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Subcutaneous fat thickness and fatty acid composition (FAC) play an important role on seasoning loss and organoleptic characteristics of seasoned hams. Dry-cured ham industry prefers meats with low contents of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) because these negatively affect fat firmness and ham quality, whereas consumers require higher contents in those fatty acids (FA) for their positive effect on human health. A population of 950 Italian Large White pigs from the Italian National Sib Test Selection Programme was investigated with the aim to estimate heritabilities, genetic and phenotypic correlations of backfat FAC, Semimembranosus muscle intramuscular fat (IMF) content and other carcass traits. The pigs were reared in controlled environmental condition at the same central testing station and were slaughtered at reaching 150 kg live weight. Backfat samples were collected to analyze FAC by gas chromatography. Carcass traits showed heritability levels from 0.087 for estimated carcass lean percentage to 0.361 for hot carcass weight. Heritability values of FA classes were low-to-moderate, all in the range 0.245 for n-3 PUFA to 0.264 for monounsaturated FA (MUFA). Polyunsaturated fatty acids showed a significant genetic correlation with loin thickness (0.128), backfat thickness (−0.124 for backfat measured by Fat-O-Meat’er and −0.175 for backfat measured by calibre) and IMF (−0.102). Obviously, C18:2(n-6) shows similar genetic correlations with the same traits (0.211 with loin thickness, −0.206 with backfat measured by Fat-O-Meat’er, −0.291 with backfat measured by calibre and −0.171 with IMF). Monounsaturated FA, except with the backfat measured by calibre (0.068; P<0.01), do not show genetic correlations with carcass characteristics, whereas a negative genetic correlation was found between MUFA and saturated FA (SFA; −0.339; P<0.001). These results suggest that MUFA/SFA ratio could be increased without interfering with carcass traits. The level of genetic correlations between FA and carcass traits should be taken into account in dealing with the development of selection schemes addressed to modify carcass composition and/or backfat FAC.
Characterisation of genetic diversity in a large number of European pig populations has been undertaken with EC support. The populations sampled included local (rare) breeds, national varieties of the major international breeds, commercial lines and the Chinese Meishan breed. A second phase of the project will sample a further 50 Chinese breeds. Neutral genetic markers (AFLP and microsatellites), with individual or bulk typing, were used and compared.
DNA from 59 European pig populations was extracted on samples of about 50 individuals per population. Individuals were typed for 50 microsatellites and for 148 AFLP bands. A subset of 25 populations was typed for 20 microsatellites on pools of DNA. Allele frequencies were estimated by direct allele counting for the co-dominant markers. Frequencies of AFLP negative alleles (absent bands) were obtained by taking the square root of absent band frequencies. Within-breed variability was summarised using standard statistics: expected and observed heterozygosity, mean observed and effective numbers of alleles, and F statistics. Between-breed diversity analysis was based on a bootstrapped Neighbor-Joining (NJ) tree derived from Reynolds distances (DR). The standard distance of Nei (DS) was also calculated.
Next space missions will investigate the possibility of extinct or extant life on Mars. Studying the infrared spectral modifications, induced by thermal processing on different carbonate samples (recent shells and fossils of different ages), we developed a method able to discriminate biogenic carbonates from their abiogenic counterparts. The method has been successfully applied to microbialites, i.e. bio-induced carbonates deposits, and particularly to stromatolites, the laminated fabric of microbialites, some of which can be ascribed to among the oldest traces of biological activity known on Earth. These results are of valuable importance since such carbonates are linked to primitive living organisms that can be considered as good analogues for putative Martian life forms. Considering that the microstructures of biogenic carbonate are different from those of abiogenic origin, we investigated the micromorphology of shells, skeletal grains and microbialites at different scale with a scanning electron microscope. The results show that this line of research may provide an alternative and complementary approach to other techniques developed in the past by our group to distinguish biotic from abiotic carbonates. In this paper, we present some results that can be of valuable interest since they demonstrate the utility for a database of images concerning the structures and textures of relevant carbonate minerals. Such data may be useful for the analysis of Martian samples, coming from sample return missions or investigated by future in situ explorations, aimed to characterize the near-subsurface of Mars in search for past or present life.
The activity and circulation of influenza viruses in Argentina was studied during 2012 as part of the Argentinean Surveillance for Influenza and other Respiratory Viruses, in the context of Global Influenza Surveillance. The antigenicity and molecular characteristics of haemagglutinins (HA) of circulating influenza A and B viruses were analysed to assess the emergence of virus variants. Susceptibility to oseltamivir and zanamivir was evaluated by enzymatic assay and results were backed-up by sequencing of the neuraminidase (NA) genes. During the 2012 season, influenza virus circulation in Argentina was detected from weeks 24 to 51. The HA sequences of the studied A(H1N1)pdm09 subtype viruses segregated in a different genetic group compared to those identified during the 2009 pandemic, although they were still closely related antigenically to the vaccine virus A/California/07/2009. The HA sequences of the A(H3N2) viruses analysed fell into the A/Victoria/208/2009 clade, genetic group 3C. A mixed circulation of virus variants belonging to B/Victoria and B/Yamagata lineages was detected, with B/Victoria being dominant. All viruses tested were sensitive to oseltamivir and zanamivir except one. This isolate, an A(H1N1)pdm09 virus possessing the substitution NA-N295S, showed highly reduced inhibition by oseltamivir and reduced inhibition by zanamivir. Virological and epidemiological surveillance remains critical for detection of evolving influenza viruses.
Genomic selection is becoming a common practise in dairy cattle, but only few works have studied its introduction in pig selection programs. Results described for this species are highly dependent on the considered traits and the specific population structure. This paper aims to simulate the impact of genomic selection in a pig population with a training cohort of performance-tested and slaughtered full sibs. This population is selected for performance, carcass and meat quality traits by full-sib testing of boars. Data were simulated using a forward-in-time simulation process that modeled around 60K single nucleotide polymorphisms and several quantitative trait loci distributed across the 18 porcine autosomes. Data were edited to obtain, for each cycle, 200 sires mated with 800 dams to produce 800 litters of 4 piglets each, two males and two females (needed for the sib test), for a total of 3200 newborns. At each cycle, a subset of 200 litters were sib tested, and 60 boars and 160 sows were selected to replace the same number of culled male and female parents. Simulated selection of boars based on performance test data of their full sibs (one castrated brother and two sisters per boar in 200 litters) lasted for 15 cycles. Genotyping and phenotyping of the three tested sibs (training population) and genotyping of the candidate boars (prediction population) were assumed. Breeding values were calculated for traits with two heritability levels (h2=0.40, carcass traits, and h2=0.10, meat quality parameters) on simulated pedigrees, phenotypes and genotypes. Genomic breeding values, estimated by various models (GBLUP from raw phenotype or using breeding values and single-step models), were compared with the classical BLUP Animal Model predictions in terms of predictive ability. Results obtained for traits with moderate heritability (h2=0.40), similar to the heritability of traits commonly measured within a sib-testing program, did not show any benefit from the introduction of genomic selection. None of the considered genomic models provided improvements in prediction ability of pigs with no recorded phenotype. However, a few advantages were found for traits with low heritability (h2=0.10). These heritability levels are characteristic for meat quality traits recorded after slaughtering or for reproduction or health traits, typically recorded on field and not in performance stations. Other scenarios of data recording and genotyping should be evaluated before considering the implementation of genomic selection in a pig-selection scheme based on sib testing of boars.
Although risk for psychosis in velocardiofacial (22q11.2 deletion) syndrome (VCFS) is well established, the cognitive and familial factors that moderate that risk are poorly understood.
A total of 75 youth with VCFS were assessed at three time points, at 3-year intervals. Time 1 (T1) psychiatric risk was assessed with the Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC). Data reduction of BASC scores yielded avoidance–anxiety and dysregulation factors. Time 2 (T2) neuropsychological and family function and time 3 (T3) prodromal/overt psychosis were assessed. Poisson regression models tested associations between T3 positive prodromal symptoms/overt psychosis and T1 psychiatric risk, T2 cognitive and familial factors, and their interactions.
T1 avoidance–anxiety ratings predicted T3 prodromal/overt psychosis. T2 verbal learning scores moderated this association, such that individuals with low avoidance–anxiety scores and stronger verbal learning skills were the least likely to demonstrate prodromal/overt psychosis at T3. Low scores on a T2 visual vigilance task also predicted T3 prodromal/overt psychosis, independently of the effect of T1 avoidance–anxiety scores. T1 dysregulation scores did not predict T3 prodromal/overt psychosis in a linear manner. Instead, the association between dysregulation and prodromal/overt psychosis was amplified by T2 levels of family organization, such that individuals with low dysregulation scores and low family organization scores were the most likely to exhibit T3 prodromal/overt psychosis.
Significant moderators of psychiatric risk in VCFS include verbal learning skills as well as levels of family organization, carrying implications for early identification and preventative treatment of youth with VCFS at highest risk for psychosis.
Graded Al-doped ZnO layers, constituted by a mesoporous forest-like system evolving into a compact transparent conductor, were synthesized by Pulsed Laser Deposition with different morphologies to study the correlation with functional properties. Morphology was monitored by Scanning Electron Microscopy images and by measuring the resulting surface roughness. Its effects on electrical conductivity – especially carrier mobility, which significantly decreases with increasing roughness – allow to discuss the limitations in conduction mechanisms. Significant changes in light scattering capability due to variations in morphology are also investigated and discussed to study the correlation between morphology and functional properties.
To examine the health status of ethnic minorities in Italy. Furthermore, we aimed to assess the association between anthropometric and blood parameters connected with health status.
A cross-sectional study. Anthropometric data were collected by direct measurements and blood glucose, total cholesterol and TAG were analysed.
Bologna, northern Italy.
A multi-ethnic sample of adult immigrants and Roma.
Significant correlations between anthropometric and blood parameters were found. Among the ethnic groups, Roma males had the highest values of glucose, total cholesterol and TAG. In the females the situation was more balanced among ethnic groups.
The data from this survey indicate that poor health status is a very common problem among ethnic groups living in Italy, especially the Roma. The use of anthropometric parameters as rapid indicators of health status in screenings of a large number of subjects could be an effective and cheap method to provide preliminary indications on individuals or ethnic groups at greater risk of poor health.
Although DSM-IV attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is known to be associated with numerous adverse outcomes, uncertainties exist about how much these associations are mediated temporally by secondary co-morbid disorders.
The US National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A), a national survey of adolescents aged 13–17 years (n = 6483 adolescent–parent pairs), assessed DSM-IV disorders with the World Health Organization (WHO) Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). Statistical decomposition was used to compare direct effects of ADHD with indirect effects of ADHD through temporally secondary mental disorders (anxiety, mood, disruptive behavior, substance disorders) in predicting poor educational performance (suspension, repeating a grade, below-average grades), suicidality (ideation, plans, attempts) and parent perceptions of adolescent functioning (physical and mental health, interference with role functioning and distress due to emotional problems).
ADHD had significant gross associations with all outcomes. Direct effects of ADHD explained most (51.9–67.6%) of these associations with repeating a grade in school, perceived physical and mental health (only girls), interference with role functioning and distress, and significant components (34.5–44.6%) of the associations with school suspension and perceived mental health (only boys). Indirect effects of ADHD on educational outcomes were predominantly through disruptive behavior disorders (26.9–52.5%) whereas indirect effects on suicidality were predominantly through mood disorders (42.8–59.1%). Indirect effects on most other outcomes were through both mood (19.8–31.2%) and disruptive behavior (20.1–24.5%) disorders, with anxiety and substance disorders less consistently important. Most associations were comparable for girls and boys.
Interventions aimed at reducing the adverse effects of ADHD might profitably target prevention or treatment of temporally secondary co-morbid disorders.
Two new free-living marine nematodes belonging to the family Thoracostomopsidae, subfamily Enoplolaiminae and the genera Epacanthion are described from Patagonian coastal areas, Río Negro and Chubut provinces of Argentina. In Epacanthion bicuspidatum sp. nov. the main features are: two cusps on distal mandible end; presence of two rings of eight setae in the cervical region; and eight crown-shaped setae along the body, presence of one supplement distant two cloacal body diameter (cbd) from cloacae, gubernaculum and short spicule. Epacanthion ampullatum sp. nov. is characterized by having a tubular and long pre-cloacal supplement, short spicule, presence of gubernaculum, presence of three long setae on the tip of the tail, the presence of one supplement distant three cbd from cloacae and the presence of two small cusps on the distal end of the mandible.
Dietary assessment is strongly affected by misreporting (both under- and over-reporting), which results in measurement error. Knowledge about misreporting is essential to correctly interpret potentially biased associations between diet and health outcomes. In young children, dietary data mainly rely on proxy respondents but little is known about determinants of misreporting here. The present analysis was conducted within the framework of the multi-centre IDEFICS (Identification and prevention of dietary- and lifestyle-induced health effects in children and infants) study and is based on 6101 children aged 2–9 years with 24 h dietary recall (24-HDR) and complete covariate information. Adapted Goldberg cut-offs were applied to classify the 24-HDR as ‘over-report’, ‘plausible report’ or ‘under-report’. Backward elimination in the course of multi-level logistic regression analyses was conducted to identify factors significantly related to under- and over-reporting. Next to characteristics of the children and parents, social factors and parental concerns/perceptions concerning their child's weight status were considered. Further selective misreporting was addressed, investigating food group intakes commonly perceived as more or less socially desirable. Proportions of under-, plausible and over-reports were 8·0, 88·6 and 3·4 %, respectively. The risk of under-reporting increased with age (OR 1·19, 95 % CI 1·05, 1·83), BMI z-score of the child (OR 1·23, 95 % CI 1·10, 1·37) and household size (OR 1·12, 95 % CI 1·01, 1·25), and was higher in low/medium income groups (OR 1·45, 95 % CI 1·13, 1·86). Over-reporting was negatively associated with BMI z-scores of the child (OR 0·78, 95 % CI 0·69, 0·88) and higher in girls (OR 1·70, 95 % CI 1·27, 2·28). Further social desirability and parental concerns/perceptions seemed to influence the reporting behaviour. Future studies should involve these determinants of misreporting when investigating diet–disease relationships in children to correct for the differential reporting bias.
The proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 1 (PCSK1) gene encodes the prohormone convertase 1/3 enzyme that processes prohormones into functional hormones that, in turn, regulate central and peripheral energy metabolism. Mutations in the human PCSK1 gene cause severe monogenic obesity or confer risk of obesity. We herein investigated the porcine PCSK1 gene with the aim of identifying polymorphisms associated with fat deposition and production traits in Italian heavy pigs. By re-sequencing about 5.1 kb of this gene in 21 pigs of different breeds, we discovered 14 polymorphisms that were organized in nine haplotypes, clearly distributed in two clades of putative European and Asian origin. Then we re-mapped this gene on porcine chromosome 2 and analysed its expression in several tissues including gastric oxyntic mucosa of weanling pigs in which PCSK1 processes the pre-pro-ghrelin into ghrelin, which in turn is involved in the control of feed intake and energy metabolism. Association analyses between PCSK1 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and production, carcass and several other traits were conducted on five groups of pigs from three different experimental designs, for a total of 1221 animals. Results indicated that the analysed SNPs were associated (P < 0.01 or P < 0.05) with several traits including backfat thickness and visible intermuscular fat in Italian Duroc (ID) and growth performances in Italian Large White (ILW) and in ILW × Italian Landrace pigs. However, the effects estimated in the ILW were opposite to the effects reported in the ID pigs. Suggestive association (P < 0.10) was observed with muscle cathepsin B activity, opening, if confirmed, potential applications to reduce the excessive softness defect of the green hams that is of particular concern for the processing industry. The results obtained supported the need to further investigate the PCSK1 gene to fully exploit the value of its variability and apply this information in pig breeding programmes.
Silicon nanostructures embedded in an amorphous matrix have been synthesized by Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) at room temperature. The structural and optical properties of the materials were tailored by varying deposition parameters; attention has been devoted to the nanoscale morphology of the Si layers which has been varied from compact to open-porous by changing background gas (Ar) pressure (1-100 Pa). An adopted simple-minded strategy of a compact Si layer deposited on top of nanostructured layers showed to reduce quite successfully ex-situ oxidation. Raman spectroscopy suggests that as deposited samples are mainly constituted by amorphous silicon with nanocrystals (NCs) inclusions. The results indicate that the average size of the Si NCs varies in the range 2-6 nm. Photoluminescence (PL) responses are found to be strictly dependent on morphology and strengthen up the idea of the quantum confinement effect in the obtained nanostructured material. The results are interpreted in terms of particle size distribution, crystallinity and partial surface oxidation of the silicon nanostructures.
This study explored eating disorder risk factors and possible psychosocial predictors of this risk in overweight and obese treatment-seeking adolescents. Prior to commencing treatment 108 overweight and obese adolescents aged 11 to 17 years (M = 14.31, SD = 1.57; 55% female) completed self-report measures of psychosocial factors. Females reported elevated levels of bulimic tendencies, body dissatisfaction, drive for thinness (p ≤.001) and males reported elevated body dissatisfaction (p < .001). Age, sex and BMI-for-age z-score explained 15% (p < .001) of the variance in eating disorder risk and psychosocial predictors an additional 25%. Sex did not have a moderating effect on these relationships (p = .21). Among overweight and obese treatment-seeking adolescents, those experiencing lower self-esteem and elevated depression and anxiety symptomatology are at increased eating disorder risk. This highlights the need to consider psychosocial factors in preventing and treating overweight and obesity.
The primary goal was to identify risk factors for post-surgical depression in subjects operated on for drug-resistant epilepsy. Secondary goals were to confirm the high rate of depression in subjects suffering from epilepsy (prior to surgery) and to look for first post-surgical depressive episode.
Case series study of 150 subjects surgically treated for partial epilepsy (side of surgery: 72 right, 78 left; site of surgery: 97 Unilobar Temporal, 17 Unilobar Frontal, 14 Posterior, 22 Multilobar). All subjects routinely had three psychiatric evaluations: before surgery (baseline) and at 6 and 12 months after surgery. Psychiatric diagnoses were made according to DSM-IV-TR criteria. Bivariate (Fisher exact test and Kruskal–Wallis rank sum test) and multivariate (logistic regression model fitting) analyses were performed.
Thirty-three (22%) subjects had post-surgical depressive episodes, 31 of them in the first 6 months. Fourteen out of 33 experienced depression for the first time. Post-surgical depressive episodes are not associated with gender, outcome on seizures, side/site of surgical resection, histological diagnosis, psychiatric diagnoses other than depression. Depressive episodes before surgery and older age at surgery time are risk factors for post-surgical depression (p = 0.0001 and 0.01, respectively, at logistic regression analysis). No protective factors were identified.
Our data show that lifetime depressive episodes and older age at surgery time are risk factors for post-surgery depression. Moreover, a prospective study could be useful in order to assess whether depression is really a consequence of surgery.
High Resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) and electroreflectance (ER) were used to explain the role of point defects in the molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) grown PIN structure containing five coupled (50Å/28Å) GaAs/AlxGa1−xAs quantum wells with x = 0.25. The ER data were taken at 300K and 77K for energies from 1.4 to 2.1 eV from which sub-band energy transitions were determined. Data at 300K showed three transitions whereas four were readily resolved at 77K. HRTEM data determined the uniformity of both the wells and barriers to be within ± 2Å, which neither caused appreciable broadening nor a decrease in the transition probability. However, the data at different temperatures suggest that point defects may be responsible for the decrease in the transition probability.
Electroreflectance (ER) measurements were made on GaAs/AxGal-x As coupled quantum wells at room temperature and at 77K. The close coupling of the narrow (28.3 A) barriers resulted in splitting of the hole and electron subband levels which was observed at both temperatures. As a first approximation, the confining potential was assumed to be due to the barrier alone; electric field effects of the modulating potential and trapped interfacial charge were considered to be negligible. The dominant heavy holeconduction and light hole-conduction transitions observed at 300K were at 1523meV and 1539 meV respectively, although other weaker transitions were also resolved.
We have measured the photovoltaic spectra at 300K for a PIN GaAs/AlGaAs structure containing five coupled wells (50A/28A) grown by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE). The spectra were obtained in the energy range from 1.40 eV to 1.60 eV. This is the region in which optical transitions between the sub-band valence and conduction states are possible. Five direct optical transitions are allowed for this structure. These transitions are normally difficult to measure at room temperature because of broadening, nevertheless, some of the allowed transitions were observed from the photovoltaic spectra and agreed with calculations. We have previously shown that measurements made using electroreflectance (ER) agree with these results. However, with ER, three possible transitions were observed but only one with certainty, possibly because of interference caused by adjacent line spectra interaction. This interference appears to be less pronounced in the photovoltaic spectra, which aids in the identification of transitions.
Massese is an Italian dairy sheep breed characterized by animals with black skin and horns and black or apparent grey hairs. Owing to the presence of these two coat colour types, this breed can be considered an interesting model to evaluate the effects of coat colour gene polymorphisms on this phenotypic trait. Two main loci have been already shown to affect coat colour in sheep: Agouti and Extension coding for the agouti signalling protein (ASIP) and melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) genes, respectively. The Agouti locus is affected by a large duplication including the ASIP gene that may determine the Agouti white and tan allele (AWt). Other disrupting or partially inactivating mutations have been identified in exon 2 (a deletion of 5 bp, D5; and a deletion of 9 bp, D9) and in exon 4 (g.5172T>A, p.C126S) of the ASIP gene. Three missense mutations in the sheep MC1R gene cause the dominant black ED allele (p.M73K and p.D121N) and the putative recessive e allele (p.R67C). Here, we analysed these ASIP and MC1R mutations in 161 Massese sheep collected from four flocks. The presence of one duplicated copy allele including the ASIP gene was associated with grey coat colour (P = 9.4E-30). Almost all animals with a duplicated copy allele (37 out of 41) showed uniform apparent grey hair and almost all animals without a duplicated allele (117 out of 120) were completely black. Different forms of duplicated alleles were identified in Massese sheep including, in almost all cases, copies with exon 2 disrupting or partially inactivating mutations making these alleles different from the AWt allele. A few exceptions were observed in the association between ASIP polymorphisms and coat colour: three grey sheep did not carry any duplicated copy allele and four black animals carried a duplicated copy allele. Of the latter four sheep, two carried the ED allele of the MC1R gene that may be the cause of their black coat colour. The coat colour of all other black animals may be determined by non-functional ASIP alleles (non-agouti alleles, Aa) and in a few cases by the EDExtension allele. At least three frequent ASIP haplotypes ([D5:g.5172T], [N:g.5172A] and [D5:g.5172A]) were detected (organized into six different diplotypes). In conclusion, the results indicated that coat colours in the Massese sheep breed are mainly derived by combining ASIP and MC1R mutations.