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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.
Laser interaction with an ultra-thin pre-structured target is investigated with the help of both two-dimensional and three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. With the existence of a periodic structure on the target surface, the laser seems to penetrate through the target at its fundamental frequency even if the plasma density of the target is much higher than the laser’s relativistically critical density. The particle-in-cell simulations show that the transmitted laser energy behind the pre-structured target is increased by about two orders of magnitude compared to that behind the flat target. Theoretical analyses show that the transmitted energy behind the pre-structured target is actually re-emitted by electron ‘islands’ formed by the surface plasma waves on the target surfaces. In other words, the radiation with the fundamental frequency is actually ‘surface emission’ on the target rear surface. Besides the intensity of the component with the fundamental frequency, the intensity of the high-order harmonics behind the pre-structured target is also much enhanced compared to that behind the flat target. The enhancement of the high-order harmonics is also related to the surface plasma waves generated on the target surfaces.
Triploid and pentaploid breeding is of great importance in agricultural production, but it is not always easy to obtain double ploidy parents. However, in fishes, chromosome ploidy is diversiform, which may provide natural parental resources for triploid and pentaploid breeding. Both tetraploid and hexaploid exist in Schizothorax fishes, which were thought to belong to different subfamilies with tetraploid Percocypris fishes in morphology, but they are sister genera in molecule. Fortunately, the pentaploid hybrid fishes have been successfully obtained by hybridization of Schizothorax wangchiachii (♀, 2n = 6X = 148) × Percocypris pingi (♂, 2n = 4X = 98). To understand the genetic and morphological difference among the hybrid fishes and their parents, four methods were used in this study: morphology, karyotype, red blood cell (RBC) DNA content determination and inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR). In morphology, the hybrid fishes were steady, and between their parents with no obvious preference. The chromosome numbers of P. pingi have been reported as 2n = 4X = 98. In this study, the karyotype of S. wangchiachii was 2n = 6X = 148 = 36m + 34sm + 12st + 66t, while that the hybrid fishes was 2n = 5X = 123 = 39m + 28sm + 5st + 51t. Similarly, the RBC DNA content of the hybrid fishes was intermediate among their parents. In ISSR, the within-group genetic diversity of hybrid fishes was higher than that of their parents. Moreover, the genetic distance of hybrid fishes between P. pingi and S.wangchiachii was closely related to that of their parental ploidy, suggesting that parental genetic material stably coexisted in the hybrid fishes. This is the first report to show a stable pentaploid F1 hybrids produced by hybridization of a hexaploid and a tetraploid in aquaculture.
Distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) are highly susceptible to lipid oxidation because DDGS contain about 10% crude fat, which is largely composed of polyunsaturated fatty acids. l-carnitine serves an important function in fatty acids β-oxidation, and also has antioxidant properties. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of l-carnitine in the DDGS diet of gestating and lactating sows on reproductive performance, milk composition and antioxidant status of sows and their offspring. One hundred and twenty sows (Landrace×Large white, mean parity 4.2, initial BW 230 kg) were randomly allotted to 1 of 4 dietary treatments (n=30 sows/treatment). Treatments were arranged as a 2×2 factorial with two levels of dietary DDGS (0 v. 250 g/kg in gestating diets and 400 g/kg in lactating diets) and two levels of dietary l-carnitine (0 v. 100 mg/kg in gestating diets and 0 v. 200 mg/kg in lactating diets). Distillers dried grains with solubles had no significant effect on litter size but significantly reduced the birth weights and weaning weights of piglets (P<0.05). Distillers dried grains with solubles reduced the antioxidant enzyme activities (P<0.05) and increased the malondialdehyde level in the plasma of sows on day 60 of gestation (P=0.004) and day 14 of lactation (P=0.008). The compositions of colostrum and milk were not affected by inclusion of DDGS and dietary l-carnitine (P>0.05). Supplementing the diets with l-carnitine had no significant effect of total litter size (P>0.05) but increased the number of piglets born alive and piglets weaned, birth weight and weaning weight of piglets and litter weight at birth and weaning (P<0.05). l-carnitine supplementation also increased the concentration of l-carnitine in milk and l-carnitine status of piglets (P<0.05). The antioxidant enzyme activities of new born and weaning piglets were increased (P<0.05) by maternal dietary l-carnitine but this did not extend to finishing pigs. In conclusion, including DDGS in the sows diet could induce oxidative stress, which may be associated with the reduced individual birth and weaning weight of piglets. Dietary l-carnitine supplementation improved the antioxidant and l-carnitine status of sows, which may be associated with the improved reproduction and piglet performance and the antioxidant status of piglets at birth and weaning. There were no interactions between DDGS and l-carnitine.
Cultivated pastures in southern China are being used to improve forage productivity and animal performance, but studies on grazing behaviour of goats in these cultivated pastures are still rare. In the current study, the grazing behaviour of Yunling black goats under low (5 goats/ha) and high (15 goats/ha) stocking rates (SRs) was evaluated. Data showed that the proportion of time goats spent on activities was: eating (0.59–0.87), ruminating (0.05–0.35), walking (0.03–0.06) and resting (0.01–0.03). Compared with low SR, goats spent more time eating and walking, and less time ruminating and resting under high SR. Goats had similar diet preferences under both SR and preferred to eat grasses (ryegrass and cocksfoot) more than a legume (white clover). The distribution of eating time on each forage species was more uniform under high v. low SR. Bites/step, bite weight and daily intake were greater under low than high SR. Results suggest that the SR affects grazing behaviour of goats on cultivated pasture, and identifying an optimal SR is critical for increasing bite weight and intake.
Methane produced from formate is one of the important methanogensis pathways in the rumen. However, quantitative information of CH4 production from formate has been rarely reported. The aim of this study was to characterize the conversion rate (CR) of formic acid into CH4 and CO2 by rumen microorganisms. Ground lucerne hay was incubated with buffered ruminal fluid for 6, 12, 24 and 48 h. Before the incubation, 13C-labeled H13COOH was also supplied into the incubation bottle at a dose of 0, 1.5, 2.2 or 2.9 mg/g of DM substrate. There were no interactions (P>0.05) between dose and incubation time for all variables evaluated. When expressed as an absolute amount (ml in gas sample) or a relative CR (%), both 13CH4 and 13CO2 production quadratically increased (P<0.01) with the addition of H13COOH. The total 13C (13CH4 and 13CO2) CR was also quadratically increased (P<0.01) when H13COOH was added. Moreover, formate addition linearly decreased (P<0.031) the concentrations of NH3-N, total and individual volatile fatty acids (acetate, propionate and butyrate), and quadratically decreased (P<0.014) the populations of protozoa, total methanogens, Methanosphaera stadtmanae, Methanobrevibacter ruminantium M1, Methanobrevibacter smithii and Methanosarcina barkeri. In summary, formate affects ruminal fermentation and methanogenesis, as well as the rumen microbiome, in particular microorganisms which are directly or indirectly involved in ruminal methanogenesis. This study provides quantitative verification for the rapid dissimilation of formate into CH4 and CO2 by rumen microorganisms.
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.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is one of the leading causes of death and morbidity associated with liver disease. Risk factors identified for the transmission of HCV include contaminated blood products, intravenous drug use, body piercing, an infected mother at birth, sexual activity, and dental therapy, among others. However, the exact diversity of the HCV genotype and genetic variation among patients with low-risk factors is still unknown. In this study, we briefly described and analysed the genotype distribution and genetic variation of HCV infections with low-risk factors using molecular biology techniques. The results suggested that genotype 1b was predominant, followed by genotypes 2a and 1a. Genetic variations in the 5′ UTR sequences of HCV were identified, including point mutations, deletions, and insertions. The frequency of genetic variations in 1b was higher than in 2a. This study provides considerable value for the prevention and treatment of liver disease caused by HCV among patients with low-risk factors and for the development of HCV diagnostic reagents and vaccines.
As lack of forage resource, alternative roughage sources have been developed for ruminant production and their inclusion would exert a great effect on the dietary nutrition, consequently affecting animal performance. Four silages (corn silage (CS), corn stalk silage (SS), inoculated CS and inoculated SS) were separately offered to 60 Bohai Black cattle (15 cattle/group) during a 24-week finishing period, in which the growth performance, carcass trait, beef quality and oxidative stability of steers were determined. Neither silage material nor silage inoculant exerted a significant effect on the growth performance, carcass trait and oxidative stability of beef cattle (P>0.05). As to beef quality, cattle offered CS had higher (P<0.05) contents of intramuscular fat than those offered SS along with a lower moisture content (P<0.05). The contents (mg/g muscle) of C10 : 0, C12 : 0, C14 : 1, C16 : 0, C16 : 1, C18 : 1n9c, C18 : 2n6c, C18 : 3n3, C20 : 1n9, C20 : 2, C20 : 3n6, saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids and n-6 fatty acids were higher (P<0.05) in the beef muscle of animals offered CS than those offered SS, whereas inoculated treatment made no difference (P>0.05) on the proximate components and fatty acids profile of beef muscle. There was neither an interaction (P>0.05) between inoculated treatment and silage material. There were no differences (P>0.05) in cholesterol content and meat quality traits in animals fed alternative silages. The collective findings suggest that it is not economical to substitute high-quality forage for relative low-quality forage in a high-concentrate finishing ration of beef cattle and silage inoculant inclusion would not exert a direct effect on animal performance.
The Yellow Sea region is of high global importance for waterbird populations, but recent systematic bird count data enabling identification of the most important sites are relatively sparse for some areas. Surveys of waterbirds at three sites on the coast of southern Jiangsu Province, China, in 2014 and 2015 produced peak counts of international importance for 24 species, including seven globally threatened and six Near Threatened species. The area is of particular global importance for the ‘Critically Endangered’ Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea (peak count across all three study sites: 62 in spring  and 225 in autumn  and ‘Endangered’ Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer (peak count across all three study sites: 210 in spring  and 1,110 in autumn ). The southern Jiangsu coast is therefore currently the most important migratory stopover area in the world, in both spring and autumn, for both species. Several serious and acute threats to waterbirds were recorded at these study sites. Paramount is the threat of large-scale land claim which would completely destroy intertidal mudflats of critical importance to waterbirds. Degradation of intertidal mudflat habitats through the spread of invasive Spartina, and mortality of waterbirds by entrapment in nets or deliberate poisoning are also real and present serious threats here. Collisions with, and displacement by, wind turbines and other structures, and industrial chemical pollution may represent additional potential threats. We recommend the rapid establishment of effective protected areas for waterbirds in the study area, maintaining large areas of open intertidal mudflat, and the urgent removal of all serious threats currently faced by waterbirds here.
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.
Over the past 8 years, human enteroviruses (HEVs) have caused 27 227 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in Xiamen, including 99 severe cases and six deaths. We aimed to explore the molecular epidemiology of HFMD in Xiamen to inform the development of diagnostic assays, vaccines and other interventions. From January 2009 to September 2015, 5866 samples from sentinel hospitals were tested using nested reverse transcription PCR that targeted the HEV 5′ untranslated region and viral protein 1 region. Of these samples, 4290 were tested positive for HEV and the amplicons were sequenced and genotyped. Twenty-two genotypes were identified. Enterovirus 71 (EV71) and coxsackieviruses A16, A6 and A10 (CA16, CA6 and CA10) were the most common genotypes, and there were no changes in the predominant lineages of these genotypes. EV71 became the most predominant genotype every 2 years. From 2013, CA6 replaced CA16 as one of the two most common genotypes. The results demonstrate the vast diversity of HFMD pathogens, and that minor genotypes are able to replace major genotypes. We recommend carrying-out long-term monitoring of the full spectrum of HFMD pathogens, which could facilitate epidemic prediction and the development of diagnostic assays and vaccines.
HBsAg reappearance may constitute not only a risk for liver disease but also an infectious source. We aimed to determine whether HBsAg may reappear after spontaneous HBsAg seroclearance. A cohort of 2999 HBsAg-positive subjects aged 30–55 years was recruited in Guangxi, China in 2004. HBsAg was tested every 6 months from July 2004 to June 2007, then, one more time in December 2013. The results showed that spontaneous HBsAg seroclearance occurred in 41 subjects in the first 3 years, giving a 0·54% annual seroclearance rate. Thirteen of the 41 subjects were randomly tested for HBsAg in 2013. Four subjects became HBsAg positive. S gene sequences of HBV were analysed from serum collected before seroclearance and after reappearance, respectively, for subject QS840 (11 and 12 clones), subject TN98 (13 and 13 clones) and subject WX227 (10 and 8 clones). Serotype, subgenotype and amino-acid substitution pattern in each sample collected after reappearance was observed in the sample collected before HBsAg seroclearance. Nucleotide similarity between the two sequences from each subject was >99% and five sequences from subject TN98 were the same. In conclusion, following reactivation, HBsAg may reappear in individuals with spontaneous HBsAg seroclearance many years previously.
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.
Trichogramma chilonis Ishii (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) is an important natural enemy of many species of lepidopterous pests and a widely used biological control agent. Detailed knowledge about its mate choice and host discrimination behavior is lacking. In this study, we studied the mate choice and host discrimination behavior of T. chilonis in experimental arenas through video tracking. Males’ mate recognition capacity was realized by perceiving the sex pheromone of females. When offered two females of different species, male could distinguish the conspecific female from Trichogrammatoidea bactrae Nagaraja (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae), a species that has overlapping hosts with T. chilonis. When placed with two females of different mating status, male preferred mating with the virgin female to the mated female. T. chilonis females could distinguish unparasitized host eggs from parasitized ones (parasitized by conspecific females or heterospecific females). They preferred to stay on and lay eggs in unparasitized host eggs. When T. chilonis females were only provided with parasitized host eggs (parasitized by T. chilonis and T. bactrae females), conspecific superparasitism occurred more often than heterospecific superparasitism. Furthermore, the host egg discrimination ability of T. chilonis females was mainly achieved through antennal perception.