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Choice of the most appropriate breeding method hinges on mode of action of genes controlling expression of target traits. Pungency (capsaicin) and colour (oleoresin) are most important fruit quality traits in chilli. Genetics of fruit quality traits was unravelled using a combination of first and second degree statistics. An additive-dominance model was inadequate to explain the inheritance of fruit yield and quality traits. Magnitude of additive genetic effects [a] and their variances [σ2A] were higher than those of dominance genetic effects [d] and dominance genetic variances [σ2D] suggesting predominance of additive effect genes in the inheritance of both oleoresin and capsaicin contents. These results are discussed in relation to appropriate selection strategy to be followed for genetic improvement of chilli for oleoresin and capsaicin contents.
India has the second largest number of people with type 2 diabetes (T2D) globally. Epidemiological evidence indicates that consumption of white rice is positively associated with T2D risk, while intake of brown rice is inversely associated. Thus, we explored the effect of substituting brown rice for white rice on T2D risk factors among adults in urban South India. A total of 166 overweight (BMI ≥ 23 kg/m2) adults aged 25–65 years were enrolled in a randomised cross-over trial in Chennai, India. Interventions were a parboiled brown rice or white rice regimen providing two ad libitum meals/d, 6 d/week for 3 months with a 2-week washout period. Primary outcomes were blood glucose, insulin, glycosylated Hb (HbA1c), insulin resistance (homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance) and lipids. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) was a secondary outcome. We did not observe significant between-group differences for primary outcomes among all participants. However, a significant reduction in HbA1c was observed in the brown rice group among participants with the metabolic syndrome (−0·18 (se 0·08) %) relative to those without the metabolic syndrome (0·05 (se 0·05) %) (P-for-heterogeneity = 0·02). Improvements in HbA1c, total and LDL-cholesterol were observed in the brown rice group among participants with a BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2 compared with those with a BMI < 25 kg/m2 (P-for-heterogeneity < 0·05). We observed a smaller increase in hs-CRP in the brown (0·03 (sd 2·12) mg/l) compared with white rice group (0·63 (sd 2·35) mg/l) (P = 0·04). In conclusion, substituting brown rice for white rice showed a potential benefit on HbA1c among participants with the metabolic syndrome and an elevated BMI. A small benefit on inflammation was also observed.
Nature’s optical nanomaterials are poised to form the platform for future optical devices with unprecedented functionality. The brilliant colors of many animals arise from the physical interaction of light with nanostructured, multifunctional materials. While their length scale is typically in the 100-nm range, the morphology of these structures can vary strongly. These biological nanostructures are obtained in a controlled manner, using biomaterials under ambient conditions. The formation processes nature employs use elements of both equilibrium self-assembly and far-from-equilibrium and growth processes. This renders not only the colors themselves, but also the formation processes technologically and ecologically highly relevant. Yet, for many biological nanostructured materials, little is known about the formation mechanisms—partially due to a lack of in vivo imaging methods. Here, we present the toolbox of natural multifunctional nanostructures and the current knowledge about the understanding of their far-from-equilibrium assembly processes.
Far-from-equilibrium systems are ubiquitous in nature. They are also rich in terms of diversity and complexity. Therefore, it is an intellectual challenge to be able to understand the physics of far-from-equilibrium phenomena. In this article, we revisit a standard tabletop experiment, the Rayleigh–Bénard convection, to explore some fundamental questions and present a new perspective from a first-principles point of view. We address how nonequilibrium fluctuations differ from equilibrium fluctuations, how emergence of order out of equilibrium breaks symmetries in the system, and how free energy of a system gets locally bifurcated to operate a Carnot-like engine to maintain order. The exploration and investigation of these nontrivial questions are the focus of this article.
Materials can be endowed with unique properties by the integration of molecular motors. Molecular motors can have a biological origin or can be chemically synthesized and produce work from chemical energy or light. Their ability to access large internal or external reservoirs of energy enables a wide range of nonequilibrium behaviors, including the production of force, changes in shape, internal reorganization, and dynamic changes in mechanical properties—muscle tissue is one illustration of the possibilities. Current research efforts advance our experimental capabilities to create such “active matter” by using either biomolecular or synthetic motors, and also advance our theoretical understanding of these materials systems. Here, we introduce this exciting research field and highlight a few of the recent advances as well as open questions.
This article addresses why biomaterials are a growing part of materials science. We consider two areas at two different scales. At the nanometer scale, enzymes are heterogeneous nanoparticles of extraordinary deformability; this property allows us to view biomolecules informed by concepts of materials science and nonlinear physics. A degree of universality in the mechanical behavior of the molecules appears in the ubiquitous softening transitions; some results obtained dynamically by nanorheology, and others obtained in equilibrium experiments through the method of the DNA springs are summarized. These soft molecules represent an opportunity for studies of dissipation at the atomic scale. At the mesoscopic scale, composite functional materials with biological components hold promise for applications such as low power, chemically driven, biodegradable devices. A concrete example, and a program for the future, is the artificial axon. It is a synthetic structure that supports action potentials based on the same physical mechanism as the voltage spikes in nerve cells. A network of such axons, which is yet to come, would constitute an artificial brain. Beyond device applications, the focus here is on the basic science, namely, a constructivist approach to cybernetics, algorithmic mathematics, and the brain.
Searching for materials with improved or perhaps completely novel properties involves an iterative process intended to successively narrow the gap between some initial starting point and the desired design target. This can be viewed as an optimization problem in a high-dimensional search space, often with many dozens of material parameters that need to be tuned. To tackle this, the evolutionary process in biology has been a source of inspiration in developing effective search algorithms. However, reaping the full benefits of bioinspired searches for materials design requires some thought. Here, we go beyond traditional black box algorithms and take a broader view of computational evolution strategies. We discuss recent strategies that exploit knowledge about the material configuration statistics and we highlight the advantages when time-varying environments are considered. Throughout, we emphasize that the search strategies themselves can be viewed as a nonequilibrium dynamical process in design space.