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The seasonality of individual influenza subtypes/lineages and the association of influenza epidemics with meteorological factors in the tropics/subtropics have not been well understood. The impact of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic on the prevalence of seasonal influenza virus remains to be explored. Using wavelet analysis, the periodicities of A/H3N2, seasonal A/H1N1, A/H1N1pdm09, Victoria and Yamagata were identified, respectively, in Panzhihua during 2006–2015. As a subtropical city in southwestern China, Panzhihua is the first industrial city in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. The relationship between influenza epidemics and local climatic variables was examined based on regression models. The temporal distribution of influenza subtypes/lineages during the pre-pandemic (2006–2009), pandemic (2009) and post-pandemic (2010–2015) years was described and compared. A total of 6892 respiratory specimens were collected and 737 influenza viruses were isolated. A/H3N2 showed an annual cycle with a peak in summer–autumn, while A/H1N1pdm09, Victoria and Yamagata exhibited an annual cycle with a peak in winter–spring. Regression analyses demonstrated that relative humidity was positively associated with A/H3N2 activity while negatively associated with Victoria activity. Higher prevalence of A/H1N1pdm09 and Yamagata was driven by lower absolute humidity. The role of weather conditions in regulating influenza epidemics could be complicated since the diverse viral transmission modes and mechanism. Differences in seasonality and different associations with meteorological factors by influenza subtypes/lineages should be considered in epidemiological studies in the tropics/subtropics. The development of subtype- and lineage-specific prevention and control measures is of significant importance.
Cultivated pastures in southern China are being used to improve forage productivity and animal performance, but studies on grazing behaviour of goats in these cultivated pastures are still rare. In the current study, the grazing behaviour of Yunling black goats under low (5 goats/ha) and high (15 goats/ha) stocking rates (SRs) was evaluated. Data showed that the proportion of time goats spent on activities was: eating (0.59–0.87), ruminating (0.05–0.35), walking (0.03–0.06) and resting (0.01–0.03). Compared with low SR, goats spent more time eating and walking, and less time ruminating and resting under high SR. Goats had similar diet preferences under both SR and preferred to eat grasses (ryegrass and cocksfoot) more than a legume (white clover). The distribution of eating time on each forage species was more uniform under high v. low SR. Bites/step, bite weight and daily intake were greater under low than high SR. Results suggest that the SR affects grazing behaviour of goats on cultivated pasture, and identifying an optimal SR is critical for increasing bite weight and intake.
Background: Heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in the synaptic scaffolding gene SHANK2 are strongly associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, their impact on the function of human neurons is unknown. Derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) from affected individuals permits generation of live neurons to answer this question. Methods: We generated iPSCs by reprogramming dermal fibroblasts of neurotypic and ASD-affected donors. To isolate the effect of SHANK2, we used CRISPR/Cas9 to knock out SHANK2 in control iPSCs and correct a heterozygous nonsense mutation in ASD-affected donor iPSCs. We then derived cortical neurons from SOX1+ neural precursor cells differentiated from these iPSCs. Using a novel assay that overcomes line-to-line variability, we compared neuronal morphology, total synapse number, and electrophysiological properties between SHANK2 mutants and controls. Results: Relative to controls, SHANK2 mutant neurons have increased dendrite complexity, dendrite length, total synapse number (1.5-2-fold), and spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic current (sEPSC) frequency (3-7.6-fold). Conclusions: ASD-associated heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in SHANK2 increase synaptic connectivity among human neurons by increasing synapse number and sEPSC frequency. This is partially supported by increased dendrite length and complexity, providing evidence that SHANK2 functions as a suppressor of dendrite branching during neurodevelopment.
Honeybee foraging can transfer exogenous genes from genetically modified (GM) oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) to closely related plants, which not only induces potential ecological risks but also contaminates non-GM seeds or honey products with GM ingredients. These events may lead to international trade disputes. Chinese honeybees (Apis cerana cerana Fabricius) and a herbicide (glufosinate)-resistant GM strain of B. napus (Z7B10) were studied to examine the effects of honeybee short-range foraging on oilseed rape gene flow and honey ingredients. Results showed variable frequencies of gene flow between GM and non-GM oilseed rape cultivars, with the highest frequency under nylon net isolation with artificially stocked honeybees, the lowest frequency under nylon net isolation alone, and an intermediate frequency under natural pollination, suggesting the important role of honeybee foraging in gene flow frequency. Additionally, GM pollen grains were found in honey collected from honeybees foraging on both GM and non-GM oilseed rape cultivars. The phosphinothricin acetyltransferase protein was also detected in both unbroken pollen-containing and pollen-free honey by protein testing strips, suggesting that honeybee foraging on GM oilseed rape could lead to contamination with GM ingredients. Overall, the results provide a direct scientific basis for the ecological risk assessment and safety management of GM oilseed rape.
The fruit of Ligustrum lucidum (FLL, Nuzhenzi in Chinese) is an important traditional medicine, and have attracted significant research attention because of their various biological activities. However, there are few research reports available on the use of FLL as a feed additive in livestock nutrition, particularly in layers. This study was conducted to determine the effects of supplementation of the diet of laying hens with FLL on laying performance, egg quality and blood metabolites. A total of 360 72-week-old hens were allocated to three dietary treatments (eight replications of 15 hens/treatment group) and were fed either a control diet or a diet supplemented with an inclusion level of 0.25% or 0.50% of FLL powder in the final feed, until 78 weeks of age. Hens were housed in a three-tier cage system. Feed and water were provided ad libitum. Blood samples and eggs were collected at the end of the experiment. The results showed that dietary supplementation with FLL did not affect egg weight, feed conversion ratio, eggshell thickness, albumen height, egg yolk color, eggshell breaking strength or egg shape index. However, FLL supplementation significantly decreased (P<0.001) mortality, cracked-egg rate and blood serum levels of cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides and alanine aminotransferase, and increased (P<0.001) blood serum levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. No differences in serum levels of total protein, albumin, glucose, calcium, aspartate aminotransferase or alkaline phosphatase were observed in hens fed FLL compared with the control group. It can be concluded that FLL, at a supplementation level of 0.25% final feed, can be used as an effective feed additive to improve the performance of laying hens during the late laying period.
Hundreds of small-scale influenza outbreaks in schools are reported in mainland China every year, leading to a heavy disease burden which seriously impacts the operation of affected schools. Knowing the transmissibility of each outbreak in the early stage has become a major concern for public health policy-makers and primary healthcare providers. In this study, we collected all the small-scale outbreaks in Changsha (a large city in south central China with ~7·04 million population) from January 2005 to December 2013. Four simple and popularly used models were employed to calculate the reproduction number (R) of these outbreaks. Given that the duration of a generation interval Tc = 2·7 and the standard deviation (s.d.)σ = 1·1, the mean R estimated by an epidemic model, normal distribution and delta distribution were 2·51 (s.d. = 0·73), 4·11 (s.d. = 2·20) and 5·88 (s.d. = 5·00), respectively. When Tc = 2·9 and σ = 1·4, the mean R estimated by the three models were 2·62 (s.d. = 0·78), 4·72 (s.d. = 2·82) and 6·86 (s.d. = 6·34), respectively. The mean R estimated by gamma distribution was 4·32 (s.d. = 2·47). We found that the values of R in small-scale outbreaks in schools were higher than in large-scale outbreaks in a neighbourhood, city or province. Normal distribution, delta distribution, and gamma distribution models seem to more easily overestimate the R of influenza outbreaks compared to the epidemic model.
The loss of a close relative is one of the most stressful life events. In pregnancy, this experience has been associated with a higher risk of fetal death and under-five mortality, but little is known about potential effects on long-term mortality in offspring. We examined the association between prenatal maternal bereavement and mortality in a cohort of 5.3 million children followed until up to 37 years of age.
The population-based cohort study included 5 253 508 live singleton births in Denmark (1973–2004) and Sweden (1973–2006). Children born to mothers who lost a child, spouse, sibling, or parent during or 1 year before pregnancy were categorized as exposed.
Prenatal maternal bereavement was associated with a 10% increased all-cause mortality risk in offspring [mortality rate ratio (MRR) 1.10, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.03–1.18]. The association was the most pronounced for children of mothers who lost a child/spouse (MRR 1.28, 95% CI 1.14–1.44) and was stronger during the first 10 years of life. Prenatal maternal bereavement may have stronger effects on natural causes of death in offspring, including infectious/parasitic disease (MRR 1.86, 95% CI 1.07–3.23), endocrine/nutritional/metabolic diseases (MRR 3.23, 95% CI 2.02–5.17), diseases of nervous system (MRR 3.36, 95% CI 2.47–4.58), and congenital malformations (MRR 1.39, 95% CI 1.08–1.80). No excess mortality risk in offspring was observed for unnatural causes of death.
Prenatal maternal bereavement was associated with an increased long-term mortality risk in offspring, particularly for selected natural causes of diseases and medical conditions. Our results support the fetal programming hypothesis that prenatal stress may contribute to ill health from physical diseases later in life.
Outbreaks of acute haemorrhagic conjunctivitis (AHC) – a rapidly progressing and highly contagious infection – often occur in schools during summer and autumn. We used dynamic modelling to evaluate the efficacy of interventions to control AHC outbreaks in schools. A susceptible-infected-recovered (SIR) model was built to simulate AHC outbreaks in Chinese schools, with isolation or school closure added into the model. We used outbreak data from the period 2004–2015 in our models to estimate the effective reproduction number and assess the efficacy of interventions. The median effective reproduction number (uncontrolled) of AHC outbreaks was 7·00 (range 1·77–25·87). The median effective reproduction number (controlled) of AHC outbreaks was 0·16 (range 0·00–2·28). Intervention efficacy is affected by the timing of isolation; earlier isolation is associated with a lower morbidity peak and smaller total attack rate (TAR). School closures were not effective; TARs were almost 100% and did not change even when different school closure durations were adopted. Isolation and school closure as a combined intervention strategy was used to simulate outbreak control, but the efficacy was the same as isolation alone. An isolation programme could be an effective primary intervention during AHC outbreaks in schools. However, school closure is not recommended.
Schizophrenia patients have a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) than normals. We examined the relationship between IGT and clinical phenotypes or cognitive deficits in first-episode, drug-naïve (FEDN) Han Chinese patients with schizophrenia.
A total of 175 in-patients were compared with 31 healthy controls on anthropometric measures and fasting plasma levels of glucose, insulin and lipids. They were also compared using a 75 g oral glucose tolerance test and the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). Neurocognitive functioning was assessed using the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB). Patient psychopathology was assessed using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS).
Of the patients, 24.5% had IGT compared with none of the controls, and they also had significantly higher levels of fasting blood glucose and 2-h glucose after an oral glucose load, and were more insulin resistant. Compared with those patients with normal glucose tolerance, the IGT patients were older, had a later age of onset, higher waist or hip circumference and body mass index, higher levels of low-density lipoprotein and triglycerides and higher insulin resistance. Furthermore, IGT patients had higher PANSS total and negative symptom subscale scores, but no greater cognitive impairment except on the emotional intelligence index of the MCCB.
IGT occurs with greater frequency in FEDN schizophrenia, and shows association with demographic and anthropometric parameters, as well as with clinical symptoms but minimally with cognitive impairment during the early course of the disorder.
We present recent observation results of Sgr A* at millimeter obtained with VLBI arrays in Korea and Japan.
7 mm monitoring of Sgr A* is part of our AGN large project. The results at 7 epochs during 2013-2014, including high resolution maps, flux density and two-dimensional size measurements are presented. The source shows no significant variation in flux and structure related to the G2 encounter in 2014. According to recent MHD simulations by kawashima et al., flux and magnetic field energy can be expected to increase several years after the encounter; We will keep our monitoring in order to test this prediction.
Astrometric observations of Sgr A* were performed in 2015 at 7 and 3.5 millimeter simultaneously. Source-frequency phase referencing was applied and a combined ”core-shift” of Sgr A* and a nearby calibrator was measured. Future observations and analysis are necessary to determine the core-shift in each source.
Cattleyak (hybrid of cattle and yak) exhibit higher capability in adaptability and production than cattle and yak, while the infertility of F1 males greatly restricts the effective utilization of this hybrid and little progress has been made on investigating the mechanisms of the cattleyak infertility. Cattleyak individuals at three development stages (10, 12 and 14-month old) were sampled in this work and the isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantification method was employed to identify differences between their testicular proteomes. The proteomic analysis identified 318 proteins differentially expressed with significance at 12-month stage and 327 at 14-month compared with 10-month stage, respectively. Compared with the testicular proteome from 10-month cattleyak, the gene ontology (GO) annotations of the differentially expressed proteins at 12 months did not indicate significant differences from those at 14 months, which confirmed the histological observation that germ cell reduction was more obvious and spermatogenic arrest may become more serious in 12-month-old cattleyak. On the other hand, 56 differentially expressed proteins were coexpressed at 12 and 14-month stage compared with 10-month stage, in which 32 proteins were upregulated and 24 downregulated. GO analysis revealed that most of the differently expressed proteins were involved in the molecular function of catalytic activity, transporter activity, oxidoreductase activity and protein binding. Further analysis indicated that the differently expressed proteins including testis-expressed protein 101 precursor, RNA-binding motif protein, X chromosome, putative RNA-binding protein 3, heparin-binding proteins, tudor domain-containing protein 1, glutathione S-transferases (GSTA2, GSTP1), heat shock-related 70 kDa protein 2, estradiol 17-β-dehydrogenase11, 2,4-dienoyl-CoA reductase and peroxiredoxin-2 were possibly associated with testis development and spermatogenesis, which could be selected as candidate proteins in future study to examine the mechanisms of cattleyak infertility.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is moderately heritable, however genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for MDD, as well as for related continuous outcomes, have not shown consistent results. Attempts to elucidate the genetic basis of MDD may be hindered by heterogeneity in diagnosis. The Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) scale provides a widely used tool for measuring depressive symptoms clustered in four different domains which can be combined together into a total score but also can be analysed as separate symptom domains.
We performed a meta-analysis of GWAS of the CES-D symptom clusters. We recruited 12 cohorts with the 20- or 10-item CES-D scale (32 528 persons).
One single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs713224, located near the brain-expressed melatonin receptor (MTNR1A) gene, was associated with the somatic complaints domain of depression symptoms, with borderline genome-wide significance (pdiscovery = 3.82 × 10−8). The SNP was analysed in an additional five cohorts comprising the replication sample (6813 persons). However, the association was not consistent among the replication sample (pdiscovery+replication = 1.10 × 10−6) with evidence of heterogeneity.
Despite the effort to harmonize the phenotypes across cohorts and participants, our study is still underpowered to detect consistent association for depression, even by means of symptom classification. On the contrary, the SNP-based heritability and co-heritability estimation results suggest that a very minor part of the variation could be captured by GWAS, explaining the reason of sparse findings.
From the photoinduced transport of energy that accompanies photosynthesis to the transcontinental transmission of optical data that enable the Internet, our world relies and thrives on optical signals. To highlight the importance of optics to society, the United Nations designated 2015 as “The International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies.” Although conventional optical technologies are limited by diffraction, plasmons—collective oscillations of free electrons in a conductor—allow optical signals to be tailored with nanoscale precision. Following decades of fundamental research, several plasmonic technologies have now emerged on the market, and numerous industrial breakthroughs are imminent. This article highlights recent industrially relevant advances in plasmonics, including plasmonic materials and devices for energy; for medical sensing, imaging, and therapeutics; and for information technology. Some of the most exciting industrial applications include solar-driven water purifiers, cell phone Raman spectrometers, high-density holographic displays, photothermal cancer therapeutics, and nanophotonic integrated circuits. We describe the fundamental scientific concepts behind these and related technologies, as well as the successes and challenges associated with technology transfer.
Mycoplasma infections are most frequently associated with disease in the urogenital or respiratory tracts and, in most cases, mycoplasmas infect the host persistently. In HIV-infected individuals the prevalence and role of genital mycoplasmas has not been well studied. To investigate the six species of Mycoplasma and the risk factors for infection in Jiangsu province, first-void urine and venous blood samples were collected and epidemiological questionnaires were administered after informed consent. A total of 1541 HIV/AIDS patients were recruited in this study. The overall infection rates of six Mycoplasma species were: Ureaplasma urealyticum (26·7%), Mycoplasma hominis (25·3%), M. fermentans (5·1%), M. genitalium (20·1%), M. penetrans (1·6%) and M. pirum (15·4%). The Mycoplasma infection rate in the unmarried group was lower than that of the married, divorced and widowed groups [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1·432, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·077–1·904, P < 0·05]. The patients who refused highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) had a much higher risk of Mucoplasma infection (aOR 1·357, 95% CI 1·097–1·679, P < 0·05). Otherwise, a high CD4+ T cell count was a protective factor against Mycoplasma infection (aOR 0·576, 95% CI 0·460–0·719, P < 0·05). Further research will be required to confirm a causal relationship and to identify risk factors for Mycoplasma infection in HIV/AIDS populations.
Water scarcity is a major constraint of agricultural production in arid and semi-arid areas. In the face of future water scarcity, one possible way the agricultural sector could be adapted is to change cropping patterns and make adjustments for available water resources for irrigation. The present paper analyses the temporal evolution of cropping pattern from 1960 to 2008 in the Hetao Irrigation District (HID), China. The impact of changing cropping patterns on regional agricultural water productivity is evaluated from the water footprint (WF) perspective. Results show that the area under cash crops (e.g. sunflower and melon) has risen phenomenally over the study period because of increased economic returns pursued by farmers. Most of these cash crops have a smaller WF (high water productivity) than grain crops in HID. With the increase of area sown to cash crops, water productivity in HID increased substantially. Changing the cropping pattern has significant effects on regional crop water productivity: in this way, HID has increased the total crop production without increasing significantly the regional water consumption. The results of this case study indicate that regional agricultural water can be used effectively by properly planning crop areas and patterns under irrigation water limitations. However, there is a need to foster a cropping pattern that is multifunctional and sustainable, which can guarantee food security, enhance natural resource use and provide stable and high returns to farmers.
An actual trend to enhance solar cells efficiency is to build multijunction cells, creating a bandshape wavelength collection. However, the best multijuction cells are actually made of III-V compounds when silicon and its alloys don’t lead to high efficiency devices. In this article, we study a 3C-SiC/Si heterojunction as a first step for 3C-SiC/Si tandem cells. Four samples were fabricated by depositing 3C-SiC on Si wafers with different SiC doping levels. Simulations of the structures are performed, as well as optical and electrical characterizations of the heterojunction cells.
The correlation of stress in Silicon Carbide (SiC) crystal and frequency shift in micro- Raman spectroscopy was determined by an experimental method. We applied uniaxial stress to 4H- and 6H-SiC single crystal square bar specimen shaped with (0001) and (11-20) faces by four point bending test, under measuring the frequency shift in micro-Raman spectroscopy. The results revealed that the linearity coefficients between stress and Raman shift were -1.96 cm-1/GPa for FTO(2/4)E2 on 4H-SiC (0001) face, -2.08 cm-1/GPa for FTO(2/4)E2 on 4H-SiC (11-20) face and -2.70 cm-1/GPa for FTO(2/6)E2 on 6H-SiC (0001) face. Determination of these coefficients has made it possible to evaluate the residual stress in SiC crystal quantitatively by micro-Raman spectroscopy. We evaluated the residual stress in SiC substrate that was grown in our laboratory by utilizing the results obtained in this study. The result of estimation indicated that the SiC substrate with a diameter of 6 inch remained residual stress as low as ±15 MPa.