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The Murcia Twin Registry (MTR) is the only population-based registry in Spain. Created in 2006, the registry has been growing more than a decade to become one of the references for twin research in the Mediterranean region. The MTR database currently comprises 3545 adult participants born between 1940 and 1977. It also holds a recently launched satellite registry of university students (N = 204). Along five waves of data collection, the registry has gathered questionnaire and anthropometric data, as well as biological samples. The MTR keeps its main research focus on health and health-related behaviors from a public health perspective. This includes lifestyle, health promotion, quality of life or environmental conditions. Future short-term development points to the expansion of the biobank and the continuation of the collection of longitudinal data.
This is a copy of the slides presented at the meeting but not formally written up for the volume.
Single-molecule manipulation and detection of biomolecules has significantly advanced our understanding of the molecular movement, dynamics, and biological function of proteins. Fluorescence microscopy currently serves as one of the primary noninvasive techniques for the sensitive detection of molecules in solution and on surfaces. However, the performance and sensitivity of this laser-induced fluorescence technique is strongly influenced by the fluorescent labels attached to DNA, proteins or cells. Organic dyes have most commonly been used as fluorescent biolabels; however, they quickly photobleach, limiting the time scale over which molecular events can be followed. Quantum dots show great promise for fluorescence measurements due to their improved photophysical properties, such as size-tunable narrow emissions, large Stokes shifts and minimal photobleaching. However, problems still exist for the use of quantum dots as biolabels, including: photoblinking, toxic synthetic approaches, surface passivation issues and relatively large physical sizes that are comparable to proteins. Here, we report the synthesis of a new class of fluorescent labels, gold nanoclusters, which consist of several gold atoms (<1 nm in size) with strong fluorescence emission. These small fluorescent gold nanoclusters are synthesized at physiological temperature using poly(amidoamine) dendrimer as a template. Small blue emissive gold nanoclusters were produced without the use of a reductant and without concurrent nanoparticle formation. Gold nanoclusters with green and red emissions were synthesized using a mild reductant, also without nanoparticle formation. The studies of pH-dependent stability suggest that these fluorescent nanoclusters are very stable in a pH range of 6 - 8. These new approaches produce gold nanoclusters with a much higher yield and eliminate the toxicity of the previously reported process, resulting in a biologically compliant approach. This work is the first known report of fluorescent gold nanoclusters via a green-chemistry approach and without the formation of gold nanoparticles. This work is funded by Los Alamos Laboratory Directed research and Development program.
The use of additives such as ractopamine (Rac) in pregnant sows during early-mid pregnancy is an alternative to increase foetal and progeny growth and development. However, Rac supplementation in finishing pigs can lead to behavioural and physiological changes similar to the typical stress responses. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of dietary supplementation with Rac in pregnant sows from day 25 to 50 of gestation (pre-hyperplastic stage) on piglet’s vitality, blood parameters, number, diameter and perimeter of muscle fibres in semitendinosus muscle and developmental characteristics of piglets at birth to weaning. Forty-one hybrid sows were divided into three dietary treatments: (1) control diet without Rac (control), (2) addition of 10 mg/kg of Rac (Rac10) and (3) addition of 20 mg/kg of Rac (Rac20). Higher numbers of low-vitality piglets (P<0.05) were observed in Rac-fed sows, regardless of dose, compared with the control group. Very low-density lipoprotein levels were lower in the Rac10 group when compared with the Rac20 group at day 21. Haematocrit was greater, and the mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration was lower in piglets from Rac-fed sows. No significant statistical differences were detected regarding piglets body weight, average daily gain, blood gasometry, complete blood count and muscle fibre measurements in semitendinosus muscle. The use of Rac in pregnant sows reduced the vitality parameters of piglets but did not improve the performance from birth until weaning and did not negatively influence the haematological parameter and lipid metabolism.
There is a long history of exploitation of the South American river turtle Podocnemis expansa. Conservation efforts for this species started in the 1960s but best practices were not established, and population trends and the number of nesting females protected remained unknown. In 2014 we formed a working group to discuss conservation strategies and to compile population data across the species’ range. We analysed the spatial pattern of its abundance in relation to human and natural factors using multiple regression analyses. We found that > 85 conservation programmes are protecting 147,000 nesting females, primarily in Brazil. The top six sites harbour > 100,000 females and should be prioritized for conservation action. Abundance declines with latitude and we found no evidence of human pressure on current turtle abundance patterns. It is presently not possible to estimate the global population trend because the species is not monitored continuously across the Amazon basin. The number of females is increasing at some localities and decreasing at others. However, the current size of the protected population is well below the historical population size estimated from past levels of human consumption, which demonstrates the need for concerted global conservation action. The data and management recommendations compiled here provide the basis for a regional monitoring programme among South American countries.