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Copy number variations (CNVs), as an important source of genetic variation, can affect a wide range of phenotypes by diverse mechanisms. The somatostatin receptor 2 (SSTR2) gene plays important roles in cell proliferation and apoptosis. Recently, this gene was mapped to a CNV region, which encompasses quantitative trait loci of cattle economic traits including body weight, marbling score, etc. Therefore, SSTR2 CNV may exhibit phenotypic effects on cattle growth traits. In the current study, distribution of SSTR2 gene CNVs was investigated in six Chinese cattle breeds (XN, QC, NY, JA, LX and PN), and the results showed higher CNV polymorphisms in XN, QC and NY cattle. Next, association analysis between growth traits and SSTR2 CNV was performed for XN, QC and NY cattle. In NY, individuals with fewer copies showed better performance than those with more copies. Further, the effects of SSTR2 CNV on the SSTR2 mRNA level were also investigated, but revealed no significant correlation in either muscle or adipose tissue of adult NY cattle. The results suggested the potential for use of SSTR2 CNV as a marker for the molecular breeding of NY cattle.
Force-feeding was considered as a traditional high-efficiency approach to improve growth performance and accelerate fat deposition of Pekin ducks. However, force-feeding is a serious violation of international advocacy on animal welfare, because it can induce serious injuries to animals, such as damages to the digestive tract, effects on immunity and even severe oxidative stress. Therefore, it is urgent to stop force-feeding. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of force feeding on immune function, digestive function and oxidative stress in the mucosa of duodenum and jejunum of Pekin ducks. A total of 500 ducks were randomly divided into two groups. The control group was allowed to feed freely on a basal diet. The experimental group was force-fed by inserting a plastic feeding tube 8 to 10 inches long down the esophagus for 6 days. Compared with the control group, there was a significant (P<0.05) increase in serum diamine oxidase, d-lactic acid, endotoxin and corticosterone levels in the force-feeding group. The crypt depth in duodenum and jejunum showed significant differences (P<0.05) between the two groups and the intestinal villus epithelium cell was severely damaged in force-feeding group. Similarly, the activities of digestive enzymes as well as the levels of immune function in the duodenal and jejunal mucosa in the force-feeding group were significantly higher than the control group (P<0.05). However, there was a significant decrease in the superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and catalase levels with a marked increase in malondialdehyde level in duodenal and jejunal mucosa (P<0.05). In summary, at the end of the fattening period with force-feeding for 6 days, Pekin ducks experienced an adverse effect on the integrity of their duodenal and jejunal mucosa epithelium cell as well as their immune function and antioxidant capacity of Pekin ducks but also had improvement in digestive enzyme activities.
Using whole-genome sequence (WGS) data are supposed to be optimal for genome-wide association studies and genomic predictions. However, sequencing thousands of individuals of interest is expensive. Imputation from single nucleotide polymorphisms panels to WGS data is an attractive approach to obtain highly reliable WGS data at low cost. Here, we conducted a genotype imputation study with a combined reference panel in yellow-feather dwarf broiler population. The combined reference panel was assembled by sequencing 24 key individuals of a yellow-feather dwarf broiler population (internal reference panel) and WGS data from 311 chickens in public databases (external reference panel). Three scenarios were investigated to determine how different factors affect the accuracy of imputation from 600 K array data to WGS data, including: genotype imputation with internal, external and combined reference panels; the number of internal reference individuals in the combined reference panel; and different reference sizes and selection strategies of an external reference panel. Results showed that imputation accuracy from 600 K to WGS data were 0.834±0.012, 0.920±0.007 and 0.982±0.003 for the internal, external and combined reference panels, respectively. Increasing the reference size from 50 to 250 improved the accuracy of genotype imputation from 0.848 to 0.974 for the combined reference panel and from 0.647 to 0.917 for the external reference panel. The selection strategies for the external reference panel had no impact on the accuracy of imputation using the combined reference panel. However, if only an external reference panel with reference size >50 was used, the selection strategy of minimizing the average distance to the closest leaf had the greatest imputation accuracy compared with other methods. Generally, using a combined reference panel provided greater imputation accuracy, especially for low-frequency variants. In conclusion, the optimal imputation strategy with a combined reference panel should comprehensively consider genetic diversity of the study population, availability and properties of external reference panels, sequencing and computing costs, and frequency of imputed variants. This work sheds light on how to design and execute genotype imputation with a combined external reference panel in a livestock population.
We report on a novel processing route to prepare La0.8Ce0.2(Fe0.95Co0.05)11.8Si1.2/Cu bulk composites by low-temperature hot pressing. With increasing copper content, the compressive strength of the composites first decrease and then increase owing to the buffering effect of copper, but the magnetocaloric effect reduces to some extent. Copper addition improves the thermal conductivity of the composites, which compensates for the decrease in thermal conductivity due to porosity. A relatively large entropy change of 5.75–7.19 J/(kg K) at 2 T near the Curie temperature (249 K), good thermal conductivity of 7.51–15.55 W/(m·K), and improved compressive strength of 151.1–248.0 MPa make these composites attractive magnetic refrigeration materials.
Pheromones play an important role in mediating interspecific interactions in insects. In an insect community, pheromones can reveal information about the senders, which could be used by other members of the food web (competitor, natural enemies, etc.) to their own advantage. The aggregation pheromones of two closely related thrips species, Frankliniella occidentalis and Frankliniella intonsa, have been identified with the same major compounds, (R)-lavandulyl acetate and neryl (S)-2-methylbutanoate, but in different ratios. However, the roles of the aggregation pheromones in the interspecific interactions between these two closely related species are unknown. Here, we investigated the roles of major aggregation pheromone compounds in interspecific interactions between F. occidentalis and F. intonsa for both long and short ranges. The results showed that, at tested doses, neither aggregation pheromone-induced long range cross-attraction nor short range cross-mating was detected between F. occidentalis and F. intonsa. Field-trapping trials showed that the species-specificity in aggregation pheromones was regulated by the ratio of two major compounds. However, species-specific blends of the two major compounds had no effect on short-range interactions between these two species. Our data from the thrips species provide support for the ‘aggregation model of coexistence’, explaining the species-specific pheromone-mediated coexistence of closely related species. Thus, species-specific pheromones could be one of the factors affecting population dynamics and community structure in closely related insects with similar niches.
Litter size has a great impact on the profit of swine producers. Uterine development is an important determinant of reproduction efficiency and could hence affect litter size. Chinese Erhualian pig is one of the most prolific breeds in the world, even though large phenotypic variation in litter size was observed within Erhualian sows. To dissect the genetic basis of the phenotypic variation, we herein conducted genome-wide association studies for total number born and number born alive (NBA) of Erhualian sows. In total, one significant single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (P<1.78e−06) and 11 suggestive SNPs (P<3.57e−05) were identified on 10 chromosomes, confirming seven previously reported quantitative trait loci (QTL) and uncovering six QTL for litter size or uterus length. One locus on Sus scrofa chromosome (SSC) 13 (79.28 to 90.43 Mb) harbored a cluster of suggestive SNPs associated with multiparous NBA. The SNP (rs81447100) within this region was confirmed to be significantly (P<0.05) associated with litter size in Erhualian (n=313), Sutai (n=173) and Yorkshire (n=488) populations. Retinol binding protein 2 and retinol binding protein 1 functionally related to the development of uterus were located in a region of 2 Mb around rs81447100. Moreover, four genes related to embryo implantation and development were also detected around other significant SNPs. Taken together, our findings provide a potential marker (rs81447100) for the genetic improvement of litter size not only in Chinese Erhualian pigs but also in European commercial pig breeds like Yorkshire, and would facilitate the final identification of causative variant(s) underlying the effect of SSC13 QTL on litter size.
Four complete platysiagid fish specimens are described from the Luoping Biota, Anisian (Middle Triassic), Yunnan Province, southwest China. They are small fishes with bones and scales covered with ganoine. All characters observed, such as nasals meeting in the midline, a keystone-like dermosphenotic, absence of post-rostral bone, two infraorbitals between dermosphenotic and jugal, large antorbital, and two postcleithra, suggest that the new materials belong to a single, new Platysiagum species, P. sinensis sp. nov. Three genera are ascribed to Platysiagidae: Platysiagum, Helmolepis and Caelatichthys. However, most specimens of the first two genera are imprints or fragmentary. The new, well-preserved specimens from the Luoping Biota provide more detailed anatomical information than before, and thus help amend the concept of the Platysiagidae. The Family Platysiagidae was previously classed in the Perleidiformes. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that the Platysiagidae is a member of basal Neopterygii, and its origin seems to predate that of Perleidiformes. Moreover, platysiagid fishes are known from the Middle Triassic of the western Tethys region. The newly found specimens of platysiagids from Luoping provide additional evidence that both eastern and western sides of the Tethys Ocean were biogeographically more connected than previously thought.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is one of the leading causes of death and morbidity associated with liver disease. Risk factors identified for the transmission of HCV include contaminated blood products, intravenous drug use, body piercing, an infected mother at birth, sexual activity, and dental therapy, among others. However, the exact diversity of the HCV genotype and genetic variation among patients with low-risk factors is still unknown. In this study, we briefly described and analysed the genotype distribution and genetic variation of HCV infections with low-risk factors using molecular biology techniques. The results suggested that genotype 1b was predominant, followed by genotypes 2a and 1a. Genetic variations in the 5′ UTR sequences of HCV were identified, including point mutations, deletions, and insertions. The frequency of genetic variations in 1b was higher than in 2a. This study provides considerable value for the prevention and treatment of liver disease caused by HCV among patients with low-risk factors and for the development of HCV diagnostic reagents and vaccines.
Huang et al have classified pulsars into two types according to the role played by the superfluid neutron vortexes in the interior of neutron stars. They have also presented the formule of P for these two types of pulsars. In this short remark, we shall compare the conclusions about the evolutions of these two types of pulsars with the observational distributions. The consequences obtained are summarized as follws.
A study on effective thermal conductivity (ETC) of natural ice in a reservoir with <3% gas content and ∼300 mg L−1 dissolved matter content in the parent water was conducted in a laboratory. Ice sections were prepared to obtain the ice crystal structure, gas bubble content and ice density. Profiles of horizontal and vertical thermal conductivity of ice samples were determined with attention to relatively high temperature spanning 0 to –10°C. A detailed comparative analysis was conducted of the effects on ETC of direction, ice crystal structure, gas bubbles and temperature. Gas inclusions had little impact on the thermal conductivity of natural reservoir ice due to their quite low content (<3%). At high ice temperature the ETC decreases remarkably as ice temperature approaches the melting point, as the ETC of sea ice does due to its brine volume at ice temperature approaching its melting point. The measured conductivities for temperatures higher than –4°C were less than expected from previous work on saline ice. Whether this was due to the measurement techniques or actual properties of the reservoir ice is not clear. The present findings could lead to better understanding of the thermal processes of ice in natural freshwater bodies.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small non-coding RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression of target messenger RNAs (mRNAs) and miRNAs have been proven to play vital roles in skeletal muscle development. The miRNA-499-5p has been reported to be negatively related with the expression of Sox6, a critical transcription factor for the maintenance of fast-twitch skeletal muscle. In this study, we amplified a length of 2012-bp mRNA that contains a 1512-bp porcine Sox6 (pSox6) 3'UTR from skeletal muscle of a Duroc×Landrace×Yorkshire pig. By luciferase reporter assay we verified that pSox6 is a target of miR-499-5p. In extensor digitorum longus and Soleus muscles of pigs, the expression levels of miR-499-5p and pSox6 mRNA were also inversely correlated. Besides, overexpression of miR-499-5p in porcine satellite cells promoted the expression of MyHC I and MyHC IIa mRNA, along with a reduction of pSox6 mRNA. Taken together, these results indicate that miR-499-5p may facilitate the oxidative myofibers formation by downregulating pSox6 expression.
Using the spectroscopic distances of over 0.12 million A-type stars selected from the LAMOST Spectroscopic Survey of the Galactic Anti-center (LSS-GAC), we map their three-dimensional number density distributions in the Galaxy. These stellar number density maps allow an investigation of the Galactic young age thin disk structure with no a priori assumptions about the functional form of its components. The data show strong evidence for a significant flaring young disk. A more detail analysis show that the stellar flaring have different behaviours between the Northern and the Southern Galactic disks. The maps also reveal spatially coherent, kpc-scale stellar substructure in the thin disk. Finally, we detect the Perseus arm stellar overdensity at R ~ 10 kpc.
Pig farmers and veterinarians have high prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) due to the occupational livestock exposure, while few reported this association on slaughterhouse workers. We conducted this cross-sectional study to explore the phenotypic and molecular characteristics of S. aureus and MRSA in slaughterhouse pig-related workers and control workers in Guangdong Province, China. Participants were interviewed and provided two nasal swabs. Swabs were tested for S. aureus, and isolates were further tested for antimicrobial susceptibility, virulence genes and multi-locus sequence typing. Compared with control workers, pig-related workers have significantly higher prevalence of MRSA carriage (adjusted odd ratio (aOR) 3·70, 95% CI 1·63–8·40). The proportions of MRSA resistant to clindamycin, erythromycin, tetracycline or chloromycetin were significantly higher in pig-related workers than in control workers. The predominant phenotypes of S. aureus were resistant to penicillin, clindamycin, erythromycin and tetracycline. Three MRSA CC9 isolates with livestock-associated characteristics (resistance to tetracycline and absence of immune evasion cluster (IEC) genes) were detected in pig-related workers but not in control workers. For human-associated CCs (CC7, CC59, CC6, and CC188), there was no significant difference in IEC profile or antimicrobial resistance between the groups. These findings reveal that there may be a potential risk for livestock-to-human transmission of LA-MRSA and human-to-human transmission of human-associated MRSA.
This study aimed to estimate the disease burden of hepatitis E in a rural region in China. A total of 489 hepatitis E cases were reported according to a community-based survey in an active hepatitis surveillance system between 2008 and 2015, the questionnaire and record-review methods were constructed to evaluate the economic and health burden of hepatitis E virus infections from societal perspectives. All costs were converted to US$ in 2015. The age-standardized cumulative incidence rate was 107·9/100 000, and the median age-standardized annual incidence rate was 16·5/100 000. The median direct, indirect, and intangible cost were $1046·0, $49·1, and $77·3/patient, respectively, and the median economic burden per patient was $1836·5, which accounted for 51·2% of per capita disposable income. Moreover, the median quality-adjusted life year and visual analogue scale score were 0·7 and 70·0/case, respectively. Both economic burden and health burden of inpatients was more serious than that of outpatients (P < 0·001). Disease burden of hepatitis E is heavy on patients, their families, and society. More studies on the disease burden of hepatitis E are necessary to increase social awareness of the disease and confirm reasonable disease-control measures.
Worldwide 350 million people suffer from major depression, with the majority of cases occurring in low- and middle-income countries. We examined the patterns, correlates and care-seeking behaviour of adults suffering from major depressive episode (MDE) in China.
A nationwide study recruited 512 891 adults aged 30–79 years from 10 provinces across China during 2004–2008. The 12-month prevalence of MDE was assessed by the Modified Composite International Diagnostic Interview-short form. Logistic regression yielded adjusted odds ratios (ORs) of MDE associated with socio-economic, lifestyle and health-related factors and major stressful life events.
Overall, 0.7% of participants had MDE and a further 2.4% had major depressive symptoms. Stressful life events were strongly associated with MDE [adjusted OR 14.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) 13.7–15.7], with a dose–response relationship with the number of such events experienced. Family conflict had the highest OR for MDE (18.9, 95% CI 16.8–21.2) among the 10 stressful life events. The risk of MDE was also positively associated with rural residency (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.4–1.7), low income (OR 2.3, 95% CI 2.1–2.4), living alone (OR 2.6, 95% CI 2.3–3.0), smoking (OR 1.4, 95% CI 1.3–1.6) and certain other mental disorders (e.g. anxiety, phobia). Similar, albeit weaker, associations were observed with depressive symptoms. Among those with MDE, about 15% sought medical help or took psychiatric medication, 15% reported having suicidal ideation and 6% reported attempting suicide.
Among Chinese adults, the patterns and correlates of MDE were generally consistent with those observed in the West. The low rates of seeking professional help and treatment highlight the great gap in mental health services in China.
Mitochondria plays an important role in the regulation of energy homeostasis. Moreover, mitochondrial biogenesis accompanies skeletal myogenesis, and we previously reported that maternal high-energy diet repressed skeletal myogenesis in pig fetuses. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of moderately increased maternal energy intake on skeletal muscle mitochondrial biogenesis and function of the pig fetuses. Primiparous purebred Large White sows were allocated to a normal energy intake group (NE) as recommended by the National Research Council (NRC) and a high energy intake group (HE, 110% of NRC recommendations). On day 90 of gestation, fetal umbilical vein blood and longissimus (LM) muscle were collected. Results showed that the weight gain of sows fed HE diet was higher than NE sows on day 90 of gestation (P<0.05). Maternal HE diet increased fetal umbilical vein serum triglyceride and insulin concentrations (P<0.05), and tended to increase the homeostasis model assessment index (P=0.08). Furthermore, HE fetuses exhibited increased malondialdehyde concentration (P<0.05), and decreased activities of antioxidative enzymes (P<0.05) and intracellular NAD+ level (P<0.05) in LM muscle. These alterations in metabolic traits of HE fetuses were accompanied by reduced mitochondrial DNA amount (P<0.05) and down-regulated messenger RNA expression levels of genes responsible for mitochondrial biogenesis and function (P<0.05). Our results suggest that moderately increased energy supply during gestation decreases mitochondrial biogenesis, function and antioxidative capacity in skeletal muscle of pig fetuses.