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Mental health was only modestly affected in adults during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic on the group level, but interpersonal variation was large.
We aim to investigate potential predictors of the differences in changes in mental health.
Data were aggregated from three Dutch ongoing prospective cohorts with similar methodology for data collection. We included participants with pre-pandemic data gathered during 2006–2016, and who completed online questionnaires at least once during lockdown in The Netherlands between 1 April and 15 May 2020. Sociodemographic, clinical (number of mental health disorders and personality factors) and COVID-19-related variables were analysed as predictors of relative changes in four mental health outcomes (depressive symptoms, anxiety and worry symptoms, and loneliness), using multivariate linear regression analyses.
We included 1517 participants with (n = 1181) and without (n = 336) mental health disorders. Mean age was 56.1 years (s.d. 13.2), and 64.3% were women. Higher neuroticism predicted increases in all four mental health outcomes, especially for worry (β = 0.172, P = 0.003). Living alone and female gender predicted increases in depressive symptoms and loneliness (β = 0.05–0.08), whereas quarantine and strict adherence with COVID-19 restrictions predicted increases in anxiety and worry symptoms (β = 0.07–0.11).Teleworking predicted a decrease in anxiety symptoms (β = −0.07) and higher age predicted a decrease in anxiety (β = −0.08) and worry symptoms (β = −0.10).
Our study showed neuroticism as a robust predictor of adverse changes in mental health, and identified additional sociodemographic and COVID-19-related predictors that explain longitudinal variability in mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We report the experimental results of the commissioning phase in the 10 PW laser beamline of the Shanghai Superintense Ultrafast Laser Facility (SULF). The peak power reaches 2.4 PW on target without the last amplifying during the experiment. The laser energy of 72 ± 9 J is directed to a focal spot of approximately 6 μm diameter (full width at half maximum) in 30 fs pulse duration, yielding a focused peak intensity around 2.0 × 1021 W/cm2. The first laser-proton acceleration experiment is performed using plain copper and plastic targets. High-energy proton beams with maximum cut-off energy up to 62.5 MeV are achieved using copper foils at the optimum target thickness of 4 μm via target normal sheath acceleration. For plastic targets of tens of nanometers thick, the proton cut-off energy is approximately 20 MeV, showing ring-like or filamented density distributions. These experimental results reflect the capabilities of the SULF-10 PW beamline, for example, both ultrahigh intensity and relatively good beam contrast. Further optimization for these key parameters is underway, where peak laser intensities of 1022–1023 W/cm2 are anticipated to support various experiments on extreme field physics.
In the coastal ocean, interactions of waves and currents with large roughness elements, similar in size to wave orbital excursions, generate drag and dissipate energy. These boundary layer dynamics differ significantly from well-studied small-scale roughness. To address this problem, we derived spatially and phase-averaged momentum equations for combined wave–current flows over rough bottoms, including the canopy layer containing obstacles. These equations were decomposed into steady and oscillatory parts to investigate the effects of waves on currents, and currents on waves. We applied this framework to analyse large-eddy simulations of combined oscillatory and steady flows over hemisphere arrays (diameter $D$), in which current ($U_c$), wave velocity ($U_w$) and period ($T$) were varied. In the steady momentum budget, waves increase drag on the current, and this is balanced by the total stress at the canopy top. Dispersive stresses from oscillatory flow around obstacles are increasingly important as $U_w/U_c$ increases. In the oscillatory momentum budget, acceleration in the canopy is balanced by pressure gradient, added-mass and form drag forces; stress gradients are small compared to other terms. Form drag is increasingly important as the Keulegan–Carpenter number $KC=U_wT/D$ and $U_c/U_w$ increase. Decomposing the drag term illustrates that a quadratic relationship predicts the observed dependences of steady and oscillatory drag on $U_c/U_w$ and $KC$. For large roughness elements, bottom friction is well represented by a friction factor ($f_w$) defined using combined wave and current velocities in the canopy layer, which is proportional to drag coefficient and frontal area per unit plan area, and increases with $KC$ and $U_c/U_w$.
Research on flight emissions at airports is very important for environmental policymaking. This study analysed the trend of aircraft air pollutant emissions at mainland China airports from 1990 to 2017, mainly focusing on standard landing and take-off (LTO) cycles. Total flight movements increased 29-fold from 1990 to 2017 at Chinese airports. Over the same period, the emissions of NOx, SOx, CO, hydrocarbons (HC), and particulate matter (PM) increased 46, 27, 12, 5, and 4 times, respectively. Emissions at the 216 public airports showed a growth trend. It was estimated that in 2017, Chinese airports emitted 12,875 kilotons of CO2, 59 kilotons of NOx, 3 kilotons of SOx, 38 kilotons of CO, 5 kilotons of HC, and 0.4 kilotons of PM. The largest 30 airports produced 68.2% of the total emissions. Emissions from B737-800, A320, A321, B737-700, A330-300, and A319 aircraft accounted for more than 75% of aircraft LTO emissions at Chinese airports in 2017. Results show that average emissions per passenger have decreased for CO2, CO, HC, SOx, PM, and NOx from 1990 to 2017.
Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
Introduction: As the availability of Computed Tomography Pulmonary Angiography (CTPA) to rule out pulmonary embolism (PE) increases, so too does its utilization, and consequent overutilization. A variety of evidence-based algorithms and decision rules using clinical criteria and D-Dimer testing have been proposed as instruments to allow physicians to safely rule out a PE in low-risk patients. However, studies have shown mixed results with respect to both physician uptake of these decision rules and their impact on improving ordering practices among physicians. The objective of this study is to describe the prevalence of D-Dimer utilization among ED physicians and its impact on positive yield rates of CTPAs in a community setting. Methods: Data was collected on all CTPA studies ordered by ED physicians at two very high-volume community hospitals and an affiliated urgent care centre during the 2-year period between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017. For each CTPA, we determined if 1) a D-Dimer had been ordered prior to CTPA, if 2) the D-Dimer was positive, and if 3) the CTPA was positive for a PE. Using a chi-square test, we compared the diagnostic yield for those patients who had a D-Dimer prior to their CTPA and those who did not. Results: A total of 2,811 CTPAs were included in the analysis. Of these, 964 CTPAs (34.3%) were ordered without a D-Dimer. Of those 1,847 patients who underwent D-Dimer testing prior to the CTPA, 343 (18.7%) underwent a CTPA despite a negative D-Dimer. When compared as a group, those CTPAs preceded by a D-Dimer showed no significant difference in positive yields when compared to those CTPAs ordered without a prior D-Dimer (9.9% versus 11.3%, p = 0.26). Conclusion: The findings of this study present a complicated picture of the impact of D-Dimer utilization on CTPA ordering patterns. There is evidence of suboptimal uptake of routine D-Dimer ordering, and adherence to guidelines in terms of forgoing CTPAs in low-risk patients with negative D-Dimers. While this study design leaves unanswered the question of how many CTPAs were avoided as a result of a negative D-Dimer, the finding of a similar positive yield among those patients who had a D-Dimer ordered versus those who did not is interesting, and illustrative of the issues arising from the high false-positive rates associated with D-Dimer screening.
Previously the GABA(A) receptor beta-2 subunit gene GABRB2 was found to be associated with schizophrenia (SCZ). for SNPs and haplotypes in GRBRB2, the associations with bipolar disorder (BPD), the functional consequences on GABRB2 expression and their relationship to demographic and clinical characteristics in BPD and SCZ remain to be elucidated.
Case-control analysis was performed for association study of GABRB2 with BPD, and its mRNA expression in postmortem BPD brains was examined using quantitative real-time PCR. Quantitative trait analysis was subsequently employed to assess the covariate effects of demographic and clinical characteristics on genotypic correlation of GABRB2 expression in SCZ and BPD.
Significant association of GABRB2 with BPD and reduction in GABRB2 mRNA expression in BPD brains were observed in the present study. Duration of illness (DOI) was found to be a significant covariate for the correlation of the disease-associated SNPs rs1816071, rs1816072 and rs187269 with GABRB2 expression in both SCZ and BPD. for individuals with homozygous major genotypes of these SNPs, while GABRB2 expression increased with age in the controls, it decreased with DOI and age in SCZ, and with DOI in BPD. with age of onset as covariate, these three SNPs were significantly correlated with antipsychotic dosage in SCZ.
These results have thus revealed correlations of GABRB2 SNPs and expression not only with the occurrence of SCZ and BPD, but also with the clinical characteristics of patients, therefore providing support for a shared etiological role played by the gene in both diseases.
Optimal stroke care requires access to resources such as neuroimaging, acute revascularization, rehabilitation, and stroke prevention services, which may not be available in rural areas. We aimed to determine geographic access to stroke care for residents of rural communities in the province of Ontario, Canada.
We used the Ontario Road Network File database linked with the 2016 Ontario Acute Stroke Care Resource Inventory to estimate the proportion of people in rural communities, defined as those with a population size <10,000, who were within 30, 60, and 240 minutes of travel time by car from stroke care services, including brain imaging, thrombolysis treatment centers, stroke units, stroke prevention clinics, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and endovascular treatment centers.
Of the 1,496,262 people residing in rural communities, the majority resided within 60 minutes of driving time to a center with computed tomography (85%), thrombolysis (81%), a stroke unit (68%), a stroke prevention clinic (74%), or inpatient rehabilitation (77.0%), but a much lower proportion (32%) were within 60 minutes of driving time to a center capable of providing endovascular thrombectomy (EVT).
Most rural Ontario residents have appropriate geographic access to stroke services, with the exception of EVT. This information may be useful for jurisdictions seeking to optimize the regional organization of stroke care services.
We aimed to investigate the heterogeneity of seasonal suicide patterns among multiple geographically, demographically and socioeconomically diverse populations.
Weekly time-series data of suicide counts for 354 communities in 12 countries during 1986–2016 were analysed. Two-stage analysis was performed. In the first stage, a generalised linear model, including cyclic splines, was used to estimate seasonal patterns of suicide for each community. In the second stage, the community-specific seasonal patterns were combined for each country using meta-regression. In addition, the community-specific seasonal patterns were regressed onto community-level socioeconomic, demographic and environmental indicators using meta-regression.
We observed seasonal patterns in suicide, with the counts peaking in spring and declining to a trough in winter in most of the countries. However, the shape of seasonal patterns varied among countries from bimodal to unimodal seasonality. The amplitude of seasonal patterns (i.e. the peak/trough relative risk) also varied from 1.47 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.33–1.62) to 1.05 (95% CI: 1.01–1.1) among 12 countries. The subgroup difference in the seasonal pattern also varied over countries. In some countries, larger amplitude was shown for females and for the elderly population (≥65 years of age) than for males and for younger people, respectively. The subperiod difference also varied; some countries showed increasing seasonality while others showed a decrease or little change. Finally, the amplitude was larger for communities with colder climates, higher proportions of elderly people and lower unemployment rates (p-values < 0.05).
Despite the common features of a spring peak and a winter trough, seasonal suicide patterns were largely heterogeneous in shape, amplitude, subgroup differences and temporal changes among different populations, as influenced by climate, demographic and socioeconomic conditions. Our findings may help elucidate the underlying mechanisms of seasonal suicide patterns and aid in improving the design of population-specific suicide prevention programmes based on these patterns.
The sense of bitter taste is critical for chickens to acquire and select feeds. It is important to understand the roles and mechanisms of bitter taste transduction in chickens. Denatonium is extensively used as a bitter taste receptor agonist to activate bitter taste receptors in recent studies. The objective of this study was to investigate the physiological effects and the potential molecular mechanisms of dietary exposure to a strong bitter taste receptor agonist on the jejunal epithelial cells of yellow-feathered chickens. A total of 240 yellow-feathered chickens were divided into four treatments receiving a normal diet (Control), a low-dose denatonium treatment (Control + 5 mg/kg denatonium), a middle-dose denatonium treatment (Control + 20 mg/kg denatonium) and a high-dose denatonium treatment (Control + 100 mg/kg denatonium) for 56 days, respectively. The results showed that dietary denatonium reduced (P < 0.05) the growth performance of chickens. High-dose denatonium damaged the morphology of the jejunal epithelium and decreased (P < 0.05) the activities of Ca2+-ATPase, sucrase and maltase after 56 days of exposure. Meanwhile, high-dose denatonium increased (P < 0.05) mRNA expressions of bitter taste receptors, which resulted in enhanced apoptosis in jejunal epithelial cells after 56 days of exposure. Furthermore, middle-dose and high-dose denatonium exhibited increased (P < 0.05) mRNA level of claudin 2 and decreased (P < 0.05) mRNA level of occludin after 28 days of exposure. Only high-dose denatonium decreased (P < 0.05) mRNA level of occludin after 56 days of exposure. In conclusion, denatonium manifested deleterious effects on the jejunum of chickens in a dose–effect manner via damaging the morphology of the jejunal epithelium, and inducing apoptosis associated with bitter taste receptors. Our data suggest that bitter-tasting feed additives may have side effects on the growth and development of intestines in chickens.
Patients with severe mental disorders in low-resource settings have limited access to services, resulting in overwhelming caregiving burden for families. In extreme cases, this has led to the long-term restraining of patients in their homes. China underwent a nationwide initiative to unlock patients and provide continued treatment. This study aims to quantify household economic burden in families after unlocking and treatment, and to identify factors associated with increased burden due to schizophrenia.
A total of 264 subjects were enrolled from three geographically diverse provinces in 2012. Subjects were patients with schizophrenia who were previously put under restraints and had participated in the ‘unlocking and treatment’ intervention. The primary outcome was the current household economic burden, obtained from past year financial information collected through on-site interview. Patient disease characteristics, treatment, outcomes and family caregiving burden were collected as well. Univariate and multivariate linear regression were used to construct risk factor models for indirect economic burden.
After participating in the intervention, 85% of patients continued to receive mental health services, 70% used medication as prescribed and 80% were never relocked. Family members reported significantly decreased caregiving burden after receiving the intervention. Mean direct and indirect household economic burdens were CNY963 (US$31.7) and CNY11 724 (US$1670) per year, respectively, while family total income was on average CNY12 108 (US$1913) per year. Greater disease severity and poorer patient psychosocial function at time of study were found to be independent factors related to increased indirect burden.
The ‘unlocking and treatment’ intervention has improved the lives of patients and families. Indirect burden due to disease is still a major economic issue that needs to be addressed, potentially through improving treatment and patient functioning. Our findings contribute to the unravelling and eventual elimination of chronic restraining of mentally ill patients in low-resource settings.
Three types of polymer including polyurethane, polyethylene, and polysulfone were used as filler inside composite tubes to evaluate their effects on the crashworthiness. The composite tube consisting of carbon fiber fabric and polyurethane was fabricated by resin transfer molding and subjected to impact loading. In addition, the finite element analysis with progressive failure and delamination was used to simulate the crushing behavior of the polymer-filled composite tube. From the comparison between experiment and simulation, the finite element analysis is reliable, could reasonably describe the crushing behavior of the polymer-filled tube, and has nice prediction on the crashworthiness performance. From both the experiment and simulation results, the polyethylene-filled composite tube has clearly higher specific absorbed energy than the hollow composite tube, and polyethylene could be considered as an effective filler. However, the other two types of polymer filler have no clear effect.
Rumen-protected betaine (RPB) can enhance betaine absorption in the small intestine of ruminants, while betaine can alter fat distribution and has the potential to affect the meat quality of livestock. Hence, we hypothesized that RPB might also affect the meat quality of lambs. Sixty male Hu sheep of similar weight (30.47 ± 2.04 kg) were selected and randomly subjected to five different treatments. The sheep were fed a control diet (control treatment, CTL); 1.1 g/day unprotected-betaine supplemented diet (UPB); or doses of 1.1 g/day (low RPB treatment; L-PB), 2.2 g/day (middle RPB treatment; M-PB) or 3.3 g/day (high RPB treatment; H-PB) RPB-supplemented diet for 70 days. Slaughter performance, meat quality, fatty acid and amino acid content in the longissimus dorsi (LD) muscle, shoulder muscle (SM) and gluteus muscle (GM) were measured. Compared with CTL, betaine (including UPB and RPB) supplementation increased the average daily weight gain (ADG) (P < 0.05) and average daily feed intake (P < 0.01) of lambs. Rumen-protected betaine increased ADG (P < 0.05) compared with UPB. With increasing RPB doses, the eye muscle area of the lambs linearly increased (P < 0.05). Compared with CTL, betaine supplementation decreased water loss (P < 0.05) in SM and increased pH24 in the SM (P < 0.05) and GM (P < 0.05). Compared with UPB, RPB decreased water loss in the GM (P < 0.01), decreased shear force (P < 0.05) in the LD and SM and increased the pH of the meat 24 h after slaughter (pH24). With increasing RPB doses, the shear force and b* value in the LD linearly decreased (P < 0.05), and the pH24 of the meat quadratically increased (P < 0.05). Compared with CTL, betaine supplementation increased the polyunsaturated fatty acid in the GM (P < 0.05). Compared with UPB, RPB supplementation decreased the saturated fatty acid (SFA) content in the LD (P < 0.05) and increased the unsaturated fatty acids (UFA), mono-unsaturated fatty acids and UFA/SFA ratio in the LD (P < 0.05). Compared with CTL, the content of histidine in the LD increased with betaine supplementation. Compared with UPB, RPB supplementation increased the content of total free amino acids and flavor amino acids in the LD of lambs (P < 0.05). With increasing RPB, the isoleucine and phenylalanine contents in the LD linearly increased (P < 0.05). Overall, the data collected indicated that the meat quality of lambs (especially in the LD) improved as a result of betaine supplementation, and RPB showed better effects than those of UPB.
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.
We identified and characterized a new cosmocercid nematode species, Cosmocercoides wuyiensis n. sp., through microscopic examination and sequencing of the partial small ribosomal RNA gene (18S rDNA), internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) genes. The new species was isolated from the intestine of the Asiatic frog Amolops wuyiensis Liu and Hu, 1975 captured from four localities of the Anhui province in south-east China. Among the 25 recorded species of the Cosmocercoides genus, the morphology of C. wuyiensis n. sp. is closest to that of C. kiliwai and C. malayensis, which were isolated from various Mexican frog and Malaysian lizard species, respectively. However, C. wuyiensis n. sp. displayed several distinguishing features, such as small size of the male body, two spicules of unequal lengths in the male, small gubernaculum, pre-, ad- and post-cloacal caudal rosette papillae in the ratio of 18–24:2:6 and simple papillae in the ratio of 14:multiple:4, circle and number of punctation in each rosette at 1:11–16, sharply conical tail-end and the presence of lateral alae and somatic papillae in both sexes. BLAST and the phylogenetic analyses of the 18S rDNA and ITS sequences indicated that C. wuyiensis n. sp. belonged to the genus Cosmocercoides, while that of the COI gene sequence of C. wuyiensis n. sp. showed 16.36% nucleotide divergence with C. pulcher and 47.99% nucleotide divergence with C. qingtianensis. The morphological and molecular characterization of C. wuyiensis n. sp. provides new taxonomic data for this genus.
Sodium and chloride are the key factors maintaining normal osmotic pressure (OSM) and volume of the extracellular fluid, and influencing the acid–base balance of body fluids. The experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of dietary Na+ and Cl− level on growth performance, excreta moisture, blood biochemical parameters, intestinal Na+–glucose transporter 1 (SGLT1) messenger RNA (mRNA), and Na+–H+ exchanger 2 (NHE2) mRNA, and to estimate the optimal dietary sodium and chlorine level for yellow-feathered chickens from 22 to 42days. A total of 900 22-day-old Lingnan yellow-feathered male chickens were randomly allotted to five treatments, each of which included six replicates of 30 chickens per floor pen. The basal control diet was based on corn and soybean meal (without added NaCl and NaHCO3). Treatments 2 to 5 consisted of the basal diet supplemented with equal weights of Na+ and Cl−, constituting 0.1%, 0.2%, 0.3% and 0.4% of the diets. Supplemental dietary Na+ and Cl− improved the growth performance (P<0.05). Average daily gain (ADG) showed a quadratic broken-line regression to increasing dietary Na+ and Cl− (R2=0.979, P<0.001), and reached a plateau at 0.1%. Supplemental Na+ and Cl− increased (P<0.05) serum Na+ and OSM in serum and showed a quadratic broken-line regression (R2=0.997, P=0.004) at 0.11%. However, supplemental Na+ and Cl− decreased (P<0.05) serum levels of K+, glucose (GLU) and triglyceride. Higher levels of Na+and Cl− decreased duodenal NHE2 transcripts (P<0.05), but had no effect on ileal SGLT1 transcripts. The activity of Na+ /K+-ATPase in the duodenum decreased (P<0.05) with higher levels of dietary Na+ and Cl−. In conclusion, the optimal dietary Na+ and Cl− requirements for yellow-feathered chickens in the grower phase, from 22 to 42 days of age, to optimize ADG, serum Na+, OSM, K+ and GLU were 0.10%, 0.11%, 0.11%,0.17% and 0.16%, respectively, by regression analysis.
Bullying has been understudied among preschool children, especially those from Chinese American families. Previous research has also neglected the dimensional effects of psychological control on child bullying development. This study examined two psychological control dimensions, love withdrawal and guilt induction, and their effects on children's bullying aggressive behavior using a longitudinal design. Participants were first-generation Chinese American mothers (N = 133; mean age [Mage] = 37.82) and their preschool children (Mage = 4.48). Chinese immigrant mothers reported their psychologically controlling parenting and teachers rated children's bullying aggressive behaviors in the school setting. Confirmatory factor analyses were conducted to establish the psychometric properties and cross-wave measurement equivalence of the study constructs. Cross-lagged structural equation modeling analysis indicated that maternal love withdrawal prospectively predicted more bullying aggressive behavior, whereas guilt induction predicted less bullying aggressive behavior in children 6 months later. These results held after controlling for the initial level of children's problem behaviors and demographic variables (child age, gender, and maternal education). For child effects, child bullying aggressive behavior predicted more maternal guilt induction over time but not love withdrawal. Our findings highlight the importance of construct specificity and cultural context in understanding associations between parenting and child development.
A stable reference gene is a key prerequisite for accurate assessment of gene expression. At present, the real-time reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction has been widely used in the analysis of gene expression in a variety of organisms. Neoseiulus barkeri Hughes (Acari: Phytoseiidae) is a major predator of mites on many important economically crops. Until now, however, there are no reports evaluating the stability of reference genes in this species. In view of this, we used GeNorm, NormFinder, BestKeeper, and RefFinder software tools to evaluate the expression stability of 11 candidate reference genes in developmental stages and under various abiotic stresses. According to our results, β-ACT and Hsp40 were the top two stable reference genes in developmental stages. The Hsp60 and Hsp90 were the most stable reference genes in various acaricides stress. For alterations in temperature, Hsp40 and α-TUB were the most suitable reference genes. About UV stress, EF1α and α-TUB were the best choice, and for the different prey stress, β-ACT and α-TUB were best suited. In normal conditions, the β-ACT and α-TUB were the two of the highest stable reference genes to respond to all kinds of stresses. The current study provided a valuable foundation for the further analysis of gene expression in N. barkeri.
We are performing systematic observation studies on the Galactic interstellar isotopic ratios, including 18O/17O, 12C/13C, 14N/15N and 32S/34S. Our strategy focuses on combination of multi-transition observation data toward large samples with different Galactocentric distances. Our preliminary results show positive Galactic radial gradients of 18O/17O and 12C/13C. In both cases, the ratio increases with the Galactocentric distance, which agrees with the inside-out scenario of our Galaxy. Observations of other isotopes such as 14N/15N and 32S/34S are on-going.