were better able to cope with low N feed than fine-wool sheep because of the higher N retention and higher DM and fibre digestibilities with Low and MLow diets.