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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.
Laser interaction with an ultra-thin pre-structured target is investigated with the help of both two-dimensional and three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. With the existence of a periodic structure on the target surface, the laser seems to penetrate through the target at its fundamental frequency even if the plasma density of the target is much higher than the laser’s relativistically critical density. The particle-in-cell simulations show that the transmitted laser energy behind the pre-structured target is increased by about two orders of magnitude compared to that behind the flat target. Theoretical analyses show that the transmitted energy behind the pre-structured target is actually re-emitted by electron ‘islands’ formed by the surface plasma waves on the target surfaces. In other words, the radiation with the fundamental frequency is actually ‘surface emission’ on the target rear surface. Besides the intensity of the component with the fundamental frequency, the intensity of the high-order harmonics behind the pre-structured target is also much enhanced compared to that behind the flat target. The enhancement of the high-order harmonics is also related to the surface plasma waves generated on the target surfaces.
Chitinase is responsible for insect chitin hydrolyzation, which is a key process in insect molting and pupation. However, little is known about the chitinase of Spodoptera exigua (SeChi). In this study, based on the SeChi gene (ADI24346) identified in our laboratory, we constructed the recombinant baculovirus P-Chi for the expression of recombinant SeChi (rSeChi) in Hi5 cells. The rSeChi was purified by chelate affinity chromatography, and the purified protein showed activity comparable with that of a commercial SgChi, suggesting that we harvested active SeChi for the first time. The purified protein was subsequently tested for enzymatic properties and revealed to exhibit its highest activity at pH 8 and 40 C. Using homology modeling and molecular docking techniques, the three-dimensional model of SeChi was constructed and screened for inhibitors. In two rounds of screening, twenty compounds were selected. With the purified rSeChi, we tested each of the twenty compounds for inhibitor activity against rSeChi, and seven compounds showed obvious activity. This study provided new information for the chitinase of beet armyworm and for chitinase inhibitor development.
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.
Muons produced by the Bethe–Heitler process from laser wakefield accelerated electrons interacting with high
materials have velocities close to the laser wakefield. It is possible to accelerate those muons with laser wakefield directly. Therefore for the first time we propose an all-optical ‘Generator and Booster’ scheme to accelerate the produced muons by another laser wakefield to supply a prompt, compact, low cost and controllable muon source in laser laboratories. The trapping and acceleration of muons are analyzed by one-dimensional analytic model and verified by two-dimensional particle-in-cell (PIC) simulation. It is shown that muons can be trapped in a broad energy range and accelerated to higher energy than that of electrons for longer dephasing length. We further extrapolate the dependence of the maximum acceleration energy of muons with the laser wakefield relativistic factor
and the relevant initial energy
. It is shown that a maximum energy up to 15.2 GeV is promising with
on the existing short pulse laser facilities.
The mechanical properties of thin-walled plate with close-packed film cooling holes are studied based on the equivalent solid material concept. The equivalent principals of the method of equivalent strain energy, homogenization theory and uniform static deformation are considered. A simplification method of square penetration pattern for pitch and diagonal direction loading is presented. The goodness of fit is calculated to determine the optimal method. The tensile deformation, bending deflection, rotation displacement and maximum Mises equivalent stress of simplification plate models are in good agreement with plate models with close-packed film cooling holes. For square penetration pattern for pitch direction loading, the equivalent errors of Mises equivalent stress are all less than 10% when the ligament efficiency is more than 0.6.
β-Casomorphin is an opioid-like bioactive peptide derived from β-casein of milk that plays a crucial role in modulating animal’s feed intake, growth, nutrient utilization and immunity. However, the effect of β-casomorphin on lipid metabolism in chickens and its mechanism remain unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of β-casomorphin on fat deposition in broiler chickens and explore its mechanism of action. A total of 120 21-day-old Arbor Acres male broilers (747.94±8.85 g) was chosen and randomly divided into four groups with six replicates of five birds per replicate. Three groups of broilers were injected with 0.1, 0.5 or 1.0 mg/kg BW of β-casomorphin in 1 ml saline for 7 days, whereas the control group received 1 ml saline only. The results showed that subcutaneous administration of β-casomorphin to broiler chickens increased average daily gain, average daily feed intake and fat deposition, and decreased feed : gain ratio (P<0.05). The activity of malate dehydrogenase in the pectoral muscle, liver and abdominal adipose tissue was also increased along with the concentrations of insulin, very-low-density lipoprotein and triglyceride in the plasma (P<0.05). The activity of hormone-sensitive lipase in the liver and abdominal adipose tissue and the concentration of glucagon in the plasma were decreased by injection with β-casomorphin (P<0.05). Affymetrix gene chip analysis revealed that administering 1.0 mg/kg BW β-casomorphin caused differential expression of 168 genes in the liver with a minimum of fourfold difference. Of those, 37 genes are directly involved in lipid metabolism with 18 up-regulated genes such as very low density lipoprotein receptor gene and fatty acid synthase gene, and 19 down-regulated genes such as lipoprotein lipase gene and low density lipoprotein receptor gene. In conclusion, β-casomorphin increased growth performance and fat deposition of broilers. Regulation of fat deposition by β-casomorphin appears to take place through changes in hormone secretion and enzyme activities by controlling the gene expression of lipid metabolism and feed intake, increasing fat synthesis and deposition.
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.
Background: Heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in the synaptic scaffolding gene SHANK2 are strongly associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, their impact on the function of human neurons is unknown. Derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) from affected individuals permits generation of live neurons to answer this question. Methods: We generated iPSCs by reprogramming dermal fibroblasts of neurotypic and ASD-affected donors. To isolate the effect of SHANK2, we used CRISPR/Cas9 to knock out SHANK2 in control iPSCs and correct a heterozygous nonsense mutation in ASD-affected donor iPSCs. We then derived cortical neurons from SOX1+ neural precursor cells differentiated from these iPSCs. Using a novel assay that overcomes line-to-line variability, we compared neuronal morphology, total synapse number, and electrophysiological properties between SHANK2 mutants and controls. Results: Relative to controls, SHANK2 mutant neurons have increased dendrite complexity, dendrite length, total synapse number (1.5-2-fold), and spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic current (sEPSC) frequency (3-7.6-fold). Conclusions: ASD-associated heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in SHANK2 increase synaptic connectivity among human neurons by increasing synapse number and sEPSC frequency. This is partially supported by increased dendrite length and complexity, providing evidence that SHANK2 functions as a suppressor of dendrite branching during neurodevelopment.
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.
Heat shock proteins (HSPs) participate in diverse physiological processes in insects, and HSP70 is one of the most highly conserved proteins in the HSP family. In this study, full-length cDNAs of three HSP70 genes (Lthsc70, Lthsp701, and Lthsp702) were cloned and characterized from Liriomyza trifolii, an important invasive pest of vegetable crops and horticultural crops worldwide. These three HSP70s exhibited signature sequences and motifs that are typical of the HSP70 family. The expression patterns of the three Lthsp70s during temperature stress and in different insect development stages were studied by real-time quantitative PCR. Lthsp701 was strongly induced by high- and low-temperature stress, but Lthsc70 and Lthsp702 were not very sensitive to temperature changes. All three Lthsp70s were expressed during insect development stages, but the expression patterns were quite different. The expression of Lthsc70 and Lthsp702 showed significant differences in expression during leafminer development; Lthsc70 was most highly expressed in female adults, whereas Lthsp702 was abundantly expressed in larvae and prepupae. Lthsp701 expression was not significantly different among leafminer stages. These results suggest that functional differentiation within the LtHSP70 subfamily has occurred in response to thermal stress and insect development.
In vivo and in vitro trials were conducted to assess the effects of tributyrin (TB) supplementation on short-chain fatty acid (SFCA) concentrations, fibrolytic enzyme activity, nutrient digestibility and methanogenesis in adult sheep. Nine 12-month-old ruminally cannulated Small Tail ewes (initial body weight 55 ± 5.0 kg) without pregnancy were used for the in vitro trial. In vitro substrate made to offer TB at 0, 2, 4, 6 and 8 g/kg on a dry matter (DM) basis was incubated by ruminal microbes for 72 h at 39°C. Forty-five adult Small Tail ewes used for the in vivo trial were randomly assigned to five treatments with nine animals each for an 18-d period according to body weight (55 ± 5.0 kg). Total mixed ration fed to ewes was also used to offer TB at 0, 2, 4, 6 and 8 g/kg on a DM basis. The in vitro trial showed that TB supplementation linearly increased apparent digestibility of DM, crude protein, neutral detergent fibre and acid detergent fibre, and enhanced gas production and methane emissions. The in vivo trial showed that TB supplementation decreased DM intake, but enhanced ruminal fermentation efficiency. Both in vitro and in vivo trials showed that TB supplementation enhanced total SFCA concentrations and carboxymethyl cellulase activity. The results indicate that TB supplementation might exert advantage effects on rumen microbial metabolism, despite having an enhancing effect on methanogenesis.
The triplite LiFeSO4F displays both the highest potential ever reported for an Fe-based compound, as well as a comparable specific energy with that of popular LiFePO4. The synthesis is still a challenge because the present approaches are connected with long time, special equipments or organic reagents, etc. In this work, the triplite LiFeSO4F powder was synthesized through an ambient two-step solid-state route. The reaction process and phase purity were analyzed, coupled with structure refinement and electrochemical test.
The present study evaluated the effects of isovalerate supplementation on the development of the small intestinal mucosa in dairy calves. Forty-eight Chinese Holstein bull calves at 15 days of age and 45.1 ± 0.36 kg of body weight were assigned randomly to four groups. The treatments were control, low-isovalerate, moderate-isovalerate and high-isovalerate with 0, 3, 6 and 9 g isovalerate per calf per day, respectively. The study comprised 75 days with a 15-day adaptation period followed by a 60-day sampling period. Calves were weaned at 60 days of age. Six calves were chosen from each treatment at random and slaughtered at 30 and 90 days of age. The small intestine morphology and activities of amylase and trypsin improved significantly with increasing age. No interaction between treatments and age was observed. The small intestine length, mucosa layer thickness, villus height and crypt depth increased linearly with increasing isovalerate supplementation. However, the ratio of villus height to crypt depth was not affected by treatment. Activities of amylase and trypsin increased linearly. The lactase activity increased linearly during the 75-day period and for pre-weaned calves but was unaltered for post-weaned calves. The relative mRNA expressions of growth hormone receptor, insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor and sodium-glucose co-transporter-1 in the small intestine mucosa increased linearly, and a similar pattern was observed for the expression of peptide transporter-1 in the duodenum and proximal jejunum. The results suggested that small intestine development was promoted by isovalerate in a dose-dependent manner.
In the present study, calcium propionate (CaP) was used as feed additive in the diet of calves to investigate their effects on rumen fermentation and the development of rumen epithelium in calves. To elucidate the mechanism in which CaP improves development of calf rumen epithelium via stimulating the messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of G protein-coupled receptors, a total of 54 male Jersey calves (age=7±1 days, BW=23.1±1.2 kg) were randomly divided into three treatment groups: control without CaP supplementation (Con), 5% CaP supplementation (5% CaP) and 10% CaP supplementation (10% CaP). The experiment lasted 160 days and was divided into three feeding stages: Stage 1 (days 0 to 30), Stage 2 (days 31 to 90) and Stage 3 (days 91 to 160). Calcium propionate supplementation percentages were calculated on a dry matter basis. In total, six calves from each group were randomly selected and slaughtered on days 30, 90 and 160 at the conclusion of each experimental feeding stage. Rumen fermentation was improved with increasing concentration of CaP supplementation in calves through the first 30 days (Stage 1). No effects of CaP supplementation were observed on rumen fermentation in calves during Stage 2 (days 31 to 90). Supplementation with 5% CaP increased propionate concentration, but not acetate and butyrate in calves during Stage 3 (days 91 to 160). The rumen papillae length of calves in the 5% CaP supplementation group was greater than that of Con groups in calves after 160 days feeding. The mRNA expression of G protein-coupled receptor 41 (GPR41) and GPR43 supplemented with 5% CaP were greater than the control group and 10% CaP group in feeding 160 days calves. 5% CaP supplementation increased the mRNA expression of cyclin D1, whereas did not increase the mRNA expression of cyclin-dependent kinase 4 compared with the control group in feeding 160-day calves. These results indicate that propionate may act as a signaling molecule to improve rumen epithelium development through stimulating mRNA expression of GPR41 and GPR43.
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.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
TAOS II is a next-generation occultation survey with the goal of measuring the size distribution of the small end of the Kuiper Belt (objects with diameters 0.5–30 km). Such objects have magnitudes r > 30, and are thus undetectable by direct imaging. The project will operate three telescopes at San Pedro Mártir Observatory in Baja California, México. Each telescope will be equipped with a custom-built camera comprised of a focal-plane array of CMOS imagers. The cameras will be capable of reading out image data from 10,000 stars at a cadence of 20 Hz. The telescopes will monitor the same set of stars simultaneously to search for coincident occultation detections, thus minimising the false-positive rate. This talk described the project, and reported on the progress of the development of the survey infrastructure.