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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.
In this study, we examine how the Guri catfish Genidens genidens uses estuarine and freshwater habitats along the largest South American coastal lagoon, through the chemical analysis of otoliths and microscopic analysis of gonads. Chemical composition (Sr:Ca) of otolith edges allowed distinguishing between individuals who used the estuarine or freshwater compartments of the lagoon. The analysis of core-to-edge chemical profiles of each individual otolith revealed that the population may present two different patterns of habitat use along the lagoon. The ‘type 1’ pattern (89.5%) includes fish who appear to have been born in estuarine waters, whereas ‘type 2’ (9.5%) includes those fish born in fresh water. Nevertheless, juveniles from both patterns appear to migrate to estuarine waters. The gonad analysis shows G. genidens may reproduce in fresh water, as nearly 57% of all sampled fish were found to spawn in the freshwater portion of the lagoon. Also, the otolith core of many adult fish presented freshwater signatures, thus suggesting consistent fresh water use during early life. Our findings based on otolith and gonadal analyses challenge the previous classification of G. genidens as an estuarine resident. Rather, our results allow the suggestion that this species should be placed in the ‘estuarine and fresh water’ guild, which includes both fish completing their life cycles within the estuary and fish who consistently use freshwater habitats.
Increasing attention is currently focused on the generation of characteristic x-ray by proton irradiation. This has the advantage of yielding “clean” x-ray- i. e. free from background brerasstrahlung radiation, from even the lightest elements. The disadvantage is that the yields are naturally much lower than those produced by electrons of the same energy. A recent study has extended characteristic x-ray production to a variety of heavy ions and has shown that the cross- sections for the production of clean x-rays are often higher , by as much as several orders of magnitude, than those produced by protons of the same energy. In addition, there has emerged a further advantage, viz. the ability of specially chosen heavy ions to excite characteristic x-ray from a particular element in a selective manner. Since heavy ions penetrate only a few hundred Angstroms in to most solids, the phenomenon can be used as the basis of a technique for the examination of surface deposits, or to measure depth distributions of impurities. For example, Kr ions can be used t o determine the range distribution of antimony which had been implanted in to silicon at 100 keV. The antimony concentration was determined as a function of ∼ 150 Å steps, and was found to exhibit a maximum concentration of ∼ 1 part in 103 of silicon at 450 Å below the surface, falling to zero concentration at ∼2000 Å a depth. In the past, in order to obtain the required degree of sensitivity, such range determinations have relied on radio active tracer techniques.
An entirely new type of proportional counter has been developed during the course of these studies. This instrument, because of its special construction, can be positioned very close to targets in non-dispersive studies, so as to collect the highest possible fraction of emitted x-ray. It incorporates a replaceable anode unit, together with a built- in miniature head amplifier, and exhibits extremely good performance, particularly for ultra-soft x-ray. In addition, rotation of a dial on the end of the counter body allows alteration of the active gas volume during operation, and so permits tuning into x-rays of a particular energy.
Laser-based compact MeV X-ray sources are useful for a variety of applications such as radiography and active interrogation of nuclear materials. MeV X rays are typically generated by impinging the intense laser onto ~mm-thick high-Z foil. Here, we have characterized such a MeV X-ray source from 120 TW (80 J, 650 fs) laser interaction with a 1 mm-thick tantalum foil. Our measurements show X-ray temperature of 2.5 MeV, flux of 3 × 1012 photons/sr/shot, beam divergence of ~0.1 sr, conversion efficiency of ~1%, that is, ~1 J of MeV X rays out of 80 J incident laser, and source size of 80 m. Our measurement also shows that MeV X-ray yield and temperature is largely insensitive to nanosecond laser contrasts up to 10−5. Also, preliminary measurements of similar MeV X-ray source using a double-foil scheme, where the laser-driven hot electrons from a thin foil undergoing relativistic transparency impinging onto a second high-Z converter foil separated by 50–400 m, show MeV X-ray yield more than an order of magnitude lower compared with the single-foil results.
To evaluate whole-genome sequencing (WGS) as a molecular typing tool for MRSA outbreak investigation.
Investigation of MRSA colonization/infection in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) over 3 years (2014–2017).
Single-center level IV NICU.
NICU infants and healthcare workers (HCWs).
Infants were screened for MRSA using a swab of the anterior nares, axilla, and groin, initially by targeted (ring) screening, and later by universal weekly screening. Clinical cultures were collected as indicated. HCWs were screened once using swabs of the anterior nares. MRSA isolates were typed using WGS with core-genome multilocus sequence typing (cgMLST) analysis and by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Colonized and infected infants and HCWs were decolonized. Control strategies included reinforcement of hand hygiene, use of contact precautions, cohorting, enhanced environmental cleaning, and remodeling of the NICU.
We identified 64 MRSA-positive infants: 53 (83%) by screening and 11 (17%) by clinical cultures. Of 85 screened HCWs, 5 (6%) were MRSA positive. WGS of MRSA isolates identified 2 large clusters (WGS groups 1 and 2), 1 small cluster (WGS group 3), and 8 unrelated isolates. PFGE failed to distinguish WGS group 2 and 3 isolates. WGS groups 1 and 2 were codistributed over time. HCW MRSA isolates were primarily in WGS group 1. New infant MRSA cases declined after implementation of the control interventions.
We identified 2 contemporaneous MRSA outbreaks alongside sporadic cases in a NICU. WGS was used to determine strain relatedness at a higher resolution than PFGE and was useful in guiding efforts to control MRSA transmission.
Simulation models are used widely in pharmacology, epidemiology and health economics (HEs). However, there have been no attempts to incorporate models from these disciplines into a single integrated model. Accordingly, we explored this linkage to evaluate the epidemiological and economic impact of oseltamivir dose optimisation in supporting pandemic influenza planning in the USA. An HE decision analytic model was linked to a pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) – dynamic transmission model simulating the impact of pandemic influenza with low virulence and low transmissibility and, high virulence and high transmissibility. The cost-utility analysis was from the payer and societal perspectives, comparing oseltamivir 75 and 150 mg twice daily (BID) to no treatment over a 1-year time horizon. Model parameters were derived from published studies. Outcomes were measured as cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained. Sensitivity analyses were performed to examine the integrated model's robustness. Under both pandemic scenarios, compared to no treatment, the use of oseltamivir 75 or 150 mg BID led to a significant reduction of influenza episodes and influenza-related deaths, translating to substantial savings of QALYs. Overall drug costs were offset by the reduction of both direct and indirect costs, making these two interventions cost-saving from both perspectives. The results were sensitive to the proportion of inpatient presentation at the emergency visit and patients’ quality of life. Integrating PK/PD–EPI/HE models is achievable. Whilst further refinement of this novel linkage model to more closely mimic the reality is needed, the current study has generated useful insights to support influenza pandemic planning.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
MERLIN observations at 0.408 GHz of the December 1985 outburst of Cyg X-3 have enabled us to characterise the angular broadening, caused by interstellar scattering, very accurately. The scattering along the line of sight towards Cyg X-3 is exceeded by only two other lines of sight through the Galaxy: towards the Galactic centre (see e.g. Lo et al. 1985. Nature, 315, 124) and towards NGC 6334 (Rodriguez et al. 1982. Astrophys. J., 225, 103); as a result quite short baselines are needed to study the scattering disk at 73 cm wavelength (0.408 GHz). The projected MERLIN baselines for our observations cover the range from a few km (on which the source was unresolved and had a correlated flux density ∼3.6 Jy) to ∼130 km (on which the source was totally resolved i.e. a correlated flux density <0.030 Jy). The basic result from these observations is that over this range of baselines the scattering appears to be purely diffractive in character. The scattering disk is, to quite a good approximation, a circular gaussian and shows no evidence of fine scale substructure. Model fitting to the visibility amplitudes, assuming circular symmetry, yields θ0.408GHz = 2.85±0.05 arcsec (FWHM).
A macrofloral assemblage dominated by elements of the Euramerican dryland biome is described from the Brazil Formation in Clay County, Indiana (Illinois Basin). Fossils were recovered from a thin heterolithic unit between a shallow-marine bed and the paleosol beneath the Minshall Coal, a Middle Pennsylvanian succession deposited near the Atokan-Desmoinesian and Bolsovian-Asturian boundaries. Sedimentological indicators imply accumulation under a seasonal climate, including interbedded siltstone and sandstone deposited during flashfloods, intraclasts eroded from local sources, and charcoal produced by wildfires. The macrofloral assemblage is consistent with a dryland setting, being dominated by large, coriaceous gymnosperm leaves with mesic to xeric traits, including Cordaites spp. indet., Lesleya sp. indet., and Taeniopteris sp. cf. T. multinervia. Sphenopsids and ferns typical of the wetland biome are rare. In contrast, the microfloral assemblage is dominated by fern spores, with lesser lycopsid spores and cordaitalean pollen. The succession indicates that the dryland biome predominated during late regression, prior to the onset of perhumid conditions that resulted in peat accumulation at late lowstand. However, the abundance of palynomorphs from wetland vegetation implies gradual fragmentation of the prevailing dryland flora and replacement by the wetland biome in the transition to glacial maximum. The taphonomic and paleobiogeographic context confirms that floras adapted to seasonal moisture deficit periodically dispersed into tropical lowlands, rather than being transported from ‘extrabasinal’ or ‘upland’ environments. The precocious occurrence of Taeniopteris, more typical of Late Pennsylvanian and Permian floras, may be the earliest record of the fossil-genus, and exemplifies the association of derived plant taxa with dryland habitats. The predominance of broad-leaved gymnosperms with mesic to xeric characters suggests that dryland communities contained more slow-growing and long-lived plants than contemporaneous wetland floras.
Taxonomic analysis is provided for a Middle Pennsylvanian macrofloral assemblage collected from clastic wetland deposits in Clay County, Indiana, on the eastern margin of the Illinois Basin. Adpressed plant fossils were recovered from four distinct beds in the lowermost Staunton Formation, positioned above the Minshall Coal (uppermost Brazil Formation), part of a succession deposited near the Atokan-Desmoinesian boundary. The assemblage of 22 fossil-taxa is dominated by pteridosperms (including Neuropteris flexuosa, Macroneuropteris scheuchzeri, Alethopteris densinervosa, Neuropteris ovata, Eusphenopteris neuropteroides, and Neuropteris missouriensis) with lesser cordaitaleans (Cordaites spp. indet.) and sphenopsids (particularly Sphenophyllum cuneifolium). Lycopsids are uncommon, and ferns are rare. In contrast, the microfloral assemblage from the Minshall Coal and overlying clastic units is dominated by lycopsid and tree fern spores. Comparisons with established biozonation schemes yield different ages depending on the regional biostratigraphic framework used: (1) latest Bolsovian (Radiizonates difformis Biozone, American microfloras); (2) latest Bolsovian or earliest Asturian (‘Neuropteris’ rarinervis Biozone, Appalachian Basin macrofloras); or (3) earliest Asturian (Linopteris obliqua Biozone, European macrofloras). The placement and correlation of the Bolsovian-Asturian and Atokan-Desmoinesian boundaries, which have traditionally been equated by palynology, are evaluated in the context of this discordance. Several revised stratigraphic scenarios are proposed for this interval in the Illinois Basin, which is being increasingly recognized as a time of significant environmental change throughout Euramerica. Homotaxial comparisons with European macrofloral assemblages indicate that, of the 18 biological taxa recorded, between 14 and 17 (78–94%) also are common in coeval wetland deposits in Europe. The similarities exemplify the spatial conservatism and low diversity of wetland plant communities over vast areas of tropical Euramerica, a manifestation of the intrinsically stressful conditions that characterize such habitats, and indicates that neither the Laurentian Shield nor the Appalachian-Variscan Mountains were an insurmountable barrier to plant dispersal during the Middle Pennsylvanian.
Recently a programme of observing 21 cm-λ solar radio bursts with high angular resolution has been commenced at the Fleurs Radio Field Station of the School of Electrical Engineering, University of Sydney. In some preliminary measurements fringes from two 2-element E-W interferometers, spaced at roughly 3800 and 1900 wavelengths, have been recorded simultaneously.
We present preliminary results from absolutely flux-calibrated optical spectroscopy, together with 5 GHz radio flux measures of 17 symbiotic stars. The data were obtained quasi-simultaneously using the Manchester Echelle Spectrograph on the Isaac Newton Telescope, La Palma between 1988 September 20 and 24, and the Broad Band Interferometer at Jodrell Bank during 1988 October. This represents the largest sample of these stars observed in this way to date. Distances are calculated using visual extinctions and are compared with other quoted values. In general, the agreement is surprisingly good. Plots of individual line luminosities vs. radio luminosity indicate that the D-type (dusty) symbiotics (both also proto-planetary nebulae) have far higher radio luminosities than S-types (stellar) for comparable recombination and forbidden line luminosities. This may however be due to underestimation of optical line luminosities for the D-types as the circumstellar extinction contribution is uncertain. The single D’-type (cool dust, yellow secondary) lies at the low luminosity end of the S-type region. ‘Very slow novae’ in our sample lie in both groups.
We analyzed birth order differences in means and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) in monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins from infancy to old age. The data were derived from the international CODATwins database. The total number of height and BMI measures from 0.5 to 79.5 years of age was 397,466. As expected, first-born twins had greater birth weight than second-born twins. With respect to height, first-born twins were slightly taller than second-born twins in childhood. After adjusting the results for birth weight, the birth order differences decreased and were no longer statistically significant. First-born twins had greater BMI than the second-born twins over childhood and adolescence. After adjusting the results for birth weight, birth order was still associated with BMI until 12 years of age. No interaction effect between birth order and zygosity was found. Only limited evidence was found that birth order influenced variances of height or BMI. The results were similar among boys and girls and also in MZ and DZ twins. Overall, the differences in height and BMI between first- and second-born twins were modest even in early childhood, while adjustment for birth weight reduced the birth order differences but did not remove them for BMI.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
Genetic influences contribute significantly to co-morbidity between conduct disorder and substance use disorders. Estimating the extent of overlap can assist in the development of phenotypes for genomic analyses.
Multivariate quantitative genetic analyses were conducted using data from 9577 individuals, including 3982 complete twin pairs and 1613 individuals whose co-twin was not interviewed (aged 24–37 years) from two Australian twin samples. Analyses examined the genetic correlation between alcohol dependence, nicotine dependence and cannabis abuse/dependence and the extent to which the correlations were attributable to genetic influences shared with conduct disorder.
Additive genetic (a2 = 0.48–0.65) and non-shared environmental factors explained variance in substance use disorders. Familial effects on conduct disorder were due to additive genetic (a2 = 0.39) and shared environmental (c2 = 0.15) factors. All substance use disorders were influenced by shared genetic factors (rg = 0.38–0.56), with all genetic overlap between substances attributable to genetic influences shared with conduct disorder. Genes influencing individual substance use disorders were also significant, explaining 40–73% of the genetic variance per substance.
Among substance users in this sample, the well-documented clinical co-morbidity between conduct disorder and substance use disorders is primarily attributable to shared genetic liability. Interventions targeted at generally reducing deviant behaviors may address the risk posed by this shared genetic liability. However, there is also evidence for genetic and environmental influences specific to each substance. The identification of these substance-specific risk factors (as well as potential protective factors) is critical to the future development of targeted treatment protocols.
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.
This research explored gender and cross-cultural similarities and differences in the motivational profiles of Indigenous Papua New Guinean (PNG) and Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Secondary students (N = 1,792) completed self-report motivational measures. Invariance testing demonstrated that the Inventory of School Motivation (McInerney, Yeung, & McInerney, 2001) measure was invariant across both gender and Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups. Structural equation modelling (SEM) results explicated that males were significantly more performance orientated than females in all three groups examined; however, the disparity between genders was most apparent in non-Indigenous Australians. Diverging from previous findings with non-Indigenous students, the current study found that PNG and Australian Indigenous males endorsed mastery goals more strongly than Indigenous females. In contrast, non-Indigenous females were more mastery orientated than non-Indigenous males. Finally, the two Indigenous groups endorsed social goals more strongly than the non-Indigenous Australians. The current findings highlight the importance of assessing gender and group differences, as broad statements relating to student motivation do not appear to be applicable in all cultural contexts.