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Clinicians report training deficits in advance care planning (ACP), including limits to their understanding of cultural/spiritual influences on patient decision-making and skills in interdisciplinary teamwork. This study describes Advance Directives-Live Action Simulation Training (AD-LAST), an interdisciplinary experiential and didactic training program for discussing ACP and end-of-life (EOL) care. AD-LAST highlights cultural/spiritual variations in medical decision-making.
Prospective educational cohort study with pre-post intervention survey. AD-LAST incorporated standard curricular tools for didactic and experiential training in ACP/EOL communication. Study conducted in an urban community teaching hospital in Queens, NY, one of the most diverse counties in the USA. Participants included physicians, house staff, nurses, therapists, and other disciplines. AD-LAST format was a one-day workshop. The morning focused on didactic teaching using widely available curricular tools. The afternoon involved experiential practice with standardized patient-actors. Pre-post intervention questionnaires assessed ACP operational knowledge and self-efficacy (i.e., self-confidence in skills) in ACP and EOL communication. Repeated measure ANOVAs evaluated changes from pretest to posttest in knowledge and self-efficacy.
A total of 163 clinical staff participated in 21 AD-LAST training sessions between August 2015 and January 2019. Participants displayed a significant increase from pretest to posttest in total knowledge (p < 0.001), ACP procedural knowledge (p < 0.001), ACP communication/relationships knowledge (p < 0.001), and self-efficacy (p < 0.001). Knowledge and self-efficacy were not correlated and represented independent outcomes. Postprogram evaluations showed greater than 96% of participants were highly satisfied with AD-LAST, especially the opportunity to practice skills in real-time and receive feedback from members of other professional groups.
Significance of results
AD-LAST, a multifaceted training program deployed in an interdisciplinary setting, is effective for increasing ACP knowledge and self-efficacy, including the capacity to address cultural/spiritual concerns. The use of standard tools facilitates dissemination. The use of case simulations reinforces learning.
The objectives of this study were to develop and refine EMPOWER (Enhancing and Mobilizing the POtential for Wellness and Resilience), a brief manualized cognitive-behavioral, acceptance-based intervention for surrogate decision-makers of critically ill patients and to evaluate its preliminary feasibility, acceptability, and promise in improving surrogates’ mental health and patient outcomes.
Part 1 involved obtaining qualitative stakeholder feedback from 5 bereaved surrogates and 10 critical care and mental health clinicians. Stakeholders were provided with the manual and prompted for feedback on its content, format, and language. Feedback was organized and incorporated into the manual, which was then re-circulated until consensus. In Part 2, surrogates of critically ill patients admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) reporting moderate anxiety or close attachment were enrolled in an open trial of EMPOWER. Surrogates completed six, 15–20 min modules, totaling 1.5–2 h. Surrogates were administered measures of peritraumatic distress, experiential avoidance, prolonged grief, distress tolerance, anxiety, and depression at pre-intervention, post-intervention, and at 1-month and 3-month follow-up assessments.
Part 1 resulted in changes to the EMPOWER manual, including reducing jargon, improving navigability, making EMPOWER applicable for a range of illness scenarios, rearranging the modules, and adding further instructions and psychoeducation. Part 2 findings suggested that EMPOWER is feasible, with 100% of participants completing all modules. The acceptability of EMPOWER appeared strong, with high ratings of effectiveness and helpfulness (M = 8/10). Results showed immediate post-intervention improvements in anxiety (d = −0.41), peritraumatic distress (d = −0.24), and experiential avoidance (d = −0.23). At the 3-month follow-up assessments, surrogates exhibited improvements in prolonged grief symptoms (d = −0.94), depression (d = −0.23), anxiety (d = −0.29), and experiential avoidance (d = −0.30).
Significance of results
Preliminary data suggest that EMPOWER is feasible, acceptable, and associated with notable improvements in psychological symptoms among surrogates. Future research should examine EMPOWER with a larger sample in a randomized controlled trial.
Lifestyle interventions are an important and viable approach for preventing cognitive deficits. However, the results of studies on alcohol, coffee and tea consumption in relation to cognitive decline have been divergent, likely due to confounds from dose–response effects. This meta-analysis aimed to find the dose–response relationship between alcohol, coffee or tea consumption and cognitive deficits.
Prospective cohort studies or nested case-control studies in a cohort investigating the risk factors of cognitive deficits were searched in PubMed, Embase, the Cochrane and Web of Science up to 4th June 2020. Two authors searched the databases and extracted the data independently. We also assessed the quality of the studies with the Newcastle-Ottawa scale. Stata 15.0 software was used to perform model estimation and plot the linear or nonlinear dose–response relationship graphs.
The search identified 29 prospective studies from America, Japan, China and some European countries. The dose–response relationships showed that compared to non-drinkers, low consumption (<11 g/day) of alcohol could reduce the risk of cognitive deficits or only dementias, but there was no significant effect of heavier drinking (>11 g/day). Low consumption of coffee reduced the risk of any cognitive deficit (<2.8 cups/day) or dementia (<2.3 cups/day). Green tea consumption was a significant protective factor for cognitive health (relative risk, 0.94; 95% confidence intervals, 0.92–0.97), with one cup of tea per day brings a 6% reduction in risk of cognitive deficits.
Light consumption of alcohol (<11 g/day) and coffee (<2.8 cups/day) was associated with reduced risk of cognitive deficits. Cognitive benefits of green tea consumption increased with the daily consumption.
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.
Hispanics often have disparities at the end of life. They are more likely to die full code and less likely to have discussions regarding prognosis and do not resuscitate (DNR)/do not intubate (DNI), despite studies showing Hispanic values comfort over the extension of life. Barriers to patient-centered care include language,socioeconomic status and health literacy.
We evaluated the impact of palliative care (PC) consults on the change of code status and hospice referrals, comparing seriously ill Hispanic and non-Hispanic white patients.
A retrospective cohort study of all white and Hispanic patients referred to the PC service of a county hospital from 2006 to 2012. We evaluated ethnicity, language, code status at admission and after PC consult, and hospice discharge. Chi-squared tests were used to analyze characteristics among three groups: non-Hispanic white, English-speaking Hispanic, and Spanish-speaking Hispanic patients.
Of 925 patients, 511 (55%) were non-Hispanic white, 208 (23%) were English-speaking Hispanic, and 206 (22%) were Spanish-speaking Hispanic patients. On admission, there was no statistically significant difference in code status among the three groups (57%, 64%, and 59% were full code, respectively, p = 0.5). After PC consults, Spanish-speaking Hispanic patients were more likely to change their code status to DNR/DNI when compared with non-Hispanic white and English-speaking Hispanic patients (44% vs. 32% vs. 28%, p = 0.05). Spanish-speaking Hispanic patients were more likely to be discharged to hospice when compared with English-speaking Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites (33%, 29%, and 23%, respectively, p = 0.04).
Significance of results
Spanish-speaking Hispanic patients were more likely to change from full code to DNR/DNI compared with non-Hispanic white and English-speaking Hispanic patients, despite similar code status preferences on admission. They were also more likely to be discharged to hospice. PC consults may play an important role in helping patients to align their care with their values and may prevent unwanted aggressive interventions at the end of life.
Feathers play a critical role in thermoregulation and directly influence poultry production. Poor feathering adversely affects living appearance and carcass quality, thus reducing profits. However, producers tend to ignore the importance of feather development and do not know the laws of feather growth and development. The objective of this study was to fit growth curves to describe the growth and development of feathers in yellow-feathered broilers during the embryonic and posthatching periods using different nonlinear functions (Gompertz, logistic and Bertalanffy). Feather mass and length were determined during the embryonic development and posthatching stages to identify which growth model most accurately described the feather growth pattern. The results showed that chick embryos began to grow feathers at approximately embryonic (E) day 10, and the feathers grew rapidly from E13 to E17. There was little change from E17 to the day of hatching (DOH). During the embryonic period, the Gompertz function (Y = 798.48e−203 431exp(−0.87t), Akaike’s information criterion (AIC) = −0.950 × 103, Bayesian information criterion (BIC) = −0.711 × 103 and mean square error (MSE) = 559.308) provided the best fit for the feather growth curve compared with the other two functions. After hatching, feather mass and length changed little from the DOH to day (D) 14, increased rapidly from D21 to D91 and then grew slowly after D91. The first stage of feather molting occurred from 2 to 3 weeks of age when the down feathers were mostly shed and replaced with juvenile feathers, and the second stage occurred at approximately 13 to 15 weeks of age. The three nonlinear functions could overall fit the feather growth curve well, but the Bertalanffy model (Y = 116.88 × (1−0.86e−0.02t)3, AIC = 1.065 × 105, BIC = 1.077 × 105 and MSE = 11.308) showed the highest degree of fit among the models. Therefore, the Gompertz model exhibited the best goodness of fit for the feather growth curve during the embryonic development, while the Bertalanffy model was the most suitable model due to its accurate ability to predict the growth and development of feathers during the growth period, which is an important commercial characteristic of yellow-feathered chickens.
Antioxidants have been always used to improve post-slaughter meat quality in broilers subjected to stress. Forsythia suspensa extract (FSE), a traditional Chinese herbal medicine, is generally regarded as a natural source of antioxidants. Therefore, the objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that FSE could protect post-slaughter breast muscles against oxidative injury induced by dexamethasone (DEX) mimicking chronic physiological stress in poultry production. Average daily gain and feed efficiency of poultry were suppressed by DEX and improved by FSE (P < 0.05). Dexamethasone caused the decrease in the redness value and the increase in the lightness and yellowness values and drip loss of the breast muscles (P < 0.05), and FSE had the converse effects (P < 0.05). Dietary FSE supplementation decreased monounsaturated fatty acid (FA) and increased polyunsaturated FA in breast muscles of broilers (P < 0.05). In addition, FSE decreased malondialdehyde and carbonyl content in the breast muscles of DEX-treated broilers (P < 0.05). The inhibition of 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl in the breast muscles was decreased by DEX and increased by FSE (P < 0.05). Total-antioxidant capacity and glutathione peroxidase activity in the breast muscles were decreased in birds subjected to DEX and increased in birds supplemented with FSE (P < 0.05). Totally, DEX suppressed growth performance and induced breast muscle oxidative injury in broilers, and FSE supplementation improved antioxidant capacity to attenuate these adverse effects. Therefore, FSE could be a potential natural antioxidant to alleviate oxidative injury of the breast muscles in broilers and to improve the meat quality for human consumption.
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.
An experiment was conducted to determine the effects of supplementing different amounts of daidzein in a diet on the growth performance, blood biochemical parameters and meat quality of finishing beef cattle. Thirty finishing Xianan steers were distributed in three groups equilibrated by weight and fed three different dietary treatments (concentrate ratio = 80%): (1) control; (2) 500 mg/kg daidzein and (3) 1000 mg/kg daidzein, respectively. Steers were slaughtered after an 80-day feeding trial. Results showed that daidzein supplementation had no effect on the final body weight, average daily gain and feed conversion rate of steers. Steers fed with 1000 mg/kg daidzein had greater dry matter intake than those fed with control diets. Compared with the control group, the 1000 mg/kg daidzein group had a higher fat thickness, lower shear force and lightness. The pH, drip loss, cooking loss, redness (a*), yellowness (b*), moisture, ash, crude protein and intramuscular fat of the Longissimus dorsi muscle were unaffected by daidzein supplementation. Compared with the control group, the 1000 mg/kg daidzein group significantly increased the serum concentrations of insulin, free fatty acid and Glutamic-pyruvic transaminase. The 500 mg/kg daidzein group significantly increased the serum concentration of tetraiodothyronine compared with the control group. Supplemental daidzein did not affect the blood antioxidant ability and blood immune parameters in serum. In conclusion, daidzein supplementation above 500 mg/day modifies feed intake and metabolic and hormonal profile, with positive and negative effects on meat quality.
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.
The response of soil microbial communities to soil quality changes is a sensitive indicator of soil ecosystem health. The current work investigated soil microbial communities under different fertilization treatments in a 31-year experiment using the phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) profile method. The experiment consisted of five fertilization treatments: without fertilizer input (CK), chemical fertilizer alone (MF), rice (Oryza sativa L.) straw residue and chemical fertilizer (RF), low manure rate and chemical fertilizer (LOM), and high manure rate and chemical fertilizer (HOM). Soil samples were collected from the plough layer and results indicated that the content of PLFAs were increased in all fertilization treatments compared with the control. The iC15:0 fatty acids increased significantly in MF treatment but decreased in RF, LOM and HOM, while aC15:0 fatty acids increased in these three treatments. Principal component (PC) analysis was conducted to determine factors defining soil microbial community structure using the 21 PLFAs detected in all treatments: the first and second PCs explained 89.8% of the total variance. All unsaturated and cyclopropyl PLFAs except C12:0 and C15:0 were highly weighted on the first PC. The first and second PC also explained 87.1% of the total variance among all fertilization treatments. There was no difference in the first and second PC between RF and HOM treatments. The results indicated that long-term combined application of straw residue or organic manure with chemical fertilizer practices improved soil microbial community structure more than the mineral fertilizer treatment in double-cropped paddy fields in Southern China.
Taihu pig breeds are the most prolific breeds of swine in the world, and they also have superior economic traits, including high resistance to disease, superior meat quality, high resistance to crude feed and a docile temperament. The formation of these phenotypic characteristics is largely a result of long-term artificial or natural selection. Therefore, exploring selection signatures in the genomes of the Taihu pigs will help us to identify porcine genes related to productivity traits, disease and behaviour. In this study, we used both intra-population (Relative Extend Haplotype Homozygosity Test (REHH)) and inter-population (the Cross-Population Extend Haplotype Homozygosity Test (XPEHH); F-STATISTICS, FST) methods to detect genomic regions that might be under selection process in Taihu pig breeds. As a result, we found 282 (REHH) and 112 (XPEHH) selection signature candidate regions corresponding to 159.78 Mb (6.15%) and 62.29 Mb (2.40%) genomic regions, respectively. Further investigations of the selection candidate regions revealed that many genes under these genomic regions were related to reproductive traits (such as the TLR9 gene), coat colour (such as the KIT gene) and fat metabolism (such as the CPT1A and MAML3 genes). Furthermore, gene enrichment analyses showed that genes under the selection candidate regions were significantly over-represented in pathways related to diseases, such as autoimmune thyroid and asthma diseases. In conclusion, several candidate genes potentially under positive selection were involved in characteristics of Taihu pig. These results will further allow us to better understand the mechanisms of selection in pig breeding.
It is difficult to control Holotrichia parallela Motschulsky with chemical insecticides due to the larvae's soil-living habit, thus the pest has caused great economic losses in agriculture. In addition, uridine diphosphate-glycosyltransferases (UGTs) catalyze the glycosylation process of a variety of small lipophilic molecules with sugars to produce water-soluble glycosides, and play multiple roles in detoxification, endobiotic modulation, and sequestration in an insect. Some UGTs were found specifically expressed in antennae of Drosophila melanogaster and Spodoptera littoralis, and glucurono-conjugated odorants could not elicit any olfactory signals, suggesting that the UGTs may play roles in odorant inactivation by biotransformation. In the current study, we performed a genome-wide analysis of the candidate UGT family in the dark black chafer, H. parallela. Based on a UGT gene signature and the similarity of these genes to UGT homologs from other organisms, 20 putative H. parallela UGT genes were identified. Bioinformatics analysis was used to predict sequence and structural features of H. parallela UGT proteins, and revealed important domains and residues involved in sugar donor binding and catalysis by comparison with human UGT2B7. Phylogenetic analysis of these 20 UGT protein sequences revealed eight major groups, including both order-specific and conserved groups, which are common to more than one order. Of these 20 UGT genes, HparUGT1265-1, HparUGT3119, and HparUGT8312 were highly (>100-fold change) expressed in antennae, suggesting a possible role in olfactory tissue, and most likely in odorant inactivation and olfactory processing. The remaining UGT genes were expressed in all tissues (head, thorax, abdomen, leg, and wing), indicating that these UGTs likely have different biological functions. This study provides the fundamental basis for determining the function of UGTs in a highly specialized olfactory organ, the H. parallela antenna.
Information on morbidity burden of seasonal influenza in China is limited. A multiplier model was used to estimate the incidence and number of outpatient visits for seasonal influenza by age group for the 2015–2016 season in Beijing, the capital of China, based on reported numbers of influenza-like illness consultations and proportions of positive cases from influenza surveillance systems in Beijing, general consultation rates and other parameters from previous studies, surveys and surveillance systems. An estimated total of 1 190 200 (95% confidence interval (CI) 830 400–1 549 900) cases of influenza virus infections occurred in Beijing, 2015–2016 season, with an attack rate of 5·5% (95% CI 3·9–7·2%). These infections resulted in an estimated 468 280 (95% CI 70 700–606 800) outpatient visits, with an attack rate of 2·2% (95% CI 0·3–2·8%). The attack rate of influenza virus infections was highest among children aged 0–4 years (31·9% (95% CI 21·9–41·9%)), followed by children aged 5–14 years (18·7% (95% CI 12·9–24·5%)). Our study demonstrated a substantial influenza-related morbidity in Beijing, China, especially among the preschool- and school-aged children. This suggests that development or modification of seasonal influenza targeted vaccination strategies need to recognize that incidence is highest in children.
This cross-sectional study aimed to examine and compare prevalence and correlates of whole blood Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) DNA between HIV-positive and HIV-negative men who have sex with men (MSM). Five hundred and four HIV-positive MSM and 504 age-matched HIV-negative MSM were recruited from an HIV counseling and testing clinic in Shanghai, China from November 2014 to November 2015 and were administered with a face-to-face questionnaire interview. Whole blood EBV DNA was tested by nested polymerase chain reaction assays on EBNA-1, EBNA-2, and LMP-1 genes. The prevalence of whole blood EBV DNA was 56·0% (95% CI 51·7–60·3%) among HIV-positive MSM and 26·0% (95% CI 22·4–30·0%) among HIV-negative MSM. Whole blood EBV DNA positivity was significantly associated with HIV infection (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 3·43, 95% CI 2·58–4·57) and frequent intake of pickled, smoked, or salty food (aOR 1·71, 95% CI 1·02–2·86) in the whole sample, and with <200 cells/μl CD4 cell counts (aOR 1·79, 95% CI 1·05–3·05) and pickled, smoked, or salty food intake (aOR 3·14, 95% CI 1·39–7·08) in HIV-positive group. HIV-infected MSM are at higher risk of active EBV replication than HIV-uninfected MSM, underscoring needs of surveillance and research on EBV-related carcinogenesis in this population.
The effects of minor Cu (0–0.29 wt%) and Mg (0–0.1 wt%) additions on the microstructure, electrical conductivity, mechanical, and creep properties of 8xxx aluminum conductor alloys were studied. The microstructure evolution was investigated using an optical microscope and the electron backscattered diffraction technique. The creep property was characterized by the primary creep strain and the minimum creep rate during creep deformation. The results demonstrated that additions of minor Cu and Mg reasonably improved the ultimate tensile strength but slightly reduced electrical conductivity. The addition of Cu remarkably decreased the primary creep strain but had a negligible effect on the minimum creep rate, leading to a beneficial effect on the short-term creep resistance but no advantage to the creep resistance under the long-term creep process. The minor addition of Mg greatly reduces both the primary creep strain and minimum creep rate, resulting in a significant and effective improvement in the creep resistance.
An anti-resonance pulse forming network (PFN) has been designed, analyzed, and tested for its application in generating quasi-square pulses. According to the circuit simulations, a compact generator based on two/three-section network was constructed. Two-section network is applied in the generator due to its compact structure, while three-section network is employed for generating pulses with higher quality. When two-section network is applied in the generator, the full-width at half-maximum of the load pulse is 400 ns, at the same time, its rise time, flat top and fall time are 90, 180 and 217 ns, respectively. When the three-section network is applied with the same pulse width of the load pulse, the rise time of the output decreases to 60 ns, while the flat top increases to 240 ns and the fall time reduces to 109 ns. Meanwhile, this kind of network could be used to shape the output pulses of generators whose equivalent circuit is LC series discharge network, such as MARX generator, into quasi-square pulses. And the preliminary experiment demonstrates that anti-resonance network could work well on four-stage Marx generators. A sine pulse generated by the four-stage Marx generator is shaped into a quasi-square pulse with voltage of 11.8 kV and pulse width about 110 ns based on two-section anti-resonance network.
In tritrophic ‘plants–herbivores–natural enemies’ systems, there are relatively few reports concerning the role(s) of kairomones in pupal parasitism. Chouioia cunea Yang (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), an endoparasitic chalcid wasp, parasitizes pupae of the fall webworm (Hyphantria cunea Drury). The role of host-related kairomones was investigated using electroantennogram (EAG) and behavioral techniques. Chemicals from some host stages (pupae) and host by-products (frass), induced arrestment behavior of female parasitoids, while chemicals from prepupae, were inactive. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis of volatiles collected from pupae, frass and prepupae using solid-phase microextration revealed seven compounds with carbon chain lengths ranging from C4 to C20. All of the chemicals elicited significant EAG responses in C. cunea. Y-tube olfactometer bioassays demonstrated a significant positive response of mated female C. cunea to 1-dodecene. These data provide a better understanding of the host location mechanisms of pupal parasitoid.
Both growth and immune capacity are important traits in animal breeding. The animal quantitative trait loci (QTL) database is a valuable resource and can be used for interpreting the genetic mechanisms that underlie growth and immune traits. However, QTL intervals often involve too many candidate genes to find the true causal genes. Therefore, the aim of this study was to provide an effective annotation pipeline that can make full use of the information of Gene Ontology terms annotation, linkage gene blocks and pathways to further identify pleiotropic genes and gene sets in the overlapping intervals of growth-related and immunity-related QTLs. In total, 55 non-redundant QTL overlapping intervals were identified, 1893 growth-related genes and 713 immunity-related genes were further classified into overlapping intervals and 405 pleiotropic genes shared by the two gene sets were determined. In addition, 19 pleiotropic gene linkage blocks and 67 pathways related to immunity and growth traits were discovered. A total of 343 growth-related genes and 144 immunity-related genes involved in pleiotropic pathways were also identified, respectively. We also sequenced and genotyped 284 individuals from Chinese Meishan pigs and European pigs and mapped the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to the pleiotropic genes and gene sets that we identified. A total of 971 high-confidence SNPs were mapped to the pleiotropic genes and gene sets that we identified, and among them 743 SNPs were statistically significant in allele frequency between Meishan and European pigs. This study explores the relationship between growth and immunity traits from the view of QTL overlapping intervals and can be generalized to explore the relationships between other traits.
Understanding the physiological mechanisms of biomass accumulation and partitioning in the grain, and the nitrogen (N) uptake associated with different plant densities and N management strategies, is essential for achieving both high yield and N use efficiency (NUE) in maize plants. A field experiment was conducted in 2013 and 2014, using five rates of N application and three plant densities (6·0, 7·5 and 9·0 plants/m2) in Quzhou County on the North China Plain (NCP). The objective was to evaluate whether higher plant density can produce more biomass allocated to the grain to achieve higher grain yield and to determine the optimal N management strategies for different plant densities. The highest grain yield and NUE were achieved in the 7·5 plants/m2 treatment; both the sub-optimal (6·0 plants/m2) and supra-optimal (9·0 plants/m2) plant densities resulted in diminished yield and NUE. Compared to 6·0 plants/m2, the 7·5 plants/m2 treatment displayed higher biomass accumulation during the grain-filling period and also exhibited more biomass allocated to kernels with similar total biomass accumulation compared with the 9·0 plants/m2 treatment, which contributed to its higher grain yield. The N uptake in the 7·5 plants/m2 treatment was similar to that in the 9·0 plants/m2 treatment up to pre-silking. However, the post-silking N uptake of the 7·5 plants/m2 treatment was 66·4 kg/ha, which was 29·1% higher than that of the 9·0 plants/m2 treatment. Furthermore, the highest maize grain yield was achieved in the 0·7 × optimal N rate (ONR × 0·7), ONR and ONR × 1·3 treatments for 6·0, 7·5 and 9·0 plants/m2, respectively, which suggests that different N management strategies are needed for different plant densities. In conclusion, selecting a planting density of 7·5 plants/m2 with an in-season root zone N management is a potentially effective strategy for achieving high grain yield and high NUE for maize production on the NCP.