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Human influence on ecological niches can drive rapid changes in the diet, behaviour and evolutionary trajectories of small mammals. Archaeological evidence from the Late Neolithic Loess Plateau of northern China suggests that the expansion of millet cultivation created new selective pressures, attracting small mammals to fields and settlements. Here, the authors present direct evidence for commensal behaviour in desert hares (Lepus capensis), dating to c. 4900 years ago. Stable isotope ratio analysis of hare bones from the Neolithic site at Yangjiesha shows a diachronic increase in a C4 (millet-based) diet, revealing, for the first time, the expansion of ancient human-hare interactions beyond the predator-prey relationship.
Reducing dietary CP content is an effective approach to reduce animal nitrogen excretion and save protein feed resources. However, it is not clear how reducing dietary CP content affects the nutrient digestion and absorption in the gut of ruminants, therefore it is difficult to accurately determine how much reduction in dietary CP content is appropriate. This study was conducted to investigate the effects of reduced dietary CP content on N balance, intestinal nutrient digestion and absorption, and rumen microbiota in growing goats. To determine N balance, 18 growing wether goats (25.0 ± 0.5 kg) were randomly assigned to one of three diets: 13.0% (control), 11.5% and 10.0% CP. Another 18 growing wether goats (25.0 ± 0.5 kg) were surgically fitted with ruminal, proximate duodenal, and terminal ileal fistulae and were randomly assigned to one of the three diets to investigate intestinal amino acid (AA) absorption and rumen microbiota. The results showed that fecal and urinary N excretion of goats fed diets containing 11.5% and 10.0% CP were lower than those of goats fed the control diet (P < 0.05). When compared with goats fed the control diet, N retention was decreased and apparent N digestibility in the entire gastrointestinal tract was increased in goats fed the 10% CP diet (P < 0.05). When compared with goats fed the control diet, the duodenal flow of lysine, tryptophan and phenylalanine was decreased in goats fed the 11.5% CP diet (P < 0.05) and that of lysine, methionine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, leucine, glutamic acid, tyrosine, essential AAs (EAAs) and total AAs (TAAs) was decreased in goats fed the 10.0% CP diet (P < 0.05). When compared with goats fed the control diet, the apparent absorption of TAAs in the small intestine was increased in goats fed the 11.5% CP diet (P < 0.05) and that of isoleucine, serine, cysteine, EAAs, non-essential AAs, and TAAs in the small intestine was increased in goats fed the 10.0% CP diet (P < 0.05). When compared with goats fed the control diet, the relative richness of Bacteroidetes and Fibrobacteres was increased and that of Proteobacteria and Synergistetes was decreased in the rumen of goats fed a diet with 10.0% CP. In conclusion, reducing dietary CP content reduced N excretion and increased nutrient utilization by improving rumen fermentation, enhancing nutrient digestion and absorption, and altering rumen microbiota in growing goats.
Beef cattle are often fed high-concentrate diet (HCD) to achieve high growth rate. However, HCD feeding is strongly associated with metabolic disorders. Mild acid treatment of grains in HCD with 1% hydrochloric acid (HA) followed by neutralization with sodium bicarbonate (SB) might modify rumen fermentation patterns and microbiota, thereby decreasing the negative effects of HCD. This study was thus aimed to investigate the effects of treatment of corn with 1% HA and subsequent neutralization with SB on rumen fermentation and microbiota, inflammatory response and growth performance in beef cattle fed HCD. Eighteen beef cattle were randomly allocated to three groups and each group was fed different diets: low-concentrate diet (LCD) (concentrate : forage = 40 : 60), HCD (concentrate : forage = 60 : 40) or HCD based on treated corn (HCDT) with the same concentrate to forage ratio as the HCD. The corn in the HCDT was steeped in 1% HA (wt/wt) for 48 h and neutralized with SB after HA treatment. The animal trial lasted for 42 days with an adaptation period of 7 days. At the end of the trial, rumen fluid samples were collected for measuring ruminal pH values, short-chain fatty acids, endotoxin (or lipopolysaccharide, LPS) and bacterial microbiota. Plasma samples were collected at the end of the trial to determine the concentrations of plasma LPS, proinflammatory cytokines and acute phase proteins (APPs). The results showed that compared with the LCD, feeding the HCD had better growth performance due to a shift in the ruminal fermentation pattern from acetate towards propionate, butyrate and valerate. However, the HCD decreased ruminal pH and increased ruminal LPS release and the concentrations of plasma proinflammatory cytokines and APPs. Furthermore, feeding the HCD reduced bacterial richness and diversity in the rumen. Treatment of corn increased resistant starch (RS) content. Compared with the HCD, feeding the HCDT reduced ruminal LPS and improved ruminal bacterial microbiota, resulting in decreased inflammation and improved growth performance. In conclusion, although the HCD had better growth performance than the LCD, feeding the HCD promoted the pH reduction and the LPS release in the rumen, disturbed the ruminal bacterial stability and increased inflammatory response. Treatment of corn with HA in combination with subsequent SB neutralization increased the RS content and helped counter the negative effects of feeding HCD to beef steers.
The relative effect of the atypical antipsychotic drugs and conventional agents on neurocognition in patients with early-stage schizophrenia has not been comprehensively determined.
The present study aimed to assess the cognitive effects of atypical and conventional antipsychotic drugs on neurocognition under naturalistic treatment conditions.
In a 12 months open-label, multicenter study, 698 patients with early-stage schizophrenia (< 5 years) were monotherapy with chlorpromazine, sulpiride, clozapine, risperidone, olanzapine, quetiapine or aripiprazole. Wechsler Memory Scale--Revised Visual Reproduction Test, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale Revised Digit Symbol Test and Digit-span Task Test, Trail Making Tests Part A and Part B, and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test were administered at baseline and 12 months follow-up evaluation. The primary outcome was change in a cognitive composite score after 12 months of treatment.
Compared with scores at baseline, the composite cognitive test scores and individual test scores had significant improvement for all seven treatment groups at 12-month follow-up evaluation (all p-values ≤ 0.013). However, olanzapine and quetiapine provided greater improvement than that provided by chlorpromazine and sulpiride in the composite score, processing speed and executive function (all p-values ≤ 0.045).
Both conventional and atypical antipsychotic medication long-term maintenance treatment can benefit congitive function in patients with early-stage schizophrenia, but olanzapine and quetiapine may be superior to chlorpromazine and sulpiride in improving some areas of neurocognitive function.
rs10761482 in ANK3 gene showed a significant association with schizophrenia in a genome-wide association study (GWAS). Another marker rs10994336 in ANK3 with the risk of bipolar disorder (BD) which might have more genetic overlap with schizophrenia, had been reported in two meta-analyses of GWAS.
In this study, we investigated the association between ANK3 polymorphisms and the susceptibility of schizophrenia in Chinese Han population.
Population-based (schizophrenia patients = 516 and controls = 400) and family based (trios of early onset schizophrenia= 81) study was performed through genotyping the most promising makers rs10761482, rs10994336, and two missenses rs3808942 and rs3808943 near promoter of ANK3. Particularly, we conducted an association analysis for the combined case-control and family samples.
Our population-based study replicated the association between rs10761482 (P = 0.0268 with C allele) and schizophrenia, and detected a novel association with rs10994336 (P = 4.0 × 10−4 with T allele). Haplotype analysis revealed the higher frequencies of C-T, and T-C (rs10761482–10994336) in the cases than controls (P = 0.0032 and P = 0.0012, respectively). In the family study, the C allele of rs10761482 (P = 0.0940) and T allele of rs10994336 (P = 0.0832) were slightly over-transmitted, and T-C was significantly associated with schizophrenia (P = 0.0304). The results from the combined samples analysis were consistent with independent analysis. rs10761482, rs10994336, C-T, and T-C were significantly associated with schizophrenia (P = 3.3 × 10−6∼3.9 × 10−5), whilst rs3808942 and rs3808943 did not reach normal significance.
Our data strongly support ANK3 gene is a schizophrenia susceptibility gene, and also provide further evidence for the shared susceptibility loci between schizophrenia and BD.
As an epigenetic modification, DNA methylation may reflect the interaction between genetic and environmental factors in the development of schizophrenia (SCZ). Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene is a promising candidate gene of SCZ. In the present study, we investigate the association of COMT methylation with the risk of SCZ using bisulfite pyrosequencing technology. Significant association between DNA methylation of COMT and the risk of SCZ is identified (P = 1.618e−007). A breakdown analysis by gender shows that the significance is driven by males (P = 3.310e−009), but not by females. DNA methylation of COMT is not significantly associated with SCZ clinical phenotypes, including p300 and cysteine level. No interaction is found between COMT genotypes and the percent methylation of this gene. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve shows that DNA methylation of COMT is able to predict the SCZ risk in males (area under curve [AUC] = 0.802, P = 1.91e−007). The current study indicates the clinical value of COMT methylation as a potential male-specific biomarker in SCZ diagnosis.
X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy is a technique of fundamental importance in nuclear waste management, as an element specific probe of speciation, which governs radionuclide solubility, immobilisation and migration. Here, we exploit recent developments in laboratory instrumentation for X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy, based on a Rowland circle geometry with a spherically bent crystal analyser, to demonstrate speciation in prototype ceramic and glass-ceramic waste forms. Laboratory and synchrotron XANES data acquired from the same materials, at the Ce and U L3 edges, were found to be in excellent quantitative agreement. We establish that analysable laboratory XANES data may be acquired, and interpreted for speciation, even from quite dilute absorber concentrations of a few mol%, albeit with data acquisition times of several hours. For materials with suitable absorber concentrations, this approach will enable routine element specific speciation studies to support rapid optimisation of radioactive waste forms and analysis of radiological materials in a purpose designed laboratory, without the risk associated with transport and manipulation at a synchrotron radiation facility.
The technology around generating efficient and sustainable energy is rapidly evolving; hydrogen and fuel cells are versatile examples within a portfolio of options. This article provides an overview of the early-stage materials R&D in hydrogen and fuel cells at the US Department of Energy (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office within the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. The article highlights technology status and progress toward achieving DOE targets, discusses R&D needs and challenges, and provides specific examples where advanced materials research is relevant to addressing those challenges. For broader context, materials R&D advances are discussed in the context of DOE’s H2@Scale initiative, which is enabling innovations to generate cost-competitive hydrogen as an energy carrier, enabling renewables, as well as nuclear, fossil fuels, and the grid, to enhance the economics of both baseload power plants and intermittent solar and wind, enhancing resiliency and avoiding curtailment.
In the livestock husbandry compensatory growth may be explored as a means to improve nutrient utilization, to reduce gut health problems due to excess protein intake, to simplify feeding strategies and thus to improve production efficiencies. This study investigated the effects of early protein restriction (EPR) and early antibiotic intervention (EAI) on growth performance, intestinal morphology, colonic bacteria, metabolites and mucosal gene expressions during the restriction phase and re-alimentation phase. A total of 64 piglets (10.04 ± 0.73 kg) were randomly divided into four treatment groups according to a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement with two levels of proteins (14% v. 20%) and two levels of antibiotics (0 v. 50 mg/kg kitasamycin and 20 mg/kg colistin sulphate). After a 30-day restriction phase with four kinds of diets, all groups were fed the same diets for another 74 days. The results showed that EPR decreased BW, average daily gain (ADG), average daily feed intake in the restriction phase (P < 0.01) and increased ADG on days 66 to 104 of the late re-alimentation phase. Early protein restriction could decrease the villus height in the jejunum (P < 0.05), while shifting to the same diets restored the villus height. Meanwhile, during the re-alimentation phase, pigs in the protein restriction groups had increased concentrations of total short chain fatty acids (P < 0.05), and modified the abundances of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes in the colon. Furthermore, the lower microbial diversity caused by EPR was improved, and gene expression analysis indicated a better barrier function in the colon. During the whole trial, EAI had no interaction with EPR and played a dispensable role in compensatory growth. Collectively, the retardation of growth caused by EPR can be compensated for in the later stages of pig raising, and accompanied by altered intestinal morphology, microbial composition.
Patients with severe mental disorders in low-resource settings have limited access to services, resulting in overwhelming caregiving burden for families. In extreme cases, this has led to the long-term restraining of patients in their homes. China underwent a nationwide initiative to unlock patients and provide continued treatment. This study aims to quantify household economic burden in families after unlocking and treatment, and to identify factors associated with increased burden due to schizophrenia.
A total of 264 subjects were enrolled from three geographically diverse provinces in 2012. Subjects were patients with schizophrenia who were previously put under restraints and had participated in the ‘unlocking and treatment’ intervention. The primary outcome was the current household economic burden, obtained from past year financial information collected through on-site interview. Patient disease characteristics, treatment, outcomes and family caregiving burden were collected as well. Univariate and multivariate linear regression were used to construct risk factor models for indirect economic burden.
After participating in the intervention, 85% of patients continued to receive mental health services, 70% used medication as prescribed and 80% were never relocked. Family members reported significantly decreased caregiving burden after receiving the intervention. Mean direct and indirect household economic burdens were CNY963 (US$31.7) and CNY11 724 (US$1670) per year, respectively, while family total income was on average CNY12 108 (US$1913) per year. Greater disease severity and poorer patient psychosocial function at time of study were found to be independent factors related to increased indirect burden.
The ‘unlocking and treatment’ intervention has improved the lives of patients and families. Indirect burden due to disease is still a major economic issue that needs to be addressed, potentially through improving treatment and patient functioning. Our findings contribute to the unravelling and eventual elimination of chronic restraining of mentally ill patients in low-resource settings.
The status of Asian populations of the Eurasian otter Lutra lutra is largely unknown. Since its designation as a Natural Monument (in 1983) and as Endangered (in 1997) in South Korea the authorities there have been trying to conserve and recover the species. We conducted a national otter survey by standard methods in 2017 and compared the current otter distribution to those recorded in a previous survey (2010). We found otter signs in 84.5% of 1,105 10 × 10 km grid cells, with the highest sprainting intensity in the south-west in the Yeongsan River Basin and on the south coast, where we recorded 7.05 and 6.26 spraints/site, respectively. Despite relatively low spraint densities, the otter has expanded its range since 2010 by colonizing urban areas. This trend suggests that South Korea could be a source area for the recovery of the Eurasian otter in East Asia.
Group-3 medulloblastoma (MBL) is highly resistant to radiation (IR) and chemotherapy and has the worst prognosis. Hence, there is an urgent need to elucidate targets that sensitize these tumors to chemotherapy and IR. Employing standard assays for viability and sensitization to IR, we identified PRDX1 as a therapeutic target in Group-3 MBL. Specifically, targeting PRDX1 by RNAi or inhibition by Adenanthin led to specific killing and sensitization to IR of Group-3 MBL cells. We rescued sensitization of Daoy and UW228 cells by hypermorphic expression of PRDX1. PRDX1 knockdown caused oxidative DNA damage and induced apoptosis. We correlated PRDX1 expression to patient outcomes in a validated MBL tumor-microarray. Whole genome sequencing identified pathways/genes that were dysregulated with PRDX1 inhibition or silencing. Our in vivo studies in mice employing flank/orthotopic tumors from patient derived xenografts/Group-3 MBL cells confirmed in vitro observations. Animals with tumors in which PRDX1 was targeted by RNAi or Adenanthin (using mini osmotic pumps) showed decreased tumor burden and increased survival when compared to controls. Since, Adenanthin does not cross the blood brain barrier (BBB) we used HAV6 peptide to transiently disrupt the BBB and deliver Adenanthin to the tumor. Immunohistochemistry confirmed that targeting PRDX1 resulted in increased oxidative DNA damage, apoptosis and decreased proliferation. In summary, we have validated PRDX1 as a therapeutic target in group-3 MBL, identified Adenanthin as a potent chemical inhibitor of PRDX1 and confirmed the role of HAV peptide (in the transient modulation of BBB permeability) in an orthotopic model of group-3 MBL.
Superior and inferior rice grains have different weights and are located on the upper primary branch and lower secondary branches of the panicle, respectively. To study differences in germination vigour of these two types of grain, a number of factors were investigated from 0 to 48 h of germination. The present study demonstrated that in inferior grains the starch granule structure was looser at 0 h, with full water absorption at 48 h, while in superior grains the structure was tight and dense. Relative water content increased, and dry matter decreased, more rapidly in inferior grains than in superior ones. Abscisic acid and gibberellin levels, as well as α-amylase activity, also changed more rapidly in inferior grains, while soluble sugar content and amylase coding gene expression increased more rapidly in inferior than superior grains during early germination. The expression of OsGAMYB was higher in inferior grains at 24 h but higher in superior grains at 48 h. The phenotypic index of seedlings was higher in seedlings from superior grains at the two-leaf stage. However, the thousand-grain weight and yield per plant in superior and inferior plants showed no significant difference at harvest. The present study indicates that inferior grains germinate faster than superior ones in the early germination stage. Although inferior grains produced weaker seedlings, it is worthwhile using them in rice production due to their comparative yield potential over that of superior grains.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
Athetis lepigone (Möschler) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is a new outbreak pest in China. Consequently, it is unclear whether the emergence and spread of the outbreak of this pest are triggered by rapid in situ population size increases in each outbreak area, or by immigrants from a potential source area in China. In order to explore the outbreak process of this pest through a population genetics approach, we developed ten novel polymorphic expressed sequence tags (EST)-derived microsatellites. These new microsatellites had moderately high levels of polymorphism in the tested population. The number of alleles per locus ranged from 3 to 19, with an average of 8.6, and the expected heterozygosity ranged from 0.269 to 0.783. A preliminary population genetic analysis using these new microsatellites revealed a lack of population genetic structure in natural populations of A. lepigone. The estimates of recent migration rate revealed strong gene flow among populations. In conclusion, our study developed the first set of EST-microsatellite markers and shed a new light on the population genetic structure of this pest in China.
Information on morbidity burden of seasonal influenza in China is limited. A multiplier model was used to estimate the incidence and number of outpatient visits for seasonal influenza by age group for the 2015–2016 season in Beijing, the capital of China, based on reported numbers of influenza-like illness consultations and proportions of positive cases from influenza surveillance systems in Beijing, general consultation rates and other parameters from previous studies, surveys and surveillance systems. An estimated total of 1 190 200 (95% confidence interval (CI) 830 400–1 549 900) cases of influenza virus infections occurred in Beijing, 2015–2016 season, with an attack rate of 5·5% (95% CI 3·9–7·2%). These infections resulted in an estimated 468 280 (95% CI 70 700–606 800) outpatient visits, with an attack rate of 2·2% (95% CI 0·3–2·8%). The attack rate of influenza virus infections was highest among children aged 0–4 years (31·9% (95% CI 21·9–41·9%)), followed by children aged 5–14 years (18·7% (95% CI 12·9–24·5%)). Our study demonstrated a substantial influenza-related morbidity in Beijing, China, especially among the preschool- and school-aged children. This suggests that development or modification of seasonal influenza targeted vaccination strategies need to recognize that incidence is highest in children.