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The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Laser interaction with an ultra-thin pre-structured target is investigated with the help of both two-dimensional and three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. With the existence of a periodic structure on the target surface, the laser seems to penetrate through the target at its fundamental frequency even if the plasma density of the target is much higher than the laser’s relativistically critical density. The particle-in-cell simulations show that the transmitted laser energy behind the pre-structured target is increased by about two orders of magnitude compared to that behind the flat target. Theoretical analyses show that the transmitted energy behind the pre-structured target is actually re-emitted by electron ‘islands’ formed by the surface plasma waves on the target surfaces. In other words, the radiation with the fundamental frequency is actually ‘surface emission’ on the target rear surface. Besides the intensity of the component with the fundamental frequency, the intensity of the high-order harmonics behind the pre-structured target is also much enhanced compared to that behind the flat target. The enhancement of the high-order harmonics is also related to the surface plasma waves generated on the target surfaces.
Global inequity in access to and availability of essential mental health services is well recognized. The mental health treatment gap is approximately 50% in all countries, with up to 90% of people in the lowest-income countries lacking access to required mental health services. Increased investment in global mental health (GMH) has increased innovation in mental health service delivery in LMICs. Situational analyses in areas where mental health services and systems are poorly developed and resourced are essential when planning for research and implementation, however, little guidance is available to inform methodological approaches to conducting these types of studies. This scoping review provides an analysis of methodological approaches to situational analysis in GMH, including an assessment of the extent to which situational analyses include equity in study designs. It is intended as a resource that identifies current gaps and areas for future development in GMH. Formative research, including situational analysis, is an essential first step in conducting robust implementation research, an essential area of study in GMH that will help to promote improved availability of, access to and reach of mental health services for people living with mental illness in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). While strong leadership in this field exists, there remain significant opportunities for enhanced research representing different LMICs and regions.
The Centro de Laseres Pulsados in Salamanca, Spain has recently started operation phase and the first user access period on the 6 J 30 fs 200 TW system (VEGA 2) already started at the beginning of 2018. In this paper we report on two commissioning experiments recently performed on the VEGA 2 system in preparation for the user campaign. VEGA 2 system has been tested in different configurations depending on the focusing optics and targets used. One configuration (long focal length
cm) is for underdense laser–matter interaction where VEGA 2 is focused onto a low density gas-jet generating electron beams (via laser wake field acceleration mechanism) with maximum energy up to 500 MeV and an X-ray betatron source with a 10 keV critical energy. A second configuration (short focal length
cm) is for overdense laser–matter interaction where VEGA 2 is focused onto a
thick Al target generating a proton beam with a maximum energy of 10 MeV and temperature of 2.5 MeV. In this paper we present preliminary experimental results.
Sodium and chloride are the key factors maintaining normal osmotic pressure (OSM) and volume of the extracellular fluid, and influencing the acid–base balance of body fluids. The experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of dietary Na+ and Cl− level on growth performance, excreta moisture, blood biochemical parameters, intestinal Na+–glucose transporter 1 (SGLT1) messenger RNA (mRNA), and Na+–H+ exchanger 2 (NHE2) mRNA, and to estimate the optimal dietary sodium and chlorine level for yellow-feathered chickens from 22 to 42days. A total of 900 22-day-old Lingnan yellow-feathered male chickens were randomly allotted to five treatments, each of which included six replicates of 30 chickens per floor pen. The basal control diet was based on corn and soybean meal (without added NaCl and NaHCO3). Treatments 2 to 5 consisted of the basal diet supplemented with equal weights of Na+ and Cl−, constituting 0.1%, 0.2%, 0.3% and 0.4% of the diets. Supplemental dietary Na+ and Cl− improved the growth performance (P<0.05). Average daily gain (ADG) showed a quadratic broken-line regression to increasing dietary Na+ and Cl− (R2=0.979, P<0.001), and reached a plateau at 0.1%. Supplemental Na+ and Cl− increased (P<0.05) serum Na+ and OSM in serum and showed a quadratic broken-line regression (R2=0.997, P=0.004) at 0.11%. However, supplemental Na+ and Cl− decreased (P<0.05) serum levels of K+, glucose (GLU) and triglyceride. Higher levels of Na+and Cl− decreased duodenal NHE2 transcripts (P<0.05), but had no effect on ileal SGLT1 transcripts. The activity of Na+ /K+-ATPase in the duodenum decreased (P<0.05) with higher levels of dietary Na+ and Cl−. In conclusion, the optimal dietary Na+ and Cl− requirements for yellow-feathered chickens in the grower phase, from 22 to 42 days of age, to optimize ADG, serum Na+, OSM, K+ and GLU were 0.10%, 0.11%, 0.11%,0.17% and 0.16%, respectively, by regression analysis.
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.
Latrophilin (LPH) is known as an adhesion G-protein-coupled receptor which involved in multiple physiological processes in organisms. Previous studies showed that lph not only involved the susceptibility to anticholinesterase insecticides but also affected fecundity in Tribolium castaneum. However, its regulatory mechanisms in these biological processes are still not clear. Here, we identified two potential downstream carboxylesterase (cce) genes of Tclph, esterase4 and esterase6, and further characterized their interactions with Tclph. After treatment of T. castaneum larvae with carbofuran or dichlorvos insecticides, the transcript levels of Tcest4 and Tcest6 were significantly induced from 12 to 72 h. RNAi against Tcest4 or Tcest6 led to the higher mortality compared with the controls after the insecticides treatment, suggesting that these two genes play a vital role in detoxification of insecticides in T. castaneum. Furthermore, with insecticides exposure to Tclph knockdown beetles, the expression of Tcest4 was upregulated but Tcest6 was downregulated, indicating that beetles existed a compensatory response against the insecticides. Additionally, RNAi of Tcest6 resulted in 43% reductions in female egg laying and completely inhibited egg hatching, which showed the similar phenotype as that of Tclph knockdown. These results indicated that Tclph affected fecundity by positively regulating Tcest6 expression. Our findings will provide a new insight into the molecular mechanisms of Tclph involved in physiological functions in T. castaneum.
Hypoimmunity and numerous stresses are two major challenges in broiler industry. Nutrient intervention at the specific time of embryonic stage is a feasible way to improve animal performance. This study was conducted to investigate the possible effects of in ovo feeding (IOF) of vitamin C at embryonic age 15th day (E15) on growth performance, antioxidation and immune function of broilers. A total of 240 broiler fertile eggs were randomly divided into two groups (0 and 3 mg injected dose of vitamin C at E15), and new-hatched chicks from each treatment were randomly allocated into six replicates with 10 chicks per replicate after incubation. The results indicated that in ovo vitamin C injection improved the hatchability (P < 0.05) and increased immunoglobulin M (IgM) (at the broiler’s age 1st day, D1), IgG and IgM concentrations (D21), as well as lysozyme activity (D21, P < 0.05) and total antioxidant capacity (D42, P < 0.01) in plasma of broilers. On D21, the splenic expression level of DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) was up-regulated in vitamin C (VC) group, whereas interleukin (IL)-6, interferon-γ, ten-eleven translocation protein 1 and thymine-DNA glycosylase were down-regulated (P < 0.05). On D42, in ovo vitamin C injection up-regulated splenic expression levels of DNMT1, DNA methyltransferase 3B (DNMT3B) and growth arrest and DNA-damage-inducible protein beta (P < 0.05), whereas down-regulated splenic expression levels of IL-6, tumour necrosis factor-α and methyl-CpG-binding domain protein 4 (P < 0.05). Our findings suggested that IOF of 3 mg vitamin C at E15 could improve, to some extent, the antioxidant activity and immune function in plasma, corresponding with the lower expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in spleen. However, IOF of vitamin C leading to the changes in the expression of DNA methyltransferases and demethylases may suggest an increased trend of DNA methylation level in spleen and whether DNA methylation variation is associated with the lower expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in spleen warrants future study.
The prevalence of sexually transmitted infection (STI) pathogens in Beijing, China, is rarely reported. In this study, 34 911 symptomatic outpatients with suspected genital infections who attended outpatient clinics in a tertiary care hospital were included to investigate the updated prevalence of Ureaplasma urealyticum (UU), Chlamydia trachomatis (CT), Neisseria gonorrhoeae (NG) and herpes simplex virus (HSV) from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2016 in Beijing, China. Results indicated that a decrease trend (UU, CT, NG and HSV) in male and an increase trend (UU, CT and NG) in female were observed during the period. Patients aged 20–39 years old were mostly affected by these pathogens, while the prevalence in patients aged 20–29 years old was the highest, The prevalence of UU in male was significantly lower than in female (31.5% vs. 49.3%, P < 0.05), while the prevalence of NG in male was significantly higher than in female (2.5% vs. 0.8%, P < 0.05). In patients with co-infections, 60.6% of male and 71.4% of female were co-infected by UU + CT. In total, 11.9% and 88.1% of patients with HSV infections were confirmed to be infected by HSV-1 and HSV-2. This study could contribute to a better understanding of the current epidemiological features of UU, NG, CT and HSV among symptomatic patients attending an outpatient clinic in Beijing, China, and thus facilitate to develop more effective intervention, prevention and treatment of STI.
Hepatitis E is an important zoonosis that is prevalent in China. Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a pathogen that affects humans and animals and endangers public health in China. In this study, the detection of HEV epidemics in swine in Sichuan Province, China, was carried out by nested real-time PCR. A total of 174 stool samples and 160 bile samples from swine in Sichuan Province were examined. In addition, software was used to analyse the biological evolution of HEV. The results showed that within 2 years of swine HEV (SHEV) infection in China, SHEV was first detected in Sichuan Province. HEV was endemic in Sichuan; the positive rate for pig farms was 11.1%, and the total positive sample rate was 10.5%. The age of swine with the highest positive rate (17.9%) was 5–9 weeks. The examined swine species in order of highest to lowest HEV infection rates were Chenghua pig, Large White, Duroc, Pietrain, Landrace and Hampshire. Nucleotide and amino acid sequence analysis showed that the HEV epidemic in swine in Sichuan Province was related to genotype IV, which had the highest homology to HEV in Beijing. Sichuan strains have greater variation than Chinese representative strains, which may indicate the presence of new HEV strains.
Using whole-genome sequence (WGS) data are supposed to be optimal for genome-wide association studies and genomic predictions. However, sequencing thousands of individuals of interest is expensive. Imputation from single nucleotide polymorphisms panels to WGS data is an attractive approach to obtain highly reliable WGS data at low cost. Here, we conducted a genotype imputation study with a combined reference panel in yellow-feather dwarf broiler population. The combined reference panel was assembled by sequencing 24 key individuals of a yellow-feather dwarf broiler population (internal reference panel) and WGS data from 311 chickens in public databases (external reference panel). Three scenarios were investigated to determine how different factors affect the accuracy of imputation from 600 K array data to WGS data, including: genotype imputation with internal, external and combined reference panels; the number of internal reference individuals in the combined reference panel; and different reference sizes and selection strategies of an external reference panel. Results showed that imputation accuracy from 600 K to WGS data were 0.834±0.012, 0.920±0.007 and 0.982±0.003 for the internal, external and combined reference panels, respectively. Increasing the reference size from 50 to 250 improved the accuracy of genotype imputation from 0.848 to 0.974 for the combined reference panel and from 0.647 to 0.917 for the external reference panel. The selection strategies for the external reference panel had no impact on the accuracy of imputation using the combined reference panel. However, if only an external reference panel with reference size >50 was used, the selection strategy of minimizing the average distance to the closest leaf had the greatest imputation accuracy compared with other methods. Generally, using a combined reference panel provided greater imputation accuracy, especially for low-frequency variants. In conclusion, the optimal imputation strategy with a combined reference panel should comprehensively consider genetic diversity of the study population, availability and properties of external reference panels, sequencing and computing costs, and frequency of imputed variants. This work sheds light on how to design and execute genotype imputation with a combined external reference panel in a livestock population.
Analysis of the potato yield gap and the corresponding nutrient gap can help in devising strategies and measurements to increase productivity for closing the gaps through improved practices. On-farm experiments conducted in the main potato production areas of northwest China were used to determine attainable yield. Official statistical data were used to determine the actual on-farm yield. Yield gap was the difference between attainable yield and actual on-farm yield. Nutrient gap was calculated by dividing the size of yield gap by partial factor productivity. Results indicated that nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) fertilization increased potato yield by an average of 1169–7625, 2937–5336 and 2331–7338 kg/ha, respectively. The maximum attainable yields (the 90th percentile yields) were 50 145, 37 855, 30 261 and 56 616 kg/ha and the average actual on-farm yield were 14 179, 16 732, 10 271 and 19 990 kg/ha in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR), Gansu, Ningxia and Qinghai provinces, respectively. In the above four regions, yield would need to increase by 165, 70, 112 and 121% from actual yield to reach 75% of attainable yield. Compared with recent 3-year average NPK rates by farmers, the total NPK rates need to increase by 90.1–134.3% for IMAR, 42.9–69.2% for Gansu, 68.1–111.2% for Ningxia and 48.1–83.8% for Qinghai to improve productivity to near the 75% attainable yield. In conclusion, the high yield responses to fertilizer application provide opportunities to close the large yield gaps through balanced nutrition.
In this paper new materials and substrate approaches are discussed which have potential to provide (Al)GaN buffers with a better crystal quality, higher critical electrical field, or thickness and have the potential to offer co-integration of GaN switches at different reference potentials, while maintaining lower wafer bow and maintaining complementary metal–oxide semiconductor (CMOS) compatibility. Engineered silicon substrates, silicon on insulator (SOI) and coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE)-matched substrates have been investigated and benchmarked with respect to each other. SOI and CTE-matched offer benefits for scaling to higher voltage, while a trench isolation process combined with an oxide interlayer substrate allows co-integration of GaN components in a GaN-integrated circuit (IC).
Keratin-associated proteins (KAPs) are constituents of wool and hair fibres and are believed to play an important role in determining the characteristics of the fibres. In the current study, a polymerase chain reaction-single stranded conformational polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) approach was used to screen for variation in the ovine KAP15-1 gene (KRTAP15-1). Four PCR-SSCP banding patterns, representing four different variants (named A to D), were detected. Four single nucleotide polymorphisms were found within the coding region and three of these were non-synonymous. The effect of this genetic variation on wool traits was investigated in 396 Merino × Southdown-cross sheep. Of the three variants found in these sheep (A, B and C), the presence of B was found to be associated with decreased wool yield, while C was associated with increased wool yield and decreased fibre diameter standard deviation. Sheep of genotype AC had a higher wool yield than those of genotype AA or AB.
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.
Nasal irrigation is commonly performed in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis after functional endoscopic sinus surgery. This study systematically assessed the clinical efficacy of nasal irrigation from the medical literature.
The PubMed, Embase and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials databases were searched using a comprehensive strategy, limited to English-language articles, published from October 1971 to March 2017, and comprising human subjects.
A total of 824 trials were identified, 5 of which, involving 331 participants, were included in this systematic review. After selection, only three trials were eligible for inclusion in a meta-analysis. Nasal irrigation using normal saline and various solutions was found to be effective in reducing symptom scores and endoscopic scores for chronic rhinosinusitis patients after functional endoscopic sinus surgery. Comparison of outcome measures, such as eosinophil count reduction, revealed that various solutions are more effective than normal saline alone; however, no statistical significance was found in terms of reduced symptom or endoscopic scores.
Based on the current limited evidence, nasal irrigation is an effective therapy for chronic rhinosinusitis patients after functional endoscopic sinus surgery. However, when comparing various solutions with normal saline, no significant difference was found in symptom scores or endoscopic scores.
Pheromones play an important role in mediating interspecific interactions in insects. In an insect community, pheromones can reveal information about the senders, which could be used by other members of the food web (competitor, natural enemies, etc.) to their own advantage. The aggregation pheromones of two closely related thrips species, Frankliniella occidentalis and Frankliniella intonsa, have been identified with the same major compounds, (R)-lavandulyl acetate and neryl (S)-2-methylbutanoate, but in different ratios. However, the roles of the aggregation pheromones in the interspecific interactions between these two closely related species are unknown. Here, we investigated the roles of major aggregation pheromone compounds in interspecific interactions between F. occidentalis and F. intonsa for both long and short ranges. The results showed that, at tested doses, neither aggregation pheromone-induced long range cross-attraction nor short range cross-mating was detected between F. occidentalis and F. intonsa. Field-trapping trials showed that the species-specificity in aggregation pheromones was regulated by the ratio of two major compounds. However, species-specific blends of the two major compounds had no effect on short-range interactions between these two species. Our data from the thrips species provide support for the ‘aggregation model of coexistence’, explaining the species-specific pheromone-mediated coexistence of closely related species. Thus, species-specific pheromones could be one of the factors affecting population dynamics and community structure in closely related insects with similar niches.
Plant height and lodging resistance can affect rice yield significantly, but these traits have always conflicted in crop cultivation and breeding. The current study aimed to establish a rapid and accurate plant type evaluation mechanism to provide a basis for breeding tall but lodging-resistant super rice varieties. A comprehensive approach integrating plant anatomy and histochemistry was used to investigate variations in flexural strength (a material property, defined as the stress in a material just before it yields in a flexure test) of the rice stem and the lodging index of 15 rice accessions at different growth stages to understand trends in these parameters and the potential factors influencing them. Rice stem anatomical structure was observed and the lignin content the cell wall was determined at different developmental stages. Three rice lodging evaluation models were established using correlation analysis, multivariate regression and artificial radial basis function (RBF) neural network analysis, and the results were compared to identify the most suitable model for predicting optimal rice plant types. Among the three evaluation methods, the mean residual and relative prediction errors were lowest using the RBF network, indicating that it was highly accurate and robust and could be used to establish a mathematical model of the morphological characteristics and lodging resistance of rice to identify optimal varieties.
Litter size has a great impact on the profit of swine producers. Uterine development is an important determinant of reproduction efficiency and could hence affect litter size. Chinese Erhualian pig is one of the most prolific breeds in the world, even though large phenotypic variation in litter size was observed within Erhualian sows. To dissect the genetic basis of the phenotypic variation, we herein conducted genome-wide association studies for total number born and number born alive (NBA) of Erhualian sows. In total, one significant single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (P<1.78e−06) and 11 suggestive SNPs (P<3.57e−05) were identified on 10 chromosomes, confirming seven previously reported quantitative trait loci (QTL) and uncovering six QTL for litter size or uterus length. One locus on Sus scrofa chromosome (SSC) 13 (79.28 to 90.43 Mb) harbored a cluster of suggestive SNPs associated with multiparous NBA. The SNP (rs81447100) within this region was confirmed to be significantly (P<0.05) associated with litter size in Erhualian (n=313), Sutai (n=173) and Yorkshire (n=488) populations. Retinol binding protein 2 and retinol binding protein 1 functionally related to the development of uterus were located in a region of 2 Mb around rs81447100. Moreover, four genes related to embryo implantation and development were also detected around other significant SNPs. Taken together, our findings provide a potential marker (rs81447100) for the genetic improvement of litter size not only in Chinese Erhualian pigs but also in European commercial pig breeds like Yorkshire, and would facilitate the final identification of causative variant(s) underlying the effect of SSC13 QTL on litter size.
Low-density, highly porous graphene/graphene oxide (GO) based-foams have shown high performance in energy absorption applications, even under high compressive deformations. In general, foams are very effective as energy dissipative materials and have been widely used in many areas such as automotive, aerospace and biomedical industries. In the case of graphene-based foams, the good mechanical properties are mainly attributed to the intrinsic graphene and/or GO electronic and mechanical properties. Despite the attractive physical properties of graphene/GO based-foams, their structural and thermal stabilities are still a problem for some applications. For instance, they are easily degraded when placed in flowing solutions, either by the collapsing of their layers or just by structural disintegration into small pieces. Recently, a new and scalable synthetic approach to produce low-density 3D macroscopic GO structure interconnected with polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) polymeric chains (pGO) was proposed. A controlled amount of PDMS is infused into the freeze-dried foam resulting into a very rigid structure with improved mechanical properties, such as tensile plasticity and toughness. The PDMS wets the graphene oxide sheets and acts like a glue bonding PDMS and GO sheets. In order to obtain further insights on mechanisms behind the enhanced mechanical pGO response we carried out fully atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Based on MD results, we build up a structural model that can explain the experimentally observed mechanical behavior.