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The search for life in the Universe is a fundamental problem of astrobiology and modern science. The current progress in the detection of terrestrial-type exoplanets has opened a new avenue in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and in the search for biosignatures of life with the upcoming ground-based and space missions. To specify the conditions favourable for the origin, development and sustainment of life as we know it in other worlds, we need to understand the nature of global (astrospheric), and local (atmospheric and surface) environments of exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) around G-K-M dwarf stars including our young Sun. Global environment is formed by propagated disturbances from the planet-hosting stars in the form of stellar flares, coronal mass ejections, energetic particles and winds collectively known as astrospheric space weather. Its characterization will help in understanding how an exoplanetary ecosystem interacts with its host star, as well as in the specification of the physical, chemical and biochemical conditions that can create favourable and/or detrimental conditions for planetary climate and habitability along with evolution of planetary internal dynamics over geological timescales. A key linkage of (astro)physical, chemical and geological processes can only be understood in the framework of interdisciplinary studies with the incorporation of progress in heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary and Earth sciences. The assessment of the impacts of host stars on the climate and habitability of terrestrial (exo)planets will significantly expand the current definition of the HZ to the biogenic zone and provide new observational strategies for searching for signatures of life. The major goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the current status and recent progress in this interdisciplinary field in light of presentations and discussions during the NASA Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science funded workshop ‘Exoplanetary Space Weather, Climate and Habitability’ and to provide a new roadmap for the future development of the emerging field of exoplanetary science and astrobiology.
Triploid and pentaploid breeding is of great importance in agricultural production, but it is not always easy to obtain double ploidy parents. However, in fishes, chromosome ploidy is diversiform, which may provide natural parental resources for triploid and pentaploid breeding. Both tetraploid and hexaploid exist in Schizothorax fishes, which were thought to belong to different subfamilies with tetraploid Percocypris fishes in morphology, but they are sister genera in molecule. Fortunately, the pentaploid hybrid fishes have been successfully obtained by hybridization of Schizothorax wangchiachii (♀, 2n = 6X = 148) × Percocypris pingi (♂, 2n = 4X = 98). To understand the genetic and morphological difference among the hybrid fishes and their parents, four methods were used in this study: morphology, karyotype, red blood cell (RBC) DNA content determination and inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR). In morphology, the hybrid fishes were steady, and between their parents with no obvious preference. The chromosome numbers of P. pingi have been reported as 2n = 4X = 98. In this study, the karyotype of S. wangchiachii was 2n = 6X = 148 = 36m + 34sm + 12st + 66t, while that the hybrid fishes was 2n = 5X = 123 = 39m + 28sm + 5st + 51t. Similarly, the RBC DNA content of the hybrid fishes was intermediate among their parents. In ISSR, the within-group genetic diversity of hybrid fishes was higher than that of their parents. Moreover, the genetic distance of hybrid fishes between P. pingi and S.wangchiachii was closely related to that of their parental ploidy, suggesting that parental genetic material stably coexisted in the hybrid fishes. This is the first report to show a stable pentaploid F1 hybrids produced by hybridization of a hexaploid and a tetraploid in aquaculture.
Feeding ruminants a high-grain (HG) diet is a widely used strategy to improve milk yield and cost efficiency. However, it may cause certain metabolic disorders. At present, information about the effects of HG diets on the systemic metabolic profile of goats and the correlation of such diets with rumen bacteria is limited. In the present study, goats were randomly divided into two groups: one was fed the hay diet (hay; n = 5), while the other was fed HG diets (HG; n = 5). On day 50, samples of rumen contents, peripheral blood serum and liver tissues were collected to determine the metabolic profiles in the rumen fluid, liver and serum and the microbial composition in rumen. The results revealed that HG diets reduced (P < 0.05) the community richness and diversity of rumen microbiota, with an increase in the Chao 1 and Shannon index and a decrease in the Simpson index. HG diets also altered the composition of rumen microbiota, with 30 genera affected (P < 0.05). Data on the metabolome showed that the metabolites in the rumen fluid, liver and serum were affected (variable importance projection > 1, P <0.05) by dietary treatment, with 47, 10 and 27 metabolites identified as differentially metabolites. Pathway analysis showed that the common metabolites in the shared key pathway (aminoacyl-transfer RNA biosynthesis) in the rumen fluid, liver and serum were glycine, lysine and valine. These findings suggested that HG diets changed the composition of the rumen microbiota and metabolites in the rumen fluid, liver and serum, mainly involved in amino acid metabolism. Our findings provide new insights into the understanding of diet-related systemic metabolism and the effects of HG diets on the overall health of goats.
Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88) presented a critique of our recently published paper in Cell Reports entitled ‘Large-Scale Cognitive GWAS Meta-Analysis Reveals Tissue-Specific Neural Expression and Potential Nootropic Drug Targets’ (Lam et al., Cell Reports, Vol. 21, 2017, 2597–2613). Specifically, Hill offered several interrelated comments suggesting potential problems with our use of a new analytic method called Multi-Trait Analysis of GWAS (MTAG) (Turley et al., Nature Genetics, Vol. 50, 2018, 229–237). In this brief article, we respond to each of these concerns. Using empirical data, we conclude that our MTAG results do not suffer from ‘inflation in the FDR [false discovery rate]’, as suggested by Hill (Twin Research and Human Genetics, Vol. 21, 2018, 84–88), and are not ‘more relevant to the genetic contributions to education than they are to the genetic contributions to intelligence’.
In the current intensive production system, ruminants are often fed high-grain (HG) diets. However, this feeding pattern often causes rumen metabolic disorders and may further trigger laminitis, the exact mechanism is not clear. This study investigated the effect of HG diet feeding on fermentative and microbial changes in the rumen and on the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in the lamellar tissue. In all, 12 male goats were fed a hay diet (0% grain; n=6) or an HG diet (56.5% grain; n=6). On day 50 of treatment, samples of blood, rumen content, and lamellar tissue of hooves of goats were collected. The data showed that compared with the hay group, HG-fed goats had lower (P<0.05) rumen pH but higher (P<0.05) total volatile fatty acids and lactate in the rumen and higher (P<0.05) lipopolysaccharide (LPS) levels in the rumen and blood. HG diet feeding altered the composition of rumen bacterial community, and correspondingly, the results suggested that their functions in the HG group were also altered. HG diet feeding increased (P<0.05) the expression of interleukin-1β, interleukin-6, tumour necrosis factor-α and MMP-2 mRNA in the lamellar tissues compared with the hay group. Correlation analysis indicated that the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines were positively correlated with MMP-2 expression in lamellar tissues. Overall, these results revealed that HG feeding altered the patterns of rumen fermentation and the composition and functions of rumen bacterial community, and lead to higher levels of LPS in the peripheral blood, and further activated the inflammatory response in lamellar tissues, which may progress to the level of laminar damage.
High order total variation (TV2) and ℓ1 based (TV2L1) model has its advantage over the TVL1 for its ability in avoiding the staircase; and a constrained model has the advantage over its unconstrained counterpart for simplicity in estimating the parameters. In this paper, we consider solving the TV2L1 based magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) signal reconstruction problem by an efficient alternating direction method of multipliers. By sufficiently utilizing the problem's special structure, we manage to make all subproblems either possess closed-form solutions or can be solved via Fast Fourier Transforms, which makes the cost per iteration very low. Experimental results for MRI reconstruction are presented to illustrate the effectiveness of the new model and algorithm. Comparisons with its recent unconstrained counterpart are also reported.
Based on 27 individual catalogues, which have been published since 60s' and consist of the positions of the counterparts of extragalatic radio sources, we have compiled a combined catalogue by means of Aoki (Aoki, S. et al. 1983) method for transferring the reference frame from FK4 to FK5 and the referred epoch from B1950.0 to J2000.0 and IERS method (Feissel, M. et al. 1988), which is used for compiling the combined catalog of radio sources. Of course, in the compiling procedure the systematic differences of Peth 70, AGK3RN, and AGK3 (Schwan, H. 1985) have been considered.
Varicella–zoster virus (VZV) infection (chickenpox) results in latency and subsequent reactivation manifests as shingles. Effective attenuated vaccines (vOka) are available for prevention of both illnesses. In this study, an amplicon-based sequencing method capable of differentiating between VZV wild-type (wt) strains and vOka vaccine is described. A total of 44 vesicular fluid specimens collected from 43 patients (16 from China and 27 from the UK) with either chickenpox or shingles were investigated, of which 10 had received previous vaccination. Four sets of polymerase chain reactions were set up simultaneously with primers amplifying regions encompassing four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), ‘69349-106262-107252-108111’. Nucleotide sequences were generated by Sanger sequencing. All samples except one had a wt SNP profile of ‘A-T-T-T’. The sample collected from a patient who received vaccine 7–10 days ago, along with VZV vaccine preparations, Zostavax and Baike-varicella gave a SNP profile ‘G-C-C-C’. The results show that this method can distinguish vaccine-derived virus from wt viruses from main four clades, (clades 1–4) and should be of utility worldwide.
Accurate prediction of the flow around multi-element airfoil is a prerequisite for improving aerodynamic performance, but its complex flow features impose high demands on turbulence modeling. In this work, delayed detached-eddy-simulation (DDES) and zonal detached-eddy-simulation (ZDES) was applied to simulate the flow past a three-element airfoil. To investigate the effects of numerical dissipation of spatial schemes, the third-order MUSCL and the fifth-order interpolation based on modified Roe scheme were implemented. From the comparisons between the calculations and the available experimental result, third-order MUSCL-Roe can provide satisfactory mean velocity profiles, but the excessive dissipation suppresses the velocity fluctuations level and eliminates the small-scale structures; DDES cannot reproduce the separation near the trailing edge of the flap which lead to the discrepancy in mean pressure coefficients, while ZDES result has better tally with the experiment.
Mechanical integrity of the interfacial region between ceramic coatings and substrates is critical to high performance coated mechanical components and manufacturing tools. Mechanical failure of the coating/substrate interfacial region often leads to catastrophic failure of the coated system as a whole. Despite extensive research over the past two decades, quantitative assessment of the mechanical response of coating/substrate interfacial regions remains a challenge. The lack of reliable protocols for measuring the mechanical response of coating/substrate interfacial regions quantitatively hampers the understanding of key factors controlling the mechanical integrity of coating/substrate interfaces. In this paper, we describe a new micro-pillar testing protocol for quantitative measurement of critical stresses for inducing shear failure of interfacial regions in ceramic-coating/metal-adhesion-layer/substrate systems. We observe significant differences in the critical stress for shear failure of interfacial regions in CrN/Cu/Si, CrN/Cr/Si, and CrN/Ti/Si systems. The present testing protocol has general applicability to a wide range of coating/interlayer/substrate systems.
Historically, alloy development with better radiation performance has been focused on traditional alloys with one or two principal element(s) and minor alloying elements, where enhanced radiation resistance depends on microstructural or nanoscale features to mitigate displacement damage. In sharp contrast to traditional alloys, recent advances of single-phase concentrated solid solution alloys (SP-CSAs) have opened up new frontiers in materials research. In these alloys, a random arrangement of multiple elemental species on a crystalline lattice results in disordered local chemical environments and unique site-to-site lattice distortions. Based on closely integrated computational and experimental studies using a novel set of SP-CSAs in a face-centered cubic structure, we have explicitly demonstrated that increasing chemical disorder can lead to a substantial reduction in electron mean free paths, as well as electrical and thermal conductivity, which results in slower heat dissipation in SP-CSAs. The chemical disorder also has a significant impact on defect evolution under ion irradiation. Considerable improvement in radiation resistance is observed with increasing chemical disorder at electronic and atomic levels. The insights into defect dynamics may provide a basis for understanding elemental effects on evolution of radiation damage in irradiated materials and may inspire new design principles of radiation-tolerant structural alloys for advanced energy systems.
Insect defensins, are cationic peptides that play an important role in immunity against microbial infection. In the present study, an anionic defensin from Plutella xylostella, (designated as PxDef) was first cloned and characterized. Amino acid sequence analysis showed that the mature peptide owned characteristic six-cysteine motifs with predicted isoelectric point of 5.57, indicating an anionic defensin. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis showed that PxDef was significantly induced in epidermis, fat body, midgut and hemocytes after injection of heat-inactivated Bacillus thuringiensis, while such an induction was delayed by the injection of live B. thuringiensis in the 4th instar larvae of P. xylostella. Knocking down the expression of nuclear transcription factor Dorsal in P. xylostella by RNA interference significantly decreased the mRNA level of PxDef, and increased the sensitivity of P. xylostella larvae to the infection by live B. thuringiensis. The purified recombinant mature peptide (PxDef) showed higher activity against Gram-positive bacteria, with the minimum inhibition concentrations of 1.6 and 2.6 µM against B. thuringiensis and Bacillus subtilis, respectively. To our knowledge, this is the first report about an anionic PxDef, which may play an important role in the immune system of P. xylostella against B. thuringiensis.
The effects of target density and laser intensity on ionization speed are studied in this paper by 1D3V particle-in-cell simulations, where the field ionization of single atom is involved basing Ammosov-Delone-Krainov model in the form of Penetrante and Bardsley. To consider the ionization speed, the evolution of plasma density for the helium target, particularly, the ion density change rate near the target front surface, are discussed. The results show that not only the laser intensity, but also the target density will affect field ionization and further affect the plasma formation. This work will be helpful for further understanding of plasma formation in intense laser pulse. Also, it may be benefit for the setup of initial parameters before the simulation of laser–plasma interaction.
Wolbachia is an intracellular symbiotic bacterium that infects various spider mite species and is associated with alterations in host reproduction, which indicates the potential role in mite evolution. However, studies of Wolbachia infections in the spider mite Tetranychus pueraricola, a major agricultural pest, are limited. Here, we used multilocus sequence typing to determine Wolbachia infection status and examined the relationship between Wolbachia infection status and mitochondrial diversity in T. pueraricola from 12 populations in China. The prevalence of Wolbachia ranged from 2.8 to 50%, and three strains (wTpue1, wTpue2, and wTpue3) were identified. We also found double infections (wTpue1 + wTpue3) within the same individuals. Furthermore, the wTpue1 strain caused weak cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) (egg hatchability ~55%), whereas another widespread strain, wTpue3, did not induce CI. There was no reduction in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) or nuclear DNA diversity among infected individuals, and mtDNA haplotypes did not correspond to specific Wolbachia strains. Phylogenetic analysis and analysis of molecular variance revealed that the distribution of mtDNA and nuclear DNA haplotypes were significantly associated with geography. These findings indicate that Wolbachia infection in T. pueraricola is complex, but T. pueraricola genetic differentiation likely resulted from substantial geographic isolation.
The Far-ultraviolet IMaging Spectrograph (FIMS) is a small spectrograph optimized for the observations of diffuse hot interstellar medium in far-ultraviolet wavebands (900–1150Å and 1335–1750Å). The instrument is expected to be sensitive to emission line fluxes an order of magnitude fainter than any previous missions. FIMS is currently under development and is scheduled for launch in 2002.