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Most previous researches indicated that impaired inhibition to emotional stimuli could be one of the important cognitive characteristics of depression individuals. The antisaccade tasks which composed of prosaccade task (PS) and antisaccade task (AS) were often used to investigate response inhibition.
This study aimed to investigate the volition inhibition toward emotional stimuli in depressed mood undergraduates (DM).
Subjects were grouped as 21 DM and 25 non-depressed undergraduates (ND) on the Beck Depression Inventory and Self-rating Depression Scale. The antisaccade tasks were conducted to examine the inhibition abilities by varying the arousal level of volition (low and high) of the tasks, with happy, neutral and sad facial expressions as stimuli.
The results showed that at the low volition level in the AS condition, the correct saccade latency in the DM were significant slower than the ND; The DM had reliable higher direction error rates in response to emotional facial expressions, especially for sad expressions. However, all of the differences disappeared in the high volition level antisaccade tasks. The amplitude errors data were not influenced by emotional facial expressions, and there were no group differences across tasks.
These results indicated the DM showed slower speed of cognitive processing and impaired inhibition abilities toward emotional faces than the ND, particularly for sad faces, but these abilities will be repaired in the high arousal level of volition, which enlighten us that training the DM's volition level of inhibition could prove to be an effective strategy to alleviate depression.
Increasing evidence indicates that major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with cognitive as well as mood disturbances.
To evaluate cognitive function and white matter structure, resting-state brain function in first-episode, treatmentnaive patients with MDD.
To explore brain structure and function mechanisms of cognitive impairment in MDD.
46 Han Chinese MDD patients aged 18–45 year and 46 controls were assessed by a series of validated test procedures.Then, 30 patients and 30 controls were obtained by MRI scan.White matter abnormalities evaluated using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) were analyzed using tract based spatial statistics (TBSS) and resting-state brain function was evaluated using regional homogeneity (ReHo) analysis.
Cognitive impairment in patients with MDD was demonstrated by reduced accuracy in the Wisconsin Card Sorting test (WSCT) and to a lesser extent the Continuous Performance test (CPT) and Trail Making tests (TMT). White matter abnormalities found in the left cerebellum, and resting-state abnormalities present in the left inferior parietal gyrus, left anterior cingulate nucleus and left hippocampal gyrus were associated with impaired performance in the WSCT and CPT tests. We also showed that poor WSCT performance was associated with increased interconnectivity between the left ventral anterior cingulate nucleus and the medial frontal lobe areas.
The present study indicates cognitive disturbances in patients with MDD are associated with white matter and resting-state changes and altered interconnections in specific brain areas.
Many MRI studies have cited major depression, with or without anti-depressive treatment, associated with structural plasticity changing in several brain regions. Few of these studies researched the effect of the anti-depressive treatment, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), on depression.
To assess the influence of ECT on the brain structure change during the treatment process by utilizing the voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analysis.
To determine whether ECT alter brain structure.
We performed HAMD ratings and MRI scans on 12 depressive patients during ECT, analyzing the data by VBM with SPM8 software's family-wise error correction (FWE).
The researchers found volumes changes in white matter in 37 regions between pre-ECT and post-ECT1, but only one region changing between pre-ECT and post-ECT8. Seven regions changing in grey matter between pre-ECT and post-ECT 1⌧but none regions changing between pre-ECT and post-ECT8.
The density changes in several brain regions after a single ECT stimuli, but return to the original level after completing the eighth ECT. Our finding supports that ECT may play a temporary role in treating major depression but do not permanently alter the structures of brain.
Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of death among infectious diseases. China has a high burden of TB and accounted for almost 13% of the world's cases of multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB. Spinal TB is one reason for the resurgence of TB in China. Few large case studies of MDR spinal TB in China have been conducted. The aim of this research was to observe the epidemiological characteristics of inpatients with MDR spinal TB in six provinces and cities of China from 1999–2015. This is a multicentre retrospective observational study. Patients' information was collected from the control disease centre and infectious disease database of hospitals in six provinces and cities in China. A total of 3137 patients with spinal TB and 272 patients with MDR spinal TB were analysed. The result showed that MDR spinal TB remains a public health concern and commonly affects patients 15–30 years of age (34.19%). The most common lesions involved the thoracolumbar spine (35.66%). Local pain was the most common symptom (98.53%). Logistic analysis showed that for spinal TB patients, reside in rural district (OR 1.79), advanced in years (OR 1.92) and high education degree (OR 2.22) were independent risk factors for the development of MDR spinal TB. Women were associated with a lower risk of MDR spinal TB (OR 0.48). The most common first-line and second-line resistant drug was isoniazid (68.75%) and levofloxacin (29.04%), respectively. The use of molecular diagnosis resulted in noteworthy clinical advances, including earlier initiation of MDR spinal TB treatment, improved infection control and better clinical outcome. Chemotherapy and surgery can yield satisfactory outcomes with timely diagnosis and long-term treatment. These results enable a better understanding of the MDR spinal TB in China among the general public.
In this study, the thermal deformation of a machine tool structure due to the heat generated during operation was analyzed, and embedded cooling channels were applied to exchange the heat generated during the operation to achieve thermal error suppression. Then, the finite volume method was used to simulate the effect of cooling oil temperature on thermal deformation, and the effect of thermal suppression was experimentally studied using a feed system combined with a cooler to improve the positioning accuracy of the machine tool. In this study, the supply oil temperature in the structural cooling channels was found to significantly affect the position accuracy of the moving table and moving carrier. If the supply oil temperature in the cooling channels is consistent with the operational ambient temperature, the position accuracy of the moving table in the Y direction and the moving carrier in the X and Z directions has the best performance under different feed rates. From the thermal suppression experiments of the embedded cooling channels, the positioning accuracy of the feed system can be improved by approximately 25.5 % during the dynamic feeding process. Furthermore, when the hydrostatic guideway is cooled and dynamic feeding is conducted, positioning accuracy can be improved by up to 47.8 %. The machining accuracy can be improved by approximately 60 % on average by using the embedded cooling channels in this study. Therefore, thermal suppression by the cooling channels in this study can not only effectively improve the positioning accuracy but also enhance machining accuracy, proving that the method is effective for enhancing machine tool accuracy.
KRTAP8-1 was the initial high-glycine-tyrosine keratin-associated protein gene recognized in sheep, but little is known about the functional influence of this gene. The current study used polymerase chain reaction-single stranded conformational polymorphism analysis to genotype KRTAP8-1 in 391 Southdown × Merino-cross sheep from six sire-lines. Five previously described variants (named A to E) of KRTAP8-1 were identified with frequencies of 67.0, 14.2, 7.0, 10.7 and 1.0%, respectively. Of the four variants (A, B, C and D) that occurred at a frequency greater than 5%, the presence of C was found to be associated with a reduction in mean fibre curvature (MFC) and the presence of D was associated with an increase in mean staple strength (MSS), whereas the presence of A had a trend of association with reduced MSS. Associations were not identified with other wool traits. These results suggest that variation in KRTAP8-1 affects MSS and MFC, and that KRTAP8-1 has the potential to be used as a genetic marker for improving these traits.
Optimizing the dietary calcium (Ca) level is essential to maximize the eggshell quality, egg production and bone formation in poultry. This study aimed to establish the Ca requirements of egg-type duck breeders from 23 to 57 weeks of age on egg production, eggshell, incubation, tibial, plasma and ovary-related indices, as well as the expression of matrix protein-related genes. Totally, 450 Longyan duck breeders aged 21 weeks of age were allotted randomly into five treatments, each with six replicates of 15 individually caged birds. The data collection started from 23 weeks of age and continued over the following 35 weeks. The five groups corresponded to five dietary treatments containing either 2.8%, 3.2%, 3.6%, 4.0% or 4.4% Ca. The tested dietary Ca levels increased (linear, P <0.01) egg production and egg mass, and linearly improved (P <0.01) the feed conversion ratio (FCR). Increasing the dietary Ca levels from 2.8% to 4.4% increased (P <0.01) the eggshell thickness and eggshell content. The tested Ca levels showed a quadratic effect on eggshell thickness and ovarian weight (P <0.01); the highest values were obtained with the Ca levels 4.0% and 3.6%, respectively. Dietary Ca levels affected the small yellow follicles (SYF) number and SYF weight/ovarian weight, and the linear response (P <0.01) was significant vis-à-vis SYF number. In addition, dietary Ca levels increased (P <0.05) the tibial dry weight, breaking strength, mineral density and ash content. Plasma and tibial phosphorus concentration exhibited a quadratic (P <0.01) response to dietary Ca levels. Plasma calcitonin concentration linearly (P <0.01) increased as dietary Ca levels increased. The relative expression of carbonic anhydrase 2 in the uterus rose (P <0.01) with the increment of dietary Ca levels, and the highest value was obtained with 3.2% Ca. In conclusion, Longyan duck breeders fed a diet with 4.0% Ca had superior eggshell and tibial quality, while those fed a diet with 3.6% Ca had the heaviest ovarian weights. The regression model indicated that the dietary Ca levels 3.86%, 3.48% and 4.00% are optimal levels to obtain maximum eggshell thickness, ovarian weight and tibial mineral density, respectively.
Co-receptor tropism has been identified to correlate with HIV-1 transmission and the disease progression in patients. A molecular epidemiology investigation of co-receptor tropism is important for clinical practice and effective control of HIV-1. In this study, we investigated the co-receptor tropism on HIV-1 variants of 85 antiretroviral-naive patients with Geno2pheno algorithm at a false-positive rate of 10%. Our data showed that a majority of the subjects harboured the CCR5-tropic virus (81.2%, 69/85). No significant differences in gender, age, baseline CD4+ T-cell counts and transmission routes were observed between subjects infected with CXCR4-tropic or CCR5-tropic virus. The co-receptor tropism appeared to be associated with the virus genotype; a significantly more CXCR4-use was predicted in CRF01_AE infections whereas all CRF07_BC and CRF08_BC were predicted to use CCR5 co-receptor. Sequences analysis of V3 revealed a higher median net charge in the CXCR4 viruses over CCR5 viruses (4.0 vs. 3.0, P < 0.05). The predicted N-linked glycosylation site between amino acids 6 and 8 in the V3 region was conserved in CCR5 viruses, but not in CXCR4 viruses. Besides, variable crown motifs were observed in both CCR5 and CXCR4 viruses, of which the most prevalent motif GPGQ existed in both viral tropism and almost all genotypes identified in this study except subtype B. These findings may offer important implications for clinical practice and enhance our understanding of HIV-1 biology.
Research from the 1980s reported sweep cultivation being a cost-effective component in an integrated system to manage weeds in peanut. Previous weed management research conducted on organic peanut indicated that repeated cultivation with a tine weeder was an effective component in that production system. Studies were conducted in Tifton, GA, from 2014 through 2017 to determine whether tine weeding can be integrated with herbicides in conventional peanut production to supplement herbicides. Experiments evaluated a factorial arrangement of eight herbicide combinations and two levels of cultivation using a tine weeder. Herbicides were labeled rates of ethalfluralin PRE, S-metolachlor PRE, imazapic POST, ethalfluralin PRE + S-metolachlor PRE, ethalfluralin PRE + imazapic POST, S-metolachlor PRE + imazapic POST, ethalfluralin PRE + S-metolachlor PRE + imazapic POST, and a nontreated control. The herbicides chosen were based on knowledge of the weed species composition at the research sites and their common use in peanut. Cultivation regimes were cultivation with a tine weeder (six times at weekly intervals) and a noncultivated control. Benefits of tine weeding supplementing control from herbicides varied according to herbicide and weed species. For example, annual grasses were effectively controlled (88% to 97%) by ethalfluralin or S-metolachlor and did not need cultivation to supplement control provided by the herbicides. However, imazapic alone did not effectively control (54% to 75%) annual grasses and needed supplemental control from cultivation with the tine weeder. Similarly, imazapic effectively controlled (84% to 93%) smallflower morningglory and did not require cultivation to supplement control from the herbicide. However, cultivation with the tine weeder improved smallflower morningglory control (76% to 95%) when supplementing ethalfluralin or S-metolachlor. Peanut yields did not respond to any of the herbicide combinations integrated with cultivation using the tine weeder. During the time period when peanut was cultivated, there was greater total rainfall and more days of rainfall events in 2014 and 2017 compared with the other years. Rainfall and wet soils reduced the performance and weed control benefits of the tine weeder. This highlights the risk of depending on cultivation for weed control.
Keratins are the main structural proteins of wool fibres, and it is thought that variation in the keratins may affect wool fibre characteristics. Polymerase chain reaction-single stranded conformational polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) analyses were used to investigate four regions of the ovine keratin gene KRT31 including a portion of the promoter, the exon 1, exon 3 and exon 7 regions. Initially, in a screening panel of 300 New Zealand Romney, Merino and White Dorper sheep obtained from 26 farms, three, two, two and two PCR-SSCP banding patterns were observed for these four regions, respectively. The promoter region, the exon 1 and exon 3 regions contained two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and the exon 7 region contained one SNP. The effect of the variation found in the promoter region on wool traits was subsequently investigated in 485 Southdown × Merino-cross lambs from seven sire-lines. The three variants identified in the original 300 sheep (named A, B and C) were observed with frequencies of 56, 29 and 15%, respectively. The presence of A and B had no significant effect on wool traits, but the presence of C was found to be associated with an increase in greasy fleece weight (GFW), clean fleece weight (CFW) and mean staple length (MSL). There was an effect of genotype on CFW and MSL, with BC sheep producing wool of higher CFW and MSL than AA, AB, AC and BB sheep. These results suggest that ovine KRT31 might be a useful candidate gene for improving wool traits.
Seasonal autoregressive-integrated moving average (SARIMA) has been widely used to model and forecast incidence of infectious diseases in time-series analysis. This study aimed to model and forecast monthly cases of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in China. Monthly incidence HFMD cases in China from May 2008 to August 2018 were analysed with the SARIMA model. A seasonal variation of HFMD incidence was found from May 2008 to August 2018 in China, with a predominant peak from April to July and a trough from January to March. In addition, the annual peak occurred periodically with a large annual peak followed by a relatively small annual peak. A SARIMA model of SARIMA (1, 1, 2) (0, 1, 1)12 was identified, and the mean error rate and determination coefficient were 16.86% and 94.27%, respectively. There was an annual periodicity and seasonal variation of HFMD incidence in China, which could be predicted well by a SARIMA (1, 1, 2) (0, 1, 1)12 model.
A new generation of high power laser facilities will provide laser pulses with extremely high powers of 10 petawatt (PW) and even 100 PW, capable of reaching intensities of
in the laser focus. These ultra-high intensities are nevertheless lower than the Schwinger intensity
at which the theory of quantum electrodynamics (QED) predicts that a large part of the energy of the laser photons will be transformed to hard Gamma-ray photons and even to matter, via electron–positron pair production. To enable the investigation of this physics at the intensities achievable with the next generation of high power laser facilities, an approach involving the interaction of two colliding PW laser pulses is being adopted. Theoretical simulations predict strong QED effects with colliding laser pulses of
focused to intensities
Sugarbeet, grown for biofuel, is being considered as an alternate cool-season crop in the southeastern United States. Previous research identified ethofumesate PRE and phenmedipham + desmedipham POST as herbicides that controlled troublesome cool-season weeds in the region, specifically cutleaf evening-primrose. Research trials were conducted from 2014 through 2016 to evaluate an integrated system of sweep cultivation and reduced rates of ethofumesate PRE and/or phenmedipham+desmedipham POST for weed control in sugarbeet grown for biofuel. There were no interactions between the main effects of cultivation and herbicides for control of cutleaf evening-primrose and other cool-season species in two out of three years. Cultivation improved control of cool-season weeds, but the effect was largely independent of control provided by herbicides. Of the herbicide combinations evaluated, the best overall cool-season weed control was from systems that included either a 1/2X or 1X rate of phenmedipham+desmedipham POST. Either rate of ethofumesate PRE was less effective than phenmedipham+desmedipham POST. Despite improved cool-season weed control, sugarbeet yield was not affected by cultivation each year of the study. Sugarbeet yields were greater when treated with any herbicide combination that included either a 1/2X or 1X rate of phenmedipham+desmedipham POST compared with either rate of ethofumesate PRE alone or the nontreated control. These results indicate that cultivation has a very limited role in sugarbeet grown for biofuel. The premise of effective weed control based on an integration of cultivation and reduced herbicide rates does not appear to be viable for sugarbeet grown for biofuel.
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.
Phenoloxidase (PO) plays a key role in melanin biosynthesis during insect development. Here, we isolated the 2310-bp full-length cDNA of PPO1 from Zeugodacus tau, a destructive horticultural pest. qRT-polymerase chain reaction showed that the ZtPPO1 transcripts were highly expressed during larval–prepupal transition and in the haemolymph. When the larvae were fed a 1.66% kojic acid (KA)-containing diet, the levels of the ZtPPO1 transcripts significantly increased by 2.79- and 3.39-fold in the whole larvae and cuticles, respectively, while the corresponding PO activity was significantly reduced; in addition, the larval and pupal durations were significantly prolonged; pupal weights were lowered; and abnormal phenotypes were observed. An in vitro inhibition experiment indicated that KA was an effective competitive inhibitor of PO in Z. tau. Additionally, the functional analysis showed that 20E could significantly up-regulate the expression of ZtPPO1, induce lower pupal weight, and advance pupation. Knockdown of the ZtPPO1 gene by RNAi significantly decreased mRNA levels after 24 h and led to low pupation rates and incomplete pupae with abnormal phenotypes during the larval-pupal interim period. These results proved that PO is important for the normal growth of Z. tau and that KA can disrupt the development of this pest insect.
Sugarbeet, grown for biofuel, is being considered as an alternate cool-season crop in the southeastern U.S. coastal plain. Typically, the crop would be seeded in the autumn, then grow through the winter and be harvested the following spring. Labels for herbicides registered for use on sugarbeet grown in the traditional sugarbeet production regions do not list any of the cool-season weeds common in the southeastern United States. Field trials were initiated near Ty Ty, GA, to evaluate all possible combinations of ethofumesate applied PRE, phenmedipham+desmedipham applied POST, clopyralid POST, and triflusulfuron POST for cool-season weed control in sugarbeet. Phenmedipham+desmedipham alone and in combination with clopyralid and/or triflusulfuron effectively controlled cutleaf eveningprimrose, lesser swinecress, henbit, and corn spurry when applied to seedling weeds. Ethofumesate PRE alone was not as effective in controlling cool-season weeds compared to treatments containing phenmedipham+desmedipham POST. However, ethofumesate PRE applied sequentially with phenmedipham+desmedipham POST improved weed control consistency. Clopyralid and/or triflusulfuron alone did not adequately control cutleaf eveningprimrose. Triflusulfuron alone effectively controlled wild radish. In the 2013–2014 and 2014–2015 seasons, December-applied POST herbicides did not injure sugarbeet. However, in the 2015–2016 season POST herbicides were applied in late October. On the day of treatment, the maximum temperature was 25.4 C, which exceeded the established upper temperature limit of 22 C for safe application of phenmedipham+desmedipham, and sugarbeet plants were severely injured. In the southeastern United States, temperatures frequently exceed 22 C in early autumn, which may limit phenmedipham+desmedipham use for controlling troublesome cool-season weeds of sugarbeet in the region. Weed control options need to be expanded to compensate for this limitation.
Seasonal autoregressive integrated moving average (SARIMA) has been used to model nationwide tuberculosis (TB) incidence in other countries. This study aimed to characterise monthly TB notification rate in China. Monthly TB notification rate from 2005 to 2017 was used. Time-series analysis was based on a SARIMA model and a hybrid model of SARIMA-generalised regression neural network (GRNN) model. A decreasing trend (3.17% per years, P < 0.01) and seasonal variation of TB notification rate were found from 2005 to 2016 in China, with a predominant peak in spring. A SARIMA model of ARIMA (0,1,1) (0,1,1)12 was identified. The mean error rate of the single SARIMA model and the SARIMA–GRNN combination model was 6.07% and 2.56%, and the determination coefficient was 0.73 and 0.94, respectively. The better performance of the SARIMA–GRNN combination model was further confirmed with the forecasting dataset (2017). TB is a seasonal disease in China, with a predominant peak in spring, and the trend of TB decreased by 3.17% per year. The SARIMA–GRNN model was more effective than the widely used SARIMA model at predicting TB incidence.
Curcumin has been attributed with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial activities, and has shown highly protective effects against enteropathogenic bacteria and mycotoxins. Ochratoxin A (OTA) is one of the major intestinal pathogenic mycotoxins. The possible effect of curcumin on the alleviation of enterotoxicity induced by OTA is unknown. The effects of dietary curcumin supplementation on OTA-induced oxidative stress, intestinal barrier and mitochondrial dysfunctions were examined in young ducks. A total of 540 mixed-sex 1-day-old White Pekin ducklings with initial BW (43.4±0.1 g) were randomly assigned into controls (fed only the basal diet), a group fed an OTA-contaminated diet (2 mg/kg feed), and a group fed the same OTA-contaminated feed plus 400 mg/kg of curcumin. Each treatment consisted of six replicates, each containing 30 ducklings and treatment lasted for 21 days. There was a significant decrease in average daily gain (ADG) and increased feed : gain caused by OTA (P<0.05); curcumin co-treatment prevented the decrease in BW and ADG compared with the OTA group (P<0.05). Histopathological and ultrastructural examination showed clear signs of enterotoxicity caused by OTA, but these changes were largely prevented by curcumin supplementation. Curcumin decreased the concentrations of interleukin-1β, tumor necrosis factor-α and malondialdehyde, and increased the activity of glutathione peroxidase induced by OTA in the jejunal mucosa of ducks (P<0.05). Additionally, curcumin increased jejunal mucosa occludin and tight junction protein 1 mRNA and protein levels, and decreased those of ρ-associated protein kinase 1 (P<0.05). Notably, curcumin inhibited the increased expression of apoptosis-related genes, and downregulated mitochondrial transcription factors A, B1 and B2 caused by OTA without any effects on RNA polymerase mitochondrial (P<0.05). These results indicated that curcumin could protect ducks from OTA-induced impairment of intestinal barrier function and mitochondrial integrity.
Multiple human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 genotypes in China were first discovered in Yunnan Province before disseminating throughout the country. As the HIV-1 epidemic continues to expand in Yunnan, genetic characteristics and transmitted drug resistance (TDR) should be further investigated among the recently infected population. Among 2828 HIV-positive samples newly reported in the first quarter of 2014, 347 were identified as recent infections with BED-captured enzyme immunoassay (CEIA). Of them, 291 were successfully genotyped and identified as circulating recombinant form (CRF)08_BC (47.4%), unique recombinant forms (URFs) (18.2%), CRF01_AE (15.8%), CRF07_BC (14.4%), subtype C (2.7%), CRF55_01B (0.7%), subtype B (0.3%) and CRF64_BC (0.3%). CRF08_BC and CRF01_AE were the predominant genotypes among heterosexual and homosexual infections, respectively. CRF08_BC, URFs, CRF01_AE and CRF07_BC expanded with higher prevalence in central and eastern Yunnan. The recent common ancestor of CRF01_AE, CRF07_BC and CRF08_BC dated back to 1983.1, 1992.1 and 1989.5, respectively. The effective population sizes (EPS) for CRF01_AE and CRF07_BC increased exponentially during 1991–1999 and 1994–1999, respectively. The EPS for CRF08_BC underwent two exponential growth phases in 1994–1998 and 2001–2002. Lastly, TDR-associated mutations were identified in 1.8% of individuals. These findings not only enhance our understanding of HIV-1 evolution in Yunnan but also have implications for vaccine design and patient management strategies.
We present a variational optimization method that can identify the most efficient kinematic dynamo in a sphere, where efficiency is based on the value of a magnetic Reynolds number that uses enstrophy to characterize the inductive effects of the fluid flow. In this large-scale optimization, we restrict the flow to be steady and incompressible, and the boundary of the sphere to be no-slip and electrically insulating. We impose these boundary conditions using a Galerkin method in terms of specifically designed vector field bases. We solve iteratively for the flow field and the accompanying magnetic eigenfunction in order to find the minimal critical magnetic Reynolds number
for the onset of a dynamo. Although nonlinear, this iteration procedure converges to a single solution and there is no evidence that this is not a global optimum. We find that
is at least three times lower than that of any published example of a spherical kinematic dynamo generated by steady flows, and our optimal dynamo clearly operates above the theoretical lower bounds for dynamo action. The corresponding optimal flow has a spatially localized helical structure in the centre of the sphere, and the dominant components are invariant under rotation by