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In this introductory chapter, we first provide a brief overview of research paradigms of language aptitude testing and theory construction in the past six decades, summarizing the major achievements and innovations in research methodologies. Following this, we discuss the background and rationale of the current volume, highlighting the key contents of each chapter and evaluating their potential contributions to enhancing our understanding of language aptitude theory and practice. We conclude the introduction by calling upon scholars to work concertedly towards building an integrated language aptitude theory that will allow us to diagnose, predict, and explain the second language learning process and outcomes. Overall, the current volume calls for a paradigm shift of language aptitude research from its previous focus on aptitude testing to theory construction and practical applications.
The last few years have witnessed exponential growth in research output within the field of language aptitude. With contributions from an international team of leading experts, this volume provides the most comprehensive, authoritative and up-to-date overview of developments in language aptitude theory and practice. It addresses central and newly emerging methodological and theoretical issues, and revisits and re-examines the most popular language aptitude tests, including the most durable and innovative batteries. It also provides in-depth demonstrations of language aptitude research paradigms, including well-established and emerging ones, scrutinizing them from multidisciplinary perspectives. Aptitude treatment interactions studies are reported and discussed, and pedagogical implications are provided, to illuminate theory construction, test development, policymaking, curriculum design and classroom practice. Seamlessly integrating theory, research, assessment and practice, it is essential reading for anyone seeking to learn more about language learning, training and teaching, and will further advance the research in this exciting, fast-paced field.
Meat quality is not only influenced by breed but also rearing environment. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of different housing environments on growth performance, carcase traits, meat quality, physiological response pre-slaughter and fatty acid composition in two pig breeds. A total of 120 growing pigs at 60-70 days of age were arranged in a 2 × 2 factorial design with the breeds (Duroc × Landrace × Large White [D × L × LW] and Duroc × Landrace × Min pig [D × L × M]) and environmental enrichment (barren concrete floor or enriched with straw bedding) as factors. Each treatment was performed in triplicate with ten pigs per replicate. The pigs housed in the enriched environment exhibited a higher average daily gain, average daily feed intake, saturated fatty acid percentage and backfat depth than the pigs reared in the barren environment. Plasma cortisol levels were lower and growth hormone higher in enriched compared to barren pens. The D × L × M pigs showed lower cooking loss compared with the D × L × LW pigs. Moreover, the D × L × M pigs exhibited poor growth performance but had a better water-holding capacity. Only carcase traits and meat quality interaction effects were observed. We concluded that an enriched environment can reduce preslaughter stress and improve the growth performance of pigs and modulate the fatty acid composition of pork products.
The great demographic pressure brings tremendous volume of beef demand. The key to solve this problem is the growth and development of Chinese cattle. In order to find molecular markers conducive to the growth and development of Chinese cattle, sequencing was used to determine the position of copy number variations (CNVs), bioinformatics analysis was used to predict the function of ZNF146 gene, real-time fluorescent quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was used for CNV genotyping and one-way analysis of variance was used for association analysis. The results showed that there exists CNV in Chr 18: 47225201-47229600 (5.0.1 version) of ZNF146 gene through the early sequencing results in the laboratory and predicted ZNF146 gene was expressed in liver, skeletal muscle and breast cells, and was amplified or overexpressed in pancreatic cancer, which promoted the development of tumour through bioinformatics. Therefore, it is predicted that ZNF146 gene affects the proliferation of muscle cells, and then affects the growth and development of cattle. Furthermore, CNV genotyping of ZNF146 gene was three types (deletion type, normal type and duplication type) by Real-time fluorescent quantitative PCR (qPCR). The association analysis results showed that ZNF146-CNV was significantly correlated with rump length of Qinchuan cattle, hucklebone width of Jiaxian red cattle and heart girth of Yunling cattle. From the above results, ZNF146-CNV had a significant effect on growth traits, which provided an important candidate molecular marker for growth and development of Chinese cattle.
Our study was conducted to assess the sepsis-associated hospitalisations and antimicrobials prescribed for sepsis inpatients in Hong Kong. Demographic, diagnostic and antimicrobial prescription data were analysed for patients admitted to public hospitals with a diagnosis of septicaemia from 2000 to 2015. A total of 223 250 sepsis hospitalisations were recorded in Hong Kong from 2000 to 2015 during which the hospitalisation rate increased by 85.6%. The majority of the sepsis hospitalisations occurred in adults ≥65 years and children aged 0–4 years. Adults with a secondary diagnosis of sepsis were often admitted with a primary diagnosis of urological conditions or pneumonia; whereas diabetes mellitus was the most common secondary diagnosis among those with primary sepsis. Paediatric sepsis patients aged 0–4 years were often diagnosed with disorders relating to short gestation and low birthweight. Antimicrobial prescriptions increased by 51.1% and 34.4% for primary and secondary sepsis patients, respectively. β-Lactam and β-lactamase inhibitor combinations were the most used antibiotics whereas the usage of carbapenems increased more than 10 times over the study period. A substantial burden of hospitalisations was attributable to sepsis in Hong Kong, particularly in the extremes of age. Broad-spectrum and last-resort antibiotics had been increasingly dispensed for sepsis inpatients.