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This study investigated Echinococcus genotypes in patients with hydatidosis that reside in Inner Mongolia, Tibet or Qinghai Province by partially sequencing the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) and NADH dehydrogenase 1 (nad1) genes. Cyst fluids were collected from 23 patients with hydatidosis and DNA was extracted. Portions of the cox1 and nad1 genes were amplified and subsequently sequenced. Sequencing analysis determined that one of the isolates contained Echinococcus multilocularis, and the other 22 isolates contained E. granulosus sensu lato. The isolates were then further classified based on genotype, and E. granulosus sensu stricto (s.s.) G1 (n = 20), E. granulosus s.s. G3 (n = 1) and E. canadensis G6/7 (n = 1) were identified. Additionally, the sequences were concatenated (pcox1 + pnad1) and 11 haplotypes were identified among the E. granulosus s.s. isolates (G1 and G3), with a shared common haplotype (H1) identified. Overall, these findings provide further understanding of the genetic patterns of Echinococcus in western and northern China.
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.
Multiple human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 genotypes in China were first discovered in Yunnan Province before disseminating throughout the country. As the HIV-1 epidemic continues to expand in Yunnan, genetic characteristics and transmitted drug resistance (TDR) should be further investigated among the recently infected population. Among 2828 HIV-positive samples newly reported in the first quarter of 2014, 347 were identified as recent infections with BED-captured enzyme immunoassay (CEIA). Of them, 291 were successfully genotyped and identified as circulating recombinant form (CRF)08_BC (47.4%), unique recombinant forms (URFs) (18.2%), CRF01_AE (15.8%), CRF07_BC (14.4%), subtype C (2.7%), CRF55_01B (0.7%), subtype B (0.3%) and CRF64_BC (0.3%). CRF08_BC and CRF01_AE were the predominant genotypes among heterosexual and homosexual infections, respectively. CRF08_BC, URFs, CRF01_AE and CRF07_BC expanded with higher prevalence in central and eastern Yunnan. The recent common ancestor of CRF01_AE, CRF07_BC and CRF08_BC dated back to 1983.1, 1992.1 and 1989.5, respectively. The effective population sizes (EPS) for CRF01_AE and CRF07_BC increased exponentially during 1991–1999 and 1994–1999, respectively. The EPS for CRF08_BC underwent two exponential growth phases in 1994–1998 and 2001–2002. Lastly, TDR-associated mutations were identified in 1.8% of individuals. These findings not only enhance our understanding of HIV-1 evolution in Yunnan but also have implications for vaccine design and patient management strategies.
Protocols designed for the adipogenic differentiation of human and mouse cells are commonly used for inducing the adipogenesis of bovine stromal vascular cells. However, likely due to metabolic differences between ruminant and non-ruminant animals, these methods result in only few cells undergoing complete adipogenesis with minimal lipid droplet accumulation. Here, we discuss the development of an adipogenic differentiation protocol for bovine primary cells through a three-dimensional spheroid culture. Stromal vascular cells derived from bovine intramuscular fat were isolated and stored in liquid nitrogen before culturing. Cells were cultured in hanging drops for 3 days to allow for the formation of spherical structures. The spheroids were then transferred to cell culture plates with endothelial basal medium-2 for 3 days and in Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle’s Medium (DMEM) supplemented with a standard adipogenic cocktail for 3 additional days, which were then allowed to fully differentiate for 3 days in DMEM supplemented with insulin. Compared with conventional two-dimensional culture, cells in a three-dimensional spheroid culture system had higher adipogenic gene expression and consequently contained more adipocytes with larger lipid droplets. In addition, endothelial induction of spheroids prior to adipogenic differentiation is essential for efficient induction of adipogenesis of bovine stromal vascular cells, mimicking in vivo adipose development. In summary, the newly developed three-dimensional spheroid culture method is an efficient way to induce adipogenic differentiation and study adipose development of cells derived from ruminant animals, which also can be used for studying the role of angiogenesis in adipose development.
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.
We present the status of the Yale/San Juan Southern Proper Motion program (SPM) which is the southern hemisphere extension of the Lick Observatory Northern Proper Motion program with respect to faint galaxies (Platais et al., 1993). To date, measurements and reductions in the South Galactic Pole region comprising ≈ 1000 square-degrees on the sky have been finished. At this stage of the SPM program particular attention has been paid to the plate model choice along with an assessment of and accounting for systematic errors. For our establishing of a secondary reference frame we have noticed the presence of a potentially dangerous effect, so–called field–independent coma which is caused by lens decentering. We acknowledge the superb Hipparcos preliminary positions without which such analysis would be virtually impossible. The SPM data at the SGP region have also been used to constrain a multi–component Galaxy model. First results of this analysis are presented.
Controlling the spatial arrangement of biomaterials and living cells provides the foundation for fabricating complex biological systems. Such level of spatial resolution (less than 10 µm) is difficult to be obtained through conventional cell processing techniques, which lack the precision, reproducibility, automation, and speed required for the rapid fabrication of engineered tissue constructs. Recently, laser-assisted biofabrication techniques are being intensively developed with the use of computer-aided processes for patterning and assembling both living and nonliving materials with prescribed 2D or 3D organization. In this review, we discuss laser-assisted fabrication methods, including laser tweezers, multi-photon polymerization, laser-induced forward transfer (LIFT), matrix assisted pulsed laser evaporation (MAPLE), and laser ablation as well as their applications in biological science and biomedical engineering. These advanced technologies enable the precise manipulation of in vitro cellular microenvironments and the ability to engineer functional tissue constructs with high complexity and heterogeneity, which serve in regenerative medicine, pharmacology, and basic cell biology studies.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of maternal gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and breast feeding on childhood overweight and obesity in a mainland Chinese population. The incidence of and factors associated with overweight and obesity were compared between children of mothers with (n=1068) and without (n=1756) GDM. The independent roles of the associated factors were examined by multiple logistic regression analysis. The incidence of overweight was higher (16.6 v. 12.6%, P=0.002) in the GDM group, but that of obesity was not different (10.7 v. 12.0%, P=0.315). At age 1–2 and 2–5 years, no difference in overweight (11.0 v. 12.0%, P=0.917, and 15.7 v. 14.6%, P=0.693, respectively) was found, while obesity (8.0 v. 13.6%, P=0.019, and 8.4 v. 13.4%, P=0.014, respectively) was less frequent in the GDM offspring. At age 5–10 years, increased overweight (22.2 v. 12.1%, P<0.001) and obesity (15.9 v. 9.0%, P=0.001) were found in the GDM group, which was associated with maternal obesity, being born large-for-gestational age, male gender and formula feeding. After adjusting for confounding factors, GDM remained an independent determinant of offspring overweight and obesity (aOR 2.28, 95% CI 1.61–3.22), suggesting that the effects of GDM were independent of breast feeding, as well as of maternal obesity and birth size.
To understand the clinical epidemiology and molecular characteristics of human bocavirus (HBoV) infection in children with diarrhoea in Guangzhou, South China, we collected 1128 faecal specimens from children with diarrhoea from July 2010 to December 2012. HBoV and five other major enteric viruses were examined using real-time polymerase chain reaction. Human rotavirus (HRV) was the most prevalent pathogen, detected in 250 (22·2%) cases, followed by enteric adenovirus (EADV) in 76 (6·7%) cases, human astrovirus (HAstV) in 38 (3·4%) cases, HBoV in 17 (1·5%) cases, sapovirus (SaV) in 14 (1·2%) cases, and norovirus (NoV) in 9 (0·8%) cases. Co-infections were identified in 3·7% of the study population and 23·5% of HBoV-positive specimens. Phylogenetic analysis revealed 14 HBoV strains to be clustered into species HBoV1 with only minor variations among them. Overall, the detection of HBoV appears to partially contribute to the overall detection gap for enteric infections, single HBoV infection rarely results in severe clinical outcomes, and HBoV sequencing data appears to support conserved genomes across strains identified in this study.
This study examines corruption attitudes and norms in government hospitals in the Philippines. It tests a culture-building model that advocates communication of desired values, leadership role modelling, employee role modelling, alignment of systems and structures, training and evaluation, and reinforcement. Results reveal components that influence corruption attitudes and norms. Communication predicted individual attitudes or acceptability of corrupt acts. Leadership, systems, and controls predicted the prevalence of corrupt acts. Employee role modelling predicted both acceptability of and the prevalence of corrupt acts. In addition, there is a positive relationship between individual attitudes and organisation norms reinforcing the dyadic relationship between the two.
Alterations in gray matter (GM) are commonly observed in schizophrenia. Accumulating studies suggest that the brain changes associated with schizophrenia are distributed rather than focal, involving interconnected networks of areas as opposed to single regions. In the current study we aimed to explore GM volume (GMV) changes in a relatively large sample of treatment-naive first-episode schizophrenia (FES) patients using optimized voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and covariation analysis.
High-resolution T1-weighted images were obtained using 3.0-T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) from 86 first-episode drug-naive patients with schizophrenia and 86 age- and gender-matched healthy volunteers. Symptom severity was evaluated using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). GMV was assessed using optimized VBM and in 16 regions of interest (ROIs), selected on the basis of a previous meta-analysis. The relationships between GMVs in the ROIs were examined using an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA).
The VBM analysis revealed that first-episode patients showed reduced GMV in the hippocampus bilaterally. The ROI analysis identified reductions in GMV in the left inferior frontal gyrus, bilateral hippocampus and right thalamus. The ANCOVA revealed different patterns of regional GMV correlations in patients and controls, including of inter- and intra-insula, inter-amygdala and insula–postcentral gyrus connections.
Schizophrenia involves regional reductions in GMV and changes in GMV covariance in the insula, amygdala and postcentral gyrus. These findings were evident at the onset of the disorder, before treatment, and therefore cannot be attributable to the effects of chronic illness progression or medication.
The aim of this study was to characterize updated HIV subtypes in Yunnan to determine their origins and distribution within the population. RT–PCR of both the gag and env genes were sequenced from Yunnan province inhabitants newly diagnosed with HIV-1. Sequence data from 290 samples were used for statistical analysis of subtype distribution and phylogenetic tree construction. Distribution data were adjusted to account for different geographical distributions of HIV-1 subtypes in the population. Phylogenetic analysis revealed six HIV-1 subtypes in Yunnan, including eight types of unique recombination forms (URFs). The most prevalent subtypes in this province, CRF07_BC (18·9%), CRF08_BC (39·1%), CRF01_AE (22·4%), and URFs (subtype C, 5·9% and subtype B, 4·5%), were all recombinants. We found significant differences in the distribution of these HIV-1 subtypes not only geographically, but also between various ethnic groups and with respect to transmission routes. Our findings indicate a complex population of HIV-1 subtypes, URFs, and recombinant subtypes in Yunnan province. This diversity could make the prevention and control of HIV infection in Yunnan more difficult due to the possibility of virus recombination or infection by multiple subtypes.
Information imprecision and uncertainty exist in many real world applications, and such information would be retrieved, processed, shared, reused, and aligned in the maximum automatic way possible. As a popular family of formally well-founded and decidable knowledge representation languages, fuzzy Description Logics (fuzzy DLs), which extend DLs with fuzzy logic, are very well suited to cover for representing and reasoning with imprecision and uncertainty. Thus, a requirement naturally arises in many practical applications of knowledge-based systems, in particular the Semantic Web, because DLs are the logical foundation of the Semantic Web. Currently, there have been lots of fuzzy extensions of DLs with Zadeh's fuzzy logic theory papers published, to investigate fuzzy DLs and more importantly serve as identifying the direction of fuzzy DLs study. In this paper, we aim at providing a comprehensive literature overview of fuzzy DLs, and we focus our attention on fuzzy extensions of DLs based on fuzzy set theory. Other relevant formalisms that are based on approaches like probabilistic theory or non-monotonic logics are covered elsewhere. In detail, we first introduce the existing fuzzy DLs (including the syntax, semantics, knowledge base, and reasoning algorithm) from the origin, development (from weaker to stronger in expressive power), some special techniques, and so on. Then, the other important issues on fuzzy DLs, such as reasoning, querying, applications, and directions for future research, are also discussed in detail. Also, we make a comparison and analysis.
Given the important role of the default mode network (DMN) in cognitive function and the well-known neurocognitive deficit in schizophrenia, it is intriguing to examine systematically the relationship between neurocognitive dysfunction and aberrant intrinsic activities, and also functional connectivity, of the DMN in patients with schizophrenia.
First-episode, treatment-naive patients with schizophrenia (FES) (n = 115) and healthy controls (n = 113) underwent resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans and neurocognitive tests. Intrinsic neural activities evaluated by using the fragment amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (fALFF) and the resting-state functional connectivity assessed by seed-based correlational analysis were compared between patients and controls. Aberrant intrinsic activities and DMN connectivity in patients were then correlated to neurocognitive performance and clinical symptoms.
Compared to controls, patients with FES showed decreased fALFF in the bilateral medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) and the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), and increased fALFF in the bilateral putamen. Increased functional connectivity with the DMN was observed in the left insula and bilateral dorsolateral PFC (DLPFC) in patients with FES. In patients, aberrant fALFF in the bilateral OFC were correlated with cognitive processing speed; fALFF in the left OFC and right putamen were correlated with the clinical factors excited/activation and disorganization; and increased DMN functional connectivity in the left insula was correlated with the clinical factors positive, excited/activation, disorganization and neurocognitive deficit in the domain of sustained attention.
These associations between neurocognitive dysfunction and aberrant intrinsic activities, and also functional connectivity, of the DMN in patients with schizophrenia may provide important insights into the neural mechanism of the disease.
Interfacial microstructure of In/Pd ohmic contacts to n-GaAs was studied by various X-ray diffraction techniques and secondary ion mass spectroscopy (SIMS). Analysis of this interface after various annealing showed that In1-xGaxAs compounds are formed at the interface and the composition of these compounds depends upon the annealing temperature. As the temperature increases, the stoichiometry of the Inrich compounds tends toward higher concentrations of Ga. The low contact resistance is achieved by dividing the Schottky barrier between metal and GaAs into two barriers due to metal/Inl-xGaxAs and In1-xGaxAs/GaAs. The barrier due to In1-xGaxAs/GaAs is believed to be the main limiting factor in lowering of contact resistance. The observed ohmic behavior for sample annealed at 500°C for 20 s is attributed to the further reduction of this barrier.
The relationship between recurrent major depression (MD) in women and suicidality is complex. We investigated the extent to which patients who suffered with various forms of suicidal symptomatology can be distinguished from those subjects without such symptoms.
We examined the clinical features of the worst episode in 1970 Han Chinese women with recurrent DSM-IV MD between the ages of 30 and 60 years from across China. Student's t tests, and logistic and multiple logistic regression models were used to determine the association between suicidality and other clinical features of MD.
Suicidal symptomatology is significantly associated with a more severe form of MD, as indexed by both the number of episodes and number of MD symptoms. Patients reporting suicidal thoughts, plans or attempts experienced a significantly greater number of stressful life events. The depressive symptom most strongly associated with lifetime suicide attempt was feelings of worthlessness (odds ratio 4.25, 95% confidence interval 2.9–6.3). Excessive guilt, diminished concentration and impaired decision-making were also significantly associated with a suicide attempt.
This study contributes to the existing literature on risk factors for suicidal symptomatology in depressed women. Identifying specific depressive symptoms and co-morbid psychiatric disorders may help improve the clinical assessment of suicide risk in depressed patients. These findings could be helpful in identifying those who need more intense treatment strategies in order to prevent suicide.
Brain structure appears to alter after antipsychotic administration, but it is unknown whether these alterations are associated with improvement of psychopathology in patients with schizophrenia. In this study, the authors explore this relationship.
Altogether, 66 first-episode, drug-naive patients with schizophrenia and 23 well-matched healthy controls underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging scans at baseline. All 23 healthy controls and 42 of the patients were rescanned after 6 weeks follow-up. The patients received regular antipsychotic treatment during the 6-week period and their psychopathology was assessed using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) at baseline and 6 weeks. The difference in PANSS scores between baseline and 6 weeks was expressed as a ratio of the scores at baseline – ‘PANSS reduction ratio’. A modified tensor-based morphometry procedure was applied to analyse longitudinal images. Correlations between regional volume changes, PANSS reduction ratio and antipsychotic drug dosages were explored.
Compared with healthy controls, there was a significant increase in grey-matter volume of the right putamen in patients after 6 weeks treatment. This volume change was positively correlated with a positive PANSS reduction score but not related to drug dosages.
Putaminal volume increased after 6 weeks antipsychotic treatment in first-episode schizophrenia. The increased volume was closely correlated with improved psychopathology, suggesting the putamen might be a biomarker to predict the treatment response in schizophrenia.
The effect of channeling on the diffusion of ion implanted phosphorus in silicon has been investigated. Silicon samples, implanted with 25–100 keV P along the  channeling and the random equivalent directions, were subjected to thermal annealing over a temperature range of 600–1050 °C. Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) and Spreading Resistance Probe (SRP) have been used to determine the atomic and carrier concentration depth profiles, respectively. The findings show that after annealing, the P profiles by implantation along the random equivalent direction can be kept shallower than the profiles obtained by implantation along the  channeling direction. Through proper annealing and electrical activation, only minimal diffusion in the tail region of the profiles occurred. For 50 keV P at 1×1015 at./cm2, changing the implantation from the  to the random equivalent direction leads to a reduction in the profile depth of about 50% (at 1×1017at./cm3). After 10 seconds of rapid thermal annealing (RTA) at 1050 °C, the profile depth remains more than 30% shallower than the channeled profile.
There exists considerable interest in the synthesis of nanocrystalline SiC particles embedded in an a-SixC1−x:H matrix. This study investigated the formation of nanocrystalline SiC by annealing a non-equilibrium a-Si0.35C0.65 alloy sputter deposited onto oxidized (100) Si. Evolution of the microstructure was characterized by thin film sheet resistance measurements, glancing angle X-ray diffraction (GAXRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). It was found that films annealed at temperatures below 850°C remained amorphous. Annealing at temperatures above 850°C resulted in the formation of SiC nanocrystallites, as revealed by GAXRD and TEM. The electrical conductivity also showed an abrupt increase around 950°C. Prolonged annealing resulted in a further increase in conductivity, implying that the transformation continued. Annealing at 1100°C for 3 hours increased the film conductivity by two orders of magnitude relative to the as-deposited film.