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The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
A viscous damping model is proposed based on a simplified equation of fluid motion in a moonpool or the narrow gap formed by two fixed boxes. The model takes into account the damping induced by both flow separation and wall friction through two damping coefficients, namely, the local and friction loss coefficients. The local loss coefficient is determined through specifically designed physical model tests in this work, and the friction loss coefficient is estimated through an empirical formula found in the literature. The viscous damping model is implemented in the dynamic free-surface boundary condition in the gap of a modified potential flow model. The modified potential flow model is then applied to simulate the wave-induced fluid responses in a narrow gap formed by two fixed boxes and in a moonpool for which experimental data are available. The modified potential flow model with the proposed viscous damping model works well in capturing both the resonant amplitude and frequency under a wide range of damping conditions.
Sufficient amino acid (AA) transport is essential to ensure the normal physiological function and growth of growing animals. The processes of AA sensing and transport in humans and murine animals, but rarely in goats, have been arousing great interest recently. This study was conducted to investigate the messenger RNA expression patterns of lysophosphatidic acid receptor 5 (LPAR5), guanine nucleotide-binding protein α-transducing 3 (GNAT3) and important partial AA transporters in digestive tracts, metabolic organs and muscles of growing goats. The results showed that these genes were widely expressed in goats, and had different expression patterns. LPAR5, GNAT3, solute carrier (SLC38A2), SLC7A7, SLC7A1 and SLC3A1 were rarely expressed in the rumen, but were highly expressed in the abomasum and intestine which are the main sites of AA absorption. GNAT3, SLC38A1, SLC38A2, SLC6A19, SLC7A7 and SLC7A1 showed comparatively high expression in the pancreas and the vital digestive glands, and the relatively high expression of these nine genes were noted in the tibialis posterior, the active muscle in energy metabolism. The correlation analysis showed that there were certain positive correlation among most genes. The current results indicate that the AA sensing and transport occur extensively in the abomasum and small intestine, metabolic organs and muscle tissues of ruminants, and that related genes have tissue specificity.
Hydrogen is an important intermediate that is produced during carbohydrate fermentation to volatile fatty acid and utilized by methanogens to produce methane in the rumen. Ruminal volatile fatty acid and dissolved methane concentrations are more than 500 times greater than dissolved hydrogen concentration. Therefore, we hypothesized that dissolved hydrogen might have a higher sensitivity in response to dietary changes compared with volatile fatty acid and dissolved methane. Using goats, we investigated the effects of increasing dietary starch content (maize replaced with wheat bran) and supplementing with rhubarb rhizomes and roots on the relationships among dissolved hydrogen, dissolved methane and other fermentation end products. The study was conducted in a replicated 4×4 Latin square with a 2×2 factorial arrangement of four treatments: two starch levels (220 v. 320 g/kg dry matter (DM)), without and with rhubarb supplement (0% v. 2.8% of total mixed ration). Increased dietary starch and rhubarb supplementation did not alter volatile fatty acid concentrations or methane emissions in terms of g/day, g/g DM intake and g/g organic matter digested. However, goats fed the high-starch diet had greater dissolved hydrogen (P=0.005) and relative abundance of Selenomonas ruminantium (P<0.01), and lower (P=0.02) copy number of protozoa than those fed the low-starch diet. Rhubarb increased ruminal dissolved H2 (P=0.03) and total volatile fatty acid concentration (P<0.001), but decreased copies of bacteria (P=0.002). In conclusion, dissolved hydrogen appears to be more sensitive to dietary changes with starch content and rhubarb supplementation, when compared with volatile fatty acid concentrations and methane production.
The gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of animals is capable of sensing various kinds of nutrients via G-protein coupled receptor-mediated signaling transduction pathways, and the process is known as ‘gut nutrient chemosensing’. GPR40, GPR41, GPR43 and GPR119 are chemoreceptors for free fatty acids (FFAs) and lipid derivatives, but they are not well studied in small ruminants. The objective of this study is to determine the expression of GPR40, GPR41, GPR43 and GPR119 along the GIT of kid goats under supplemental feeding (S) v. grazing (G) during early development. In total, 44 kid goats (initial weight 1.35±0.12 kg) were slaughtered for sampling (rumen, abomasum, duodenum, jejunum, ileum, cecum, colon and rectum) between days 0 and 70. The expression of GPR41 and GPR43 were measured at both mRNA and protein levels, whereas GPR40 and GPR119 were assayed at protein level only. The effects of age and feeding system on their expression were variable depending upon GIT segments, chemoreceptors and expression level (mRNA or protein), and sometimes feeding system × age interactions (P<0.05) were observed. Supplemental feeding enhanced expression of GPR40, GPR41 and GPR43 in most segments of the GIT of goats, whereas G enhanced expression of GPR119. GPR41 and GPR43 were mainly expressed in rumen, abomasum and cecum, with different responses to age and feeding system. GPR41 and GPR43 expression in abomasum at mRNA level was greatly (P<0.01) affected by both age and feeding system; whereas their expression in rumen and abomasum at protein level were different, feeding system greatly (P<0.05) affected GPR41 expression, but had no effect (P>0.05) on GPR43 expression; and there were no feeding system×age interactions (P>0.05) on GPR41 and GPR43 protein expression. The expression of GPR41 and GPR43 in rumen and abomasum linearly (P<0.01) increased with increasing age (from days 0 to 70). Meanwhile, age was the main factor affecting GPR40 expression throughout the GIT. These outcomes indicate that age and feeding system are the two factors affecting chemoreceptors for FFAs and lipid derivatives expression in the GIT of kids goats, and S enhanced the expression of chemoreceptors for FFAs, whereas G gave rise to greater expression of chemoreceptors for lipid derivatives. Our results suggest that enhanced expression of chemoreceptors for FFAs might be one of the benefits of early supplemental feeding offered to young ruminants during early development.
Methane produced from formate is one of the important methanogensis pathways in the rumen. However, quantitative information of CH4 production from formate has been rarely reported. The aim of this study was to characterize the conversion rate (CR) of formic acid into CH4 and CO2 by rumen microorganisms. Ground lucerne hay was incubated with buffered ruminal fluid for 6, 12, 24 and 48 h. Before the incubation, 13C-labeled H13COOH was also supplied into the incubation bottle at a dose of 0, 1.5, 2.2 or 2.9 mg/g of DM substrate. There were no interactions (P>0.05) between dose and incubation time for all variables evaluated. When expressed as an absolute amount (ml in gas sample) or a relative CR (%), both 13CH4 and 13CO2 production quadratically increased (P<0.01) with the addition of H13COOH. The total 13C (13CH4 and 13CO2) CR was also quadratically increased (P<0.01) when H13COOH was added. Moreover, formate addition linearly decreased (P<0.031) the concentrations of NH3-N, total and individual volatile fatty acids (acetate, propionate and butyrate), and quadratically decreased (P<0.014) the populations of protozoa, total methanogens, Methanosphaera stadtmanae, Methanobrevibacter ruminantium M1, Methanobrevibacter smithii and Methanosarcina barkeri. In summary, formate affects ruminal fermentation and methanogenesis, as well as the rumen microbiome, in particular microorganisms which are directly or indirectly involved in ruminal methanogenesis. This study provides quantitative verification for the rapid dissimilation of formate into CH4 and CO2 by rumen microorganisms.
The bird cherry-oat aphid Rhopalosiphum padi (L.) is one of the most important wheat pests with polyphagia and autumn migrants. And, chemosensory genes were thought to play a key role in insect searching their hosts, food and mate. However, a systematic identification of the chemosensory genes in this pest has not been reported. Thus, in this study, we identified 14 odorant-binding proteins, nine chemosensory proteins, one sensory neuron membrane protein, 15 odorant receptors, 19 gustatory receptors and 16 ionotropic receptors from R. padi transcriptomes with a significantly similarity (E-value < 10−5) to known chemosensory genes in Acyrthosiphon pisum and Aphis gossypii. In addition, real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) was employed to determine the expression profiles of obtained genes. Among these obtained genes, we selected 23 chemosensory genes to analyze their expression patterns in different tissues, wing morphs and host plants. We found that except RpOBP1, RpOBP3, RpOBP4 and RpOBP5, the rest of the selected genes were highly expressed in the head with antennae compared with body without head and antennae. Besides that, the stimulation and depression of chemosensory genes by plant switch indicated that chemosensory genes might be involved in the plant suitability assessment. These results not only provide insights for the potential roles of chemosensory genes in plant search and perception of R. padi but also provide initial background information for the further research on the molecular mechanism of the polyphagia and autumn migrants of it. Furthermore, these chemosensory genes are also the candidate targets for pest management control in future.
Galeruca daurica (Joannis) is a new outbreak pest in the Inner Mongolia grasslands in northern China. Heat shock protein 10 and 60 (Hsp10 and Hsp60) genes of G. daurica, designated as GdHsp10 and GdHsp60, were cloned by rapid amplification of cDNA ends techniques. Sequence analysis showed that GdHsp10 and GdHsp60 encoded polypeptides of 104 and 573 amino acids, respectively. Sequence alignment and phylogenetic analysis clearly revealed that the amino acids of GdHsp10 and GdHsp60 had high homology and were clustered with other Hsp10 and Hsp60 genes in insects which are highly relative with G. daurica based on morphologic taxonomy. The mRNA expression analysis by real-time PCR revealed that GdHsp10 and GdHsp60 were expressed at all development stages and in all tissues examined, but expressed highest in eggs and in adults’ abdomen; both heat and cold stresses could induce mRNA expression of GdHsp10 and GdHsp60 in the 2nd instar larvae; the two Hsp genes were expressed from high to low with the extension of treatment time in G. daurica eggs exposed to freezing point. Overall, our study provides useful information to understand temperature stress responses of Hsp60 and Hsp10 in G. daurica, and provides a basis to further study functions of Hsp60/Hsp10 relative to thermotolerance and cold hardiness mechanism.
Aphelinus mali (Haldeman) is an effective natural enemy of woolly apple aphid (WAA), Eriosoma lanigerum (Hausmann). Previous studies have found that, with WAA from Shandong Province (Qingdao) as the host, there are significant differences in various biological characteristics between a Shandong clade and Liaoning clade of A. mali. The ability of the Shandong clade to control this aphid was significantly higher than that of the Liaoning clade in Shandong Province. In order to determine whether differences were caused by better adaptation of the Shandong parasitoid clade to the population of the host in that province or if it represents a more general fitness of this clade to control the host regardless of location, we compared the same parasitoid clades with hosts from Hebei Province. We found no significant differences in the developmental threshold temperature, effective accumulated temperature, fecundity, longevity, and oviposition period of the two clades, but the duration of host searching of the Shandong clade was significantly longer than that of the Liaoning clade. The instantaneous attack rate, the control ability (a/Th), the search parameter (Q) of the Shandong clade (0.0946, 0.543, 0.0725) of A. mali were higher than that of the Liaoning clade (0.0713, 0.382, 0.0381), and therefore, with WAA from Hebei Province as the host, the host adaptability of the Shandong clade of A. mali was not worse than that of the Liaoning clade, while the pest control ability of the Shandong clade was still greater than that of the Liaoning clade.
A new method, called Cloud of Points (COP) Reconstruction, is proposed in the present work to extend the meshfree method to simulate viscous flows. With the characters of viscous flows, the anisotropic COP structure is distributed in boundary layer. The proposed method can improve the anisotropic COP structure to isotropic COP structure and reduce the condition number of the least square coefficient matrix for conventional meshfree method. The values of the new reconstructed points are calculated by the Lagrange interpolation. The accuracy and the robustness of the presented meshfree solver are demonstrated on a number of standard test cases, including the functions with analytical gradients and the viscous flows past NACA0012 airfoil. The comparison of the simulation results with the experimental data and other numerical simulation data are also investigated.
Odorant-binding proteins (OBPs) play a fundamental role in insect olfaction. In recent years, Galeruca daurica (Joannis) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) has become one of the most important insect pests in the Inner Mongolian grasslands of China. This pest only feeds on the species of Allium plants, implying the central role of olfaction in its search for specific host plants. However, the olfaction-related proteins have not been investigated in this beetle. In this study, we identified 29 putative OBP genes, namely GdauOBP1–29, from the transcriptome database of G. daurica assembled in our laboratory by using RNA-Seq. All 29 genes had the full-length open reading frames except GdauOBP29, encoding proteins in length from 119 to 202 amino acids with their predicted molecular weights from 12 to 22 kDa with isoelectric points from 3.88 to 8.84. Predicted signal peptides consisting of 15–22 amino acid residues were found in all except GdauOBP6, GdauOBP13 and GdauOBP29. The amino acid sequence identity between the 29 OBPs ranged 8.33–71.83%. GdauOBP1–12 belongs to the Classic OBPs, while the others belong with the Minus-C OBPs. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that GdauOBPs are the closest to CbowOBPs from Colaphellus bowringi. RT-PCR and qRT-PCR analyses showed that all GdauOBPs were expressed in adult antennae, 11 of which with significant differences in their expression levels between males and females. Most GdauOBPs were also expressed in adult heads (without antennae), thoraxes, abdomens, legs and wings. Moreover, the expression levels of the GdauOBPs varied during the different development stages of G. daurica with most GdauOBPs expressed highly in the adult antennae but scarcely in eggs and pupae. These results provide insights for further research on the molecular mechanisms of chemical communications in G. daurica.
Longan County is considered a highly endemic area for hepatitis B virus (HBV). The plasma-derived vaccine has been used in newborns in this area since 1987. A cross-sectional survey was conducted to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of this vaccine. In total, 1634 participants born during 1987–1993 and who had received a series of plasma-derived HB vaccinations at ages 0, 1, and 6 months were enrolled. Serological HBV markers were detected and compared with previous survey data. Overall the prevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in all participants was 3·79%; 3·47% of subjects who had received the first dose within 24 h were HBsAg positive, and 8·41% of subjects who had received a delayed first dose were also HBsAg positive. There were 1527 subjects identified who had received the first dose within 24 h and whose HBsAg and anti-HBc prevalence increased yearly after immunization, while the anti-HBs-positive rate and vaccine effectiveness declined. The geometric mean concentration of antibody in the anti-HB-positive participants was 55·13 mIU/ml and this declined after immunization. Fewer than 2·0% of participants had anti-HB levels ⩾1000 mIU/ml. The data show that the protective efficacy of the plasma-derived vaccinations declined and administration of HB vaccine within 24 h of birth was very important. To reduce the risk of HBV infection in this highly endemic area, a booster dose might be necessary if anti-HBs levels fall below 10 mIU/ml after age 18 years. Furthermore, studies on the immune memory induced by plasma-derived HB vaccine are needed.
Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) has been used extensively to analyze gene expression and decipher gene function. To obtain the optimal and stable normalization factors for qRT-PCR, selection and validation of reference genes should be conducted in diverse conditions. In insects, more and more studies confirmed the necessity and importance of reference gene selection. In this study, eight traditionally used reference genes in Galeruca daurica (Joannis) were assessed, using qRT-PCR, for suitability as normalization genes under different experimental conditions using four statistical programs: geNorm, Normfinder, BestKeeper and the comparative ΔCt method. The genes were ranked from the most stable to the least stable using RefFinder. The optimal suite of recommended reference genes was as follows: succinate dehydrogenase (SDHA) and tubulin-alpha (TUB-α) for temperature-treated larvae; ribosomal protein L32, SDHA and glutathione S-transferase were best for all developmental stages; ACT and TUB-α for male and female adults; SDHA and TUB-α were relatively stable and expressed in different tissues, both diapause and non-diapause adults. Reference gene evaluation was validated using expression of two target genes: the P450 CYP6 gene and the heat shock protein gene Hsp70. These results confirm the importance of custom reference gene selection when studies are conducted under diverse experimental conditions. A standardized qRT-PCR analysis procedure for gene functional studies is provided that could be useful in studies on other insect species.
Social networks facilitate the transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in people who inject drugs (PWID). The aim of this study was to assess how certain network structural characteristics are related to HCV infections in PWID and to determine the most susceptible individuals for HCV transmission in a network of PWID. PWID (N = 80) from central China were recruited from a previous follow-up case-control study. Demographic and behavioural information was obtained from a computerized database for each group. HCV RNA was extracted from blood specimens. Sequences were used to construct a phylogenetic tree and to determine genetic distances. Socio-metric social links were established between participants. Network measures were calculated using UCINET. Three HCV genotypes were identified, covering five subtypes. The density of the social networks for the whole sample (N = 80), case group (n = 31) and control group (n = 49) was 0.038, 0.054 and 0.008, respectively. PWID infected with HCV were in frequent contact with others within their group. There were four pairs of nodes with genotypic distances of 0.000 that were identified and clustered in subtypes 6a and 1b; each subject pair was linked and found in one clique. Three of the five most active nodes were infected with HCV. These three nodes served as a bridge, contributing to the connection of other nodes. These findings identify susceptible individuals for HCV transmission in PWID based on their frequent contact with others in the network. These results provide data that could be used for modelling HCV transmission patterns and in public health policies.
Laser-driven relativistic electrons can be focused onto a high-Z convertor for generating high-brightness γ-rays, which in turn can be used to induce photonuclear reactions. In this work, photo-transmutation of long-lived radionuclide 135Cs induced by laser–plasma–interaction-driven electron source is demonstrated using Geant4 simulation (Agostinelli et al., 2003 Nucl. Instrum. Meth. A506, 250). High-energy electron generation, bremsstrahlung, as well as photonuclear reaction are observed at four different laser intensities: 1020, 5 × 1020, 1021, and 5 × 1021 W/cm2. The transmutation efficiency depends on the laser intensity and target size. An optimum laser intensity, namely 1021 W/cm2, was found, with the corresponding photonuclear reaction yield reaching 108 J−1 of the laser energy. Laser-generated electrons can therefore be a promising tool for transmutation reactions. Potential application in nuclear waste management is suggested.
Vibrio cholerae O139 emerged as a causative agent of epidemic cholera in 1992 in India and Bangladesh, and was subsequently reported in China in 1993. The genetic relatedness and molecular characteristics of V. cholerae O139 in Guangdong Province, located in the southern coastal area of China, remains undetermined. In this study, we investigated 136 clinical V. cholerae O139 isolates from 1993 to 2013 in Guangdong. By conventional PCR, 123 (90·4%) isolates were positive for ctxB, ace and zot. Sequencing of the positive amplicons indicated 113 (91·7%) isolates possessed the El Tor allele of ctxB (genotype 3); seven carried the classical ctxB type (genotype 1) and three harboured a novel ctxB type (genotype 5). With respect to tcpA, 123 (90·4%) isolates were positive for the El Tor allele. In addition, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (with NotI digestion) differentiated the isolates into clusters A and B. Cluster A contained seven of the non-toxigenic isolates from 1998 to 2000; another six non-toxigenic isolates (from 1998 and 2007) and all of the toxigenic isolates formed cluster B. Our results suggest that over a 20-year period, the predominant O139 clinical isolates have maintained a relatively tight clonal structure, although some genetic variance and shift has occurred. Our data highlight the persistence of toxigenic V. cholerae O139 in clinical settings in the southern coastal area of China.
Orthocoelium streptocoelium is a common paramphistome species parasitizing the rumen and/or reticulum of small ruminants, leading to significant losses. This study first determined the complete mitochondrial (mt) genome of O. streptocoelium. The complete mt genome of O. streptocoelium was amplified, sequenced, assembled, analysed and then compared with those of other digeneans. The entire mt genome of O. streptocoelium is 13,800 bp in length, which is smaller than those of other digeneans except for Opisthorchis viverrini. This mt genome contains 12 protein-coding genes, 22 transfer RNA genes, two ribosomal RNA genes and two non-coding regions. The arrangement of the O. streptocoelium mt genome is the same as those of other digeneans except for Schistosoma haematobium and Schistosoma spindale. Phylogenetic analyses based on concatenated amino acid sequences of the 12 protein-coding genes representing 16 digeneans were conducted to assess the relationship of O. streptocoelium with other digeneans. The result indicated that O. streptocoelium is closely related to Paramphistomum cervi and Fischoederius elongates, which is in accordance with their relationships by taxonomy. This complete mt genome of O. streptocoelium enriched the mitochondrial genome data of paramphistomes and provided important molecular markers for diagnostics and studies of population variation, epidemiology, ecology and evolution of O. streptocoelium and other digeneans.
The phylogenetic and epidemiological relationships of 102 Burkholderia pseudomallei clinical isolates from different geographical and population sources in China were investigated by multilocus sequence typing (MLST). The MLST data were analysed using the e-BURST algorithm, and an unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic mean dendrogram was constructed based on the pair-wise differences in the allelic profiles of the strains. Forty-one sequence types (STs) were identified, of which eight were novel (ST1341, ST1345, ST1346, ST1347, ST1348, ST1349, ST1350, ST1351). No geographical-specific or host population-specific phylogenetic lineages were identified. ST46, ST50, ST55, ST58, ST70 and ST1095 predominated, but ~44% of isolates were assigned to 45 STs illustrating high genetic diversity in the strain collection. Additionally, the phylogenetic relationships of the dominant STs in China showed significant linkeage with B. pseudomallei isolates from Thailand. Analysis of the gmhD allele suggests high genetic variation in B. pseudomallei in China.
To investigate the prevalence of allergic rhinitis among elementary and middle school students and examine its impact on their quality of life.
Stratified sampling and cluster sampling surveys were performed among 10–17-year-old students in Changsha city from June 2011 to April 2012.
In the stratified sampling survey, the self-reported allergic rhinitis rate was 42.5 per cent. Further examination demonstrated that the average prevalence of allergic rhinitis was 19.4 per cent. The cluster sampling survey demonstrated that 214 of 814 students appeared to be atopic (26.3 per cent). The prevalence of allergic rhinitis and asthma was 17.2 and 2.1 per cent, respectively. In total, 71 atopic individuals (8.7 per cent) were without any symptoms of allergic disease. Further analysis showed that allergic rhinitis influenced the students' sleep, emotions and memory (p < 0.001).
The prevalence of allergic rhinitis was 15.8 –19.4 per cent, showing an increase with age. Allergic rhinitis affected students' sleep, emotions and memory.
Neurological soft signs (NSS) have long been considered potential endophenotypes for schizophrenia. However, few studies have investigated the heritability and familiality of NSS. The present study examined the heritability and familiality of NSS in healthy twins and patient–relative pairs.
The abridged version of the Cambridge Neurological Inventory was administered to 267 pairs of monozygotic twins, 124 pairs of dizygotic twins, and 75 pairs of patients with schizophrenia and their non-psychotic first-degree relatives.
NSS were found to have moderate but significant heritability in the healthy twin sample. Moreover, patients with schizophrenia correlated closely with their first-degree relatives on NSS.
Taken together, the findings provide evidence on the heritability and familiality of NSS in the Han Chinese population.