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Vulnerability to depression can be measured in different ways. We here examine how genetic risk factors are inter-related for lifetime major depression (MD), self-report current depressive symptoms and the personality trait Neuroticism.
We obtained data from three population-based adult twin samples (Virginia n = 4672, Australia #1 n = 3598 and Australia #2 n = 1878) to which we fitted a common factor model where risk for ‘broadly defined depression’ was indexed by (i) lifetime MD assessed at personal interview, (ii) depressive symptoms, and (iii) neuroticism. We examined the proportion of genetic risk for MD deriving from the common factor v. specific to MD in each sample and then analyzed them jointly. Structural equation modeling was conducted in Mx.
The best fit models in all samples included additive genetic and unique environmental effects. The proportion of genetic effects unique to lifetime MD and not shared with the broad depression common factor in the three samples were estimated as 77, 61, and 65%, respectively. A cross-sample mega-analysis model fit well and estimated that 65% of the genetic risk for MD was unique.
A large proportion of genetic risk factors for lifetime MD was not, in the samples studied, captured by a common factor for broadly defined depression utilizing MD and self-report measures of current depressive symptoms and Neuroticism. The genetic substrate for MD may reflect neurobiological processes underlying the episodic nature of its cognitive, motor and neurovegetative manifestations, which are not well indexed by current depressive symptom and neuroticism.
BirdLife International´s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) Programme has identified, documented and mapped over 13,000 sites of international importance for birds. IBAs have been influential with governments, multilateral agreements, businesses and others in: (1) informing governments’ efforts to expand protected area networks (in particular to meet their commitments through the Convention on Biological Diversity); (2) supporting the identification of Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas (EBSAs) in the marine realm, (3) identifying Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention; (4) identifying sites of importance for species under the Convention on Migratory Species and its sister agreements; (5) identifying Special Protected Areas under the EU Birds Directive; (6) applying the environmental safeguards of international finance institutions such as the International Finance Corporation; (7) supporting the private sector to manage environmental risk in its operations; and (8) helping donor organisations like the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF) to prioritise investment in site-based conservation. The identification of IBAs (and IBAs in Danger: the most threatened of these) has also triggered conservation and management actions at site level, most notably by civil society organisations and local conservation groups. IBA data have therefore been widely used by stakeholders at different levels to help conserve a network of sites essential to maintaining the populations and habitats of birds as well as other biodiversity. The experience of IBA identification and conservation is shaping the design and implementation of the recently launched Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) Partnership and programme, as IBAs form a core part of the KBA network.
There is hardly any aspect of scholarly work and teaching in Roman Studies today not marked by digital technology. We assume that readers regularly access digital images of Roman material culture, use digitised corpora of primary sources in the original language or translation or consult online books and articles. The availability of digital resources on the internet is also a welcome enabler of ongoing public interest and even participation in the field. This overall state of affairs is generally a positive development, but both general trends and specific digital resources deserve a critical appraisal.
Background: Considerable evidence from twin and adoption studies indicates that genetic and shared environmental factors play a role in the initiation of smoking behavior. Although twin and adoption designs are powerful to detect genetic and environmental influences, they do not provide information on the processes of assortative mating and parent–offspring transmission and their contribution to the variability explained by genetic and/or environmental factors. Methods: We examined the role of genetic and environmental factors in individual differences for smoking initiation (SI) using an extended kinship design. This design allows the simultaneous testing of additive and non-additive genetic, shared and individual-specific environmental factors, as well as sex differences in the expression of genes and environment in the presence of assortative mating and combined genetic and cultural transmission, while also estimating the regression of the prevalence of SI on age. A dichotomous lifetime ‘ever’ smoking measure was obtained from twins and relatives in the ‘Virginia 30,000’ sample and the ‘Australian 25,000’. Results: Results demonstrate that both genetic and environmental factors play a significant role in the liability to SI. Major influences on individual differences appeared to be additive genetic and unique environmental effects, with smaller contributions from assortative mating, shared sibling environment, twin environment, cultural transmission, and resulting genotype-environment covariance. Age regression of the prevalence of SI was significant. The finding of negative cultural transmission without dominance led us to investigate more closely two possible mechanisms for the lower parent–offspring correlations compared to the sibling and DZ twin correlations in subsets of the data: (1) age × gene interaction, and (2) social homogamy. Neither of the mechanism provided a significantly better explanation of the data. Conclusions: This study showed significant heritability, partly due to assortment, and significant effects of primarily non-parental shared environment on liability to SI.
Prior research has documented shared heritable contributions to non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) and suicidal ideation (SI) as well as NSSI and suicide attempt (SA). In addition, trauma exposure has been implicated in risk for NSSI and suicide. Genetically informative studies are needed to determine common sources of liability to all three self-injurious thoughts and behaviors, and to clarify the nature of their associations with traumatic experiences.
Multivariate biometric modeling was conducted using data from 9526 twins [59% female, mean age = 31.7 years (range 24–42)] from two cohorts of the Australian Twin Registry, some of whom also participated in the Childhood Trauma Study and the Nicotine Addiction Genetics Project.
The prevalences of high-risk trauma exposure (HRT), NSSI, SI, and SA were 24.4, 5.6, 27.1, and 4.6%, respectively. All phenotypes were moderately to highly correlated. Genetic influences on self-injurious thoughts and behaviors and HRT were significant and highly correlated among men [rG = 0.59, 95% confidence interval (CI) (0.37–0.81)] and women [rG = 0.56 (0.49–0.63)]. Unique environmental influences were modestly correlated in women [rE = 0.23 (0.01–0.45)], suggesting that high-risk trauma may confer some direct risk for self-injurious thoughts and behaviors among females.
Individuals engaging in NSSI are at increased risk for suicide, and common heritable factors contribute to these associations. Preventing trauma exposure may help to mitigate risk for self-harm and suicide, either directly or indirectly via reductions in liability to psychopathology more broadly. In addition, targeting pre-existing vulnerability factors could significantly reduce risk for life-threatening behaviors among those who have experienced trauma.
The Taipan galaxy survey (hereafter simply ‘Taipan’) is a multi-object spectroscopic survey starting in 2017 that will cover 2π steradians over the southern sky (δ ≲ 10°, |b| ≳ 10°), and obtain optical spectra for about two million galaxies out to z < 0.4. Taipan will use the newly refurbished 1.2-m UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory with the new TAIPAN instrument, which includes an innovative ‘Starbugs’ positioning system capable of rapidly and simultaneously deploying up to 150 spectroscopic fibres (and up to 300 with a proposed upgrade) over the 6° diameter focal plane, and a purpose-built spectrograph operating in the range from 370 to 870 nm with resolving power R ≳ 2000. The main scientific goals of Taipan are (i) to measure the distance scale of the Universe (primarily governed by the local expansion rate, H0) to 1% precision, and the growth rate of structure to 5%; (ii) to make the most extensive map yet constructed of the total mass distribution and motions in the local Universe, using peculiar velocities based on improved Fundamental Plane distances, which will enable sensitive tests of gravitational physics; and (iii) to deliver a legacy sample of low-redshift galaxies as a unique laboratory for studying galaxy evolution as a function of dark matter halo and stellar mass and environment. The final survey, which will be completed within 5 yrs, will consist of a complete magnitude-limited sample (i ⩽ 17) of about 1.2 × 106 galaxies supplemented by an extension to higher redshifts and fainter magnitudes (i ⩽ 18.1) of a luminous red galaxy sample of about 0.8 × 106 galaxies. Observations and data processing will be carried out remotely and in a fully automated way, using a purpose-built automated ‘virtual observer’ software and an automated data reduction pipeline. The Taipan survey is deliberately designed to maximise its legacy value by complementing and enhancing current and planned surveys of the southern sky at wavelengths from the optical to the radio; it will become the primary redshift and optical spectroscopic reference catalogue for the local extragalactic Universe in the southern sky for the coming decade.
The current study examined a stage-based alcohol use trajectory model to test for potential causal effects of earlier drinking milestones on later drinking milestones in a combined sample of two cohorts of Australian monozygotic and same-sex dizygotic twins (N = 7,398, age M = 30.46, SD = 2.61, 61% male, 56% monozygotic twins). Ages of drinking, drunkenness, regular drinking, tolerance, first nontolerance alcohol use disorder symptom, and alcohol use disorder symptom onsets were assessed retrospectively. Ages of milestone attainment (i.e., age-of-onset) and time between milestones (i.e., time-to-event) were examined via frailty models within a multilevel discordant twin design. For age-of-onset models, earlier ages of onset of antecedent drinking milestones increased hazards for earlier ages of onset for more proximal subsequent drinking milestones. For the time-to-event models, however, earlier ages of onset for the “starting” milestone decreased risk for a shorter time period between the starting and the “ending” milestone. Earlier age of onset of intermediate milestones between starting and ending drinking milestones had the opposite effect, increasing risk for a shorter time period between the starting and ending milestones. These results are consistent with a causal effect of an earlier age of drinking milestone onset on temporally proximal subsequent drinking milestones.
Lameness in dairy cows is an important welfare issue. As part of a welfare assessment, herd level lameness prevalence can be estimated from scoring a sample of animals, where higher levels of accuracy are associated with larger sample sizes. As the financial cost is related to the number of cows sampled, smaller samples are preferred. Sequential sampling schemes have been used for informing decision making in clinical trials. Sequential sampling involves taking samples in stages, where sampling can stop early depending on the estimated lameness prevalence. When welfare assessment is used for a pass/fail decision, a similar approach could be applied to reduce the overall sample size. The sampling schemes proposed here apply the principles of sequential sampling within a diagnostic testing framework. This study develops three sequential sampling schemes of increasing complexity to classify 80 fully assessed UK dairy farms, each with known lameness prevalence. Using the Welfare Quality herd-size-based sampling scheme, the first ‘basic’ scheme involves two sampling events. At the first sampling event half the Welfare Quality sample size is drawn, and then depending on the outcome, sampling either stops or is continued and the same number of animals is sampled again. In the second ‘cautious’ scheme, an adaptation is made to ensure that correctly classifying a farm as ‘bad’ is done with greater certainty. The third scheme is the only scheme to go beyond lameness as a binary measure and investigates the potential for increasing accuracy by incorporating the number of severely lame cows into the decision. The three schemes are evaluated with respect to accuracy and average sample size by running 100 000 simulations for each scheme, and a comparison is made with the fixed size Welfare Quality herd-size-based sampling scheme. All three schemes performed almost as well as the fixed size scheme but with much smaller average sample sizes. For the third scheme, an overall association between lameness prevalence and the proportion of lame cows that were severely lame on a farm was found. However, as this association was found to not be consistent across all farms, the sampling scheme did not prove to be as useful as expected. The preferred scheme was therefore the ‘cautious’ scheme for which a sampling protocol has also been developed.
The Missouri Mothers and Their Children Study (MO-MATCH) was specifically designed to critically investigate prenatal environmental influences on child attention problems and associated learning and cognitive deficits. The project began as a pilot study in 2004 and was formally launched in 2008. Participants in the study were initially identified via the Department of Vital Statistics birth record (BR) database. Interview and lab-based data were obtained from: (1) mothers of Missouri-born children (born 1998–2005), who smoked during one pregnancy but not during another pregnancy; (2) biological fathers when available; and (3) the children (i.e., full sibling pairs discordant for exposure to maternal smoking during pregnancy (SDP). This within-mother, between-pregnancy contrast provides the best possible methodological control for many stable maternal and familial confounding factors (e.g., heritable and socio-demographic characteristics of the mother that predict increased probability of SDP). It also controls for differences between mothers who do and do not smoke during pregnancy, and their partners, that might otherwise artifactually create, or alternatively mask, associations between SDP and child outcomes. Such a design will therefore provide opportunities to determine less biased effect sizes while also allowing us to investigate (on a preliminary basis) the possible contribution of paternal or other second-hand smoke exposure during the pre, peri, and postnatal periods to offspring outcome. This protocol has developed a cohort that can be followed longitudinally through periods typically associated with increased externalizing symptoms and substance used initiation.
The Welfare Quality® protocols provide a multidimensional assessment of welfare, which is lengthy, and hence limited in terms of practicality. The aim of this study was to investigate potential ‘iceberg indicators’ which could reliably predict the overall classification as a means of reducing the length of time for an assessment and so increase the feasibility of the Welfare Quality® protocol as a multidimensional assessment of welfare. Full Welfare Quality® assessments were carried out on 92 dairy farms in England and Wales. The farms were all classified as Acceptable or Enhanced. Logistic regression models with cross validation were used to compare model fit for the overall classification on farms. ‘Absence of prolonged thirst’, on its own, was found to correctly classify farms 88% of the time. More generally, the inclusion of more measures in the models was not associated with greater predictive ability for the overall classification. Absence of prolonged thirst could thus, in theory, be considered to be an iceberg indicator for the Welfare Quality® protocol, and could reduce the length of time for a farm assessment to 15 min. Previous work has shown that the parameters within the Welfare Quality® protocol are important and relevant for welfare assessment. However, it is argued that the credibility of the published aggregation system is compromised by the finding that one resource measure (Absence of prolonged thirst) is a major driver for the overall classification. It is therefore suggested that the prominence of Absence of prolonged thirst in this role may be better understood as an unintended consequence of the published measure aggregation system rather than as reflecting a realistic iceberg indicator.
Imidazoles present a tunable, versatile and economical platform for the development of novel liquid solvents and polymer membranes for CO2 capture. An overview of our studies in this area is presented, with emphasis on characterization of structure-property relationships in imidazole-based materials through both experimental and computational studies. To this end, a growing library of systematically varied imidazole compounds has been synthesized using only commercial available starting materials and straightforward reactions. Using this library of compounds, we have sought to understand and develop predictive models for thermophysical properties relating to process design, including: density, viscosity, vapor pressure, pKa and CO2 absorption capacity. Furthermore, we have discovered that imidazoles are stable in the presence of SO2 and can form reversible 1:1 adducts, which can be beneficial as SO2 is typically present at ppm levels alongside CO2 in flue gas from coal-fired power plants.
While recent years have seen rapid growth in the number of galaxy peculiar velocity measurements, disagreements remain about the extent to which the peculiar velocity field - a tracer of the large-scale distribution of mass - agrees with both ΛCDM expectations and with velocity field models derived from redshift surveys. The 6dF Galaxy Survey includes peculiar velocities for nearly 9 000 early-type galaxies (6dFGSv), making it the largest and most homogeneous galaxy peculiar velocity sample to date. We have used the 6dFGS velocity field to determine the amplitude and scale of large-scale cosmic flows in the local universe and test standard cosmological models. We also compare the galaxy density and peculiar velocity fields to establish the distribution of dark and luminous matter and better constrain key cosmological parameters such as the redshift-space distortion parameter.
In the United States, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and coronary artery anomalies account for the leading two causes of sudden death in athletes. We present a case of a patient with an anomalous origin of the left main from the right coronary sinus with associated gene-confirmed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The patient underwent surgical repair with unroofing of the intramural portion of the left main coronary artery with a good result. We also review the reported cases in the medical literature describing this uncommon association between anomalous coronary artery origin and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
DSM-IV specifies a hierarchal diagnostic structure such that an oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) diagnosis is applied only if criteria are not met for conduct disorder (CD). Genetic studies of ODD and CD support a combination of shared genetic and environmental influences but largely ignore the imposed diagnostic structure.
We examined whether ODD and CD share an underlying etiology while accounting for DSM-IV diagnostic specifications. Data from 1446 female twin pairs, aged 11–19 years, were fitted to two-stage models adhering to the DSM-IV diagnostic hierarchy.
The models suggested that DSM-IV ODD–CD covariation is attributed largely to shared genetic influences.
This is the first study, to our knowledge, to examine genetic and environmental overlap among these disorders while maintaining a DSM-IV hierarchical structure. The findings reflect primarily shared genetic influences and specific (i.e. uncorrelated) shared/familial environmental effects on these DSM-IV-defined behaviors. These results have implications for how best to define CD and ODD for future genetically informed analyses.
Cellulose degradation products (CDPs) can complex with radioelements causing solubility enhancement and sorption reduction, effects which are detrimental to the containment of radionuclides in the near field of a geological disposal facility and surrounding geosphere. Isosaccharinic acid (ISA) is the principal component of CDPs formed under the alkaline anaerobic conditions of a cement-based near field and appears to be largely responsible for the impact of CDPs on radionuclide solubility and sorption under near-field conditions. However, the situation appears to be more complicated under near-neutral pH geosphere conditions.
A combined experimental and modelling study was undertaken to compare the impact of a CDP leachate to ISA in a simple model ternary sorption system consisting of hematite as a single mineral substrate, thorium as the radioelement and ISA or a CDP leachate as the complexant. Thorium sorbs strongly to hematite. A triple layer model for thorium sorption to hematite was refined to fit to the experimental data in the absence of ISA or CDP leachate; the effect of ISA on thorium sorption was then predicted.
In the presence of CDP leachate, a significant reduction in thorium sorption was observed from pH 6 to 12 in good agreement with model predictions based on a high concentration of ISA. However, only a limited impact of ISA on thorium sorption was observed at pH 6 to 12, in contrast to predictions. The effects of ISA could be accounted for by assuming the formation of a ternary thorium–ISA–surface complex. The model has yet to be extended to the more complex CDP systems. Differences in the thorium speciation in solution due to the formation of a ternary calcium–thorium–ISA complex in the CDP leachate, which is absent from solutions with ISA only, provides the most likely explanation for the differences observed experimentally.
A cementitious backfill has been proposed in many geological disposal concepts for intermediate-level waste and low-level waste in the UK and elsewhere. In this paper, the main features of the chemical evolution of backfill and the associated changes in the near-field pH are illustrated with results from recent work. For example, interaction of the groundwater with calcium silicate hydrate (C-S-H) phases in a backfill is expected to play an important role in the long-term pH-buffering behaviour. Existing experimental data for the dissolution of C-S-H gels are compared with recent experimental results from leach tests on gels of a lower calcium to silicon ratio (C/S) to provide a consistent set of data across the full C/S range. The results confirm that a congruent dissolution point around C/S = 0.8 is approached by leaching from below (i.e. for gels with 0.29 < C/S < 0.8), as well as from above, as reported elsewhere. In addition, a spreadsheet model has been developed to calculate the volume of backfill required at the vault scale to meet specified pH performance criteria. This model includes the major reactions of the backfill with the groundwater, waste encapsulants and waste components. It can also consider the effects of specific waste packages on local pH performance to allow comparison with the vault-scale calculations.
Background: Previous studies have found that child attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with more parental marital problems. However, the reasons for this association are unclear. The association might be due to genetic or environmental confounds that contribute to both marital problems and ADHD. Method: Data were drawn from the Australian Twin Registry, including 1,296 individual twins, their spouses, and offspring. We studied adult twins who were discordant for offspring ADHD. Using a discordant twin pairs design, we examined the extent to which genetic and environmental confounds, as well as measured parental and offspring characteristics, explain the ADHD–marital problems association. Results: Offspring ADHD predicted parental divorce and marital conflict. The associations were also robust when comparing differentially exposed identical twins to control for unmeasured genetic and environmental factors, when controlling for measured maternal and paternal psychopathology, when restricting the sample based on timing of parental divorce and ADHD onset, and when controlling for other forms of offspring psychopathology. Each of these controls rules out alternative explanations for the association. Conclusion: The results of the current study converge with those of prior research in suggesting that factors directly associated with offspring ADHD increase parental marital problems.