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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.
Global inequity in access to and availability of essential mental health services is well recognized. The mental health treatment gap is approximately 50% in all countries, with up to 90% of people in the lowest-income countries lacking access to required mental health services. Increased investment in global mental health (GMH) has increased innovation in mental health service delivery in LMICs. Situational analyses in areas where mental health services and systems are poorly developed and resourced are essential when planning for research and implementation, however, little guidance is available to inform methodological approaches to conducting these types of studies. This scoping review provides an analysis of methodological approaches to situational analysis in GMH, including an assessment of the extent to which situational analyses include equity in study designs. It is intended as a resource that identifies current gaps and areas for future development in GMH. Formative research, including situational analysis, is an essential first step in conducting robust implementation research, an essential area of study in GMH that will help to promote improved availability of, access to and reach of mental health services for people living with mental illness in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). While strong leadership in this field exists, there remain significant opportunities for enhanced research representing different LMICs and regions.
The seasonality of individual influenza subtypes/lineages and the association of influenza epidemics with meteorological factors in the tropics/subtropics have not been well understood. The impact of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic on the prevalence of seasonal influenza virus remains to be explored. Using wavelet analysis, the periodicities of A/H3N2, seasonal A/H1N1, A/H1N1pdm09, Victoria and Yamagata were identified, respectively, in Panzhihua during 2006–2015. As a subtropical city in southwestern China, Panzhihua is the first industrial city in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. The relationship between influenza epidemics and local climatic variables was examined based on regression models. The temporal distribution of influenza subtypes/lineages during the pre-pandemic (2006–2009), pandemic (2009) and post-pandemic (2010–2015) years was described and compared. A total of 6892 respiratory specimens were collected and 737 influenza viruses were isolated. A/H3N2 showed an annual cycle with a peak in summer–autumn, while A/H1N1pdm09, Victoria and Yamagata exhibited an annual cycle with a peak in winter–spring. Regression analyses demonstrated that relative humidity was positively associated with A/H3N2 activity while negatively associated with Victoria activity. Higher prevalence of A/H1N1pdm09 and Yamagata was driven by lower absolute humidity. The role of weather conditions in regulating influenza epidemics could be complicated since the diverse viral transmission modes and mechanism. Differences in seasonality and different associations with meteorological factors by influenza subtypes/lineages should be considered in epidemiological studies in the tropics/subtropics. The development of subtype- and lineage-specific prevention and control measures is of significant importance.
Hepatitis E is an important zoonosis that is prevalent in China. Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a pathogen that affects humans and animals and endangers public health in China. In this study, the detection of HEV epidemics in swine in Sichuan Province, China, was carried out by nested real-time PCR. A total of 174 stool samples and 160 bile samples from swine in Sichuan Province were examined. In addition, software was used to analyse the biological evolution of HEV. The results showed that within 2 years of swine HEV (SHEV) infection in China, SHEV was first detected in Sichuan Province. HEV was endemic in Sichuan; the positive rate for pig farms was 11.1%, and the total positive sample rate was 10.5%. The age of swine with the highest positive rate (17.9%) was 5–9 weeks. The examined swine species in order of highest to lowest HEV infection rates were Chenghua pig, Large White, Duroc, Pietrain, Landrace and Hampshire. Nucleotide and amino acid sequence analysis showed that the HEV epidemic in swine in Sichuan Province was related to genotype IV, which had the highest homology to HEV in Beijing. Sichuan strains have greater variation than Chinese representative strains, which may indicate the presence of new HEV strains.
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.
Light colors may affect poultry behaviors, well-being and performance. However, preferences of layer pullets for light colors are not fully understood. This study was conducted to investigate the pullet preferences for four light-emitting diode colors, including white, red, green and blue, in a lighting preference test system. The system contained four identical compartments each provided with a respective light color. The pullets were able to move freely between the adjacent compartments. A total of three groups of 20 Chinese domestic Jingfen layer pullets (54 to 82 days of age) were used for the test. Pullet behaviors were continuously recorded and summarized for each light color/compartment into daily time spent (DTS), daily percentage of time spent (DPTS), daily times of visit (DTV), duration per visit, daily feed intake (DFI), daily feeding time (DFT), feeding rate (FR), distribution of pullet occupancy and hourly time spent. The results showed that the DTS (h/pullet·per day) were 3.9±0.4 under white, 1.4±0.3 under red, 2.2±0.3 under green and 4.5±0.4 under blue light, respectively. The DTS corresponded to 11.7% to 37.6% DPTS in 12-h lighting periods. The DTV (times/pullet·per day) were 84±5 under white, 48±10 under red, 88±10 under green and 94±8 under blue light. Each visit lasted 1.5 to 3.2 min. The DFI (g/pullet·per day) were 27.6±1.7 under white, 7.1±1.6 under red, 15.1±1.1 under green and 23.1±2.0 under blue light. The DFT was 0.18 to 0.65 h/pullet·per day and the FR was 0.57 to 0.75 g/min. For most of the time during the lighting periods, six to 10 birds stayed under white, and one to five birds stayed under red, green and blue light. Pullets preferred to stay under blue light when the light was on and under white light 4 h before the light off. Overall, pullets preferred blue light the most and red light the least. These findings substantiate the preferences of layer pullets for light colors, providing insights for use in the management of light-emitting diode colors to meet pullet needs.
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.
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.
Nitrogen (N) application and irrigation to winter wheat may decrease leaf temperature and enhance photosynthesis: as a result, more photosynthates will be allocated to the grains, resulting in higher grain yields. To investigate this hypothesis, a 2-year field study was conducted with three levels of N fertilizer application (no fertilizer, N0; 240 kg N/ha, N1; 360 kg N/ha, N2) and two different water regimes (rainfed with no irrigation, R; irrigation at the over-wintering, stem elongation and grain filling stages, W). The results show that both N application and supplemental irrigation significantly increased grain yield with increases in both grain number/m2 and the 1000-grain weight, viz., WN2>WN1>WN0>RN2>RN1>RN0. In addition, application of N under both water regimes significantly increased flag leaf area, above-ground biomass and single stem productivity and decreased leaf temperature, which led to an increase in net photosynthesis rates and ribulose bisphosphate (RuBP) carboxylase activity. Moreover, analysis of the chlorophyll α fluorescence transient showed that N fertilizer application and supplemental irrigation significantly increased electron donor and acceptor performance of the photosystem II reaction centre.
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.
A rare ascaridoid species, Mawsonascaris australis (Johnston & Mawson, 1943), is reported from the Taiwan Strait for the first time, and the brown guitarfish Rhinobatos schlegelii Müller & Henle (Rhinopristiformes: Rhinobatidae) represents a new fish host. The detailed morphology of M. australis was studied using light and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) based on the newly collected specimens. The results revealed some important, but previously unreported or erroneous, morphological features, including the lateral alae starting well posterior to the base of the ventrolateral lips, the presence of one pair of double paracloacal papillae and a single, small precloacal median papilla on the anterior margin of the cloaca. In addition, in order to determine whether the morphometric difference in the relative lengths of the right and left spicules represents intraspecific or interspecific variation, specimens of M. australis were characterized using molecular approaches by sequencing and analysing the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and mitochondrial cox1 genes. The results indicate that this morphometric difference represents intraspecific variability.
Diarrhea is a common cause of morbidity and mortality and the incidence of diarrhea in the world has changed little over the past four decades. To assess the prevalence of and healthcare practices for diarrhea, a cross-sectional study was conducted in Pudong, Shanghai, China. In October 2014, a total of 5324 community residents were interviewed. Respondents were asked if they had experienced diarrhea (defined as ⩾3 passages of watery, loose, bloody, or mucoid stools within a 24-h period) in the previous month prior to the interview. The monthly prevalence of diarrhea was 4·1% (95% CI: 3·3–4·8), corresponding to an incidence rate of 0·54 episodes per person-year. The proportion of individuals with diarrhea who sought healthcare was 21·2% (95% CI: 13·4–29·0). Diarrhea continues to impose a considerable burden on the community and healthcare system in Pudong. Young age and travel were identified as predictors of increased diarrhea occurrence.
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.
This paper presents the bed topography of Jakobshavn Isbræ, Greenland, and Byrd Glacier, Antarctica, derived from sounding these glaciers with high-sensitivity radars. To understand the processes causing the speed-up and retreat of outlet glaciers, and to enable the development of next-generation ice-sheet models, we need information on bed topography and basal conditions. To this end, we performed measurements with the progressively improved Multichannel Coherent Radar Depth Sounder/Imager (MCoRDS/I). We processed the data from each antenna-array element using synthetic aperture radar algorithms to improve radar sensitivity and reduce along-track surface clutter. We then applied array and image-processing algorithms to extract the weak bed echoes buried in off-vertical scatter (cross-track surface clutter). At Jakobshavn Isbræ, we observed 2.7 km thick ice ~30 km upstream of the calving front and ~850 m thick ice at the calving front. We also observed echoes from multiple interfaces near the bed. We applied the MUSIC algorithm to the data to derive the direction of arrival of the signals. This analysis revealed that clutter is dominated by the ice surface at Jakobshavn Isbræ. At Byrd Glacier, we found ~3.62 km thick ice, as well as a subglacial trench ~3.05 km below sea level. We used ice thickness information derived from radar data in conjunction with surface elevation data to generate bed maps for these two critical glaciers. The performance of current radars must be improved further by ~15 dB to fully sound the deepest part of Byrd Glacier. Unmanned aerial systems equipped with radars that can be flown over lines spaced as close as 5 m apart in the cross-track direction to synthesize a two-dimensional aperture would be ideal for collecting fine-resolution data over glaciers like Jakobshavn near their grounding lines.
Bacillary dysentery continues to be a major health issue in developing countries and ambient temperature is a possible environmental determinant. However, evidence about the risk of bacillary dysentery attributable to ambient temperature under climate change scenarios is scarce. We examined the attributable fraction (AF) of temperature-related bacillary dysentery in urban and rural Hefei, China during 2006–2012 and projected its shifting pattern under climate change scenarios using a distributed lag non-linear model. The risk of bacillary dysentery increased with the temperature rise above a threshold (18·4 °C), and the temperature effects appeared to be acute. The proportion of bacillary dysentery attributable to hot temperatures was 18·74% (95 empirical confidence interval (eCI): 8·36–27·44%). Apparent difference of AF was observed between urban and rural areas, with AF varying from 26·87% (95% eCI 16·21–36·68%) in urban area to −1·90% (95 eCI −25·03 to 16·05%) in rural area. Under the climate change scenarios alone (1–4 °C rise), the AF from extreme hot temperatures (>31·2 °C) would rise greatly accompanied by the relatively stable AF from moderate hot temperatures (18·4–31·2 °C). If climate change proceeds, urban area may be more likely to suffer from rapidly increasing burden of disease from extreme hot temperatures in the absence of effective mitigation and adaptation strategies.
In this study an explicit Finite Difference Method (FDM) based scheme is developed to solve the Maxwell's equations in time domain for a lossless medium. This manuscript focuses on two unique aspects – the three dimensional time-accurate discretization of the hyperbolic system of Maxwell equations in three-point non-staggered grid stencil and it's application to parallel computing through the use of Graphics Processing Units (GPU). The proposed temporal scheme is symplectic, thus permitting conservation of all Hamiltonians in the Maxwell equation. Moreover, to enable accurate predictions over large time frames, a phase velocity preserving scheme is developed for treatment of the spatial derivative terms. As a result, the chosen time increment and grid spacing can be optimally coupled. An additional theoretical investigation into this pairing is also shown. Finally, the application of the proposed scheme to parallel computing using one Nvidia K20 Tesla GPU card is demonstrated. For the benchmarks performed, the parallel speedup when compared to a single core of an Intel i7-4820K CPU is approximately 190x.