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Characterisation of genetic diversity in a large number of European pig populations has been undertaken with EC support. The populations sampled included local (rare) breeds, national varieties of the major international breeds, commercial lines and the Chinese Meishan breed. A second phase of the project will sample a further 50 Chinese breeds. Neutral genetic markers (AFLP and microsatellites), with individual or bulk typing, were used and compared.
DNA from 59 European pig populations was extracted on samples of about 50 individuals per population. Individuals were typed for 50 microsatellites and for 148 AFLP bands. A subset of 25 populations was typed for 20 microsatellites on pools of DNA. Allele frequencies were estimated by direct allele counting for the co-dominant markers. Frequencies of AFLP negative alleles (absent bands) were obtained by taking the square root of absent band frequencies. Within-breed variability was summarised using standard statistics: expected and observed heterozygosity, mean observed and effective numbers of alleles, and F statistics. Between-breed diversity analysis was based on a bootstrapped Neighbor-Joining (NJ) tree derived from Reynolds distances (DR). The standard distance of Nei (DS) was also calculated.
Pre-slaughter transportation may affect poultry welfare and mortality rates. A retrospective analysis was conducted to examine the effect of environmental, management and individual factors on the percentage of dead birds during pre-slaughter transportation (dead-on-arrival, DOA). The variables accounted for in the analyses included: environmental temperature, travel duration, genetic line, gender, crate type and crate stocking density. Among the 41 452 loads of turkeys (34 696 388 birds) and 3241 of end of lay hens (21 788 124 birds) transported to three large abattoirs in northern Italy in a 3-year period, the median DOA was 0.14% in turkeys, and 0.38% in hens. In turkeys, travel duration longer than 30 min, temperature higher than 26°C and high in-crate densities were associated with increased DOA. In winter (⩽2°C), high stocking densities did not reduce the mortality risk from cold stress; on the contrary, for stocking densities either near to or just above the maximum density in EC Reg. 1/2005, the DOA risk was greater than for loads with densities of 10 kg/m2 less than the EC maximum. Male birds and specific genetic lines also showed a higher DOA. In hens, transportation lasting longer than 2 h and the brown-feathered breed were associated with higher DOA. Dead-on-arrival progressively increased with travel duration, remaining constant between 4 and 6 h and peaking at 8 h (median: 0.57%). The maximum DOA increase was detected during winter. These results show that several species-specific factors may lead to increased risk of mortality.
Next space missions will investigate the possibility of extinct or extant life on Mars. Studying the infrared spectral modifications, induced by thermal processing on different carbonate samples (recent shells and fossils of different ages), we developed a method able to discriminate biogenic carbonates from their abiogenic counterparts. The method has been successfully applied to microbialites, i.e. bio-induced carbonates deposits, and particularly to stromatolites, the laminated fabric of microbialites, some of which can be ascribed to among the oldest traces of biological activity known on Earth. These results are of valuable importance since such carbonates are linked to primitive living organisms that can be considered as good analogues for putative Martian life forms. Considering that the microstructures of biogenic carbonate are different from those of abiogenic origin, we investigated the micromorphology of shells, skeletal grains and microbialites at different scale with a scanning electron microscope. The results show that this line of research may provide an alternative and complementary approach to other techniques developed in the past by our group to distinguish biotic from abiotic carbonates. In this paper, we present some results that can be of valuable interest since they demonstrate the utility for a database of images concerning the structures and textures of relevant carbonate minerals. Such data may be useful for the analysis of Martian samples, coming from sample return missions or investigated by future in situ explorations, aimed to characterize the near-subsurface of Mars in search for past or present life.
In this paper the defects generated by ion implantation in 4H-SiC DIMOSFET (Double Implanted MOSFETs), and their evolution after annealing process, have been studied in detail. The point defects generated by the source or body implantation process have been detected by micro-photoluminescence (µPL) and the effect of these defects on the electrical characteristics of the DIMOSFET has been studied. The role of the annealing process has been carefully investigated by using different temperatures. It appears fundamental for the restoring of the crystal damage. The effect of the ion implantation dose has been investigated as well. By reducing the source ion implanted dose a large decrease of point defects has been detected and a considerable improvement of the electrical characteristic of the DIMOSFET has been observed.
Among the RS CVn stars showing solar-type activity, with spectral types ranging from F to K and total masses up to 4 M⊙, there are two peculiar groups with period less than one day:a)agroup with components well inside their Roche lobes (Short-Period-Group, hereinafter SPG) and b) a group with their components in a thin or marginal degree of contact, with lightcurves of W UMa-W type (hereinafter WWG).
We analize the general properties of a group of WUMa-type binaries, which show RSCVn-like activity. The position of these stars in the colour-density and mass-orbital momentum diagrams is studied, but no definite answer can be given on the linkage between short period RSCVn systems (SPG) and WUMa systems with RSCVn-like activity (WWG).
One of the properties of RS CVn-like binaries is the presence of cyclic fluctuations, sometimes called “migrating waves”, in the V and other broad-band lightcurves. These fluctuations, perhaps due to spots, vary in amplitudes and periods, in the sense that, the longer the orbital period of the RS CVn system, the higher the amplitude of the “wave”, which may be up to 30-35% of the total light variation. Therefore, in short-period (less than one day) RS CVn binaries, these
fluctuations are generally difficult to be detected.
In this paper we apply the Wilson-Price procedure to the solution of the binary system AO Cam using simultaneously all the available information and a statistical criterion to judge about the quality of the solutions found.
We identify a benchmark problem simple enough that it can be solved both by an eddy-viscosity model and by direct numerical simulation: this is the linear response of a turbulent flow’s mean-velocity profile to an external volume force. An example of such a force was found in a study of the perturbation induced by bottom topography by Luchini & Charru (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 656, 2010, pp. 337–341). On the other hand, a modification of the method by Quadrio & Luchini (Proceedings of the IX European Turbulence Conference, Southampton, UK, 2002, pp. 715–718) and Luchini et al. (Phys. Fluids, vol. 18, 2006, 121702) to compute the linear impulse response of a wall-bounded turbulent flow allows the response to a volume force to be computed directly. The comparison exhibits significant differences and suggests that there might be fundamental obstacles to designing an eddy-viscosity model that provides the correct result.
Transcatheter cryoablation is a well-established technique for the treatment of atrioventricular nodal re-entry tachycardia and atrioventricular re-entry tachycardia in children. Fluoroscopy or three-dimensional mapping systems can be used to perform the ablation procedure. The aim of this study was to compare the success rate of cryoablation procedures for the treatment of right septal accessory pathways and atrioventricular nodal re-entry circuits in children using conventional or three-dimensional mapping and to evaluate whether three-dimensional mapping was associated with reduced patient radiation dose compared with traditional mapping.
In 2013, 81 children underwent transcatheter cryoablation at our institution, using conventional mapping in 41 children – 32 atrioventricular nodal re-entry tachycardia and nine atrioventricular re-entry tachycardia – and three-dimensional mapping in 40 children – 24 atrioventricular nodal re-entry tachycardia and 16 atrioventricular re-entry tachycardia.
Using conventional mapping, the overall success rate was 78.1 and 66.7% in patients with atrioventricular nodal re-entry tachycardia or atrioventricular re-entry tachycardia, respectively. Using three-dimensional mapping, the overall success rate was 91.6 and 75%, respectively (p=ns). The use of three-dimensional mapping was associated with a reduction in cumulative air kerma and cumulative air kerma–area product of 76.4 and 67.3%, respectively (p<0.05).
The use of three-dimensional mapping compared with the conventional fluoroscopy-guided method for cryoablation of right septal accessory pathways and atrioventricular nodal re-entry circuits in children was associated with a significant reduction in patient radiation dose without an increase in success rate.
The activity and circulation of influenza viruses in Argentina was studied during 2012 as part of the Argentinean Surveillance for Influenza and other Respiratory Viruses, in the context of Global Influenza Surveillance. The antigenicity and molecular characteristics of haemagglutinins (HA) of circulating influenza A and B viruses were analysed to assess the emergence of virus variants. Susceptibility to oseltamivir and zanamivir was evaluated by enzymatic assay and results were backed-up by sequencing of the neuraminidase (NA) genes. During the 2012 season, influenza virus circulation in Argentina was detected from weeks 24 to 51. The HA sequences of the studied A(H1N1)pdm09 subtype viruses segregated in a different genetic group compared to those identified during the 2009 pandemic, although they were still closely related antigenically to the vaccine virus A/California/07/2009. The HA sequences of the A(H3N2) viruses analysed fell into the A/Victoria/208/2009 clade, genetic group 3C. A mixed circulation of virus variants belonging to B/Victoria and B/Yamagata lineages was detected, with B/Victoria being dominant. All viruses tested were sensitive to oseltamivir and zanamivir except one. This isolate, an A(H1N1)pdm09 virus possessing the substitution NA-N295S, showed highly reduced inhibition by oseltamivir and reduced inhibition by zanamivir. Virological and epidemiological surveillance remains critical for detection of evolving influenza viruses.
Actinomycosis is an infectious syndrome caused by anaerobic or microaerophilic bacteria, primarily from the genus Actinomyces. It is most commonly caused by Actinomyces israelii. However, Actinomyces naeslundii, Actinomyces odontolyticus, Actinomyces viscosus, Actinomyces meyeri, and Actinomyces gerencseriae are less common causes of infection. Advances in microbiologic taxonomy, using genotypic methods such as comparative 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) or sequencing of alternative genes, have led to the identification of many new Actinomyces species from both human and animal specimens. Presently 46 species and 2 subspecies have been recognized (http://www.bacterio.cict.fr/a/actinomyces.html). Although the syndrome of actinomycosis can be caused by these more recently described agents, most of the infections are not “classic” actinomycosis. Infections due to Actinomyces neuii have been increasingly recognized. Nearly all of actinomycotic infections are polymicrobial in nature. Aggregatibacter (formerly Actinobacillus) actinomycetemcomitans, Eikenella corrodens, Fusobacterium, Bacteroides, Capnocytophaga, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Enterobacteriaceae are commonly co-isolated (“companion organisms”) with the agents of actinomycosis in various combinations depending on the site of the infection.
Epidemiology and pathogenesis
The etiologic agents of actinomycosis are members of the normal oral flora and are often present in bronchi and the gastrointestinal and female genital tracts. Although males have a higher incidence of infection (perhaps due to more frequent trauma and poorer dental hygiene), actinomycosis occurs in all age groups and geographic locations. Disruption of the mucosal barrier is the critical step for the development of actinomycosis. Subsequently, local infection may ensue and once established, if untreated, spreads contiguously ignoring tissue planes in a slow, progressive manner. Although acute inflammation may initially occur at the site of infection, the hallmark of actinomycosis is the characteristic chronic, indolent phase. This stage is manifested by lesions that usually appear as single or multiple indurations. Central necrosis develops that consists of neutrophils and sulfur granules (a finding virtually diagnostic of this disease). The walls of the mass are fibrotic and characteristically described as “wooden.” Over time sinus tracts to the skin, adjacent organs, or bone may develop. Rarely distant hematogenous seeding occurs. Foreign bodies appear to facilitate infection. This occurs most frequently with intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUCDs). Although actinomycosis has been described in the setting of various immunosuppressive therapies or states of host compromise, it remains unclear which arm(s) of host defense prevents/control infection. The contribution of the non-Actinomyces co-isolates or companion organisms to the pathogenesis of actinomycosis is also uncertain.
Although risk for psychosis in velocardiofacial (22q11.2 deletion) syndrome (VCFS) is well established, the cognitive and familial factors that moderate that risk are poorly understood.
A total of 75 youth with VCFS were assessed at three time points, at 3-year intervals. Time 1 (T1) psychiatric risk was assessed with the Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC). Data reduction of BASC scores yielded avoidance–anxiety and dysregulation factors. Time 2 (T2) neuropsychological and family function and time 3 (T3) prodromal/overt psychosis were assessed. Poisson regression models tested associations between T3 positive prodromal symptoms/overt psychosis and T1 psychiatric risk, T2 cognitive and familial factors, and their interactions.
T1 avoidance–anxiety ratings predicted T3 prodromal/overt psychosis. T2 verbal learning scores moderated this association, such that individuals with low avoidance–anxiety scores and stronger verbal learning skills were the least likely to demonstrate prodromal/overt psychosis at T3. Low scores on a T2 visual vigilance task also predicted T3 prodromal/overt psychosis, independently of the effect of T1 avoidance–anxiety scores. T1 dysregulation scores did not predict T3 prodromal/overt psychosis in a linear manner. Instead, the association between dysregulation and prodromal/overt psychosis was amplified by T2 levels of family organization, such that individuals with low dysregulation scores and low family organization scores were the most likely to exhibit T3 prodromal/overt psychosis.
Significant moderators of psychiatric risk in VCFS include verbal learning skills as well as levels of family organization, carrying implications for early identification and preventative treatment of youth with VCFS at highest risk for psychosis.
Graded Al-doped ZnO layers, constituted by a mesoporous forest-like system evolving into a compact transparent conductor, were synthesized by Pulsed Laser Deposition with different morphologies to study the correlation with functional properties. Morphology was monitored by Scanning Electron Microscopy images and by measuring the resulting surface roughness. Its effects on electrical conductivity – especially carrier mobility, which significantly decreases with increasing roughness – allow to discuss the limitations in conduction mechanisms. Significant changes in light scattering capability due to variations in morphology are also investigated and discussed to study the correlation between morphology and functional properties.
Recent data suggest trait-like neurocognitive impairments in bipolar disorder (BPD), with deficits about 1 s.d. below average, less severe than deficits noted in schizophrenia. The frequency of significant impairment in BPD is approximately 60%, with 40% of patients characterized as cognitively spared. This contrasts with a more homogeneous presentation in schizophrenia. It is not understood why some BPD patients develop deficits while others do not.
A total of 136 patients with BPD completed the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery and data were entered into hierarchical cluster analyses to: (1) determine the optimal number of clusters (subgroups) that fit the sample; and (2) assign subjects to a specific cluster based on individual profiles. We then compared subgroups on several clinical factors and real-world community functioning.
Three distinct neurocognitive subgroups were found: (1) an intact group with performance comparable with healthy controls on all domains but with superior social cognition; (2) a selective impairment group with moderate deficits on processing speed, attention, verbal learning and social cognition and normal functioning in other domains; and (3) a global impairment group with severe deficits across all cognitive domains comparable with deficits in schizophrenia.
These results suggest the presence of multiple cognitive subgroups in BPD with unique profiles and begin to address the relationships between these subgroups, several clinical factors and functional outcome. Next steps will include using these data to help guide future efforts to target these disabling symptoms with treatment.
Several genetic and physiological factors increase the risk of DNA damage in mammalian oocytes. Two critical events are: (i) meiosis progression, from maturation to fertilization, due to extensive chromatin remodelling during genome decondensation; and (ii) aging, which is associated with a progressive oxidative stress. In this work, we studied the transcriptional patterns of three genes, RAD51, APEX-1 and MLH1, involved in DNA repair mechanisms. The analyses were performed by real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) in immature and in vitro matured oocytes collected from 17 ± 3-month-old heifers and 94 ± 20-month-old cows. Batches of 30–50 oocytes for each group (three replicates) were collected from ovarian follicles of slaughtered animals. The oocytes were freed from cumulus cells at the time of follicle removal, or after in vitro maturation (IVM) carried out in M199 supplemented with 10% fetal calf serum, 10 IU luteinising hormone (LH)/ml, 0.1 IU follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)/ml and 1 μg 17β-oestradiol/ml. Total RNA was extracted by Trizol method. The expression of bovine GAPDH gene was used as the internal standard, while primers for bovine RAD51, APEX-1 and MLH1 genes were designed from DNA sequences retrieved from GenBank. Results obtained indicate a clear up-regulation of RAD51, APEX-1 and MLH1 genes after IVM, ranging between two- and four-fold compared with germinal vesicle (GV) oocytes. However, only RAD51 showed a significant transcript increase between the immature oocytes collected from young or old individuals. This finding highlights RAD51 as a candidate gene marker for discriminating bovine immature oocytes in relation to the donor age.