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Past improvement programmes in pigs have concentrated on lean growth, and have relied on direct comparisons of contemporaries in a common environment. The new mixed model technology now allows comparisons across environments and generations, and, by utilizing all possible genetic relationships, more accurate prediction of genetic merit for traits of low heritability. In addition, breeding programme design will benefit from more precise estimation of genetic parameters. Principal benefits of the new technology are greater flexibility of structure of breeding programmes, and faster improvement of litter size. The consequence will be larger populations under selection with lower costs per unit of genetic improvement. For national improvement schemes using a high proportion of AI matings, central testing stations could become unnecessary. Main research priorities are the optimum family structure to balance selection and inbreeding, more efficient computing strategies for large numbers of traits, and the incorporation of single genes into predictions of merit. The new technology will be important for the exploitation of biological advances in manipulation of both reproduction and the genome.
An effective method for enhancing milk production efficiency in dairy cows is to increase milk yield and significant progress has been achieved through intense selection, assisted by the application of new reproductive techniques. However this increased milk yield has been accompanied by a slow but steady decline in dairy cow fertility. The two main reasons for this reducing level of fertility appear to be selection for increased milk yield and large herd sizes, although the affect of the introduction of Holstein genes needs to be investigated. In addition, other negative consequences such as an increase in the incidence of metabolic diseases and lameness have been observed. This has given rise to public concern that the high-yielding dairy cow may be under a state of metabolic stress during peak lactation and therefore the welfare and performance of other body functions are compromised.
The reason for this decline in fertility is not well understood, although a nutritional influence on the initiation of oestrous cycles, follicular growth, oocyte quality and early embryonic development has been implicated. In early lactation dietary intake is unable to meet the demands of milk production and most cows enter a period of negative energy balance. Negative energy balance has a broadly similar effect to undernutrition leading to a mobilization of body reserves. Furthermore diets high in rumen degradable protein lead to an excess of rumen ammonia, which before it is converted to urea by the liver and excreted in the urine, may cause an alteration in the reproductive tract environment reducing embryo survival. Such major changes in the metabolic and endocrine systems can therefore influence fertility at a number of key points.
Possible reproductive sites where inadequate nutrition may have detrimental effects include: (i) the hypothalamic/pituitary gland where gonadotropin release may be impaired; (ii) a direct effect on the ovaries, where both follicular growth patterns and corpus luteum function may be directly influenced; (iii) the quality of the oocyte prior to ovulation may be reduced and coupled with an inadequate uterine environment will result in reduced embryo survival and (iv) there may be effects on subsequent embryo development. The initiation of normal oestrous cycles post partum is usually delayed in dairy cows with a higher genetic merit for milk production, confirming that intense selection towards high milk yield can compromise reproductive function. In addition, the effects of increased milk yield may include changes in circulating GH and insulin concentrations, which in turn alter both insulin-like growth factor (IGF) and IGF binding protein production. Nutrition has recently been shown to have a direct effect at the level of both the ovaries and the uterus to alter the expression of these growth factors.
In conclusion, further knowledge is required to determine how the metabolic changes associated with high milk output reduce fertility. Identification and understanding of the mechanisms involved and the key sites of action responsible for compromised reproductive function, will enable the identification of possible indices for future multiple-trait selection programmes.
Identifying genetic relationships between complex traits in emerging adulthood can provide useful etiological insights into risk for psychopathology. College-age individuals are under-represented in genomic analyses thus far, and the majority of work has focused on the clinical disorder or cognitive abilities rather than normal-range behavioral outcomes.
This study examined a sample of emerging adults 18–22 years of age (N = 5947) to construct an atlas of polygenic risk for 33 traits predicting relevant phenotypic outcomes. Twenty-eight hypotheses were tested based on the previous literature on samples of European ancestry, and the availability of rich assessment data allowed for polygenic predictions across 55 psychological and medical phenotypes.
Polygenic risk for schizophrenia (SZ) in emerging adults predicted anxiety, depression, nicotine use, trauma, and family history of psychological disorders. Polygenic risk for neuroticism predicted anxiety, depression, phobia, panic, neuroticism, and was correlated with polygenic risk for cardiovascular disease.
These results demonstrate the extensive impact of genetic risk for SZ, neuroticism, and major depression on a range of health outcomes in early adulthood. Minimal cross-ancestry replication of these phenomic patterns of polygenic influence underscores the need for more genome-wide association studies of non-European populations.
Recent studies have reported a substantial increase in the incidence of reproductive cycle problems in modern dairy cows (Opsomer et al., 1998; Royal et al., 1999). This increase is often attributed to the ever-increasing metabolic demands placed upon these cows by continually increasing milk yields. In this study we have monitored a variety of metabolic parameters in lactating dairy cows and related these to reproductive function in an attempt to establish metabolic predictors of impending reproductive failure.
Subjective reports of insomnia and hypersomnia are common in bipolar disorder (BD). It is unclear to what extent these relate to underlying circadian rhythm disturbance (CRD). In this study we aimed to objectively assess sleep and circadian rhythm in a cohort of patients with BD compared to matched controls.
Forty-six patients with BD and 42 controls had comprehensive sleep/circadian rhythm assessment with respiratory sleep studies, prolonged accelerometry over 3 weeks, sleep questionnaires and diaries, melatonin levels, alongside mood, psychosocial functioning and quality of life (QoL) questionnaires.
Twenty-three (50%) patients with BD had abnormal sleep, of whom 12 (52%) had CRD and 29% had obstructive sleep apnoea. Patients with abnormal sleep had lower 24-h melatonin secretion compared to controls and patients with normal sleep. Abnormal sleep/CRD in BD was associated with impaired functioning and worse QoL.
BD is associated with high rates of abnormal sleep and CRD. The association between these disorders, mood and functioning, and the direction of causality, warrants further investigation.
The Cosmology Distinction Course is a new one-year course to be introduced for Year 12 candidates in the 1994 Higher School Certificate examinations in NSW. It is one of three challenging courses of study that will enrich the HSC for talented students who accelerate and complete part of the HSC one year early. The courses will be taught through distance learning and will include residential seminars. They will be implemented on behalf of the Board of Studies by Charles Sturt University and the University of New England.
The Cosmology Course is organised into nine modules of course work covering historical and social aspects of cosmology, observational techniques, key observations and the various models developed—Newtonian, de Sitter, Friedmann, Lemaitre, steady-state, quasi-steady-state and big bang. Assessment will be through assignments, exams and a major project.
As the first Distinction Course in a scientific area, the Cosmology Course represents an exciting and important educational initiative that needs the cooperation of NSW astronomers and, in return, promises to benefit the astronomical and general scientific community in Australia.
Accurate and complete reporting of study methods, results and interpretation are essential components for any scientific process, allowing end-users to evaluate the internal and external validity of a study. When animals are used in research, excellence in reporting is expected as a matter of continued ethical acceptability of animal use in the sciences. Our primary objective was to assess completeness of reporting for a series of studies relevant to mitigation of pain in neonatal piglets undergoing routine management procedures. Our second objective was to illustrate how authors can report the items in the Reporting guidElines For randomized controLled trials for livEstoCk and food safety (REFLECT) statement using examples from the animal welfare science literature. A total of 52 studies from 40 articles were evaluated using a modified REFLECT statement. No single study reported all REFLECT checklist items. Seven studies reported specific objectives with testable hypotheses. Six studies identified primary or secondary outcomes. Randomization and blinding were considered to be partially reported in 21 and 18 studies, respectively. No studies reported the rationale for sample sizes. Several studies failed to report key design features such as units for measurement, means, standard deviations, standard errors for continuous outcomes or comparative characteristics for categorical outcomes expressed as either rates or proportions. In the discipline of animal welfare science, authors, reviewers and editors are encouraged to use available reporting guidelines to ensure that scientific methods and results are adequately described and free of misrepresentations and inaccuracies. Complete and accurate reporting increases the ability to apply the results of studies to the decision-making process and prevent wastage of financial and animal resources.
Infection of pregnant cows with noncytopathic (ncp) bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) induces rapid innate and adaptive immune responses, resulting in clearance of the virus in less than 3 weeks. Seven to 14 days after inoculation of the cow, ncpBVDV crosses the placenta and induces a fetal viremia. Establishment of persistent infection with ncpBVDV in the fetus has been attributed to the inability to mount an immune response before 90–150 days of gestational age. The result is ‘immune tolerance’, persistent viral replication and shedding of ncpBVDV. In contrast, we describe the chronic upregulation of fetal Type I interferon (IFN) pathway genes and the induction of IFN-γ pathways in fetuses of cows infected on day 75 of gestation. Persistently infected (PI) fetal IFN-γ concentrations also increased at day 97 at the peak of fetal viremia and IFN-γ mRNA was significantly elevated in fetal thymus, liver and spleen 14–22 days post maternal inoculation. PI fetuses respond to ncpBVDV infection through induction of Type I IFN and IFN-γ activated genes leading to a reduction in ncpBVDV titer. We hypothesize that fetal infection with BVDV persists because of impaired induction of IFN-γ in the face of activated Type I IFN responses. Clarification of the mechanisms involved in the IFN-associated pathways during BVDV fetal infection may lead to better detection methods, antiviral compounds and selection of genetically resistant breeding animals.
Depression is characterized by poor executive function, but – counterintuitively – in some studies, it has been associated with highly accurate performance on certain cognitively demanding tasks. The psychological mechanisms responsible for this paradoxical finding are unclear. To address this issue, we applied a drift diffusion model (DDM) to flanker task data from depressed and healthy adults participating in the multi-site Establishing Moderators and Biosignatures of Antidepressant Response for Clinical Care for Depression (EMBARC) study.
One hundred unmedicated, depressed adults and 40 healthy controls completed a flanker task. We investigated the effect of flanker interference on accuracy and response time, and used the DDM to examine group differences in three cognitive processes: prepotent response bias (tendency to respond to the distracting flankers), response inhibition (necessary to resist prepotency), and executive control (required for execution of correct response on incongruent trials).
Consistent with prior reports, depressed participants responded more slowly and accurately than controls on incongruent trials. The DDM indicated that although executive control was sluggish in depressed participants, this was more than offset by decreased prepotent response bias. Among the depressed participants, anhedonia was negatively correlated with a parameter indexing the speed of executive control (r = −0.28, p = 0.007).
Executive control was delayed in depression but this was counterbalanced by reduced prepotent response bias, demonstrating how participants with executive function deficits can nevertheless perform accurately in a cognitive control task. Drawing on data from neural network simulations, we speculate that these results may reflect tonically reduced striatal dopamine in depression.
The MIAMI* facility at the University of Huddersfield is one of a number of facilities worldwide that permit the ion irradiation of thin foils in-situ in a transmission electron microscope. MIAMI has been developed with a particular focus on enabling the in-situ implantation of helium and hydrogen into thin electron transparent foils, necessitating ion energies in the range 1 – 10 keV. In addition, however, ions of a variety of species can be provided at energies of up to 100 keV (for singly charged ions), enabling studies to focus on the build up of radiation damage in the absence or presence of implanted gas.
This paper reports on a number of ongoing studies being carried out at MIAMI, and also at JANNuS (Orsay, France) and the IVEM / Ion Accelerator Facility (Argonne National Lab, US). This includes recent work on He bubbles in SiC and Cu; the former work concerned with modification to bubble populations by ion and electron beams and the latter project concerned with the formation of bubble super-lattices in metals.
A study is also presented consisting of experiments aimed at shedding light on the origins of the dimensional changes known to occur in nuclear graphite under irradiation with either neutrons or ions. Single crystal graphite foils have been irradiated with 60 keV Xe ions in order to create a non-uniform damage profile throughout the foil thickness. This gives rise to varying basal-plane contraction throughout the foil resulting in almost macroscopic (micron scale) deformation of the graphite. These observations are presented and discussed with a view to reconciling them with current understanding of point defect behavior in graphite.
*Microscope and Ion Accelerator for Materials Investigations
Models for traveling waves in multi-fluid plasmas give essential insight into fully nonlinear wave structures in plasmas, not readily available from either numerical simulations or from weakly nonlinear wave theories. We illustrate these ideas using one of the simplest models of an electron–proton multi-fluid plasma for the case where there is no magnetic field or a constant normal magnetic field present. We show that the traveling waves can be reduced to a single first-order differential equation governing the dynamics. We also show that the equations admit a multi-symplectic Hamiltonian formulation in which both the space and time variables can act as the evolution variable. An integral equation useful for calculating adiabatic, electrostatic solitary wave signatures for multi-fluid plasmas with arbitrary mass ratios is presented. The integral equation arises naturally from a fluid dynamics approach for a two fluid plasma, with a given mass ratio of the two species (e.g. the plasma could be an electron–proton or an electron–positron plasma). Besides its intrinsic interest, the integral equation solution provides a useful analytical test for numerical codes that include a proton–electron mass ratio as a fundamental constant, such as for particle in cell (PIC) codes. The integral equation is used to delineate the physical characteristics of ion acoustic traveling waves consisting of hot electron and cold proton fluids.
Dietary polyphenols, such as those from grape products, may exert beneficial effects on cardiovascular health, including anti-hypertensive effects. We investigated the effect of a specific grape seed extract (GSE) rich in low-molecular-weight polyphenolic compounds on ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) in untreated subjects with pre- and stage I hypertension. In addition, potential mechanisms that could underlie the hypothesised effect of GSE on blood pressure (BP), and platelet aggregation, were explored. The study was designed as a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised, parallel-group intervention study including seventy healthy subjects with systolic BP between 120 and 159 mmHg. A 1-week run-in period was followed by an 8-week intervention period, during which subjects consumed capsules containing either 300 mg/d of GSE or a placebo (microcrystalline cellulose). Before and after the intervention, daytime ABP readings, 24 h urine samples and fasting and non-fasting blood samples were taken. The mean baseline systolic BP was 135·8 (se 1·3) mmHg and diastolic BP was 81·5 (se 0·9) mmHg. BP values were modestly, but not significantly, affected by the polyphenol-rich GSE treatment v. placebo with an effect of − 3·0 mmHg for systolic BP (95 % CI − 6·5, 0·5) and − 1·4 mmHg for diastolic BP (95 % CI − 3·5, 0·6). Vasoactive markers including endothelin-1, NO metabolites and asymmetric dimethylarginine, plasma renin activity and platelet aggregation were not affected by the GSE intervention. Our findings show that consumption of polyphenol-rich GSE does not significantly lower ABP in untreated subjects with pre- and stage I hypertension.
Molecular Dynamics (MD) and Metropolis Monte-Carlo (MMC) models of monomer B and decaborane implantation into Si and following rapid thermal annealing (RTA) processes have been developed in this paper. The implanted B dopant diffusion coefficients were obtained for different substrate temperatures. The simulation of decaborane ion implantation has revealed the formation of an amorphized area in a subsurface region, much larger than that of a single B+ implantation, with the same energy per ion. The B diffusion coefficient shows an unusual temperature dependence with two different activation energies. Low activation energy, less than 0.2, was obtained for a low-temperature region, and a higher activation energy, ˜ 3 ev, for a higher-temperature region which is typical for the RTA processing. The higher activation energy is comparable with the equilibrium activation energy, 3.4 ev, for B diffusion in Si.
Echocardiography detects a greater prevalence of rheumatic heart disease than heart auscultation. Echocardiographic screening for rheumatic heart disease combined with secondary prophylaxis may potentially prevent severe rheumatic heart disease in high-risk populations. We aimed to determine the prevalence of rheumatic heart disease in children from an urban New Zealand population at high risk for acute rheumatic fever.
Methods and results
To optimise accurate diagnosis of rheumatic heart disease, we utilised a two-step model. Portable echocardiography was conducted on 1142 predominantly Māori and Pacific children aged 10–13 years. Children with an abnormal screening echocardiogram underwent clinical assessment by a paediatric cardiologist together with hospital-based echocardiography. Rheumatic heart disease was then classified as definite, probable, or possible. Portable echocardiography identified changes suggestive of rheumatic heart disease in 95 (8.3%) of 1142 children, which reduced to 59 (5.2%) after cardiology assessment. The prevalence of definite and probable rheumatic heart disease was 26.0 of 1000, with 95% confidence intervals ranging from 12.6 to 39.4. Portable echocardiography overdiagnosed rheumatic heart disease with physiological valve regurgitation diagnosed in 28 children. A total of 30 children (2.6%) had non-rheumatic cardiac abnormalities, 11 of whom had minor congenital mitral valve anomalies.
We found high rates of undetected rheumatic heart disease in this high-risk population. Rheumatic heart disease screening has resource implications with cardiology evaluation required for accurate diagnosis. Echocardiographic screening for rheumatic heart disease may overdiagnose rheumatic heart disease unless congenital mitral valve anomalies and physiological regurgitation are excluded.
We investigated spatial non-uniformity and optical anisotropy in hydrogenated silicon thin films using infrared spectroscopy and other techniques. The films ranged in morphology from amorphous to micro-crystalline, as determined by Raman spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction (XRD). Trace element analysis of the films was carried out using secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS). We used polarized attenuated total reflection (ATR) measurements together with Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy to investigate anisotropy in the Si-H covalent bonding structure of the films, and also to detect oxide impurity phases present at certain sites in some samples. The FTIR-ATR measurements were performed using a germanium (Ge) contact microprobe with a 100-micron sampling area, as well as on films deposited on standard crystalline Si and Ge ATR substrates. The Ge contact ATR microprobe enabled relatively interference-free measurements of the IR spectra of a-Si:H and µc-Si:H films deposited on conductive substrates such as stainless steel and transparent conductive oxides, and is also sensitive to the spatial distribution of oxide precipitates in the films. This measurement is difficult or impossible using transmission or reflection IR spectroscopy.
200 keV Co+ ions have been implanted into (100), (110) and (111) single crystal silicon substrates to doses of 2 × 1017 Co+ cm−2 and 5 × 1017 Co+ cm−2. During implantation the substrates were tilted at an angle of 70 to the incident ions and maintained at a temperature of 350°C. The experimental results, after implantation, are in close agreement with those obtained by computer simulations, which allow the single crystal orientation of the target and its position with respect to the incident ions to be specified. 5s RTA treatment at 1100°C was found to give CoSi2 layers of similar crystalline quality and resistivity to those produced by conventional furnace annealing.