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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–solid interactions are highly suited as a potential source of high energy X-rays for nondestructive imaging. A bright, energetic X-ray pulse can be driven from a small source, making it ideal for high resolution X-ray radiography. By limiting the lateral dimensions of the target we are able to confine the region over which X-rays are produced, enabling imaging with enhanced resolution and contrast. Using constrained targets we demonstrate experimentally a
X-ray source, improving the image quality compared to unconstrained foil targets. Modelling demonstrates that a larger sheath field envelope around the perimeter of the constrained targets increases the proportion of electron current that recirculates through the target, driving a brighter source of X-rays.
The effects of growing pinto peanut mixed with elephant grass-based pastures are still little known. The aim of the current research was to evaluate the performance of herbage yield, nutritive value of forage and animal responses to levels of pinto peanut forage mass mixed with elephant grass in low-input systems. Three grazing systems were evaluated: (i) elephant grass-based (control); (ii) pinto peanut, low-density forage yield (63 g/kg of dry matter – DM) + elephant grass; and (iii) pinto peanut, high-density dry matter forage yield (206 g/kg DM) + elephant grass. The experimental design was completely randomized with the three treatments (grazing systems) and three replicates (paddocks) in split-plot grazing cycles. Forage samples were collected to evaluate the pasture and animal responses. Leaf blades of elephant grass and the other companion grasses of pinto peanut were collected to analyse the crude protein, in vitro digestible organic matter and total digestible nutrients. The pinto peanut, high-density dry matter forage yield + elephant grass treatment was found to give the best results in terms of herbage yield, forage intake and stocking rate, as well as having higher crude protein contents for both elephant grass and the other grasses, followed by pinto peanut with low-density forage yield + elephant grass and finally elephant grass alone. Better results were found with the grass–legume system for pasture and animal responses.
Differences in forage nutritive value between morning and afternoon are related to patterns of dehydration and carbohydrate accumulation throughout the day. In this way, management strategies that maximize grazing time during the afternoon could increase forage nutritive value and consequently nutrient intake. The aim of the current experiment was to evaluate the effect of the time of day (06.00 h [designated AM] or 15.00 h [PM]) that cattle are moved to a new paddock on forage nutritive value, grazing behaviour and animal performance of beef cattle on rotationally stocked Marandu palisadegrass (Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu Syn. Urochloa brizantha cv. Marandu) pastures. A spring and summer study was conducted in Pirassununga, SP, Brazil from October 2012 to March 2013 (182 days). Treatments were distributed in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Herbage mass, morphological composition, herbage allowance and stocking rates were similar between treatments during spring and summer. Moving animals to a new paddock, regardless of the time of day – 06.00 h (AM) or 15.00 h (PM) – stimulated grazing, modifying the distribution of meals throughout the day. However, compensatory mechanisms among grazing time, bite rate and forage nutritive value throughout the day operated in order to generate similar performance between animals offered a new paddock in the morning or in the afternoon.
Forage is the primary feed source for livestock in tropical regions and energy is one of the most important nutrients for ruminant nutrition. The effects of harvest management of Marandu palisade grass (Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu Syn. Urochloa brizantha cv. Marandu) on non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) concentrations were evaluated. A plot (Experiment 1) and a greenhouse study (Experiment 2) were conducted in 2013–14. In Experiment 1, treatments were the factorial arrangement of two harvest times and two vertical canopy layers (upper and intermediate), distributed in a completely randomized design with five replicates. In Experiment 2, treatments were the factorial arrangement of six harvest times and two morphological fractions (leaf blade and pseudostem). In both experiments, NSC concentration increased during the day. Upper and intermediate canopy layers had greater NSC concentration at 15.00 than 06.00 h during spring and summer. In addition, the magnitude of NSC increase was greater in the upper than intermediate canopy layer and in spring than summer. Marandu palisade grass shows greater digestibility in the afternoon than morning, representing an opportunity to optimize energy concentration through harvest management.
The current study aimed to test whether organic matter intake by free-ranging ruminants could be estimated from the amount of nitrogen (N) excreted in faeces and to compare this approach to conventional techniques. An equation describing the relationship between excreted N and nutrient intake was developed in indoor digestibility trials conducted with male sheep (n = 36) and cattle (n = 24) housed in metabolism cages and solely fed hay harvested from a local rangeland. Faecal N excretion was linearly related to organic matter (OM) intake without a significant animal species effect. To evaluate the linear equation, data from free-ranging trials conducted with sheep and cattle were used. The faecal N approach was compared with either in situ digestibility plus external marker (n = 123) or n-alkanes (n = 272) to estimate OM intake and digestible OM intake. Estimates obtained through the faecal N approach did not closely fit those obtained with either conventional technique for any variable. Averaging all individual values, the supply of metabolizable energy (ME) estimated through faecal N was similar to the required level, whereas both the in situ and n-alkanes techniques overestimated ME supply. In conclusion, OM intake by free-ranging sheep and cattle can be estimated based on the amount of N excreted in faeces with some advantages over conventional techniques: knowledge about herbage attributes is not required and it accounts for individual variability on selectivity and digestion processes.
Although a national programme for control of visceral leishmaniosis (VL) is being run in Brazil, the disease continues to spread. This programme is essentially based on culling infected dogs from endemic regions. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop other control measures against VL to deter its advance. Here, a subunit vaccine, a recombinant vaccine, an insecticide-impregnated collar and the associations between these measures were evaluated for reducing the incidence of Leishmania infection in dogs. This was through a cohort study conducted in an endemic region of Brazil, considering the incidence and time of total exposure over a period of 1 year. The incidence of VL was estimated by means of serological and molecular diagnostic tests, 180 and 360 days after the application of the control measures. The estimates of the effectiveness (EF) were not significant in any cohort. The EF of the subunit vaccine, the recombinant vaccine and the collar were 26.4%, 32.8% and 57.7% and the upper limit of the 95% confidence interval for EF were 63.7%, 67.9% and 82.5%, respectively. In conclusion, under the conditions of this study, none of the immunogens for VL control was sufficiently effective to protect dogs against infection. On the other hand, use of collars impregnated with insecticide seems to constitute a method with better prognosis, corroborating other studies in this field.
The objective of the current research was to evaluate the fermentative characteristics of silage made with the upper third section of cassava (Manihot esculenta) plants with added condensed tannin levels of 0, 25, 50 and 75 g/kg dry matter (DM). The experimental design was a complete randomized design, with treatments arranged in a 4 × 7 factorial (tannin addition levels × days of ensiling). The loss of gas and the presence of moulds observed in the opening days had increased linearly. Fermentative characteristics were decreased by the addition of tannin. Acetic acid content showed a linear increase. Tannin levels had a quadratic effect on gas production at 28 days of ensiling. After 56 days, however, tannin levels had no significant effect on silage gas production. After 28 days of ensiling, the degradability of potentially degradable fraction ‘b’ demonstrated quadratic effect. The same occurred with the fractions ‘a’, ‘b’ which were undegradable after 56 days of ensiling. The addition of condensed tannin lengthened the fermentative stage and caused the silage to stabilize after 56 days of ensiling.
The objective of this study was to investigate the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with birth weight, weight gain from birth to weaning and from weaning to yearling, yearling height and cow weight in Nelore cattle. Data from 5064 animals participating in the DeltaGen and PAINT breeding programs were used. The animals were genotyped with a panel of 777 962 SNPs (Illumina BovineHD BeadChip) and 412 993 SNPs remained after quality control analysis of the genomic data. A genome-wide association study was performed using a single-step methodology. The analyses were processed with the BLUPF90 family of programs. When applied to a genome-wide association studies, the single-step GBLUP methodology is an iterative process that estimates weights for the SNPs. The weights of SNPs were included in all analyses by iteratively applying the single-step GBLUP methodology and repeated twice so that the effect of the SNP and the effect of the animal were recalculated in order to increase the weight of SNPs with large effects and to reduce the weight of those with small effects. The genome-wide association results are reported based on the proportion of variance explained by windows of 50 adjacent SNPs. Considering the two iterations, only windows with an additive genetic variance >1.5% were presented in the results. Associations were observed with birth weight on BTA 14, with weight gain from birth to weaning on BTA 5 and 29, with weight gain from weaning to yearling on BTA 11, and with yearling height on BTA 8, showing the genes TMEM68 (transmembrane protein 8B) associated with birth weight and yearling height, XKR4 (XK, Kell blood group complex subunit-related family, member 4) associated with birth weight, NPR2 (natriuretic peptide receptor B) associated with yearling height, and REG3G (regenerating islet-derived 3-gamma) associated with weight gain from weaning to yearling. These genes play an important role in feed intake, weight gain and the regulation of skeletal growth.
We studied the ontogenetic growth of goat wethers (castrated male goats) of the Saanen and Swiss Alpine breeds based on a large range of intraspecific body mass (BM). The body parts and the chemical constituents of the empty body were described by the allometric function by using BM and the empty body mass (EBM) as the predictors for morphological traits and chemical composition, respectively. We fitted the allometric scaling function by applying the SAS NLMIXED procedure, but to evaluate assumptions regarding variances in morphological and compositional traits, we combined the scaling function with homoscedastic (MOD1), and the heteroscedastic exponential (MOD2) and power-of-the-mean (MOD3) variance functions. We also predicted the ontogenetic growth by using the traditional log-log transformation and back-transformed results into the arithmetic scale (MOD4). We obtained predictions from MOD4 in the arithmetic scale by a two-step process, and evaluated MOD1, MOD2 and MOD3 by a model selection framework, and compared MOD4 with MOD1, MOD2 and MOD3 based on goodness-of-fit measures. Based on information criteria for model selection, heterogeneous variance functions were more likely to describe 10 over 36 traits with a low level of model selection uncertainty. One trait was predicted by averaging the MOD1 and MOD2 variance functions; and nine traits were better described by averaging the MOD2 and MOD3 variance functions. The predictions for other 16 traits were averaged from MOD1, MOD2 and MOD3. However, MOD4 better described 11 traits according to the goodness-of-fit measures. Depending on the variable being analyzed, the body parts and the chemical amounts exhibited the three types of allometric behavior with respect to BM and EBM, that is, positive, negative and isometric ontogenetic growth. Reference BMs, that is, 20, 27, 35 and 45 kg, were used to compute the net protein and energy requirements based on the first derivative of the scaling function, and the results were presented in reference to the EBM and EBM0.75. Both the net protein and energy requirements scaled to EBM0.75 increased from 20 to 45 kg of BM.
Resource partitioning is considered one of the main processes driving diversification in ecological communities because it allows coexistence among closely related and ecologically equivalent species. We combined three complementary approaches, i.e. the evaluation of foraging behaviour, diet composition and nutritional condition (RNA:DNA ratio), to assess feeding by two closely related (sister) butterflyfishes that are syntopic in Puerto Rico. Chaetodon capistratus had a higher abundance and higher bite rate and selected octocorals and hard corals for feeding, whereas Chaetodon striatus fed preferentially on sandy substrates. Cnidarians and polychaetes were the most representative diet items for both species, but C. capistratus preferred the former (Feeding Index of 74.3%) and C. striatus the latter (Feeding Index of 60.4%). Similar RNA:DNA ratios for both species suggest that, although they differ in feeding rates and diet, C. capistratus and C. striatus have similar nutritional fitness. Therefore, these species are both zoobenthivores but show clear differences in their substrate selection. The differences in the use of foraging substrate by C. capistratus and C. striatus, despite their close phylogenetic relationship and similar diets, suggest that these species coexist by resource partitioning.
Euthanasia of infected dogs is one of the measures adopted in Brazil to control visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in endemic areas. To detect infected dogs, animals are screened with the rapid test DPP® Visceral Canine Leishmaniasis for detection of antibodies against K26/K39 fusion antigens of amastigotes (DPP). DPP-positives are confirmed with an immunoenzymatic assay probing soluble antigens of promastigotes (ELISA), while DPP-negatives are considered free of infection. Here, 975 dogs from an endemic region were surveyed by using DPP, ELISA and real-time PCR (qPCR) for the diagnosis of VL. When DPP-negative dogs were tested by qPCR applied in blood and lymph node aspirates, 174/887 (19·6%) were positive in at least one sample. In a second sampling using 115 cases, the DPP-negative dogs were tested by qPCR in blood, lymph node and conjunctival swab samples, and 36/79 (45·6%) were positive in at least one sample. Low-to-moderate pairwise agreement was observed between all possible pair of tests. In conclusion, the official diagnosis of VL in dogs in Brazilian endemic areas failed to accuse an expressive number of infected animals and the impact of the low accuracy of serological tests in the success of euthanasia-based measure for VL control need to be assessed.
Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) can induce deleterious changes in the modulatory ability of the vascular endothelium, contributing to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases in the long term. However, the mechanisms involved are not fully understood. Emerging evidence has suggested the potential role of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) in vascular health and repair. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate the effects of IUGR on vascular reactivity and EPCs derived from the peripheral blood (PB) and bone marrow (BM) in vitro. Pregnant Wistar rats were fed an ad libitum diet (control group) or 50% of the ad libitum diet (restricted group) throughout gestation. We determined vascular reactivity, nitric oxide (NO) concentration, and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) protein expression by evaluating the thoracic aorta of adult male offspring from both groups (aged: 19–20 weeks). Moreover, the amount, functional capacity, and senescence of EPCs were assessed in vitro. Our results indicated that IUGR reduced vasodilation via acetylcholine in aorta rings, decreased NO levels, and increased eNOS phosphorylation at Thr495. The amount of EPCs was similar between both groups; however, IUGR decreased the functional capacity of EPCs from the PB and BM. Furthermore, the senescence process was accelerated in BM-derived EPCs from IUGR rats. In summary, our findings demonstrated the deleterious changes in EPCs from IUGR rats, such as reduced EPC function and accelerated senescence in vitro. These findings may contribute towards elucidating the possible mechanisms involved in endothelial dysfunction induced by fetal programming.
Licuri (Syagrus coronate) cake is a biodiesel by-product used in ruminant feed as a beneficial energy source for supplementation in managed pastures. The objective was to evaluate the performance, digestibility, nitrogen balance, blood metabolites, ingestive behavior and diet profitability of eight crossbred Holstein (3/4)×Gyr (5/8) multiparous cows (480±25 kg BW and 100 days milking) grazing and supplemented with licuri cake partially replacing ground corn and soybean meal in concentrate (0, 200, 400 and 600 g/kg in dry matter (DM)), distributed in an experimental duplicated 4×4 Latin square design. Licuri cake partially replacing ground corn and soybean meal increased (P<0.01) the intake and digestibility of ether extract and decreased the non-fiber carbohydrates; however, there were no influences on the intakes of DM, CP, NDF and total digestible nutrients (TDN). The digestibilities of DM, CP and NDF were not influenced by licuri cake addition. There was a decrease trend on TDN digestibility (P=0.08). Licuri cake replacing ground corn and soybean meal in concentrate did not affect the intake; fecal, urinary and mammary excretions; N balance; and triglycerides concentrations. However, the blood urea nitrogen (P=0.04) concentration decreased with the licuri cakes inclusion in cow supplementation. There was an increasing trend for serum creatinine (P=0.07). Licuri cake inclusion did not affect body condition score, production, yield, protein, lactose, total solids and solid non-fat contents of milk and Minas frescal cheese. There was a linear decrease in average daily weight gain (g/day). The milk fat concentration and cheese fat production (P<0.1) presented a linear increase with partial replacement of ground corn and soybean meal with licuri cakes. The addition of licuri cake did not alter the time spent feeding, ruminating or idling. There was an increasing trend in NDF feeding efficiency (P=0.09). The replacing of ground corn and soybean meal with licuri cake up to 600 g/kg decreased the concentrate cost by US$0.45/cow per day. Licuri cake replacing corn and soybeans (400 g/kg) in concentrate promoted a profit of US$0.07/animal per day. Licuri cake is indicated to concentrate the supplementation of dairy cows with average productions of 10 kg/day at levels up to 400 g/kg in the concentrate supplement because it provides an additional profit of US$0.07/animal per day and increased milk and Minas frescal cheese fat without negative effects on productive parameters.
Bicuspid aortic valve is the most common CHD. Its association with early valvular dysfunction, endocarditis, thoracic aorta dilatation, and aortic dissection is well established.
The aim of this study was to assess the incidence and predictors of cardiac events in adults with bicuspid aortic valve.
We carried out a retrospective analysis of cardiac outcomes in ambulatory adults with bicuspid aortic valve followed-up in a tertiary hospital centre. Outcomes were defined as follows: interventional – intervention on the aortic valve or thoracic aorta; medical – death, aortic dissection, aortic valve endocarditis, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, or ischaemic heart disease requiring hospital admission; and a composite end point of both. Kaplan–Meier curves were generated to determine event rates, and predictors of cardiac events were determined by multivariate analysis.
A total of 227 patients were followed-up over 13±9 years; 29% of patients developed severe aortic valve dysfunction and 12.3% reached ascending thoracic aorta dimensions above 45 mm. At least one cardiac outcome occurred in 38.8% of patients, with an incidence rate at 20 years of follow-up of 47±4%; 33% of patients were submitted to an aortic valve or thoracic aorta intervention. Survival 20 years after diagnosis was 94±2%. Independent predictors of the composite end point were baseline moderate–severe aortic valve dysfunction (hazard ratio, 3.19; 95% confidence interval, 1.35–7.54; p<0.01) and aortic valve leaflets calcification (hazard ratio, 4.72; 95% confidence interval, 1.91–11.64; p<0.005).
In this study of bicuspid aortic valve, the long-term survival was excellent but with occurrence of frequent cardiovascular events. Baseline aortic valve calcification and dysfunction were the only independent predictors of events.
The addition of growth factors and vitamins enhances goat embryonic development in vitro. However, few attempts have been reported trying to identify supplementation regimens for oocyte maturation or embryo culture with additive properties. The present report was aimed to evaluate if retinoids [0.3 μM retinyl acetate (RAc) and 0.5 μM 9-cis-retinoic acid (RA)] supplementation during goat oocyte maturation and retinoids and/or 50 ng mL–1 IGF-I during embryo culture synergically enhanced embryonic development while diminishing the incidence of apoptosis. All combinations of RAc and RA treatment produced blastocysts with similar efficiencies, while IGF-I enhanced embryos yields irrespectively of retinoid addition. Moreover, retinoids and IGF-I supplementation showed similar caspase activity or DNA fragmentation indexes in blastocysts. In conclusion, supplementation with retinoids and IGF-I during goat embryo culture enhances blastocysts development without synergic reduction of apoptosis.
It is known that tactile stimulation (TS) during ontogeny modifies brain plasticity and enhances the motor and cognitive skills. Our hypothesis was that early handling including TS would increase play and exploratory behaviour in commercial pigs under standardized test conditions. Piglets from 13 litters were subjected to three handling treatments from 5 to 35 days of age: all the piglets were handled (H), none of the piglets were handled (NH) or half of the piglets in the litter were handled (50/50). At 42 days of age, the pigs’ behaviour was observed in pairs in a novel pen with a ‘toy’ (tug rope). The main results were that more locomotor play was performed by pigs from litters where all or half of them had been handled, whereas social exploratory behaviour was more pronounced in pigs from litters where half of them had been handled. Although behaviour was affected by the interaction of treatment with sex or with weight category, we propose that the handling procedure does seem to have acted to increase locomotor skills and that handling half of the piglets in the litter may have triggered a series of socio-emotional interactions that were beneficial for the whole group.
The Javalambre-Physics of the Accelerating Universe Astrophysical Survey (J-PAS) is a narrow-band imaging, very wide field cosmological survey. It will last 5 years and will observe 8500 sq. deg. of the sky. There will be 54 contiguous narrow-band filters of 145Å FWHM, from 3,500 to 10,000Å. Two broad-band filters will be added at the extremes, UV and IR, plus the 3–g, r, and i– SDSS filters. Thus, J-PAS can be an important tool to search for new planetary nebulae (PNe) at the halo, increasing their numbers, because only 14 of them have been convincingly identified in the literature. Halo PNe are able to reveal precious information for the study of stellar evolution and the early chemical conditions of the Galaxy. The characteristic low continuum and intense emission lines of PNe make them good objects to be searched by J-PAS. Though covering a significantly smaller sky area, data from the ALHAMBRA survey were used to test our J-PAS strategy to search for PNe. Our first results are shown in this contribution.
Rickettsia rickettsii infection is being increasingly recognized as an important cause of fatal acute illness in Brazil, where this tick-borne disease is designated Brazilian spotted fever (BSF). In this study we report five fatal cases of BSF in employees of an animal shelter in an urban area in the municipality of Rio de Janeiro in southeast Brazil after a natural disaster on 11 January 2011. Four of the cases occurred from 27 January to 11 April 2011, while the fifth fatal case was identified in April 2012. Three cases were confirmed by molecular analysis and two by epidemiological linkage. An investigation of BSF was performed in the animal shelter, and blood samples were collected from 115 employees and 117 randomly selected dogs. The presence of high levels (1024–4096) of antibodies against spotted fever group rickettsiae was found in three (2·6%) employees and 114 (97·5%) dogs. These findings emphasize the need to consider BSF as a possible cause of undifferentiated febrile illness, especially dengue and leptospirosis, in patients occupationally exposed to dogs heavily infested by ticks, mainly working at kennels and animal shelters that have inadequate space for the animals housed and frequently providing an environment conducive to exposure to pathogens such as R. rickettsii.